Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Preparing for the Inevitable

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately; not in a morbid sense but from a realist’s perspective.  As my worldview has changed, I have realized that this really is my one and only shot at whatever it is I want to do here.  With that came the weightloss, the focus on self-improvement etc.  But now, recently, I realized that death is really only a chance occurrence away and I should both accept it, and plan for it.  This includes deciding how the hell I want to plan for it.  Some ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Create a repository for all of my usernames/passwords so people can use my things after I’m gone and also so I can be posthumously honest with everyone about who I really am/was.
  • Create a time capsule of some sort and after much intense thought and deliberation of what to put in there, store it somewhere it will last an amount of time that I decide on
  • Create a script somewhere or register with some service to send a message in the event of my death.

In addition to all of these, I realistically need to write a living will, simply because having one helps direct the law in a way you want as to how to deal with your passing.  I’ve given a lot of thought to all of these, but one nagging thought I have is that really, no one will care to look through everything I own (except to clean it out/sell it), the intended recipients of the time capsule may never see it or it may send a message that I later decide isn’t what I wanted to say (esprit d’escalier anyone?).   And the same applies to the message but in addition, I would need to find a service that I can trust (hopefully free/cheap) to send the message for me.

As it is, I don’t have many readers (that I know of; no one comments on my posts) and while I know that many people consider me an important part of their lives, I really don’t think that I have anything novel or interesting to say after I’m dead; if it was really that interesting, I’m the kind of person to share it as soon as I think of it instead of hoarding it.  With that said, while I’m thinking about it here’s basically the things I’d want people to read if I were to die suddenly.  Keep in mind, this is all off the cuff so I hope that one of the ideas above would end up more powerful or at least more interesting.

Dear everyone,

Hello and goodbye.  If you’re reading this, I’m both dead and I never got around to making a more permanent statement other than a blog post.  But that’s okay; and it’s okay that I’m gone too.  Throughout all of my experience, I’ve approached life as a puzzle and I’ve come up with some interesting viewpoints as a result; one is that life in all its fragility and wonder is the answer to the question of reversing entropy but, at the same time, it’s entropy itself.  Life is wonderful because only life itself can appreciate the wonder.  The fact that the universe doesn’t care about life in the least shouldn’t make you sad; it should make you happy because it means that every action another living being has made to make your life better means they have gone against the natural order of things just for you; this is how I tried to live my life and is what I hope the world learns.  We have made amazing strides but we are fighting an internal battle.  So help your fellow life-creatures in their battle, because it shows that you do not accept the status quo of an uncaring universe.  I don’t know when I’ll go, but when I do I know that whatever I end up leaving as a testament to my own existence will only be appreciated by the living, and only for a short time, if ever at all.  And this is the way it should be; I am but a living creature and after I’m dead I will have nothing left to offer the living.  But I have learned how to live my life as contentedly as possible, and I am glad for that.  I also hope that before I die, I can learn even greater, more monumental things, and then I can teach those things to my fellow humans.  Because that’s what I’ve chosen to do.

With love to you all,

Tyler Hawkins

Update 2020/09/9: I have reviewed this post and have made no changes.

Here I go on another philosophical tangent

So I’ve been thinking about 9/11 recently, and I think it’s important, really, to “Never forget 9/11”. Just like Pearl Harbor, racial segregation and the Boston tea party, it’s a historical event that can teach us a good deal about increasing the longevity of our country and even our own. I must pause here and say I didn’t want to write country, because I feel patriotism is a queer act that should never be taken seriously, nor disregarded. I feel one should be patriotic for the human race (suck it Neanderthals), but not for a patch of land on a turd of iron. With that said, consider this train un-derailed.

So the lessons 9/11 can teach us are some of the same lessons that Pearl Harbor, racial segregation and the Boston tea party can as well. *Didn’t think I’d tie them together? I got this, just watch. First, why did 9/11 happen? It wasn’t because Osama Bin Laden hated our freedom. It was because of our foreign policy (no, really). While it’s not totally relevant, “The motivations identified for the attacks include the support of Israel by the United States, presence of the U.S. military in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. enforcement of sanctions against Iraq.” What this boils down to is we were seen as oppressing freedom in the middle east. In other words, people’s rights were viewed as being infringed by the Al-Qaeda. Now, getting into the specifics like why we support Israel, why we have military in Saudi Arabia and why Iraq was sanctioned aren’t quite relevant, but through the link earlier, you can learn these things for yourself.

Now we have the motivation; how did it happen? Simply put, terrorists hijacked 4 planes and used them as missiles filled with people for destruction. How was a thing like this possible? Not only simply through a lapse in security, but the fact that securing a nation against all threats, including ones of this magnitude, is simply not possible 100% of the time. What can we do to prevent or mitigate this kind of risk? I’ll get to that at the end. What did we do? Create the Department of Homeland Security, a government entity that had a budget of nearly a hundred billion dollars last year. I say “we” because the people only had a say of who was in charge at the time, not what they did, so “we” is really congress, the senate, and the president.

Before I go further, I’d like to briefly discuss the other mentioned historical events, namely their cause and result.

The Attack on Pearl Harbor
Cause – Culmination of Japanese invasions and expansions of power, including the invasion of Manchuria. The Japanese wished to disable or cripple U.S.’s naval presense so as to allow for continued expansion.
Effect – The U.S. became involved in World War II, and the internment of thousands of Japanese-American citizens.
Racial Segregation
Cause – Financial motivations, bunk science and ingrown racism. If you read no other links, read this one.
Effect – Blacks in the U.S. not only were disenfranchised, but were legally subdued in their rights as citizens of the U.S.
Boston Tea Party
Cause – Actions by the British government that expanded control and dependence of the colonies on the British government
Effect – Increasing sanctions by the British government and the eventual start of the American Revolutionary War.

In each example, the cause has a common theme; that is the oppression of a people’s right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.
In each example, the act has a common theme; that is, the reaction of the people against those who do he oppressing.
In each example, the end result has a common theme; that is, the overreaction of those in charge to maintain order and power over people.

Now, some of that is a bit of a stretch admittedly, however each could be supported by historical events. What each of these events are are opportunities to learn about how to prevent similar events and peer inside humanity itself to better understand how to improve ourselves. From these examples, we can hypothesize a few things:

Those in power, wish to stay in power.
It is very easy for those in power to abuse their power
After the oppressed revolt, those in power tend to exert their power to an even greater degree.
This is either countered with all out aggression or those in power succeed in retaining their power

The things we can learn from all of this is that first, it’s important to recognize oppression and speak out against it wherever it occurs. Second, when an entity gains too much power it becomes inherently dangerous and thus must either be divided or resisted against. Lastly, from all of these events we learn that wherever there is injustice there will always be those, however few they may be, who speak out against it. And even while their voices may not reach us through the looking glass that is history, their words and actions still mattered, and they acted as a people who recognize that freedom and liberty are of paramount importance. And this is our lesson, today, that it is our duty as citizens of the world, as humans on our rock, that we work to guarantee life, liberty, freedom and equality to all people.

So don’t forget 9/11, because we’re not done being affected by it yet.

On Knowledge and Behavior

So, I’m going to wax philosophical for a bit here and talk about knowledge as it pertains to behavior and life experience. I’ve found that some of the best behavioral changes in my life have come from things I’ve known my whole life, such as moderation in food portions and how to respond to and participate in social situations. Even though these things were in my head and I could recall them at any time, I didn’t change my behavior or even try to after a long time during which they just sat idly, reminding me that I was doing things wrong.

What I try to do however is learn and continually improve myself, so I’ve kind of set out to learn the process of learning and how it pertains to self-modifying behavior and to understand what inhibits it so I can make better progress quicker with behavioral modification.

It’s difficult to explain but it seems there is two kinds of knowledge, external and internal knowledge, that is knowledge that originates from external sources and knowledge that originates internally. These names are kind of misnomers, because you can recall both kinds of knowledge without external assistance, however internal knowledge is things like tying your shoes or what to say when someone greets you while external knowledge is another person’s age or how many million miles the Earth is from the sun. Again, it’s difficult to explain. Internal knowledge is easier to recall but more difficult to update, and in general it can pertain more to one’s behaviors whereas external knowledge is usually things like statistics and facts.

What I have found is even though you have received external knowledge relating to behaviors you wish to modify (such as eating smaller portion sizes or things such as performing hourly reality checks), it is very difficult to modify the behavior, even with good focus, concentration and willpower. One way to successfully accomplish behavioral modification using external knowledge is to constantly focus on the behavior you wish to modify until it becomes second nature, making sure to keep it on the forefront of your mind at all times. Many times, this is what happens to musicians as they may learn a song incorrectly so in order to re-learn the song correctly, they must practice it constantly until the new song is part of internal knowledge.

This approach only works in specific instances because we are not processors and we won’t always remember during our “interrupt times” to check the list of things that need to be checked.
Another way to internalize external information is to consider the new information as deeply as you can, perform self or group arguments against the proposed changes and gradually fade out the old methods. This is one I try to employ but even though it appears more effective than just forcing yourself to always pay attention to behaviors you wish to change, this technique is greatly flawed because sometimes you will arrive at a conclusion but you’ll be unable to internalize it and modify your behavior for a number of difficult reasons; such as the old behavior was easier or the new behavior makes you uncomfortable.

The final method is to internalize the information through experience. This is something I feel most people have issues with because constantly older people will warn younger people about their unhealthy habits or give advice to young couples that the couples can’t follow because they haven’t learned from experience. I feel experience is the major source of internal knowledge, because some things you have to “learn the hard way”.

What I want to do is change that and learn the easy way. One technique I hope to try is to analyze the differences between the behaviors and create small steps that will help bridge the gap but are easier to implement. For example, if I wanted to start working out daily, I would come up with a large number of small changes such as stretching when I remember, then stretching every day, then doing a little more rigorous physical exercise when I feel like it, then exercise on the weekends, then maybe I’d be able to make the jump to daily exercise. It would be more steps than that but hopefully you get my drift. One other large stepping stone in the way is just deciding what you want to do, and if you want to actually make that permanent change.

For example, at my heaviest I rationalized it that I enjoyed food more than I would enjoy being a healthy body weight, so that prevented me from losing weight until that rationale was overthrown.

In conclusion (and I hope to have the time to edit this so it’s more coherent), I think that behavioral modification is easiest when it’s planned out and there’s true initiative behind it. Maybe in a future edit or a future post I’ll talk about the inclusion of external factors such as android apps and other people, but as it is this post is longer than I’d want.

Weightloss Statistics!

So I’m a huge sucker for statistics.  Having a final number that relates to a bunch of different numbers is just awesome.  The best part about it is it’s applicable to anything. See below:

This is a graph of my weight with a line that shows the trend.  The cool thing about this is it shows that while I started out not so hot in the beginning, I’m doing a lot more awesomely now.

This, is awesome.  The power of data and statistics.  This is the change per day, as measured the next day, of my weight.  It tells me a whole lot of information, such as my worst weight gain days are Saturday and my best weightloss days are Friday.  I can directly infer from this that if I can keep to my caloric limit more closely on Saturday and Wednesday, I’ll help to eliminate (on average) my weight gain back.  The coolest thing is this graph is very similar considering all the data and if I remove the first part of my weightloss where I floundered a bit (see previous graph).

Just some really interesting thoughts.

 

It’s been a while…

 

It’s been a while since my last post, but not much has changed.

My weight loss is kind of plateauing. See below:

I started a Counter Strike server – IP 23.21.255.135.  We scrim and surf on it, but not very often.  I want to figure out a better use for it that just Counter Strike but so far, I haven’t gotten anything.

 

Not much else going on worth noting.

What the Hell is Going On?

What the actual fuck?

So, the Senate rejected an amendment to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that would’ve prohibited the Government’s powers to detain, arrest and even assassinate American citizens.  The only reputable source for this news that I’ve found comes from the ACLU.

Two issues I have with this.  First, how the hell did this even pass in the first place?  A rhetorical question, because what lets these bills pass is the fact that they’re added on to something unrelated and is worded in a way that’s not immediately evident what they’re trying to do.  I think the model we use for Government is outdated.

So how do we fix this shit?

I think it would behoove us to switch to an open-source Government.  I couldn’t plan it down all the way to implementation, but the gist of this idea is that all of our laws are posted on a GitHub-like site.  And where each module or subroutine would normally go, we have a law regarding one specific idea.  For example, if you wanted to see what the gun laws are for your state, you go to the main site, then State -> Virginia -> Firearms -> Ownership and then you could also check the box to include federal and municipality laws in it’s search.  Then, right there, you can see all the laws pertaining to firearm ownership that would affect you.

And when we want to introduce a law, there would be a seaparate part of the site dedicated to it that would work like a wiki.  There are moderators of course, and those positions could replace the Senate and Congress, but the content of the law is submitted by the people.  A necessary add-on is that you can vote for amendments and re-wordings, and the moderators have the same power to vote as the people; their job is mostly to keep things organized, easy-to-read and civil.

Then, when it comes down to executing the law, all you have to do is train law enforcement on the most recent version of the law and issue changelogs every now and then. No more Senate, no more Congress.  The “little” people are now 2/3 of the Government’s power.  Sound good?

My plan has issues, I know.

For instance, you’d need a federal ID program that could authenticate people in order to be able to vote and have fair votes.  Plus you’d need funding to implement this, which is of course no small undertaking.  Additionally, everyone needs access to this, regardless of if they have a computer or transportation.  Finally, we would have to import the old laws or start from scratch, which in my opinion it would be easier to start from scratch.

One other thing to consider is what happens when this infrastructure fails, or when we need immediate changes to laws, like in times of war.  I don’t have an answer for these issues.

Remember my plan in the coming months/years, because I think we’re going to see an upheaval.

Stagnation

I’m stagnating.  That’s the best word to describe it.  I took a vacation, did nothing, and hated myself for it.  I haven’t made a post here in a month, but I did start a draft regarding consumerism then immediately delete it.  All I do is eat, sleep, work, reddit and dungeon defenders and skyrim.  The only notable thing I did this weekend was go to the shooting range.  I looked up places to volunteer, but it’s actually pretty slim pickings, and nothing I could find in my city online.  A few church things, but I don’t think I’m helping the “community” by going to your church and helping you pass out pamphlets about your imaginary friends.  I want to meet people, but I’m too self-conscious to be in social situations.  I should make a schedule and stick to it.  Maybe scheduling every minute of my life would be better than leaving everything unscheduled and just procrastinating in all that time.

Moving Update

So, I moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Greenbrier on Saturday and so far, I love it. I sleep better here for some reason and wake up easier, though that may just be a result of my aches and soreness from moving subsiding a little bit. It gets super cold at night, which worries me a little bit even though I like the cold – namely I don’t have proof my thermostat/AC/heat works. I shall conduct some tests. In any case, internet is forthcoming (and at increased rates compared to my old residence – 25/25 ain’t bad!). I’ll make an actual “Things of Interest” post sometime this week, hopefully tomorrow.

Thoughts on Writing

The written word is a metaphor for humanity.

It persists where letters fade, humanity persists where people age and pass away. It is our center, the core of our being. Without it, we would die. Without our humanity, we might as well should be dead.  Only using it can we achieve the impossible and only by accepting our humanity can we surpass it.

Writing is a conglomerate of every feeling we have.

Writing is love.  Writing is thinking, feeling, expressing.  Writing is hoping.  Writing is speaking.  Writing is reminiscing.  Whatever we write, we are simply living our lives in a new form.  When we write, we put into words our essence, our being, what’s on our mind and we pour a little of ourselves into the text.

If you want to learn, write.  If you want to teach, write.

If you want to live, write.  If you want to die, write.  Writing is the ultimate tool which no other can surpass.  Writing is for everyone just like loving, pursuing happiness, and contemplating life is.

Write what you want, and live how you wish because in the end, your book is the only thing you truly own.

All About Us

This post might offend some.  Please remember that there are better reasons to be offended, and also contemplate why you’re offended in the first place.

The Human Condition

Humanity is interesting mostly because it’s about us, as egotistical as it may seem. We (as Homo Sapiens) have been here for about 200,000 years and have documented the last five to seven thousand of it.  Everyone you ever knew and possibly ever will know was born on Earth. Some people have owned large parts of the Earth, but never for very long.  Great philosophers, murderers, peasants and royalty have had the same beginnings in a womb and all died after a century, more or less.  The culmination of all humanity’s efforts started and ended on the earth, with the exception certain space probes and assorted robotics, plus the radio bubble 50 lightyears wide and expanding consisting of terrestrial broadcasts.  Most people want to be social, productive, happy and provided for but there’s always exceptions to the rule.  Humans spend a lot of time and effort on distractions, whether it’s TV, Internet, hobbies, gossip or the box checked “other”.  Humans don’t like to think unfamiliar, new thoughts.  Humans like to judge, and to decide.  They like to live their own life, as indefinable as that may be.

 

On Religion

Religion is a purely human concept, as far as we know.  It consists of answers looking for questions.  It’s not known where the tendency for religion originates, either from our genetics or from social pressures.  There have been countless religions with widely varying parameters mostly dictating what’s allowed in one’s life and most try to answer the question of where everything came from. Many people use religion as a crutch, others as a weapon. Humans are the only creature known to practice religion.

 

On Human Emotion

The interesting thing about emotion is that other creatures seem to exhibit emotions as well, which begs the question of if humans experience more emotions or if humans simply don’t understand all of the emotions for every creature. Emotions probably evolved in creatures in order to condition them for better group or individual survival. For example, an offspring that has both a father and mother stands a better chance of survival than an offspring that does not have either or both due to love or affection being absent. Anger also prevents other creatures from performing detrimental acts, as fear of retribution due to anger overcomes the urge to better one’s position at another’s expense.

More possibly to come…

Return top

Disclaimer

I make no guarantees or warranty of any kind as to the accuracy or usefulness of any information posted here. In addition, all opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of any other individual/entity, including but not limited to my employer, family or friends.