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Monday, June 30, 2008

Progress report:
No work done.
The subject must work now.



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Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'm A Happy Little Cog

Natural / Rational
I'm afraid that if I were to force myself to do tedious work, I'd eventually get used to it. And that is just about the scariest thing I can imagine, because then I wouldn't stop doing tedious work. My entire life would become a tragedy, with only hints of the tremendous potential it once had, but none of it fulfilled. When I look at most adults, I see the most boring creatures- creatures who once could have been humans, but have allowed society to make them into machines. I don't want that to happen to me. So I reject any work which I don't naturally want to do.
The Multiplayer Experience
For a while now I've been babysitting a young boy on the block named Eitan [Friedman]. I accepted the job, despite disliking the very idea of jobs, because it's not much of a job at all.
[That job ended a long time ago.]
At 1:00 PM, I walk over to the Friedmans, who live a few doors away. I scratch their dog on the head, then sit down by the laptop. I use both the laptop's screen and an external monitor. I open the database. I open the spreadsheet saying how much time I've worked. I open Adobe Acrobat.

The job is to look at data on one screen. And write it on the other screen. And again. And again, until I've been working for around two hours. Then I stop.

I really shouldn't enjoy it as much as I do. I don't feel like I'm being forced into anything, I don't feel bad about myself, I don't look for excuses to not work, I don't look at my watch impatiently. Which means I was wrong about the whole work thing - there is no misery in repetition.

There are some gamistic lessons to be learned here, I think.

In repeating what I've already done I see the opportunity to do it more efficiently. At first I was using the mouse for a lot, but switching interfaces between mouse and keyboard took time. I got faster by finding ways to use the keyboard for everything. The very fact that those keys were there to be found made me feel that I had opportunities ahead of me, if I just kept working. Apparently that's enough to keep me going. And each time I start a different set of pages, I have new opportunities to learn the shortcuts. If it were not possible to find quicker ways to work, I don't think I'd have much motivation. So it is important with any repetitive tasks to make it clear that the player can get better with time. A role-playing game with shallow battles is not a good game, but deeper battles might be satisfying. A movement game shouldn't hold your hand too much, because it takes away the potential for getting better. An action game might be entertaining if you can find new strategies all the time. And so on.

The files I'm transcribing are research for a Diabetes medicine. This makes no difference to me. The work is the work.

The files come from lots of different doctors, who are given numbers. When I see the number 74, I'm genuinely happy to do the work. It's not just because, y'know, it's 74. It's because that guy has good handwriting. Most of these doctors write in barely legible scribbles, or don't understand the fine art of capitalization, or misspell everything, or all of the above. Each line of text is a new roadblock. I get into a slower pace of writing, because I don't expect to get far. I lose motivation. But when I get to a 74, I know I'm not going to be stopped. I'm going to be allowed to go right through and do my job, and then move on to the next one. So as soon as I see those two digits, I kick into overdrive. My fingers zoom across the number pad, I fill out all the data in a fraction of my normal time, and am eager to move on to the next file. TA clearly presented goal is much more appealing than a less-clear one.

I don't mind being like a computer program. It gives me the perceived opportunity to call attention to my own efficiency. I want people to see my fast progress and comment on it.

The data is all being entered twice, so that any mistakes will be caught. As I work, the Friedmans all work in parallel on another computer. Even though I'm outnumbered, I'm way ahead. I take pride in that. Unfortunately, with no direct competition now I've slowed down considerably. I tend to overlook the usefulness of competition, and I plan to continue doing so in the future. But it does have merit.

I haven't gotten any money yet, and I'm being careful to not want it. (I feel that to work for money would be hypocritical.) So if I weren't paid, it wouldn't make any difference to me. I'd still come back for more, because hey- I actually like this.

(Okay, enough procrastination. Start working on Smilie already.)



Dude I wanted to post a comment ages ago on that game, Des Reves Elastiques etc. Thanks for the link, that was terrific. I wanted to say more elaborate things but to be honest I'm starting to think it deserves a full blogpost of my own. We'll see if I can manage it, I hope I will, it all depends on whether my dissertation devours me first.
All the best,
John Silver.

I've reached a point in the job where I don't see anywhere else to go. And yet, I'm still okay with the job.


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Friday, June 27, 2008

Progress report:
Pages 22, 23 and 24 are complete.

Next time:
Stop 4:00 PM
Open 4:15 PM
Page 4:20 PM
Complete by 6:00 PM



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Progress report:
The subject did not start working at the proper time.
Page 22 is incomplete.

No entertainment of any kind will be allowed until Page 22 is complete.



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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Thinkers

(21 April 2005)
Eliezer started our tradition of improv in the Academy a year ago. I had been improvising alone (for fun) for a long time, but that was my first experience with duet improvisation. I sit at one grand piano, some other pianist (sometimes Eliezer) sits at the other grand piano, and we just start to play.… We're playing, but we're also listening, because we need to complement each other. With these improvs, you never know where it's going, because the other player might suddenly get an idea, and you'll go in that direction with him. Or you might get an idea, and he'll join you. It's fun. But it's very difficult to have a coherent overall structure.

The following post is a direct sequel to title="27/3/2007" style="font-style:italic;">The Composer.
Eliezer called, out of the blue. He asked if I'd improvise with him at the Hebrew University the following morning, as a demonstration for a lecture or some such.

I walked in very late. Eliezer had gotten there a few minutes earlier, and he was improvising with a guy named Levi who's (I'm guessing) a regular at his weekly Tel Aviv sessions. I took a seat and enjoyed the performance.

I looked around the room. Eliezer wasn't talking to a bunch of college students, he was talking to the heads of the Musicology department! There were a dozen or so people, ranged in age between their 30's and, oh, I'd say 70's. They listened to the music dispassionately. Then the music stopped, with both sides trying to get the last statement (to the piece's detriment).

Eliezer began to talk. He talked about the idea that the specific piano played on is as integral to a piece of music as its melody. He talked about improvisation as an important part of the composition process. He talked about improvisation being considered unimportant in understanding classical (and more generally Western) music. And then he invited me to play.

I started with a note, and he repeated the note. I built a theme of three notes, and he repeated it. And we were off. I tried to not take too much attention for myself, because I knew Eliezer would want to do all sorts of fancy stuff I barely understand and I needed to give him space. So I kept it simple, anchoring the piece in the original theme throughout while he jumped around enough to make it interesting though not enough to contradict me. I followed his modulations and added little cutesy flourishes. We each anticipated where the other was going and completed each other's sentences. It was a lovely improvisation. Then he ended, and I ended, and he ended, and I ended. "Everyone needs to have the last word.", he pointed out.

Eliezer continued to talk. He talked about the self-sacrifice of limiting yourself for the sake of your partner. He talked about the greatness of some of the improvisations he had with Levi. He talked about the experience of having a conversation in music. He talked about how two-person improvisations could be analyzed and studied. He talked about his old schools in Russia frowning on improvisation. He talked about all the little things he could think of that he loves about two-person improvisation in general. And the room was silent. At one point a guy raised his hand to start a point, but thought better of it and let Eliezer keep talking. Eliezer talked and talked and the room sat still. If I may interpret what I saw, he started to get a little scared. He asked the esteemed musicologists in the room to contradict him, to speak up against him. He quoted Gemara for some reason I didn't catch, though I figured he was making a point about proper conduct in speaking.

And the one in the back who raised a hand earlier began to talk. I think it was the head of the entire department. He spoke with intelligence and consideration, and no one could have doubted that he knew what he was talking about. He talked for a long time, taking apart Eliezer's ideas piece by piece and comparing them to other things he was familiar with. He cut through all the enthusiasm of the speaker to reduce the issue to its most basic points: For instance, what exactly was Eliezer (who, make no mistake, the entire room respected) trying to sell them? And Eliezer invited Levi to improvise again.

Eliezer did not sit down ready to listen to his partner. He sat down with the need to prove himself. He played a technically impressive improvisation, that neither needed Levi's perspective nor allowed for it. It was jazzy and crazy and had little pauses where Eliezer hoped his partner would come in. He did not, because to see the openings Eliezer had left for him would require Levi to think exactly like Eliezer. For the entire piece, he was desperately looking for openings he could never find. Then it ended, with each side of course trying to end himself.

And the argument began. I will be blessed in life if I am ever on any side of such an argument.

Each new voice brought a totally different perspective. Some were short and incisive, others were long speeches contrasting Eliezer's method with their favorite improvisation-related topics. None were the sorts of positions Eliezer might have foreseen, and each speaker gave me the impression, while he was talking, that what he was saying was absolutely and indisputably right. There was not a single comment made which was not well-reasoned, even if the reasoning had little to do with what Eliezer was saying. They often reiterated what had been said so far, and it was always done eloquently. They worked each other's positions into their own. They dissected and analyzed.

One woman talked about the "Anything goes" mentality, and whether that kind of improvisation fits into the world's current position in musical history. One man talked about what studies of improvisation are being done at Juliard and London, and whether this adds anything to that. One woman repeatedly insisted that it should not be taken for granted that the topic up for discussion is Western music, that that is small-minded and ignorant. One man, excitedly bouncing around in his chair, talked about a novel he read where improvisation becomes a competition, where the goal is to be better than the other rather than to listen to him. One man asked what Eliezer thought they could do. And so on. The conversation bounced around the room, gaining momentum as it did. The overall tone was critical and negative, though they all had different reasons.

Eliezer asked for a volunteer in the audience to improvise with him.

The room went silent.

For a minute, all these great musical minds, all of whom are wonderful pianists, looked around at each other awkwardly, waiting for someone to get up. They smiled, amused at the situation. But they still didn't get up. They spoke only to make excuses.

Finally, the man who started the argument with his well-placed criticism got up. He walked down to the piano.

Before sitting down, he asked who starts. He insisted that the question of who starts is of vital significance, because that person sets the tone for the other. He argued with and considered Eliezer's suggestion that they start with single notes. Eliezer responded.

Finally, the man sat down. And they played.

It was a revelation.

They bounced musical ideas back and forth so effortlessly, you'd think they'd been doing it for years. And those ideas came from everywhere. They started with atonality, and moved on to jazz and classical and pentatonic scale. They moved from one to the other seamlessly, like it was all the same language to them. They never forgot where they'd been before, and they never hesitated to bring it all back at the most unlikely of times. They copied each other with perfect pitch, they finished each other's sentences even when the sentences were creative. These are people who've heard everything, who can't be surprised anymore. They played the sort of thing I'd love to hear again. And then they stopped, with each one trying to get the last word in.

Suddenly, everyone in the room was fascinated with what had just been played. They were analyzing it, and dissecting it, and admiring it from all angles. Truly, there was a lot for them to think about there. And they went back and forth on the merits of the piece that was played, but Eliezer had already won the original argument. Not with words which can be countered, but with music which inspires. The entire room was talking about what they'd heard. And as one person pointed out, something which evokes such strong responses has to be worth something.

As Eliezer drove me and Levi away, he said to us:
These are people of words. They talk. When it comes time to do, they have trouble. Who accomplishes more, the person who talks about things or the person who does?



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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Progress report:
Page 21 is complete.

Next work time: Wednesday 5:00



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Friday, June 20, 2008


The natural goal of life is to find many opportunities, and preserve them.



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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Progress report:
Instructions were not carried out perfectly:
The subject snacked, consulted and checked for updates.
The subject opened the development environment one minute late, and started the page several minutes late.
However, Page 20 is complete.
This is acceptable progress.

Next time of work:
Sunday (22/6)
At 4:00 all other activities will cease.
At 4:10 the development environment will be opened.
At 4:20 the new Page will be started.
Work will stop no sooner than 6:15, unless Page 21 is finished.



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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Now here's a good game!

Des Rêves Élastiques Avec Mille Insectes Nommés Georges by Deirdra Kiai. Don't worry, it's in English. And it's free. And it's very short. Go on, download it. What are you sitting around here for?

It's an adventure game, or at least an adventure game derivative. (It depends on how you define adventures.) I wish I saw a lot more stuff like this. It's a personal project, starring the gamist herself and a bunch of people she knows. It's got a similar aesthetic to a blog post, which may be why I find it appealing.

Something I find clever is that it intentionally gives you no control, then repeatedly calls your attention to that lack of control. It does this in order to get you to identify with the character. If only mainstream gamists were willing to be artistic like that! You could say (and indeed, it's said in the game) that this game is meandering and pointless, but I say it is straight to the point. Much more so than adventures which give puzzles and giant worlds and endless minigames. You don't play through an adventure for that. At least, I don't.

I always say that you learn about an adventure character by seeing your options. This goes very nicely with what I've been title="In Darkness">thinking lately in regards to self-image in the real world. There are only a few things you will consider doing in any given circumstances, and what those options are define who you are at the moment. So if an adventure game wants you to identify with its character, it just needs to limit your options to what the character would consider doing. Then you understand who the character is, without needing to be told.

I'm not sure if Kiai understands this principle. In an earlier game of hers (Chivalry is Not Dead), so many options were given that after the entire game was over I still had no sense whatsoever of who the main character was or why I should be interested in him.

And yet, in this game I identify with the character. That's because when the character is the writer, the writer's more likely to get it right without realizing it. When you write yourself, it doesn't take any thought or conscious effort to limit options to what you'd consider doing yourself. Kiai the gamist isn't going to give Kiai the character any lines of dialogue which feel wrong to her. The end result is exactly what is needed from fictional characters: the limited options given let you understand the character.

Anyway, go play the game. I've spent more time writing this than I did playing through the game twice.

Also, because it's specifically referred to in the aforementioned game: The Graveyard by Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn is an exquisitely-crafted title="The Garden and Droplets: Movement">movement game, also tiny, artistic and free.

Seriously, what are you sitting around here for?



Very intriguing, insightful comments. Thank you. This is all very helpful to me.

When you say "I'm not sure if Kiai understands this principle", I'm inclined to respond with "That may be so, but I'd like to think I'm learning as I go along". If that makes any sense at all. :)

I'm honored to have the creator of a very good game comment on my blog.

Totally not my style. Too artsy and self important. No choices in anything in the game. There is no effect of the player on the environment, and the player is superfluous.

I know that was the point, but I prefer to play games and not artistic statements.

You act like the two concepts are mutually exclusive! You wound me. Smilie's offended too. :(


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Monday, June 16, 2008

Progress report:
The subject began work 4.5 hours after schedule.
However, Page 19 is complete.
This progress will suffice.

Next work time:
Wednesday (18/6)
3:40 PM - 5:40 PM

No distractions or procrastinations
until after working.
These are defined as:
  • Entertainment/Art
  • Music
  • Long-distance communication
  • Reading of any materials
    not directly related to Smilie
  • Checking for updates on anything
    not directly related to Smilie
  • Consulting about anything
    not directly related to Smilie
  • Writing anything but Smilie
  • Considering other game designs
  • Snacks
  • Pacing while thinking about any topic other than Smilie
  • Thinking about refusal to work
    and what neurological disorders or social conditioning might cause such behavior
The BlitzMax development environment
must be opened
no later than 3:45.
The new Page must be started
no later than 4:00.



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Friday, June 13, 2008

An Endless Shabbat

(Note: This post was written before the progress reports.)

My mother placed a roll of toilet paper next to my computer. She does this when Shabbat is coming up. But it was Sunday! That's when I remembered about Shavuot.
"Wait- when's Yontif?"*
(The Yiddish word for a holiday effectively identical to Shabbat.)


"Tonight?! But I just made it through!"

"One day is better than two!"*
(Any Jew not living in Israel has two-day holidays. My mother takes every opportunity to point out how much better it is to move to Israel and keep only one day.)

"Sure! It's also better than three!"

"Ha ha"

"It's better than a year of Shabbat!"

"Wow, a year of Shabbat. We'd all be well-rested."

"We'd all be brain-dead. That, or we'll have committed suicide."

But would I?

What if tonight, a year of Shabbat began? No games, no music, no blog, no TV shows, no digital comics, no buying things, no forums, no programming, no job, no microwave. A clean slate, with nothing to put on it.

For the first month or two, I'd be terribly depressed. Obviously. Maybe suicidal, yes. A person whose every opportunity has been snatched away permanently is not a pretty sight. To be sure, the first month or two would be the worst time of my life.

But then I'd adapt. I'd have to. I imagine I'd spend most of all my days with Moshe. I could play all sorts of games with him. I've got books full of card games I've never played. And chess probably wouldn't get old, if we both had so much practice.

What on Earth would we talk about?!

I guess.. he'll read more history books, and I'll read science-fiction books. There are so many people on our street with so many books. I don't like reading. But if that's what's there, I could learn to like reading.

So, sure. We'd have what to talk about. Maybe we'd invent a fictional world to change things in, just in case that weren't enough.

And then I could travel around and meet other people. If they're all stuck in the same situation, then they're all wandering around to meet people too. Now, you have to understand: When there's nothing to look forward to, the pace of life changes. Getting one opportunity to talk in twenty minutes is almost enough in that situation. So I'd be more sociable with people I'm not compatible with. And if each person is a whole world, then I could get really interested in all this.

Then I'd go find my old friends. First Yosef, then start going back really far. Kids I hung out with in grade school. And they'd have all sorts of stories and gossip to share since Shabbat began, because they would have had time to adjust too.

Gossip would be a popular pastime, even by me. When the world isn't without borders anymore, and all you see is a bunch of people in front of you, those people become so much more important. I go onto specialized forums and I see a potential opportunity in every person there. Take that away, and I start caring about the people who are physically here.

I'd care about the cats on the street again, too.

I'd wander around a lot. I'd explore every nook and cranny of Beit Shemesh, boring town that it is, because what else could I explore?! I need to explore something.

Then I'd start building routines.

Maybe I'd start my day with a book, then lunch, then back to my book, then to Moshe, then to Yosef, then wander around a little looking for other people, then home for supper, then to Avri for strategy games, then home for sleep.

It could be fun.

And when that year was up, then what? Would I want to go back to what I was doing before? Would I be depressed when everyone I spent time with goes back to their routines, and I'd feel like I had nothing to do again? Would I wish for more Shabbat?

Interesting thoughts, to be sure. But that's not my world. That's not me. Shabbat sucks.



I'm more concerned with how we would go about attaining and preparing food.

Yeah, I wondered about that too. Then I decided it was totally irrelevant for the purposes of this post.


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Progress report:
Page 17 complete.
Page 18 complete.

Next time of work:
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

"Mory" must be working at 4:30 sharp.
He must not distract himself until 6:30.



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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Progress report:
Page 17 is not complete.
Checking progress: 0.
The subject is defective.
The subject must be denied more than posting privileges.
He may not play games.
He may not browse.
He may not communicate.
He may not play or listen to music.
He may not read comics.
He may not watch films.
He may not check mail.
He may not organize.
He may not plan.
He may not be happy.
These restrictions will be lifted only when Page 17 and Page 18 are complete.
There will be no further discussion.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Progress report:
Page 17 is (Please Wait) incomplete.
Recheck: Page 17 is incomplete.
Query: Why is Page 17 incomplete?

I dunno...
Response is insufficient.
Checking time of work:
Work on Page 17 began on Friday (6/6).
Clock signified "late afternoon".
Even if Page 17 were complete,
this would be inexcusably late.

Subject "Mory"!
Finish Page 17 by 2:00 Wednesday (11/6)!
(It is predicted that the
work will begin on Tuesday.)
Judgment will continue then.



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Saturday, June 07, 2008

In Darkness

What sort of reward could you possibly be expecting?

I wish I knew how people thought about what I'm saying…
Wow, he's saying so many
different kinds of things here!
This is clever and refreshing
and it never falls into predictable patterns!
I predict the next thing he says
will be whiny and self-indulgent
and immature and irritating,
just like everything else he's said.
See, that wasn't so hard.

Some of this is good.
But very little.
He's hopping around so much he never figured out which.
It's all good!
Drink your coffee.

It's not just about reward. You don't do things only to get somewhere, you also do things just because they're there to be done.

So you have a dilemma. On the one hand, there's an action in front of you. You have no idea what it's going to do, but there it is waiting to be taken. On the other hand, inaction is an action in itself, because it's an opportunity to step above the system and in so doing demonstrate your own intelligence. Suddenly all the infinite possibilities theoretically open to you have reduced themselves to two, just because I'm sticking a button here.


You never see yourself making the action, you only see how people react. This feedback is imprecise, because those people don't see the actions they're making either. They aren't considering their responses carefully, they're just saying what it occurs to them to say. And they don't say it because they want something, they're just saying it because it's there to be said. This is not an objective analysis, it's reading from a script.



You want me to tell you?Yeah, it's.. um, it's very good.Right, you know what's wrong with it? Let me think what's wrong..
It's too long! Yeah, I think it's too long.

Once you have that feedback, you've gained perspective on your own action. And only from this do you get a sense of where and what you are.

The Older Pianist
I'm better than I ever was
And I still don't understand anything!

But then- who does?
Imagined Opportunities
Everyone needs opportunities to offer something to others, be that a joke or a service or an experience. We understand this, you and I. And when you never get an opening, you get pretty desparate. When no one wanted to listen to your music in the Academy, you went and played in recesses anyway, pretending you would have whether or not your classmates were there. But really you'd reached the point where you thought you'd make openings for yourself where none existed.
Purveyor of Silliness
It was not long at all before Ariel realized there was a much greater opportunity here. If this little box could make him so happy, then surely it would make other people happy as well! So he set out to find other people.
Selfish Friendships
I love to bore other people with ideas about gamism. When I think about it, this seems to contradict the first point. I mean, I know I'm not entertaining them. And I don't care too much. Maybe we so desparately need to feel like we're giving others all we can, that the question of how it will be received is secondary.
Self-images aren't delicate so much as flexible. Who you think you are is contingent on what you think you can do.

"I can show him entertainment, so I'm an entertainer."
"I can bring up examples in this argument, so I'm intelligent."
"I can listen, so I'm a friend."
"I can be efficient, so I'm a good worker."
"I can voluntarily help other people, so I'm a good person."

In this way, you're always constructing a mental image of yourself based on the actions available to you and what you think they'll do. But your perceived options change from moment to moment!

Self-esteem can undergo a complete reversal in the time it takes to walk from a room where you have opportunities to a room where you don't. Identity undergoes a complete reversal every time you switch activities. Who you are, beyond a body and a brain, has no meaning separate from your immediate context.

So I sometimes imagine what it would be like to start a different life. If you lay out my options clearly, in a way that I can accept and follow, I don't think it'll ever occur to me that I'm "supposed" to be someone else. I know it can work, because I can practically feel my brain rewiring itself to find new opportunities every time I go someplace new.

At first it's just a sequence of events, where I observe the world around me and demonstrate intelligence by not presuming to know what I'm doing. -------
Hey, there's something I can do!
No, Mory. Don't make a fool of yourself.

Pretend you didn't think of anything.
Then I start to figure out the rules of the game and predict what'll happen. That's when I start building routines. Then I follow those routines and continually improve them, until I feel like the routine is an important part of myself. (That feeling lasts until I leave the room, and then it disappears entirely without notice.)

And then my self-esteem's through the roof! Because whether or not there's anyone actually there, I always perceive the theoretical opportunity to show other people how efficient my routine-following is. If someone comes along who isn't interested, I imagine someone who is interested and put the button back on the screen.

We like to think we're so self-aware, great humans that we are. Human self-awareness is a joke. It's all a result of the random and temporary way you frame the world through perceived opportunities.

You can try to understand yourself by looking at the past. If you can observe with distance, it's not just a reaction to involuntarily simplistic "framing". You can feel like you've escaped the system, thus demonstrating your own intelligence. But this is an illusion. All you're actually doing is framing the world differently: Do I look for an excuse for everything I've done, or do I "step above the system" and look for a reason to dislike myself?

You'd think that with our supposedly superior brains, we could do better than that. You'd think we could deduce what we're like through cold reasoning and an objective sense of perspective. But reasoning is never cold and a sense of perspective is never objective. We don't see the world. We see a list of buttons.

If you have a lot of buttons to push, you're happy and see where you are. If you don't have a lot of buttons to push, you're unhappy and lost. The world is a series of buttons. That's pretty much all there is to life.

Better hope they're good ones!



A good conversation has both sides thinking they know what to say next. That's the entire point of having a conversation. And the point of having friends is so that you have the perceived opportunity to get into situations like that. If there's someone I don't think I'll be able to do anything with, I don't care one bit about that person. (People who care about anyone are people with more diverse interests than myself, who would therefore see opportunity with everyone.) But tell me that I can give that person comics, or games, or even just talk with them, and suddenly they're important in my little worldview.

That's a pretty fair opinion. I work pretty much the same way. When I'm going to be meeting new people my first question is always, "Do they play games?"

Maybe it's really selfish/self-centric of me, but I don't put forth any effort into meeting/maintaing relationships that I'm not getting anything out of. I'm not altruistic. I'm friends with people b/c I like being with them; because they have something to offer the relationship.

I apologize if this post is ramblingly incoherent. I can't quite tell if I got my point across.

If we're effectively blind (and I'm saying we are), then we're not even certain of the most basic opportunities. This is why we need a reaction. Not necessarily a positive one, but just a reaction. We're not taking opportunities to get that reaction, we're taking opportunities because that's what we do. But without a reaction, we begin to doubt that the opportunity existed to begin with! Getting feedback from our actions comforts us. It lets us know that even though we can't really see the opportunity, yes, it is there.

Oh, by the way: I edited the post. It makes a little more sense now.


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