Monday, September 30, 2013
I must bid you welcome to this blog, dear readers.
Once again, I do not really know what I should write about. Still, write I shall do.
The Matriculation Exams of this fall are over for my part, and the preliminary results of my tests have arrived. Sadly, I feel unpleased by the score I achieved, and quite greatly so. I had hoped to reach higher points in the foreign language exam, which is English. At this point, I would have to be extremely lucky to reach an 'L' -'Laudatur' - and many others would have to be unlucky, and suffer worse results than mine.
To my dismay, same goes for the test in "the other national language", in this case Finnish. I had hoped to score points worthy of an 'E', and I am again, barely on the verge of my wishes becoming reality. Of course, these were as I said only approximations of the real results, which will be revealed first in November, or so I believe. This means I could still score slightly higher, or on the counterpart, slightly lower. (This is what happens to my English when I read books... In this case, A Game of Thrones, which I have finally picked up reading).
Why so obsessed with getting high grades? You might ask yourself.
This is at least what I've been pondering upon for a while. My best guess is simply that the system has gotten the best of me. The system?
It's funny, now that society to a large extent is focused on "equality", all while it ironically is so competitive. This is true for the matriculation exams as well!
You see, there is no specific amount of points you need to obtain in order to get the highest score, you simply need to be in the 5 % of students with the best results. And all while the 5 % of the lowest scoring examinees are automatically marked as having failed the test completely, and will have to make another attempt later. This is to say, even if everyone would have done remarkably well in the test, one in twenty would still fail, and 1 out of twenty would get the highest score.
Not that that has an all too realistic possibility of happening, since there are always people that don't get all that great results. I'd say I'm on the lucky end of the spectrum; I tend to do quite well even with minimal effort.
I don't really know if I have any conclusion or point to arrive to...
I have just never liked tests, that's all... (Yes, I used 'that' after a comma. Deal with it).
I can stand school; the early awakenings, the time that you could have used otherwise, but I have never liked homework or having to practice for tests... To me they pretty much sum up the essence of brutally murdered motivation. On the other hand I understand that some people (especially younger ones) might have difficulty to learn things without a materialized test of knowledge to motivate them. It has just never been the thing for me...
My previously occurring example of why I don't like reading for exams at all, took place today. Or well, this past week.
You see, I didn't have any school at all during Wednesday to Friday, and thereafter I had the usual two day weekend. I had planned to get some stuff done during those days; compose some songs; write on this blog or in my book; get something useful done... But I didn't really feel motivated at all, for a simple reason... I knew that I would eventually have to practice some for my test in mathematics that I knew I would write today, this Monday. For some reason, this killed most of my motivation for all those five days, and I got nothing much done...
Normally, one might say that I'm only blaming the test, and that there is another reason behind my lack of inspiration. Well, I could think so too, hadn't this same cycle happened times upon times before. The real reason is that I hate stress. If I know that I'll eventually have to do something that I wouldn't really fancy doing, the mere thought can be enough to make my life momentarily dull. You might say that I don't handle stress all that well. On the other hand, I am effective during the very last time I have left before a test, for instance.
Yesterday night (the very first hours of today), I hadn't even begun to practice for my test. It was not before half past 1 am that I finally forced myself to read the course material. And during the next one and a half hour, I read nonstop, fully focused. I could understand mathematics in general better than usually, and I quickly knew exactly what I needed to practise. I didn't sleep much more than 4 h, but I think my test went quite well. And this is far from the first time this has happened. Out of all the twelve math courses, I'd guess that in around eight of them, this very same pattern is what has repeated itself.
But this system of constant trial isn't really for me. For the most part, I see to it that I do well in my courses, in all subjects, but I seldom feel that motivated to do so. It's just systematic. It's the way things are done, imprinted into my mind since fairly early childhood. I would rather focus on my true passions, than end up with a mediocre job, doing my average role for society. But in spite of my ranting, I realize that the world seldom works that way, things aren't always fair, and there needs to be a system for everything to be held together. All I'm saying is, the system is not flawless. Yet, noteworthy is that I am lacking in the field of solutions as well. I'm simply speaking my mind, without supplying anything more to the matter.
It would be nice to get a job that one actually enjoys. "A job you would gladly do for free is the perfect job to do for money", quote by me (might or might not be original)... I don't look forward to the next summer, even if I usually would. I know I will have to get some kind of a job, but most jobs provided by the city (and in general), are either shitty, or just not for me. We'll see what happens...
One thing I think is mentally retarded though, is the education in Finnish for the Swedish speaking population in Finland. It's not wrong that it exists, but the way that it is executed. Countless hours are spent upon trying to learn the already complicated grammar, and little to none time actually speaking the language, in comparison at least. You are forced to read boring and unmotivating things from stupid books (often with weird pictures/drawings of figures created by the most terrible of artists), and they have you learn unneccessary words that nobody uses. This might be slightly exaggerated, but sadly, not that much.
Wouldn't it be much simpler if all they did during Finnish class, was to actually communicate in Finnish...? You see, at a young age (especially under 3 years old, but also around 7-10) children are much more prone to actually learning new languages, and simply by being in an environment where it is used. There are a few people that have Swedish speaking parents that I know, even if they still manage quite well in Finnish.
So far, with no exceptions, the mentioned people have either been exposed to Finnish through daycare, or by doing different activities (like sports), together with only Finnish speaking people.
The grammar is not THAT important, not if it doesn't help you anyway. I know people that have spent more than 10 years in school, and they still can't form a sentence in Finnish. At best, they understand the language but cannot speak it. And it's not good to have to mentally go through 10 grammatical formulas for every word you wish to express; you should learn to hear what's right automatically. But they don't really teach you that in school...
Another thing that is slightly off is that your results in general (not only in Finnish courses anymore) are so dependent of which teacher you have... I could go into more detail, but I'm sure you know where this is going. I'm glad that we have pretty good teachers in our school, many whom genuinely care for your learning, just as it should be.
Why am I speaking of all this? I don't know. In retrospect I think this was quite a dumb and boring subject, but oh well. I'm not one to delete my accomplishments even if I could be prouder of them. My level of English tends not to stay the same if I have merely slept for around 4 hours...
Please pardon me for that ;)
Before this entry reaches its finishing point, it's music time.
I have yet again recorded one of my improvisations, and it turned out to be okay.
I thought I might as well post it here, because why not?
Nameless Improv (yourlisten.com)
And thus, yet another one of my blog posts reaches its inevitable end.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Last time I promised to write about dreams, so write about dreams I shall.
However, I'll make several posts on this topic, a bit like I did with hypnosis. But fret not, those of you who are not the least interested in dreams, since I probably won't make all these posts in a row. Still, do not decide not to read these entries just because of sheer lack of interest. This is your chance to learn something new about a subject that not that much is really known of, thus I urge you to read at least this introduction to dreams, even if I think the following parts will be even more interesting.
It may be that I should have researched more before writing this, but I think the memory of past information hunts will suffice.
There is a lot that could be said about dreams, but I think I'll stick to what might be perceived as interesting, for the most part.
It's a bit funny that no matter how hard scientists are trying to find out about the truths of the universe, we humans actually don't know all too much about our innermost selves. There are several theories, but neither psychologists nor other seekers of wisdom and knowledge know for certain what the purpose of dreaming is. One reason might be that there is a certain lack of trying to find out about it, compared to other areas. That said, there are still quite an amount of studies dedicated to dream research.
Dreams in general have intrigued the human species for quite some time now, and several different beliefs have been held about them. In ancient Greece and in Rome as well as in other places, it was not uncommon that dreams were thought to be visions, of differing kinds. Sometimes of the future, other times symbolic messages. Well, I'm not superstitious, but I admit that there is a certain mystique surrounding dreams, so I can understand why many still believe that dreams are links to other worlds.
Everything supernatural set aside, dreams are still very interesting. By now, most people know that everyone dreams, it's just that not everyone remembers their dreams. In most cases, that can quite painlessly be fixed, if one wants to. I'll get to that later.
People of differing kinds also tend to have different kinds of dreams. Your own personal dream realm is more or less unique to you. As of yet (unless you believe certain myths), dreams cannot really be shared, well, maybe the contents, but not the experience. I don't think that most of you realize just how realistic dreams might feel, and what paths that opens.
The blind do dream as well. Their dreams are, however, mostly consistent of what other senses would detect in real life. Just like you can't imagine a color you've never seen (well at least no color outside of the human color spectrum. It would be awesome if you'd discover a new color, like pink for instance, first when you are a teenager), I doubt that a blind man could imagine what it would be like to see. The dreams of those born blind are still said to be at least as vivid as the dreams of the seeing.
I've actually heard of a cool experiment that would be fun to try out, but it comes with a lot of cons. I've heard of people who have, for varying reasons, kept a blind day, week, or in the most extreme a blind month. Other than this altering your other senses and your experience of your surroundings, this also affects your dreams, or so I've heard (---the more you know---).
People of different gender and of different ages also have dreams that differ from one another. I'm not going to go into that side note any more than this, but more is to be found on the never ending interwebs.
Another interesting fact that I don't truly believe in (for reasons), is that every single face that you come across in the dream realm actually has a real counterpart IRL. This is to say, the murderer that infested your dream a few nights ago might be one of the million faces you've seen at some point in your life, maybe that one chick at the beach when you were traveling and which you do not consciously remember, or maybe a face you've seen ten years ago on TV. While it would be cool, I do not see what grounds this claim stands on, but I assure you, the myth does exist (---the more you know---).
On a more physical level, momentarily drifting away for more psychological aspects, when do dreams occur? Well, while you lie unconscious in your bed, you go through this one thing, researchers call the sleep cycle. In this cycle, as the name suggests, you go through several different stages of sleep. Depending on what you want to include in the cycle, you could go through stages like drowsiness and deep sleep (some people view drowsiness more as a preparation for sleep, than like an actual stage of it). However, one of these so called stages stands out more than any other, REM-sleep.
All the other stages are classified as N-REM sleep stages (Non-REM). What does REM stand for then? I'm sure many of you already know, but REM stands for Rapid Eye Movements. In this stage of sleep, your brain activity is very much alike that what it would be when you are wide awake. Also, during this stage of sleep, your eyes are literally rapidly moving under your eyelids. It is in this sleep stage, that dreams have the most common occurrences, and the dreams during the REM-sleep are in general remarkably more vivid; clear; real.
These cycles usually reset in ninety minute loops. And for every cycle, the amount of REM-sleep included grows. In the first cycles, you experience significantly more deep sleep than in the later ones. This is to say, the longer you sleep, the longer you dream. In average, a person dreams 6 years of his life, so why not make use of that? Think about it, six years you can (and will, whether you remember it or not) spend in another world, without the rules of physics, yet, as real feeling! It's not that easy, or it's impossible, you might say. Well, this is not so, for most people. And there are several approaches to largely affect your dreams, and what you remember of them. There are also multiple other reasons as to why you should at least think about it all.
Before I continue where I'm going, I'll have a short (edit: fail, long!) side section here.
I'm no Sigmund Freud (in actuality, I believe he might have as well been almost as mentally ill as some of his patients were, but I should remember he lived long ago, in a not as well educated reality as I live in). Many still think there is credit to his research about dreams. Well, in some ways I might agree, but not for the most part.
Even without any Godly intervention, many believe that dreams contain symbolic messages, and that these encrypted signs are readable. The thing is, I don't believe in an accurate dream dictionary, any more than I believe in astrology (please do note the difference between astrology and astronomy). Like horoscopes, dream dictionaries are designed to fit everyone, which is to say, generalized as fuck!
Even if some dreams could be messages from one's subconscious (which I believe is a valid possibility for several reasons. Wanna know why? Ask. It's not like faith, I really have come across reason to believe this might very well be plausible), there is no chance that there could exist a universal dictionary for dream symbols. Symbolism is extremely personal. If you are from the same culture, there is a slightly higher possibility that you might associate things similarly to one another, but reading dream interpretations should be taken with a pinch of salt.
This said, there are some dreams that have been documented to be much more occurrent (my version of occurring, not a real word) than others. Often these dreams are different types of nightmares. Like the very classical chase dream (which I can't recall ever having had).
But the most usual dream ever would have to be "the falling teeth" dream. Some of you may actually have experienced this sometime. Especially since it is often a frightening scenario (the likelihood of remembering a dream is heightened by a ridiculous extent if you wake up from that dream, and often, you'll wake up if you have a nightmare). I don't remember what this type of a dream is said to symbolize, but I have had probably around ten to twenty of these that I recall (which is not my reason for believing this is the most common dream type), the previous one having taken place less than a week ago. Often, you'll just do normal things, and then suddenly, maybe you hit one of your teeth very lightly, but still, you notice that the tooth you've hit is really loose. Also, you might look in the mirror and realize that your teeth are rotting (has not happened to me). Pretty much everything that revolves around teeth in a dream classifies as a tooth dream (no shit, Sherlock).
Luckily, I haven't had a real nightmare in at least seven years now, which you might find odd considering I just mentioned having one of these teeth dreams. Well, I don't really see things as nightmares unless I get frightened, or feel a great sense of discomfort. Naturally, me remembering around 2 separate dreams a night in average, I've had my share of less pleasant dreams, but nothing too bad. I seldom wake up glad that what I just experienced was only a dream, and that I'm happy for. It does happen though. But even if I experience horrible things in my dreams sometimes, I tend not to get frightened at all, while others have said themselves having been frightened to death by most trivial things in their dreams. Thanks subconscious! Your unconscious must have the power to alter the way you perceive things in dreams; otherwise this would not make sense at all!
Another thing I find extremely interesting is the relation between the physical realm and the dream realm. While you are dreaming, you haven't fully escaped the actual world. You can still hear things, feel things, and even see things, like a bright light through your eyelids if you are dreaming. This can even affect your dream. You've probably experienced this yourself sometime. You hear your stupid alarm clock, and for a while, you don't have an explanation for this in your dream, so your subconscious makes one up for you, maybe the church bells suddenly were ringing or something (I know they seldom sound the same, but remember, in the dream world this could be a perfectly valid explanation for the sound. It's just the subconscious mind trying to explain something that doesn't belong in the dream, so that you won't realize that you are dreaming).
It's not unusual that physical pain takes out its lot on the dreams too. I read one guy's writings about him having broken his leg (or something like that; paraphrasing as usually), and that he, because of feeling that pain in the dream, was limping through his entire dream (which wouldn't be that funny, I think). In my own experience, I once had a dream where I drank liters upon liters of water in my dream, only to end up waking up thirsty. I guess it was my dreams way of saying I should drink something. Also, a few weeks ago, a friend told me he had a weird dream where he experienced emesis. Our best guess as to the reason behind his vomit-filled dream was that he had a very sore throat. It seems like someone is always sick...
Did you know, while you sleep your whole body is practically paralyzed (aptly called: sleep paralysis). This is to prevent you from living out your dreams. Sleepwalkers have a disturbance in their sleep paralysis. Funny thing is, you can actually be awake while being in this state (ironic, I know). However, this is seldom a pleasant occurrence. You see, during sleep paralysis you might experience hypnogogic or hypnapompic phenomena (sleep paralysis while awake is one of these) like hallucinations. And unpleasant ones! I'll go deeper into this subject sometime, but here is a blog post (not of my making) describing a specific experience of "pavor nocturnus", a.k.a. night terror.
Anyhow, finally back to dream recall, which will be the final topic for this first real entry about dreams.
I do realize that most of you won't engage so much in dreaming that you'll take up writing a dream journal just because of this post. Still, I'm going to give you a few easy tips (seriously, no effort needed) that if followed, will guarantee you'll be able to reminisce a few dreams (at least some details), and quickly for that matter!
Two basic things. First, you need to set an intention (not that important later, but especially if you almost never remember dreams this is essential). Before you go to sleep, simply make up your mind and decide that you will remember at least one dream when you wake up. Now, there are far more advanced ways of approaching this, but I'm sure that really making up your mind will suffice. It helps to be honest though. Dreams often consist of things that have happened to you during your latest days, especially if something has an emphasis on it. If you are serious about your intent to remember your dreams, you'll certainly remember them.
The other thing is when you wake up in the morning (or why not in the middle of the night). Do. Not. Move. At first this might be difficult to remember right upon waking up (and do this on a weekend to begin with. Seriously, being woken up by an alarm clock will fuck up your dream recall in one way or another more often than not. If you don't automatically remember your dreams despite of the clock, leave it be 'til you need not be woken up by it).
Same thing goes for moving. Moving instantly upon waking up will distract your mind away from the dreams that might already be difficult to remember. So while laying still, try not to think of anything in particular for a moment. Trying to remember your dream too hard will also disturb the process more than help it. After lying still thinking of nothing for a few seconds or so, a small fragment of your dream should already begin to pop into your mind (especially if you woke up from a dream, otherwise it is still possible, but might take a bit more time). I you really can't remember anything after this, try very slowly returning to the very position you were sleeping in. Also, instead of trying to remember what you dreamed about, focus on how you are feeling. If you feel happy for no apparent reason, chances are you felt happy in your last dream as well. Try to catch up any small bit of any dream if you can. If you find the smallest of a piece of your dream, this might be a mental image, a feeling, or something you just know, think about it. After this, it is very, very likely that you'll begin to remember other fragments of your dreams, and after a while a lot of the dream can be tracked not much unlike a puzzle is built. However, most of the time, there will be missing pieces. Dreams are often jumpy, and put their emphasis on things far from eachother. Sometimes there is no smooth transition.
If none of this worked. Don't fret. Simply try again. Within three nights it is almost certain that you'll remember something (often already on the first try). Sometimes it takes a while for the intent to set in. If you keep doing this, it will be easier and easier to recall your dreams. You have around 6 dreams a night in average, and it is possible to remember everything, but nothing you should feel a need to strive for.
I would not be even close to as interested by dreams if it weren't for one last key factor. The promise, of everything you could imagine; the real prize of the bargain.
Some of you might have experienced this (especially usual with children), but there is one type of dream, one that really makes all the difference. There is an awesome thing called "Lucid Dreaming".
This is, essentially, being aware in a dream that you are dreaming. It is possible to gain full control of your lucid dreams. If you're not a natural, it's still doable by practice, but at the moment it takes slightly more devotion than I am willing to pay. But I've come a long road (I've probably had hundreds of lucid dreams, even though I at the moment remember only thirty or so, last one having occurred yesterday night). Whenever I get more time and motivation I'll focus even more on my intention. I have not experienced a dream where I had full control since I was a child (as I said, children tend to have more lucid dreams [there are different stages of lucidity]), but I know a ridiculous amount about dreaming anyway; in psychology, my area of expertise is hypnosis and dreaming (not professionally...). But even if I know quite some about hypnosis, it is not comparable to what I know about dreaming.
If you have any dream related question, I'll gladly answer it. In the rare case that I don't know the answer, I know the very best places to look it up (unless it has to do with dream history, in which case you are probably on your own with Google).
The next part of this dream exploring series will be focused upon lucid dreaming, and there will probably be several different entries discussing this. But as I said, probably not in a row.
I know I've written a long post once again (my second longest, actually), so I beg your pardon for that. This introduction is probably messy as hell, but you'll get over it. You always do.
'Til next time!
I actually composed a short song specifically for this entry (instead of writing it), the night between Wednesday and Thursday.
It should have been recorded in a more proper manner, but you know me...
I intentionally mimicked certain elements of some compositions featured in Final Fantasy 7, so that and this post to honor, I named it:
Sunday, September 15, 2013
At least this is true for all that has come to live, as far as we know. Exactly when each living thing dies is a different matter, but eventually, all that now flourishes with life, will wither into nonexistence. I've probably mentioned this in an earlier entry as well, if I recall correctly. But since the thought still seems to linger in my mind, I might as well write it off properly once and for all.
For some of us, thinking about the eventual death of living things can be quite depressing, for others it seems more casual; some people fear death, others accept it as a part of life, which sounds a bit ironic when you think about it.
In death, what is there to fear? Why are so many afraid of dying? The list of reasons can be endless...
For many, however, I believe that the dread is born from the unknown, as with many other things. Although you may have a general idea, do you really know what's going to happen when you die? It can be difficult to know for sure, and even if you think you do, there's always at least a small fragment of a possibility that you might be wrong.
And even worse, what if you stay alive but the ones you love die? Not a pleasant thought. But would you rather die with them?
All these things together, are some of the core reasons (I believe), as to why many choose to be religious. There is a multitude of other reasons as well of course, but I think the fear of death has had a huge impact on the prevalence of beliefs.
I understand that there is a certain comfort in believing that when the people you care about die, they are off to a better place, not to speak of what will happen to yourself after you've lived out on this life.
On the counterpart, there's the belief in hell as well... This one, I don't understand as much. I guess that mankind has simply generally thought that punishment equals great justice. I don't know... To me it seems like religions often are filled with loads upon loads of different stuff that is directed to different kinds of people, in order to motivate as many people as possible to believe what they say (which makes sense if you think about how few extreme fundamentalists there are, compared to the groups that nitpick only the parts that they like). It's almost as if they were huge self-marketing campaigns.
Back to topic, death, or more accurately, being susceptible to it.
Why do creatures live and die in the first place?
People tend to ask, what is the meaning of life? But maybe the question we should ask ourselves is "what is the meaning of death?"
I don't think there are all too many good answers out there. Might be that death is just one of those things that coincidentally happen to be there whether you like it or not. Maybe, the question doesn't need an answer, but pondering upon it shouldn't hurt you all that much.
As with everything, death comes with both good and bad sides, although many often focus more on the bad ones. Parents don't always know how to explain the death of for instance a pet or so to their small children. "They don't yet understand death," they might say. But I wonder if anyone really understands it. Alike several other phenomena, I think that what lies after life is beyond human comprehension.
The way we see the world is just an inaccurate reflection created by our senses. Logic is just a fallible tool, used for trying to explain things, which means that there must be multiple things that the human mind simply cannot wrap itself around. Many claim that humankind will never be able to fully comprehend such things as infinity, or a real "nothing". If this is really the case, I don't think humans could be said to fully comprehend death either.
I'm still young, so at least to me death still feels unrealistically distant, but I know that it's there waiting, lurking somewhere, with an astounding patience. Still, I don't even know if I fear death, myself. I think I would have to be put into a situation where getting a realistic answer was forced out of my core, in order to really know; "you never really know until you experience it," I've heard some people say.
But instead of thinking about how one should face death, how should you deal with life? Especially since you know that it'll end with death.
There are billions of approaches to this, as there are billions of lives. At this point, I don't think there is really a 'correct' way. I want to quote a character from a manga though. "You should live your life so that you don't regret it when it comes to a close". Well, I strongly doubt that that manga was the first place where a similar thing was said, but I don't think that makes the quote lose any ground.
It's probably not all that uncommon that people realize what a waste their life has been, only when it's too late. Or at least they might feel that way. It's rare that any single individual's life would make such a big impact on the universe anyway, if you don't count with the potential butterfly effect.
But what I was trying to say was, most people are bound by these untold rules, created by culture, social lives, and many other things. Now, there's not necessarily anything wrong with that. But as a man dependent on creativity, productivity and variation in general, if I'm not to go crazy, it's dangerous to bind myself to too many patterns. Still, I tend to forget this when it's important not to. It's not as dramatic as I may be making it sound though. What I mean is, as superficial as these untold rules might be, it can be difficult to break them, depending on the circumstances.
But you've probably heard stories of people that have been diagnosed with terminal diseases, and that they've only then realized how silly everything around them really is. The perspective has been changed. You could always watch Breaking Bad or something if you don't understand what I'm trying to say.
There are also the people that want to accomplish a certain list of stuff before they die, and they sometimes do.
The real reason as to why I'm writing a post like doesn't really have all that much to do with death, more with being in a standstill in my life, I'd guess. I need to make something happen, before I miss the chance.
I really wish that I had more time...
I'll get more time when I'm old (although the age of retirement will probably be around 135 years at the time I've grown elderly), but I don't want it then, I want it now! I want the extra spare time to really get enough out of life as long as I still can! Sadly, things seldom work that way.
I don't even think that my usual laziness would get the best of me if I just had enough time. I usually need a lot of time to get started, but when I have begun I usually really get things done.
But as I said, I've been doing nothing for too long now, in my opinion. The summer feel hasn't really left me yet, even if I've already been in school for more than a month (It's funny, but if you read a post I made just at the start of summer I was pretty much complaining about the same stuff).
And although I have played as much piano as usual, I haven't really gotten all that much done music wise, sadly. Same goes for writing on my book, which I haven't done in ages now! There's so much I want to do (a list would be longer than all my blog posts together), but I tend not to even get started!
I should really get a grip on myself.
How does this relate to the subject of mortality? It has more to do with time. The time that is left.
I really only have two main goals in life. One is to have as much fun as possible, since that's about the most you can get out of life. And the other is to be very productive, in various ways, since that's about the most you can make out of life.
I don't really know why, but I really feel like I should be productive, especially if this includes some kind of art form. I might have only played the piano for a bit more than four and a half years, but my quest for productivity didn't start there. It has always been a calling of mine. Most people don't know this, but for a very long time of my childhood, I wanted to become either a professional football player (soccer for you Americans out there), or an artist (at that time, a painter). I didn't really have any skills in any of those two areas, but you know, childhood dreams and all. If I really tried though, I think I might still make a mediocre artist, what I lack is practice, most of all.
But what I would really want to work with is of course music. That would be my dream job right now. Either that or I could become an author. Both career choices are much dependant on luck though, and they require both risk and determination. And time.
One last thing about dying.
It's not unusual to hear people say that you never really die, until you are completely forgotten. And in many ways, I think that hits just the spot. Your consciousness might not be part of this world any longer after the death of your body, but the difference it makes is only a difference to you, really. Other peoples perceptions of you is, and has always been a profile portrayed in their minds, and it will continue to be so even after your death, until eventually, you are completely forgotten. Not the least depressing, right? ...
But hey! The more productive you are, the more you affect your surroundings, the more you leave behind after you're gone, the longer you will live, according to that definition. And no matter how small it might seem to be, the impact each individual has on the universe is still significant, in many ways.
Speaking of leaving things behind, I don't have any music for this post. I don't have any remotely good art piece either, but I have a weird thing called an Ex Libris that I made during art class in school.
It's a kind of a thing that you usually print in a book that you own, to indicate just that; that it's indeed your book. An Ex Libris is supposed to have some personal symbolic relation to your life, to yourself. But being me, I didn't take that task all that seriously. Still, here it is.
As usually, perfectly optimized ;) (without a single trace of sarcasm...).
I don't really understand this one myself either. I have no idea what those numbers or those line illusions are, I just put them there to fill out space.
Well, I see that this turned out to be one of those really random and messy blog posts of mine. I hope that you were able to get something out of it still though.
Well, speaking about one's core, and about symbolics. In my next entry, I will write about dreaming. I seriously have to make an official announcement about that, or I would never get it done. I happen to know quite an amount about dreaming, and even if you find the subject boring and superficial, I plead you to reconsider. Dreaming might have a lot more to it than you think.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Well, I don't really know what I should write about this time, so I think I'll settle for improvising a random story, or some other kind of messy scripture (it probably won't make much sense), for fun. Let's see what horrible kind of fiction we'll end up with... (Music mode: on).
This tale begins alike many others, a long time ago, in a distant, dark place. As far as everyone knew, the mentioned place had always been surrounded by darkness. No one really knew why anymore, but there had to be a reason, right? At least that is what a young traveller named Lucis Quaesitor thought.
The now almost grown up boy had heard of this lightless part of the world already when he had been a small kid. Many upon many a tale had been told, and sometimes even sung about this place. Of course, the place had to have a name. And it naturally had to be a name as twisted as the area itself. No one really knew what the dark lands had initially been called, but at some time a name had emerged, the palce was called Extortus.
Legend goes that Exortus means something very dismal in an ancient, forever forgotten language. Lucis had travelled very far from home - too far, some might argue - and was now on the brim between daylight and dakness; he had reached Exortus. He had been warned by many, them saying that under no circumstances should he enter the darkness before him. Stubborn as Lucis was, he had ignored anyone that had tried to convince him from going in to the place that lacked light.
Apart from being a traveller, Lucis liked to perceive himself as an explorer. "The Explorer of Exortus"... The title clanged well inside the head of the boy. The brave explorer, willing to take to drastic measures in order to find out about the truth behid ancient secrets.
Lucis had travelled to Exortus on foot, since no animal would dare go near the place, but that didn't scare the unfearing explorer, why would it? The darkness could easily be seen from miles away. It looked like a gigantic, gloomy cloud that had for some reason decided to stick to a single area. The interesting thing was that the cloudy darkness woudn't move at all. It was located in the middle of a relatively small desert, and one could occasionally see sand flying around the air, with the wind, but the bleak mist remained immobile.
There were several myths about people that had entered the darkness before Lucis had, but the stories didn't turn out the way you'd expect them to. Usually in these kinds of legends, the people that had entered the fog would have never returned, at least not alive, or in the best case scenario, they would return mentally ill. No, the stories were of a different kind indeed. Not only would most of the people that had entered the darkness returned, but they had come back as something more than they used to be. They were said to have gained the power and the knowledge of the ancients.
Lucis had never really understood why people were so fearful of this place. It's not that much unlike being scared of the dark. And dreading the unknown is supposed to be a bad thing, right? Lucis had stood waiting at the edge between reality and the unexplainable long enough in his opinion. It's not like he had been doubting his intention. There question had never been between Lucis entering or not, so enter he did.
Lucis took his first step into the dark mist, and just as he had expected, he wasn't able to see anything. He had been prepared for this possibility, though only mentally, this is to say, Lucis hadn't brought a source of light. What was more unexpected, was that the fog didn't feel like anything at all. You'd think that the cloudy substance would feel cold or so towards the skin, but it's like it didn't even exist, except in his own mind. at least, this was the case at first...
As Lucis proceeded navigating blindly through the mist, he began feeling a certain weight on his shoulders. He soon came to realize that the further he went into the darkness, the more exhausting continuing became. This made him wonder if going back would give him more energy instead, but he didn't have time for trying. Actually, Lucis had all the time in the world, the real reason as to why he wanted to continue deeper into the darkness was that there was some kind of a drawing force, a force that wouldn't allow him to go back. Whether that was just an imagination, or reality was unclear to our hero.
So as it was, Lucis simply kept on walking, and walking, for what seemed like eternity, or if possible even longer. Lucis had entirely lost grip of the time. He could have been inside of the cloud for minutes, as well as he could have been in it for days. It was at this point that Lucis realized that something odd must be occurring. Not being able to see the difference between minutes and days is not normal even in times of severe confusion. This darkness was surely keeping a mysterious force within it.
Lucis couldn't recall having been this tired ever before in the time of his life. At some point, he began crawling insted for walking, and he felt dry as sand, both on the inside of his body, as on the outside. Still, this was no normal lack of humidity. As dry as he felt, Lucis didn't really feel a real craving for liquid. However, he felt like he was about to faint.
Just as the light was about do disappear form his eyes - well, it would, hadn't everything around him been pitch black already -, light began to appear around him. In an instant, Lucis had ragained part of his lost energy. Yet, he was even more confounded than earlier.
As his eyes slowly began to adapt to the light, Lucis was able to make out some shapes around him. His best guess was that he had managed to reach the eye of the mist; the center of the darkness. Still, he was surrounded by the dark, there was simply a small area, with a radius of maybe 5 meters that vas visible around Lucis. He couldn't see anything but darkness if he looked straight upwards, and although there was light, there seemed to be no source of it, thus there were no additinonal shadows, apart from the darkness surrounding Lucis. The setup was to say the least, unsettling.
There seemed to be a large object, in the very centre of the center. As he became able to see more and more, Lucis began to see a certain movement in the object. Brave as he was, this still managed to scare Lucius beyond comprehenshion. It took several seconds for him to realize that what had moved, had been himself. That's right, in the very middle of it all, was for no apparent reason, a gigantic mirror. The dark figure that had moved had been nothing but a reflection of himself. Or this is what Lucis at first thought...
Upon studing the mirror more closely, Lucis noticed something that made his heart bumb across his chest... The reflection didn't move similarly to Lucis, but it seemed to move however it itself wanted to. Another odd thing was that the reflection lacked color, it was simply a dark shadow, with the same proportions as lucis.
Lucis gathered all the courage he had left, and tried talking to the mirror.
"Hello? Can you hear me?"
At first, there was no answer. It was not before this point that Lucis began to think that entering the dark mist mightn't have been the brightest ide that he'd had. He didn't have time to think much else, since upon that followed the reflections answer.
"Why do you think that I, the one who led you here, could not have heard you. I have waited for someone new to appear here for more than a century".
Lucis heart was now pumping blood through his veins at speeds he hadn't before thought were possible.
"Who are you then?", asked Lucis.
"I, am the very last of a species that your people call the ancients", replied the shadow in the mirror.
This was something that Lucis Quaesitor had never been able to believe no matter who would had told him. He wasn't even afraid anymore, simply astonished.
"An ancient still alive? Why that is magnificent news! There's so much that I wish to know, and you if anyone should be able to give me the answers!"
There was a slight pause, almost like the ancient took a moment to think.
"So it is wisdom that you seek?"
"Yes! Yes, it is! I wish to gain knowledge of so many things. For instance, is it true that people have stepped into this place earlier, and that they've returned more glorious than ever?"
The shady reflection let out a weird sound, and it sounded almost as though it was laughing.
"In a way, I guess you could say so. Is this something that you wish for yourself?"
"Oh please! That would be an honor!", answered Lucis, too into the moment to realize what he was getting into.
"Thank you, permisson was all that I needed", said the ancient.
Suddenly, everything around Lucis began to twist and turn, his whole reality being turned upside down. It felt almost like travelig at an extremely high speed. Then, everything became black.
At first, when Lucis awoke, he thought he was back in the darkness. He figured that he was probably supposed to walk away the same way that he came from. the problem was that Lucis had no sense of direction at this point. But if he just kept walkin forward in a straight line, he should eventually be able to exit the darkness. The weird thing was that Lucis didn't really feel any different. The ancient had promised him new powers, but he couldn't feel any of them.
This time, the walk was easy, and it didn't take too long for Lucis to reach something, it was what he reached that was terrifying. He began to see some stripes of light in front of him, and he walked towards them. Suddenly, he came to a stop. Not because he wanted to, but because he hit something seemingly invisible.
As he recovered from the slight blow, he saw something very unpleasing. He was staring back into the centre of the black fog! It was only now that he realized, this time, Lucis was on the other side of the mirror.
Lucis tried running back, but after only a few steps, he hit another invisible wall, the same happened with the two other dirsctions. Lucis heart dropped when he realized that he was fully stuck; unable make an escape anywhere. And right as he began wondering why this was, he looked down.
Written there, with a large red text, there simply stood:
"Thank you for this new vessel".
What Lucis never realized, was that the people whom had returned from the darkness as something more than themselves, were not themselves anymore.
Never enter the darkness.
Okay, so that was my very weird and messy story, fully improvised in less than two hours. It will probably be full of grammatical errors, and other faults, but I think I'll refrain from correcting them; that would be tampering with the improvisation!!! (you got me, I'm lazy)...
I'm utterly sorry if I managed to bore you to death with this über-weird story thingy.
still, I'd be happy if you made some kind of a comment about it!
Now, it's time for music!
I wrote a short (40 sec) fanfare a bit more than a week ago. I'm planning on making it longer and better at some point, but if that ever happens remains to be seen. However, you can listen to the current version here:
It contains several high notes, with instruments that are not supposed to play that high notes... So some of you mightn't like it for that. Otherwise I think it sounds quite funny :P
That will be all for tonight.
Remember: whatever happens, you should under no circumstances enter the darkness.