Archive for November, 2014

Is Gravity’s Effect on Time Perceptible?

November 28, 2014

The recent release of Interstellar has gotten a lot of people thinking heavily about gravity. And it’s about time! Yes maybe I’m just tagging linkable references in hopes of boosting my blog posts’ reach but I think the next idea is intriguing and want to hear what people think.

Gravity has an effect on time. The peculiarities of the fundamental force cause it to speed up or slow down the perception and ageing of an object relative to its strength. A recent clock has been made that is so sensitive it is failing to give an accurate “time” because the position of the clock relative to the earth causes it to tick at different rates, thanks to gravity. Other than this being a potentially incredible discovery into discovering the intricacies of gravity, this also tells us that time is sensitive.

As a subjective observer, how fast do you “feel” or “know” time is ticking. We all have the shared experience of a really stimulating and entertaining day as fast and a boring dreary one as slow. Our memories can be recalled irrespective of time. An entire day can be remembered in an instant, or we can drag out a faux pas and have it play for hours.

It may then not be so unimaginable to imagine that maybe our brains perception of time, the electrochemical signals travelling through neurons, may be sensitive to how fast we move and our generally relative gravity. Does a person sitting in a plane count his internal seconds ever so slightly slower than his grounded counterpart? Do two people sitting next to each other, over the course of a lifetime, ever so slightly feel as if they’ve lived longer than two people sitting apart?

Who knows. But they’re interesting questions nonetheless.

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Feeling Better

November 23, 2014

I wake up. The day before I was unable to get out of bed for 5 hours. Apathy, boredom and self doubt keeping me motionless as if a large lion was sitting on me, crushing me before the devour. But today my head feels lighter. My feet don’t sink into the floor as heavily, my hair doesn’t look that bad (and I never cared anyway) and wouldn’t it be great to cook eggs for breakfast?

This renewed excitement, this fresh clear breath of day is not unexpected. The days prior (see previous posts for context) felt as if spent in shadow. Rationality and reason doing nothing to aid my perspective or offer insight about how to behave but I knew I had to ride it out. Whatever physiological, circumstantial, environmental influences were putting me in a funk were only temporary. The feelings were very real.

The actions related to judgements made in this headspace resulted in:

  • staring at things
  • staring at no things
  • checking clocks
  • sleeping

And it’s basically rinse and repeat until the cycle breaks and gives way to the larger, much more enjoyable cycle where I feel great again and get my shit together.

It’s the freshness, the renewed vigour that gets me. You come out of a funk and things feel good again but freshly so. I’ve had some time where the natural grandeur inherent in nature has been invisible. Muted information. The sensory data was all there but my brain took away some crucial element. The part that makes me “stop and smell the roses” wasn’t getting any love up in that three pound organic electrochemical computer inside my skull. I was aware of this but helpless to change it. I mean I did what I could, I talked to my friends and family, I ate right, I exercised and I tried to continue creating. It would serve to not make things worse but it didn’t bring back the awe. That would have to wait.

So when the good wave returns, when the plateau is over and the roller coaster begins its exhilarating ascent to the free-fall drop and the loop de loop, it all feels new again. I will never get tired of feeling good after feeling bad. It will never pale in comparison. Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, these feelings are never experienced dully. I am reminded by these fluctuations in happy and sadness, in boredom and excitement and apathy and motivation, that our emotions are consistent. The FEELING is always relative. Someone complimenting me on my superman drawing as a six year old feels just as good as being told that my cabinet making skills are are professionally adequate.

We focus on being Happy. We always want to be happy. But we know deep down that we can’t. Anything done long enough is adapted to. We change to our environment. But as we change hopefully so does our emotional response. If we can cycle through our emotional ranges throughout day to day life then we get to experience the rich and colourful tapestry of that life for its true grandeur. We awe at the tragedy, grieve at loss, We relish freedom and embrace love, and if these were to ever lessen with each experience then THAT would be something to despair about.

Bad Habits

November 21, 2014

I will refrain from only venting my thoughts on this website when I’m feeling like shit. But not tonight. How to conquer apathy is my current riddle to solve, maze to traverse, clue to decipher. I’m feeling a great cloak of the stuff, apathy. I can’t seem to motivate myself to feel. My desires for anything stimulating have all but disappeared, I would like a substance to do the stimulating for me if possible but that’s not healthy. The information that my five senses are giving my brain right now is just not very interesting. There is beauty in the world, I know this. I’ve just watched a series of TED talks telling me all about the hidden beauty in the world right around us. But it does nothing for me.

Even this uninspired blog post is beginning to feel like a waste of time. HA wasting time. What a strange thought to have when feeling this way. All time is being wasted by me right now, all the unnoticed beauty is sitting there being ignored. Even if I were to notice it the part of my brain that transmits data into my perception of beauty is not working at full capacity. I want to sleep. I want to turn off and back on again later. Preferably when this feeling has passed. But what on earth could I possibly do right now that would excite me? There are answers. But I cannot reach them. I can’t muster the energy. All my brain and body wants to do is find its rest state and stay there until it dies. I’ll eventually get horny or hungry or thirsty and be motivated to move then but I do wish I could imagine some non-primal push doing it instead.

Jumping out of bed to read a book, or go for a walk or even just to taste some cofffee. That would be nice.

Enough of this self defeating brain slosh. I came here for therapeutic purposes and the only therapy I’m receiving is that I should go outside right now and force myself to be in the real world. Just for a little. Take some fresh air in, look at the neighbourhood. I’m going to go see if this cheers me up.

It is relevant to remember that a series of unfortunate events, mixed with a sparse diet (I need to eat more), a nonproductive day and a planless weekend have all congealed to blur my future, fog my previous accomplishments and supress the usual optimistic hope I have. This is the roller coaster and I’m currently on the plateau. Give me a loop the loop, give me a 30 foot freefall. I’ll take on the challenges but sitting idle either after the worst or before it changes, is something I would much rather be without.

Adventure Imperialism

November 19, 2014

I want to go outside. I want to see the sun hit the decks of old houses built in my neighbourhood. I want to swing by the local bar and mosey in for a drink. I want to walk past shopfronts and kids’ soccer practise, busy banks and empty libraries; I want to take in the world, each person and moment at a time.

The company I keep do not want this. Or maybe not that they don’t want it but that they haven’t had the experience to have noticed it and no reason to look. My housemate, my old housemate, my closest friends they are all still where I was four months ago; they sit and watch TV, play video games and generally let the hours of their “free” time dissipate into changing pixels and simple visual reward systems. Once the game is turned off, no evidence of achievement or labour exist. Only in the minds of the players. It’s so fucking arbitrary. To see a person invest hours upon hours of repetitive gameplay into something that does nothing for their “real life” is strange. The only thing you see objectively is a person controlling a digital surrogate walk and fight. The rewards are not clear, the journey is the same no matter what the exposition has revealed and the rewards they receive help the character to increase his skill level as the required skill to defeat the next villian is too increased. A simple reward system that gives the player no discernable benefit outside the gameplay itself. It’s so fucking redundant.

I used to watch TV to pass the time, telling myself I was interested in the expression of the human condition, that I was addicted to the writing and performances. That I was some scholar watching and taking notes so that one day I too could create a masterpiece.

But no. I was stuck. I would watch TV because that way I could let writers, actors and directors spoon me dialogue and story, to which I could resonate with emotionally. I wouldn’t have to do a thing.

Travelling changed all that. The dependence on myself to find entertainment, the lack of TV being an option, the long summer days and new neighbourhoods. Aprile played a big part too. She’s not into television or movies and reminded me of the joy and pleasure that just being in the present moment could bring. I wanted to bring that back to my friends. I want to show them how easy it is to enjoy things for free, without reward, without prizes and money, without having to “earn” it. It’s all there for the taking. You just have to open your eyes.

Yet I contradict myself. I am assuming that if people merely acted like me then they too would feel the same way but this is not true. I am only feeling this way because of the EXPERIENCE, not the mindset. No one convinced me to love aimless wandering, no one convinced me to walk around a neighbourhood experiencing it with all five senses on fire. I discovered it, firstly by chance, then by the shape of my environment and the people in it and finally, after being exposed and transformed, then by choice. I also happen to still love vegging out in front of a tv, letting myself laugh and feel for the actors on the screen. I’ve watched more tv than gone on walks since I’ve been back I shamefully admit.

So I’ve fallen into choosing comfort rather than truth from time to time. I can be a slave to my desires, those that request a non energy state. I’ve spent the last twenty four hours moving from various positions of rest from the couch, to the armchair, to the toilet seat, to the bed. Forty five minutes each at least. And what did I do with that time? With that freedom? I sat and I pondered. I sat and I wasted my time. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t bring myself to waste away in front of a TV but also couldn’t find it in me to experience the real world as it is. So I was left to seek out the least expenditure of energy: not moving. But my brain doesn’t have that luxury, its movement is hardwired into its functionality. So while I sat there like some paralysed lump my brained whirred and buzzed. It fed me guilt. It fed me content. It fed me apathy. Maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up for a days worth of laziness but I cannot help it. I can’t find the perspective that influences my brain enough to shoot me out of bed and spread my arms wide singing “carpe diem” into the mirror. Not today anyway.

And in much the same way that people force their religious beliefs onto others I was starting to try to enforce my adventurous beliefs. And my friends are just not interested. They can’t see the point in walking, in wandering, in talking, in taking in the world. There is no reward. There is no golden chest or distressed damsel. There is no way to convince someone that walking through a quiet street is its own fulfilment when the person you’re talking to knows only how to spend their time trying to win something or figure something out. Or want something at the end.

The trick for me was discovering not to want. In a True sense. Then I could release my mind from chasing a goal, earning a prize, finding the answer and solving the mystery to just being in the damn moment. To seeing what the sunlight does when it falls through the leaves of an elm as its turns into fall in Middle America. To hear the ripping and tearing of a thick freshwater river outside my tent as its turbulent mass cascades down a million smooth stones. To see the dilapidated housing of a neighbourhood hit hard by the last five years and wonder about the lives and people who had to escape the slow relentless nightmare of the recession. These awarenesses were fulfilling in a way that no solved mystery, or sacred battleaxe or defeated villian could provide. Because to feel fulfilment from these experiences required something more. It was the quest for Truth, it was a seeking of knowledge that was led by the world itself and not some preconceived goal.

I want to get back to this. It is difficult to do alone. The rejection of my friends working to unground me from this simple reality. The rejection of my friends isolating me. The adherence to the screen doing the same.

I don’t want to force my worldview, I don’t want to isolate myself from my friends and I definitely don’t want to create a mindset that attacks it or is predjudiced against something they all hold dear.

So I must adventure alone. The seeking of my own truths has become a solo endeavour yet again. My momentary insight that I gathered through sharing has transformed me. But I need to be fulfilled on my own. And continue to find people that are looking for something more in this life, as I was, and are willing to take on my ideas. As I will be theirs.

Aimless Pondering

November 19, 2014

Hmm. Never a good word to start a blog post with but it’s all I can seem to muster. As far as first words go. I’m in a little rut at the moment, a writing rut. A creative outpouring rut I guess. I find my voice while I’m in the shower, driving to work, at work, driving home from work. Yet when I sit down at the laptop to finally let it all pour out I halter. Like stage fright or not being able to pee when there’s a guy in the urinal next you. I dam up.

My fingers float aimlessly above the keys as I wait for the guy next to me to finish his piss and fuck off so I can let the magic pour freely. To stretch the metaphor: I pull out my phone and start chronicling my annoyance instead. This blog post is such an outlet. I’m hoping that by keeping my fingers active and my mind localized into stringing a slew of words together in some order that I will be able to reignite my desire.

The book. So I’ve decided to write about my trip across America by condensing what I judge were the most poignant, transformative, visceral and entertaining stories from the experience and pasting them together as chapters with the eventual hope of it resembling a novel of sorts.

But I am feeling deflated. I am feeling dumb and lazy and frustrated. My time is spent letting my brain idle, peppered with moments of self awareness where I ask myself (rhetorically) what the fuck I am doing?

This blog will be an outpouring of any attempts to keep the practise alive. I never intend for anyone to read it, gain insight, improve their life in anyway but I’m making it public nonetheless.

Happy reading

James,