Thursday, November 17, 2011

The problem

There is no problem. First of all.

But suppose there was one if we were to find it, it wouldn't be trivial, it would be chronic, it would be something that requires you to look at the whole picture.

It's not the people, it's not the music, it's not video games, it's not drugs, it's not smoking, it's not food, it's not lack of sleep or the lack of sex, it's not laziness, it's not stupidity, it's not what you chose to do with your everyday life, it's not the details. These things reside in the microcosm you live and when you get the strength to change small things you will need them but how can you do it if you are not ok with yourself?

How can you do it in an environment that tells you about these things, they speak again about the old story, about real life, normality, how one should be and how he shouldn't and whatever they have heard from other people speaking the common sense around?

And how can you do it if you are more like me, when even if these people stop telling you these things, the whole culture or media or regular people around you somehow manage to touch you in the most negative way making you feel like a worthless shit? And because you are like me you start thinking about these and construct dialogues on your head where whatever ever you say there is an answer to tell you that you are invalid or that you don't have another good reply this time, that you are just trying to find excuses to not improve yourself, that you are not right.

What I am writting here might not apply totally to every person out there but those few individuals who are affected. Do you know what the problem is? It is that feel of guilt, the self-victimization, the highly negative effect from blame, from criticism. It is when you suffer so much that even if left alone you fight with those ideas inside your head. And then people tell you that nobody is blaming you yet the world is doing that to you with it's unwritten laws of what is and what is not. It's for those who are affected.

The problem is called the Noise. It is in the year and city you were born, it is in your family environment and it is in the modern culture. If you are unlucky and at right at this point you belong to the minority then there might be disturbance. If you are more sensitive as a person than there is definitelly going to be turbulance. Starting with your close environment and later on with an idea you have acquired about what the world wants you to be. You as in everybody, as in everybody ought to look more like this majority of people. If you are easilly affected then you are carrying this right now. If the most negative parts of the environment are not there to make things worse, still you are constantly excusing yourself for what you are. And excusing, while it looks like trying to give some rights to what you are, it really takes away your rights in your psyche because if things where right with you you wouldn't need to excuse in the first place.

We take things literally. Ideas mean something for us. We try desperatelly to fit our own personalities to the ideas scattered around the world, especially the most popular ones. Everybody is working, why am I not? Everybody is fit, why don't I have the right body? Everybody has a girlfriend (the strongest one), what's the matter with me? Am I lazy? Am I worthless? Am I a bad person?

I realized that ideas are like thin air and most people really doesn't care about them even if they will tell you the opposite. Nobody is going to publicly admit that because it sounds like living without ethics. Or maybe they don't know it. The strongest force in the world is the social game. Your opinions, your ideas will be expressed if they are similar to those around your social environment. The popular ideas are more usually expressed thus they become even more popular, so much that they become such strong taboos that nobody dares to challenge. Even if one tried to do that, arguments wouldn't matter. The subconscious feeling that some classic ideas seem absolutely right because everybody believes so (aka it's common sense) would win. You only have the need to oppose to specific ideas when they are critical to your personality.

So, by understanding that the whole thing is a farce, the unwritten social laws, what people claim they believe, what people show about themselves, things that you worry without need, the injustice of torturing yourself with these thoughts when people really don't care, the first step to free yourself from this burden comes. Now, while I had almost reached that state, where there was a little peace for a while, last year I was living in London, and this still came in an outrage and while reading some texts about meditation. Apparently the ideas were similar to what I had, emptying your mind from the nonsense, which for people similar to me is this thing I call The Noise, that makes us feeling worthless.

And yet, when I came back to Greece, oh the environment. It's really hard even after having the idea of how things should be and how you should not worry about things, to not worry when your family is hysterical about things. So, if I were to say about what the problem is with everything I'd say there are two things I have to take care of. Stop listening to these negative thoughts and accept who you are, might be hard to change mental habits but it happened to me when I realized I can't live like this anymore. The second thing is to avoid the environment that reminds you these things in the most negative way. Which might have to come first, because I could open my mind when living in London away from my parents for a whole year and still started in the last months of this period. Why I say that?

I had my first chance with Erasmus for 7 months. I never resolved the problem in that period. I needed more time. Even if you have your peace, your inner thoughts doesn't let you. Second time in London, only when the master was about finishing and I realized I am not living the day in peace while I am finally free without anybody to fill my head with negative ideas. It was me who was still oppressing me with these things. When I still was trying to excuse about things I shouldn't excuse in the first place. This could my last opportunity to have this peace and I waste it because all these ideas, our culture, our popular beliefs have instigated a guard inside my mind to check if I still deny the standards when nobody else is there? To hell with it!!!

So, this is how hard it is even when you are left alone to think matters again for a year. I could be unlucky and not have this sudden burst of anger that made me say enough. But I had my revelation, I had my enlightment and I remember it. It's only that it's harder now that I am back to the primary source of negativity. Only good thing is that if one knows the concept, one can find an hour or day to get away maybe (I just need a job. Something to make me again independent and rent a home to live).

I know what is not good for me now. I have no doubts. It's not that I am not meeting enough people (I do). It's not that I don't talk too much (I sometimes talk more than people can handle and other times not at all). It's not that I don't have a girlfriend. It's not that I am avoiding things. It's not that I procrastinate too much. It's not that I excuse myself (well, it is :P). It's not that I play video games. It's not that I listen to the wrong people (depends on who is claiming this :). It's not that I don't exercise (Ok, can change someone's mood, but this is about the microcosm of problems). It's not that I read the "wrong" ideas. It's not that I eat the wrong food. It's not that I have not enough hobbies (who has?). It's not that I think too much (well, partially it is but there is more to it). It's not the trivial solution everybody talks about, it's not what you have heard on tv, it's not the common sense.

All these things above have to do about these little problems that become big problems when one worries too much about them. Ok, today I worried about my weight. Everyone tells me I have to do this or that, general rules like they are a secret solution to everything, some other people criticize me and call me lazy, somebody told me to stop when I decided to grab something to eat. The last one especially didn't make sense to me, so much that I had trouble to explain the absurdity. Everyone understand things more when speaking about smoking. So, if someone put another cigarette in his mouth as he always does and you slap him and throw the cigarrete down explaining him he is doing harm, what do you think this action would achieve? Just irritation and the next day the guy would still smoke as much as before. The first guy thinks it's simple, to quit smoking one has to quit smoking. Circular logic. He thinks it's that easy because he is not a smoker. But we all know the problem is deeper.

I have the same thing with food. It's stimulation to me. When I am anxious, when I am not emotionally well or even when I am almost ok, I will escapade to food even if I am not hungry. The solution of just making a diet is not a simple choice, it's quite hard to persuade myself to start moving toward that direction because I will have to avoid my primary stimulation. Exercise is a better alternative since I am less resistant towards this solution though I still need to plan this and decide it. To decide hard changes in your life you have to be in a better emotional state. Or you need to have other more healthy ways to feel well. With all the emotional turbulance in me how am I supposed to accept leaving my primary stimulation even for a little while?

Same thing happens with the rest. Socialization is either too overwhelming or boring for me. I don't know why I MUST be social. One MUST fill his taxes but is one obliged to play football? One should enjoy playing football. Socialization is more like football. You DON'T have to do it, you enjoy doing it unless you don't. Similarly with the quest of finding a girl. It's a social pressure mostly for me. I abandon the idea lately. I mean, the idea that I MUST because it's such a shame not to have in that age. But if I need to struggle so badly to approach a girl then how would it be when I will be together with her? Will I still struggle? Maybe I'll get used with time but what I want to say is that I am not enjoying it. Especially when taking it too seriously. Maybe I could if I would see it more like a game (which I don't like it, I don't like some of these games played in these social situations). Even more things need too much effort that kills me emotionally. Even working for my own hobby, demomaking became such an effort filled with dissapointments and sorrow that had worsen the situation (that's why I attempt to code for myself these days, trying only to touch the positive feeling of it, e.g. not caring about releasing stuff or people not liking what I do).

But the biggest problem of all is worrying and excusing myself about all these things. The paragraph above seems like a big excuse but I want to give you an overview that things are more complicated than one wants to think. Asking for someone to "simply doing things" and then calling him lazy or saying that he is not trying, for not seemingly doing things, is idiotic. This creates a feeling of guilt, a real feeling of not doing and only excusing, it's not the way to go for people like us. Though, it's something that you hear from a lot of people. This answer is quite common. It's Noise.

I'd say, don't worry about thousands of problems. Don't worry about the Noise. Worry about your negative environment. And worry about the worries residing in your mind.

p.s. I'd wish this post had less excuses. Also, the far alternative is arrogance. Scream: "Yes, I am a lazy motherfucker who wants to get everything by doing nothing! I love myself." When things don't work just have faith and be arrogant. People are arrogant, people are hypocrites. Nobody cares. Choose a day and say you don't care. Think about the things that make you feel better without excuses. Without clarifications. If you can't DO what you want to, at least you might be able to THINK what you want to (with lot's of effort if you are like me).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Creative Flow, Productive Force

How to start this post? I have the same dilemma for most of the stuff I try to post here. I am walking outside in the city during night and then my mind flies onto things I consider interesting, making lengthy analyses that might or might not drive me anywhere and only a strong desire remains to dwelve more into my thoughts and maybe discover something unique, a secret recipe, a deep meaning, a solution to my problems, a hidden insight. And then I decide to return back home and evolve my rows of thoughts into something more structured, a blog post that might not bore you and mainly will feel to me like it has captured the essence of how I feel about things into the tiniest space possible (not so tiny at the end :P).

And look how I have started. I love the previous paragraph because it's weird. It's pure creative flow! And I purely enjoyed writting it. So, let's continue even if I'll change subject twice.

Random thoughts where floating around my head when I grasped one that sounded interesting or nice at the particular time. Then, sometimes I evolve this thought into a whole monologue of connected lists of similar thoughts and it's like hypertext where one item can drive you onto a whole different area as any other item and two different links lead to two different ideas that are high matter to you and you start thinking about the one while telling yourself to remember the other but you forget that one by taking only one route and you try to remember the important thing you just missed and I kind love/hate this effect because it's so weird/cool. I am writting in the silliest way again, without structure because I choose to be loose for this post.

But then again I can change to the main them, which is still not the one. Maybe later. Anyway, the second main thing, I come home, I have this network of similar thoughts with many unique and interesting nodes and say I can focus on two or three of them and encapsulate my thoughts into a solid structured piece of work (I am pretty creative with my vocabulary too right now, feels good or maybe geeky :). Usually I fail. Not as much as here though :)

Anyway, fact is I cannot start at first. This has to do with my other interesting matter about motivation and how to be productive. Problem is, I randomly left my mind thinking about interconnected stuff and now I'll have to restrict my creative flow and focus on producing a good piece of doc. I am greatful this is not yet a paper assignment or my final thesis, because it would be much more bad then. But even when I am writting as a hobby in this blog yet I want to not write entirely random things, I feel that pressure when I stop letting the flow drive me and I start trying to follow a specific plan.

And then I cannot write. At first. I just need a start up. If you start up with one or two sentences that start flowing among your thoughts then more things follow up. Till something distracts you or you start hating your writting. Anyway, so if I cannot find a start up, because the start up was really making a random thought that escalated into something more interesting while walking in the city, I start up by something like "As I was walking yesterday against the cold wind, blah, blah, blah". Quite poetic or lame? But I want to analyze the subject. Anyway, I bet some of my past blog posts have started like this but not many.

And the main thing I wanted to write about might start here, after five or six paragraph. Oh my gosh!

And the fun fact was that I wasn't walking on the city, I was just riding the bus home :). Anyway, as I was standing there inside the bus, I was worried about some thigns I have to do, some things I want to do and some other things I must do or would like to do. I thought about other people who seem to do things like robots without stop, without worries, without pushing things back or maybe I said they have found the flow. They either are robots or I miss the flow.

I thought about the flow. What do you feel about doing now. The force that drags you but it's not a force that you put to yourself against your will. But your will would be the flow. So, if I feel like doing nothing does it mean that I am dragged by the nothingness flow or that I lack of flow? Anyway,. the important thing is to find the GOOD flow.

It's like Mario Kart Wii. Yep, I am gonna drive you crazy now with my more free style post. I purely enjoy this. My fingers are living their own lives. Anyway, Mario Kart. One thing puzzled us while playing it. Sometimes it seems that the kart fows through a tunnel of air lines, I mean blurry line rendering like it's a warp drive, of course not so crazy, light lines like flows of air. And when this happens you gain something like a deus ex machina speed booster (what the hell am I writting here?), I mean you magically find these invisible speed warp points out of nowhere and wonder why you suddenly fly like a rocket (not the rocket bonus of course which is a sign of suckiness, aka being last in the game :).

Are these mario kart air warps at specific places? Do I have to take the next corner from a specific position or angle? Are they changing positions? They are always invisible, a mystery and yet sometimes you ride them and fly like a maniac! I love it when that happens. But when does it happen? How can I predict how to achieve that effect and keep riding inside the flow? How???

Well, concerning the game, I can just google it, silly me :P

But what about reality? This is what I am searching. I have a programming project or something I really want to do or something I have to do or wish to be done. You feel like you are stuck for no reason (now, this is like a negative invisible flow, no such things on Mario Kart I guess), trying to avoid what you have to do because you feel the negative force, lurking on the net or playing games to avoid responsibilities. And it happens even with the things that you love, the thing that are not supposed to be your responsibilities. And sometimes you get unstuck and while you spend five hours staring at the ceiling, the next two hours flow greatly, many things done, happiness for a little while, till another distraction or simply a different state of mind breaks you from the flow. That's a disaster but how can you drive initially or back through the flow?

This is what I was thinking about in the bus. I said about myself, today I might not even have a flow. Maybe a good flow. Or my flow is generally not doing work. That means, the flowline that drives me most is at the place where I am sitting there doing nothing or just thinking about things or writting more random words than these. There are no strong flowlines at demomaking for me or in my work or in my responsibilities. Everything pushes me back except from enjoying simple things these days. Is it so? Are there no flowlines where thing flow naturally in the steep corners of Mario Kart? Or have I not discovered them?

So, there is the other option. Let's start with a project that pushes me back, stare at it doing nothing, just sit there and think about it, don't push yourself but try to find a hidden flow. In the same way as in Mario Kart, is it in the center of the road or is it at a different angle? So, what is it? What are the variables? Push yourself? Pop yourself? Wait and sleep? Wake up and work? Day? Night? Music? Ambient? Your feelings actually. Try to feel what you feel and what you feel about what you feel about what you feel. Ok,. I am driving crazy here again because this is freestyle :P

So. Maybe I need meditation. Anyway, clear mind, stare at project blankly. Let it flow. If it doesn't, don't mind. You shouldn't mind. It's an interesting idea. Flow is an interesting idea. Why can't I find it? What sucked my energy?

So, the concept of productive force came too. I said I have the vice of creative flow. Work on something only at the moment you feel like so. If the next second you fail to see the point the don't work. You are an artist. You feel things. You feel like working, you feel like expressing yourself through something, at that particular moment. Or you don't. But how to convert this creative flow into something more productive? We people sometimes have to force ourself, against our will. Because usually we have to do something but we don't feel like doing it at that particular moment. Or tomorrow. Or any other day :P

But we are not robots. So there is the free creative flow that happens when it happens but if it does it's a bliss and there is the productive (brute I'd say) force where you have to push yourself when things are near. The whole blog post had to do with this interesting dichotomy and yet I spend something like ten paragraphs talking about my blog posting style and Mario Kart (nice analogies though :).

Now that is letting my creative flow just flow and not care about it. I think James told me once about that. I should try it more. Problem that remains is that there needs to be structure too. Hmm, dichotomy, creative flow is chaos, productive force leads to structure. Or not exactly (need more matching words, heh I feel the words and I love it). It still flows freestyle. But the point is (if I manage to ever put it in normal sentences) that you need the brute force, you need the structure to organize all these things that randomly flow and you love it, but make sense of it.

It's like my friend Sotsoft. I may be wrong but it's like everything that he says is pure creative flow with minimal productive force. Pure chaos, no structure. Whatever I remember I am happy as we say in greek :)

I struggle with structure. But I want structure. I am interesting in structure. But things flow. I want to make sense. To myself too.

So, is Productive Force having a bad meaning? I also thought about this: We people (artists) that are drawn by this creative flow will do fine with things that we want to do exactly that moment but not with most every day things and responsibilities where we just don't feel like doing at the moment. At the same time, maybe an anti-flow towards not doing these things that we don't feel like doing exists. So, we are more susceptible into HAVing to succumb into productive bruteforce methods like pushing us doing stuff without our will because we have to set things moving oneday and we can't just keep staring the ceiling forever.

Productive Force is not the word btw, it's a different sounding, not so negative. Maybe productive force is the same as creative flow. The force that makes you produce. The flow that makes you create. It's just that create has a more artistic feeling while production is preferred for an everyday responsibility or work. So, it could be similar, I forgot what I wanted to say here. So, let's say there is another force which is Productive Force which is a kind of flow where you do stuff even when you don't feel like doing it. Maybe it's overcoming your vices of always succumbing to the creative flow. I don't know cause I don't have it. I always have to do things with brute force.

So, it's more interesting than this and this text has become too random. The artist obsesion? Sometimes I think I have the characteristics of an artist. I say it's strange how I became a programmer and not a writer. Maybe they are not that far away from each other. But programming needs structure, heh? I lately love structre in my programms. I am doing this easier than real life, heh. Real life is much more complex :P

I let me think about the rest alone. Text I enjoyed and now I don't. But the two dichotomies are at the title. Hmm,..
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