In episode forty-one of Thoughts, I read to you guys from the beginning page of my four completed novels. I start the narrative with a mini thought piece to prime y’all for the what the story will cover. Let me know if you guys liked this video however you can! It’s greatly appreciated. Enjoy!
Strength! Power! Austin POWERS. What is strength, and what is power? Strength is physical, and strength is emotional. Power is external control and authority, and control is an illusion. So what does that say about the people seeking power? One could say they’re chasing a fleeting dream, like chasing the pink dragon- something they might grasp for a moment or two before it disappears into a wisp of smoke. These two concepts of strength and power serpentine through each other, meeting in one field of thought and being completely separate in others. I was originally only going to write about strength in this thought piece, but figured it would be best to include power as well.
The word strength is defined as… wait. Oh my God. There are too many definitions. I can’t one-off this, you guys. Okay! So, let’s run off the list here. There are twelve definitions separated into five sections. SECTION ONE. 1) the quality or state of being physically strong. 2) the influence or power possessed by a person, organization, or country. 3) the degree of intensity of a feeling or belief. 4) the cogency of an argument or case. 5) the potency, intensity, or speed of a force or natural agency.
SECTION TWO. 6) the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure. 7) the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.
SECTION THREE. 8) the potency or degree of concentration of a drug, chemical, or drink.
SECTION FOUR. 9) a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing. 10) a person or thing perceived as a source of mental or emotional support.
SECTION FIVE. 11) the number of people comprising a group, typically a team or army. And finally 12) the number of people required to make a group complete.
So, what do these sections tell us about the nature of strength? The first two are pretty general, but the last three are separated properly. Third section is potency, the fourth describes an emotionally secure and mature person, and the last details military force. Who’d have thunk these vastly different fields would have such a core connection? Language is interesting in this regard. Strength means so many things! It as a concept really gets its worth. You could say strength is a STRONG ass word! Luckily, there are adjectives to help describe its many forms: Brawn, supremacy, intensity, force, stability, resilience, stoicism, aptitude, magnitude, anchor. We have body builders and we have mothers. We have Keanu Reeves, a man who has lost so many loved ones and still holds a positive demeanour, and we have life itself! Life is stronger than anything; throw asteroids at the Earth and life is still here!
Now where does power intersect with strength? Brute strength has power over another in a tug-of-war. In a fight, a lighter person could out-maneuver the heavier one but in something like tug-of-war, it’s done before it begins. In a game of wits similar to how polite neighbours might be nasty to each other, the one who best holds their emotional stability wins the power. To contrast, there are many cases where the weak can have more power, like in politics. Authority is where the abuse of power is found with individuals that may have never had a sense of control before. Strength is not needed to sign papers or bark orders, but great power is housed in it.
It’s a curious thing to have strength or power, and all the more to lose it. People who have just attained either, or have yet to lose one often look down on others without in however mildly disdain. Only when you lose one can you have a better perspective on life. Most people with more money than they need who give to specific charities, do so because they had someone in their life go through whatever the charity is aimed at. New people coming into the game of life as independent adults seek riches either because they were taught to, to compensate internal anguish, or because they grew up with very little and want their kids to have the opposite kind of life.
In the end, though, we lose everything. Any kind of power or strength you gain, will leave you before the end. It doesn’t matter how much you work out, how sharp you make yourself, how much you make or how many things you name after yourself, in the end we all lose to death. One can hope for a future world where we learn the humble lessons of past peoples and gain their perspective of what really matters in the end. We could maybe finally mature as a species, instead of one at a time and often too late, but that kind of thing is only a hope. I don’t want to write it off, but our minds are clearly wired to compete. And compete we will. Maybe we can compete to a point to equanimity one day- who knows.
One thing we do know, is that with all things, time will tell. Thank you again for reading. I love you all, and I’ll talk to you next time. Be good.
There will be people that can argue to a good point that human consciousness is a part of evolution, but my intuition says it just ain’t! Hence my title: The Follies of Consciousness. First, what is consciousness? Consciousness is the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world. In shorter words; self-awareness. I am of the strong belief that human consciousness happened by mistake.
I think evolution, as a process barreling forward with whatever it got, sharpened our ancestors social game and mathematical problem solving to a point where we started knowing it was us in a river’s reflection. I think it happened as a side effect of making us so smart. What started with cognitive growth for survival’s sake, like the ability to plan for the future, morphed into contemplation about why we’re even here.
Here are some examples of follies of consciousness. 1) Suicide. Suicide does not help our survival, so clearly that wasn’t programmed into us by evolution. It’s a disorder of the mind when looking inward and forward, and not wanting to live anymore. 2) Obsession. Wouldn’t it be easier to distribute our DNA if we didn’t care about which mate we did it with? What about workaholics that literally work themselves to death from a lack of sleep and nutrition? Jealousy and fixation are another example of defects of consciousness that holds no survival advantage. Paying attention does but not at such high levels. And lastly 3) Religiosity. Fanatics do wacky shit. They’ll dance like they’re being possessed by the holy spirit just because some dude with a microphone is swinging his arms. Old people will stop taking their medication because some fraud said Jesus is with them and will heal them. Young virgin boys with rage issues get sucked into believing the end of the world is coming and join ISIS to partake in a holy war.
In general, depression and anxiety are like really crappy side effects of being smart. You get the best brains on Earth but it comes with this baggage. We can let it tear us down, or we can use these faults to excel us forward. That’s the great thing about where we’re at as a society now. 100 years ago if you wanted to talk about your anxiety you’d just be called weak. Now, we’ve done the research and realize it’s something we’re all going through and ought to help each other out with it to be our best selves. Being self-aware of the follies of being self-aware is a step in the right direction. It allows one to course correct whenever finding oneself descending into despair. It can be the thing we use as motivation to keep working, keep striving, and vent about on the weekends.
I’ve always been a palm-sweater, prone to silence in frantic situations. I clam up. But instead of me accepting or being owned by these defects, I learn what causes them and work on either avoiding those situations or teaching myself to lessen the impact it has on me. The fact that we are self-aware is the luckiest luck a living creature could hope to have on this planet, but it doesn’t come without cost. We must all learn to cope with our defects and continue to help each other out when needed. Thank you for reading dear viewers. I love you, and I’ll you next time.
Fear is tucking your daughter in for the night only to realize once you’ve closed the door that you don’t have a daughter. Fear is laying in bed as a figure walks into your room from the hallway and you can’t move. Fear is being three hours into a hike and hearing a crunch beside you, seeing a mountain lion crouch in preparation to pounce. Fear is the dark, fear is the unknown. Fear is the uncanny, or inhuman. Fear is the alone, and always being watched.
How would you describe fear? Seeing a face dart out of view from the corner of your window in the night? Or an elderly woman entering your personal space to whisper how you die? Fear is a guttural thing. Are you a fan of horror movies like me? It would make sense if you’re not. Fear is our instinctual mind’s response for survival. Avoid that thing, FEAR IT, so that you may live. In ancient times, predator animals and diseased people were the things to fear, and uncomfortable body language from potential killers. Try to imagine how evolution could warn us any other way than to use the uncanny valley and the dark as precursors or triggers. Evolution does not think. It cannot see or hear. It developed its method of fear for survival through trial and error.
Why fear spiders and other creepy crawlys’? Because they could be poisonous! Why fear big things with claws? Duh. Why fear the dark? Because we are at a disadvantage. It all makes sense, but one: Supernatural fear. We have somehow over the generations developed a fear of ghosts, demons, and specters. Should they suck our souls from our bodies? It’s one heck of a unique fear to have. I was raised Catholic, but was never enough of a believer for it to stick, yet every so often I have a fear that grips me, usually in my dreams, related to ghosts. In my dreams they are real. They are an enemy that would take my life and I cannot fight back against them! I can only run away and hide.
Ghosts are kind of like the ultimate fear. They check off the dark box, the unknown box, the uncanny or diseased box, the predator box, and the socially uncomfortable box. Some say dragon were the amalgamation of the ultimate predator to fear, but I say it’s ghosts! And just like dragons, ghosts aren’t real, or are they? Let your own fear response tell you!
This has been another thought piece by Joe Van. Thank you for reading, and I’ll talk to you guys- LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!
Identities! Also known as personalities made from a collection of memories. I’ve written about the concept of identities in bits and pieces throughout my blog, like in Duality and Perspective, but I think it deserves it’s own work down. Would the ninth grade version of yourself even recognize you? Are you still you if you undergo amnesia? What’s up with multiple personality disorder? Or the concept of reincarnation? It begs the question, what is the point of the soul without memories? It is culturally evident that identity takes the main stage in certain countries like the U.S. and China. So to expand on that, country identity has to do with government systems and how people are rooted in their historical philosophies and cultures.
China is housed to the creation of the concepts of Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. These are the top three, arguably. Confucianism is from the man Confucius, who derived his teachings from Legalism, and is in a nutshell: Xin – Honesty and Trustworthiness. Chung – Loyalty to your work, the state, et cetera. Li – includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, et cetera. Hsiao – love within the family, love of parents for their children, and love of children for their parents. Daoism, or Taoism, is a philosophical or religious tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Dao. The Dao is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. And finally, Legalism, or Fajia which literally means “House of Administrative Methods”, is a philosophical belief that human beings are more inclined to do wrong than right because they are motivated entirely by self-interest. Today, the driving structure of China is Communism.
America, or the Western world including Canada, was founded and subsequently ruled through the religion of Christianity and the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. While most know about Christianity, with their testaments and beatitudes, Manifest Destiny was the idea that white Americans were divinely ordained to settle the entire continent of North America. The ideology of Manifest Destiny inspired a variety of measures designed to remove or destroy the native population, horribly. It was a widely-held cultural belief in the 19th-century and drove its settlers to expand across the land. Today, the driving structure of America is Capitalism.
If you grant me some more wiki definitions here, Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and state. Capitalism on the other hand is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. One can see just by reading their definitions, how individuals raised with either idea can form their identities based off of these ideas. They are both very practice-based and communal. Generally, Americans stereotype China as a country full of drones that work and die, and Chinese stereotype Americans as egotistic overweight blowhards. While everyone is an individual, statistics do show behavioral patterns among people under certain communities. But is there anything wrong with that?
Well the concern is all in the mind of the viewer. If we take a step back from nations and look at humanity as a whole, there are things we all do. We all want a purpose, want love, have good food, entertain ourselves and continuously grow with the people in our lives. When individuals like psychopaths, sociopaths, the morbidly depressed, or those with identities issues such as individuals who believe they are robots or animals in human bodies, go against common connective tropes, we as a society reject them out of fear.
As we all know, we don’t chose who we’re born from, what brain chemistry we’re born with, how we’re born, when we’re born, or where we’re born. These are important markers of our identity that we had no say of from the get-go. It begins to paint a picture of how identity works and what it really is. Could our personal identities be an illusion? I can say with certainty that no, regardless of if we have free will, it is certain that everyone, no matter how entirely they are influenced by external forces, is an individual with their own fingerprint of a mind. From a biological standpoint, even identical twins that look to be the complete same person, have different DNA.
So now we can talk about how individuals can go through identity crises. It’s known as a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society. If you’re experiencing an identity crisis, you may be questioning your sense of self. This can often occur from advancements through life stages, be it childhood, school, or work. So many things are out of our control. How many people wish that they could just be a kid forever? People take care of you and you have no responsibilities, like a pet! Not to trash people who actively wish this, but it is important for one’s own sake of sanity to strive in their CURRENT situation. It is unhealthy to wish one was living a different life. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to change your life situation because there are many legitimate reasons one could want to do this, but while having a desire to depart one’s current life one must still make the most of their situation. Happiness is predicated off of it.
There are accounts of individuals who live to be fifty or older before realizing or admitting they have gender dysphoria. There are people who remain closeted homosexuals their entire lives. These points of perceived, or real, relationship expectations that repress one’s true identity are tragedies against all of humanity in my opinion. People are who they are. We shouldn’t have to hide that. There are outliers like serial killers and pedophiles, of course, but aside from those that would bring harm to others, we as a society are doing our part, individual by individual, to accept people of every possible identity. We are all our own people, and we are all one, however paradoxical that may sound. I am Joseph Van Landschoot, born of Jane and Carl, and you, reader, are you, with your parents, and lineage, and beliefs, and hopes, and wants, and dreams. We are all fellow humans beings, and we are all worthy of love.
Thank you for listening, and see you next time.
One one-billionth of the Sun’s total energy output actually reaches Earth. Of all the energy that does reach Earth, 34 percent is reflected back to space by clouds. The Earth itself reflects another 66 percent back to space. Wouldn’t it be great if we could harness even one percent of the Sun’s energy? That thought brings us to today’s topic, the idea of a Dyson Sphere. Not to be confused with Dyson vacuums, the definition of a Dyson Sphere is: a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures a large percentage of its power output. There are similar variations to this such as a Dyson Ring, Dyson Swarm, Dyson Bubble, and Dyson Shell. All these things would perform the same goal.
The original concept of the thought experiment was attributed to physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, though like most things, there was someone who thought of it first. It was surely unintentional but back 2 400 years ago, Plato the philosopher wrote about enormous subterranean tunnels both broad and narrow that made up the Earth’s interior. Later in the 17th century, the term Hollow Earth became a now debunked theory, claiming that there is indeed an inverted world inside our world, with it’s own light source! Such a thought experiment is not unlike a creative version of a Dyson Sphere. Its purpose ultimately being a power source which as we all know in a broad sense, our sun is. It gives us life! In vegetation and in vitamin D.
So the myth of Agartha, which is what some groups called the Hollow Earth, was really the first idea of a Dyson Sphere. But Freeman’s description of such a thing was humanity’s first good description of a truly conceivable version of it. To harness the sun in the palm of a species’ hands. It seems like pure theory now, that a race could build something so massive to wrap around the sun, a body in of itself that could fit over one million Earths in it, that it’ll never be possible. But ALREADY we have found anomalies through NASA’s Discovery Program of potential Dyson Spheres out in space made by advanced intelligent alien life.
Granted, reality is often disappointing and the anomaly these scientists are finding are most likely large planets obscuring the stars’ light, it’s still fun to think of the possibility. We often imagine aliens being almost just like us: bipedal, carbon-based lifeforms using air from their throats to communicate. If that is the case, it would take a civilization of China-levels of cooperation to construct such a device! But in a more creative sense, if alien life out there were something like silicon-based, or A.I. managed, construction of larger-than-star-sized devices could be a thing. Regardless, I just wanted to talk about this subject because things like this inspire my imagination, and if it could do the same to you, then the world would be a little brighter.
I love you all, and thanks for reading.