Posts tagged philosophic
Posts tagged philosophic
Yeah, so you’re an Orc and you’re not that great with magic… but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn it and do it. You might never be as good as the Elves (who are born with latent magic skill) but there is literally no reason why you can’t be a mage, if that’s what you really want in life. It will be harder and there will be those who don’t understand your struggle, but if you really want it, you can be it.
So it is in real life. I mean, it’s tempting to believe that everyone is equally able to do all things and that anyone can master any skill, but that’s really not true. Some people are just better by nature at certain things than others. Certain traits my be common along certain lines be they genetic or social, but really it’s a crap shoot, and you get the dice roll at birth.
But, like the Orc mage… just because you’re not born good at something or even born bad at something that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn it and do it. Provided you aren’t saddled with a truly crippling disorder, provided you can learn, then you can be whatever you want to be.
That’s the great thing about being alive: You can change and you have the power to shape that change in the direction you desire. So long as you live, you have hope to be that dream.
That despite my long time contention that I’m horrible with words, I am, in fact, not bad with words. Perhaps even gifted?
I was thinking about this today, while sitting in the 103 degree weather, playing Words With Friends of all things. It suddenly occurred to me that, if you had asked me a few years ago if I would enjoy a game that is essentially online scrabble, my reaction would be one of ashamed denial. I have always held that I am not good with words, due to the mistakes I make and the conditions with which I was diagnosed.
See, I grew up with both dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. Both of these disorders are supposed to hinder one’s ability to learn and process language. Now let’s be clear: There is no doubt that I have these two conditions. I show or have shown all the symptoms. I was even formally diagnosed with ADD. And this is not to say that I do not have my fair share of problems even today. Without Firefox’s built-in spell-checker, there would be a great many more spelling mistakes my posts, and there are a lot of dyslexic mistakes I catch myself making, especially while typing, where it’s fairly easy for me to get letters and words switched around. For example: In the last sentence, I nearly spelled ‘fairly’ as ‘fiarly’ and arranged the phrase ‘fairly easy for me’ as ‘fairly for easy me’. Still… I caught it and corrected it as I was typing.
It has come to be my firmest belief that a lot of this is owed to my family, especially my grandmother. It wasn’t very long ago that I learned that she has ADD and dyslexia, only worse than I do. She has a lot of trouble reading and can only read about half as quickly as most of us. Yet there are books everywhere in her house. Books on wildlife, books on anthropology, and magazines from all sorts of scientific periodicals. Despite her great trouble with reading, my grandmother keeps reading. I’ve never seen her without a book or magazine in her car with several clothes pins keeping different places she wished to remember.
And my mother! She read to me every night and found me books to help me learn to read. She brought me TinTin as a bedtime story and encouraged me to read them myself.
The point is that, as a child I learned a valuable lesson:
Even if you find something difficult, that does not excuse you from doing it.
The only way to truly overcome a weakness is to keep working at it, otherwise the skill will only fade further, until it truly does become a disability.
I have often been told that I need to work outside my comfort zone to improve my artistic skills.
Apparently so that I can better provide people with entertainment that doesn’t challenge their comfort zones.
Robin Williams - Reality… What a Concept (1979) Part 2 of 3
I post this part first because it begins with his Temple of Comedy skit. Above all else I see humor as a way to alleviate stress and wipe away sorrow. A well placed joke can make a person laugh even through the deepest funk and I think Robin knew that. He has said that he developed his sense of humor in trying to cheer up his mother when she was sad and it shows in the jokes he plays out. He is never hateful or spiteful, instead he revels in the madness, the craziness of life, laughing at it and about it with child-like glee.
Life is crazy, inexplicable and sometimes very trying, but through humor we can overcome and learn to smile again.
It’s like pebbles on a shore, there are some you like and want to collect and there are others you don’t like and don’t bother with. You build your little pile of pebbles, gathering the ones you like. And that’s fine. You’d be content if that’s all there was to it. But then people come along and knock your pile over and scatter the pebbles around, telling you that you should like their favorite pebbles and that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. And, if this goes on long enough you start to get defensive of your little pile. You hide it, protect it and lash out at anyone you think might be trying to knock it over. Eventually it goes too far and you start knocking over other people’s piles just because you feel threatened, because they remind you of the people who knocked over your pile. And suddenly you’re one of those you hated, you’ve become the person you despised.
It’s not your fault, though. You learned this behavior to protect yourself. If you’re lucky you can recognize it and try to defuse it before it goes too far. Or pull yourself back before you cause serious harm.
The thing about ideals is that they aren’t meant to be something that you can always succeed at. Idealism is not about what is or what can be done right now, but about what you wish to be and hope to be for the future.
I will readily admit that my ideals are, perhaps, too lofty. I believe in love, honor, compassion, selflessness and all those things that people laugh at you about whenever you talk about them in earnest. And, really, looking around the world you can find lots of reasons that seem to suggest that the cynical people in this world are right. There are a lot of terrible people in this world and a lot of terrible things happening every day.
Sometimes it’s enough to make one feel depressed, like there’s no hope for humanity. Sometimes one wants to just give up, feeling that they’re fighting against an indomitable wave of awful things.
But then you make a joke or do something kind and someone smiles. A single, genuine smile and you realize that for one, brief moment you shed some light on their day. You added something to their lives that can never be taken away. And, if you can do it once… why not twice? Why not a dozen times? Why not a million? You could make a lot of people happy, even if in just a small way every day.
As a young man I learned perhaps the most significant lesson of my life from the most unlikely of sources: Myst. A video game.
The game itself is wonderful and a lot of fun and has several lessons that can be taken from it, but this hit me in such a way that I have never forgotten it. It wasn’t even a significant part of the game - just a passage in a journal, where Atrus describes his attempts to create an Age that could support the D’ni in their new civilization. It was in the third game, Exile, in his Releeshahn journal.
I no longer need to worry about which underlying concept - energy, nature, or dynamic forces - I should make prevalent in the Age. Rather, I must strive to include them all. I must write a balance of systems into the descriptive Book, enough so that the D’ni people will constantly be challenged to attain their ultimate potential. As Grandmother often pointed out to me when we spoke about Ages back on Myst, balanced systems stimulate civilizations.
There is a great deal more in his journal, most of it back-story. The points are embedded in Myst-lore and obfuscated in the somewhat eccentric character of Atrus, but the point that stood out to me, reading about his line of reasoning was this: Balance is the key to life.
For life to grow, there must be change, chaos, energy and dynamic force to drive it, but by the same token there must be stability, order, nature to refine those changes. Without one or the other, life would wither. Without change, life could not be, for there would be no changes that would create life. And without stability there would be nothing to preserve the changes that promote life and allow them to take hold.
It was an enlightening moment, to suddenly realize that there was more to the question than a black-and-white, one-or-the-other choice and it was a realization that could be applied to many aspects of life. Chaos and Order, Life and Death, Creation and Destruction, political views and philosophical perspectives… suddenly I saw it not as a series of choices, where one had to devote their mind to a single view, but a sort of bubbling mass, where one could see the benefits of each given option and select the portions that brought the best results. A little chaos here, a little Order there, destroy this, create that, do this for the people, but this for the government, reflect upon that subjectively and view the other objectively.
Because any one of those is worse than the whole when combined in a balanced manner.
All things together make life.
And so it is that another year comes to an end.
A lot of people see this as a time for frivolous partying, drinking, and that’s fine. However a person wishes to celebrate the new year is fine by me. For my own part, I have always seen the new year as a time of reverence. A time to reflect upon all that has been, what is now, and what is desired to be.
Two-thousand and eleven has been a strange and heavy year for me. It was my twenty-ninth year of life on this little blue-green marble we call home and with it came the sudden realization that I will soon be thirty years old. To those already past that point, thirty must seem trivial, but to me it struck a sudden chord. Thirty is when you are no longer a young-adult, but just an adult. You are officially grown up. Now, while I will always stand by the Fourth Doctor with the idea that there’s no point in growing up, if you can’t act childish sometimes, I realize that I’m not getting younger and that soon I will be entering into an uphill battle with age. When a person hits forty, their body starts to slow down. I’m not exactly in the best of shape right now, and it will only get harder to get into shape as I get older. Ten years isn’t a short time, but it isn’t a long time either. This, then, is my wake up call to get a move on and pull myself together.
There have been many wake up calls this year. My mother has been going through a lot of medical problems, making me realize how ill prepared I am for anything that might happen to me, reenforcing the idea that I need to get myself into shape or things will just get worse for me.
And then there was my father. My father had been on a downward spiral for years and when he went into the hospital with cancer, we who were still close to him knew he wouldn’t make it out. We never imagined, however, that it would be as painful a process as it was. The speed with which he degraded after he got into the hospital was astonishing, yet somehow it just dragged on and on for several months as the doctors tried different treatments. In the end it was clear his heart just wasn’t in it, he had given up and eventually he died due to complications arising from his treatments.
This was a difficult time for me, to say the least. My father wasn’t the greatest man in the world, but he wasn’t a terrible person either. He had serious emotional troubles and was unable to cope with a lot of them. But, I loved him as my father, even if I knew he couldn’t really love me back.
His passing made me again take stock of my life and realize that I had to do something about my life, to take hold of it. I didn’t want to wind up in a hospital like that.
But never are there clouds that aren’t broken by sunshine. This year also brought me a lot of joy.
I transferred to a new store where I met some nice people who I would be proud to call my friends, giving me much hope for my social life. This has also brought me a decent increase in hours and some very nice paychecks which have made a lot of what has come to pass this year much easier to manage.
It has also been a year for me to return to my artistic roots. I found my old notebooks and have felt compelled to begin again on The Story and to that end I created this blog (although it has had less time here than I had wanted, but I aim to change that). I have felt desire to draw again, and my camera has clicked away like mad on the greatest vacation I have ever had.
And on that note, I had the greatest vacation I ever this year. I visited a very good friend that I hadn’t seen in far too long and was reminded that, hey, I’m not really that impossible of a person to be friends with. It was a vacation for fun and with a mission.
There have also been small personal victories as I saw those who chose their paths frivolously yet boasted to me of their choices (much to my annoyance) flounder as their lack of conviction and passion failed them. This sounds spiteful (and it is >:D) but it also reaffirmed that I was doing the right thing by choosing my path from my heart, rather than by outside pressure.
Finally, I have taken up a membership at a local gym and have been working out with the aim of getting into shape. I haven’t done spectacularly, although that can be somewhat blamed on starting during the major holiday season, where making any kind of solid routine is always tricky. But this is a major step for me. I am not in good shape, physically, and I have been too cynical about myself to make changes, but with all that has happened, good and bad, I have found the strength to change.
Change. That will be the theme for two-thousand and twelve. It will take courage, and strength of conviction, but the dividends will be priceless. I will get in shape. I will become the artist I have always desired to be. I will make my place in this world as an adult.
And so it is that a new year begins.
Happy New Year :)