The Designs of Humanity

Sometimes I think about who we are.

Things I’d like to do more often

1. Play Go
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2. Drink Coffee
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3. Read Classics
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4. Set Letterpress Type
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What would you do with more free time?

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Change

I think I’ve figured it out. What’s it, you ask? Change. People fear it, create it, adapt to it, and ironically enough, need it. Take for example a slow day. When nothing’s happening, we come down with this awfully dreadful condition we call boredom. Really, this is just our way of saying “change something” to the world around us. Or how about fearing change? We’ve just established that it’s something we need, so why do we often fear it so much? Well, studies will tell you that humans (like most other creatures) are creatures of habit—meaning that an astronomical percentage of what we do is done simply because we’ve done it before. This experienced feeling we have from repeating actions which have worked well for us in the past gives a sense of belonging. Belonging gives humans purpose. As I’m beginning to understand, the ability to change one’s self is the most amazing way in which humans use change. We adapt. I just learned today that Eskimos who eat raw fish almost always end up developing parasitic stomach worms. Like me, you might grimace at that and say “fix that,” but just wait. Studies have been done showing that, while simply cooking the fish (as if it’s really simple that far north) would keep the worms from showing up, it would also remove certain nutrients from the Eskimo diet that helps their immune systems handle the worms. These people have adapted to their environment, and without even trying. The next level of this type of change is seen when it becomes voluntary. By taking control of one’s life, he/she can become increasingly stable in increasingly unstable conditions. In certain religions, people who meditate for extended periods of time have learned through conscious practice how to lower their heart rate and need for oxygen to a point where they can be buried alive for several hours, be dug up, and remain in perfectly good health. If these people can discipline themselves into a state that defies even death, who’s to say that much of anything is beyond reach?
For the last several months I’ve been reading up on what makes a person wise. The best answer I’ve come up with for attempting to summarize this virtue is “the ability to understand and adapt to change.” There, now practice changing.

Filed under: belonging, change, comfort, conditioning, coping, creativity, decisions, eskimo, fear, fish, growth, independence, learning, strength, trauma, Uncategorized, worms

Mind-stripping

It is my latest epiphany that the only thing worth living for is giving. Allow me to exemplify this with a little tale.

One night I awoke from my slumber to a voice in the next room. I quickly remembered that my grandfather was sleeping in the next room for a few nights while recovering from medical difficulties. At first it was hard to make out what he was saying, but I soon realized that he was talking to no one but himself, even in his dreams. He became more audible as he continued, mumbling phrases like “music was my life… I used to be so great at it. And now I can’t even play my instruments.” He continued on, his mind dealing with other things he’s lost with his age. “I used to play tennis every day, and now I can barely hold a racket.” I was aghast with the thought that someday I too will be in his position.

What will I say in my sleep? What things will my subconscious take upon itself to unload from my mind as I waste away in my sleep?

Then it hit me. The only things that my subconscious will never have to handle in such a way are those things which I’ve given away. What things in life are so important that we really need to attend to more than giving? After all, we’ll all grow old, and all our joys will be stripped from us… save for one—observing the fruits of our efforts in generosity.

Filed under: change, comfort, decisions, dream, friendship, generosity, helping, importance, interaction, loneliness, losing, loss, priorities, sleep, Uncategorized

Sleep to Dream

Life is too short to ever decide that you don’t have enough energy to do that which is at hand. If you live by this, it will be quite rare that you find a person who is not willing to let you sleep. In this is discovered the secret to rest: If one lives in such a way as to invoke a good night’s sleep, his/her mind will also be rested—even throughout the storm that is his/her waking hours. We were not made to sleep in order to live but rather the opposite—living to sleep. And to sleep deeply after living accordingly is more satisfying than even the most revered of pleasures in this life.

The sleeper by whom life is fully lived can only be rewarded by the greatest of impossibilities. For in the same way that one should live to sleep, one should also sleep to dream. And for one who fully appreciates the idea of living to sleep, the prospect of continued life in the form of wondrous dreams becomes appealing.

In light of this, the purpose of dreams becomes clear. To dream the impossible is to continue living when the bounds of reality have halted one’s experiences. In this way one can grow to appreciate the impossible, because it is an opportunity to continue living when little or no other venues exist to do so.

Filed under: adventure, dream, impossible, living, opportunity, rest, sleep, Uncategorized

Sacrament

It’s been said that if man was meant to fly then we’d have wings. Why can’t we have wings? Are we not trusted enough? I often feel like people hold back my wings from me. So many rules, so much red tape. I feel like I can’t make a difference in the world unless i BS my way into the system and then slip my way craftily into my elders’ minds. Why can’t people listen to the innocence of youth? There’s something amazing that a child has before being dumbed down by people—a 100% human fresh view on things. They see and feel what really goes on even before anyone asks for their money or time. maybe if someday people listen to children instead of stealing their innocence, we’d keep the wings we all had from the start.

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déjà vu

this morning i woke up in my room—in my room at home. i’m still waiting to actually wake up. this can’t be real. i’ve dreamt this too many times to not wake up to a cold dusty room in italy. sooner or later it’ll either hit me that i’m actually home or that this is the most elaborate dream i’ve ever had.
i never knew it was possible for someone to idolize an event like this. when i think of someone worshiping an idol, i think of someone going crazy over kurt cobain, or even buying the nicest newest subs for their car and thinking they’re the deal. never this. i’ve been thinking about being home for so long that not waking up from the dream seems more unreal than dreaming.
now that i’m home, i’m appreciating everything i see. i take different routes driving home—just because i can. i guess the one last thing that i’ve learned from the experience of italy is carpe diem. while i want to be anywhere but italy right now, i know some day i’ll miss some of the things i experienced there. i might even wish i wasn’t spending my time longing for home. ah well. the grass is always greener…

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ride with hitler.

why don’t we ever miss people until they’re gone forever? i would like to suggest that perhaps it’s because we’re conditioned to. ever since the moment we’re born, no one is ever truly alone. sure, for expanses of time one can be isolated — but even in that time, people are thinking of them, and there’s the hope that someone still cares embedded deep in the nature of humanity.

while this picture was meant to be war propaganda, and no doubt accomplished it’s goal, it also illustrates my point. even if your allegiance is with someone others despise, there’s always someone who will take you in.
the message i draw from this is that there’s never any reason to worry about being alone. worrying about such a thing only makes it harder for you to remedy your situation. if worst comes to worst, climb on board with hitler. he’s probably good company.

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your skull

asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.
-George Orwell, 1984

it’s true. take a look at what events have happened to you recently. could you stop all or any of them from happening? maybe hypothetically you can stop something from happening, but in all surity, nothing is 100% under control. if you think otherwise, try playing the “what if” game. for every situation, there’s something that could potentially put us out of control of our own lives. as stated by georgio, the only bit we can control is the few cubic centimeters inside our skulls.
While most of us consider Descartes a total whack-job for wrinkling the grey matter over the most basic if>then loop (“i think, therefore i am”), the fact remains that he was right. the reason this loop is so important is that, setting aside cases of insanity and the possibility of predestination, this just so happens to be the only thing we can control.
what does all this mean? simply that the world will do what the world does, and we need only to make the best decisions we can.
oh, by the way, read 1984.

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the lake of losing

when mixing music, i get a lot of time to sit and think about each and every word that makes it on the track. this morning i woke up to a song i recorded with allison robins, called “ the lake of losing“. it’s a heavily metaphorical song in places, and in others it’s justly direct. one of my favorite lines is “all the lights through the room shut their eyes, step back, fall back, into the lake of losing.” because it shows the type of blind faith it takes to lose everything. the song follows the underlying metaphor that there’s nothing like losing certain things, and it even goes on to say that “losing is such a lovely thing indeed.”
maybe losing the things we’ve been preparing ourselves to lose is really just a form of liberation. listen to it, and chew on it.

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reasons to keep dreaming


it’s been said that nightmares are manifested directly from the the things a person fears the most. so having a nightmare sounds horrible. but could it be that they serve a purpose as well?
assuming that the above statement is true, a nightmare is as close as we may ever come to experiencing our worst fears. after waking up -heart pounding, sweaty-palmed- don’t just shrug off a nightmare as a crazy manifestation that could never happen. while maybe some things dreamed could never actually happen, they may prepare your mind for something equally mortifying.
could it be that dreaming of something awful that you hope will never happen could be a good thing? if your mind has already dealt with the aftermath of said horrible event, then in the case of that very thing happening, your mind would be able to handle it much better.
in a crude comparison, it’s like the way television desensitizes a small child. while our minds are in a particularly impressionable state, they’re exposed to horrific things, and therefore they can handle it with reduced stress the next time. while it takes a small child a long time to desensitize to something like death, the most effective viewing is the first one. with dreaming, the horrific things we’re exposed to come directly from our greatest fears. what better thing with which to desensitize a mind? so could it be that one nightmare could desensitize our minds to a tragedy just enough that, were the tragedy to actually happen, it would no longer induce the potential mental breakdown?
it surely points out the irony in the phrase “in your dreams.”
sleep tight.

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