Increments

Increments

Increments: Sometimes it might be easy to fall into the trap of measuring ourselves against the visible successes of others. You might see social media personalities with amazing skills, quick wit, an impeccable home life, or with seemingly all the best and most popular friends; and in those moments it would be easy to fall into a downward spiraling, “woe is me” type despair. Saying to yourself, “I could never be like so-and-so. Everything for them is so perfect.” Maybe you’ve found yourself in this spot right now, comparing your life to what you see in Instagram filters… Well cheer up. I’m here to share some good news.
Yes, you’re right. You can never be exactly like the perfect so-and-sos: you could never have their house, their exact style, or relationships. We can only be ourselves: either better or worse versions of ourselves, but, in the end, only ourselves. And so I’d like to present the idea that the best person we should be comparing ourselves to is ourselves: have we made terrible decisions yesterday? Make better ones today, in increments, in ways that maybe no one else could see by looking at us through the lens of a social media photo filter. That is one of the clearest ways to see if we are becoming the people we were created to be; we should measure our todays, not by someone else’s, but by our own yesterdays. And for yourself, “Have a better day than yesterday.”

Share Button
Keep going

Keep going

Keep going: Writing is just finding the next best word… and then keeping that going until the story is complete. It’s the kind of process that fits best into an 80s movie, training montage, with a catchy inspiring song playing in the background. Maybe something like, “You’re the best, the best. Nothing’s ever gonna keep you down.” Though in reality, the actual long-form, unabridged version of writing is nothing that you would ever pay money to see. It’s measured in months or years; and to the outside casual observer looking in, it’s probably altogether fantastically boring. But if you keep going, in the end, out of this seemingly monotonous process, you’ll have something that can be bound, and something that people may actually want to read. But that only happens by writing a full story. No one ever reads half a story, or watches half a movie and says, “That was amazing. I loved the surprise ending.” It’s true, in life, some things are only good if they are finished. (The obvious exception being cookie dough; that stuff is great just how it is.)

Share Button
Augmented Reality: Thoughts on Pokemon Go

Augmented Reality: Thoughts on Pokemon Go

Augmented Reality: I remember, clearly, the very first day that Facebook introduced their news feed function — I was in college, and as I was walking back from the University library I remember thinking how weird it was to share your whole life with people over something as impersonal as an internet connection. And that, as it turned out, was the day when all media instantly became social media: Now newscasts regularly show YouTube videos. Celebrities give updates about their lives in 140 characters on Twitter, and we live stream so much of our lives that the older versions of ourselves would have been completely freaked out by it just a few years ago.
Fast forwarding to 2016, we have a major acceptance of Augmented Reality through Pokemon Go (This technology has been around for a few years, but now it’s really taken hold.); which means that we’ve come into a similar cultural shift like the introduction of the Facebook news feed: all reality has now become augmented. It has happened and we can’t do anything to reverse it. It’s like a technological Pandora’s box. Yesterday, I was trying to explain what Pokemon Go is to someone, and I said, “Imagine that the whole world is video game.” That adds one more layer of complexity onto our world. It is now both the real world, and someone’s video game, all at the same time. But in another ten years just remember what it felt like to live in a single-dimensional world. And when you’re going shopping at you favorite augmented reality store, and then driving home to your fully integrated augmented reality house, just think about what it was like to live in actually reality, or what I’ll call direct reality, and remember what it was like to talk to real people, in real time, in the real world, in direct reality. (The above photos are of the same location at the same time: one in direct reality with actual people, and one in augmented space in Pokemon Go.)

Share Button

Glow Sticks

Glow Sticks: Human genetic mapping has told us that we are all related, all descended from the same parents. In fact, the DNA that makes up for differences in physical appearance is so minimal (just 0.1 percent of all the genes that make us human) that our differences in skin color and outward physical traits are almost statistically irrelevant. So, biologically speaking we are only one species: human. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to draw distinctions from where there are none. The idea of being “less human” or inferior in some way has been used as a justification by which to commit all types of evil against our genetic brothers and sisters; in America, in the early part of the twentieth century, we as a society passed forced sterilization laws in thirty-three states. We sterilized tens of thousands of people who were “feeble-minded”, or criminals, or if they were from ethnic minorities. So I say all this to give my own general caution to those who have read this far, and would care about this topic: Be wary of those who would want to say that some ethnicities are better or are more evolved than others, as if there were some “favored race.” When, in reality, we are just differently colored, or pigmented, glow sticks. No glow stick is more or less important because it is blue, or green, or red, or yellow. And you would never say, “because this glow stick is red, it is not a glow stick.” Nor would you say, “yellow glow sticks are superior to all other colors.” And likewise, we as humans are the same; the essence of who we are is not affected by something as simple as color.

Share Button
Truly Alive

Truly Alive

Truly alive: The two-dimensional is by definition flat. You cannot hug a picture. You cannot walk into a painting and live your life there. What you need is the third-dimensional characteristic of depth, of space, in order to grasp or to hold onto something; and you need the additional forth dimension of time, in order to live your life. And so because of this, physicists say that we are considered to be four-dimensional beings: we live within three-dimensional space with the added element of time, so that we can function as people; otherwise, instead of being two-dimensional paintings, we would be, all of us, three-dimensional human sculptures, frozen in time, and still unable to live our lives, although we would technically still exist… Which is an incredibly boring and drawn out introduction for what I’m about to say, but I think the initial principles had to be gone over first. All this said (and I’m not trying to make new theology, I’m just giving a hypothetical), what if heaven exists; and if it does exist, what if, in heaven, it contains there, seven, or ten, or twenty other dimensions of which we are not yet currently aware. I believe that in that case, we would be like the painted images of ourselves, who have finally come to life, and saying, for the first time, “All my life, I have been a painting; but now, I’m not even simply a lifeless sculpture, frozen in time, I am instead a living, breathing, moving person–I am truly alive, in ways that I could never have grasped nor imagined before.”

Share Button
Thoughts on Voting Day

Thoughts on Voting Day

I found this quotation in Saint Augustine’s, The City of God (written in 411 A.D.), talking about the gradual decline of Roman morality and of Roman society, which led to its eventual downfall; and I thought that maybe on a primary election day in California, where I live, that it might be good to remember the past, and to look toward a fallen society as a warning to ourselves, that we should seek after mortality within our own lives, and that we should expect it from those of whom we decide to place into high office. The quote: ” ‘Rome’s severe morality and her citizens are her safeguard.’ …For what survives of that primitive morality which the poet called Rome’s safeguard? It is so obsolete and forgotten, that, far from practicing it, one does not even know it. And of the citizens what shall I say? Morality has perished through the poverty of great men; a poverty for which we must not only assign a reason, but for the guilt of which we must answer as criminals charged with a capital crime. For it is through our vices, and not by any mishap, that we retain only the name of a republic, and have long since lost the reality.” Or in my own words, the murder of a society is the loss of personal morality. It’s kind of heavy stuff, but happy voting day everyone.

Share Button