Broken


Was driving and i saw this on a car

well, not exactly this, but it was really close, i just can’t remember exactly what it was..

brother
1986-2006
missing you.
so much.

There are some things that can never really leave you. When not merely choice or disposition changes you but rather an event, there is no turning back. Life doesn’t get less empty.

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Psycho Child


This is probably one of the first post ideas I had, but there were some things about myself I didn’t quite want to reveal. Mainly that one of the places I interned at was a psychiatric clinic. I guess I just didn’t want people to just assume I’m just full of crap just because that was/is something I have been considering doing for a living. I also wanted there to be more time to forget any details for confidentiality purposes..not that i’m really saying anything that would bother anyone anyways…

anyways..

One day a lady came in to do the usual thing. Talk about what was going on in her life, her stressors, etc etc. She brought her kid along (i’d approximate his age around 7) so he wouldn’t have to stay in the waiting room without her and feel anxious/scared etc. So far great.

There kid, let’s call him sam, picked up this crystal cube art thing from the desk. it looked like

that motorcycle, except it was a brain. Pretty cool I guess. But man the kid was amazed. He was just holding it, then rotating it, looking at it from different angles, etc. And then his mom stopped talking to us and started yelling at him for a bit(she wasn’t particularly nasty/mean or anything though). Then, seemingly a little embarrassed, she continued whatever it was she was talking about (i don’t really remember what she was talking about anymore). Sam tried picking it up again when she wasn’t paying attention and after getting yelled at again picked up something different. probably a pen but i don’t really remember. and then got yelled at again.

That really got to me.

There aren’t many times when i’m genuinely angry, but this was definitely one of them. I held me tongue because I knew she didn’t mean anything bad, but I think about it all the time.

How could someone do that?

First off, he was minding his own business. He wasn’t disturbing anyone at all. And obviously hearing his mom talk about very emotional things is uncomfortable, especially for such a young kid. And he has no choice but to sit in that room and hear it all. At least let him escape a little bit.

But that’s not even the biggest deal.

Sam is a young kid. And he was amazed. When was the last time you were truly amazed by anything at all? honestly think about it. As we’ve grown older, we’ve just gotten so used to this world..so tired..the things all around us, the “regular every day things”, are just that. regular. Taken for granted. I bet you don’t even think about half the things you see or use. Because i know i don’t. Think about the coke you’re drinking right now. not even that. just the can. how amazing is that? how did you ever get numb to how amazing that is? Think about the electrons buzzing around in that thing, the metal covalently bonded, that thing can TRANSFER HEAT! it’s crazy! and it’s not even like…”solid”. how solid is anything, really? All the people that mined that ore. the years it took to come up with that final blue print to make the shape of the can we’re using right now. how much thought has gone into such a thing. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the can. We could go on for hours and hours. perhaps years. perhaps centuries. and then theres the drink inside of it!

Do you remember what felt like to be a kid when everything was just so new? I don’t.

And it’s not because i understand how everything works at all. How much do you really understand about the things around you? not the special crazy scientific gadgets, even the regular things. Like the fan. or your jacket. or the kitchen stove.

Sam was still at that stage. He’s had something beautiful. The world was still interesting. There were still things worth seeing and living for. Don’t spoil it, it’s short enough as it is.

and she was embarrassed?? she apologized to us for her son acting up?! and in front of her son too??

who’s opinion matters more? our opinion of her or her SON’S opinion of her?

she should be embarrassed, but to him. not us.

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Mixed Messages


We are all equal.

Most of you would agree with that, right? I’m pretty sure, at least in this country (i’m in the u.s.a), most people would say they agree with that statement too.

“oh, i see where you’re going with this. you’re going to explain to all the uneducated people the genetic advantages white people have which doesn’t make us better people but still th-” no. stfu.

All i’m trying to say is we’re sending a mixed bag of messages. Even if you agree to that to a varying degree like, “I believe all people are naturally equal, but some people do bad things and some people are nicer and do good deeds and hence some are better or worse people”. still, what we are teaching makes no sense.

Competition.

What makes the winner more deserving of a trophy or cash etc?

“It’s just good sport, you’re being silly”

just hear me out for a second. What could possibly make me more entitled to what i want than someone else? Just because I’m more skilled at shooting a ball into a hoop or breaking people’s legs, I deserve my desires more than other people? wtf?? And when we’re competing, how do we justifythis to ourselves? because i want it more? how does wanting something more than someone else make one more deserving of something? This makes no sense!!

We need to be very careful of the things we do and teach, because people pick up on the messages we are sending them. even if we aren’t speaking. and they don’t even realize it.

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Causes


One of the major reasons I wanted a blog was personal insight. I wanted a way to not only catch myself making mistakes but honestly call myself out on the things I do. I’m not really looking to become a better person, but I’d like to be conscious of not only the identity i see myself as having but rather the person I actually am. eg: one could see one’s self as a “classy” and “cultured” person who listens to a variety of music (see:old jazz) but, if in reality, you are usually found listening to death metal then you are just fooling yourself. Who you see yourself as and what your thoughts are aren’t necessarily you. You aren’t the identity you want, you are the identity you use to make decisions with.

I want to have a more accurate understanding of who I really am, because, to be honest, I’m not really sure anymore. Upon reflection, a lot of my actions do not reflect the identity i want, hence who the fuck am i? currently, drunk pirate. Once I digest this redbull, a very awake drunk pirate. See, i’m getting better at this already!

Anyways, all this talk of identity and alcohol got me side tracked; there was a point to this post, just gimme a minute to remember.

Ah, yes.

Understanding Vs. Blaming

When we do things that are contrary to what we believe our identity to be, we experience an uneasy feeling of tension called “Dissonance”. It sucks. So we try to reduce it by justifying things that shouldn’t be justified. This isn’t so other people don’t know. It is so we don’t know. So we can sleep at night.

eg: I beat some kid up on the bus in 3rd grade (i didn’t actually do this). But my vision of my identity is that of a good kid etcetc. So i may justify it by “oh he deserved it. He took my eraser. uhh. he was really annoying. He always says mean things. He’s actually a bad kid. etc.” This makes it easier for us to live with ourselves; we don’t have to face the fact that we aren’t who we think we are.

When we make a mistake, often time’s when we process why we made such mistake, instead of understanding, we blame. By blaming, we are able to take the fault off of us, therefore protect our identity. “My identity would never do something like that. Only jerks do that.” Pause to see reasons why we did that.”Oh, it’s all because of such and such blah blah blah not my fault blah blah my identity is good i’m not a jerk blah blah” LAME

I caught myself almost do this the other day. well like 3 weeks ago. something like that. you get the idea.

I was driving  my car. I was at a stop sign. I had been waiting for a bit and 3 seconds after the school bus passed me i started to take my turn. I managed to stop almost right away (I probably moved an inch or so…) but my intentions were well conveyed to the car I almost cut off. At first I felt bad. for about .003 seconds. Then i realized it wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t see him/her coming, so naturally i started to go. Allow me to give you a visual.

Not my fault

Luckily i caught myself before i justified away this incident. Sure, it was small, probably not a big deal. The other driver probably forgot about it within a few minutes. If those last 2 sentences meant anything to you, you’re missing the point of this post. Those sentences/thoughts are distractors to help us forget that we made a mistake at all, it shifts the focus away from us.

The school bus really was blocking my vision. But one has to be careful not to take this too far and blame the school bus/blame the situation.

To blame is to say that the school bus was in my way so i couldn’t possibly have known he/she was coming so it’s not my fault. In fact, it was the best decision one could make in such a situation without knowing they were coming.

To understand is to ‘realize, yes, i made that decision because i did not see the car coming, but it was a bad decision and potentially dangerous. Since the school bus was blocking my vision, i should have waited until it was gone and my vision was clear. Hence, it was completely my mistake–i fucked up, this sucks–, but now I have a better understanding of why i did it and can avoid it in the future if i so choose.

It can get tricky here, though. Sometimes people get this far, and they manage to understand and not blame. Then they(by they I mean me =P) take the guilt off of themselves by thinking “I’m a much better person for understanding and not blaming. “and they continue with that line of thought until the mistake they made seems much smaller and in fact they feel better than they did before they made the mistake because it has showed them how good of a person they are. especially when compared to people who blame the situation.

Ah the mind games we play with ourselves. If you feel better about yourself after you make a mistake, perhaps something is wrong? You certainly don’t have to/shouldn’t cry and kill yourself, but we have to understand the things we are actually doing. like, in the physical world. The world with other people. Other people with lives as complete as yours. Lives equal to yours.

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More plants?


If a tree falls in the middle of a forest, but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The questions a people ask tell more about them than the answers they find.

and that is scary.

That question, albeit a bit silly, is the general hallmark for intellect. People who think about things like that are smart. We should aspire to think so deeply. etc. etc.

There aren’t enough cigarettes in the world to get me through this question. The possible answers are just distractions. The implications of this question are fathomable, but I wish they weren’t.

Here, let me rephrase it: If a tree falls in the middle of a forest, but you aren’t around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Didn’t notice the difference? that’s the point.

We may be trying to reward intellect and higher thinking, but we made a mistake. We’re accidentally (at least I hope it’s an accident) rewarding selfishness.

the implications of this question are that..perhaps I am the only major character in this play. Without me, nothing actually happens. No one actually exists aside from me.

what hurts more, a friend saying something mean or a friend who stops talking to you?

When people stop acknowledging your existence, why does that hurt? They have their own lives, entirely independent of ours. I may not be there to hear them cry, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. I may not be around to see them laugh, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. That tree may fall and i may be dead, but it will still make sound. despite me. independent of me.

The world doesn’t revolve around us. Seriously.

One day, I will die. and 6+ billion people will continue living their lives completely unchanged. Their lives will be just as full or empty. I had nothing to do with it.

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a different kind of identity theft


I was sitting in a car one day (I wasn’t driving) just zoning out. Somehow my mind wandered onto the population of various personality inventories, career aptitude tests, etc I’ve taken. Particularly one question.

Q. I am able to rotate/manipulate/control/enslave 3d objects in my head.
(a)This question totally describes me.
(b)This question sorta describes me.
(c)Neutral.
(d)This question doesn’t really describe me.
(e)This question is very very very very very different from me.

uhm….maybe? no? idk!! damn you 5th grade and your silly testing!!

Neutral it is. lol

Skip forward a few years….

There was that one kid. Let’s call him ‘Joseph’.  I didn’t really know ‘Joseph’ all that well, but he was in a few of my classes so I had a feel for who he was. I had a feel for his identity, if you will. He had one secret, though which would take me years to find out. The year in high school when our computer science teacher decided to RANDOMLY ASSIGN LAB PARTNERS. I don’t really remember much about that lab. it had something to do with some funny bugs that moved around and programming them to do things that even god couldn’t imagine (BUGS WERE NEVER MEANT TO FORM THE ALPHABET, EVEN DIGITAL ONES!!! AHHHH). ‘Joseph’s’ secret. focus. sorry. He was just staring into the air one day and pointing at things AND THEN THE COMPUTER EXPLODED!. if only…Joseph was staring at the air and pointing and making strange affirming sounds (“mm” “aha” “yes yes”) he noticed the perplexed/slightly worried look on my face. Quick to explain away the crazy vibes I was getting, he told me that he was rotating our bugs around (IN HIS HEAD) to figure out exactly how to make them into the letters. “It’s a family thing. My dad can do it too, it drives my  mom crazy!”

I finally found it. all these years he was just hiding under my nose. Joseph was the type of person that could answer “(a) yes, that totally describes me!!!!”.  This type of ability was completely foreign to me. I didn’t even know that it was some sort of innate ability that people just had until i took that test. and until i found joseph. man, i wish i could do that.

I couldn’t even begin to imagine what that must be like, but i was bored and it was a long car ride, so i decided to try anyways. I imagined joseph sitting there looking off into the air. But since it was my imagination i could see his thoughts and what he was seeing too. I gave him a 3d shape and woah it just like appeared in his gaze and he could just rotate it and move it how ever he wanted. SO COOL! i could never actually know if that is how it was for him but thats how i imagined it. I was so impressed that i gave my imaginary joseph lots of other shapes to play around with so i could watch him manipulate them without anything ever even being there. what skill.

And then it hit me. Like a brick.

I was the one messing with the shapes. In my mind. not him. Albeit i was imagining him in my mind doing it and watching him, but if my imaginary people do it, that means i am doing it! It all goes back to the wording of that question. and his wording of his abilities. Instead of asking me to describe a skill with the question, they asked me to describe my identity with a question. Big difference. I was a kid so I internalized this question without even thinking about it. That statement does not describe me. It is not inherent to my identity.

Identity does more than just “define who you are”. Identity defines what you do. When presented with choices, the way we make the decision to do something is by ..eliminating some of the choices. We eliminate some by physiological needs etc. But what is often forgot is we eliminate a lot of possible choices instantly by identity.

eg: Murder and/or rape is not an action inherent to a “good person”. When someone says mean things to me, murder and/or rape are two choices which aren’t even considered, because they are not consistent with the identity i have chosen for myself (in this example, a “good person”).

Perhaps when you find yourself unable to do something, cant figure out a problem, etc, imagine you are someone who can. Like an actual identity you know well enough that you can imagine. eg. a good friend, a character in a tv show you watch often, etc.

and not just “what would Will from the fresh prince of bell aire do?”. rather, just imagine Will as a person in your head or imagine you are him and actually in the situation.

identity borrowing?

ps: I hate proof reading x[

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you have a 87% chance of dying at some point or another


There are a few things about statistics that people often get wrong. And then they tell everyone. it’s like the commutative property of fail. And it is scary.

Lesson 1: Statistics tell you about groups, not individuals.

an obvious example is that if i spray perfume in a room, the amount of molecules will eventually be evenly dispersed. if you forget/dropped-out-of-middleschool, it’s called diffusion.But this doesn’t tell you anything about what molecule will go where.

but that is just public school mumbo jumbo. Studies are science, they use percentages! it’s proof!

uhm…

okay, let’s say “randomly” select a group of 80 people (n=80). 50% become morbidly obese within a year.

then i repeat the study 30 more times and get the same results.

so far so good. now for the tricky part.

If/when I do the study again, is it accurate to tell the participants that they have a 50% chance of becoming obese?

NO!

Not because of silly things like placebo or self fulfilling prophecy or experimenter bias or whatever else you’re thinking. It’s because that statement is wrong. sort of.

To me, as a researcher, each person in that study has as much as a chance of becoming obese as another (50%), because I know nothing about them as individuals (aside from their existence).

Maybe this will help. Let’s say we analyzed the obese and not-obese groups and noticed that the morbidly-obese group all ate tacobell every day and drove to get their mail. The not-obese group exercised 5 days a week and were vegetarians. Nothing has changed about the study, we just looked at the people closer.

Now when i do the study again, is it safe to tell the participants that they have a 50% chance of becoming obese, without knowing if they are the type that exercises 5 days a week etc.?

Note: i’m not actually a researcher, but that shouldn’t matter. This is the internet.

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