Little wonder we stumble in life.

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Logic, and its problems

Feeling, and instinct, are essential evolutionary traits to any conscious lifeform. An animal never wonders whether there’s more to life. Logic has its uses, of course; logic can help us to survive by rationalising our decisions. In combination with imagination, we were able to survive in the desert long enough to evolve and spread out. We even made logic a cornerstone of civilisation, and ingrained into our education system, especially in subjects like mathematics. But we are not built to be creatures of pure logic, nor should we be.

In the Star Trek universe, Vulcans have often been interpreted as creatures of pure logic, and I have said before this is an idealisation. Yet despite what the Vulcans themselves probably like to believe, they are not creatures of pure logic. To compare them to the Romulans, both peoples share one important difference: one believes in peace, and the other in war. These are cultural values, and cultural values are never, and should be never, a purely logical concept. To reduce it to as much is to take something essential away, to reduce a people to a lost child. This is a concept tackled in Star Trek The Motion Picture through V’Ger, and it remains an important narrative.

I believe all cultures require a feeling in order to understand, more than a direct translation: there is no such thing as a direct translation in either language or culture, and to rely strictly on any set phrases is to sell yourself short. The trick is not to understand another culture through your own, but to understand another culture in its own original context. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it takes instinct, which even the most detached beings have, to understand others. It’s only a matter of finding similarities, things that resonate, to guide you there. Especially if you find a resonant culture, this is possible. However, it also takes and keen and open eye to new perspectives to really immerse yourself in it. And in the end, it’s all worthwhile when you’re heart’s in it.

We are not empty beings. Logic can be a powerful tool, but it can also be a sanctuary from life. Life is messy, but you can only hide in it for so long before you lose yourself in it. To the lucky ones who break out of this rut, it may not seem like it, but it is a good thing. Because logic is a rut to hide in, an enabler of all the shame within a person. When Darwin released his Origin of Species and revealed humanity’s ancestry, it threw this shame into the spotlight: the most civilised humans simply couldn’t deal with the truth. They wanted to continue to hide, but that didn’t last forever. Today, we are stepping more into the light, learning to embrace our flaws more, although shrouds still remain all across our world. However, as the world continues to change, perhaps civilisation will eventually cease to define itself by clinging to logic; or perhaps it will simply find new ways to hide.

Social media might be the modern equivalent, and perhaps that’s understandable. We all need our masks; it’s when those masks become horcruxes that truly turns us to dark magic. To choose what is easy over what is right, to extend the Harry Potter reference, is what really does us damage. Let’s look at Voldemort for a second, because to create a horcrux in the first place is to literally commit an act that would tear you apart; and Voldemort has done that seven times. You wouldn’t imagine it to think of him, but each of these acts really holds so much power ove him, these kills far less than the casual way he presents himself, that you can’t but wonder at the soul that still remains in him. To bring the concept back to social media is look at the way people use it. Because, like logic, it can be defined both has a tool and as a mask. But when people live their lives through that mask, instead of living their lives as they are, in short if they start living their lives as if the mask is their real selves, then they are only then creating their own horcrux, and running from who they are. Because if any medium means so much to them, it’s only because they’re using it as a mirror to their real lives, untouched from the selves contained within.

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The Symptom of Individuality

The lobotomy was created in the 30s and later gained popularity for patients displaying things like anxiety, among other things. This was the part that hit me hard; I’ve suffered from anxiety from a young age, and imagining being giving a lobotomy for such a minor problem in comparison to its solution is horrifying. If I had gotten one before I turned 14 (I sincerely hope they didn’t give lobotomies to children), I’d have never become a writer, because it would’ve cut me off from all kinds of creativity or even identity. Lobotomised victims even lost interest in their own lives, not surprising since they were also cut off from being itself.

Lobotomies were used for depressed patients, but it’s little wonder that the treatment didn’t make that problem worse, since both depressed and lobotomised people perceive no point in functioning. It’s likely that the times the treatment was popular in reflected attitudes of behaviour; instead of embracing individuality, it seems as though people prized good behaviour and civility. Anybody who didn’t conform had to be fixed.

This is a terrible attitude to have. I personally find it horrific that people would go to such extremes to control others. It seems to glorify ignorance (seen but not heard) and punish rather than treat those who struggle to fit into society. I personally prefer the idea of shaking the world up and promoting open-mindedness.

That’s why I’m a writer. I want people to understand people, which is the exact opposite of the effect the lobotomy had.

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Character Freewriting – #1 Dawn

Something OnlyFragments has called Emotive Freewriting.

I’ve wanted to try this for a while, and OnlyFragments did encourage me awhile ago to do it.

Recently, I’ve become a little obsessed with reading OnlyFragments. I’ve been reading entries she’d written back in 2009, and a quote occurred to me; “Write with haste.” It occurs to be that OnlyFragments does that, has always done that. And you can tell just reading her, her emotions, fragments of her, come through.

Inspiring as her pieces even in 2009 are, it inspired this piece about Dawn.

Dawn is the character I’m most obsessed with. Dylan is otherwise my favourite character. In the future, I might write from Dawn, Orion, Brenda, Dylan, Seth, Andrea or Melody. But don’t worry, I’ll definitely mention who I write from if I do this again!

Expect more pieces to come, though I’m not sure when. I intend to try this more regularly.

My version is probably more accurate to call Emotive Character Freewriting. I’m not sure if I could do it otherwise; but I almost take every post OnlyFragments does as Emotive Freewriting; its all emotive, and its all spur of the moment.

I’m probably not doing this right. Oh well.

There is haste in powerlessness, and there is acceptance in all that is ugly. When you finally stop thinking, you are not slave to these desires… When you stop thinking, you can’t finally become yourself, who you were meant to be, who you really are. But you cannot stop chasing what you think you need, can you? Can’t stop because, without this fierce pursuit, you realise you can’t deal with all that’s happened to you, all that’s in your heart. This ferocity has become as much a part of you as that other part, hidden behind that layer. You can’t escape you own consumption now, can you, Dawn? It will burn through you like everything else. It will burn your heart out – unless you find a way to stop it.

Can you? Can you, Dawn? Or will you just keep consuming until there’s nothing left, and everything you love is dead?

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SOCS – Groovy

I had to admit, this was crazy. I didn’t know what to do, this was crazy. I had this idea that I couldn’t wake up like a normal person for months. That’s not very into the groove, is it?

I didn’t know what to say. Even when I planned to do this, I knew I’d be lost. So I guess that answers that question.

I’m a writer, aren’t I? And I’m doing WriYe, but I don’t always know what I’m going to do before I do it.

That’s part of it, though, isn’t it? Part of writing… making stuff up, being surprised. Or at least, that’s the impression I’ve always gotten from writers online.

Maybe none of us are groovy. But we have to have some days, don’t we? The days when our writing becomes good. Unless we all just have good writing.

Well, that was gibberish, in a matter of speaking. For those who don’t know, WriYe is a year-long writing event, which stands for Writing Year.

That was Stream of Consciousness Sunday.



Ego And Self-Expression

I don’t know if those two things go together or not. Somehow, it sounds like a familiar expression (lol); but according to one post I read, months ago, when you’re a writer, ego needs to be removed. Writing needs to be honest, but if you let ego influence you too much, your writing becomes too clouded, or it doesn’t  own up to the true (fictional) story you’re trying to tell.

Maybe that’s something I need to work on. For example, I find it very hard to write a religious character. I can’t stand the idea of following the strains of Christianity, it just sounds too stupid.

But I know in my head some of my characters are Christian, and I’m not doing my duty to them by not representing that. At first, it was because of my ego; I was afraid of people misconstruing me as a Christian, where I am not. But then I realised that people more likely expect me to represent all people, no matter my prejudices.

(I’m not saying I hate Christians; just that I don’t relate.)

In real life, too, I do this. I express my opinion openly, sometimes too openly for comfort in fact, because I’m trying to be open. A writer has to be, right? I want to learn more about people, about their reactions, about myself. Learning about myself is just as important as learning about others, in fact; how else do I speak from others’ perspectives but to truly understand my own?

But sometimes I just can’t look at the reply. Writers are supposed to be thick-skinned. I’m not quite there yet. At least I’m not thin-skinned…

I try to be open, most importantly, because throughout my life, I’ve been shy and too scared to talk about myself, let alone how I feel or what I think. That’s why I write, in fact; so people can know. I was told I have low self-esteem; I always equated that to mean that I have a small ego, but I know now that’s not quite true. In fact, it was my ego telling me that; saying that I had a small ego made me feel more humble than other people, which made me feel better than them.

Not so humble, then.

So, while in real life, I find it hard to express myself to people, in writing, I tend to try and compensate for that by being as open as I dare. I need to be thick-skinned to be a writer, right?

Besides, I’ve been trying all my life to be stronger. Considering, that I’ve been put down a lot, particularly in primary school (which causes me sometimes to turn that hate on me, as if I deserve it), it isn’t surprising that I want to rise above it.

There’s always something to rise above, isn’t there? Hard times help you grow, or so I’ve heard. I resented that the first time I heard it, but it’s still true. That’s the whole point of stories, isn’t it?

So, it’s true that ego and low self-esteem can go hand in hand. And the result is the need for self-expression. But even so, what do I take out of all this?

If nothing else, I hope that I can be happy growing on my own without testing my own will, or others’ reactions to me in order to learn about them. But, since the New Yorker tells me that personal bias sticks with you whether you learn or not, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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The Ivan Project, #62

Waking up in a new city… there was nothing quite like it.

As she poured her cereal, she smiled as she saw her brother emerge from the bathroom. She had missed having someone to relate to, someone familiar. Not that New York wasn’t spectacular, but it could be lonely.

Millions of people cramped into one small space, no one really alone but everyone isolated. Who’d have thought tight spaces meant loneliness?

She wasn’t lonely anymore. Now she could go about her life in relative peace, at least. She wondered if everyone in New York had someone like that.

Maybe she wasn’t the only lonely one.