Vinland Shore

Simulacra et Simulation

1.39-bat

In another time I had been a rather avid fan of computer gaming in general. The worlds created by minds similar to my own, of fantasy and adventure beyond that was attainable within the banal confines of daily life. My escapades into the unknown as a child as I detailed in Tabula Rasa & The Sublimation of Imagination, were mild in comparison to that of which computer gaming made available. Unfortunately like other things a sense of stagnation has crept in regarding my status as an admirer of these simulated worlds.

The advent of online gaming had never an ounce of appeal to me; even those scenarios that might be intended primarily for such an environment. Did not interest me in the very least rather I would be content to work against a computer AI, as opposed to another person. I have thought long and hard on what may separate myself from those who thoroughly enjoy online connectivity. I’ve ever experienced the feeling of loneliness or unbearable solitude that others have complained of. Of course I am not speaking from inexperience and I have given significant effort to enjoy these systems. Many of the mass online games all of which I have attempted have left me bored, disinterested in general.

The issue arises when someone is attempting to persuade a very large number of people to partake in a particular environment. It then becomes very difficult to appeal to each individual taste and what remains is an utter disarray, a jumble of every theme imaginable. When it arrives at this point my tolerance is excessively minute; I am utterly inflexible when it comes to cross-over in fiction of any kind. It’s something I’ve always been adamant about, and mixing opposing time periods or environments in close proximity to one another is a complete deal breaker. However my opinion on this subject is not one that is commonly shared, and my views are rather abstruse.

Yet my views withstanding this is what is now occurring on a massive scale in computer gaming, as it has become more mainstream as a result of ‘gamer culture’ it has to cater to a larger group of people. As such computer games are being produced in much the same way as Hollywood films. As it was computer games were a method of escaping the turbulent world around myself. Now however both of these worlds have become one, Marxist political agendas have become rife in computer games as the audience widens like a wound. No longer can I enjoy  time enveloped in a world to escape as the computer simulated one is merely a reflection of the world we exist in.

As as result more of my time engaged in computer gaming is devoted independent developers, and their projects. Computer games as well I’ve played in excess of ten years ago as these are not compromised in such a way. Where games are still developed as they once were. People who simply wanted to create an environment they thought was interesting and hadn’t been executed in such a manner before. At the present it has become no more than a vehicle for more vile political agendas as the remainder of major media.

(game shown is Mount & Blade Warband, with the module Brytenwalda which is highly recommended.)

Into the Shades…

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

Creative Conundrum

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The creative process is seemingly something that we have a fleeting relationship with as we are adults. As life progresses we are surmounted into submission by a system inadequate necessary to cultivate any originality whatsoever. What I have come to remember the amount I used to create at a young age. It got me to thinking what had occurred for me to lose interest in my creative endeavors to such a degree. I am reminded of how much I used to enjoy the process of creating worlds and characters from nothing; that was the thing that astounded me as a child, aside from visual artwork. Being able to articulate objects of my own mind and give life to them was amazing. Looking back now I was probably not the best at that age; my syntax was poor, and some of my characters had poor voice from a learning perspective…

At that time though I was never thinking about the finished product, the process conceiving ideas was enough to keep me thoroughly entertained. Most of the time my stories were never read by anyone other than myself. I would save them to my computer or print them off and put them away to go back to when I pleased. Perhaps I was apprehensive to let people see my work, as I still am sometimes today.  I just never required validation for my efforts be they literary or some other form, like my drawings. I think that was probably the fundamental change that occurred in public school. Everything therein is about a final singular solution, and there is no room for the process just the result. There is no reward for being actively creative, only a reward for have been creative.

how to be 'creative'

how to be ‘creative’

So then the creative process itself is then broken down into a formula to be easily digested. Then those who’s minds are not creative can also achieve the illusion of creativity! isn’t it wonderful how equal everyone is! This break down and reiteration of one manner of doing something was utter despair for me. As well the constant over analyzing of everything was a major annoyance when I was in the education system. Especially when it came to literature, and artwork drudging through a passage or photo over and over making suppositions on what the author intended in often completely abstruse works. This is simply how public education grazes over and finds the most humdrum manner of learning that works best over an average. As a result the exceptions to these rules are left sitting bored, uninterested…

Those who are truly creative don’t sit down set out a plan, makes notes gather several different ideas and then pick the best one. They simply do! There is no forcing creativity, it has to happen on it’s own out of a desire within yourself. Surely creative people abandon many projects, things they deem to be unworthy yet they never once discarded an idea before attempting it! Throughout my life I’ve sat many times at my desk at night attempting to coerce myself to create. It will never happen until it’s ready to be done; even in artwork if I wish to draw from an object if I don’t feel the desire, the energy to create it will fail. You cannot go to school to become an artist.

Soceital Sycophant

don't be mistaken for a mushroom

don’t be mistaken for a mushroom

It is no longer any secret that the media that so many people are addicted to is inherently damaging to our minds. This is with specially marked reference to the recent “facebook experiment“. Possibly the most wealthy and well known social network is now known to have openly conducted psychological experiments on their user base! and what is done about it… The services that many of us are part of namely social networking, a device intended to connect people does much the opposite. No longer do we gather and simply have a conversation, people would prefer to sit at their computer or use a cell phone to communicate. Indeed many people prefer to converse this way so accustomed to it we have become. The idea of confronting someone face to face has become a fear to people causing unwarranted anxiety, and it’s slowly becoming an epidemic.

Yes, hard as it is to believe people are becoming afraid of being social in spite of having hundreds in some cases thousands of friends on social networking websites. Sharing their lives at a distance preferring to keep it that way. Excessive internet use results in the development of disorders that would otherwise never exist. These types of fears among people are sharply on the rise, and it’s the result of dramatically reduced social interaction in the lieu of other forms of communication. It should be of no surprise that people are becoming ill, shutting themselves inside and viewing the world through a screen. Everything that is read is accepted to be true, and in a way the internet and other sources become the new reality replacing the world that exists around them.

Yet it is nearly impossible to disconnect from these trappings; if one is to remove themselves completely from the world that everyone around them are nearly completely engrossed in. Then by that action you are to remove yourself from the lives of people around you. That is the reality that everyone is subscribed to, and if you remove yourself from their version of the truth you essentially cease to exist. You might notice that you don’t even hear from friends or family as much in this situation. I’ve lived in this scenario and when people find that you don’t have a facebook (or some other social network), their reaction typically is nothing short of astonishment, as if they’ve just discovered a person who thrives without oxygen.

“How on Earth could you live you possibly conduct your life without a constant bombardment of information! How terribly boring you must be, how do you stay in touch! or What do you have to hide? and also basal remarks about your social status perhaps socially challenged and maybe a bit of a hermit!”

Perhaps I am a bit of a hermit, but perhaps you would be more prompt to bend to social norms; not go outside of the realm of rule. We strive to as humans to be social, and it’s from this desire to fulfill connection that a third party has moved in. That third party has poisoned an essential human ambition to sate the appetite of greed. There is always a merchant eager to sell something nobody needs, and today more than ever our world is glutted with superfluous substance. Do not hesitate to challenge those who believe themselves to be indifferent to suggestion. They likely know themselves as the cut path before them which they abide ambivalently through life. Know what you choose, and know why you choose it, but most importantly know yourself!

Misadventure Mainframe

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I haven’t been updating a lot as of late as my computer has been in and out with problems. I’m finally giving up on it and heading out to purchase another computer so I can get back to my regular schedule. Much to my chagrin this computer was only purchased three years ago, not much to be done about planned obsolescence. So another day or two and I will be back to publishing at least once a week.

So in the meantime enjoy this tree I photographed. 😉

Endeavors of Existence

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forested hills near my home

Lately as the weather has been rather agreeable I’ve been taking more and more time to get outdoors. I’ve been exploring the forests and hills around my home, going off the trails that I’ve walked since I was small. Virtually every stone, root and bend in the paths near my home is known to me so it’s only logical to explore the places I’ve never been. There isn’t a peace that is felt for me like being in the midst of a sea of forest. In it I’ve discovered beauty that I did not know imaginable and right under my nose just simply off the well worn path.

Every time I go into the forest I feel a little closer to what our ancestors might have experienced. Most people rarely have time to do much anymore considering the long hours most people are required to work simply to gain any quality of life. It’s virtually impossible to eat well with the costs of good food. Even then when people do have free time they would prefer to go to a cinema or go to a restaurant and spend more of that money to eat overpriced food. Seldom do people go into the wilderness as they fear discomfort more than anything. They too have been misled by the ideas about what work exactly is in our society of apathy.

Yet here I stand amidst the sea of trees wearing clothing that was manufactured in a country that I’ve never seen. Synthetic fabrics drawn from the depths of the earth and chartered across the oceans on massive ships that propelled waste into the oceans that will never decay, but what choice do I have. What choice does anyone have in such circumstances? Can we ever return to a semblance of unity of the world, or are we to forever wander in dissonance?

stone slab forms a natural altar

It’s a modern misconception that life for our ancestors was absurdly difficult and all time was spent in toil. In fact it’s quite the opposite. They were excellent hunters and to provide for a small group was not difficult at all. Perhaps at the most they would have to ‘work’ for 15-20 hours a week. Some researchers would say that this is a generously low estimate, but I would say that things that we look upon as work were just simple things in life for ancient man. Things such as preparing skins, collecting firewood or gathering food and cooking over fire. These things were normal for ancient man they weren’t work, it was part of life. It’s as if we said going to pick up groceries at a shop is work it’s exactly as absurd as it sounds.

How then if man spent his whole existence in torment, slaving away to eat and to keep from the elements. How then did he find the time to create beautiful works of art, create tools from flint, carve beautiful figures or to make instruments from the bones of animals. If we had been raised in the same environment where everything was made by hand, from the earth. Would we consider every aspect of our day as work? Of course not, just because an activity consists of more than the primarily sedentary state modern humans find themselves in. Does this mean that moving or doing any kind of activity outside of our work lower our quality of life significantly?

This modern life is driving us to stagnation, not the past. We work long hours and gain nothing except money, which objectively compared to life is of little significance. The time we have to live grows smaller with each day and more and more we’re groomed to live to work, and not the opposite. Our ancestors worked and lived more freely than our own selves, for them there was no hard line betwixt work and life. perhaps I’m just dreaming. If I believe we can ever come close to the world that once was, others have dreamed more impossible ambitions. Surrendering would be a much more grievous transgression.

Irrational Inquiry; Fear of Thirteen

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Frigg foremost of the goddesses for whom Friday is named weaves the clouds.

Yesterday was Friday, and it also happened to be the 13th of the month of June. Some people were probably going well out of their way to avoid bad omens or circumstances. Indeed the number thirteen is an unlucky number according to many.Friday too being named unlucky for some people. This is of course in context with the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII (in which on average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days) not very often anymore. Fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga of course the Norse goddess whom Friday is named for in English and triskaidekaphobia the fear of the number 13).

In Judeo-Christian traditions it seems the number thirteen is almost universally avoided, twelve apostles of Jesus, twelve tribes of Israel. The former thought to be relative to the negative connotation with thirteen. The fact that there were allegedly thirteen people at the last supper could be where some people associate the negativity with thirteen. In that Judas Iscariot was responsible for the death of Christ. As well on Friday 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar, most of the knights were tortured and killed.

Furthermore Jacques de Molay, Magistrate (Master of the Knights of the Temple) cursed King Philip IV of France and his descendants from his execution pyre. As he was about to be executed warning the pope that, within a year and a day, he and Philip IV would be obliged to answer for their crimes in God’s presence. Philip and Clement V both died within a year of Molay’s execution. However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention.

In modern times too great efforts are made to avoid the number thirteen, building that have more than thirteen floors will often omit the thirteen either skipping it entirely or leaving that floor for mechanical use instead of residence or access. In some buildings it is omitted as a room number as well. According to research an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.

The Calendar

The Ancient 13 month calendar highlights the 13th of each month, as well as the solstices and equinoxes. Each of the months are named for the divine houses of the gods, shown in proto-Nordic reconstruction.

In Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia by Varg Vikernes it is shown the existence of a calendar. In addition the visual representation of the calendar shown above developed for Vikernes’ up coming tabletop RPG (Mythic Fantasy Roleplaying Game) with the 13th months, each with exactly twenty-eight days as the one found in Bohuslän, Sweden

“The Friday was the day of love, and naturally the day of the goddess of love. The second Friday of every month was the Friday of the week of birth, and was therefore seen as a particularly favourable day for marriage. This Friday, the 13th day of every month was also seen as the birthday of the deity. All the thirteen most important deities’ birthdays were celebrated in turn, one every month of the year, and every year.” (Vikernes 29).

So in our context the Friday, nor the number 13 and it’s associations should be though of with fear, but rather with joy. It was not only common to see a Friday the 13th but it was celebrated, and celebrated in correlation with the deities, love and birth!

So it is perhaps best to amend our relation to some ideas once again. Think intuitively about what truths you know, and to those of you who might fret at the idea of Friday the 13th showing up on your calendar. Rest easy as there is nothing to fear in a day so celebrated by the European forebears! Not the fear created by some foreign effort to further obscure the past. Only the enemies of European heritage would see the birth of the gods as something to fear, no?

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