23 Years And Some Good Will

So another year has slipped past, not so uneventfully, as other recent ones. The past year, and particularly the past six months, I have been a bit more proactive than before. I haven’t seen too much from these efforts. Still, I apparently managed to pop up on a few radars and have become involved with several people and companies. This hasn’t been that bad, at all in many ways.

Ultimately, my life has become more hectic but also somewhat more enjoyable. Not always, but often enough. From my anecdotal experience, one thing is most apparent to me, you are rewarded for the good you do, but only when you least expect it. Take everything in stride; losses and sacrifice today does not always mean more loss tomorrow. With that in mind I decided a few days ago to work on projects that foster good will.

My idea of good will projects was to create experiences, relationships, and opportunities through helping others. I have a few deep observations/recommendations that I plan on writing up for some companies that I use frequently, but are lacking in more ways than one. I also wanted to work on a few small open-source projects, and get them out.

My first act of good will, and one that will continue, is to help with the development of Geochat. I have spent quite a bit of time on the site over the past few weeks, even though the activity on it has only been in short bursts and with only a few people. Hopefully that will change as Jorge and, occasionally, I add features and fix bugs. Everyone is welcome to come check it out.

After 23 years of life, here I am, not where I thought I’d be, but also content. I will continue doing what I do, and continue to expand my experiences and horizons. I’m not the best, probably never will be, but I can try to be my best. Good will projects and more openness are my plans for now on how to do that. So to those who are reading this, have a wonderful day, it’s my, and Holden‘s, birthday. Happy Birthday, Holden!

The site may go down temporarily, as I transferred the domain, and it hasn’t fully propagated.

Impact

Over the past year, I’ve noticed myself suffering from various seemingly odd emotions, the gamut between sheer joy, broodiness, to something of despair. I wasn’t sure the reason, or what set it off. The other day I came to think of where it seems to have started, but I’m still not quite sure the reason it impacted me.

A few months ago, an acquaintance passed away. We attended school together, but her and I may have spoke once over those 3 years. My only true interaction, one I don’t fully remember, was at a small Halloween party that a few of my friends threw in college. For some reason, her death has haunted me, it’s something I think about several times a week; I wish I knew why because without an real connection, only a closeness in age, it feels weird.

Obviously, she has had an impact, even on those like me. The ripples from her loss are greater than I would expect. While the full impact on my life might not have came from the events related to her; I can point to several things that have changed at least in part because of them.

One of the most notable things for me has been that I’ve felt broody. Some of it I know comes from my cousin’s pregnancy, but some of this I feel comes from facing mortality. Sitting there during the memorial service, watching snapshots of her childhood pass before me it touched me, and made me wish I was there. There not just as a form of nostalgia, but also as something I felt the need to be part of now. The happiness of childhood and innocence provides such intense joy to those around.

Another thing that’s changed, is that I have become more open to religion. Something about watching the community in and from the church during the service, changed something for me. While I am still not religious, my view has changed, and continues to change. I’ve always leaned more on an agnostic front personally, with a belief in some form of karmic justice. I know that from experience what I do always is almost always returned greater in the future. I cannot say that it is by fate, or by the hands of a deity, any more than I feel I can say it is by luck. More and more, I seek to find a shared faith, even though I don’t truly believe, and part of that is due to the warmth of the community I saw that day from our shared grief.

We will all have an impact and it cannot be measured or seen. Only once we have passed and settled will the scales truly show the difference we made. Change what you can, for you and those near, and even if the impact isn’t large or doesn’t occur swiftly; your impact will be felt. Do good.

This Is Life

We’re born bare into this world, we are the lucky ones who already won the race. Let us not forget this truth, for it is the truth. The moments immediately before and after are of the ultimate innocence. An innocence not to last in perfection, we are stones being cast into the surf. We will be rolled and tumbled through life, crushed and ground away by peers, but always unique.

As our lives are shaped by the grind, polishing us, we might forget about our beginning. We might allow our life to define us, but that isn’t life defining us it is our environment. Life already defined us, we live. We cannot let the environment drag us into what it says we need; it doesn’t know because need is personal.

Our world says that we need to eat this, wear that, drive this, buy that, find love (as long as it is an accepted form), etc. To that I ask why? Why do we have to fall in line with what the world says is needed. The real needs were spelled out long before the world came up with their own set; why do we let ourselves forget them? We are driven by metrics and goals that don’t matter.

Life says we need air, we need to eat, we need to drink water, we need shelter, and we need to fuck at some point. These are the only necessities of the pure life we were born into, all of us free and equal in those regards. Life makes no promises, it has no need, it has already given us a blessing and now it is our turn.

Yet, many of us forget the simplicity of life, believing the world to be honest. In forgetting, we forgot ourselves, who we really are. This is not our fault, it is our nature, born of pure innocence we know not of evil or temptation. The world takes advantage, crafting us, driving us through the sieves, trying to make us fit. Wanting us to fit, for a multitude of reasons befitting the different elements we interact with.

Life requires nothing from us, except for us to follow our needs. The world has changes that as it bounds toward ever more complex systems defining what our needs should be and how we are to meet these needs. We believe the world, chasing after what it says, like a dog bounding after a rabbit on a rail, as the world watches on in much amusement at our gullibility. How is it that we give our freedom up so easily?

How? The world presents us with solutions that it says will make us happy. It bombards us with images and stories, constant advertisements for a happy life. It projects forth ideas about what we should do, what we should buy, where and how we should live, yet it does this without the personal understanding necessary. It does not care about you or I, it created the jobs, it created the wants, and it created the money that will drive both. The world continues the grinding, rolling you over.

As we progress, many lose their edges, ground down so smoothly only to find another edge if they are forced to crack. Most of these will not find their way back, never becoming free again, withering away with time until the end. Some will find and hone their edges, fighting against the world to live life; this path is hard, life makes no promise that it will pay off. You can choose your path, follow the world, living marginally happy, or take a chance with the edge and risk never being complete.

Some will fight life, or death as it is better known at that point. Life and death are one and the same, but from different perspectives. In life we slip from the darkness through to the light, then watch as the light dims. In death, looking backward, we slip from the light into the darkness and watch as the world brightens, this is nostalgia. On both paths, there are blips, or maybe extended periods of both light and dark, representing the tumultuous affairs the world presented. In the end we can only hope to go out as bare as when we had entered.

Anonymity And Stratification

Our perception and thus our lives and surroundings are driven by biases. They are internal and external. They are mental and physical. These define our world and define us.

Erosion, by wind and water, is biased in that it takes the most direct path with the least resistance. The wind and water are of coursed biased by their own factors such as temperature, gravity, or  physical displacement. Solution caverns are formed after long periods of graceful wearing by biased paths of water dripping through the stratified layers of earth and wearing limestone or another composite down. Men are similar in that we make our paths through life using biases to survive.

Our biases help us to form groups, of positive and negative responses, based on prior knowledge or instinct(biases shared from previous generations), and particularly opinion. Biases based on opinion — family, friends, religion, race, color, creed, nationality, wealth, just about way to slice society and ideals into disparate groups — create stratification within our modern societies. We take in what we see, what we hear, what we feel and our biases respond with negative or positive reaction. These reactions aren’t always rational, because they have been passed through a filter before being truly inspected.

How can we limit our biases? How do you limit the effects of stratification, being in or out of group, above or below a threshold?

I don’t think we ever can completely destroy bias, a factor being emotion, but can we limit it; I believe so. Social networks are often based around a user’s identity and relationships, and also the sharing of the user’s ideas and emotions. Each is a form of bias, but what if we can remove everything that is unnecessary, the relationships and identities. You end up with a muddled stream of anonymous content, you strip away the biases you have positive and negative that aren’t relevant to the actual content. We hear how bad anonymity is, but just because you hide the identity doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to exist.

John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

Why does anonymity have to devolve? What if you can have your anonymity along with identity, and the responsibility (most) people have when it is our identity attached. Can you impart the freedom of stratified bias, while simultaneously allowing the community to hold itself to a standard without abuse. To be honest I don’t know, but both on their own are simple, the first being the standard identity based model, the other being more akin to 4chan’s open anonymity. Maybe it should be as simple as an interface switch, that can show identity, if it is wanted, but otherwise hides it by default. Relationships shouldn’t have to be destroyed in order to have the anonymity exist.

Anonymity like the biases can’t and won’t be perfect, but there have to be some ways to limit and control them. This post was partly spawned by thinking about group stratification and realizing I had partially solved it with little app I made for myself a while back that removed all external points of identity, incidentally. It my content streams from Friendfeed, and was amazed at some of the reactions I had to things I had liked that I normally would have scoffed at.

Processing The End

The Emptiness…

It is a lack of fulfillment, both metaphorically and in actuality. It is the knowing that something should be done, how it could be done, but stressing out over how it will be done. It is the ever present NEVER.

Never finished.

Never shown.

Never critiqued.

Never. Never. Nev…

Many Endings…

With many starts, there also comes many endings. And while all things eventually end, there is a period in the middle that can be seen as an end, temporarily. That middle, however, doesn’t contain the finality of an ending. It could, but it often doesn’t. An end: Must be declared. Must be defined. Must include some sense of finality.

To not have those, you have many threads. These threads are silent, until ruffled. They are known, but not seen. They are ready to be wove together, to be knotted. The knot is the end, but…

…Never Seen

Process Undefined

Without a solid process, with an ending. One that can be declared complete. There will be no final solution, though there may be a solution along the way.

Fighting against an end, is natural. It is nostalgia. It is delusion. There has to be a process that demands a sacrifice of resistance. Fighting the end is futile. Fighting the resistance to the end is key.

A well defined process removes friction. It makes the end have definition. It bears the path to follow. Thought can consume a process as process removes thought.

Destroying the Habit

Forget what you know. Remember what you know. Fight. Fight for your freedom. Freedom from yourself. Freedom from your habits.

Your freedom depends on the destruction. The destruction depends on how well you fight. Your tools are the ability to think and the ability to act.

Think of a process. Act on the process. Repeat the process. Think. Act. Repeat. Process. Process.

Habitual Creation

Finality in the process.