Knowledge vs Intuition

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Its funny how so many important things aren’t intuitive at all. You trick yourself into trusting your intuition. Sometimes, you need to. Sometimes, you shouldn’t. It’s not intuitive whether you should trust your intuition. Oh no, you need experience and knowledge, too. Exactly why life is too complicated, and why we all just spend our whole lives screwing up and doing nothing right. Might as well give up now on that one.

Once you know that you can’t trust you own judgement, or the fleeting but power feelings in your heart, you want to seek out knowledge of the non-intuitive nature. You might assume that your doing the right thing at any given time, all the time, when you are young. Some people never outgrow that, and they live their lives following their intuition and emotions. Other people find faults in their own motives, and realize that they can become closer to the actual best way to do things if they do so. It can become very tantalizing, to seek out all the ways that you are doing things wrong. It’s a good idea to find a balance here, just like with everything.

This is kind of related to my last blog post, about relearning the piano. My intuition told me that I would never learn the more complex parts of the song. The truth is, though, that repetition at a slower pace is all I needed to learn any song. My intuition was wrong, and it’s a shame that I listened to it.

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If you start questioning everything you do and feel, you won’t live a good, human life. However, if you never question yourself, then you basically live like an animal, in my humble opinion. Hope you realize I’m a bit cynical, and I’m not ashamed of it. Just take if for what it’s worth. If you go on your intuition alone, you will end up just following the momentary feelings that make you feel good. You’ll choose lovers that give you the quickest satisfaction, and you’ll fight with anyone who makes you angry or uncomfortable. I prefer to be more like the former, and be a little more contemplative in my actions. Its funny, but no matter what I do, I always know that I could be manipulated by my emotions without even knowing it. I can’t ever really understand what parts of my motives are based off of fleeting feelings, and which ones are based on the knowledge that my actions are going to improve my life. Improving my life is my goal, and I assume that it is every living thing’s goal. You can say that you live for other people, and that may be part true, but it is never fully true. This might be classified under “wisdom” rather than “knowledge,” because you must connect with the words through your experience. However, I believe that most people have tried to learn a new skill at one point in their lives.

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Relearning the Piano…and Guitar Hero

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When I was young, I played the piano. I was taught how to learn a new song: through the mysterious force of mindless repetition. You play it slowly, the right way, and then you speed it up. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you are moving the fingers correctly. And….it works!

It’s not fun to play it at one-half or one-quarter speed. It sounds terrible, and it isn’t immediately rewarding. But, if you know that it will pay off, then you feel hopeful and giddy. When you finally move your fingers over a complicated chord in the right way, your heart feels a thrill. The truth is that later, your muscles will be able to do it again, and again, and faster. That muscle memory lasts for years and years. One of the interesting things is that I used to skip over some parts of the songs that were too hard. I would get frustrated with them, even though I would learn the rest of the song correctly. I didn’t understand that those parts could be learned in exactly the same way as the rest of the song. There wasn’t much difference between the hard parts and the easy parts. In fact, now I realize that learning the hard parts is more rewarding, even as they are more difficult. This awesome power makes you even better at learning a new chord that is similar, or meeting any type of similar challenge. I really stunted my piano growth by not believing in my ability to learn the more difficult chords. More than that, I didn’t trust the true innate power of muscle memory. Lets face it: it wasn’t me learning the song, it was my body. Sometimes, you gotta have a little blind faith in your body, even when you tend to be a screw up.

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On that note…I’m only doing this because I got back into Guitar Hero. That game is my reason to live, off and on. When my hand cramps up too much to keep playing, I go back to the piano. Believe it or not, it is easier to play the piano than to grip that stupid plastic guitar. I still know about three songs that I used to play daily…Guitar Hero-wise and piano-wise. The memories of those songs are really deep, especially the really fun parts. Those fun parts really trigger the reward center of my brain, and my muscles are eager to comply. My fingers have an actual mind of their own, as I find myself sitting back and letting them do the thing.

And I’m better now at that, too. Older and wiser. Why? I’ll tell you.

I used to think that I couldn’t ever hit some parts. But, magically, when I trusted that I was capable of it, I was able to. I would get frustrated in the past, and it would make me play worse. It was like my own belief in my restrictions became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Probably, my muscles just thought they would never get a thrill out of those complex tasks. How wrong we were, my fingers and me……..Of course, that mostly applies to muscle memory. The rest of life continues to be complicated, unrewarding, and not improved at all by repetition. Still, though, at least I have Guitar Hero.

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How to walk like a normal human being

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Sometimes I forget how to look like a normal, sane person, even though I desire that so much. Not only do I have crippling anxiety, but I desire good, confident posture. Or, you know, not looking as stiff as a piece of wood. That would be great. I have a tip for anyone else with that problem. So, without further ado, here’s the tip.

Pay attention to your legs, and nothing else. There is nothing worse than overly focusing on your hands or your butt while you walk, and then walking like a robot. Or your posture, or your face, or anything, really, that makes you walk like you are on drugs. I know that a lot of people have never been afraid of forgetting how to walk, but I can tell you that it really sucks. Some weird obsession makes me pay attention to my posture or the position of my hands…or my butt, sometimes. Focusing on my legs lets the rest of my body fall into a natural position.

I got the idea from observing a person I admire. She has a really cool way of walking, and I tried to do it myself. I paid so much attention to my legs, that suddenly my posture and arms fell into natural positions. Suddenly, I was swaying my hips and my hands without thinking about it. Now, it works every time. I just think about my legs while I’m walking, and I let the rest of my body do it’s natural thing. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I found that it helped me have a more natural stance, too. I hate looking stiff and uncomfortable. If I think about my legs, and feel good about my natural posture (which is just normal, not amazing) then I have one less thing to worry about in my life.

I hope these tips will be applicable to anyone besides myself. Not that I hope other people have anxiety problems.

And yes, I am embarrassed to admit to this stuff. Again, though, be positive. I’d love a society where we all embraced honesty about ourselves. Instead, I pretend I’m fit and happy as everyone else, even when I truly am struggling, I’m young, and people expect me to be full of pep, not crippling depression. Really, they should know better, but I think we all know that they don’t. I mean, we aren’t in the jungle anymore, people. I think you can cut me a little slack, when I feel like I am about to collapse into a jiggling pile of failure. But, I can’t expect people to understand, when they have never experienced anxiety for themselves. Though, when I find creative solutions to my problems, it feels pretty cool.

Lucid Dreams are Fun

One of the interesting parts of dreaming is the fact that your left brain is turned off. That is the part of your brain that tells you who you are and what you are, among other things. During dreaming, you likely experience a level of “ego death”. This is a term that is also used when describing a hallucinogen experience. You no longer are aware of who you are in the context of your waking life. You merely are a person living the experience in the moment. Sometimes, that even happens during lucid dreaming. Often, I’m not thinking about my daily problems. At least, I’m not thinking about them in concrete terms. I may be aware of some anxiety from my day, but in a more general way. It is something that I can’t really appreciate until I wake up. I had a dream not too long ago that I was in a house, and I was floating around, exploring. I felt like I was searching for someone, but I was aware that I was dreaming. Still, I was more concerned with the experience of the moment. What would be around the next corner? What did the pictures on the wall look like? I found that they changed, becoming new images in their frames, and it didn’t bother me. I was very relaxed, and interested in the scenery. None of my usual concerns were present. I floated towards the ceiling, and felt the texture that was there. I had the feeling that someone was going to emerge into the large room I was in, and the colors of room changed. Flames appeared on the walls, but I wasn’t worried about it. I just waited, but no one actually came out. It was an interesting experience, and hell if I know what it means.

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Connected Society, part 3

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Clancy only wanted to know more about the community of abnormals. He felt passionate, but he also felt controlled by the reigns of this desire. He liked it, every part of it, though. He questioned it, why he became so obsessed. But then, he giggled to himself. It was different from watching some TV show, or scrolling through the internet. It was different from his athletic training, which required him to zone out in order to tolerate the pain. For once, he felt compelled to focus.

First, he read the more obvious sources. He found that he was disappointed in himself, for not going so far as reading the online dictionary article about abnormal humans. Then, he was disappointed in his own education. He started to wonder what else they’d neglected to teach him, due to budget cuts. It made his cheeks get hot, thinking about it. But he reconciled with the fact that he was still young, and it was better late than never.

He learned that, in fact, many abnormals do enter general society. When they are deemed fit, they can in fact live together with the rest and hold jobs. The statistics were sketchy, though. The article admitted that the data was skewed by the numbers who vacillated between worlds. Often, things weren’t so official. There were gray areas. Sometimes, those gray areas involved horrible things, and sometimes people thrived in them. It was the general consensus that the system needed improving. After all, gray areas are not a good way to run any type of a system. When human lives are at stake, things must be as organized as possible. Of course, reform tended to occur over the course of decades. It was still debatable what was direction to move in, and which direction was forward.

Mood altering adjuncts to the neural implant are always the first attempt to normalize any person. Clancy read about the subject a bit robotically, as he had been indoctrinated on the issue many times in the classroom.

“It is well known that mood altering states can be added to the neural implant, and are as easily found on the internet as they are applied to the neural system. They are abused by 1 in 5 people. These people may have a genetic predisposition to addiction, or there may be other contributing factors. There is often a fine line between addiction and the general use of these states, however they are invaluable to allowing many members of society to function. Many users are comfortable with allowing the program to influence their moods, and sometimes their thoughts, in exchange for the positivity it affords them.

“However, these mood altering states are not able to correct the behavior and mental patterns of some persons. Forcible use of the mood altering states was made illegal 30 years ago, when it was found to be unethical under Abby Schrieber law. Although it is still debatable whether it is more ethical to sequester those with abnormal thinking patterns, the decision has not been overturned (Evans et al. 27/6/2045).”

He also read about people who flat out refused to use anything mind altering, however those sites seemed to be phony. He wondered why they existed at all. Most cases tended towards the idea that these people would do anything to become normal. Some of them were just not capable of it by modern means. Decreasing the electrical activity of the brain in some areas, and increasing in other areas, could create mood states. Psychological states were caused by experiences, and often became unique to the individual.

The next thing he did was to start researching the appearance of different mood states. He suddenly wanted to know, for sure, what he was feeling at any given moment. It made him excited, to think about decoding his own patterns in that way. He had the feeling that it would affect his personality, but he also found that he didn’t care. He decided that it was a new part of himself, to understand these things with total abandon. Besides that, there was the idea that he did not know what his moods were from moment to moment. The truth was, he hadn’t even thought about it, until that moment.