Vinland Shore

Month: August, 2014

Paradox Populous

no civilization is built by individuals

Individuality was not known until the advent of individual wealth in the ancient world. Indeed, it was impossible before a particular point in history for a man to live exempt from his group, his tribe. It was certain death to be exiled from one’s community. No one man was capable of making every tool, weaving materials into clothing, or reciting all the knowledge the past. Now that is something of a concept that is far on the reaches of our minds. We are all capable of being the lone wolf, the character so lauded by films and the media. The film industry brings great virtue to the one who pays no heed to the call of others. We all have seen the films, the lone cowboy, the barbarian that slowly trudges across a country and lays waste to an army of men alone.

How is it then to the general public then when we find ourselves populated with an entire world of individuals. Indeed ones who call themselves sociologists would place people who are “other-regarding” on the same spectrum as Totalitarianism or Collectivist. People who would consider their community, or their peer group are merely victims of a social contract of pre-conceived reference standards.  To most people these are referred to as morals, indeed caring for your fellow-man would make you a victim to the guilt society – sounds rather intimidating doesn’t it? or a shame society – these guys really, really like attaching negative adjectives to moral codes. Probably best to avoid consulting your friends on issues as well, this might get labelled group think.

In the past individuals of a tribe were held with respect for their skills, knowledge or virtues. It seems logical that someone would be recognized for their contributions to their group. At some point however it was decided that being skilled was far too much work, and we should be heralded simply for being different. Now, who might you think would believe this to be a good idea? Interestingly enough the word individualism itself originated as a pejorative term. A more positive spin on the term in Britain came to be used with the writings of James Elishama Smith, who was a Christian Israelite. He eventually rejected its collective idea of property, and found in individualism a “universalism” that allowed for the development of the “original genius.” Without individualism, Smith argued, individuals cannot amass property to increase one’s happiness” To find the root of this trend in socialism should be of no surprise to anyone.

Some philosophers would suggest that man is inherently an individual, we are self-interested by nature. We seek survival, then to control. That the exorbitant levels of individualism leads to deception, criminality, and conflict. It must be then from sustained self-control then that through tens of thousands of years that humans have no destroyed each-other in the goal of self preservation. I would argue instead that is impossible for a man to be a true individual, if he is then he must cooperate on some level to ensure survival. Even in the modern age if a man survives on his wealth alone, never asks anything of anyone. He is still cooperating in society by engaging the economy, and whether intended or not assisting other people. What this modern dogma creates is a society of individuals, what kind of society could that be? The only answer is an incredibly weak society, not a society at all. Which is exactly the result they desired.

Decrepitude

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The Abbey in the Oakwood

I was recently viewing a discussion on implied direction for the use of the Game Master role in a tabletop gaming environment. The technique when applied to give an increased subliminal layer of description for role-playing. I’ve embed a link here, and highly recommend you check out his channel. If you are interested in this type of thing you will find it invaluable. In summary the DM giving narration, and while in character for the NPCs in the game would play an even more cerebral level of interaction. Relying on very unobtrusive signals for the Player Characters to detect and interpret.

I’m not nearly as experienced in the realm of tabletop gaming as this fellow. It’s evident the people with whom he plays are far more adept, and perceptive when playing. Most of the people in my generation have comparably atrocious attention spans. It seems that if you don’t wave something in plain view, we are completely oblivious to it. I know almost certainly if I were to attempt to introduce this into a DM role it would likely remain undiscovered. Day to day conversation is a monumental task to find yourself talking to someone who doesn’t have half their attention devoted to a smart phone. Then only have to repeat what you’ve said initially, or just give up.

So as technology disconnects us more and more, and emotionally distances us as well. I am again reminded of my childhood, I think of my friends and family who I used to play with. In regards to our communication it seems as though we understood ourselves more clearly. The non-verbal cues were almost exclusively what we played with, still we weren’t confused. We laughed more than we spoke it seems, and sometimes we yelled or cried! With our faces we spoke, and our actions became symbols on the ground etched with sticks. A simple glance and we would know what our next destination was. Indeed children would probably pick up more quickly an implied direction by a good DM, than most adults these days.

So what is it that separates the creative intuition of a child’s mind from the adult? Where is the exact point that we lose our imagination? What’s the reason behind it; why does our worldview fundamentally change so we never view it in the same manner?
If I were to stand in front of a box of toys that I had as a child, there would be tiny vehicles, plastic soldiers, bricks for building structures from. As a child they were an incredibly vivid world, I could build or line up army men or push a truck around in the dirt. I don’t understand now why it was fun for me, it just was. As you get older if becomes more and more difficult to quantify with the imaginative energy that makes it enjoyable. Eventually it just all looks like plastic molded to take the shape of something else.

It would seem there is a Pavlovian fear response when people encounter something involved in creativity. As creativity is associated with imagination, which is in turn associated with childishness. Which we all know is a negative thing…even now those people who are involved in occupations or education that involves creativity be it writing, or art or music are regarded as flakes. People exclaim in despair “They obviously aren’t taking their lives very seriously” So how can it come as any surprise when people consume what they are fed, resisting must lead to failure?

“You don’t want to be come a starving artist, striving for something you care about. Who wants to fret about integrity. Why not become an accountant, or better yet a lawyer. Now there’s some stability; you want stability in your life don’t you?!”

The child’s mind is the creative mind, despite all the toys I had the thing I valued the most as a child. The pen and the paper; my fathers instruments, paint and clay that I could shape into anything my heart desired. There was the true freedom, not in anything that was manufactured, but my mind the immeasurable kingdom. I look now at the brilliant minds I knew as a child their spirit is crippled, and their features parallel their essence. The void created in the spirit of man, and those faces I used to know haunt me more than words can describe.

Thunderstorms & Bounty

 

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plentiful bushes ready to be harvested

The last few days there have been thunderstorms consistently; this morning there was a break and I decided to go into the woods to gather some blueberries. I went about a kilometer from my home where I used to go as a child, as I followed the bushes further into the woods filling my canister I became slightly disoriented as I kept my head down and picked away at the bushes. There was an abundant supply of berries and it appeared as no one had been there before me. It seems people don’t go out and do these things as much anymore.

I should not have to explain the benefits of blueberries to anyone, but in short they are a incredible source of vitamins and minerals. Blueberries are known to prevent vision loss due to aging. In fact, the British Air Force during World War 2 claimed that when they ate blueberry jam regularly their vision seemed to be enhanced and their eyes adjusted more readily to darkness. As well blueberries have been shown to improve circulation related problems such as headaches, memory loss. Solution to digestive problems and urinary problems such as kidney stones or infection.

As for preservation of the fruit, the most readily available method would be drying them in the sun, provided you can keep the birds away from them. Also freezing them works fine as well, or making them into jam or something similar. I will probably have eaten mine long before that’s necessary.

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the storm that rained me out

As I progressed the rain came again, but I didn’t want to give up on my objective. Every turn I made into the woods I found more and more waiting to be plucked. Then the thunder returned and I still didn’t want to turn away. At last when I felt ready to head home I had forgotten how I came to where I was, I’ll refer to this as “gatherers hypnosis” but it was an excellent way to pass the afternoon. I quickly found my way back to the road, and was left in awe of the thunder. I will go back as soon as possible and gather some more, and if you know of these in your area you should as well. It’s hard to say how long it will be until we are forbidden from such things, for our own safety of course.

berries after cleaning

berries after cleaning

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