Saturday, 1 December 2012

Obfuscation

I have a frustration which runs something like this:
  1. The world is full of marvelous wonders--music, language, art, flora and fauna, story, dance, the interplay of thought and emotion, the list is nigh on endless.
  2. I am gripped by an incessant desire to continually create new odes and fugues from the delightful colours and flavours surrounding me (yes, the abstract form of anything you care to name is the sound of a flavoured colour and my brain is a giant hearing, seeing tongue).
  3. Whether by habit, circumstance or disposition (read: laziness, time constraints and Winston) I find that however many things I desire to work on in a day almost that same number of things fail to happen.
  4. The frustration of not bringing to life the splendid notions I had in my head the previous day provokes me into coming up with a further litany of projects and endeavors which I add to the already long list of things-I-would-like-to-do.
  5. This monstrous process continues until, despairing of ever accomplishing anything, I toss out most if not all of the ideas that had fascinated me up to this point and go crawl into a dark cave where I hide until Churchhill comes and takes his beastly dog away.
 The point of listing the various steps in this frustrating cycle (and cycle it is, for I find myself getting into it on a seemingly regular basis) is to see if I can spot a weak point to attack and thereby end the whole rotten thing. Already the plan is working because as I write I notice that if step 3 (which effectively amounts to the obfuscation of my own creative desires and impulses) could be avoided then maybe, maybe, maybe I could make things a little easier on myself.

Of the three components to step 3 (laziness, time constraints, depression) laziness and time constraints feed into each other and thus require a coordinated approach, whereas depression at least partially fed by the whole cycle and thus is probably best helped by breaking said cycle--which is circular and means that laziness and time constraints are probably my best options for dealing with my frustrating situation.

 At this point I (my writing being stream-of-consciousness) will list the answer to dealing with laziness and time constraints without further qualifiers (because that's where I'm now up to in this process and shucks to anyone who can't fill in the blanks and keep up--I'm writing this for me not you anyway):

Discipline.

If I can be disciplined in recording ideas as they come to me, if I can be disciplined in setting aside time in the day to work on even a portion of the things I have want to create, if I can be disciplined in using the time that I set aside, then there's a good chance I can get this thing beat.

Of course, the road between here and there isn't smooth; and the thing I'm hoping to beat in all this is the the very thing that will make it difficult. Discipline requires motivation and motivation (so my studies in pedagogy taught me [yes, that was intentional]) requires sufficient causal roots (both intrinsic and extrinsic) for it to exist and have effect.

What motivates me? Why do I do what I do? What makes me get up, keep on going through the day and into the night?

I dunno.

I have feelings, I have inklings, but to crack this nut I'll need something a bit more solid. I'll get back to this when I have something to show.

Adios.

P.S. In proof-reading this before I click Publish I am painfully aware that my writing (at 12:45AM) is rather closer to the title of this post than I should like--truly nothing helps clear the air around the topic of obscurement like verbosity--but against the possibility of my later, better, and certainly less sleep-deprived judgement I contend that the artless artistry [now there's a good oxymoron for you] in unintentionally discussing obfuscation in a obfuscating manner is more than worth any pain it might cause the reader. In the tradition of all the best deluded quacks to ever lay claim to "Great Art": 
It's Art--don't question it!

Monday, 19 November 2012

2nd wave game development

I'll have to disagree with you on that one. Video games may have been originally pegged as 'idle entertainment for children' but, like cinema before it, it's a much fuller/broader/richer medium than that.

There's a lot here I could go into, but what much of it boils down to is that video games are a relatively young art/entertainment medium. Currently the medium is suffering having passed it's immature creative peak (where most of the possibilities of the medium are still being explored and technical limitations are rife--both factors leading themselves to early successes based more on luck and instinct than careful thought and application of design theory) but still being in the middle of hashing out a conceptual framework for itself so that it can proceed in a more developed and mature fashion.

What this says about games produced today is that they're being produced while the medium is in the dark Crappyfrankenclone Valley between early, spontaneous creativity and mature, sophisticated understandings. This means that many of those creating games do so without a solid understanding of what actually makes a game work and thus resort to either a) slicing bits off of various, successful, games and creating some horrid Frankengame in the hopes that it'll be 'creative' and sell; or b) cloning a successful game and hoping that better graphics/slight tweaks will sell.

Of course, there are still people who make good, successful, original games; but the number of them who do so through luck/spontaneous inspiration is growing smaller and is being replaced by game devs who have an increasingly solid grasp of what it is about their game that makes it good and why/how those parts of their game work.

tl;dr
Games won't stay crappy, it's just that for the moment we've exhausted most of the more obvious options and now need to invest some serious cogitation into the theory behind games.

{edit}
Actually, it's kinda exciting, realising that the second wave of game design (where theory is king) is in the process of breaking around us and that we can be participants in cleaning up the legacy of the first wave (where innovation was trump).

Friday, 16 November 2012

Relational Beings #1

NB: There's a lot here that deserves more attention and explanation than I can currently spare but I just had to get stuff off my chest/out of my head.

Two unexpected things happened at work today.

The first was lovely: I had one of those happenings where your thoughts all suddenly click together and suddenly over half the puzzle is sitting there before you when moments ago there were only jumbled pieces. Various topics (ranging from gay marriage through to Rousseau's DPE & TSC) all came together and harmony of it all was delightful. I'll probably blog about some of those things in days to come.

The second was a whole lot less lovely: I discovered some part of the real reason I got off the teaching train.

For a while now I've been telling people that I basically got out of teaching because it was getting in the road of my education, because I was sick to death of the Department of Education before I even came under their employ, and because I realised that blacksmithing was becoming more and more attractive by the day. All this is true, but the real reason--the heart of it all--was a tangled mix of thought, theory, hard-to-identify-let-alone-express emotions and an uncomfortable feeling that something about the whole business was feeding Winston (even if I hadn't named him at that point).

<story>
While collecting a discarded lounge and mattress from a block of housing commission flats Rob (my boss) and I encountered a kid who was locked out of his apartment. I climbed onto the balcony and was able to break into the apartment (without, you know, actually breaking anything). Afterwards,  while we were headed for the tip with our trailer full of junk, Rob told me a little about the kid. He told how the kid was always there when Rob went to clean the stairwells; how he suspected that Mum was no longer a part of the picture; how a couple of the more 'upstanding' residents in the area didn't think much of him; how how one time, after the kid had once helped him load the trailer and rope it down, Rob had given him 5$ and ever since the kid had been really helpful in pointing out the things that were going on around the place--where people had dumped a tv behind a bush or where a window had been broken, etc.

He then asked me, because I've studied developmental psych and all that teachery goodness, what my impression of the boy was: "He's a nice kid, but I sometimes wonder whether he's playing with a full set, you know what I mean?"

Truth be told there's not a lot you can pick up from 30 seconds of interaction with someone when most of that time is spent trying not to fall off a handrail 20ft up; but going off first impressions (taken when the kid was probably more worried about getting inside than what kind of face he was presenting) and Rob's anecdotes I offered a quick appraisal:

"Well, I don't think he's slow, mentally speaking, but his appearance, demeanor, vocab, dialectic code and apparent SES background all suggest that he's probably not very academic and also probably what would be considered a 'negative social element' at school--which is only made more likely in my mind by the fact that he's always here whenever you clean.
   Also considering that he took such an overt shine to you when you showed some interest in him, and that whenever you're here he's always with you, rather than off playing with friends or watching tv, and the whole disconnection-with-school thingy it seems to me that he's probably starved for adult attention/social interaction.
   If I had to guess I'd say that low SES plus a lack of natural academic talent mixed with troubles at home has led to him being labeled in the teacher's staff room as a 'problem child' which has (as is often the case) become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Apart from a "Huh" from Rob, that was then end of the conversation; but as the rest of the day rolled by I kept coming back to that kid and his (guessed at) predicament.
</story>

There were lot of things from that afternoon I'd probably like to write about some day--when it's not going on midnight and all that--but one thing stands out above everything else:

Grief.

I honestly have no idea whether my guesswork was anywhere near the mark, but the fact that even if I'm not 100% correct on this kid there are a plethora of other children for whom much of the picture would fit tears at my insides.

But why you ask? It's not like the worlds a perfect place you chide me; surely I'm not naïve enough to think that every child has a life filled with hugs and puppies you wonder?

It's not and I'm not; but why I feel this churning in my stomach is because I know that there's very little hope for such kids, that many who get set on that path will wind up living lives fractured by all the crap they were forced to wade through before it was their time, that the ones who don't end up dead or serving a long loooong prison sentence will probably wind up having kids who get the same crappy start to life that their parents did.

And the part that gets me most (the part where I realise that that is why I abandoned the idea of teaching in this country) is the part where I realise that even if I was that kid's, these kids', teacher I probably couldn't have done a damn thing to help--not really help in a way that would matter. For every competent teacher out there there are a dozen things about how we run education in this country that will bind and constrict--teacher and student--to the point where neither can really give or receive what's really needed.

To work in a system where you see children get caught and crushed in the cogs of a machine that's supposed to be giving them the stuff they need for getting through life? To see little people's lives start to smoke and burn before they're even off the runway and not be able to step in and help? To constantly run up against bars and strictures that serve not children's education but the interests of those shadowy-types administering things from behind the scenes?

No can do, Captain.

...

So yes, that's why I got out of teaching before I ever really got into it; even if I couldn't articulate it at the time and am still having trouble now.
----

It's late and this post hasn't even reached the point I was referring to in the title--apparently there was more to unpack than I'd orinignally envisioned--therefore I'll post the other half of this tomorrow. I realise that much of what I've written probably comes across as extremely hyperbolic and slightly non-nonsensical, but I guess that's the result of having a rolling broil of negative emotions all afternoon and no one to talk it over with.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Writing Joss

Ugh.

It's late and I've really only spent about two hours at home today. Despite being able to account for where the rest of my time went (chiefly work and running Amos to/from rehearsals for Les Misérables) I'm feeling distinctly short-changed--I had a highly productive day thinking about things while I mopped floors, but now that I've the time/space to work on/write about said ideas I just want to go to bed.

:\

Better keep this short...

Yesterday evening I encountered an article on the 10th Anniversary Firefly reunion which mentioned an episode Joss Whedon had conceived where one character gets gang-raped. There was a lot of blowback in the comments with many people being spun-out/sicked by the thought that their beloved Bard II could consider addressing such a taboo subject.

All the noise got me thinking about the why behind rape being the general taboo it is in film/tv (unless it's torture-porn of course, in which case people seem to shrug and say "Well, it's a part of the genre, what did you expect?"). While I'm not going to really delve into my thought processes in this (almost finished) post (because I'm trying to keep things short and because I'm still making my mind up about some things) I will say that my ponderances have inspired me to write to Joss Whedon and ask about his reasons/justifications/thoughts behind wanting to explore said dark subject matter. I don't know what (if any) response I'll get, but as a novice writer looking to hone my craft I figure it's worth a shot.

Not that I'm doing that now now, of course. Now now I'm publishing this post and going to bed.

Mmm. Sleep. ^_^

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Huck, Finch & Garbage

So. Today I was given the chance to ponder forgiveness and prayer.

I spent an hour shoveling a mound of garbage (of varying degrees of scariness, from simple pieces of rotting fruit all the way up to putrefying meat and soiled bed clothes) into the dumpsters it was supposed to be in but wasn't because the garbage collectors who had lasted emptied said dumpsters had failed (just like last week, and the week before that) to correctly position them back under their respective garbage shoots.

As I shoveled (and occasionally suppressed the urge to bring up my breakfast) I got to thinking about those responsible for the mess and noted wryly that the 'Christian' thing to do here would to be to forgive the miscreants. Another few minutes of swearing under my breath and it occurred to me that this kind of situation was exactly the thing Christ had in mind when he told us to pray for those who persecute you.

I wasn't really in the mood for prayer and instead began to construct arguments as to why praying for the misanthropes responsible for this disaster zone wasn't necessary. They weren't very good arguments and promptly fell to bits the minute I presented them to God (who seemed to think that Matthew 5:43-44 was self-explanatory and wasn't impressed with my semantics).

So I ranted to God. I told him how unfair it was that He expected me to expend concern and effort for people who clearly didn't have the decency to do the same for me. I complained about how foul the task before me was and pointed out (repeatedly) how easy it would have been for the garbage collectors to have pushed the dumpsters an extra half foot forward. I asked God what possible reason could exist that I should be praying for these men?

As my diatribe progressed I conceded now and then that there might possibly exist circumstances for which prayer could be fairly offered. In my mind I listed things I would hate to have happen to me, things for which I could be convinced to pray for those careless collectors, were they suffering that fate. I began to climb into their skins as Atticus had told me to.

And somewhere in the middle of all this, without even realising it, I began to pray for them.
----

Huck Fin once noted that you can't pray a lie, but something equally true is that you can't begin to pray for someone without beginning to love them and, to add insult to injury, you can't begin to love someone without beginning for forgive them. I still wish the garbage collectors would clean up their act, but I no longer bear them any ill-will for today's events. Huh, didn't see that coming.

Of course, if they do it again next week I'll probably have another hissy-fit with God; but I guess that's all a part of the learning/sanctification process.

SDG


Monday, 12 November 2012

Winston

There's this dog.

I don't know if it's the same dog that Churchill kept away by painting, but it's certainly black and it's certainly persistent.

Sometimes it's nowhere to be found--never existed, or so it seems. And then other times it's there, dogging (yes) me as I fumble through a day that's a lot bleaker than the morning forecast had predicted.

Sometimes it's there from before I open my eyes:

Imagine a day where the colours have all faded, the sounds are distant and muffled, and time has ceased to drive events forward. Now imagine a great, dark weight pressing down on your chest, crushing any hopes and dreams you'd held for the day with a painful, overbearing, nameless sorrow. And now realise that you can't breath because the dark weight is pinning you down; realise you can't fight because the world, grey and void of hope or help or inspiration, saps any resistance you once thought you had; realise that whatever you had hoped to do, whatever you might have done, whatever you had planned is now dust and ashes--because you're paralysed, unable to get out of bed, and ain't nobody can help you. Ain't nobody.

I don't like it when things are like that. .-.

Reflecting on the whole business, I'm not actually certain how long the dog's been lurking on the periphery. Looking back I know it was around before I met Melissa (although I didn't know it at the time). I also know that it went into hiding for a time while we courted and wedded and the like. I'm not yet sure why it came back, although I do have some theories. I guess now that I know it's there I'll have to own it; otherwise, history tells me, these things have a habit of owning you instead.

We'll see how that goes.

...

There's this dog.

I don't know what its name is, but it seems to have taken to hanging around. I'd rather it went and bothered someone else, but as things stand I suspect it'll be around awhile. I'm kind of hoping it'll turn out to be the kind of dog that you can teach party tricks, but I suspect not. I wonder what I should call it--after all, a dog's got to have a name. Maybe I'll call it Winston; I'll enjoy the irony if nothing else.

Yes, Winston it is; it has a nice ring to it. And hey, I'm feeling better already. Isn't that nice...

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mr. Cellophane

I started a cleaning job today.

After a long time lounging around as a student, or unemployed (which is kinda like being a student), it was wonderful to knuckle down and spend an entire day working. I know I've posted before about my inability to get my head around some parts of work, but when you've got a mop, a bucket, and 2000 sq feet of floor to clean the conceptual problems fall away and your body takes over. It's wonderful. I'm now aching in a dozen different places and am now re-acquainted with muscles I'd forgotten existed, but I couldn't be happier.

Or, I almost couldn't be happier.

Something I noticed as I went about learning/fulfilling my duties today, was how different people respond to my presence. Some would say "Hey" and greet me like a normal human being, but they were in the minority (I counted--it rounded out to about 1 in 12); another minority were people who were obviously busy and probably too caught up in their business to realise I was there (also about 1/12); but by far the largest group (all the remaining--5/6ths!) was the group who ignored me.

I'm not talking about strangers ignoring other strangers they pass on the street kind of ignoring; I'm talking about people making what seemed to be a conscious effort to 'not see' me. Faces that where laughing and smiling when talking to a friend suddenly became blank when I stepped into view with my mop. People who smiled back at me stopped smiling and stiffly turned away when I turned and they could see that I had been cleaning the glass. While riding an elevator with a rag and can of chrome polish a lady stepped in, smiled and jovially inquired if it was 'time to clean the car'; but on learning that I was 'one of the cleaners' she fell silent and then (after an extremely awkward 20 second ride) hurried away as though the lift were about to catch alight.

Of course, it's altogether possible that I am misjudging these people; that I'm reading far more into this than is really there.

But I don't think so.

Charles Spurgeon writes that:
I think you may judge of a man’s character by the persons whose affection he seeks. If you find a man seeking only the affection of those who are great, depend upon it he is ambitious and self-seeking; but when you observe that a man seeks the affection of those who can do nothing for him, but for whom he must do everything, you know that he is not seeking himself, but that pure benevolence sways his heart.
It's my hope that this time working in the margins--as the ever-present, lowly janitor--will be fruitful. Not only in allowing me to relearn what good, hard, work is; but also allowing me to develop a heart for those who tend to be relegated to the footnotes, if they're noticed at all. If the Master could do it, why not I?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A venture into screenwriting

My all-time favourite computer game, King Arthur's Gold (KAG for short), has provided me with an intriguing opportunity: working with my brother Toby (as co-produces/directors/writer/etc.) for a web mini-series based off of a group of 'average' KAG players (like RvB it'll be done in-game).

Currently we're looking to get the technical/logistical side of this straightened out, but I've already got the kernels for 17 episodes nutted out. We'll be starting with short runs leaning towards the gag-of-the-week side of things, but hopefully as we get a feel for things we may be able to branch out into some actual story arcs. This is my first attempt at anything like this (I've written loads of stuff for textual consumption, and I've done a decade of drama, but not anything tv-esque) so I get the feeling it's going to be a huge learning curve--here's hoping I have something decent to show for it!

I'll probably post up episodes as we finish them.

Okay, it's 3:40 pm and Imma ready for breakfast. Current TODO list for the web series:
  1. Flesh out the first episode's script, making sure the jokes aren't totally lame.
  2. Poke Toby about getting his KAG server up and running so we have somewhere to film.
  3. Recruit some friends to be hapless extras.
:D

sdg

A change in direction

So, I've dropped out of uni.

There are a variety of reasons why this is so (some of which I will not go into here), but two major reasons are as follows:
  1. Over the past 4 years of study I've experienced a growing disquiet with how education is managed in Australia (and, for that matter, much of the rest of the world). I've known for a long time that the methods of most educational institutions leave a lot to be desired and for years it was a driving goal of mine to change the status quo first chance I got. But it's only recently that the other shoe has dropped and I've finally come to terms with the sorry truth: they [being those who run the whole education scene] wouldn't change for the better--even if they could (which I doubt anyway). To cut a long story of me raging at the educative establishment short: I decided I don't want to be banging my head against a brick wall for the next 10+ years of my life.
  2. Way back in December, while visiting my wife's lovely family, I got to participate in a blacksmithing workshop entitled A Taste of Blacksmithing run by the excellent Carl West of Prospect Hill Forge. I loved it. Everything from managing the fire's heat to deciding exactly how I wanted my S-hook to look, to the mediative nature of beating hot iron seemed good and right and natural. After the workshop I was told that I seemed to have some natural flair for the craft. Fast forward half a year and I find myself contemplating the idea of becoming a blacksmith with no small joy and (comparatively) considering being a 'Teacher' as my daily occupation with resignation. Not that I don't enjoy teaching (I do), but the thought of working in the systems set up for teachers gives me an overwhelming UGH! feeling
At this present time I'm looking for work and investigating how one might become a blacksmith without leaving Canberra (if that's at all possible--we'll see). It's a crazy jump to the left, step to the right, and I'm not entirely sure where things will end up; but I'm excited to be on a new road--one that will (however it turns out) be invariably better than the one I've left behind.

sdg

The possibility of a Christian culture?

Somewhat related to my thoughts on Christian philosophy is the idea of a Christian culture.

I was wathcing The Last Samurai a few weeks ago and (during a scene when spoiler the protagonist, while beginning to come to terms with his captors, notes how everything the samurai do [work, play, study, prayer, etc.] is deeply imbedded in the surrounding culture of their community /spoiler) I realised that I wanted that to be true of me also! (Those not looking at the spoiler just keep reading and it should make sense. Hopefully. Also go watch the damn movie already!)

Just think: to have no dichotomy between what the individual practices and what the wider group expects; and not because of coercion, but simly because societal mores and the philo/ideo/theological leanings of individuals are in balance, each forming and informing other. That would be wonderful!

In the West we live in a Post-Christian, Humanist society with Individualism and Subjectivism as its dominant cultural flavours--as long as you affirm the worth of humanity; don't question anyone's "beliefs" or suggest they could be wrong; and are happy to double-think your way through life you're all set. Understandably this poses a problem for someone who knows that humanity is tragically fallen; holds that the only salvation worth having comes from one (and only one) source (Jesus); and is called to conform their every thought, word and deed to the singular reality of Christ. How can a Christian reconcile the two; external culture and internal conviction?

In todays culture, in probably most cultures through out history, I don't think they can. They can try to come close by employing a certain level of  duality: living along with the casual mores of society while professing to follow 'another way'; but, honestly, the best they'll ever get is close. Why? Because mixing non-Christian culture and Christian convictions is like trying to mix oil and water: you can stir as long and hard as you like but, soon as you stop mixing, the two start to separate again.

Clearly my first 'short' post isn't all that short, so I'll cap it here. Next time I address this topic I'll be comparing the 'mix' of Shinto/Buddhist culture & practice vs. the 'mix' of non-Christian culture and Christian conviction--and why one 'works' and the other doesn't. After that, I'll begin to explore the role of community in mixing culture and practice.

[this is a boomerang --> i.e. I'll get to it when I'm good and ready and haven't forgotten]

sdg

Energy

Not that many would notice, seeing as not many read/know of this blog, but I've not really been near here in the last 2 months. In fact, I've not only not posted here, but I've seemingly done very little elsewhere. Life has been interesting these past few months and as a result I crawled inside my cave and hid. To the outside observer I've been sitting on my arse looking pretty for the past while. Which is a misnomer, because:

I haven't been idle.

I've been having numerous things (books, games, films, philosophies, projects, poems, songs, a watercolour, etc.) broiling away in the back of my mind like mad--all continuously fueled by a steady stream of odd thoughts, introspective musings, fantastic leaps of imagination, acute observations and the like from myself and others around me. In fact, looking over these past two months I would have to say they been incredibly fertile. Like a grub that's fed up with being a grub I cocooned myself away from the world, not realising that doing so can lead to turning into a butterfly. Maybe. It's also possible that someone might come along and poison you so they can use your cocoon to make a silk handkerchief, but them's the breaks I guess.

Which is why I'm writing now. I don't know if I'm a colourful bug with a penchant for messing with the weather, or a doomed contributor to someone else's prom dress; but I do know that if I want out of this chrysalis I have to begin moving, shaking, striving to break out of where I find myself.

I've a lot I want to write down before it fades back into the aether, before I lose energy again, and so what follows are a series of short, short posts about things I've been cogitating on in my cave. We'll see how many I can get down before I get hungry enough to remember to have breakfast...

sdg

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Anti-timetable

My last post was about life requiring more 'work' than I feel is often indicated by much of the world. I finished up by saying "if only someone would teach me how to do the hard stuff". Well, I've been dwelling on that during my quiet-times lately and then last week I actually found someone to help me along the road.

Speaking to my "Mathematics: Learning and Teaching 1" lecturer, I mentioned my inability to actually settle down and focus - how even when I desperately wanted to work, I found myself unable to. She suggested I try using a blank timetable that I filled in as the day progressed, hour-by-hour, with those things that I'd managed to accomplish during the past 60 minutes (and only those things I'd achieved - trying to make it a positive experience!). She said she'd found it effective (over the past 30 years of teaching) when she had students who had (or she suspected had) ADHD.

Growing up there was a notion that I may be somewhat ADHD, and while that's never been confirmed one way or the other, so far trying my lecture's suggestion seems to be yielding results. While I tend to find strict timetables overly confining, the freedom to work at my own pace (and the challenge of trying to have something good/productive to fill each hour in with) is, well, good.


Of course, I still get distracted (classic case being me spending an hour researching Aspergers in the middle of writing this post!), but I think, I hope that this is a way forward for me.


In the best way possible: we'll see...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hard and easy

Reading various books over the last few days, watching my way through season 6 of Buffy, journaling and striving to set aside time on a daily basis for prayer, Bible and reflection. All of which has lead to me finally realising something I aught to have worked out a long, long, long time ago: life is hard.

We get taught that its easy, that we just need to yearn for the stars and believe; and it'll all come together. But it's not and it won't.

Life is hard; and until we wake up and smell the perspiration, we're bound to end our days empty, unfulfilled, and wondering how we were cheated out of our birthright.

Of course, we often hear from wise sources that life does actually involve some toil and heartbreak; but for some reason that escapes me, we always seem to run back to our soft lives and buy into the comforting lie that we have somehow 'arrived'. We all know that anything worthwhile in this life requires work but rarely, it appears to me, do we actually embrace that fact and seek out that which is worthy of our life's work.

Don't get me wrong: there are people out there who achieve their desires, who have vast ambitions and are able to muster the drive to succeed in those ambitions. But how many of those who achieve greatly are driven by fear, or pride, or an overweening self-interest? While there are, by the grace of God, true altruists out there, the majority of people are either A) driven by their pathologies and demons to do 'big things', or else B) are unable to get a grip on this thing called 'life' that seems [as demonstrated by the poor tortured souls in category A)] easy, but actually requires more work than their comfort-induced apathy will allow them to do.

...

Maybe this is just a first world problem. Maybe it's just my problem. I don't know. Nevertheless, if life is hard and not easy, then it is only by embracing the truly difficult things that we are alive - and not merely using up oxygen.

(Now if only someone would teach me how to do the hard stuff; 'cos it's, you know, hard!)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Philosophy of schema

[Taking a break from readings]

I've been wondering about the nature of philosophy lately; trying to determine it's form and function. Thinking about it, I guess doing what I'm doing falls into the category of 'meta-philosophy'. Hmm. Interesting.

Anywhom, here's what I've come up with so far:
As we think, so we attempt to act. Philosophy then is a mode of thinking whereby we contemplate the world in a certain light and then strive to live by that light.
Additionally:
If philosophy effectively takes the form of a schema used to organise and filter experience, then an application of the rule of truth (i.e. anything truthful, if studied enough, eventually leads to God) would suggest that there is an ideal schema or 'habit of mind' for the Christian walk.

Not a lot, I know; but it raises in my mind the question of whether a Christian schema formally exists? If so it would have to conform not only with how Jesus operated on Earth, but with how God's character is portrayed in the rest of the Bible as well--such that someone using the schema would find themselves actually following after Christ's likeness, rather than wandering off somewhere else (i.e. down the road labeled 'heterodoxy').

Another question that leads from the first: if said schema doesn't exist, would it be worth attempting to create one?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Progress

Weee! Progress! :)

Okay, not a lot of progress, but things are moving - which is a start. I've finally added a number of pages as tabs up the top ^ and I think I've settled on what umbrella-topics they should cover. For the moment anyway. Most of the pages are either boring or useless atm, but the plan is to fill them out over the coming weeks/months and then try to keep them up-to-date.

Life has been interesting this past month-and-a-half; not all bad, but definitely not all good either. I've started uni once more and hope to make a good run of things this time having finally straightened (or at least begun to straighten) out a number of the things that I have been allowing to undermine my efforts in this field. Maybe more on that later. For now, however, back to study.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Blog restructuring

I've decided to renovate Roentgeniumcookie as the blog (or rather, the blogging) clearly isn't working in its current state. I'm thinking something more thematic, with pages devoted to various themes or interests (e.g. Faith, Writing, Philosophy, Education, Game Development, etc.) that I blog about enough (or I feel are important enough) to warrant their own page; along with the standard blog feed into which everything goes. The hope is that by giving myself some structure and a mental 'space' to write in for each of these topics I might be more inclined to actually, you know, write!...

We'll see how things go.