Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Self Improvement

A lot of what my agenda includes recently can be described as self improvement. It's a tricky subject for one whose head is so thoroughly crammed up his own ass with philosophy as I am .(Wouldn't it be more Zen if I simply learned to accept the faults?) I'm lucky to have a mental council that not only includes the wizened old men sitting at the board arranging symbolic pieces into complex ideas, but also includes one key figure who will sweep the entire table with his arm, scatter pieces and board to the ground, and shout "Fuck This Game!"

In the spirit of that game, and it's rightly deserved fucking, I remind myself of this:

The Tongue Twister Database

And I apologize to everyone for taking this long to actually do something about my atrocious speech.

On Gods and Champions

Lets start with a question. Do Christianity and Judaism worship the same God.

Those of you who are opposed to my radical and blasphemous views on religion should probably just leave now.

From what I've been told the answer is yes. I've been told this mostly at feel good interfaith conferences between people who don't actually have a problem with each other who have these conferences to express the fact that they don't have any problems with each other, give answers that either say nothing or say things that should but don't bring their entire faith into question when you ask them why they don't have any problems with each other, and avoid talking about the people who use the same religious label but in fact, do have problems with the other group and don't go to those conferences. We'll ignore the hipocracy in place for a minute now and roll with the idea that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all worship the same essential God.

If they all worship the same God, why are they different religions? The short version of the real answer is that they have conflicting stories, and they each call dibs on "The Covenant" in what is basically a giant game of capture the flag except that there is no flag, and that various fringe groups have resorted to playing the game as a Full Contact sport, so to speak. None of that figures into my discussion. What I'm discussing are the practical differences between these religions which all center around the same God. The key difference, as I see it, is their Champions.

A Champion, in this discussion, is the human or humanoid figure who is the iconic character of the religion. The religion of Christianity worships ''*, but the champion of Christianity is Jesus. The Champion of Islam is Mohamed, and the Champion of Judaism is a bit complex, but it's basically Moses. The bulk of what a religion actually is consists of holidays and rituals and philosophies, and if you look at those long enough the champion of that religion tends to make itself fairly clear.

I like Champions, I like them a lot, even though I still don't like religions. I also think that religions arise when Champions meet with the inherent difficulty of faith. You don't have to have faith in Jesus. Jesus was a guy, he existed, and to my understanding we have pretty solid evidence of that. Even if he wasn't some miracle worker and he was simply a Rabbi who formed a cult of personality he existed in a clear, definite way. That's not true of God. Even if you believe that God is the creator and has a direct interventionist role in the world you still don't have any proof of him/her/it/them. You have to have faith, you have to accept that your belief is unreasoned, and that's hard, and it's scary, and it's dangerous. It's also something I almost never see in self proclaimed holy men. I've asked several of them why they believe as they do and they've given me their reasoning thinking that I was looking for a reason to believe as they do, and in doing so they've missed the point entirely. If you want reason you should be an atheist, or at least an agnostic, or perhaps even a staunch nebulist.

Staunch Nebulist was defined to me as the proactive belief that nobody has the actual answer. It's what happens when you put active radical belief, and perhaps even faith, into the idea that you have no clue, and neither does anyone else.

The reason I bring up this tangent about the nature and difficulty of faith is because I think it's what's screwing up Champions. People are exploiting their Champions as a means of justifying their religions not only to themselves but to others. Many of them even have books which they use to do things according to their religion, in the name of their Champion, who they automatically associate with their God. It's all very reasonable, all very logical, and hence all wrong. Faith has to be vague. It it has reason then it's proof, not faith.

I think it's quite clear that I've slipped into ranting instead of making an actual point, which is why this is a blog and not a book, so I'll try and get directly to my point. Champions are a good thing. They serve as an ideal to which one can aspire. My Champion, who I'll discuss later in an even more blasphemous post, helps me keep a hold on my values, and I think that having a champion could help everyone. Take some religious, or mythological, or historical figure that has the qualities and values to which you aspire, get a strong but not definite sense of those values, and then use that thing as your Champion, a symbol of your ideals. Symbols are important, they can give people strength, and something to remind them of their higher self, and ultimately, this pursuit of the higher self, is enlightenment.

*Name not written to avoid gratuitous blasphemy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Unlocking the Higher Self

The technique is really quite simple. Slow everything you do down 5-10%, and maintain consciousness of your actions and mannerisms.

It's really quite similar to Zen in that aspect.

Yes, or the more obscure Jutsu martial arts. Perfect motion, perfect action, no direct concern for the outcome, but rather taking perfected effect as an extension of perfected form.

It's amazing how many little things you pick up if you spend a few hours thinking about what you're doing at all times. It's something that sounds obvious, but in retrospect I haven't done this outside of a meditative exercise before. Applying those same general techniques to day to to day life...

It's sounds too obvious doesn't it?

Yeah. Why exactly didn't we think of this before?

We had accepted social inability, and fallen victim to the idea that it's a have have not innate talent thing. Even after finding time and time again that almost everything can be learned, and that everything that can be learned has a group of nerds somewhere on the internet who are analyzing engineering and perfecting it, usually with free instructions.

Charisma nerds. It's still an odd concept.

Yes, but when has oddity, or even outright absurdity ever stopped us?

True. Anyway, back on topic. Basic idea here is that you're monitoring your behavioral patterns and modifying them slightly until you slip into patterns of acting like someone whose relaxed and confident.


But I'm not relaxed and confident.

That actually doesn't matter. It's the beautiful part of it. Charisma is all about outward projection, what you're showing not only in words but in body language, stance etc. If we're taking a fully scientific approach about it then it's clear that everything that's understood to be "Empathy" is really just unconscious reading of these equally unconscious signals, possibly along with some pheromones stuff, but once we make the unconscious conscious we can begin manipulating them.

Once again, very Zen. What if we aren't taking the fully scientific approach to it?

If we're opening up the door to the possibility of legitimate psychoempathic powers the scenario is actually effectively the same. Even if we have anecdotal evidence of empaths, we also know that they're rare at best. If they exist they'll be lost amongst the failures that are the results of bad technique on our part. Net effect 0.

Of course. The invisibles hiding in the margin of error.

It's worked for the entire World of Darkness series of RPGs, I don't see why we can't apply the same thinking.

Whoa, whoa whoa. You can't use RPG logic when discussing things in the real world.

Max we're discussing the possibility of psychics seeing through NLP. This is just barely the real world.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Countless little things seem off. Nothing big, not all of them are bad either, there's just an abundance of things that feel somehow inconsistent.

The biggest one is that every time I go outside everything feels expansive. There are clear skies and wide open areas. You're not trapped by the looming mountains, the hills, the lakes, the rivers, or the gray ceiling. I no longer question how Houston expanded so much, coming from Seattle to Houston I'm filled with this desire to fill the grand void of living in a large flat area.

I looked in the sink and on the stove, noting that the pot was not present and wistfully snapping my fingers at the though that I'd have to run the dish washer before I could use the pot. I then remembered that I'm living in a fully stocked house, where it isn't, in fact, the pot, it's A pot and I'm almost outraged by the sheer range of supplies at my disposal in this kitchen.

I walked back from a mall today. I saw three other people who were out on foot, but I didn't see any other pedestrians. Pedestrians, in my mind, are people traveling on foot, so I don't count people who are just jogging from point A back to point A via the suburban snarl.

I brought all of my good blankets and pillows with me when I went to Seattle. I think it was a good choice, but it makes things a bit complicated.

Without MMO's I saw how much time I was spending playing them. Now that I'm sans-video games entirely I can see just how of my leisure time is normally spent playing them. I don't really think this is a bad thing, but I no longer have any questions about whether or not I fit into the "hardcore."

I've made curry a few times using these blocks that friends of Kevin found. The first time I made it I had a deep feeling of nostalgia. It tasted so much like the curry my Mom used to make. Well I found an identical box in the cabinet here, so it may in fact be effectively identical to the curry she used to make.

An Amusing Test for the Nerds

I'm always amused by these tests, they're interesting if almost always ultimately pointless, which describes so much of my life.

I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Fighter/Sorcerer (2nd/1st Level)

Ability Scores:

Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment because it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Fighters can be many things, from soldiers to criminal enforcers. Some see adventure as a way to get rich, while others use their skills to protect the innocent. Fighters have the best all-around fighting capabilities of the PC classes, and they are trained to use all standard weapons and armor. A fighter's rigorous martial training grants him many bonus feats as he progresses, and high-level fighters have access to special melee maneuvers and exotic weapons not available to any other character.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Epic Crossover

Story Idea:

Andrew Ryan, the prothean head of Aperturce Science created the Halos to fight off the Sith.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Writer's Strike

Some of the Colbert Report team's best work has been done since the strike. That's the problem with a writer's strike, there's no question who's going to have the better written protest adds.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My ongoing campaign of slander

It's been a while since I attended a Jewish school, so I'm not certain I have this right, but I'm fairly sure the holiday that starts tonight commemorates the eight days of torment they put Christ through before devouring his body in order to gain his holy power, which they use to control the banks and media.

With that in mind I raise my glass of blood from a freshly squeezed Christian infant in salute to my Jewish friends. Chag Sameach!

(new low)