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Xelakian
Member
Posts: 486

I have once more returned (I think) from the jaws of the dreaded Death Spiral, as I like to call it, that accursed depression which drives a man deeper and deeper into total despair. This morning I managed to figure out how to escape.

 

I sought some sort of inspiration, something to pull me out of the Spiral. I began writing down all of the interests I had, hoping to find one that I could latch onto, perhaps to aid in pulling me back out. I remembered a good number of ones I had forgotten, but I realized something that I guess I forgot along the way. A lesson my father taught me long ago that I reremembered.

 

Life is a game. Games are made to be fun. If you aren't having fun, you're not playing it right, you don't have the right mindset. You have to be able to laugh at it, to laugh at yourself. At the end of the day, we are, all of us, gamers. Everyday we play the game we deal with different challenges. Grinding for money, leveling up, facing various mooks and, eventually, bosses. And when the going gets tough, when you have to deal with that one hellish dungeon, that water temple, that one boss, we have a choice. We can either stop playing the game, give up, avoid the inevitable challenge which we're SURE will defeat us, or we can take that risk, deal with the shitty circumstances and try, maybe even succeed (normally through trial and error and the help of various, more experienced friends) and reap the rewards. Win the treasure. Save the princess. Level up.

 

Life is a Game. It's probably the hardest, most in depth game around. But we are not the sort to quit a game just because they've ramped up the difficulty. We can not. For the most difficult thing about this game is that Game Over is permanent. We have no Extra Lives, no Continues, no Save Scumming. So the decisions we make are permanent, and every action has real consequences. But even in this difficulty there is fun, for it is a difficulty we all deal with and the eventual end is universal. You cannot take the game so seriously, because nobody will get out alive.

 

My final part of this epiphany was with regards to Pokemon, in particular the original theme song, and in particular the lesser known second verse.

"Every challenge along the way with courage I will face.

I will battle everyday to claim my rightful place."

Deliciously cheesy though the song may be, it brings up a strong point. We cannot hide from conflict, we cannot run from battle, we cannot avoid responsibility, not if we are to succeed, to beat the game, to become who we dream of becoming. We must face these challenges head on, with courage, though the fear may be overwhelming. Fear is the mind-killer, the little death that brings about total obliteration. It nearly destroyed me, dragging me by my ankles deeper into the Death Spiral. Only now am I truly learning to let it pass through me, learning to let go of it, learning to laugh in its face now that I know that this is all just a game. And where it has been, only I shall remain...

 

 - - -

 

I kinda got carried away. On that note, what are your thoughts, your epiphanies, your insights, philosophies, what have you?

--

Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826

January 11, 2015 at 12:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

Gonna have to chew on this a minute. I'm in a weird state of comfortable nihilism currently and this doesn't mesh with that too well. Will provide a better reply when my jimmies are unrustled from my recent experiences with SSB. I swear I just came as close as I've ever come to throwing a controller through a TV.

--

The destructor has gone

January 12, 2015 at 4:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Vesicant Lemur
Member
Posts: 98

I really like this way of thinking and it's something I've been slowly learning myself over the past 7 years from sources as varied as George Carlin and Bill Hicks to Alan Watts and Eastern Philosophy (though they use less game-y terms, the message is still the same).

 

Life is the most immersive game we'll ever play and we get so sucked into that we forget what it really is sometimes. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. It great to get pumped up about your success, hyped for something you love, or even feel sad at loss. It's when we get so into it that we lose ourselves, get blinded by arrogance, or fall into a Death Spiral that we need to take a step and let go.


 

 

As far as personal epiphanies, I've been trying more and more to let go of caring what others might think of me. I used to be a huge spaz when I was a kid, giving no fucks about what anyone thought of me. Then puberty came in and wrecked my shit. I withdrew from everyone, even my family, and lost a lot of my enthusiasm for... everything. Even my love of games and science and such weakened, though never died.

 

It's been slowly coming back to me over years, and, with a lot of help from friends, little by little I'm opening back up to people again.

 

It's hard when you're constantly afraid "What will this person think of me?" Even when you logically know it doesn't matter, just be yourself, and all the platitudes you hear about the subject, I don't feel like it doesn't matter.

 

It sometimes feels like life or death at that moment, and it makes socializing difficult and making new friends almost impossible, unless the other person puts a LOT of effort into scaling that wall.

 

Making that effort is tough for me to do. It feels like a risky investment. As if I'll lose big if it doesn't work out. The risk is an illusion though, and there's so much more to be gained.

 

 

Anyway, I'll just leave that there, about 2 months after I meant to write it originally.

--

Life is Absurd. Chill out. Don't give a fuck.

March 7, 2015 at 2:58 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

S'all good Lemur, I'm two months late to this too. My story is much like yours, with the caring way too much what others think part. I was the most rambunctious, eccentric, at times dickish little kid imaginable. I was made aware early on that I was *gifted* and proceeded to destroy my academic and social careers with my own hubris by the age of 13. Cabot School District's RNG or whatever kind of bullshit they use to determine class placement and scheduling did its toll on my friends list, and my constant anxiety left me so exhausted that I physically could not pursue social endeavors outside of school. I became comfortable inside my own head. It's probably fair to assume that it made me a sociopath, but I can't really know that for certain (though it could be argued that same paranoia of self is itself as big a tell as there could be).


WOW. I'm going off the deep end here. Basically, for me, well, yeah. I became a sociopath, and that's how I learned to cope. I can turn thoughts, feelings, personality traits on and off at will when I'm around others. I can adapt to any social environment at will to do what I perceive as surviving. It all falls apart when I'm alone in my own head again. Sometimes I doubt that I even have a true self. It's not like a true multiple personality disorder, there aren't multiple identities living inside of me. It's just, you know that thing disingenuous people do where they lie about themselves and tell others what they want to hear to gain power and social positioning? Well, I do that as an instinctual reflex, without the benefit of gaining that social positioning because I never have the strength to see an interpersonal relationship through to the point at which it's getting me gifts or a job. Thin line between "mentally ill" and "senator" and I think I just described it as well as anyone can.


OT, I'm still in that comfortable nihilism phase. Life is a Game is really nice way of looking at and applying meaning to what I think is a meaningless experience. But right now I can't shake the feeling that I need to eat, breathe, and shit, try to entertain myself to some degree, and then die of any number of possible means, and that's it. Evolutionary instinct also says I should jizz out a few mini-mes for the sake of the race, but given my uniquely human capability to rationaly analyze my race as a whole, I see a world that already has too many of us fuckers in it, a couple hundred of which are destroying what a couple billion of us need to live, and it's about to get like, really hot, and whichever of our interpretations of god is true is likely just facepalming so hard at how we've built so much up just to drive it into the ground, or has abandoned us out of sheer embarassment, and any more optimistic beliefs in a life after this are presently unknowable to me, so fuck caring.


Lemur, honestly, the quote in your signature on this site encapsulates so well what I'm trying to say. I'm sitting here typing this and I glanced up and just realized this. That whole wall of text I just spouted off, it sounds angry doesn't it? There is some anger in there, sure, I've still got a little idealist in me. Like I said, I'm a sociopath, I have a little of everything in me. But mostly what I'm trying to say is:


Life is Absurd.

Chill out.

Don't give a fuck.

--

The destructor has gone

March 7, 2015 at 11:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

I feel I must amend yesterday's post, for I realized two things keep me from embracing true nihilism: Love and art. These are the two things for which I am not certain there is no meaning. Based on my own experiences, I don't believe love solely to be an evolutionary device for security and reproduction. Art is utterly useless from a rational standpoint. Yet I spend the majority of my time meditating upon those two subjects.


Love I believe to be a stupid and random system. I don't believe two people are destined to each other from birth, I don't believe it's fair, I'm not even sure it's responsible for more good than evil in this world. What it is is power. It can lead to supreme, rationally idiotic sacrifice, it can push one to live one's whole life in erratic stupor or to bind one to a life of nothing at all. When unrequited or betrayed it can corrode into a darkness that utterly swallows the host. It makes good men evil and evil men good. It's a pure, random force, but it's one of immeasurable power.

I got lucky. I love a person who loves me back. We've been together for more than three years now, and during that time I've felt many highs and many lows. We've both always been faithful and loving to each other but naturally over the course of a three year relationship things will get strained at times. Those times have made me feel panicked, hopeless, nauseous, and utterly destroyed. It's also been the source of tremendous joy, courage, fulfillment, and fun the likes of which I can't find anywhere else. It's the reason I can hold such hopeless worldviews and still go on smiling. I value her greatly and devote all I can to her, for I know what it's like on the other side of the fence and I know I can lose it all at any moment. I don't understand it. I love that I don't.


Art, I have even less understanding of. For all our tall buildings and fast rockets and big ass bombs, I think art is man's greatest power. To create worlds, to alter reality in infinitely different ways, to redefine what is real from unquantifiable perspectives. Despite what my recent record shows in regards to content on this site, I try to create all the art I can. I have stories and reinterpretations in my mind that I've never put down tangibly, others that I have that I've never shared. I read art and look at art and watch art, mostly antiques, as capitalism has ruined art for the masses with such jokes as Hollywood and network television. There is still quality art being produced but you have to grab your intellectual machete and hack through the vast jungles of ineptitude. I think anime and webcomics are two of our finer sources of art in the modern age, although both are becoming increasingly commercialized as well. Hell, I think 4chan is great art. It's mysterious, inexact, subjective, and utterly fascinating to me. Even bad art can be endearing to me for its very wretchedness sometimes. I love art. It gives me hope that I'm wrong.

--

The destructor has gone

March 8, 2015 at 6:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Vesicant Lemur
Member
Posts: 98

*Gifted*... ugh, I hate that word and the fact that it's used in our school systems. My own ego was super-inflated throughout most of my life due to that (at least until UALR kicked my ass and taught me what "smart" REALLY means). Even into high school, I had a "superiority complex" of sorts that I kept hidden, but it came out in the way I treated most people. At the same time, paradoxically, but then again, maybe not, I loathed myself entirely. Needless to say, I didn't have many friends in high school. Japanese class was my only respite.

 

I'm also a big introvert, calling my Mind Space my true home. I totally understand where you're coming from on the "True Self" thing. One of the major reasons that line about "being yourself" never made sense to me. What does it mean to be yourself when you don't even know who the fuck you are? A lot of it just feels like... not a blank slate, but maybe clay is a good example? Malleable. If I just be myself, I'll spend most of my time sitting in silence like nobody else even exists. To do otherwise, be sociable, takes effort. It's acting to an extent. Pretending, putting on a face I think people will like. But I only do it for people I like and judge as "cool". Because it takes energy and I'm not wasting it on just anybody.

 

Mmm... I guess that last paragraph isn't entirely true... there is a self down there, but it only shines when I am alone. That's when the maelstrom in my head comes out full force, no filter, no translation. The animals are the only ones who get to see that, because I know they won't judge me for it, or if they do, they can't say anything about it.

 

Have you read anything by Albert Camus? It was him and his Absurdist philosophy that inspired that quote, though I like to put a bit of a "The Dude" spin on the whole idea so I don't take it all so seriously.

 

 

This is the first time I've heard this kind of view of love, about it not being necessarily good or evil, but random. I like that. It's more honest.

 

I think an area of love we are woefully unskilled at as a people is language. We have one word, "Love", doing the work of at least a dozen. Because of a lack of distinction in our language, I believe we lack distinction in our concepts.

 

I like to think of 4chan as this strange microcosm of culture and society. Watching it grow and evolve 10x faster than any meat space analogue. Since maybe 2004, I've felt like webcomics were a hidden gem, untouched by all the commercialization of other mediums, and a work of love. Money has been sneaking it's way in, but it seems to me like it's in a good way. Artists are now able to support themselves off their art, making their living from it, instead of only using their spare time between job hours. I've watched a lot of comics grow, improve, jump the shark, go on indefinite hiatus, come off hiatus after months or years, reach their official ending, and get abandoned 50 pages in. I've read a lot, and I've loved most of them, even the terrible ones.

 

Well, that's the last of my energy for tonight. I'll call it there for now.

--

Life is Absurd. Chill out. Don't give a fuck.

March 11, 2015 at 11:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

Japanese class brought out this weird hybrid of class clown and morale booster in me. I don't know if it was the tiny class size or the unorthodox lesson structure, but I'm still not entirely sure what was up with that.


Clay is a great example. Removing its malleability, the fuck is it? When your definition is the ability to change your definition... shit gets murky. Does anyone have a true self, or do people who more rigidly define themselves just trap themselves into systems? Do they know who they are, or are they narrow-minded, or actively lying to themselves?

+1 to only putting on a face for cool people. But to me there's also a degree of cool that transcends that? Like, this person is so cool, I can not give a shit? and just be whatever?


I hadn't heard of Albert Camus, but a bit of research tells me you're right that I should read him. Do you have a specific work in mind you can recommend? Otherwise I see a few essay compilations, I'll probably start with one of those.


Maybe it's a matter of personal taste, but I almost invariably start liking startups less when they start making money. When the art is the escape from the everyman's life, there's an essence there that vanishes when the art becomes the main focus. I think you can't help but leave a bit of yourself in your art when you're doing it between job hours, or when you have the distraction of real-world problems in the background. It may not be better or worse either way, but I can almost always tell a difference when that change occurs, and I almost always find myself liking the old stuff better.

--

The destructor has gone

March 12, 2015 at 12:38 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Xelakian
Member
Posts: 486

YES! It is because of posts like these that I am reminded that I am not alone. Ever since Elementary School, I knew I was smarter than most of my classmates. My ego, my self-esteem, my identity derived from this fact, that I was the smart kid. Combined with the malleability of what can truly be considered "self", I reached my boat barely able to truly function as I suddenly found myself on unfamiliar ground, no longer knowledgable compared to my peers, who were all senior to me and , my identity ripped away to reveal a broken shell of a person, desperately seeking escape from the shittiness of reality. And now that I'm away from it (more on that another time), I feel leagues happier, full of life, like I've rediscovered my self.


On a semi-related note, I'm sure most of you are familiar with Meyers-Briggs and similar personality categorizations. Debatable as their validity may be, they sometimes can offer interesting insight. In particular, one I found that is, at least for me, scarily on point, is the Enneagram. If you aren't familiar, take a look. If you do place stock in such things, I might be considered an INFP and a type 9 in the above typings respectively.


As for the Webcomic thing, I'm kinda inclined to agree with your point, in respect to art in general. As I see it, there are two kinds of art, that created for money or renown and that created by a need to manifest something. The difference is instantly recognizable by the emotions and strength of emotion it evokes.

On a related note, I'm actually working on a webcomic with some friends of mine...

--

Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826

March 13, 2015 at 11:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Vesicant Lemur
Member
Posts: 98

Japanese seemed to always attract certain types of people. Even after graduating, I continued going to club meets occasionally and helping Sensei out with things and I got the chance to see, over and over again, the kids that got drawn to it. Outcasts, misfits, weirdos, loners. And almost all of them were cool in my book. Hell, it's actually where I met two of my best friends. Sad that Cabot cancelled that class.

 

I'd say that all of the examples you gave there about self are right to some degree or another. Like, maybe we don't have a singular self, our idea of self is highly influenced by society, culture, peer groups, etc, but at the same time, you do have some control over it, either to fit in to some pre-existing cultural identity, to define yourself in your own way, or to just let it be.

 

That's where I still give a little too much of a shit. I could just let go more and "just be" around people, but I care too much about how people see me, even (or especially?) people I'm cool with. I've been getting better about it though.

 

I remember in high school (or was it college?), Camus' "The Stranger" was required reading for my English class. I didn't really get it at the time, could do with a reread, but it was interesting. I recently finished "The Myth of Sisyphus" and really enjoyed it, though it was quite dense at times. I'll have to go through that one another time or two as well. I haven't read "The Rebel" yet, but I'm really interested in it.

 

Ah, maybe the comics are best left as a matter of taste. I love both those hastily drawn after a day's work as just an expression of whatever they're feeling at the time or a good joke, and those with professional quality, with a single page taking a day or more to make and the artists supporting the creation with Patreon support, commisions, and book sales. But again, personal taste I suppose.

 

To Xelkian, yeah, it's good talk to others with similar backgrounds and/or headspaces. Helps one feel a little less like an alien on a stranded on the wrong planet. It's one of those things the INxx types just have to learn.

 

And yeah, I've done some reading on MBT, taken a lot of tests over the years. I inhabit a triangle outlined by INTP, INTJ, and INFP. INTP used to be the one I identified with the most, but lately INFP feels more accurate.

 

I just finished a short Enneagram test and I have have to say, I'm impressed. I got a tie between 4 and 6 with 9 coming in close second and most of what's in the descriptions of those is what I've been saying about myself here, and thinking over the past few days.

Oh, and what kinda comic ya doing?

--

Life is Absurd. Chill out. Don't give a fuck.

March 14, 2015 at 1:09 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Crimson DESTR0YA
Administrator
Posts: 1888

My one regret of high school is that I didn't do Japanese club. Again though, just surviving a regular school day physically exhausted me to a point at which I may not have been able to handle an extra hour a day once a week. By my final semester, I was taking daily naps in the afternoons, sometimes waking up unable to remember what I'd done that day. I often forgot homework assignments, I was fortunate it didn't get that bad until senior year or I may have had trouble graduating.


Letting the development of the self be is ideal, I think, but escaping the introspection and desire to label one's self is impossible. At least it is for me.


The short (free) Enneagram had me a definite 6, with 1, 4, and 5 also ranking highly. I'm not usually one to take personality as something that can be so rigidly defined, but there's definitely truth there. The key is to find a balance between the definition the tests give and the fluidity of the mind. But even then the final result is something so abstract it kind of defeats the purpose of seeking the answers such a test has to offer in the first place. The end result is the same, a choice between a truer version of the self that's difficult to grasp, or creating a box for yourself to exist in for the convenience of tangibility. I still don't know which is better.

--

The destructor has gone

March 14, 2015 at 2:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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