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  • Eldritch Ruminations: Normal? Apr 1, 2016

    Good evening, dear readers. The time is 6:30ish, and I am here to amuse and astound you once again with things that aren't really actually all that important. Today's topic: crazy people. We all know one. Some of you (actually, quite a few of you) maybe even are one. They range from just a little eccentric to hearing voices. And they're really, really common. We've all had that psycho ex-girlfriend/boyfriend who probably kept a stone effigy of us in their closet and sacrificed captured stray cats on it semi-regularly. Just me? Oh. Well, my point still stands. It's a rare person who can go through a lifetime without meeting one.

    Which brings me to the question I wanted to toss out today. Is there really any such thing as being "normal"? I'm certain, given the subject matter of the site, if any of you are bold enough to actually make your talents public knowledge, you've probably been accused of being just a wee bit nutters at least once. People are quick to dismiss anything outside their experience as being impossible, all the better to maintain their comfortable illusion of certainty. They're even quicker to dismiss differing opinions as the words of a "crazy" person.

    I have posited more than once that "normal" is just a word used by the ignorant masses to force anyone who has the audacity to break the mold and be who they are, to reconsider, be ashamed, and become just another cookie-cutter human being with no quirks or oddities that define them as an individual. I maintain that there is no such thing as normal. It's an artificial societal construct that man uses to defend himself from behaviors he does not understand.

    Children who think or behave differently from other children are shamed early on into correcting these behaviors and joining the aforementioned cookie-cutter society, growing up to become cookie-cutter adults with cookie-cutter lives. I have always wondered where the obsession with conformity and some bizarre, mythical standardized human personality came from. Likely, as with many other things, it's simply programming from a highly consumeristic society that paints everything in blacks and whites, the better to reduce people into simple demographics so they'll feel pressured to indulge in said consumerism. Human beings at their core are social creatures, innately wishing to be accepted by their peers. It is an instinct that originally served to strengthen herd cohesion and give us a greater ability to work as a team. Conform, society cries. Conform, pretend to be what you are not, put on airs. Or you will become a social pariah.

    You are bombarded quite literally ceaselessly by a world that insists you behave by an artificial standard they have developed. I think, to an extent, that this is exceedingly harmful. As likely as not, many of you who are interested in the subject matter of the site keep your gifts and interests a secret from everyone else. You have little choice, after all. The alternative is to be treated as eccentric and never to be taken seriously (at best) or to look forward to a future of electroshock therapy and solitary confinement in a padded cell, with only your straitjacket for company. It's sad that this is the case, semi-humorous hyperbole aside.

    Thankfully, society does seem to be moving somewhat away from its obsession with standardization and conformity, though not nearly enough to matter. Perhaps one day, people will actually be able to speak their minds without shame. Maybe even within our lifetimes. I don't hold my breath, however. Or I'd pass out waiting and be taken to the hospital, where hopefully an attractive, dark-haired nurse would get me back on my feet. That's the only thing that makes hospitals tolerable, after all.

    In any case, that's my question for you today, dear readers. Is there really an objective standard for normal? Ask yourselves whether keeping up pretenses is really worth it. To me, it seems like an awful lot of boring work.

    Tune in tomorrow/next week/next month/whenever I quit being lazy for more of my lunatic gibberings! Or not. Your choice, really. I'm pretty abnormal, and full of a lot of Eldritch Ruminations.
  • Eldritch Ruminations: Mortality Mar 8, 2016

    Evening gang! Or, technically it's morning I suppose. Nuance. Anyway I'm here to spew a random train of thought/argument I had with a friend recently should anyone be so lost in the depths of tedium that even my blog comes across as entertainment. The debate was, essentially, is mortality a good or bad thing, and if one was given the chance to live forever with no catches, would they?

    I surprised him by answering "No". When he inquired as to why, I handed out my reasoning, which aside from the pretty standard "You'll outlive everyone you care about" contained the following points. Firstly, and this has been touched upon by a few writers, with immortality and a wealth of new experiences comes ennui. Things you once enjoyed will become boring as the eons pass. You will have to resort to ever more extreme and eventually cruel forms of entertainment to get off on it, so to speak. Humankind on the civilization level has already undergone this change before. When an empire is old and ready to die, it begins to grow decadent and cruel. The people drown themselves in drugs, mindless indulgence, and eventually cruelly immoral diversions. We see this in ancient Rome and even today in our own western culture, if you're from it.

    To cite an example, movies. Horror movies made 50-60 years ago are so mild by modern standards that they wouldn't frighten an infant. But to people then, they were so shocking and horrific that vomiting and fainting in theaters was not unheard-of. These, however, fail to impress us because we are jaded by modern, infinitely more shocking films. Our culture ascended to a newer, more extreme form of entertainment, one might say almost a cruel form. Few things thrill us more than seeing our hero mow down tons of baddies with an AR-15, as an audience. We do not have arenas and gladiators anymore, because we do not need them. We can watch people die from the comfort of our own homes if we wish. This has happened because of this natural process of jadedness that is the curse of free thought.

    Now imagine, if one had endless ages to do whatever one pleased. Imagine the insane heights of cruelty that would be required to amuse after even a few centuries. It was said, wisely I think, in a certain movie that you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain. Everyone becomes a villain sooner or later. Exposure to a cruel world will warp even the most just man given time.

    Second, with immortality would come outliving the human race in general. It goes without saying that this is not as fantastic as it may sound for some of my more misanthropic readers. If and when mankind is extinct, you'd still be there. Wandering in the ashes of the world by yourself. Science has proven to us that the effects of prolonged isolation on the human mind are fairly grotesque, to say the least. Just watch Castaway. You'll be like that, except about 50 times worse in 200 years. I would rather die at my time than live and devolve into a lunatic, and start etching faces on soccer balls for companionship.

    Third and finally, there's always the more obvious problem of covering up your immortality. When people begin to notice that they're showing a few age lines and you aren't, eventually *someone* will connect the dots. You'll stick out like a dead nun in a snowbank. We all know what happens to inexplicable things in a word where man arrogantly believes himself all-knowing. They are locked away from a placidly apathetic public, where they can't make the common man start thinking about things besides tv and paying taxes. I firmly believe there are plenty of things kept away from public knowledge, things that would make anyone shudder and want to turn on the lights. There is much about the world we are pitifully unaware of, as my audience here knows better than most.

    In brief, I don't think the ability to live forever as a man would be worth it. To make it worth it, one would have to be free of the constraints of the human mind. And indeed, would that in and of itself be worth it? I would rather spend one lifetime being able to grasp things like peace, love, and the beautiful fragility of life than live forever as... Well, whatever one would have to be to watch the millenia fly by without regretting the decision.

    Shorter than my last entry, but they mostly will be since there is less introducing to be done. Perhaps an irrelevant topic, speaking on something that will never happen. But then, all progress in history has been made by men discussing the impossible. Our asking of "what if" is what separates us from the beasts, dear readers. Keep asking "what if".

    That concludes this episode of Eldritch Ruminations, lovely ladies and distinguished gentlemen. I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps thought about it. I'll have another one coming soon (and of course by "soon" I mean sometime between now and the heat-death of the universe). Until next time, when we delve into lunatic realms of nonsensical questions together!
    Jinko, greenfire9 and Freedom Spirit like this.
  • Eldritch Ruminations: Introduction Feb 22, 2016

    Hello, ladies, gentlemen, madmen, wanderers and God knows what all else! Come in, sit by the fire! You can call me Jack (or whatever else you want, really. I'm flexible), and I'm succumbing to a longtime desire to finally get my thoughts down on "paper". Within these dusty, unholy pages you will find my various lunatic ramblings on life, the universe, and everything, ranging from the deeply profound and in-depth to the sophomoric fluff and opinion pieces we Americans hold so dear.

    This blog will be updated approximately "whenever I feel like it", which can range between every single day to every 2-3 weeks. My mind is nonsensical and unstructured and my life is chaotic, unbelievably stressful, and occasionally dangerous, so sticking to a regular schedule is a big no-no. At the same time, paradoxically, said mind is ordered and logical to the point that it annoys even me. So I will always be highly particular about my grammar and punctuation. If I make mistakes, feel free to nitpick them mercilessly. I know I will.

    Now, a little about my good self for those actually bored enough to be curious and actually reading this (get a job, hippies!) While I'm notoriously unwilling to actually open up with personal details and my deeper inner vulnerabilities, I can tell you that I am male, twenty-two as of the time of writing this, and my birthday is July 2nd. My pastimes include being alone, plotting the doom of everyone I know (Only half-kidding), reading entirely too much and too often, being alone, sitting by large bodies of water and staring at them for hours, actually swimming in said bodies, getting into inane arguments with people who are ostensibly my friends, being alone, obsessing over science fiction and fantasy, working out even though I'm already healthy, and being alone. What? I said "being alone" multiple times. Nonsense! You can't prove anything! I'm not bitter! *cries and eats ice cream*. My favorite writers (that anyone has actually heard of) are Howard Phillips Lovecraft (hence the title of this blog), and the ever-popular Mr. Tolkien.

    As the astute reader has probably noticed through some subtle hints here and there (yes, I'm being sarcastic, don't worry) I am a huge nerd. Unlike many today, I was slapped with the title and did not assume it myself. I spend many an hour in pursuits incomprehensible to those not joined in the geek hive-mind. Yet for all that, the only place I will ever feel anything resembling peace is in nature. To me, if I were given the choice between a small house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, and a mansion in the city accompanied by all the wealth I could ever want, I would choose the former every time. Nature is a good thing, folks. It cleanses the soul somehow, so spend time in it.

    More on-topic to my beliefs on the subject matter of the site and Alliance as a whole, I can safely say I have no fixed ones and they change daily. I've always found things like this fascinating, but never actually got into them myself. Why, you might ask (or you might not, having stopped reading two paragraphs ago to spend time with loved ones, help the needy, or do something a lot more consequential than reading the gibberings of a diseased mind). The answer is threefold. One, I'm far too ignorant about it to actually do much with it. Second, I'm ruthlessly practical. I don't invest time and effort without a guaranteed return (which may explain why I'm single), and I want this knowledge to have solid practical and helpful benefits in my life. From an admittedly ignorant perspective, I have seen little of solid practical value in my studies beyond the novelty of being able to do remarkable things that defy current scientific understanding (though I know some psionic/energy work is indeed highly practical, as stated above I don't make time investments without confidence that I'll get a return.)

    Thirdly and most importantly, I do not trust myself with knowledge and power (about to get existential and philosophical here, hold onto your butts, dear readers). All of us have a darkness in our souls. That deep, inner, monstrous part of human nature that half-sleeps in there, always begging to be free so that it can wreak horrific havoc on the self and on others. For some, this is a small fiend rather than a powerful force, and they can fairly easily restrain their darker nature, as their lighter one is naturally dominant. For others, the exact reverse is true. They are born in the dark and grow in the dark, and make little genuine effort to change. Those that do will never be entirely free of that stain on their souls, because that monster never dies, readers. It only sleeps, and what sleeps can easily awaken again. Silly and nonsensical as it may sound to you, I fear what I might do if seated at the table of power. To quote a beaten-to-death line "With great power comes great responsibility". To quote another, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    On a somewhat lighter note of talking about me (this is my introductory post after all, and it is *is* my blog. I'll talk less about boring ol' me later, I promise) I belonged to the old WAM site and an even older one before that where some charlatan was handing out ludicrous promises like razor-bladed candy. I have been utterly fascinated by the "supernatural" since being a child, and that fascination has only grown today. Knowledge is my drug, and I will search any dark corner for it. I only fear one day learning things I should not. I already know plenty of things I wish I could un-know, but that is not a luxury we, as humans, are afforded. Yet, for all that, I am still ignorant. We are all ignorant. There is more to be learned than we can ever know in our pitifully-short lifespans. Particularly, I find the concept of travel to other planes beyond fascinating, conversing with non-human life forms. A non-human perspective on existence is something one can't put a price on. One day, I hope to actually speak with something not of this plane. So far, I have not. I'm told one has to be able to focus and clear their mind of distractions to travel, and that is the problem, dear readers. Some minds are too haunted by the phantoms inside them to search for the ones outside.

    Anyway, I have spoken long enough. I will conclude with a thank you to everyone who took the time to read. I hope you enjoyed it, and were able to tolerate what passes for humor in my brain. (Yes, I was trying to be funny occasionally, sue me. Life isn't worth it if you can't laugh at it.) I will also extend an open invitation to anyone who wants to argue/correct me on any factual inaccuracies I make to do exactly that, either in the comments or in private conversation. Being corrected is how one learns, and presumably that is why we are all here. To learn.

    That concludes today's Eldritch Ruminations, dear readers! Join me next time in another dark and occasionally comical journey into the equally whimsical realms of the unknown and my brain!