Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The music curse

"I was asked the question 'What was the first single you ever bought?' and I thought 'I have never bought a single or an album'. Even as a teenager!It's strange. I don't like listening to music. People find it hard to understand that." (From The Enya Realms / Quotes)

I had this thing bothering me in my youth. For some reasons I didn't listen to music before my eighteen. I didn't have a favorite kind of music, I wasn't a fan of any music group, I simply would occasionally listen to what would randomly play on the radio or the stereo because someone else would turn it on in the area. I liked music, a random song would possibly play which I would find attractive but I never listened music on my own in my whole childhood. And it mattered. It mattered because every time someone asked me the question "What music do you like?" I would become uneasy with the particular one.

There were reasons I avoided listening to music. When I am thinking about it, it's hard to describe. And it sounds silly. I think that to go in a store and buy a particular CD and listen to it or to turn on the volume of the stereo and select a specific music was something I felt "shy" about. I don't know if "shy" is the right word. I actually felt "shy" about a lot of things in my youth even the simplest ones and I was aware and constantly described this feeling to myself. I think one of the reasons might be that I was so sensitive to music that I felt uneasy or vulnerable, especially if I didn't listened with my headphones but others in the room would be able to listen my preference and maybe it could also reveal my emotions.

For most, music is mainly a kind of social connection which defines to which group of people do you belong. Somebody once asked me which is my favorite group or kind of music and when I told him I don't have one he said that this is not normal, that all people are fans of at least one kind of music and a group. For me, listening to music was something that I envied because there was that curse that didn't let me listen to something that was emotionally appealing. I was at a dead end. And I was also frustrated by that view where it's supposed that everyone listens to music as everyone likes sex or pizza.

After several years I got my first truly own PC while MP3s came into play, meaning that I could stay alone in my room and listen to music through my headphones without all the burden that made me avoid it. Much later, USB players also made it possible for me to listen while at road or as I was sleeping. I also explored various music styles and people sometimes tell me they adore my vast music preferences. I find it funny now when I meet people who have a very narrow music taste, even disregarding other genres, especially those who criticized me in the past for not listening to music. Maybe if music wasn't so emotionally overwhelming to me but just a cold social meme that defines group belonging then I would also be a fan of one group and would prefer only one music kind :P

Gladly I am more than that. My old psychological condition I'd like to call here 'the music curse' has to do with how overwhelming music can be for me. I am quite sensitive to it which can be good and bad. Which means that music has a true meaning for me, more true than those who think that I have to listen to it in order to be normal or to belong to a specific group of people. This is the first time I openly speak about this to anyone (And not liking or avoiding to listen to any kind of music for any reasons is not as uncommon as I thought).

I am glad that Enya said that quote for once. For I have read it and it totally shattered my past insecurity about that. Thank you!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Unseen changes

In several occasions, I've been longing to find some free time to have a look back at my past. I am not meaning here to be involved into old forgotten worries but to have a modern look on old things and see how different it feels today. Sometimes I stumble upon things that bring back older memories but what I would like to ask from myself is some good moments to do this intentionally and under the appropriate mood. Still, the unplanned rendezvous with the past happens more often than you think and it's one of these occasions which prompted me to write these thoughts.

At first I was searching for an old post. I haven't found it yet but then I read some old comments from a specific person that wrote several long analytical comments just like me. Then I decided to look back at the older archives in order to collect all these posts from the specific person in a txt file so that I can read it later. In the past there were some things I couldn't understand in their entirety on his comments, so it would be interesting to see what I can understand now that my personal view of myself and the world might have evolved. Well, I haven't collected these texts yet because I was occupied by reading the very first posts in this blog and remembering the past. It's more than 3 years since I have started this blog (I only realized this today).

A common occurring pattern in the very early posts is that of myself crying out about my life or how much I can't enjoy the demoscene and so on. If I told you that it's quite different now you wouldn't believe me. Recent fragments of drama can still be found in my blogs, pouet or whatever. Who knows whether another outburst happens again soon? I have proven to the world that I cannot be trusted on that.

I just felt for a while, as I was reading one of the first posts, that this is not myself. Most possibly because right now I am ok and who knows how good or bad I might feel tomorrow? I have that feeling for a while and it slipped. I could say that the frequency of current drama posts is much less than then and less excessive. I won't stop writting posts with a melancholic or pessimistic feeling because this is what I like to do. But maybe it's the feeling that is changed, one the comes closer to an understanding and acceptance of who I am and my position in the world.

Thoughts that my life is getting worse, that everything is in deep shit, or I have lost hope or that eveyrthing is feeling vain (feelings that I express a lot in many of my old posts) do not circulate currently in my mind a lot. I actually don't believe that. There is a friend of mine with whom we walk in the city at night and speak about things like that. One of our conversation goes like this: "We have fucked up our lifes. We are getting deeper and deeper. Maybe we are growing up. Maybe we have come to understand that things we did in the past are vain. And of course our demomaking hobby (among other things) is coming out of vanity. We have destroyed our lifes.."

Sometimes I laugh because I know that the next time I will meet him out in the city he will tell me exactly the same things word by word. And while in the past I could relate better with these words (which are similar to the feelings in my oldest blog posts) something has changed on me that I don't feel the same at all as my friend. I don't think I have fucked my life (I also don't think the same about him) because I see life as a journey. Well, maybe I did some mistakes, I had some bad moments I could have handled better but if I don't bump into mistakes and frustration how can I learn? I really can't understand people who try to tell you what's right and what's wrong in life so that (as they say) you don't make the same mistakes as they did. But if you don't make a mistake how are you going to understand what did you do wrong in order to not repeat it? By this view, it's meaningless for me to look back and wish I could correct something in my past. It's senseless to regret for something that I was bound to encounter in my journey at the end.

No, I don't feel like in the past. For a long time I try to observe myself, the world and everything else under a more complete vision, one that struggles to accept and understand things as they are and discover the reasons behind it. One that tries to investigate further who I am and how do I fit into this world and what can I do to be more compatible without having to erase my personality. I try to find a balance. I try to learn more.

Knowing is actually the most important part in me. This one hasn't changed in it's core. From the excessive and over-exaggerated past manifestation to the more understanding and accepting function of it at peace. In the past I was even very regularly frustrated for my inability to answer to anything with certainty (that damn skepticism of me :) but now I have accepted that the truth can wait and the quest for it is what matters the most. There are changes, slowly coming, to the better. But the core is there. I always felt that knowing the deeper reasons of our problems, trying to understand how someone feels inside, something that we may not easily see but keep residing in ideologies and afforisms, knowing not like an encyclopedia but like a deep thinker who first tries to "feel", to "see", to "understand" the whole image and later uses logic to put an order and explain it to the world, is a force that I should always count on.

Knowing releases me. In the core I remain the same. Changes are happening slowly slowly (evolution is slow) to improve the core by transforming the elements related to it. People are afraid to know. They tell me to stop thinking. But knowing is a relief no matter if there is a possibility to encounter something that I don't like. At least I will know. And I will enjoy the process.

People hardly change. And those changes are slow because evolution is slow. The common problem here is that when looking one day or a month back you think you have not changed. This is also because the core that defines your personality never changes so you don't see any important changes. And even the changes outside the core are almost never dramatic. That's why people don't seem to change. But when I look back in the past I can see that there are important changes, yet the core will be always the same. People are criticizing someone else who is slightly different than them and expect him to change. In the meantime he might have made important changes in his life and his personal views. Which the most critics won't notice or see as an improvement. But the core, it's the personality, the older groups of neurons that form the illusion of consciousness. You can't wipe that out! You can't expect someone to change in his core, not even in 20 years or ever.

I am changing. But in the core I remaing the same.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Theory of mind?

Going out and meeting with people is ok. It gives me insights in things that bother me. Things that have to do with me and my incompatibility with people. Some people of my family always told me that I should do that because it's good to be social. I am not sure if they can give me a good reason for that though, but it seems like they have followed the same pattern of being social without knowing why because other people told them that it is good who also heard it from other ones that don't know the reason. That's from the side of the clueless who just do things because everyone in society tells them it's good without explaining why.

I recently found another side. I might have encountered people of this side in the past , it's only that it's the first time I develop my ideas concerning me and their suggestions deeper. These people are just like the previous ones. They tell me that I should go out and meet people. The difference is that they gave me further insights on why should I do that. Although under further investigation I think that they are no much different than the first group. What I mean is that they might explain me now why I should go out more and meet people but with the same kind of recursivity, suggesting me what the others do and that being good because everyone does this and everyone says so.

To reach to the point. First of all I AM social. In my own sense. I was never locked up in a room for a month or a year all alone. I had a lot of social opportunities in my enviroment (family, school, university, work, scene, leisure, etc.) that you can't say something was missing and I didn't evolved. And I DO communicate. However the second group of people (some of which I met at recent Breakpoint and thanks for the insightful discussions) tells me that I should get out and meet more people more because this way there are higher possibilities to observe how most people actually communicate and try to look like them.

At least that's how I understand that they mean it. They made the observation that I do actually communicate but in my own weird way. A way that might look annoying, egoistic or just abnormal by most of them (I'll speak later about it, after I make my main point). Which might be explained (for them) by the fact that I was very rarely meeting people to be able to see how most people communicate and so I never learned. And their suggestion is that I should go out more and meet people so that I learn and meme the way most people communicate. Which is not exactly right because the main reason I stubornly keep on my own special way of communication is (which I'll explain later, after I make my point, as I said) is the fact that it is my nature to stay so. Going out and being involved in boring casual socialization won't change anything.

Theory of mind. I only have to admit that I wasn't even fully aware in the past of my difference in communication and how it's perceived by other people. I always thought that the way I feel and communicate is similar to the rest of the people. Only during the recent years I am becoming more aware that some of the things I have in my nature might be annoying for other people while I can't see them as such. This is called theory of mind.

I learned about this theory during my research on subjects concerning autistic people and how they relate to the rest of the world. A lack of theory of mind is generally attributed to persons with autism or asperger's. It's supposed that there is a difference in the way autistic persons perceive communication in comparison to neurotypicals (what we would call 'normal' people or those without autistic traits). Autistics seems to be living in their own world, not being able to communicate properly the way most neurotypicals expect them to do. Neurotypicals are suposedly having it right and all the misunderstanding is the fault of the other side :P

Except if it's also the other side who does not get it. If say 95% of the population communicate in the same neurotypical way as almost everybody does then they dismiss the other 5% as having it wrong. It's easy to be in the majority and feel that the way you think and perceive communication is the same as all other people. 95% of the times you will be right. But for the rare individuals who differ in that aspect it's more probable that they will notice one day that something is different with them and that other people don't feel or behave the same as them.

I read the wikipedia article on theory of mind again and stared a little longer at the last part of the first sentence. understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own. Hmm,. the interesting and funny here is that this is what most 'normal' people (or those who are preaching me to be normal and just like the rest) fail to do. They don't even recognize the reality that 5% of us might be different by nature. They expect us to be just like the rest. How does the theory of mind apply to their case?

I'll tell you something. I believe that some of the people who preach that I should be just like the rest are autistics in disguise. I just have a feeling about this but you don't have to take my words for it. I know I may be wrong. Also, we usually attribute some autistic traits with geekness. And we think that neurotypicals always have to look like our view of a 'normal' person. What if a specific autistic individual used some of his autistic abilities in order to become something like a social savant? What if 50 or 500 years from now the view on what is 'normal' is not the same? I think that we are missing the bigger picture here.

Of course normal is just a variable that changes through history according to the way the majority perceives the world. There is also neurodiversity in the play. Sometimes the notions of autism or other so called mental disorders are a bit too narrow. Specific mental disorders can be perceived as conditions where an individual is quite incompatible with the rest of the world. Genetics play a role in this difference yet the outcome is not naturally wrong, it's that most people perceive neurodifference as wrong attitude and that brings trouble.

Of course this doesn't exactly give the right to an autistic individual to justify any peculiar attitude that might bring trouble or confusion to other people. However this justice doesn't come equally from the other side. A neurotypical never brings in his mind that some of his 'normal' attitude or expected communication protocol might be harmful or annoying for autistic individuals. Because they already accept without a second thought that there way of doing things is a normal and expected way and so right without question. At least 95% of the people will agree, so they even have a vast confirmation to feel confident about.

My different communication way was about how I started talking to someone and actually monologized the conversation. They said that this can be either boring, annoying or egoistic from my side. That's my problem. The other side they suggest me trying is casual chat. Small sentences (and no big analysis) about trivial things, which is like passing the ball to the rest. My way seems a bit like they pass me the ball and I keep it to myself. It is like an inner flame inside me makes me speak and analyse endlessly and I have a great desire to dwelve deeper in what matters me. Casual talking would be like socializing for the sake of socialization (an end in it's mean). It's what the majority does. They remind me that I should go out more frequently and meet people but even if I did that more frequently it wouldn't change the way I naturally communicate. Casual talking is something that I hate actually.

I can accept that it can be annoying, I can imagine how it might confuse or put people in an ackward position (And here is the interesting, this is because they are just not used to it and don't know how to react to this different kind of communication. They have learned their communicating skills in an environment where casual talking is the common thing to do.) but I just can't be you. Well, actually I have news for you. Since a long I decided that it's not worth it. Even if I try to communicate my own way in a casual social occasion the most possible is that they will simply ignore me. The alternative, casual chat, is boring. So, either way it doesn't make sense and I stopped caring. Could that mean that I will go less out and communicate less? Ah, the irony..

This article became much longer than I have wished for and there are still a lot to write about. It's one of the harsh written article I actually hate :(


Monday, May 18, 2009

A chaotic mind

I was just seeing a friend, who is a lawyer and likes to write essays. He was initially interested to have a look at my blog and at the evening we discussed about my writing style. As expected, I was criticized for my long chaotic texts, a good thing though since I was curious to listen to his advice. Which of course was planning. Another thing I lack.

At the way home, I tried to rethink which is my fitting writing style and how hard it might be to follow a plan. The same might goes for real life. And making a nice plan of what to write or how to run my day is something that I have been thinking and wishing since a long but never actually managed to follow. It is intriguing to me to be able to plan your time or your writing style in such a way to increase productivity and efficiency. But it always fails. How many times have I decided to make a daily plan in order to finish various tasks during the whole day, yet I missed the motivation to follow the plan or even to sit down and actually create it?

There is only one exception in my case. I like organization. I love it. I hate it when people have dozens of random icons and files on their desktop. I only have four at the moment :). Also, in programming I am especially lately an organization freak. I spend days and weeks trying to make a good and strictly organized demo/game framework and even delete everything and start new frameworks from scratch. In this case, I am motivated to create an organized system of code which the computer will follow step by step. In the case of real life it's me who might no have any motivation to follow something strictly by the hour. I mean, I may have different impulses at a specific moments than what my program dictates. Same goes for writing. I just open a new post and let my mind flow and passionately write whatever comes in my mind.

We discussed the idea (one that I like too) that maybe it would be good for once to try setting some rules and a strict text size limitation, trying to express some of the ideas I care about in a smaller and nicely structured text. And that would be in another blog where the post would be more organized on different categories too. That would be a nice idea. Actually I secretly thought about it in the past before we even discussed that. But one thing remains. That I am a chaotic mind. The way I write, the way I actually think and how my impulses (emotion? passion?) control me rather than my logic, shows the above. I have tried several times to act like a robot but I failed. The most interesting to me now, would be to see what more can this say about myself.

I tried to keep this post small, even though I had no planned structure.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Extraterrestrials, where are they?

Just a few thoughts that came in my mind while heading back home..

They keep asking people, whether they believe in extraterrestrials. If they'd ask me about, I would consider this question misleading. Do they ask if I believe in the existence of extraterrestrials? Or if I also accept that we have been definitely visited by them either in the ancient or modern times?

When the question is raised, I think that a yes would be misunderstood as saying that you are also endorsing the whole ufo/alien trend and all the neomythology that comes with it. While you might just wanted to say that you believe in the almost certain possibility that intelligent life might have evolved somewhere else in this enormous universe. If you said no because you (mis)understood something else or wanted to avoid the trap, someone would jump out of his place blaming you for being close-minded or egoist to accept that there is someone outside earth that could be more evolved than you. Which last argument is also a lame explanation of the motives for someone to not believe. Why would any self-centered person care for something so distant and uncertain outside his close neighbourhood? I don't think this is the reason for disbelief.

A little more complete and proper question would be "Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life in the universe?". And there I would answer (as most of us will) that yes, it is quite possible (billions of stars and galaxies, blah blah blah). And then there comes the real questions to ponder about "Do you believe that some of them may have visited us?". "Do the thousands of stories and witnesses account for intelligent extraterrestrial beings experimenting secretly on us or anything or are they all paranoia and disinformation?". And there is where I would say at best that I simply don't know, yet I am very skeptical about them.

Don't get me wrong, I used to be a UFO-nut, I still enjoy reading the latest news about any strange phenomenon out there but through the years I have become more and more skeptic. I have endorsed the possibility that many of the strangest stories, even the most seemingly credible ones, could be something very trivial or stupid. It can't be all wrong, I said once. How can one mistake the planet venus for a UFO? I usually put myself in the eyes of others and think that I certainly wouldn't be confused to think something like that and that the other guy does not seem very stupid either. Yet, I recently remembered of certain occasions on different places and times when someone told me that there is something strange with a bright star in the sky and even considered it to be a stable UFO in the sky or something. Or those winter days when the venus was so bright that I noticed it and wonder why is it so bright? But the idea that it's anything else than a star never passed in my mind. While it happens with few other people I know, even if later they seemed to be joking but said it was so bright that they weren't sure if it's a star or some kind of UFO at first. But hey.. I only perceived a star. Nothing else passed in my mind! Not even as a joke..

With things like these, I reconsidered all these UFO stories and thought that even the more credible and famous ones could not be exactly serious. It might be far fetched, I am not sure, I sound like someone who disregards anything but as long as I read more on the subject the more skeptic I become. Of course I didn't become exactly that kind of skeptic that says this is all bullshit and leaves the place, because I have an interest in anything weird. But it's my lost patience on the subject (60 years of ufology and yet the same stories and wannabe-evidence) or absurdness of the matter that keeps me a little off. From time to time I come back, read some random stories and watch some videos with blury far away lights that can be anything but proves nothing, although my questions are more skeptical each time. Still, the best answer to the last question is that I don't know and I don't think we might learn anything in another 60 years..

Another misleading thing they ask is whether I believe in UFOs. UFOs as unidentified flying objects. Hell yes, there are a lot of things out there in the sky that people can't identify. I believe that there are things out there we have not yet identified. Yet another question people frequently misunderstand though.

UFOs != alien spaceships

Do not use the term UFO to define this narrow view because the term means that it's everything not yet identified. It could actually be an alien spaceship, a secret military plane, advanced human technology, some strange meteorological phenomena, living entities in the sky or anything else you can imagine. For some, it could also be venus, swamp gas, a common aeroplane, a falling star, a satellite or the lights of a disco or anything else ordinary that common people might have misread. For these people, what they have seen remains unidentified even if it could be something trivial. Although, maybe the best definition is that it's the aerial phenomena that even science can't currently explain. When a skeptic brags that he doesn't believe in UFOs what does he mean? That he can already explain everything that might be happening right now in our skies? Or maybe he got also confused by the misleading question and regarded UFOs as flying saucers and only?

Flying saucers. Did you know the story behind this term? Kenneth Arnold never used the term flying saucer specifically, he just said in his report that the objects moved like saucers skipping across the water. I have read somewhere else that the shape wasn't exactly like a saucer as we know it today but more like a boomerang (but maybe I am mistaken because wikipedia states otherwise). Nevertheless, the interesting fact in that notion is that suddenly the mass media publicized the term and people around the world started observing saucer like shaped disks in the skies. An outburst of UFO events occurred where everyone thought he was watching flying saucers. Did the hysteria of the mass media produced such an effect? This was the start of modern ufology. And where are we now?

I want to believe. Seriously!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New blog

I started a new blog. Only in greek. It doesn't make much sense. I was bored.

I want to write a lot of stuff. I had a lot of things in my mind that would make a nice blog post (or a boring long one :P). Time is short. I am not even coding these days but I don't want much. I am playing eye of the beholder, watching series, movies and silly UFO documentaries. I am overeating these days. I have to finish some crucial little works or occupations and I will be free in about a week (I hope). It will be fun when I will be free. I don't know if I will start coding a new demo again or I will continue playing games but I will be free and have a nice summer.

I also got a new job. My source of boredom..

Update: Ooops, I made another blog.
Locations of visitors to this page