Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts’ Tag

Questions for Atheists? Answers for Everyone!   7 comments

I saw these questions on Godless Cranium, and decided I would give answering them a shot. Here are links to some other bloggers who have done the same.

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1.) How would you define atheism?

Atheism is lack of a belief in god or gods. It is not necessarily the positive assertion that there is no god. That would be strong atheism, which some people do believe. But the majority of atheists I know are agnostic atheists like me, because we choose not to make solid knowledge claims.

 

2.) Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?

I act according to what I believe. One of those things is that I don’t believe a god exists. However, that is only one of many things I believe, and in fact doesn’t affect my actions very much at all. My view on humanity, justice and mercy, right and wrong, etc., are what actually matter.

I also think this question is just semantics, because I fit both categories. I believe there most likely is no God, there for I lack belief in God. Or I lack a belief in God, and thusly do not believe in Him.

 

3.) Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist?

Not necessarily, it depends on their reasons for attempting to do so.

If one is doing it to defend their position while in a debate with a theist, well that’s the whole point isn’t it?

When someone doesn’t want people to legislate their religious beliefs onto them (sharia law, no gay marriage, no abortions,), trying to convince them the premise of their moral system is questionable isn’t inconsistent, although in those cases I would argue they should tackle it a different way.

If someone notices people are making decisions based on false premises, not living their lives to the fullest, or making questionable and harmful choices do to the thought of God being real, trying to show them they don’t need to make those bad choices, could be seen as helping them. However, I would encourage other atheists not to evangelize, since that is just being as bad as the other people who do.

Doing it because you secretly hate god and just want to give him the big middle finger? Well that would be inconsistent. Luckily, that is only a straw man, fake atheist that people love to pretend all atheists are. 🙂

 

4.) How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?

I am as sure as I can be. We have a good picture of what we do know and a system to help us figure out new things. It is a self-correcting system , so old outdated beliefs get removed in place of new discoveries.

Now, I can’t know that it properly represents reality. We could all be programs in a MMORPG; poor suffering NPC’s that are just there for the real heroes’ enjoyment.

But what I won’t do is pretend to know that and convince others it’s true, (As much as I love Star Ocean.) There is no evidence to back up such a belief, and it would be a poor representation of reality without any.

What I do know is that atheism is much closer to representing reality than any literalist interpretation of the Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, or any other holy book.

 

5.) How sure are you that your atheism is correct?

Similar to above, I’m as sure as I can be. But, as above, I’m sure it is more accurate than religious claims, due to having the most, and best, evidence.

 

6.) How would you define what truth is?

I would argue there is no such thing as an absolute truth. Things we thought true hundreds of years ago are now seen as fantasy, and 200 years from now will probably be no different.

If we say truth is something that corresponds with reality, then we would learn the most reliable truths from testing, observation and evidence. This is also known as the scientific method.

 

7.) Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?

Because it makes no claims, it doesn’t make me accept things on faith alone, and it doesn’t involve me trying to defend an untenable position. I can believe things based on the evidence for them. Until someone can bring forth good evidence for a deity, this is the best position to hold.

 

8.) Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?

I am neither. I do not identify with either of your made up definitions. I would be a naturalist.

I would also like to state that I find the word supernatural as meaningless. To quote rationalwiki:

Supernatural as a meaningless word: Others believe that the word “supernatural” carries no meaning. For something to be “beyond nature” it would have to have no interaction with nature — and thus any events in that realm would be beyond our perception or meaningful knowledge. However, that does not exclude the possibility that events described as miracles — which occur in the natural world, despite being unusual occurrences — are possible. The key question with “supernatural” events, therefore, is not whether they are supernatural, but rather whether they occur. If they occur, they are not “supernatural,” but rather “unexplained.” If they do not occur, they are not “supernatural,” but rather “fictional.”

So on second thought, I guess I would be a physicalist by your definition. But if you showed evidence for a god, I could still be one, while being a theist. So your definition is flawed.

 

9.) Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not?

I deny atheism is a world view. Atheism is a stance on one question: do you believe in a god or gods? A single question does not constitute a worldview. Just makes up a part of it.

For example, someone could be an atheist, a nihilist, and a solipsist. Someone else could be an atheist who believes in crystal healing, auras, and other new age pseudoscience. They could also be like me, an atheist humanist naturalist.

If your religious beliefs alone denote your whole worldview, you have serious problems, and should reevaluate your worldview into something more meaningful.

 

10. ) Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?

Mostly due to the amount of influence Christianity influences their lives. Maybe they want to have premarital sex. Maybe they want to marry someone of the same-sex. Maybe they don’t want to do anything like that, but they feel people should have the freedom to do so if their beliefs allow it.

Many are also angry.

No, not at god, that would make them angry theists. They are mad at the manipulation, at the lies, at themselves for falling for it all. They are angry that they were kept in the dark for so long. So they try to help people escape the lives they used to live. They are trying to help, but admittedly, their delivery may be harsh at times.

I tend not to be too antagonistic until a religion tries to limit my freedoms. If you have something you don’t want me to be able to do, your argument should be better than, “Because my God says so!” Good for you. But he is not my god, not even if you angrily and repeatedly proclaim he is.

Aside from that though, I’m friendly to Christianity (just ask my friends), I just do not agree with it.

 

11.) If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?

Never was a believer. I’ve only recently identified as full blow atheist, and went by agnostic before then. So I was never convinced he existed in the first place, and have only gotten more and more convinced that he doesn’t.

 

12.) Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?

Yes, but only because religion teaches you not to question it. Without questions, you cannot learn and grow. But I do also believe people would try to organize around something else, and get just as dogmatic about that.

So realistically things would probably be just ask bad, but in different ways.

 

13.) Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?

Depends on which sects of Christianity we are talking about.

But with it as a whole gone? Probably the same, just screwed up in different ways.

The more fundamentalist, science, evolution and homosexual hating ones, like the Westboro Baptist Church?

That would be a definite gain.

 

14.) Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?

Although I may say that belief is mistaken or irrational at times, I would never say it was a mental disorder. I think the atheists who say so are being dicks. They aren’t helping anything and only give us a bad name. No need to be insulting to get your point across, especially if you were once in the same position as them.

 

15.) Must God be known through the scientific method?

Yes, if you wanted to convince atheists of his existence.

If you alone want to have faith in him, though I may think you are misguided, who am I to stop you?

 

16.) If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?

Since I do not believe in the supernatural (see above,) I do believe that in order for God to exist, there would have to be a way that we could see, test, and verify his influence in the natural world. But God himself does not have to be material to prove this.

In fact, I can show something else that falls into that category: gravity. We can’t see gravity, it is not material in the sense we can pick it up, dissect it, or put in on display. But as a force, we can see its effect on the material world extremely simply. We drop an object and it falls down.

The evidence wouldn’t even need to be that simple. But since people claim that the immaterial god affects our material existence, it would leave traces around for us to see and verify.

The reason god isn’t scientific, is because no one can prove god has a measurable effect on the world.

 

17.) Do we have any purpose as human beings?

Yes.

 

18.) If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?

We decide our purpose. Everyone does.

My purpose is to help people attain happiness, and leave this world a better place than I left it.

What about yours?

 

19.) Where does morality come from?

It comes from society, upbringing, human empathy and logic, and other factors.

 

20.) Are there moral absolutes?

I’m on the side of yes. However, this is a very complex subject, and I can see validity in either side’s arguments.

I will say that even though a moral absolute could exist, I don’t believe it would need to be divinely granted to us.

 

21.) If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?

Really only one would be broad enough to qualify: the golden rule.

Now, before I’m jumped on for it, it is not exclusive to Christianity.

It is a part of Buddhism, Existentialism, Taoism, Wicca, etc. and is key part of human empathy. We know what it is like to be hurt, and therefore we know to try not to hurt others, less they hurt us. We like to receive pleasure, and therefore give pleasure so we will receive it.

I will probably write a post about universal versus relative morality in the future, so I won’t explain further here.

But I will state that the ten commandments are an EXTREMELY POOR set of morals, and would most definitely not be any example of a moral absolute.

 

22.) Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?

Yes, although it depends on how you define evil. If we go by the definition of something that is harmful or bad, then it definitely exists. Just take the golden rule and invert it. Do to other what you wouldn’t want done, and there you go.

But I don’t believe there is a cosmic force of evil, just humans acting out of self-interest and selfish gain, although that is over simplifying evil. It’s complicated; too complicated to answer here.

 

23.) If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?

By my morals above, both relative and objective ones. He definitely fails via the golden rule, although it’s hard to hold an omnipotent deity to human morals.

But he also contradicts himself. Example: Thou shalt not kill.

I can’t really find anyone who can defend God’s morals well. They just excuse his bad behavior as His plan, which we could never fathom and understand.

That is not a satisfying answer to me, and I can’t understand why anyone else would be satisfied with it either.

 

24.) What would it take for you to believe in God?

Only God knows. 😉

But seriously, even I don’t know what would be enough. Something that passes rigorous testing and verification via the scientific method would do.

In reality, I just wanted to use the picture. :)

For proper method, see the left side. For improper method, see right.

But if God does exist, he’d know what it would take, so he should do it already to cut the doubt out.

You know, if he exists. 😛

 

25.) What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?

See above.

 

26.) Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?

Definitely rational, archaeological maybe (I just can’t imagine what that would be), testable yes, and falsifiable. Also see above

 

27.) Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why?

Neither would be safer. I think this question is trying to play with the whole “atheists are moral-less heathens and therefore atheist society would have no morals” thing.

But would one be fairer/better?

Depends on who is in charge, and their world view. Which, as I stated above, religion is just a small part.

 

28.) Do you believe in free will? (Free will being the ability to make choices without coercion).

See this post. My beliefs are still the same.

 

29.) If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?

Actually, I also have a post about that. Free will could technically still exist, just in a much more limited capacity. Read that post for more on that.

As far as defending the idea, I’m not sure I could. But I still don’t see that fact as evidence of a soul, god, etc.

Free will could just be an illusion or it could exist. Neither of those choices necessitates a god.

 

30.) If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not?

Wow, this question is… interesting, to say the least.

Firstly, I don’t see why the universe expanding has anything to do with evolution.

Secondly, evolution wouldn’t necessarily work that way, and we don’t have any example of a creature with its brain not physically there. Well, except maybe politicians. But, we will assume it could be possible for the sake of argument, and only for the sake of argument.

So, if evolution and biology worked that way, could it possible? With those assumptions and the fact it is impossible to prove a negative, I guess so.

But probable?

Hell no! We have to make the assumptions to even make it possible. We would also have to learn a whole lot more on how the brain, consciousness, the universe, time space, and everything else works. All that knowledge would have to coincide with your hypothesis, which what we already know right now does not.

I only state it is possible because I can’t say it is impossible at the current time.

 

31.) If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?

Ok so I said possible, and in fact highly improbable, but I’ll bite.

By saying yes, I would be admitting there could be, potentially, a deity-like being in (or I guess out) of the universe. But there are a lot of steps between that supposed being and the Judeo-Christian god of the bible.

Plus, what about the other billions of humans? Wouldn’t they have also evolved? Wouldn’t there be billions of deities, not just one? Did they have some massive war, and only the Christian God remained?

If anything, if your premise were true it would prove god like beings, but completely disprove Christianity. God wouldn’t be worth worship, or have a divine plan for us. At best, we’d just be his common ancestor like apes are to us. At worse, we would be some messed up experiment by a divine force playing with us. There would be very little reason to assume he was loving and only looked out for our best interests, aside from hoping that he does.

Not to mention that some Christians would call that idea blasphemy, due to saying humanity could become as omnipotent and omniscient as God. Others would call you LDS.

Those are only some of the problems with your argument. There are many more. It seems like who ever wrote it didn’t have a very good understanding of science, but also loved reading science fiction novels.

This is one of the worst arguments for a god I have ever seen. Seriously. A horrible way to end a list of questions that were decently thought out.

——

 

Well that was fun, and a good way to combat the writer’s block plaguing me.

What are you’re thoughts on this? Leave a comment below, and thanks for reading.

-Shaman

 

 

A Post About My Life   Leave a comment

So, I was going to write a blog post yesterday. It was going to be a good length, deep look at how I feel about religion. I’m trying to not to make this blog a religion/ atheism blog, but it is what is on my mind, so it will probably be posted at some point.

I had the whole day off yesterday, and sat down to write it in the morning. Since you are not reading a post about religion right now, what do you think I did instead?

I ended up modding my Nerf guns, and even giving one a cool (albeit poorly) done paint job.

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I know its a children’s toy, but come on, that looks bad-ass.

I think it looks like something out of Mass Effect, and it shoots farther and harder now.

It took me all day, in between watching episodes of Archer.

So why couldn’t I feel the urge to write? Aren’t I supposed to like writing? Like blogging?

Shouldn’t I be trying to make my deadlines?

The answer is yes, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. This blog was started as a way to help me be a happier, healthier person. As a way to put my thoughts out in the world.

It was not designed to be a way for me to hate myself for missing deadlines.

So, with that in mind, my post I was going to do yesterday will come out Saturday, and the rest of this post will just update you all on my life.

So here we go:

Firstly, the biggest news is that I am currently trying to get into shape. I’m not doing any fancy diet or exercise plan, I am just cutting down on the enormous amount of calories that I have been eating to stay the weight I am. When I started I was 325 pounds at 6’2″ height.

In just the two and a half weeks I have been at this, I have lost 9 pounds!

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I’m feeling pretty good about it, and although the first week was a bit of a challenge, and it will only get harder, I’m at least going to get back down to my high school weight of 275. My true goal is to be 225, so wish me luck!

Secondly, I actually posted some of my music on here. I know the qualty isn’t great, and my singing is average at best, but it is nice to finally get it posted. I will be posting more of my music in the future, so keep an eye out for that. I will also go back and touch up what I have done in the future as I get better equipment, musicians, etc.

I’ve also have been looking for a new job. Writing cover letters, resumes, and searching has been part of why my posts have been more erratic. I’m hoping to find something that not only pays better, but that I also feel happier doing. Apparently there are people in the world who feel that way about their work, and I’d like to be one of them. In this economy I’m not too hopeful though.

Also in between everything else I have been working on my story. I’m kind of stuck on the actual, y’know, writing part of it. But I have a much more developed sense of my characters, and a basic way for things to go. Hopefully I’ll be set to at least write it for NaNoWriMo in november.

Finally, I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Olvia In La La Land. I’m very honored, and it may be a bit, but I will get to the ‘official’ acceptance part of it in the near future. But I wanted to take the time to thank everyone for reading, and I hope you continue to do so in the future.

-Shaman

Posted 07/31/2014 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

Tagged with , ,

Change The World   Leave a comment

Prompt, prompt, prompt I summon thee!

Today, write about any topic you feel like — but you must reuse your opening line (at least) two more times in the course of your post.

I want to change the world.

I have not clue how. I don’t even know where to begin. Large, small, for better or worse; I have no clue.

But still that rings through my head: I want to change the world.

I didn’t really realize it until my last blog post. I went with taking the chip, for what I thought were very good reasons. Add to human knowledge, revolutionize psychology as we know it. Help people. Sure, it wouldn’t be a very fun life for me. Being isolated from my friends. My family. My daughter. Not completely gone from their lives, but it wouldn’t be the same. It would be lonely. But at some level, it would be worth it if I could leave my mark.

A lot of people didn’t think so. They may have had respect for my reasons, saw them as nice; as noble. The typical response was that the sacrifice would be too hard, the downsides too great. Some people even thought it was wrong that the losses I would want to do it.

I can’t say they are wrong. Is the willingness to toss my self aside for the “greater good” really good? Do I even know what good is? Am I even able to perform the good that I keep proposing to do?

I want to change the world. But I don’t know if I can?

But then I start to take a different angle. Have I been looking at things wrong?  I am so focused on changing the world at large. At leaving a grand mark. There is no way I have done that, right?

Wrong. I already have changed the world. Just by living my life. Just by being human.

If I didn’t exist, millions of things would be different. My daughter would be gone, some of my friends would be much worse off, and some may be better. But the world would be an entirely changed for my absence.

Even by writing this now, I am changing things. I can’t know right now how things will change. If it will be big or small. Good or bad. But it will be a different outcome than if I did nothing.

I want to change the world. I guess I’ll get started.

-Shaman

Can I Win With Original Sin?

This is a follow up to my post, God Prefers an atheist, where I clarify points and discuss topics that came up in the comments.

First of all, I love comments. I love discussion and debate. I love that this post did inspire my friends and other to come out and comment. So thank you to everyone who joined in. Since is this is the first time I’ve discussed something like this in detail on my blog, I’m going to more posts, going off of the things brought up during the discussion.

First up is the idea of original sin and hell: As both Brandon and Alex pointed out, the concept of original sin may not mean one is doomed to hell. Only in certain sects of Christianity, typically Evangelical Protestants, do people need to actively convert and accept Jesus Christ, or be consigned to fiery damnation. The only reason this view seems to get said a lot is due to the United States having the largest concentration of Evangelicals.

The main misunderstanding I had was that I confused original sin with guilt. Original sin is the idea that Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden cause the rest of humanity some sort of detriment. Usually in the form of suffering or an inclination towards sin, but it can be as extreme as the doom to hell I mentioned in the other post. Guilt and personal sin are the actions you have in this life, and they are the things that typically get you an appointment with good old Mr. Scratch. As Brandon said, it is a very misunderstood topic, and as Alex pointed out I made a large generalization in my last post.

So here are two examples of interpretations of original sin where I may not go to hell: Mormonism and Catholicism.

In Mormonism, one is only damned to hell for actively turning away from god after witnessing him in his true glory. To put it simply, unless one has gone through the temple and been ordained, they aren’t able to deny god since they don’t know him. Therefore it is after death that they make the decision to convert or deny god. That is the only way to get to outer darkness, or hell, in the Mormon faith. Even atrocities from the likes of dictators would not be enough to deny those dictators heaven, unless they knew god like the Mormon priesthood does. In regards to original sin, Jesus would have atoned for it, and therefore we no longer suffer due to it.

Therefore, according to Mormonism, I would go to heaven, because by then I would actually see and know god and thusly would no longer be an agnostic atheist. Sure, I don’t get to be an eternal spirit being with my own planet, but even the Telestial kingdom is supposed to be nice and chill, something akin to a deathless painless earth.

Catholicism has the Nostra Aetete, which addresses how people from other faiths may still reach salvation through their faith, even if they do not follow the Catholic Church. My friend Alex (the one who left the comment) once explained it to me this way: if a Buddhist was to die, he would go to the afterlife, and Jesus would appear to him. He would tell them that being Buddhist was in line with god’s teachings, and was in fact just another path to god. They would then be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. The same goes for other faiths, although I am over generalizing it a little bit. Original sin in Catholicism just accounts for humans acting sinfully, instead of acting on our divine roots.

When it comes to Catholicism, were I of a conflicting faith, things would be perfect for me. However, the church seems to be very much against agnosticism, and has mixed views towards atheism. Although one could argue using the Nostra Aetete that atheists may also go to heaven, the source I found for Catholic Doctrine on agnosticism isn’t as pretty. So, more likely than not, I would be going to hell according to the Catholic Church, but there is room for debate. Ironically it would be for my agnosticism though, and not the atheism.

So can I win with original sin?

Apparently it is a solid maybe. That is new news to me, and I may in the future try not to generalize beliefs as much in the future. One should instead look at the God Prefers an Atheist post and insert Evangelical or any other sect with those opinions in instead of just Christian. Because the sentiment of the post still remains true. Any god that would force me to believe or go to hell is not worth believing in. As far as how I feel about gods who are kinder than that, that will have to be addressed in a later post.

Now of course, if I have gotten anything wrong, feel free to correct me on the above. I did research, but it was only one or two levels removed from google and Wikipedia. So do you think I’ve got the concept of original sin, or do I still need to learn more?

Shaman

God Prefers An Atheist   6 comments

Would God prefer someone who is ever faithful, but who only does good things because he is afraid of eternal damnation?

Or would he prefer some who does good acts and betters the world, but does not worship or even believe in him?

I’m not the first person to ask this, but it amazes me how many people get thrown off when I bring this up to them.  Usually it is Christians that get thrown, because one of the main tenets of their religion is to seek forgiveness from Christ. As long as one seeks Christs forgiveness, no matter how late in life or how heinous their actions, they will be forgiven.

They always seem to glance over the other part of that: if you are a good person and you do nothing but good in your life, but never seek forgiveness from Christ, your soul is hell-bound.

Thus, the do good things and seek to do Christ’s work because they don’t want to go to hell.

I this that is disgusting. I hate the idea of original sin, especially when it is implied that people are wrong, awful, and need to be saved.

I find the idea of a god who does this to people, and then wants them to worship him to keep him from harming them.

I don’t believe that any god worth believing in would need someone like me to believe in him. Further more, a god worth believing in would never punish someone who doesn’t believe in him, solely for that lack of belief.

Now, the idea of an all forgiving and loving god does not bother me. In fact, it gives me comfort. Two of my best friends believe in such a god, and I have large amounts of respect for them, and they for me. If more people truly believed in God like they do, I think the world would be a better place.

Because an all loving god wouldn’t care what you do in his name. He wouldn’t care that you prayed to him day and night. He would only care about the good you tried to bring to the world.

Now, why do I stay an agnostic atheist? Marcus Aurelius put it best:

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

I’m not saying that you can’t live a good life if you are religious. There is plenty of evidence to prove you can. But doing good, to be good, is what everyone should strive for. Were I God, I would prefer someone who has pure motivations for being nice, not the ulterior motives of heavenly reward or eternal damnation.

If I were God, I would prefer an atheist.

I Should Be A Game Designer… So I’ll Be A Writer.   Leave a comment

In an earlier blog post, I talked about how I might try being the Albert Einstein of blogging. I posted a piece of advice Teller gave Brian Brushwood that changed his life. I talked about one part of the advice, and I’d like to cover another part of it.

To quote the book:

“I should be a film editor. I’m a magician. And if I’m good, it’s because I should be a film editor. Bach should have written opera or plays. But instead, he worked in eighteenth-century counterpoint. That’s why his counterpoints have so much more point that others. They have passion and plot. Shakespeare, on the other hand, should have been a musician, writing counterpoint. That’s why his plays stand out from the others through their plot and music.”

I love games. Video games, board games, role-playing games, card games, games, games, games. My favorite kinds are turn based strategy games and role-playing type games. I love the interplay of the rules, and the rich and deep stories. I will dig into the lore of a great fantasy world like Dark Souls, or a Sci-Fi  universe like Mass Effect. I love creating a character with desires, drives, quirks and questions, that pull a game along.

I also, much to other people’s chagrin, love to poke holes, abuse rules, and optimize my characters and games as much as I can. I will find the interplay of skills, ask the annoying questions, and overall try to take your plans and throw them out the window.

I’m not a munchkin by any means, but I will play around with the rules a lot. My favorite character I mad was in a wild west setting. I made a bounty hunter who fought with a lasso and took people in alive. The other smallish detail… he was bullet proof. It was legal by the rules, and made for one hell of a game.

But I am getting off topic. Why do I bring all this up?

Because as I was trying to figure out the plot and world for the book I’m writing, I noticed I had an easier time when I created characters via a character sheet, the magic as a magic system, and scenes as campaign events. If I start to picture my novel as a game and write it that way, the plot flows easier. It also stays much more consistent. I no longer have to wonder what my character can do with his magic. I already know what his powers do, what he would need to do to learn more, and how the laws of the world works. That way if I get to a moment and think,”How will he get out of this one?” I can do it without any trouble.

I get to design my own universe, with its own rules and own logic. At another level, since I want to write something more urban fantasy style, I get to change and redesign this one. I don’t have a god complex, but it is fun.

I get to create my own game system via my writing. I get to live out one of my dreams of designing games. Maybe not in the way i wanted. But I’ll take it. 🙂

-Shaman

What do I have to brag about?   1 comment

Right to Brag

Tell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.

I don’t really brag enough.I would like to say that it is because I’m modest, but that isn’t it. I actually struggle with my self esteem. It is very hard for me to see the good in my self, even when everyone around me tells me its there. It is something that I have dealt with my whole life.Or, I only used to feel that way.

I don’t know when it happened, but one day I woke up and when I looked in the mirror, I saw the face of a guy I liked staring back at me. A not half bad looking guy with great hair and a great smile. I see the guy that people were telling me about, and I like him too.

When the hell did it happen? I have no idea. I was dealing with all the same problems, all the same issues, and I haven’t really felt like I made progress. In fact, I have recently felt beat down and drained towards all of it, and almost felt like giving up. I’ve felt stagnant, unchanging, and unsure on what to do.

But apparently, through all of that struggle, I did gain something.

I gained a healthy sense of self esteem.

I think that is something worth bragging about.

-Shaman

If I Had A Million Dollars…   2 comments

Haven’t done one of these in a while.

You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?

First thing?

I would invest/save it and use the interest to buy things/pay debts/etc.

Yes, I know that is a boring answer. But I haven’t really ever desired to have tons of money and “nice” things. I’ve always wanted enough to live comfortably and simply.

Plus, one million dollars can’t actually buy as much as you would think. That is a very nice house and car with a couple hundred thousand left over after taxes. With a cheaper car and such it can go farther, but if you just chip away at the resource, eventually it will run out.

But, say I threw it in a five year certificate (which is the absolutely simplest way to save it, not the best one. I’d go see a planner), and had the interest on it go into my savings. At 2%, that would be $20,000 a year in interest. Sure, that’s not very much after taxes, but since I only make around $16,000 a year after taxes at the moment, that doubles my income. That would certainly me my life easier.

I could look for a job I really want without being afraid of lacking an income. Or I could work less hours at the one I have now, giving me more time to focus on my writing and music. I could also keep working the same amount, but buy a house, a car, fancy clothes, new guitars, video games….

But as I said, I don’t care for shiny things. So, in that case, what would I do with the money?

Assuming I’d gotten my self handled, I would help people with it.

First, I would help friends and family.

I would help my friends go back to school, so they could finish/get the degrees they want, but can’t afford.

I’d take some of the burden off of my mom and cover some of her house payment and other debts.

I would definitely save some money for my daughter’s schooling.

If I somehow handled all of my family and friends with money to spare, I would start trying to help others.

Maybe I would donate some to causes I find important, like father’s rights, or the homeless. But I haven’t really thought that far before, since I’ve never really had enough money and influence to think about effecting the world at large. So I guess that part I will deal with when it happens.

My basic point being, that although money can by possessions and a fancy life style, that isn’t going to matter in the end. When you are back to being broke you aren’t going to really want your super expensive Lamborghini and Armani suits.

But friends, family, and memories: these things sustain us, comfort us in our last days, fill us with happiness and love, and make life worth living.

Seems like they would be worth investing in, right?

-Shaman

P.S: What do you guys think? Comment below or link me your responses so I can check them out.

Spoiler Alert   Leave a comment

I am horrible with avoiding spoilers.

I am horribly horrendously horrifically horrible at avoiding spoilers.

I just lack the discipline required to keep things a secret from myself when I have the resources to find them out. I will regularly spoil every single plot point of a TV series before I’m even done with the first season. Maybe it’s because I want to be able to join the dialogue about an episode sooner than it would take for me to marathon the whole thing. Maybe I just like to find out the destination, to know if the journey is worth my time. (I’m looking at you Mass Effect 3.)

All I know is it is a problem, a serious problem.

It almost got me this time. The newest book in the Dresden files, Skin Game, came out today. My copy won’t arrive until tonight at the earliest. I’ve been dreading the wait. Holding back the temptation to go online and look up the big events of the book. I tried really, really hard to practice good self-discipline.

I am happy to say, I have valiantly succeeded.

Sadly, I almost made it.

I caved almost immediately…

I logged on to the forums and went to the spoilers page, and found the first “OMG I can’t believe that happened” topic there. I clicked on it and right before he got to all the juicy spoilers, he mentioned that he had been waiting for his copy and it wasn’t going to arrive until Friday. He however, had broken down and bought the e-book as soon as it became available.

So I did that instead.

Take that spoiler issues, I can destroy you with instant gratification and disposable income.

Because, who really needs self-discipline anyway?

-Shaman

P.S: Sorry for missing a week’s worth of posts. I got sick and couldn’t post. I should be resuming normal posting.

Intentional Information Inundation   Leave a comment

I love information. I love to just soak it all up like a giant sponge.

Most of the time it doesn’t even matter what it is. Sure, I have my more favored subjects, like psychology and personality typology, philosophy, religious debates, and a few others. But I will also spend larger amounts of time on less than useful subjects, like plot analysis of book series I haven’t read, video games I haven’t played, weapons I’ll never use and fields I’ll never go into.

Do I need to know how to make napalm, or C4? How about what a manic pixie dream girl, or what fridge horror is?

Not really, but it is fun to know. I don’t know why it is fun to know. I’ve just always found stuff like that fascinating. I have lots of theories as to why I’m this way. It could be a sign that I have ADHD. It could be that it is a trait of extraverted intuition (Ne) which is the auxiliary trait of an INTP. It could be that I’m a real life example of the seeker archetype. It could be I’m just bored with way too much time on my hands.

All I really know for sure is that it makes getting any one things done impossible. If I just sit down and try to focus on just one task, I get bored and distracted. Then, when my deadline hits, I either submit a half-finished product or a completely finished, but extremely rushed product.

Sometimes it can be a bonus towards work, if I am interested in the subject. Those times I burn through the project the first day and then either continue to refine it, or get bored and move to something else. That is nice, except people start to expect you to work that quickly all the time, and I normally cannot keep that pace.

In the end, its just the way I am. I don’t think its a probelm, as long as it doesn’t disrupt my life.

Just to drive the point home, I currently have 15 tabs open in my second browser window at work. 2 for snopes, 4 for rational wiki, 2 for personality cafe, 1 for IMDB, 2 for Deseret news, 1 for personality junkie, and 2 for WordPress. That would be a typical day for me.

Ok, maybe I do have a problem…

Shaman

Posted 05/16/2014 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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