Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spiral of a Monotone Life

When suffering through intense or prolonged (Or, in very unfortunate cases, both) bouts of depression, we find ourselves re-evaluating our definition of happiness to match our current situation, rather than changing our current situation to match our definition of happiness. In doing so, a life, previously seen as one of hardships and struggles, becomes the norm. It changes from “This is the worst possible life ever” to “This is what life is like.” Eventually, we become content with the pains we are forced to endure, and amid them, we find premature happiness.

This is wrong.

Every time we rethink life, every time we stop fighting for what we desire and simply decide that “I can be happy with this,” we are cheating ourselves out of more and more levels of true bliss. If we take, for example, the pursuit of true love (known as a very commonplace dream to achieve pure happiness), we have very high standards for being content with life. As we all know, true love is not a common occurrence. Many people go their whole lives looking for it, only to find, at best, lust. True love is so incredibly elusive, yet we pursue it. Why? Because we know, or at least acknowledge the fact that we have no idea, how happy it can make us. Starting here, we set our standards of happiness in the clouds.

Then, something happens. We catch a glimpse of love, only to be rejected, betrayed, cheated, used, beaten. In the less extreme of cases, we become content that we at least caught that single glimpse. Already, without acknowledging any dizzying depths of depression, we have dropped our standards far lower than they were previously. In a worst case scenario, we give up on love. We stop pursuing our original concept of happiness, and replace it with a completely and entirely new one.

This is all fine and good, but our new standards for happiness will not be as pure. In this example, it can change to money, sex, fame. The words alone paint a more self-centered, apathetic, greedy image. Not only that, but the joys from these new goals will be fleeting, not lasting as long, or as powerfully, as the original desire.

The only way we are actually content with these lower standards is because we convince ourselves that nothing has changed, that nothing is different about life, that we are simply less naïve than before. We lie to ourselves until we no longer believe the truth. Some of what we tell ourselves could indeed be correct, but very pessimistic. Yes, it is true that it is naïve to think that there is no sorrow in the world. To think that there is only happiness and rainbows and butterflies and everything’s perfect is just foolish. However, to think that a depression earlier in life has made you wiser now is simply stupid. It is one thing to know the other extreme exists; it is quite another to think that you will never end up there.

So, where we are now is somewhere underneath where we started. We are still happy, but only because we convince ourselves that we were foolish beforehand, that this is the way life really is, and so on and so forth. We have not only lied to ourselves, but we have forgotten our dreams as well. Our new standard of happiness could be to simply “make it” in this world.

We are living a lie.

We end up in a very steep, downward spiral. We only believe our own lies. If our lies are exposed (which is stupendously easy to do, as they are lies), we doubt ourselves, and rightfully so. But this leads us to question what the truths are, and, since we have previously disregarded the truths as products of a childish and over-zealous mind, we will never think to look back in that direction for our true lives.

Without our lies to protect us, and arrogantly discarding the truth, we pursue something we cannot find, inevitably leading us deeper into depression. We re-evaluate our definition of happiness, time and time again, until there is essentially no reward for achieving our latest “goal.” Life becomes monotone, colorless, fake.

So all we need to do is realize that we were correct in the beginning, right?

The problem with that is that by time we realize such a thing, we have already fallen too far, and seeing the truth impossibly far away will plunge us farther into depression than our shattered lies ever could. Because we are so far gone already, we are likely pessimistic about the entire scenario (or simply “realistic,” as we tell ourselves), and so we dwell in our own misery of a wasted life, with no hope of getting back what was lost.

The solution? Stay optimistic.

As long as you can maintain a positive outlook on things, you will never sink so low that depression and pessimism overwhelm you. Stay focused on what truly makes you happy, and, although things may be clouded from time to time, you will always be able to get back on top. Even if you have fallen to an almost monotone level, a burst of insight can save you. With an optimistic mind and a good deal of willpower, you will be able to save yourself. Many people call this an “epiphany.”

Optimism stops you from falling. Focus brings you back up when you do fall. Keep this in mind, and you may not have to experience this spiral. Or, more likely, you’re currently in one, but you refuse to admit it. “I’m happy,” you tell yourself. You’ll keep telling yourself that until you realize that, at one point in your life, you had more. You’ll repeat the lie to yourself until you decide that you want more out of life.

So go get it.

To those who think this does not target you: This targets you. You won’t believe that it does until you doubt your own happiness, which, you are likely afraid to do. “What a load of crap,” you’ll think. To that, I have no response. I can’t convince you. That’s up to you. Such is the nature of the spiral.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Screw Conformity.

The world is not revolutionized by people who go with the flow. Humanity does not make advances due to people who are afraid to step outside social norms. Most of our most revolutionary thinkers were labeled as heretics, lunatics, nutcases. In their time, very few of them were regarded as the brilliant minds that we seem them as today.

Progress is made by deviations from daily life. It takes a strong mind to recognize, not just that something is wrong with our society, but to identify what it is. These minds stray away from the socially acceptable path, because they know, with complete certainty, that there is a better way to live. The great minds that brought us to the modern era were not restricted by "normal" thinking, they weren't restricted by society in any way. They did what they knew would better society, and they did it with or without approval.

That being said, sticking to social norms won't get you anywhere in life. You'll be stuck doing the "socially acceptable" things. That isn't necessarily bad, some people like that. Or, so they tell themselves. Very few actually enjoy such a life, and even less of them have the opportunity to find out. They convince themselves that this is the life they enjoy, and even if it isn't, it still works, because the alternative is so much more uncomfortable.

And it is. Going against social expectations is generally incredibly uncomfortable. It leaves most people alienated, and we all want to be accepted. But if we give in to society, are we really accepted? It isn't us they approve of, it's our sheepish ways, our forfeit to a "standard" life. By befriending everyone, by being loved by everyone in such a manner, you give yourself up in exchange for a fleeting comfort. Next time someone asks who you are, you won't really have an answer. Who are you? "Society. I am society." Society has no face. It has no hobbies, no interests, no goals or aspirations. It wasn't society that put man on the moon. It was a select group of individuals that were supported by society, just along for the ride. Society just waits for the next big thing to come along and blow their minds.

Don't conform. Don't try to fit in, don't do something cause it makes someone else happy. We define our own happiness, and it is our choice to watch that happiness suffocate under social oppression, or to say "to hell with society," and live a truly happy life. If someone else supplies this definition for you, you are already a slave to them. Nothing can come from anyone except yourself. You don't owe anyone anything, and no one and nothing owes you anything in return. All you owe is to yourself, to be yourself.

Don't accept anyone's ideals but your own. Don't live for anyone but yourself. Don't let anyone tell you that you're happy except you. Live this life, live your life, and you become the next revolution.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What a fantastic conversation.

While figuring out the faults with solipsism, I also had this enlightening conversation with my good friend, Frank Parker. Some of the details are taken from God's Debris, by Scott Adams (It can be viewed for free here.) And now, without further ado, here is said conversation. Enjoy.

Eddie Andrews: Nothing is real. And if it is, then no one cares.

Frank Parker: Then everything is real.

EA: By whose definition, though? What is 'real'? How does one define, 'real?'

FP: Well, why use a definition that says that nothing can qualify?

EA: If 'real' is what you can touch, what you can taste, and smell, then 'real' is just electrical signals interpreted by your mind.

FP: True.

EA: Shush. I'm quoting Morpheus. 

FP: Reality can not be explained. You have to see it for yourself.

EA: There is no reality. No one sees the same thing, and there is no way to prove otherwise. We all see our own delusions.

FP: Perhaps. But if life can not interact with reality, or truly understand reality, what makes it real?

EA: Human-defined words makes it real. 

FP: Well then human-defined experience should define it!

EA: But 'real' and 'reality' are only placeholders. They are used to explain something we don't understand, and cannot prove validity to.

FP: I recognize that!

EA: God's Debris. 

FP: Yep. That was rather interesting.

EA: Except he was talking about gravity..

FP: Still relevant.

EA: It's a very valid point. I like it. So I've used it to break other people's arguments ever since. 

FP: Fun! And ya, I'm rather fond of that point too. I never agreed with his view on probability though...

EA: That was... interesting. What was it? That probability is god rebuilding himself?

FP: Essentially. And that probability essentially decides everything.

EA: I can kinda see how it's loosely related...Well, that bit is pretty true. In a way.

FP: Sort of.

EA: The most probable things to happen are the things that do. And if something improbable happens, it is shortly corrected, or 'replaced' by a particle that has a higher probability of being there.

FP: But probability is a concept designed for human comprehension.

EA: It is. But the very first point is a good one. "If you flip a coin, how often will it be tails?"

FP: How often? 50%

EA: But why?

FP: But if you flip a coin, will it land on heads? That can be tested to a 100% accuracy, assuming you have the appropriate information.

EA: But there is no explanation as to why the probability of 50/50 is there.

FP: There can be.

EA: Sure, it's due to the way you flip it, particles that interract with the coin in the air, wind resistance, etc etc etc.

FP: At its most base level there is something missing though...

EA: Why does a creature of imperfection still return a 50/50 rate?

FP: Well there's another thing. That's an assumption. You do not know a coin will land heads 50% until you flip it infinity times.

EA: But it will. The more trials that are run, the closer and closer it gets.

FP: Closer and closer. 99.99999....% But never 100%

EA: 50% is an asymptote, of sorts.

FP: Humans will never reach 100% on anything.

EA: Agreed.

FP: So how close should you get to make an assumption?

EA: 50.0000000000000 ... 1% It's all a matter of probability.

FP: So the more trials you run, the more accurate you get. Is reality perfect?

EA: Hard to tell. 

FP: Agreed. Considering we can't truly experience it. So what the hell is reality?

EA: I suppose it would be perfection. Or at least, analogous to it.

FP: So what place does probability have in reality?

EA: All of it.

FP: Only in our understanding of reality though.

EA: And probability is the bridge. It is calculable in our definitions of everything, while at the same time, constitutes what perfection, and therefore, true reality, is. We are here because the events that lead to the evolution of humanity was favored by probability. The universe happened the way it did because it was less probable to happen any other way. ... What is perfection?

FP: Good question. The idea that something will happen the same way every time?

EA: ... I'd say it's the mastery of probability. If you could control the likelihood of the outcome of anything, you could change anything to your will. You could succeed at everything because you would make success more probable to you. And if probability is the essence of god, then perfection is the mastery and control of God himself.


EA: I'm definitely posting this conversation on my blog.

If solipsism held validity...

First, for those that don't know...

sol - ip - sism [sol-ip-siz-uhm]: Noun; Philosophy. The theory that only the self exists, or can be proven to exist.

The usual explanation is that anything and everything we see, hear, feel, experience, is all in our heads. Reality is simply our mind's interpretation of electrical signals. All of our friends and family could just be hallucinations, the reality we see is only the 'reality' that our mind gives us. There's no telling that other people even exist, because we only know what we perceive, and even that is questionable sometimes.

It's a common theory, really. The first thing that comes to mind is The Matrix idea, where we're all trapped in a computer simulation. The thing with this, though, is it isn't just us. I'm not even talking about the other people, yet. The thing with a simulation is that it feeds the mind. The things you experience aren't created by your own mind, they're injected by the simulation, so it isn't your brain feeding your brain. There are constants in such a world.

Another movie that touches on solipsism is A Beautiful Mind. Entire facilities are exposed as figments of the protagonist's mental condition, not to mention the hundreds of people and conspiracies that don't even exist. The problem with this, though, is that the conclusions he reaches and the patterns he finds are all things that he's expecting to be there. There are no curveballs thrown at him. If you really think about it, nothing happens that he wasn't expecting, in one way or another. Although, it is an excellent illustration of the mind feeding itself. The conclusions he reaches change his entire reality, and this new 'reality' of his spurs on further thought. It's essentially the human thought process and pattern recognition in the most visual form possible.

But for solipsism to be valid, there can be no outside influences, simply because there isn't an outside. What made The Matrix outstanding was when someone left the world. Without that, the whole trilogy would fall apart. What made A Beautiful Mind work was when the real people, the outside influences, made him question his reality. Without these outsiders, there is nothing to make people doubt. Without doubt, not only is there no desire to find factual evidence of solipsism, but there isn't a need to.

Without the doubt, it doesn't matter if solipsism is valid or not. If it is, then the believer will not notice it. They will go on living, and because they believe each and every person to be themselves, they will be gathering new ideas, new experiences, things they never knew existed. Things will happen that seem impossible. Man on the moon, quantum mechanics, wormholes, inter-dimensional travel. If solipsism was to be true, then none of these would seem impossible, and with enough thought, a person would be able to deduce how they should have already known that. If the world was all in our minds, then, with enough thought, nothing unexpected would happen. But this doesn't necessarily prove it false.

The people that find that doubt will seek out answers. They may find some, they may not. But in either case, no one can convince them otherwise. To the doubters, everyone is imaginary, and therefore, only offer differing viewpoints, but no new information. The people will likely be telling the doubter that they're wrong, presenting doubt to the doubt. From this perspective, the doubter doesn't want to doubt, as their "subconscious," or other people, are telling them otherwise. Reality becomes a dream the dreamer cannot wake up from, but this does not necessarily prove it's existence.

If they do manage to "wake up" from reality, it would put their consciousness somewhere else. If it's a populated world, it could prove solipsism false, or the mind could just be populating the new-found void with its projections. If the latter is true, something would need to have changed to make the doubter accept the world, or the process would repeat endlessly. Something inside the mind would have altered, or erased, part of itself to allow the doubter to continue living. Even this, though, is a change brought on by "waking up," and while the doubter will not be conscious of it, they will have changed. If the doubter is changing without their knowledge, just as the world previously existed only as projections of their mind (without their knowledge), then there is no evidence that even the self is real. Solipsism eventually caves in on itself, to the point where nothing is real. If  nothing is real, if it is all illusion, then there is no meaning to anything. Solipsism collapses to nihilism.

Without any meaning, the only purpose life has is to end, and in death, all preferences will have been broken down. Nothing will matter. There will be no good or bad, nothing more desirable over less. Life will not prevail over death, and so death will be the endpoint of nihilism, and, through association, solipsism.

Simply put, if solipsism is the question, death is the answer.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why Music?

I recently, grudgingly, left a percussion ensemble that I had devoted my life to. All throughout my past, I had been in percussion, music, playing solos. With high schools, independent groups, solo venues. All my life, I've been actively involved in music. Yet now, I left. I'm not with any ensembles, I don't have as many chances to perform solos, I'm clearly not in a high school band. It's the first time in my life that I am completely without a solid, unwavering musical outlet.

I left, partly due to financial difficulties, but there was something else. It didn't feel right anymore, and I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't know what it was, but I knew I couldn't stay. It may sound cliche, but leaving music like this feels like the breakup of a lifelong relationship.

So I'm not leaving music. I'm still writing. I'm still playing, I'm still working on pieces that interest me, but it's all for myself now. There is no ensemble behind me, no deadline to meet. I'm left very confused. Why did I leave?

I'm writing this out, partly to discover what it is about music that makes it impossible to leave for me, while I abruptly left my one outlet for it, but also, because the conclusions I reach here could definitely provide a driving force for anyone considering music to bring it into their life, and to prevent people who consider leaving it from doing so.

Music is well known as an emotional outlet. Almost every song written is born from distress, or love, or anger, or confusion. You can put emotion into writing, sure. It can be seen in art, in dance, in everything. But it can't be felt like it can with music. The human mind is so much more susceptible to sound than it is to everything else. There is no analysis necessary to feel the meaning behind a song. It's something the human mind naturally picks up on.

No one is emotionally stable. Sure, they seem like it. They say it. But there is always something no one lives a perfect life, yet, through music, these imperfections can be forgotten. Removed. All pain, all sorrow and hardships, simply dissolve in music, and at the end of the day, you feel free. What was anger is replaced with a melody you will always remember, something you can always think back to and feel lighter. A moment of intense joy is left in its place. On the other hand, love, happiness, content, is all magnified by the tunes they produce. Your happiness is no longer a fleeting emotion, but a memory cemented in harmonics. It becomes something that retrieves the emotion put into it when heard. Music cleanses negative emotion, while amplifying the positives.

This is evident. When you hear a song you've heard before, it is always accompanied by a memory. It revives the memory so vividly, there is no better to relive a happy moment. Depending on the intensity of the memory, it can bring back the sights, the smells, the feelings, everything. Music is a time capsule, of sorts. Capture that time where you are alone with a significant other, simply enjoying their company. Nothing feels wrong at that point. Life is perfect. When the song comes back, so does the air of perfection.

Personally, I've rarely used music for a positive purpose. It has always been to escape something, to rid myself of pain. Recently, I have had no pain, and so I felt that music no longer served a purpose to me. In my moment of doubt, I feared what would become of the ensemble had I stayed. But the moment lasted long enough for it to gain credibility, but not enough for it to actually be factual. Music is now almost purely for remembering the positives, yet I can't go back to the ensemble experience. It was there so I could free myself. The people, the countless hours spent in it, I just don't know how to use it as anything other than an escape.

That being said, there is no fault in the nature of music. Most of the people there do it for the positive emotions, I'm sure, and I'm sure the experience is so much greater that way. Simply put, I don't know how to live through the ensemble the way they do. Music, however, has no limitations. It will never let anyone down, it'll never fail those involved in it.

Now, I don't want to defer anyone from an ensemble experience. There is no 'wrong way' to use it. All uses of music eventually converge on using it to increase happiness, provide boundless joy, but also, to impress on all involved that nothing is impossible. In all my years of music, I have never truly felt that I couldn't be better. I seek out pieces that I initially deem as impossible, and a month or two later, I have it virtually mastered. There are no impossibilities with music; if you can't do something now, you'll be able to do it later.

Music's part of the reason I've adopted the mantra "'Impossibility' is simply the limits of the human mind.' There are absolutely no limits with how much you can grow, and music demonstrates this. It begins to spread to the rest of your life, impressing that nothing is impossible. Music is the gateway to a life without constraints. Without impossibilities. Without restrictions. Once music has entered your life, there is no getting rid of it. It will become evident in everything you do, in everything you accomplish. There are no boundaries.

You are free.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I've always been fascinated by zombies. Just the concept alone. Surely, it must be possible. With the astounding varieties of parasitic creatures that exist today, there must be one that can replicate the zombie image. So, rather then actually research the topic (Which I find tedious and not as much fun as designing my own), I'm going to design my own. A parasite that would have to completely enslave the human mind, give it the single purpose of spreading itself, while at the same time, using the host to fuel it and keep it alive.

Let's start with blood. Everyone knows that if there are zombies, there will be a lot of blood. In every movie, every game, there has always been an excess of blood, usually more than is realistic. It wouldn't be because zombies have more blood, no. That just doesn't make sense. The blood simply can't clot, or it is greatly watered down. Since zombies are more simplistic creatures, it isn't likely that the blood would be watered down, in any sort. It doesn't need to get anywhere quickly; there are no places that require more oxygen to function. And it would make perfect sense that the blood simply can't clot anymore. If it doesn't clot, more of it escapes. The more blood escapes, the more chances the parasite has of exiting the host and entering a new one.

This being said, the zombie parasite must not be airborne. It travels through liquids, and, if zombie lore has taught us anything, is highly contagious. Upon contact, the parasite can work its way into a body, through cuts, scrapes, perhaps even pores. Anything that gets it to the blood stream.

From inside, it destroys anything that doesn't send an electrical signal. The nervous system needs to be intact, as it will be the way the parasite controls the host body. The parasite begins by liquefying organs, tissues, and slowly, even the muscles and bones. Everything is melted down to a homogeneous gel, used to fuel the parasite and give it the energy necessary to keep the brain running. It isn't as far-fetched as it may seem, actually. The Ebola virus does the same thing to organs and tissues, for the purpose of keeping itself alive. So, what may seem like zombie blood may be, depending on the age of the zombie, be the entirety of the innards of the creature, not just the blood.

The now-liquid organs have already rendered the host dead, yet the energy absorbed from this broken-down mix gives the parasite enough energy to keep the brain, as well as the untouched nervous system, active. From here, it latches on to the motor cortex, taking control of motor skills, and, in most cases, the cerebellum. From here, it can drive the body to attack, maim, injure, and otherwise infect everything in its reach. The frantic drive to assault other humans makes sense when you realize that, eventually, the muscle tissue and bone will be broken down to fuel the zombie, and once this happens, the parasite has little use left for the host. From the second it enters the human, it has a set timer to spread as far as it can, as quickly as it can, before its host disintegrates.

Well, that's about all I can say. If I was more educated in this topic, I could probably keep going, but I'm not. In any case, if I got this far with next to no knowledge of what I'm talking about, then surely, a bio major could piece together enough details to almost create a zombifying parasite to call their own. Perhaps call it the T-Virus. Resident Evil, here we come.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's begin with time

Yeah, that's right. I'm making an actual post. I knew this blog would come in handy eventually. Normally, my philosophies are converted into stories, and my stories are posted on Facebook. But tonight, I have no stories. No metaphorical connection between my actual thoughts and some obscure characters in an alternate world from our own. I simply thought about what I wanted to be.

I want to become everything.

But wait, I already am. I am everything I want to be, because I want to become everything. Now let me explain this.

Time is not a straight line. It's a cliched statement, but it's incredibly naive to think that any alternatives to that statement is true. To say that time is a straight line, simply because that is the way our human minds perceive it is quite the arrogant statement of our race. We have no right to define something, only by what we can see. That would be like saying that the universe revolves around us, simply because we don't see anything else. We've done this. We learned that we were wrong. We believed that the earth was flat, because it matched observation. At the time, the truth seemed a complete contradiction to human instinct. We learned the truth. It isn't that the earth because round when we knew it was, but that it always was. Space does not warp to match our definition of it, so why should time?

I like to think of time as round. Like a ball. From the outside perspective, everything is happening at once. Every possible chain of events is converging at every possible point, making up the sphere of time itself. Now, from the view of an ant crawling around on the ball, They move in a straight line. From such a perspective, if you are constantly moving forward, it will always seem like a flat plane. Much like the earth. You can travel all over it, but you are always moving in a line, never seeing the entirety of it all at once, or seeing how it all joins together.

The circular nature of a sphere represents the cyclical nature of time. When the universe ends, a new one will begin. Assuming that this is due to chance, the next one will consist of all the same components, but pieced together slightly differently. It has the potential to be completely different, while at the same time, still coming around full circle.

The sphere metaphor can't explain why moving backwards in time is impossible, so I will admit that it is a poor metaphor, but it serves its purpose here just fine.

If you were to view the entire expanse of time from the outside, you would see everything that has ever happened anywhere. Including alternate dimensions.

Let's say that a normal life is a simple path around the equator. Now, you could follow this simple life, or you could derive from the path, and turn abruptly south. Or north. Or any variation in between. You could make any choice you want and go anywhere at all on the surface of the time-sphere. Every single reality is possible.

Not only is it possible, but it's happening. Now. If you don't make the choice now, then when you loop back around, you'll make it again. When the universe destroys itself and reemerges from the other side as a new universe, the person who has replaced you will make slightly different choices. And this is all happening simultaneously. So, not only does a sphere capture all possibilities of our current universe, but all other ones as well. Every event, in every dimension, at every point in time, all happening at once.

Yet, from our human standpoints, it takes countless millennia to see this.

So, if absolutely everything that is possible (And everything that isn't) is all happening at this very moment, we are already everything we could possibly, or impossibly become. So the only way to be what you want to be, with no exception, is to desire to become everything.

I am content with this. It gives me the knowledge that I can achieve anything.Nothing is far away. If I don't achieve it in this universe's lifetime, the next 'me' will. And if he will, then there is no reason I can't. I will eventually become everything (Back to a human-defined timeline), so in this life, I will choose which pieces I want now.

Nothing is impossible. We are already everything, so why not embrace that? Why not be that? It is impossible to fail when success is inevitable, so make your dreams a reality.