Saturday, October 13, 2012

Toplessness; a philosophy of loss and balance

Seems I have developed my own philosophy on life. I’m using “developed” in a very lose sense, developing may be more accurate. Or rather I’m different from all the phlisolophers I know. I just need to write it down in a way that I can understand. Communication is challenging.

Last weeks sermon was kind of about being a good follower. Pastor pointed out that we glorify good leaders and give them awards and things. But no reward is given to for example all the lab analysts who help a professor get a nobel prize. And while a lot of politicians get voted into parliament only two of them get their faces in the paper every week.

Speaking of politicians there was a story a year or two ago in the newspaper that mentioned the education minister was horrified that up to 50% of our school students were performing below average. I think I’m happy to join that polly and be one of the underperformers, somebody has to do it after all.

Still running from one though to the next. The ranking system is fundamentally flawed, I learn things in exams as well as when I’m studying. So every time I get tested I get a little smarter. VRBones has written a little something about this.

I created a clan in “Berzerk: the Cataclysm” despite the fact that I knew it would never succeed, I don’t care. I was still able to learn some stuff and have fun. Getting in first place is not necessary for that.

First the worst, second the best, third gets the golden chest. A proof of concept card game to determine if the fundamental mechanic in “Notorious” will be fun or not. You aim to make other players have a better score for you each round in the hopes that you will only ever be an average player and thus succeed in the long run. This is not a coffee break game, giving instant satisfaction. It’s a long drawn out strategy game that becomes more complex the longer you play. Also it rewards cautious behavior.

I’m not cautions at all, I’m a berserker, especially with respect to games. Just like Naruto in Shuppuuden I make some clones and sent them in yelling and screaming to their deaths, I learn from their mistakes and charge at the obstacle again. I like the idea of Anoiki’s Saints (post at Like a true topless berserker, charging in and wreaking havoc whilst having a ball of a time and dying with style, then relying on the game mechanics and my friends to rescue/save me so I can do it again. I’m always a meatshield.

Just like a minion, there to soak up some of the damage and maybe slow the hero down a little, allowing my boss a few extra moments to prepare a proper reception. I’ve been in ROTARACT since... I’m not sure, November 11 maybe? At any rate when people ask me what part I play I proudly claim I’m a minion. I never had any intention of being a leader. Slightly prior to this it was highlighted to me that when an organization has no participants it just wont work. There needs to be people who turn up, just as numbers without ever really doing anything.
If a group is made up of a president + secretary + treasurer and there are no Indians then it just becomes too much hard work and responsibility for all involves and rather than all being chiefs they give up. Minions are an essential part of any organization, they follow and are relied on to be present. Occasionally I’ve been one of 5 people helping to setup a tent whilst one person directs. I got to “stand here and hold this pole”, “fetch me another peg”, “where did I put the hammer”, But I rarely needed to actually do anything mostly I was there to hold things and bounce ideas off. But if all five of us minions left then it would have been a great struggle for the tent builder, getting poles mixed up and the tent moving whenever you try to peg it down.
Also with youth groups, I have rarely ever been an actual leader. Often a “helper leader” or just as a big minion I can still help things to run smoothly and all I really need to do is turn up on time, actually participate and then be prepared to hang back after everybody else has left.

By no means though do I advocate being a mindless zombie and a slave to protocol. One of the great evils of religion is the preconception bias. If you follow the religion of your parents/community purely out of obligation then it is nothing more than a means to teach morals. If you believe the world is flat because nobody has told you any different then you are unaware of your cage. If you get shown the stars through a telescope and fly to another country in a plane and ignore all the evidence to the contrary and maintain a blind faith in the world being flat then you are indeed a mindless zombie of a minion and can only be useful as grunt labor.
On the other hand minions who question and learn will find that they don’t get a sore back when they bend their knees to lift heavy things. Anything can be improved and optimized with more knowledge, but with less effort today things can happily remain the same in ignorance. If you never see beauty how then can you recognize ugly?

And so I travel, I watch listen and smell. I acknowledge that there are people that are different to me. I assume that I really don’t know what’s going on. I learn through trial and error. I’m curious and was taught to apply the scientific method of inquiry. I should be as objective as possible to avoid bias, and refer to everything in third person past tense. Nothing is ever true and definite; facts are fluid, forever in motion because we can only ever disprove the null hypothesis. Rarely can anything ever actually be proven to be correct. The cycle of experimentation is continuous; With new information new theories must be formulated to accommodate it and as accuracies are improved flaws are found in laws.

Scientific law: This is how it happens. Now you can predict it.
Scientific theory: This is why it happens. See, all the pieces fit.

Formulate a theory --> define Hypothesis --> Experiment --> theory is validated, for now
Or --> Theory is false --> Formulate a new theory

Maybe there is a universal truth that is always correct and easy to understand, but I find myself wrong and misinformed to ever believe that. Then again I have been wrong before. Aside from that I don’t ever want to have all the answers, learning is too much fun. If I were immortal there could be lots of things to study and understand. But I think that I’d lose all my motivation if I didn’t have a deadline approaching. Not that I leave things to the last minute but I must be doing something and goals/milestones are a good method of maintaining momentum.

Productive procrastination is important. The limited time that is available should always be used efficiently. For example when worn out from studying for an exam, don’t persist in trying to read while the words swim before your eyes, and don’t visit YouTube or surf the net on FB. Do something completely different and go to the beach for a swim and train your body or to the movies with friends and exercise your social skills.

To go back to the top, I know I’m going to die and all things should come to an end. That’s definitely a part of my philosophy on life. My happiness is founded in pessimism and positiveness. To be a pessimist means “pleasantly surprised when things go well and justified when then don’t” It’s pointless to be negative about this and spend all your time complaining. For me doors of opportunity are never shut, it’s just that better doors are opened and awaiting me to proceed through. Just the same with procrastination, never avoid work, just go and work on something else for a while, train a different aspect, physical/spiritual/intellectual/emotional.

Aspects, these are important. I don’t think that a distinction between soul and spirit is particularly useful. These words are too often used as synonyms for each other. Together though they are defiantly important. Just don’t call it magic. Nowadays magic = I don’t understand. As in “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

Spirituality on the other hand deals with things that are understood to be impossible to understand. Things that require faith to believe, like that “I am” and “I am here for a reason” to say that I exist because of magic is very unfulfilling. To say that “I exist because an omnipresent all powerful authoritative figure decided that the world would be better of if I existed” is much more satisfying. Not scientifically justifiable, but then neither is the phrase “I think, therefore I am”.

Thinking about thinking indicates the next aspect of life should be mental. This should be exercised and used otherwise your intellect will wither and die. To be the smartest in everything is impossible, to be the smartest in one thing is impractical. Don’t strive for the top of the pile, take your shirt off and be Topless. A wise person does not live books computers and science. A smart person knows that the brain is the CPU of a human and it doesn’t function without calcium. And so you must eat well and get plenty of sunlight.

For without a physical body we could not exist. Balance must be achieved between all aspects and also within them. Don’t only eat healthy also sleep well, don’t only swim to train also train to run. Being fit also includes not hurting yourself, recuperation is required. Also acknowledge that you don’t totally understand your body and it will act on its own accord.

Like when you get emotionally involved with something/someone. You cannot force yourself to cry and laugh. You cannot exist without other people to acknowledge you. We are defined by our actions and our relationships with other people. Humans are social critters so talk, hug, play and fight with each other.

The word toplessness itself came into use because I started calling myself a topless gamer at our regular Sojourn’s, when we were starting to become more official and looking for a name to identify with. At home I am most comfortable wearing undies, board shorts and nothing else, pretty much regardless of the season. I’ll pit a shirt on for visitors but when I’m relaxed I’m usually topless. Also around that time I finished re-reading “Thud” by Terry Pratchet. In the book there is a line that goes something like
“being a deep dwarf, isn’t just living deep, it can be a state of mind” “I don’t need an axe because I’m always carrying it in my mind”
This releases people from physically doing a thing so long as they follow the initial intentions. To clarify it’s the difference between tradition and traditionalism. On the one hand you are doing something because that is the way it is always done, and you have no heart in it. On the other you understand why your ancestors set about a particular path/using a specific method and you hold the same goals as them.
Alternatively; I vote Labour because my family always has. Or I vote Labour because I’d prefer the government to focus on representing blue-collar workers of which I am one.

Why Toplessness? For a while this was the name of my E-Sports group, which has been slowly getting more official. We never went with the name toplessness or topless gamers because it may exclude females and encourage gay jokes, neither of which we wanted to do. Belly dancing berserker was another phrase bandied about. Note that originally a berserker was a Norse warrior the went around bear shirt (without a top) to scare their opponents, it rains a lot in Norway. Belly used alliteration and I’d been enjoying dancing. We also trialed “Sir-LANs-A-Lot” “Psizomaijitsu” and “LANdownunder”. I still like the “less”ness of the word and have decided that it will fit for my life philosophy.

I probably should re-read all the above before I post itonto my blog. But I’ve come to the realization that this philosophy will change over time and even though I feel like I may be half way through explaining it I have a lot of words, yeah I think there are too many there for me to actually proofread it. I tried to have each paragraph contain a single theme or concept and yet let all of them directly flow from one thought to the next with a bumpless transfer. Usually when talking to people I skip 2-3 thought processes and people think I’m changing the topic.