Monday, October 27, 2014

Monu-Mental


Poem Frame










Directing breakdown and
disgrace before the whole cast

Too bad the mass is sightless with ignorance so vast
Thirteen syllables, thirteen lines to force a new take
Another posed act shot - fallow egos have been fed
No one knew what could have been left undone or unsaid
To the deepest dismay, no one cared, for goodness sake
Artist's block strained the result to befall foully fake
The mob heard laughter, didn't care about the tale's thread
Self-worth high as the flame, violent minds packed with lead
A crimson pond mirrors the wish to turn a new slate
And who crawls beneath the debris can stand as the last
Who observes with the sight from a script burned in the past


Curtains seal, clap for the chronic
longing to create

Monday, October 13, 2014

Now You Ψ Better: Are You Normal?


You know that moment when scientist warned humanity of the danger it has posed upon itself? More than two decades later, we barely started raising our heads to question the severity of our behavior. The measured reality, in its pure informational form, needs an amazing amount of time to enter into common knowledge. As it's the same with every branch of science, psychology suffers much unfairness in the face of rumors. These misconceptions are not only damaging to individuals and professions, but stop the actual data from being useful on a larger scale. So, I decided to address some of these fallacies in a nonsequential series of posts, each dealing with a cluster of concepts, which, when better understood, can hopefully bring better understanding between and within people. Let's give it a shot!

The first entry in the series dubbed Now You Ψ Better is about the so-called "normality".

Monday, October 06, 2014

In Ourselves We Trust


It seems to be plausible to think that since the beginning of our conscious thought bearing days we looked towards the inexplicable with awe and bonded it with the desire to give a comforting explanation to the sources of our fears. For reasons that concern the survival of our groups, we gathered together and invented rituals so that we could feel more at ease with our mortal destiny. Over time, as we started using more and more extensions of our will (namely tools), our groups became increasingly larger and some kind of centralization of authority on a bigger scale was inevitable to establish some kind of collaborative order. We invented countless rules in the form of religion to govern the behavior of masses, and with a good reason. Little did we understand that behind the semantic messages of sacred teachings there are certain meta-meanings, which give form to thought and behavior, and are much more significant from the point of socio-cultural evolution. To take an example: if a religious principle declares that people are to legally bond and not practice adultery, and a person still performs such a natural act, They might feel self-condemnation, which can further lead to psychological torment between the legally bonded and possible disintegration of Their association.

If we consider evolution as not merely a biological process, we can certainly appreciate the thought of adaptation of culture. It is a necessary and inevitable course of progress. There is a neat overview of known human history as a single human life in the form of the "second insight" found in the book The Celestine Prophecy (although the theory is a bit flawed due to being inconsiderate to non-western influences). In the fashion of its style, if we look at our history as an evolution of a collective and not as segregated groups and individuals, as species we have just left our infancy and don't quite know what to do with all the natural changes we are experiencing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Educate Me Plenty


As mentioned in the previous post, my schedule started getting denser not so long ago. Two weeks prior today, I also graduated with a bachelor's degree. The whole unnecessary ceremony crowned the two-year struggle with my research paper, which was inspired by the increasing problems in education at large. Although it dealt with an issue into which I invest a lot of interest, the thesis in itself was just a mandatory proof of my capabilities stuck in a frame of demands. In this entry, I am to approach the question of schooling reform devoid of wanting to live up to any expectations, except perhaps those of having a sensible proposal in mind.

A few things have to be cleared first. My theoretical proposition is more of an outline to a whole system that cannot and shouldn't be developed by one or just a few individuals. To make it work, many other powerful political structures also have to be rearranged if we desire to survive our own advancement, and such an effort takes time more than anything. Our society succumbed to the depths it is in now throughout known history and we cannot possibly expect to arise from here in just a few years. Huge changes can require generations. I will also avoid criticizing the current system, as it is simple to point fingers at what we dislike around us. There is a fair amount of debate on the subject to be found on the internet, so I would rather write about a concept I see in my mind.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Into the Land of the Molded


A lot was going on for me last week. One of the events that occurred is that I started a one-year volunteering program in the Netherlands. To celebrate it in a way, I thought of writing about volunteerism. It was fairly easy finding info which praises the communal and personal benefits of being a volunteer, but that's not the whole story. At least not the way I see it.

During the last couple of months, I had the chance to observe how people (at least those from the country I was born in) react to the idea of volunteering. Our worldwide economic system is not economical anymore and as such it shapes certain expectations we have in our lives. Let's call these conforming expectations social molds, which make us feel the need to shape everyone and Their lives (including our own) into a predictable sequence of incidents. One of the most recognizable and encompassing of social molds is probably the one which sponsors the following pattern:

1. Be born.
2. Learn. Go to school. Get molded.
3. Find a partner for life.
4. Get a job.
5. Buy a house, loan Yourself for life in the process.
6. Et cetera...

The list goes on, of course, but the rest is irrelevant for the purpose of this post. Anyway, when people asked me about my plans in life, I replied that I was going abroad. Then, without exception, They all got excited. There were two common questions which I received: "are you going there to find a job" or "are continuing Your studies there?"

The answer to both of those questions needs a bit of explaining, because yes, I did come here to work and also to learn and improve my skills. The problem is that these two questions have a molding agenda: they expect certain answers ("everything is going according to plan") with obvious contextual assumptions (that I'm getting paid and/or receiving a title along with a diploma here). Obviously, replying to these questions would have required higher efforts if I didn't want to mislead my conversational partners. I usually replied with: "I'm going there to be a volunteer." In the moments that followed my answer, I could typically see the sparkles of interest fade away from Their eyes.

Monday, September 01, 2014

They Say Rumor Has It


Restlessness smites me when it comes to rumors. I know about them, I had learned how they work and how ridiculous and even harmful they can get. They form a separate domain, one that is completely made up, a weird world consisting of abstract scopes of illusive ideas. Let me introduce You to the parallel reality of Rumorealm:

This conceptual realm, in which we live day by day, is built upon real-world data. The silhouettes of understanding which we can sense here are much different, though. They are intriguing replacements for uncertainty. Only two things matter here: insecurity of facts and the notability of the substitutes we make up for that insecurity. The progression of Rumorealm falls apart if either building block is missing (i.e. if events derived from real-world data are unambiguous, or the replacement rumors are unimportant). As we walk in this place, our focus is captivated by how interesting the whole thing feels and authentic it seems. The real-world data which we're sure of (like time, places and people in them) make this illusory location ever so believable. It makes sense and that makes us feel good.

Events here are mostly spontaneous, but they can also be generated willfully by the gods of deception, who reign supreme. We are avatars of these gods. By absorbing the data from Rumorealm, we mediate them onward and rebuild its phony fabric. We rearrange it to be simpler and shorter. We never forget the strong messages we received, but we make them easier for further tattling. The essence of Rumorealm is to add our own little piece of distortion: we assimilate and emphasize information with our own understandings and fill in the gaps.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Indignation


Nearly everyone craves some sort of power. The most accepted definition of power is all about having influence over those who have it in fewer proportions. It's the ability to get a person to change Their behavior against Their will. While this certainly can't be disputed, I think there are two distinguishable trends in might. There is the one already mentioned – the symptom of an unforgiving tradition, which I call petty power. I borrow this expression from the book called "The Fire from Within", written by Carlos Castañeda. In His enchantingly displaced vision of the universe, Carlos writes about the importance of being impeccable. There are strategies and phenomena in life which can aid people in attaining impeccability if They know how to take advantage of them. One of these potentially assisting elements are the petty tyrants. In my short reinterpretation, these are all the people who long to dominate others. They are petty because They are nothing compared to the ultimate tyrant – existence. There is no evading the underlying properties that be, only finding a way amidst them. What good is power over others, if we can't control our very selves? So, these people who ape the sublime essence can be used as means to understand how to let go of self-importance.

This brings us to the second type of power, which is rarely taken seriously these days. That is the mastery of the self. This requires the riddance of self-importance. Don't confuse this idea with having no respect towards one's own existence. What it means is having the ability to see beyond one's own self-serving bias. I call this type of power true power. Essentially, beings holding true power cannot be deterred by any outside force. Yes, They can be destroyed, theoretically. Yet, since They have no pride in individual existence anymore, but rather the devotion to a set of ideas, the feeling of being victimized is replaced by the sheer satisfaction of living in accordance to Their dreams. Any energy otherwise spent on dealing with suffering imposed by other beings can now be targeted on achieving an intent. Schemes conspired against such a calculated intent can be inspected and dealt with in a sober manner. While wondering about this, the concept of soft power comes to mind, which was developed a decade ago by political scientist Joseph Nye. The two are different, though. Soft power still aims to persuade others to join our cause (and thus willingly do what we would want them to, without forcing Them), while true power doesn't bother with the adoption of anyone's will. The latter exists only for the sake of its own inquiry.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Perpetuum Mutato


Change. A constant in our lives. We are mostly aware of the unavoidability of it, but to which level of awareness are we willing to adopt its notion? Or, to rephrase that: to what extent are we willing to endure temporal unease to achieve long-termed improvement? For years now, I keep seeking out what I dislike about myself and do my best to overcome it. It is not an easy task. Not because change is hard (it's inevitable), but because it just might be one of the bigger challenges to understand how it goes around. There are a few ideas I managed to gather that might shed at least a bit of light on how to bravely let ourselves immerse into the flow of everlasting transition.

There is this psychotherapeutic theory of which I'm particularly fond of. It is called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. It has many aspects which might or might not be beneficial to a therapy, but what I'd like to focus on here are some of the particularly defined ideas within it: irrationality and hedonism.

According to REBT, irrationality can be divided into three "absolute demands" through which we burden our own lives. These are the demands toward ourselves (I must satisfy people), others (people must satisfy me) and circumstances (things must go as I imagined). As You can see, "must" is the central term of irrationality. We cannot demand anything from an unpredictable life. Expecting anyone or anything to function according to an indispensable plan is ludicrous at best. It should be an imperative to understand how a moderate aspiration (which is non-absolute and accordant to wishes instead of demands) can improve our existence.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Too Late Is Never: An Introduction


Not so long ago a dear friend convinced me about making little time capsules to flow around the World, which He labeled "immortality projects". The main reason for these, He argued, is leaving a personal point of view towards the World, frozen in time. A few frames of a personality left afloat between other minds who could access them for the better or worse.

The form of an immortality project doesn't really matter – as long it has a relatively lasting imprint in the World outside its creator. If it is to be shared with other people, the better. Upon reviewing these time capsules of thought and creativity later in life, we might feel accomplished, embarrassed, challenged even. And that's the whole point.

So this little stream of ideas got me encouraged enough to finally start this blog which I have been contemplating for a long time. They say I can prove to be quite a complicated person at times. Not that bad opinions have a too consequential impact on me directly, but I do tend to listen to critique. I can't really say that I'm not complicated. More often than not, I fail to understand the complexity of my thoughts. I don't say this with the intention of flaunting… It just happens to be how I feel, and how probably most of us feel if we are willing to admit it.

We, human beings, tend to label ourselves and other things for easier comparison. This is to make sense of the phenomena we encounter. To have some comfort. I don't really like labeling myself nor others because no concept is specific enough to be fairly applied onto any personality. Alas, it seems to be unavoidable. So let's just say I'm a skeptic. I believe in the potential of everything anyone can imagine and more, all while knowing that we all die stupid.* What I mean is that there are more than seven billion of us around this planet – each with Their own little subjective ways of dealing with reality. It is hardly possible that anyone of us knows what exactly is going on.