Category Archives: Musings

Deep thoughts, philosophy, observations on society…no clue what exactly you may find here but it will be something thought provoking.

New Year’s Resolution 2014: Pursuit of Genius

So this is year two in my three year set of resolutions to get my life on track.

I’m not sure what track yet, but we’ll see.

This past year, although I didn’t post about it and only told a handful of people, my goal was to work on my body…dieting, working out, and generally getting in better shape. Or at least the shape I was in during high school.

Well, I’ve lost a lot of weight and I’ve learned a lot of things…but mostly I’ve learned it’s a lot easier to do something like this with support. Last year I couldn’t find the words to explain, but this year after having the one person who was behind me 100 percent move away after a few months of exercising with me, I realized the more support I can get the better.

So first an overview. Basically I decided last year I needed to work on myself. Purely selfish reasons, but I felt so out of balance and out of touch around this time last year I felt I needed to work on body, mind, and spirit. So last year was devoted to my body. I will definitely reaffirm my resolution and put it in clearer and stronger words rather than having some nebulous goal. This year, however, I will be creating an addendum that will be goals for improvement of my mind. Hopefully, that’s enough background and someone else in the world understands why I felt I needed to do this. 🙂

So, for 2014, I firmly resolve to:

Body:

1. Find and stick to a healthy diet.

2. Work out at least 3 days a week.

3. Get down to a 40 waist, or 200 lbs which ever comes first.

Mind:

1. Learn to only keep important information in my memory.

2. Learn to study and retain information better.

3.Fill my head with important information related to future endeavors.

And well…that’s it.

It won’t be easy, but I hope enough people in my life read this and encourage and support me to help me reach my goals.

Happy New Years everyone!

CG

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Happiness – Simpler than you might think

So I’ve been trying to write a new post for the past few weeks, but life keeps getting in the way. School, then finals, then this week I was just kind of down and dragging my feet.

But this past week I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and thinking about happiness amongst other things.

The most basic question is “What is happiness?” followed very quickly by “How do I find it and then keep it once found?”

Well, I watch a show called One Tree Hill (yeah, yeah laugh it up…I like it) and recently watched an episode on Netflix where one of the characters talked about happiness and it really kind of lodged in my brain and got stuck there until I could process it completely.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is a mood, it is not permanent. It comes and goes and if people thought that way then maybe people would find happiness more often.”

Now this is not exactly mind blowing or shocking. But given that in high school I wrote something along the lines of “Happiness is like a mist. It surrounds and encompasses you but you can never hold it” to hear something near to my train of thought echoed back to me from a TV show was kind of surprising.

Think about what this quote is saying though. We often in our lives treat happiness as a destination. If I get this job, or I get this shiny new thing, or I do this, or I weigh this much, then FINALLY I will be happy, ad infinitum, right? But that’s not really how it works. The job makes us happy until we get bored, new things interest us for a time, everything we do is so transitory. The only constant in our lives is change. So the first thing we do to find happiness is to shift our thinking sideways and realize that it will come and go, but when it goes it will come back. But it’s not a permanent state of being.

Now the second question is how to find happiness and how to keep it for as long as possible. I have a few different points on this subject.

1. Do what you love

We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.From Pieces of Me.

I cannot begin to understand how people can just ignore the things they love to do. I guess I can understand not wanting to do it for money, because eventually you will hate your job and risk becoming bitter of whatever it is that you love. But you should still DO it. As a hobby, on the side, however you can fit it into your life you should be doing what you love.

2. Purpose

To me this is absolutely the most important thing. I’ve been without purpose, and in fact that is really why I’ve been so morose this week. But I found a purpose again. But without school, or a job, it’s tough to really find something meaningful to do to fill the time. When I did today suddenly everything snapped into focus and I realize in a way this seems to be the most important thing. To quote Loki from Avengers, “And I am burdened with glorious purpose.”

3. Relax

This is probably the most difficult one for me. My brain runs about 90 to nothing on a regular day…add in some stress and not only do I not sleep, my brain never rests. But I’ve realized lately that I need to learn how to force myself to relax because getting all wound up just makes things worse. It’s also important to change your surrounding every now and then. Dynamism helps with this, a change of scenery sparks new interest in your mind, and makes it more active.

In summation, happiness is a mood, and the things I’ve suggested at least help me find happiness, so maybe they will help you too.

CG out

Mind Hacks, Intelligence, and Love

Mind Hacks

Hacking. Usually associated these days with negative ideas from the plethora of online predators that “hack” to steal your identity, bring websites down, etc.

But the most correct definition of hacking would label it as wanting to know how something works so badly you break it down and put it back together.  It’s really just a thirst for knowledge so great that you know something’s innermost working.

Let’s use the second definition to talk about mind hacks.

Recently I’ve been interested about how I can improve myself. I’ve been thinking a lot about human existence, and how we are very much a tri-fold, three in one. I agree with the Eastern (I believe) philosophy of Mind, Body, and Spirit and that we should bring all three in harmony in order to attain enlightenment and become attuned to the infinite cosmos (or God if you prefer).
Did I lose you yet?

This has led me all over the Web. I’ve read a lot of Lifehacker trying to improve my organizational and mental skills. I’ve talked/debated spiritual things with my friends. I’ve been dieting and trying to exercise, definitely need to make it a habit, to work on the body.

But last week I stumbled on a book called Mindhacker. Let me just say I have enjoyed this book very much. In just that short amount of time I feel like it some parts of it have been trans formative. Some parts just opened my mind and helped me clarify things I believe in like how I feel about intelligence.

Intelligence

I’ve always felt that intelligence is overrated and the main thing that holds so called “dumb” people back is this idea that they are less intelligent than other people. Now, I can almost feel you, dear reader, thinking “Well, CG, you are obviously intelligent. How would you know?” Here’s a way to kind of explain what I mean…and I definitely believe this.

I’m a computer science geek so I know about the Universal Turing Machine, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about (and don’t want to read Wikipedia) the important part of the concept to make my point is “It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence.” What this means is that a computer from 20 years ago can perform any operation a computer today can, just more slowly. The only thing that we “upgrade” in computer systems is the processor speed and storage capacity. The other hardware is functionally the same. In other words, if we could build hardware that would never degrade, we would never have to switch out anything but the hard drives, or processors in order to update our machines.
Now how does this apply to human intelligence?

First, check out the Sentience Quotient , which is a theory that gives a standard way to calculate a being’s intelligence. The human intelligence quotient is approximately +13 based on the size of our brains, and the ability of our neurons to process information. What this means for us, is that the most intelligent human and the least intelligent, are not orders of magnitude apart. To put it in computing terms, we are limited by our hardware.

So what’s the difference between someone who can soak up calculus and trigonometry like a sponge, and someone who has to study their butt off? Well as I said above it’s merely processing speed and storage capacity.

I’m sure some of you are asking “So? They can still learn faster. They are still smarter.”

They do learn faster. But the extension of that is not that they are somehow magically more intelligent than you. Anyone can learn anything. We put this huge gap between ourselves and those that are “smarter” than us in our minds and get stuck in this idea that we will never be able to measure up. But the truth is, human potential is only so much and in the larger scheme of things the difference between the most intelligent the human race can offer (the fastest processors, combined with the greatest storage capacity) and the least intelligent isn’t really all that much. We are still grouped together, limited by the same “hardware.”

So don’t think your stupid. I HATE hearing anyone say “Well I just don’t get it, I must be dumb.”,  or “Sorry for asking such a dumb question.” There are no stupid questions. Questions show that you are trying to learn. Trying to somehow correlate what you are hearing, and seeing with something familiar your mind can wrap itself around.

Learn everything. Ask anything. Fear nothing.

Love

Neo: I just have never…
Rama-Kandra: …heard a program speak of love?
Neo: It’s a… human emotion.
Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies.
I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?
Neo: Anything.
Rama-Kandra: Then perhaps the reason you’re here is not so different from the reason I’m here.

I have some friends that are getting married tomorrow. Weddings always make me think about love, what it all means, and other very contemplative things.

It’s taken me a long time to answer the simplest question:

What is love?

It’s not an easy one. People say they feel it when they don’t, they say you’ll know it when you feel it, but how can you know? Can you trust those feelings? And those are just a few of the questions you have to answer before you can arrive at a decision. Love is complicated but oh so simple at times.

The above quote from the Matrix has led me down another interesting tangent that makes me feel like I am getting closer. Love isn’t just something you feel, it’s something you do. You show your love every single day in what you spend your time doing, who you spend your time with…every action SHOULD be about something or someone you love. If not, you are probably majorly unhappy.

I saw something in my random wandering around the internet the other day that said “Don’t worry about finding someone to love. Do the things you love and that’s where you find the person you love most.” It’s an interesting thought, and I think there is a lot of truth there.

Anyway, just some food for thought…things that have been going through my head with this wedding coming up.

 

CG

 

The State of the Guru

It’s been so long since I have posted that I feel like I need to catch up…February…wow. I just haven’t had much to say. I haven’t felt very wise or advice giving. Truthfully, I’ve felt more and more like a ghost just kind of haunting the place until he gets some kind of closure.

I’ve been looking for a job. Thanks to some really good friends I’ve gotten quite a few interviews, but nothing solid. There is always someone with a better piece of paper than the one I have that comes wandering in, and then I am out of the picture. I decided last week to go back to school, so I get to be that weird 28 year old (I will be by the time I start again) dude who should be a graduate student but is only getting his bachelor’s.

Sadness Burrito

And this is still a bad month for me. I’m sure everyone who reads this just went “why?” but maybe my friends will get it if they think for a second.  …  There’s that light! My dad passed away in the middle of August a few years back. Most of the time I am fine, but I pretty much spend August in this angst-ridden depression filled irritated hateful little rampage. It’s like I’m drowning in this quicksand of negative emotions. I just stopped myself from debating with my Aunt because she was getting upset, and I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to purge all the negativity out of me even if I made her angry, even if I made her hate me.

Hard to admit that I can be that petty. But do you see why I don’t feel all that wise right now?

Burritos of Destiny

It doesn’t help that about a month back I realized I needed to learn what it was really like to be alone. I mean as a single guy (or girl) you get used to being single. After a while you no longer really feel like the third, fifth, or seventh wheel. I have honestly found it amusing when people feel terribly sorry for me when I am out with my friends. But I came to realize, when I was dealing with a LOT of emotion over something that in the big picture I had absolutely no right to be that emotional about, that I had replaced my “girlfriend” with my “family” of friends. I was just as emotionally dependent on them as I would have been on a girlfriend. That’s why the idea of not being able to hang out with them because of some arbitrary rule bothered me so much.

A Long and Heavy Slumber

Being alone, I mean really alone, is more difficult than you might think. How does one deal with one’s problems when you have no one to tell but yourself? I guess you blog about it. *chuckles* At least when it gets overwhelming.

This time right now is especially hard, but maybe I can face my demons and overcome them. Maybe this is my year to lay this sadness to rest. Or maybe I’ll just finally hit the wall and get my second wind. I can feel something stirring down deep in my soul ever since I decided to go back to school. I’m hoping that is a sign I am going the right way.

Resolved: To Find What’s Best In Life

I struggled quite a bit today with coming up with a resolution to uphold this year. I didn’t bother with one last year because everything I wanted was already coming true…I was graduating, it looked like I had a job that was going somewhere good, and all in all I was really just waiting to meet someone special and my life would be on track. I mean that’s what everyone wants right? Money in the bank, and someone to share your life with…so I went through this last year with no resolution…I felt no need to struggle to come up with some meaningless thing to dedicate myself to. I take oaths and promises very seriously and well according to the dictionary a resolution is: “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group.” In this case, I preside over my life, and so I am declaring my will.

Resolved: In 2012, I will seek out what is best in life.

 Mongol General: Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

Now, I don’t exactly agree with Conan, but there is something satisfying about his words. In this case, my enemies are not physical which makes them so much harder to face than Conan’s enemies.  Fear and self-doubt are much hard to face.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain

 

Recently certain events have made me realize a few things about myself:

  1. I put a lot of pressure on myself.
  2. I don’t strive to be the best version of myself
  3. Even though I hate to admit it, a lot of the pressure comes from how I think other people perceive me.
  4. Often I under sell my own abilities and potential.

For instance, I recently quit my job…after a week. And I liked my job. It wasn’t great or challenging, but the people I worked with were awesome. The job was…bearable other than that and I made good money. But after a week, I was physically ill for 2 days at the thought of going back. I was dry heaving every 5 to 10 minutes because I was so stressed. Finally I sat down and really examined myself and what was going on inside my head. I took the job because I felt pressured. I need to have a job without a doubt. But while there I felt trapped. And even though I know my family would understand, the thought of not being around for Christmas and disappointing people was killing me. And there is no blame to anyone in my family for this, it was all internal pressure I was applying without any conscious thought on my part. But it tore my stomach up enough to make me ill.

The second (and fourth really kind of ties in) comes from the other night. I was thinking about why I didn’t get the IT job at Boomtown…why I didn’t think to show my interviewer my Project+ certification card…why I found myself saying “Well I don’t know much about that, but I could learn.” And I’m not saying I should have lied, but if I learned ANYTHING from debate it was that there are better ways to say you don’t know something than just saying it straight out. And I thought about why I did that, and why I haven’t programmed any apps on my phone yet, or even gotten started. I thought about why I want to go back to school, which is really because I think it is too hard for me to learn what I need to learn on my own and school would make it easier. Which may be true, but I’m not sure it is worth the money I would have to pay. The fact is, I am good enough to learn what I need to learn. And when I was working towards being with someone all my doubts, fears, and insecurities just melted away and everything was easy. The world was my oyster, and there was nothing that would stand between me and my goals. But I find it impossible to summon that kind of faith in myself just for me. And I am honestly not sure why.

So my resolution is to fix these things about myself. Find the faith to believe I can do anything, independent of needing anyone else to believe in me. Find a way to accept the things I cannot change, and to not stress out over things I have to do to improve my life. It is still a pretty tall order, but it is better than other things I could promise that would be nearly impossible to guarantee or achieve.

And honestly, I am not really sure where to start with all of this…I am kind of hoping in the next few days the Big Guy Upstairs will help me out…spin me around and point me in the right direction at least.

Happy New Years, and may all this years wishes not become next years apologies

CG

This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race

I’m sure most of you recognize the title as a song from Fallout Boy…well we will get to why in a moment.

First I need to talk about dreams. I believe that dreams have power. I believe they tell us things. Things about ourselves that maybe we don’t know yet, things about our world we don’t notice consciously, and things we want but don’t see why. In short, oftentimes they answer questions we haven’t asked yet. Now whether dreams come from some higher power, or our own subconscious is up to speculation, but regardless they tell us things.

As I am sure you can guess, I had a dream. And I have been trying to figure out what it means all day.

It started off with me leading a group of my loved ones through a city, trying to get us out as fast as possible. I never thought of what the danger actually was, I was so focused on getting us to the countryside. The next thing I can recall is meeting my dad with the group in front of a lake and he had all these supplies. Well we gathered them up and went on, making camp after hiking for a while and beating back a lake monster. And after camp was set up I saw my dad standing a little apart, so I went to talk to him. He just looked me in the eye and said “It’s time to live up to those words now.” “What words?” I asked a bit confused. And he replied “This ain’t a scene, its a g__ d___ arms race” and I woke up.

This has been going around and around in my head all day. What does it mean?

In the song, they are talking about how life is all about making money, not providing comfort, or making someone’s life better, or anything besides making money. (“I am an arms dealer, selling you weapons in the form of words, I don’t care which side wins, as long as the room keeps singing, that’s just the business I am in”)

Kind of makes you think about how we feel like bands are speaking to us, and how much music can affect someone but really it’s just about making money, not changing lives.

Unfortunately, that seems what the world is like these days. Oddly enough, I have always felt like I was meant to change the world. I guess that is arrogant, or prideful, but it’s always been a truth to me not a question. After all, that is what gave me faith in my plan to graduate college, and why my world was shattered when I failed out the first time. I remember have a long conversation with my junior high youth group leader about how I wanted to program computer games, and my desire to change the world through my games. We talked about all kinds of Christian friendly games I could make (it was church after all) and he shared my faith in myself and my plan.

Somewhere along the way I have lost that faith in myself.

I remember telling someone that it was easier to endure difficulty when I had someone else in my life to work for…when I was working towards a goal. It seemed like everything cleared up, and became so simple and easy…when I had a clear path instead of slogging through the muck. I guess what I need…what my dream was trying to say is that I need to find that level of motivation by myself, for myself, and not for someone else. I need to stop settling for good enough and start reaching for my greatness before too long because “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race.”

Experiments, Beta Testing, and Skyrim

Okay, so this is going to be a LONG post…I’ve been a busy man lately and I have wanted to review Skyrim but it sucked me in…and then I was beta testing SWTOR this past weekend so didn’t even have a chance to play Skyrim more, and I also want to talk about other things in my life. Feel free to skip to the sections that interest you if you wish.

Experiments in Life Hacking

So, last week I had a little bit of money and decided to download some stuff on to my Kindle. I got a couple of recreational books and I saw this one:

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

Now, the sex part didn’t interest me because I am not getting any at the moment, but the rest…rapid fat-loss, I am in! Becoming superhuman? Okay! So I downloaded it. And I started reading. The author approaches things with a practical mindset. He says at one point that he doesn’t expect you to believe everything he says, but to don’t let it stop you from trying it. He’s not a doctor, or a scientist, just a dude who wanted to get the most out of his diet and workouts and found some interesting little shortcuts.

Okay, man, I am still listening.

So as I am reading, I started searching for something from this book to try. I mean changing my eating habits isn’t the easiest thing…I want to try something small first to see if it works. Skepticism at it’s finest. So out of all the things I decide to try taking cold showers instead of warm ones. Pretty simple right? Well besides cold showers being used to treat depression (which scientists are still scratching their heads over why it works) the book claims it jump starts your metabolism if you take one immediately upon waking. Now I have only been doing this for 5 days (the requisite number, apparently, for humans to ingrain some activity as part of their routine…from the book) but I have felt a dramatic uplift in my mood, and analyzed my reaction to this not so great activity. Since I have been taking scalding hot showers all of my life the transition was not easy.

Friday, Day 1 – Have to really psyche myself up to get into the water, and it is a constant act of will to stay there. Make it through about 5 minutes of the ten minutes recommended time.

Saturday, Day 2 – At home now, actually woke up and had a mini anxiety attack about taking a cold shower. Finally snapped myself out of it by calling myself an idiot for freaking out about a SHOWER, and comforting myself with the thought of only 4 days left. Eased into the cold more and set an alarm to be sure I stay in for 10 minutes. After my shower experience an immediate spike in happiness and can’t help but grin the rest of the day.

Sunday, Day 3 – Have a smaller anxiety attack, but this is curbed by the mood spike I had. Imagine that, I enjoy being happy. No problem staying in the whole time.

Monday, Day 4 – Ambivalent about the cold shower at this point, just want to get it over with. Found out a better way to acclimate myself to the cold, so the shower is not so torturous.

Tuesday, Day 5 – Actually woke up looking forward to taking my shower, quest complete.

Now, it remains to be seen if this has any effect on my metabolism or weight especially since I am only quasi-dieting (I do my best!!). But I know, for the mood lifting alone it was worth it, and I don’t even feel like it is an inconvenience any more. So maybe this guy has a few things right…but anyway, kind of cool, huh?

Beta Testing and Initial Thoughts on Skyrim

So I was in the SW:TOR beta this past weekend. It is a TON of fun. To quote one of my friends last night “It’s like this game is a drug, and now they are taking away my stash…”, It has an AMAZING story line for an MMO, great character development, and I was worried the grouping would be clunky, not as much fun, or not as rewarding. But there are some missions that absolutely require you to have a group or use your companion (about 50 to 75% equivalent to a group member) and take up a LOT of slack for them. Other than that you can go into other people’s class missions (read storyline) and help them with their objectives, and of course do the open world missions with them. One of the truly awesome things is the group dialog system. Basically, whenever you talk to an NPC you go into a conversation and get multiple options kind of like Mass Effect if you have ever played that. Well if you are in a group you all pick, and a random roll is done to see who actually speaks. Now, you don’t get Light Side or Dark Side points if the person wins, you get the points from whatever option you chose but it creates an interesting dynamic, and a real flow of conversation where the entire group is chiming in at some point and getting a chance to speak. And also an illusion of competition (“Yeah that’s right! I win! We look like buttholes now! HA!” And yes that actually happened) for group conversations that is fun and engaging. Another point, although we just did the first one, are the Flashpoints which are SWTOR’s “dungeons”, This is not your daddy’s dungeon crawl kids. When my buddies and I got to the space port to leave the Jedi planet we had two options…a personal shuttle to Coruscant OR fly first class on this freighter with your friends. I was like “Sweet, we get to kick it on this freighter” and so you are going along…we tried to gamble but they wouldn’t let us because we were Jedi and might cheat…suddenly you are attacked, and the “dungeon” begins. But really, to steal my friend’s summary of it, it feels more like an extended quest line than an instance. It was such a natural extension of the world, and well…fun. The ONLY way we found it hard was *gasp, shock* my friend had to mostly sit back and heal on the boss fights. 😛 I am glad I had to money to preorder the game, because it’s going to be a long two weeks…I can’t imagine waiting longer.

And now for something completely different.

The Elder Scrolls…ah, I have loved thee since Morrowind. I have played Oblivion for over 72 hours, had a completely maxed out character, and beat nearly every quest line in the game. Enter Skyrim. At first, I was like “Wait! Where are my ‘classes’? I don’t have to pick skills? No statistics? WHAT IS HAPPENING!” but I kept playing and it is interesting that a natural set of skills kind of extends out of your play style. So I like that…and you aren’t running around for 3 hours trying to let stuff hit you so you can level up your block/heavy armor skill to get those last few points of endurance. (Don’t judge me, maxing out every stat in Oblivion takes dedication!) My only complaint so far is that some things are based on your level (mostly instanced areas, caves and the like) but the open world is not. Which while interesting, sucks when you, the Dovakhim savior of all, running like a scared little girl from a Frost Troll because he regenerates faster than you can do damage to him. Yeah, bud, don’t worry, I will be back… Killing dragons is epic, every quest line is good enough to distract you from the main one, and as long as you develop at least a few skills devoting to killing stuff you are good to go. My first character was more sneaky and kind of got into trouble…so my second character for a long time I played as an agile warrior until her combat skills were up to snuff. So just a warning. Also, I will have a much more in depth look once I finish the main story line…but that could take time as I keep getting distracted chasing butterflies (for alchemy ingredients I swear!!), crafting, and doing the thief and mage missions…not to mention I haven’t even found the Dark Brotherhood, but I know they are around somewhere.

So initial thoughts. It’s awesome. Go buy it. 😀

Well, kids, that’s all for today. Time to get the day started!

We all want to be a Sith when we grow up…

Found this on my Twitter Feed one day, and loved it.

And I thought of it again today after sitting and contemplating something one of my friends said. She made a statement about me after I slowed down approaching an intersection where I didn’t have a stop sign, and she asked me why. I said because I am a cautious driver, and she replied “That doesn’t surprise me you are cautious in everything” and I honestly didn’t know whether to be complemented or offended. It never occurred to me to argue with her about it, because well…I know it. Left on my own I don’t take risks, and while I sometimes spend more money than I can afford to on video games that is about the only stupid/risky/silly thing I do. I walk through life cautiously, and I don’t make many waves. I do stand up for myself but more often than not it doesn’t bother me to do what people ask especially if it is something easy to do.

And in reality I am much more Jedi than Sith.

The Jedi Code

Emotion, yet peace.

Ignorance, yet knowledge.

Passion, yet serenity.

Chaos, yet harmony.

Death, yet the Force.

It’s not a conscious thing really, but life has taught me temperance. I don’t get my hopes up, or get very excited about…well anything. Why? Because people let you down, leave you, and over all have to walk their own path through life. Even the most important people in your life you just cross paths with for a time, and then you have to go back. The only exception to this is your significant other, but in times when I am alone temperance reigns. And it’s hard to be passionate and excited about…well…anything. Practice makes perfect I guess.

It’s odd though because I can read these next words and feel so…moved.

The Sith Code

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me.

Now, undoubtedly in Star Wars the Sith are evil. Their quest for power, and victory over everyone leads to wanton killing, mass murder, and the genocide of the Jedi. But their goals are so…noble. They want freedom, pure and simple. The freedom to act as they wish, and enough power not to have to worry about the consequences. There is something admirable about that. Pure freedom, of course, is impossible if you wish to have any kind of working society. But sometimes I wish I could just take my brain out for a night, and put down my rules, and just let loose. But I don’t have that power, or rather don’t have the right catalyst to create enough of a desire to do that.

However, I agree with that little boy…I want to be a Sith when I grow up.

So, which do you think you follow? The Jedi? Or the Sith?

Which Code appeals to you more?

And as always, thanks for reading and feel free to check out my other posts.

The Jedi and Sith Code were found on The Wookieepedia

Philosophy Friday: Instincts vs Reason

Sometimes I feel like I am two people in the same body. And I don’t mean in the multiple personality sense…like there’s not a Kenneth, and a Jake running around inside my head. The two sides are the subject of this blog. And it seems like they are at war with one another a lot.

First, let my clarify my meanings so we can be on the same page. There are many times when I have discussed philosophy with friends and been frustrated and angry only to realize we are using different terms for the same things and misunderstanding each other. When I speak of instinct I am talking about base impulses, gut feelings, intuitive responses…basically almost anything we feel rather than think. You don’t choose to love someone it just happens, you don’t choose to fear something it just happens. Now your reason and willpower can overcome those emotions and allow you to make decisions you might not otherwise, but the instincts/impulses remain. And there I have kind of covered what I mean by reason as well. Reason is using your higher brain functions, willpower, and logic to overcome or react to problems.

Now on to why I want to talk about this. I spend a lot of time trying to be a rational, civilized person, and for the most part I am wildly successful. But often I wonder how much other people struggle, how often everyone else has to rein in their instincts in order to be “civilized” and if that is even a good thing. And more and more I find myself trying to trust my instincts, because pure (or as close to pure as I can get) reason has just continually screwed up my life over and over. And I am in a situation now where all my instincts are screaming not to do something, but my reason keeps reining them back and saying give it a chance.

So I guess what I am wondering is this:

How much do you struggle against your base impulses and instincts?

Without knowing the details, should I “go with my gut” or trust my reasoning skills?

Do you think we are better off civilized or did we lose too much when we stopped following our instincts?

 

I look forward to hearing your replies, and feel welcome to check out the rest of my posts.

CG

Today’s Musings, Part 2

Part two of today’s musings, breaking down Kahlil Gibran’s passage about Pain.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

This first part, in contemplation, is talking about how pain brings understanding, acceptance, and joy. Without pain, we would never grow, learn, or move forward. The last part of this passage strikes me hard even as I read it now…if we could merely remember that every day is a miracle we would accept the pain that comes from life because we know that joy must come at some point. But it is the most difficult thing to “watch with serenity through the winters of your grief”.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

This second passage is equally powerful. I know I personally inflict a lot of pain and suffering on myself. I over think things, I let my emotions get away from me, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. And yet, I have learned a lot from every heartache. I know the difference between love and…other things. I draw a hard line in the sand around my heart now and only let certain people close, and still no one so close that they could casually hurt me in some way. Because that has happened, where I was hurt because some silly girl paid me attention and was being friendly and I thought it was more. And then there is life, which knocks us around and throws us down. But our physician is always ready to help us heal again. Sometimes it is slow, and sometimes wounds never quite heal completely…but the good doc always gets you on your feet again.

Well, thank you for reading. These are of course, merely my thoughts and opinions and you are welcome to disagree. If you have anything you would like to share with me feel free to post here or on Today’s Musings, Part 1