Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To my four or five readers

Hey, no posts for a while; sorry about that. Dealt with a lot of depression, a hint of nihilism and periods of apathy over the past year. . . but I'm done with that silliness now so we should have some incoming posts here in the near future!

Biggest news at the moment is that I'm starting to learn to play jazz guitar and I've decided to give my dreams a shot for the next few years. Also, been finding quite a bit of useful wisdom in Buddhism. Stay tuned!


Monday, April 19, 2010

We have not civilization.

We call what we have a "civilization." Yet, I see nothing civil about it. . . our entire world is fueled by competition and destruction. As far as I can tell we haven't civilized, we've merely systematized barbarianism; where each man works as hard as he can to ensure that he will have and others will have not - measuring his worth by how successful he has been at robbing his neighbors and enemies - by how far more he has in contrast with them. THIS is the nature of your beloved capitalism.

True, this is the way of nature and I am rather fond of nature, but we have something special that no other aspect of nature has (of which we are aware of) and that is the knowledge of our and of other's existence. Beyond this, we also have reason and intelligence. I think that with these things we are capable of finding a way to live in which equality is truly respected and the freedom of one does not impede the freedom of any other.

I think we need only one universal law of sentient beings and that is to not impede upon another sentient's freedom. The punishment for violation of this law would be the removal of your status as sentient. The difficulty here would be in finding a clear definition of freedom.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Answer and Message to Humanity

I think I have found an answer to all of my questions, but unfortunately I am limited by my knowledge and by my language. As best I can say my answer: The Universe is.

Quite a bit is lost in translation. To fully understand what this statement means to me, you must know everything about me at the time I answered because this is my answer. Unfortunately, I cannot share with you much about me in a reasonable amount of time and I think I could never be able to tell you everything about me.

But there is one thing which I think I can explain, a sense of comfort. I do think that the Universe acts as a whole. It has always progressed forward and I believe that it will continue for quite some time. It is incomprehensibly older than we are and yet we are one of the fastest progressing aspects of it that we know of. I believe we will have peace one day. I believe that one day, the descendants of this planet will be rid of all our insanity and will operate with common goals of Universal love. At this point, the universe will be our paradise because we will finally understand that there is no reason to be unhappy with the ways of nature.

I am here for humanity. No human is my enemy; my enemies are faceless and subtle - unnameable in any phrase or term that I know, but I am not afraid of them. My greatest and only honor is in the servitude of humanity. To work for myself is pointless, I will die much sooner and can contribute much less to the Universe. I love you Humanity; I've been told not to, but you are irresistible. I know that you are quite likely to kill me - it will be in your service that I will die and my only sadness, my only regret will be that I was not capable of providing more for you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Two Poem Drafts

Here are two poems I've got in the works. Would love some feedback and well thought-out criticisms!

This first one probably won't change much.

Title: I'm sorry, but I loathe the Falsehood of your Face

The man,
who would consider art a trivial thing
is nothing more than a Sophomore.

He fails to see that
he is only mocking himself,
and that:
We laugh at him.
We disarm him.
As he naïvely forgoes his strength,
we sap his potency.

His life is wasted -
and there are no tears for him.
For the true tragedy
occurred years ago,
when he ended his life.

Title: When you open that Door

Even in the city
a sweet fragrance drifts in.

So different,
I had forgotten -
locked in all winter
where have you been?

Oh, I beg
don't leave me this year!
But I know that you will.

The wheel always turns
and Death saves us all.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grades School and Asperger Suspicions

A bit of my past and what growing up was like for me circa 1995 - 2002. Includes a few of the reasons I now believe I may have Asperger's as my mother now tells me she had begun to suspect years and years ago. I got a lot of this out of a few of my old notebooks from high school where I had tried to document my history and my development. Other parts come from discussion with my mother. My analysis is now much more complete.

Looking back a little on the history of my once poor visual memory, I often was too distracted by my imagination to really focus much on what things really looked like. It took some training for me to really be able to start paying attention to things like this when I was directed to. In contrast, when thinking alone to myself I would often stare deeply at an object paying careful attention to every detail and day dreaming about it. I would do this for hours if no one came to interrupt me. I could recall these things perfectly, but the psychologists never got to see this side of me. I've always loved to do this and I think it has greatly contributed to my overall intelligence. I got a lot of practice thinking, as it is what I did with most of my time; I did not have many friends and those I did have I saw rarely outside of school. During recess I usually sat alone and imagined things because I did not enjoy doing what most of the other children did. They wanted to play sports or to imagine by playing archetypal roles. I preferred to imagine things morphing and changing, flying around and becoming other things. I liked to imagine colorful, curving and swirling beams of light that had different effects on the things they passed through. I really liked the television show "My Little Pony" with the unicorns and pegasuses because of all of the light and color themes they had. I think this may be why I called this imaginary world "magic." I spoke of "magic" incessantly to my mother and anyone else who would listen. As a younger child I did not realize that these things were not real and that other people did not see them. When I reached 3rd grade it started to become more apparent to me because my classmates would tease me when I spoke about it, but I still did not understand that it was because their world was very different from mine. I think they thought I was crazy. Interestingly, the teasing did not bother me unless they were outright mean to me. Other situations in which they laughed at me were actually enjoyable for me because I liked the laughter. So, I learned what made them laugh and engaged them in it often. It took me a year or two to understand that they were trying to be cruel - that the laughter and the mean behavior stemmed from the same thing. When I realized this, I realized that the "magic" of my imagination was not real, though I still found it enjoyable and so engaged in it often.

As soon as I found out that it wasn't real I began to pray every night that it could be real. I did not enjoy the nightmarish world I was beginning to see that everyone else was trapped in. I knew that I needed to understand it in order to have friends and be accepted but it was difficult. Now I knew that I was different but still didn't know that it was unusual to have such an active imagination. I did not connect this to my poor grades in subjects which I could not focus or that it was what made me different. I knew that I had ADD and attributed everything to this, but didn't really know what it meant. They told me I couldn't pay attention and they gave me medicine to fix it. I didn't like the medicine, it made me feel weird and it took away much of my comforting world. However I liked getting better grades because it made everyone around me happy. I loved to see people smile so much and to know that I made them happy, especially people I looked up to like my parents and my teachers, so I dealt with it for a few years.

I learned how to play pretend with my friends at this age. It wasn't as much fun as my imagination but I liked interacting with other people and this was one of the only ways I could do it. I thought sports were pretty boring until I got older.

7th grade I started consciously realizing that if I wanted to do well in class I would have to ignore my imagination and pay attention to the teacher if I wanted to score well on tests. This was after I stopped taking ADD medicine which had just taken the imagination away from me. When I learned how to control my imagination and subdue it I started doing much better in school and my ability to read other people's emotions improved because I could focus more on subtleties I had not previously taken note of. This helped me to understand more about other people and other to act like one of them. I built a shell through which I could interface with the "normal" people. At the time I thought I had fixed myself, I thought "Now I am normal, now they will like me, now I will understand them." I was excited when I started out at high school because I felt like I had a fresh start where everyone didn't know of my bizarre actions at a younger age. I thought I had a real chance of just being like everyone else, of having lots of friends to do stuff with. More than anything I wanted a group of friends like I always saw in the movies and TV shows. I continued with this mindset until summer 2003 when I was introduced to the band A Fire Inside (AFI). They explained everything to me. But I'll tell that story later.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thoughts and Techniques for Memory

I remember reading that out of a group of people, when asked to go to a location and memorize as much as possible, those who perform best at recall did not examine the room from left to right or right to left, but spiraled out from a center. I think I understand why this is.

I've been practicing improving my visual memory. It started as a litlle game for me. I had been looking through all of my childhood school reports and found that I had always tested very poorly on visual memory.

Looking back on the history of this, I often was too distracted by my imagination to really focus much on what things really looked like. It took some training for me to really be able to start paying attention to things like this when I was directed to. In contrast, when thinking alone to myself I would often stare deeply at an object paying careful attention to every detail and day dreaming about it. I would do this for hours if no one came to interrupt me. I could recall these things perfectly, but the psychologists never got to see this side of me. . . (Read more on this history in my next blog post)

I was also thinking about how it was a little difficult for me to remember people's faces growing up. I remember a particular incident when I was around 12 or 13, I was away from home on a camping trip and for whatever reason was thinking about my mother. I tried to picture her face in my mind, I was shocked when I found that I was unable to do it. I hadn't noticed before because I had never tried to imagine someone's face before. I could get a very vague image of a human face, but it was more like some generic face form. I tried to visualize others, but again I was unable to do it. I couldn't believe it! I wondered how could I not picture these people in my mind because I had known them my entire life. It bothered me. Later on I eventually was able to do this a good deal better after I had known someone for awhile. I just had never really paid attention to what their faces looked like, my mind must have associated them in some other way.

So, riding the bus a few weeks ago (now 6:28am Feb 26 2010) I wanted to try really paying more attention to what people's faces looked like. However, i didn't want to just sit there staring people down so I decided I would just take a quick glance and just see if I could hold the image long enough to analyze it at all. I glanced at the face of the first girl to step onto the bus and then shut my eyelids. I could see her face almost perfectly. I was amazed. I tried it with every other person to step onto the bus. For at least a few moments I could remember each face and picture them clearly in my mind. I still remember the face of that first girl, though I did turn around at glance at her 3 or 4 more times before she got off of the bus (Note that each of these glances was less than one second, performed while turning my head without stopping). From those glances I am today still able to almost perfectly reconstruct the first image of her. From the lip ring hanging from the right side of the bottom of her lip to the style of her hair, her complexion, her moles, the shape of her lips.

These quick mental snapshots work really well for small simple things and faces. The technique requires you to put a lot of faith into your intuition. Just look at something shut your eyes and continue seeing it. Don't try to hard. Use a small simple thing to practice with if you find this trust difficult at first.

With practice this can be extended to your entire field of vision. Just stare forward, but don't really pay attention to the center so much (The point at which your eyes are directed is the center). Instead try to see everything. Pay attention especially to outlines. Look at the general shape of everything there. Areas where it is hard to determine the borders of may be difficult or impossible to recall accurately.

Another technique I've come up with and find useful is what I call "Mental Painting." Basically you look at the thing you want to remember and use your imagination to "paint" over top of it. But paint it to look exactly the same as it already appears! Then when you close your eyes repaint it, but this time onto the black canvas.

Very similar to the Mental Painting is another technique I call "3-D Modeling and Imposing." Instead of painting the object with your imagination you use an imaginary 3-D Modeling program (If you haven't used one of these programs you could also think of it as molding clay which would also be useful if you are a more tactile learner) and model the shape. You'll have to use imagine that you can see through the object so that you can see the other side without rotating it. Once you have "captured" it this way you can close your eyes and rotate it all you want, though.

OK, now my favorite. You can use any method like those above (I encourage you to come up with your own and post them in the comments!) to kind of get an initial "sense" of something you want to memorize, to just assimilate it into your brain but you will find that though some of these images will stick with you for a long time (like the girl on the bus) many others will disappear not soon after you discontinue thinking about them. Why, do you think this is? It is because though you brought them in and focused upon them they were not related strongly to anything else. It is like you added a conceptual island in your brain, but never built any bridges so people(your thoughts) don't go there very often and so they never put it on the map. I remember the girl because she was distinct and I related her to this technique because she was my first successful use of it - thus whenever I think of this technique I will think of her. The image of her means something to my mind. If I got to actually know her this meaning would be gradually modified to include all of the complexities of her personality, but for now she is a visual representation of my technique, for me. Everything you see has some meaning to you and some temporary connection is formed in your mind, but often it is subconscious and the connection very slight and hard to notice if you are not very confident in your intuition. But, when you do consciously recognize this personal "meaning" (or association) the connection suddenly becomes very strong and you feel an epiphany. So the trick to long term memory is to visualize the object (or person!) and understand what it means to you. WHY it is shaped the way it is. This brings perfect or near perfect memory. The tough part is how to figure out what some arbitrary shape "means" to your subconscious mind. I believe that it lies in trusting your intuition. Look at an object and just trust whatever pops into your mind, think about it and strengthen that connection. Through this process you can reorganize your mental "database" and find new connections that not only help you to memorize things better but also to think more intelligently and creatively.

Now back to the story I started with. I was playing around with some of these snapshoting techniques and I was trying to figure out a way to memorize a more complicated image. To experiment I started memorizing what the entire bus looked like. To do this I looked ahead and mentally broke the bus down into much smaller and more simple components. Then I focused on an individual component and took a snapshot. Next I snap-shot a component that was adjacent and also made note of how the two were connected and held together. As I worked my way through more of the bus I noticed that I was spiraling. Constructing the image by spiraling outward allows for more connections to be made than by moving horizontal or vertical.

The people who memorize a location using a spiral examination probably had broken the room down into smaller components whereas the side-to-side examiners likely either broke the room up into vertical slabs or simply looked at the eye catching objects while moving across, ignoring the space between them and giving them no connection. If the goal is to memorize as much as possible the slab technique would work better than the individual objects, but the spiral technique trumps them both. Most people don't use the spiral technique or even the slab technique because in our day to day lives we do not have time to memorize everything and so few people develope a method of doing this; instead just remembering a few isolated important details. I think if we were trained from an early age how to do this it would come more naturally and it would be easy for us to remember as much as we need instead of struggling when the number of things to remember exceeds 7.

For some things it can be helpful to try and imagine how they got to look the way they do. Sometimes this is easier and faster than using the spiraling method. For instance I was looking at a pair of pants wadded up on the floor of my room and I was trying to memorize their exact shape in that position. I started by snapshotting the outline but I still found it somewhat difficult to remember because it was a very complicated shape. So instead I visualized what the pants look like when they lay flat which is a very simple shape. Then looked at the wad on the floor and piece by piece wadded my mental image of the pants until it matched the image I was actually seeing. To make this a bit more long term I can imagine how they actually got this way (because certainly I did not carefully wad them up and place them on the floor), seeing myself getting ready for bed mentally imagining how they fold as I take them off and then lazily toss them across the room until they land and complete the last few folds.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Prime-Based Transparent Numerical System

Hi everyone! I want to share a little bit of what I've been working on. Here are some images of the numerical system I am developing. It is prime based and designed to teach a better understanding of the mathematical world. Our current system is too locked into base-10 and because of this it is difficult to work in other bases and we are a bit blinded to the true nature of mathematics and the magical patterns contained therein. I've made a video explaining how and why I came up with this system which will be posted within the next few days. But I wanted to go ahead and get my scans up now while the video is processing.

Here is the first half of the video:

Here are the sheets where I worked out the first 91 numbers. Note that this system is incomplete at this time so much is missing. The pronunciations are all Esperanto based spelling. The Ŝ is the same as "sh" in English. i like "ee" in "tree." u like "o" in "do." e like "e" in "slept." a like "a" in "father."

The following two images show how this system can be used in any base, with ease. To a person familiar with the Prime Base system, conversion between bases is an easy task.

And finally my favorite. It is a game I created that finds prime numbers, teaches the new numerical system AND teaches about some of the patterns in math. Can you figure out how it works? (I'll be explaining it later.) This page of notes also shows just a little of how I've developed the system along with a few notes in Esperanto on further ideas.