Friday, February 24, 2017

The precipice

These are interesting times. We were so busy trying to break the glass ceiling we didn't notice how unstable our footing had become.

I wonder whether this situation can't end positively. Nobody was expecting Hillary to be anything but a business as usual politician from a well known brand who happened to be female. How many more years could we have pretended that democracy was working, had she been elected? Now we have little choice but to acknowledge the system is broken.

It's only at the precipice that we change.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Implicit commitment

Is it insensitive to say to your partner that you don't consider the relationship to be a "forever" thing?

I mean marriage is the only occasion when this promise is explicitly made. But I guess what I'm trying to get at here is how common this assumption of forever is with people, even in the very earliest stages of coupling. I've felt it multiple times in my life-- I could never help it. And my heart broke the time when I realised that my best friend and partner of five years felt it, and I didn't.

Relationships are pretty much defined by the amount of yourself that you are willing to share; with the remainder of the "person" you're seen as being made up of unconscious assumptions and extrapolations based on what will be by definition that person's most impressive side.

lol I just made a typo at the end of that last paragraph. Instead of side I typed "size". Then I giggled because it was totally a Freudian slip.

I guess the reason I'm typing all of this is because I'm finding myself having to answer these questions as I consider how to approach a co-worker at my new job with whom there is a mutual attraction.

I find myself resisting the idea of a committed relationship, because I know that's not a promise I can make in good conscience. But I really miss having a intimate friend, and sex has been in my experience the easiest path to forming an intimate relationship.

And also I really would like to have sex with her.

What I worry is that she might consider sex to be something requiring a committed relationship; and that I will agree to it just because I want to have sex. And that would be wrong.

So I find myself pondering just how committed to the relationship I would have to be in order to not implicitly promise anything I'm not capable of following through on.

On porn

Once you get good at reading body language, pornography takes on a whole new dimension.

There is no neutral way to have sex. A neutral attitude is in itself a statement on the sex-- because sex is not supposed to be neutral. Sex is the quintessential human experience.

It is impossible to have sex without revealing some part of yourself, even if it's a fake part. And then the persuasiveness of your facade will depend entirely on your partner's perception of you. Or in the case of pornography, the perception of the viewer.

Of course a really good actor can always pretend convincingly... But this is porn we're talking about. There are no good actors.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A short post

It was on the tip of everyone's tongue, Trump just gave it a name.

They're the middle children of history. No purpose or place. Their Great War is a spiritual war. Their Great Depression is their lives. They were raised on television to believe they could be millionaires and movie stars and rock gods. But they wont. They are slowly learning that fact. And they are very, very pissed off.

The first rule of white club is you don't talk about white club.

Imagination is the concept art for potential realities. We can only do the things that we have figured out how to do. We can only plan for the things that we imagine are possible. The world is a complicated place, and we are all prone to magical thinking when reality is beyond our comprehension.

The further we stretch our knowledge the shorter the distance to a mistake.

People always deserve a second chance. Most people deserve a third chance. Close friends deserve fourth chances, fifth chances, sixth, seventh, as many as you can count.

If you lose count though, maybe it's time to move on.

Friday, January 6, 2017

That shouldn't matter.

I want a T-shirt with a picture of Abed from Community and my favourite quote "That shouldn't matter."

Or another great choice is "I prefer the term homage."

In a way those two sayings represent the boundaries of Abed's worldview; on one side are the things he chooses to dismiss as objectively pointless, and on the other are the objectively pointless things that he chooses to invest his life into.

We can make better decisions when we understand how our decisions affect the world. But the world is fucking complicated. Nobody can be expected to understand all of it. What people need is "shortcuts" that skip the boring details that would only waste space in our brains.

When someone tells us something that we don't understand to the point of self-evidency we are forced to make a choice; either to elucidate our lack of understanding, or to make a shortcut by simply accepting it as true based on the authority of the speaker.

When someone presents as an authority and what they are saying doesn't seem obviously wrong, people will accept their "truth shortcuts" without feeling the need to question them too thoroughly. And so when the world isn't understandable we accept conspiracy theories and media narratives and the obfuscation of inconvenient facts and Donald Trump becomes president.

People need shortcuts to understanding. The media's obligation as an authority should be to make sure that its narrative shortcuts are as true as possible. Which brings me to Russell Brand.

In The Trews (a portmanteau of True and News) on Youtube, Russell Brand presents his own narrative of what's going on in the world, in what I perceive as simple and self-evident language. I feel comfortable accepting his truths because he has impressed on me again and again how keenly he is able to understand the complexities of our society, while maintaining an optimistic and empathetic worldview. We need more people who can chop up difficult-to-understand truths into simpler self-evident ideas.

But what about the people who have an excuse to disbelieve everything Russell Brand says? He is after all, a filthy hippie lefty, prattling on about peace and love while everyone already knows that it's really other people to blame for the world sucking so much.

Honestly if I knew how to communicate with that kind of archetype I'd be out there doing it instead of sitting at home typing at my computer.

Truth isn't enough to convince people; this is the hardest lesson to be learned by the hippie generation. "All you need is love" is not enough. Plenty of us can and will choose to reject anything which challenges our worldview. We need to go further; we need to find ways to make our truth accessible to the many different ways that ordinary people understand the world.

I also think it's interesting to notice how consistently our comedians have taken the lead in advancing social narratives in a positive direction. I've understood for a while now that humour is a function of social intelligence. It's a medium that relies very heavily on effective communication, and is by definition alienating when it fails.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sexism, society, and political superheroes.

Could it be that younger women tend to be smarter because they have an easy way of socialising with older men?

I swear this idea isn't coming out of a sexist interpretation of reality; our society is literally sexist in this way. Because men have the majority of power, what they value in sexuality becomes de facto valuable to the society. I can easily imagine that in a female-dominated society we'd see a lot more twinks running around and serving as eye candy for the women in charge. But then those same young men would probably have to work twice as hard to be "taken seriously" in a world where the powerful are virtually blinded by their sexuality.

Maybe the lesson here is: women with power should be allowed to get theirs. Sex makes the individual more powerful because of the relationship it creates. But more than that, sex equalises people. We're all the same when we're naked and rubbing against each other.

My two favourite movies recently have been X-Men Apocalypse and Captain America Civil War. I think both of these films are spectacular achievements; the epitome of what superhero movies are and should be in 2016. JJ Abrams wishes he could do what Bryan Singer or the Russo brothers can do.

I understand it's an autistic thing; watching the same movie over and over. We easily obsess over anything complex enough that we can continue to learn from it. Video games are the same. Give me a complex system and I will learn the fuck out of it until I'm satisfied I have an effective grasp of the subject. Then I'll get bored until I find the next interesting thing.

Civil War is about government oversight and the rights of the individual to wield power. Captain America becomes a criminal because the government is more concerned with controlling him than trusting in his goodness. Good people end up at war with each other because they can't agree on what a peaceful society should look like. Cough congress.

X-Men Apocalypse is about extremism and the radicalisation of good people. Apocalypse is a terrorist.

Magneto's story is the central narrative in my opinion. He tries to live as a human but his compassion for others ends up "outing" him, leading to his society turning on him and creating the situation where Apocalypse was his only ally. Similarly with Apocalypse's generals, all powerful but socially downtrodden people granted self-actualisation simply by having a cause, any cause, to put their extraordinary abilities into.

Also I think some of the mutants might be gay.

But I still feel like both of these movies have story threads that I've yet to pick up on. I'll probably watch them a few times more at least before I get bored.

If anyone reading this has anything to add I'm interested in hearing it.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'll just be ice, floating through space, like a comet.

I got around to reactivating my WoW subscription for 50k of my gold. Seems like our inflation is finally back. Well done on that guys. It explains their decision last year when the price was 20k to restrict the amount of time you can buy to a year's worth.

I'm playing a Shaman again, just doing some levelling, that being the only type of content that is not repetitive as fuck. I mean sure I've done it all before, but only about a dozen times unlike everything in the current endgame content which is probably closer to three or four times that number.

I wonder how typical this pattern of activity is among WoW players. Does this make me more "casual" or more "hardcore"? Or do we all already know how meaningless those words have become.

When I get enthusiastic about a class I always start thinking about playing it in a competitive raid. But since every single thing that can be changed in the next expansion is being changed in the next expansion -- fucking again -- I must remind myself that the game I'm currently playing will only sort-of exist a few months from now, and again realise that nothing actually matters because not even the creators of this world seem to give a flying fuck about its ongoing consistency.

I just want to feel like I can care about something again without having to wonder whether anyone else does.