Friday, January 11, 2013

About God

I wanted to write my personal view on religion and God several times in the past, just one post that concentrates my thoughts on the whole issue and what is my position. I will start with the second.

Well, if you know me a bit you might assume that I am an Atheist. Personally, I would think in the past that maybe I am an Agnostic because I am not taking part in the whole Atheism movement and I don't really care whether God exists or not. But Agnosticism is believing that we cannot answer to that question. For once I believe that the God question is invalid and I will explain myself soon. Actually the definition of God is so vague and hard to touch that it doesn't play a role in my life. Recently, I've discovered the term Apatheism and at least one told me that this describes me. But I don't even care about using it, because I am not interested enough in the subject of God's existence, I have better things to do, more interesting (even philosophical) subjects to think about than an absolutely vague idea that you can't (or are not allowed) to touch.

The most funny thing, one that you don't even hear from either sides, is how come we think we are so smart, that not only we are able to answer whether God exists but we even assume certain properties and functions of this entity like they are axioms. God as a creator, God as a rightful being, God as a being of love, the all knowing God, etc. For example, a fair argument of an Atheist is that if God did exist then why are so many millions suffering? Based on the situation in the world, either God doesn't exist or he is the biggest asshole in the universe!

The counter arguments from a Theist would be that God has his own logic, his own ways or he just want us to have a free choice. But what both assume is the love/rightfulness property of God. They assume that not only do they know whether God exists or not but that his major business in the universe leans toward the good. Who told you that?

I remember some discussions about the intelligent extraterrestrial life and the funny assumption that if some of them would ever discover earth, maybe they would be so much more advanced than us, that we would look like cockroaches to them. It's still an assumption though, we really don't know anything about extraterrestrials (scientifically speaking, ignoring all the stories of alien visitation), we don't know how they would think or behave. So, how come the one and only God, the ultimate entity in the universe, would so curiously be interested in humans living in a tiny little rock somewhere in the middle of nowhere? Why do we even assume that the thing that we cannot even fathom will care about our ethics and how the hell do we know it understand ethics in the same way as most of us?

You know, there is that notion of our ancient Gods being really extraterrestrials and this is something I can touch. I am not saying it's true, I am only using it as an example. If beings really came down to earth and played the roles of our ancient Gods, they were not really Gods as in the abstract notion, but highly advanced civilizations that could be studied if we had the means. And yet they looked like Gods because their technology was like magic to the minds of the ancients. But once upon after hundreds or thousand of years humanity will evolve so much that we might have become just like our hypothetical alien Gods or even more advanced. So, there goes the notion of the unreachable God. And here is something that I can study. And that makes the Theist's notion of God so senseless to me. It's supposed to be the ultimate being, the unreachable, the one that science will never be able to study.

So, this is even impractical to me. Irrelevant to my life. Maybe that's why I found out that I am an Apatheist. But I don't like to say this. I don't want to be defined by a label. Yet, I can mostly identify with Atheists or Agnostics and most of my friends are closer to that. And maybe the notion of God is irrelevant to my life, but I do sometimes think positively about what Atheists are trying to do, because big masses of very fanatic people with dangerous toys could some day very soon be affecting all of our lives and this a scary thought.

But what can you do? This world is a mess. Millions of people believe strongly in religion, they were grown up with this and it's a very important part of their personality now. I think people will always believe in irrational things. No reason to be sad that most people think different than you. You can hardly change that, at best you can irritate them and that gives nothing positive. And I am currently not very interested to do it. I do not identify with Atheists that go into serious arguments with believers. If I was a Theist and you did that, it would be like you were trying to prove to me that I am an idiot. Who would listen to that?

p.s. I think that the biggest revolution, the one that could get us out of the religious mess of the modern world, would be if an important number of believers stand out against their own religious establishment. If the more wise or intelligent believers raise their voice, demand that religion should be something personal, not an established community that drives masses into fanaticism, not a reason for war or hate, not oppressed into children, not driving the bad of this world. And their voice being stronger and stronger, trying to talk sense to this world, that while belief is a personal thing, the fact that it makes people so fanatic and creates some of the most inhuman acts in the world, totally opposite than it's teachings, then this contradiction is the biggest evil in this world.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Socialization as pure fun

I think we got it all wrong. Rules for socialization. Blame. Standards for how one should be or not. Ideas stuck in my mind. How can I enjoy something when everyone tells you that you should be doing as an obligation to yourself, you are not granted the choice to avoid it (you can, but then they suggest something is wrong with you) and that you also have to follow specific rules. How would then I like to do that activity and improve when all the negativity about it and how I handle it or how I avoid it makes me to not even want to think about it?

Recently (and always in my rare good moments and better as the years have passed and learned to care less) I am more relaxed with this. Talking to people and not talking. Yes, not talking too. Just being there and being a listener or not being there but residing in my own universe. One would say that maybe I don't like it, but the fact is that I don't hate it either. I don't hate it when the social anxiety goes away. I can actually be neutral with it. When fear is not there, I can be at worse neutral about socialization. Not getting to wild about it but not hating it either.

I remember for example some other neutral activities which doesn't inspire me but I can do them to pass the time with my friends. Some might tire me to death (like visiting too crowded places with very loud music and full of smoke), some others are more relaxing (going to a cafeteria that is less noisy where we can actually talk) and it also depends on the people. I said socialization can be neutral, but it can be more when I am spending my time with more close friends and people that I know and can discuss more interesting subjects or personal stuff. Actually, my optimism of at least a neutral feeling is about the other cases of visiting parties and places with people you don't know, talking to girls you can't connect, etc. So, I am talking about a fun strategy that works even in the harder for me cases. I am already social enough with my preferred cases anyway.

And I wouldn't care even. My strategy is an alternative path that fits better with my psychology. One that everyone would say is the right thing because it sounds good, but this is not what I am taking from discussion. Nobody told me to just have a time, one quote that an old friend from Erasmus told me once and it's still relevant today. To have a time, to exclude "good" from the equation. Try to visit some social activity and don't care whether you "failed" or not (it's subjective also). And even if you failed to visit it, do not care either. Yes, it's like eliminating ethics, eliminating good or bad, normal or not, healthy or not, successful or not. To exaggerate it, even if you totally failed and stayed all day in your bed like a seriously depressive person, you should calm down your negative emotions and say that's fine, another day passed.

Now you will disagree, you will say that yes we should be our selves, we should feel free and fearless about these stuff, we should not take them seriously BUT you should do stuff, you should wake up and act, don't let it go either. As a safety valve. Yes be free, BUT obligations, rules,. not true choice of the extremes. Because we want to have the most free spirit BUT we feel obliged to rule the exceptions.

I think the most wonderful feeling of freedom is to be able to say the most radical things without fear. I can be whatever I want no matter how insane. I don't need ethics. I don't need excuses. I beg for my inner emotional freedom to live without a second thought.

It's quite hard to say that. Because you can very easily be misjudged. Living without ethics would sound like you are a bad person, you could do harm to people and find the perfect excuses for that. But we are not talking about real harm, we are talking about socialization. I just need to be free and without ethics, without thinking I failed or I didn't do it the proper way in things that are supposed to be fun. I am not talking about real life ethics. How can you add exceptions and rules in things that are supposed to be fun? What's more natural and fun than socialization? Relationships? Why are we scared to approach a girl and work through it when it's supposed to be a pleasurable experience? What is wrong with us?

Someone would say that he socializes with rules and obligations and it's all getting well. Maybe they can live with rules and then contradict themselves by feeling free and making the mistakes while they suggest other things. Maybe the problem is us. The more sensitive people, the people who take it more seriously. Who feel obliged by rules and take failure negatively. But if it is this, then we should be handled with a different psychological strategy. And because we don't expect from the rest to react in our preferred way, we should teach ourselves to care less, to see the fun stuff as stuff of no rules, no obligations, either you do it correctly or awkwardly it's fine, either you are talkative or just sitting in a corner and talking to no one you should feel fine, either you come to the party or stay at home, fine. It doesn't even matter if you start talking about your special interests than doing casual talk in my opinions. And if they find you boring and move away that's fine. In fact that's a myth. They might like that you actually discussed something that is truly you. How do you know that universally, the next person near you felt the same as you, that they didn't like your crazy babbling?

I know how it works and this is my best way to fight this. No matter if I could express well what I feel, it seems to be working now. As a philosophy I think it's better for things that are supposed to be fun. People would misjudge this as unethical but what I am suggesting is a mind free of all the emotional distress some of us encounter with socialization. Just have a time! (needs time to truly learn)

p.s. The next step is having a good time with the other sex. That's a hard thing for me. But so far, fear of socialization played a role in this too, magnified by the fact that she is not a friend but you think her of something more. Last time I could talk a lot with many girls around even if with the aid of booze. But I felt with this philosophy that it's possible. Problem, this is only the first step. Then she stops being friend and things get more intimate. Though, these things should be natural, they should be fun. The idea that "you are xx age and it's a shame you don't have a girlfriend" is something I would erase now. These things are not obligations. These things are natural activities that we should enjoy! Having a girlfriend means living with her and that's stronger than friendship, so how would it be if you were oppressed into this even if it only makes you scared?

Random resolutions and retrospections

Well, it could be yesterday, 2 days ago or 3 days ahead, we could be all wrong with the keep of time and when they ask me about resolutions and I don't know I say 1080p.

And then I also do retrospections, which is to remember what I did back in 2012. Or what did I wished for in the end of 2011. Oh, I've wished I'd find a regular job. I didn't. At least we are working on a contract based project. And then the search again.
I did got some money from this one so far. I bought some good stuff lately, finally I can move on and buy stuff and plan stuff a bit after so many months of nothingness. But are money the happiness? They do give some happiness and safety that's for sure. Anyway, I bought a new android tablet, Google Nexus 7. An SD Floppy emulator for my 8bit/16bit computers. A DStwo card for my NDS. I am still waiting for my Raspberry Pi. I finally bought Grimrock from GOG. I could do some shopping again because we started that job and I got a small amount for a start. It's a growing trend in the end of 2012, so I think 2013 will be better in that aspect, but maybe a more steady job too? Or I am going berserk with rejections and try my luck building my own Android apps and see how this works. I will do anyway. One of my coding resolutions.

Oh, retrospections. I feel like making small comebacks in the demoscene. There was this sadness after 2008 maybe where I wasn't feeling like demomaking. I was declining and I was fed up. But then I said it's a good hobby and you can't just quit. Just make it fucking worth it! I think I did and I am in a good road. 2009-2010 I had my master in UK, so besides keeping a distance from demomaking during these years (though if I search, I still did few stuff, but crappy stuff) I had to focus on other stuff like the studies and an attempt to find a job outside (which didn't go well unfortunately). And then I came back a bit, especially on the CPC, with demos like Chunky Chan, Wolfenstrad and my 4k Clouds with virgins in the Skies. And a lot of tiny intros of smaller sizes for cpc, speccy, c64 and dos as I see. Lot's of small stuff just to get used to it. Meanwhile I managed to keep my psychology up, release smaller or medium stuff without caring about what people say, I didn't try to do my best thing ever, I just tried to take part in the competitions of some parties, provide for the scene, be active again and still keep being content about it. I see a growing trend here.

Although I still would like to stop chasing deadlines with demos and if I do more to take my time. And maybe concentrate on something else than demos like making a game with my wolfenstein engine on CPC. Time will tell. Still, for 2013 I promised to participate in a megademo for the 30 years of CPC with my own part and I haven't started yet. Another plan is to visit a foreign demoparty again, most probably Forever 8bit party, but if not then Revision. And when I visit parties I have this wish to participate in one of the compos. So, another demo or intro deadline? Everything ends in the middle of 2013 though. Or not.

I would like to try something else now. To work on a demo but slowly slowly far before the deadline. To take my time. Build new parts every day, improving old parts, without the stress that there are few times left. Oh,. I did also came back to GP2X coding with my Tyropite little demo, just a scrolltro with my new 3d software rasterizer. Had big plans but started coding the actual demopartys the last two days. I really want to try working slowly for something like 3-6 months. I doubt it will happen but this is my plan for my next GP2X demo.

And then there are many other small things, like my wish to get into Android coding and try my luck in the market. Everybody is begging me to start but it won't be that easy to have gains I believe. But I should try and see how it goes. I should say that I at least tried it..

Another demo wish, take my time, learn to make my own tracker music. Kinda hard start for someone who wasn't into this and what do I expect, to make fitting music for my future demos? I want to try and improve slowly. I would like to express some of my feelings through music. I think..

Are all my retrospections and resolutions about demos? No,. I just have a lot to write about that. Not much are left from regular life. A job perhaps. A girlfriend? What a joke!

Oh,. new hobbies? I actually started a new hobby this year and that is astronomy. I spent time with binoculars observing and I realized how relaxing that was, me alone looking at the sky, with the sounds of the night. Then I got the biggest present from my brothers, a reflector telescope. But this one, hmm.. too much time to setup, too much to learn about how to use it, I barely managed to see some stuff and I need more time for this. But it was cool! Coolest thing is that I also search in Stellarium or Wikipedia or other sources for the stuff that I've observed. The sightings are not as impressive as one would expect, but the things that you learn are interesting. The different way you see the skies. The mindblowing feeling of looking at something that is so far. The moons of Jupiter. The Orion Nebula. Andromeda Galaxy. Some are visible with binoculars, others with telescope. Some might be visible with naked eye without the city light pollution they say. Wow! I am just enthusiastic on the idea and so I wasn't disappointed.

Very lately the past year, I had some good social experiences (maybe with a bit of booze but not always) and kept a mentality that help me enjoy the social more and abolish fear. I might had periods of such good insights even years ago and rarely, but you have to live and relive the good concepts to finally learn to think in  a more healthy way. The ideas are simple, but one shouldn't expect people won't have problems adopting to them. Simply, I was in a meeting and realized that I should try to balance my emotions about "don't know what to talk". About feeling inferior when people around you are more social, or they know each other more, or you don't know what to say. Control your emotions, decrease negativity in many different paths. Am I talking? No? Then don't care. Don't think you are bad. Enjoy sitting there and be a listener. Do I care about what to say? Say something. Say something stupid. It's better than not say anything. But if you don't manage, don't be sad. You try to talk and then she leaves? Akward? Move to the next person. Don't want to talk to girls? Afraid? Go talk to guys. Talk about casual boring shit. Or talk about demos and tech stuff. Or UFOs. Or,... it doesn't matter!!! When it matters then negative emotions get stronger. Forget it. Talk, don't talk, talk boring stuff, talk your stuff, jump from a person to another, try to have fun. If you fail in all, still don't become bitter. Go eat stuff at the party and get a drink. Go home. But never never never get sorrow. Because that's what I did. Cheat. Succumb your emotions. Say it's all a bad joke. Fuck that shit!!!

Confusing, balancing either sides of emotions, but this is one great thing I learned near the end of this year for social situations. Also, don't think you are there just to get a girlfriend (this is a next step for me and it won't happen). Don't destroy your night with this thought "Ok,. I am perfectly social, so what? I am still not getting any!". I almost did it. I was sad for 1-2 days. No! At least you had fun.

There are more to say about stuff that I remember from 2012, things I've improved on and things I didn't do and what I want to do in 2013 and the things I don't even know I will do. But I will stop here. My improvement on my demoscene feelings and activity was a good positive curve. My attempts at personal evolution and recent thoughts on social fears is a good way to go. I don't know if these will evolve or if I will succumb again into nothingness. My job hunting fails, at least I have a part time project now.

p.s. Comic from XKCD. This is exactly how I felt recently. Without This Year's gonna be different though. Pessimistic and sometimes not..
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