Still Alive…

What things in your own life have you found yourself taking the easy route by collecting stuff instead of time and energy? For me it’s been writing and illustration. I’ve collected piles of stuff that should be used to better my craft but have still yet to put the effort into it.

What happened?!  My last post was months ago and since then the world has become a different place entirely.   New President, new Economy, new Job,  new Year.  Let’s take those in order:  I’m hopeful, but not too much.  I’m grateful I have a job and thinking about what positive experiences I can have in a down economy.  I’m excited about it and looking forward to working hard.  New year’s are much like the ones before them, except I’m older.

I’m back at the Capitol working in the Speaker’s Office as a legislative consultant for the Democratic Caucus.  I’m also been appointed to a city commission here in Davis.  The Historical Resources Commission reviews the historical assets of the city and reviews petitions to change and alter them before they go to the city council.  This is the first time I’ve actively pursued civic duty and it’ll be interesting to see how the city’s commissions work and interact with the city council and community.

As I have the time I’ll be making some changes to the site, updating the various sections in an attempt to give the site a more centralized theme and purpose.  Since my interests are so eclectic, you can still expect to see peculiar posts here at times.  Don’t get your expectations up, this is going to happen slowly.  I’m pretty busy with work and living my life.  Anyway on to the actual reason for this post:  Dilettantism!

I’ve commented multiple times over on Gamestooge about music rhythm games, Wii Music, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band, and how they don’t help people learn how to play or appreciate music more.  If anything introducing these games to children and young adults will distract them from learning the skills necessary to play music and/or turn them off to the difficulty inherent in the task as the games will difficult are easy enough to master and memorize while learning piano, guitar, drums, any instrument really is a difficult endeavor.  I’ve been having trouble putting these thoughts into words but I’ve found a great article by Rob Horning about the very same topic that is worth the read.  The problem as he sees it and the one that I completely missed is that in our consumerist world is that we’ve largely replaced mastering of a topic or area with collecting stuff regarding it!  We’ve replaced personal accomplishment with personal collections.  Instead of learning the ins and outs of music, we just collect music.  Instead of absorbing and mastering philosophy, or history, or calligraphy, or anything, we buy things that are about them and then point to these collections of stuff as a sign of our mastery/expertise without ever having to invest the time and energy that is necessary to actually master them.

Just a thought.  What do you think?  Are these just games?  Or indicators of a decline in our culture’s ability to commit?  What things in your own life have you found yourself taking the easy route by collecting stuff instead of time and energy?  For me it’s been writing and illustration.  I’ve collected piles of stuff that should be used to better my craft but have still yet to put the effort into it.

Sustaining the Energy for Change

If you’re looking for direction, you’fe come to the wrong place. I’ve got no clue. I’m writing this as I’m thinking it out, muddling through it. I’d say this was an attempt at dialectic but there isn’t anyone here to respond to my questions. The name doesn’t really matter, I’m throwing out ideas as they come and we’ll see what sticks..

So there’s the question. How do you do it? How do you overcome the inertia of your life when you get a brilliant idea or you recognize areas of your life that you don’t like? The idea, the revelation, is easy enough it doesn’t take any energy or persistence. Ideas come all the time to everyone, acting on them, and then sustaining them that’s the difficulty. I have journals, txt files, scraps of paper, indez cards, stick-its, all full of great ideas, and I’m not bull-shiting you either. Some of these ideas are the kind that you can build a career, life, empire out of even.  I’ve even half-assed followed some of them through, laid part of the groundwork for something great. So what though, I’m not bragging here, telling you how great and smart I am, great ideas like that come to everyone, everyone. Sit in a coffee shop or diner for a day and take notes you’d walk out with enough great ideas to last a lifetime. My ideas are shit as long as they stay on all that paper.

See, there we are back at the problem, is it fear of failure? fear of greatness? fear of standing out of the crowd? I’ve started on some of these ideas, put some time and effort it, only to see myself lose the energy to follow through, lose interest in the idea, and I’ve sat and watched everything I’d worked on cave in on itself. So why looking back on my life so far do I only see lots of foundations, some even have the beginnings of a superstructure, there are no monuments though.

I’m going around the idea in my head, over and over, and perhaps that’s the problem. I sit here thinking about an idea so much that by the time I DO something about it I’ve already become bored with the idea. You can live a thousand lives in the blink of an eye, and see the actions of all your decisions in a heartbeat. Reflecting constantly on what the consequences of your actions will be so thoroughly so that, you no longer are even intrigued by those consequences can go a long way in killing any desire to act on them.

I’m not going to advocate acting on a thought or idea without any forethought on what it entails, that’s too irreponsible. I’m going to try and stop living so much in my head though, less time thinking just what and how I should do something and just try doing it… Maybe then it’ll stay fresh enough, I can sustain it long enough to see some of the change I want to see in my life, or not. I don’t know how thise thing works 😛

So talk back to me here, am I wrong? right?… Let’s go ahead and try that dialectic thing I talked about. It worked for Socrates and look where it got him……..Oh.

Thoughts on Atheism and being Alone.

I’m an Atheist and so I believe that the universe and this planet were not created especially for us humans, and that it moves on unaware of us and uncaring. Indeed it can’t do either as it isn’t a person and doesn’t have any intelligence. I was raised a Christian and I sometimes miss the wonderment and mystery that theology brought me, feelings I believe every faith brings to its followers. Let me explain:

I’m going to talk about Christianity first as it is the most popular religion in the USA, the modern Church doesn’t talk about it much, they like to play down the supernatural parts of their religion, for some reason they’re still trying to compete with Science which is a game you can’t win, but anyhow. There is all sorts of magic and mystery to the Christian faith. All types of angels, legions of demons, lesser gods, demi-gods, earth spirits, witches, the mystery of blood sacrifice, the mystery of communion, saints… On and on. A Christian world is one full of invisible and powerful forces working for and against you, forces that can be controlled or turned to your will! That’s pretty amazing! The same goes for the worlds that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and every other theistic or supernatural inclined person lives in. The world I live in is empty, vast and completely indifferent to my struggles, furthermore it is indifferent to the struggles of everyone and everything. Humanity is alone in it. If we are not alone we are separated from anything else by such vast lengths that we will never know them and they will never hear from us. So yeah, a materialistic view of the universe can be full of wonder and mystery but it is a distant, uncaring one.

As a human I instinctively want the world and the universe to care about me. Narcissistic? Yeah, but that’s Humans for you. Religion answers that need, it makes you feel safe and cared for… I miss that sometimes…

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