I am a writer at heart

•2010 April 24 • Leave a Comment

I am a writer at heart
(Though a scientist by trade)
I see around me a million souls
In whom the experience of life is made
Not as hopelessly mundane
As I often fear
But each rich with tales
Gathered year to year
Wholly unremarkable
To the undiscerning eye
But beneath the outer layer
One indeed may spy
Depths of many passions
Both pain and joy
Unrealized infinities
In each girl and boy
Each a story to tell
Of their unique time on earth
As they ventured into the world
From each’s own birth
I long to record
Something of their time
Spent experiencing and learning
Before they must die
And return to the earth
However their lives spent
Capture their perspectives
Til to the Mother they are sent

Untitled

•2010 April 24 • Leave a Comment

Life is short
Death is eternal
Perhaps we are not chased out of life
But rather drawn back to death
A return to what once was
Life, only a brief visit
Never meant to be a home
Meant to be enjoyed and treasured
As all brief escapades should be
Before returning to the earth
Where we belong
To dream of the adventure
Long since passed

[This is a response to reading Hesse’s Narziss and Goldmund, in which he presents the idea of Death as a mother with open arms, not a judge or condemner, but rather one who sent us off to Life for a brief visit, to enjoy and tell her tales when we return.]

A Reason for Solitude

•2010 April 21 • Leave a Comment

As a child, I turned to, and valued, solitude because it was a comfort.  While alone, I didn’t have to contend with the multitude of ignorant opinions of others, the uninformed malevolent judgments they make of others without knowing their circumstances and thoughts, motivations — judgments that often, directly or indirectly, were toward me and my traits/characteristics, physical and personality-wise, that are largely genetic or inherent.  Such judgments often (usually) hurt me, weighed on my soul and contributed to my self-doubt and self-recriminations.  Judgments that added to my depression, most likely due to my perfectionist tendencies and contrary realization that I can never be perfect, as there will always be genetic physical and psychological traits beyond my control, beyond my ability to change them (my size, my negative depressive nature, my oversensitivity, my more androgynous characteristics, etc.).

And so I turned to solitude to be free of such worries, such hurtful comments and behaviours, to rest and restore in the absence of those damaging influences.

I cannot say this has changed much in my adult years, other than that I now possess a greater intellect and understanding of the world and people… which have only made me more aware of how unjust life can be, how truly hateful some people are, and how most others’ opinions and judgments are ill-informed, insensitive and inconsiderate, and yet clung to by their purveyors as though they were sustenance for life itself.  I do not know, maybe they are for so many people — maybe the only way they can feel good about themselves is to criticize others, to put others down, to raise themselves up on the carcasses of others’ self-esteem and dreams.  Maybe they cling to their ignorance because they don’t have the insight and humility to question whether they may be wrong, to learn the other side and reevaluate their positions, because they need to hold to such black and white views in order to make sense of the world, a world that, in truth, is painted only in shades of grey.  Most people cannot handle — let alone see the use in , the beauty in — uncertainty.

This is also likely why I love animals so — they are similar to humans in that we all belong to the animal kingdom, but they lack the ignorant judgments and egos masquerading as intelligence.  With an animal, a pet, one can have companionship for comfort, and all that matters is a mutual benevolent attitude, loving gestures, a shared reverence for nature.  They do not aim to hurt unless they feel threatened on a survival level, and even then do so only out of instinct.  And yet humans think themselves so grand.

I am realizing more and more of late that it is unlikely that I will ever find a truly kindred spirit in my lifetime.  I treasure the works of Hermann Hesse because he seemed to understand, to share the same frustrations with himself and mankind, to take the same pleasure and comfort in nature and solitude and art.  But a live human of this sort?  When I will only meet a minute fraction of the world’s 6.6 billion people?  It seems as though such kindred spirits are themselves a minute fraction of the human population, and so, by simple probabilities, how likely is it that I will meet one ever, let alone anytime soon?

Some would say it is best to just learn to accept others for who they are, for all their faults, but when these faults so often damage others’ psyches, how can I ever love being around them?  Sometimes it seems the only way to preserve my soul and limit the damage others cause to my spirit is to isolate myself from human contact, as much as I realistically can… because I do not know how I can make myself less sensitive to their barbs and inconsiderate words and actions — nor am I even sure that I want to make myself insensitive, as I may end up becoming them and thus cause others pain.

And so I am single, with no truly close friends, no confidants, and will likely remain this way for a long time yet, since I cannot resolve my inner being with the nature of most people I have encountered thus far in life.

Thinkers

•2009 November 21 • Leave a Comment

I wonder how many people are “thinkers”…

I’m guessing not many.  I realize that thinking about things realistically, deeply, can lead to depression and a sense of frustrated helplessness given the state of the world.  But isn’t choosing not to think about these things just running away from your problems?  Shouldn’t we all choose to “man up” and face our problems?  And the first step in fixing things is THINKING about them, realizing there is a problem, pondering possible fixes, and discussing them.

I think that, especially as we get older and busier with life, it’s easier to just turn a blind eye to what’s wrong with the world.  There’s so much going on in life that we’re just tired, and don’t want to become depressed and more tired by focusing on our problems and trying to find real solutions.  So we turn to entertainment.  It has its place, but at this point it’s no different than turning to drugs or alcohol to avoid dealing with your personal problems.

I’m stuck in the same rut as pretty much everyone else; I do understand the human motivations behind ignoring these things.  But haven’t you ever tried to ignore a personal issue, possibly turned to substances (or entertainment) to forget about it, and it works for awhile, but months/years later you’re still in the same damned spot with it?  So those of us who are responsible will sooner or later choose to face it head-on and find a way to deal with it, and ideally fix it (or at least come to terms with it).

Why are societal/world problems any different?  I guess because unlike personal problems, there’s that sense of “it’s too big for me, I can’t fix it myself”.  But if everyone chooses to capitulate, then all remains the same, degenerates further… Everyone should instead change their mindset to not surrender to hopelessness and apathy, and then the masses may care, and would have the power to do something.

Food for thought.

TV, you missed your calling…

•2009 October 6 • Leave a Comment

Do you ever really think about TV?  I don’t mean TV shows, I mean TV itself.  And no, I don’t even mean the nitty gritty of how it works (though I have wondered enough that I googled it to find out more).  I mean TV as a medium.

“The opiate of the masses”; indeed, that is what it has become.  It makes me somewhat sad… it had so much potential to change the world.  OK, I guess in a way it did – in a depressing, bastardized way.

It has such ability to reach people – whether you’re illiterate, or deaf, or too busy to read the paper, etc.  It can disseminate information like no other medium.  It brings to us images of worlds, ideas, too distant to reach us otherwise, or at least not with the same power.  I recall reading a neuroscience article noting that the more senses you engage while doing something, the more you can integrate it into your thinking or memory.  TV already covers sight and sound, and as we are such visual creatures (is it 40% of our frontal cortex that’s devoted to visual processing?), it is a very powerful medium.

But what is it primarily used for?  Entertainment.  The news too, to an extent, though increasingly that leans toward entertainment or propaganda more than information.  (I guess one could argue that given that a lot of serious “news” isn’t practically applicable information, it is merely another form of entertainment anyway – but anything that serves to connect us more to each other and the world beyond isn’t merely entertainment.)  But how many dumb-ass sitcoms or reality shows or whatnot can you think of off the top of your head?  Documentaries and learning programs redeem this grand invention to an extent, but they’re scant in a sea of fluff.

I wonder if Zworykin or Farnsworth (the two most often credited with the invention of the TV) ever saw it being used primarily for entertainment.  When the first TV stations went on the air, did they imagine this medium’s future?

Obviously there is a place for both information and entertainment in our lives.  But it just seems to me that TV largely favours and encourages the pursuit of the latter.  (The same could be said of the internet.)   To the detriment of our society, our world, now more than ever.

I guess in the end it isn’t so much what TV has become; it is merely a reflection of what our cultural priorities have become.  Maybe that is what really disheartens me about the medium.

Intense!

•2009 September 28 • Leave a Comment

Yep.  That’s probably the word that best describes me.  Passionate kinda goes hand-in-hand, I guess, but intense is probably a bit more broad-ranging and accurate…?

I have intense emotions – I don’t feel happy, sad, or angry; I’m more prone to be excited/laughing, depressed, or rageful.  (Though I do manage to control the rage… control the rage… CONTROL THE RAGE!  hahahaha)  Perhaps that’s why sometimes I wonder if I’m mildly bipolar, like cyclothymic; I do have a few bipolar cousins.  Even my looks are intense to an extent – the red hair, the deep-set piercing eyes, the super pale skin, the excessive curves, etc.  Even my voice is naturally loud, which is kind of funny, considering when I was younger I mumbled so much that no one knew what I was saying.

And aside from the inherent intensity, I am a lover of intensity.  I like intense ideas, intense conversations, intense experiences – perhaps that’s why I dabbled in ecstasy in the past, and still enjoy the more “natural” highs.  I love intense flavours – spicy, sour (I love lemons), tangy, etc.  I love intensely complicated television shows & movies, intense music (the kind that just reaches into you and rips the emotions out), intense reads (I’m heavy into the philosophy).  “The road of excess leads to the palace of knowledge.”  Thank you William Blake, I agree.

I wasn’t sure how to take it when someone first called me intense – we were doing mushrooms, I got off on a rant about the fashion industry and its effects on women, and the response was “wow,  you’re intense”.  I know she didn’t mean it as an insult.  And quite frankly, now I take it as a compliment.  Because there’s nothing sadder to me than the idea of being mundane, low-key, watered-down, “normal”.  I’m not even sure if I’m capable of that, come to think of it – it’d take some major self-restraint.  Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and a life lived intensely – happy or sad – is a memorable one.

Intensity is my destiny.

The Nature of Reality and How It Can Relate To Self-Confidence

•2009 September 24 • Leave a Comment

I often think about the nature of reality.  Because what is reality to each one of us other than what our senses tell us, our perception?  None of us can truly be objective because we’re inherently subjective.  Even working in a scientific field (or rather, because of it?) I can see that no matter how objective we try to be, our understanding of things is coloured by our subconscious biases and hypotheses.  Or consider the fact that mentally ill people often see themselves as perfectly normal because all they (and all of us) have to go on is what our senses tell us.

So if we think of reality as subjective, then self-confidence becomes easier to those of us who may not have been naturally inclined to have it (or have had it “nurtured” out of us… in the nature/nurture sense.)  But if we determine our own reality, then it shouldn’t be difficult to have self-confidence.  Who is someone else to tell us that we’re less-than, unattractive, etc?  They are merely an entity in our version of reality and we choose how much impact their opinions have on us.

Now, obviously, given the previous reference to the mentally ill, you may think that this is a recipe for psychosis, or antisocial behaviour.  But the reality (haha) is that most of us just aren’t wired that way, and those that are will be, regardless of whether they recognize this subjective nature of reality or not.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, and she was bang-on.  Our confidence lies solely in ourselves and nowhere else.  It is only an illusion that it is dependent on what others think of us, what our life circumstances are, or what our heredity may be.  Sit back and observe enough people in life (which I did a lot, especially when I was younger and much quieter and even more solitary) and you’ll realize that regardless of their circumstances, treatment, and appearances, some people exude confidence whereas others in similar positions smack of low self-esteem.

It’s all in our mindset.  ‘Course, maybe that belief is due to my own version of reality.  ;D