14) The Little Things

Life can be so busy it’s sometimes hard to simply sit down and think …

to think about the little things.

Many times we’re only able to think about the big things in life: what major goals we are trying to achieve.

But the little things are the every day things: the things we wake up to and live with each and every moment.

Which is more important?

Do you even think about the little things of life? Should you?

Perhaps sometime you should. Maybe it will give you insight about something simple, yet profound: something you should have noticed as obvious, but were so distracted with the hustle and bustle of every day life that you missed it.

What are the little things you have missed? What treasures of every day life do you forget about and pass over time and time again?

Sit down and think, maybe it will make life just a little bit better.

 

12) The Past/Future Paradox

To those of us who think a lot, this one is probably well known to us. And to many others, it will be obvious.

Nonetheless I think its a cool concept to bring up.

Many people think to themselves something along the lines of: “man, I sure wish I could live in the future with all the futuristic technology.” But if they actually did go to the future, they would here many people from that timeline say the same thing about living even further into the future. And I’m sure many people in the past said similar things about our present. And even further in the past they wanted to live in the “future” which is currently primitive to the present.

But it goes even further.

It is all about relativity. I often say “everything is relative, even the concept of relativity.” I can go further into that quote later, but what I want to get at in this article is that “future technology” and “past technology” are totally relative to our standards of living. Every single thing in the past and present is built from things that have always existed. But we discover more and more of that every year.

However, nothing really matters in how advanced we are.

We can always get more advanced.

You may be wondering where I am going with this. Well, here it is.

No advancement in technology will ever satisfy you. You will be equally satisfied now as you would be if you lived in a world with future technology. The only difference would be the initial rush.

If you lived 100 years in the past and transported to this time, you would feel the same thing as if you lived in this timeline and went 100 years into the future.

But you can only find true satisfaction if you work with what you’ve got.

Technology itself creates a standard of living. When we are at that standard, it is always the same feeling. Any increase of technology creates in increase in the standard of living we have. The initial rush is because we are adjusting from the past standard of living to a new one. But once it is fully recognized to be the standard, we will feel the same.

This is why when you first got a phone, it was amazing. But now, it is expected. You don’t get a rush from having your phone with you anymore. You want more. And you have a standard expectation to have your phone. This is why you freak out if you lose it.

Imagine how advanced people used to think the wheel was. You could move large objects over longer distances? People probably freaked out over the wheel more than people freak out over the newest copy/pasted iphone every year.

But the wheel is now standard and is expected to be everywhere. It’s even somewhat primtive (though its used in nearly every machine every invented).

The same concept and philosophy is true with many other things.

Creating new things only gives us a small rush before we need more.

This is that paradox, if you want to call it one.

Is it pointless to create new technology?

Will we view VR advancements in the future as nothing less than what we currently view modern gaming and videos to be?

Will the exciting idea of being able to communicate telepathically become as standard as modern cellphones?

Will teleportation make our sense of patience go even lower and the rush of being able to teleport disappear?

There are a lot more things to delve into when it comes to this concept, but my article is already longer than I’d originally intended it to be.

Do with this information what you will. Nothing is entirely definitive.

Everything is relative, even the concept of relativity.

 

11) Lost in the Dream

I decided to write a short story.

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A little girl sat alone in her dream – a vast and endless dream. It was just her and the world … the lonely world.

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The girl sat in a field of grass as far as the eye could see. It was beautiful. Whatever she wished would pop up front of her in a flurry of color and excitement. She imagined a tall mountain with bright, snowy peaks. It rose from the ground in front of her, and he decided to climb  it.

She was not a very skilled climber, but that didn’t matter. She willed herself to the top and she was there. A bright pink and gold horizon surrounded her on all sides. It was beautiful. But something was still needed. Boundless forests of cherry-blossoms sprouted below the mountain in response to her wish. It covered the ground in a pink canvas of color. And she was at the top of it all.

Whatever she willed became reality … or so she thought.

Something was still missing … something important. She could see it – almost grasp it. But it faded away and she was left alone again. Alone in a dream all to herself.

She created floating rocks made of white marble and colorful gems that shone more brilliantly than even the brightest of the real world’s diamonds. She lept from platform to platform, willing a stream of beautiful colors to follow behind her. And when she reached the bottom, she stopped to think.

She decided that she felt tired, so she created a small garden with an alcove of vines and flowers in the middle. Crafting it to her will, she created the perfect place to rest.

“It’s odd that I get tired here in this dream of mine.” She thought to herself. But rest soon overcame her and all of her questions would have to wait for another time.

Flames. Strong winds. Destruction.

A hand reached out to her, but she did not have the strength to grasp it. She heard a scream. Fear overwhelmed her. Crashes and bangs sounded all around. Was it the end of the world. She began to cry. But that hand … that comforting hand reassured her. It grabbed onto her and held her tightly. She gained the strength to move and to run, so she ran into a sunset of fire and ash. What was this hand though?

Was this what was missing?

She jumped up. She was back in her little garden. A bad dream? But it couldn’t have been. THIS is the dream after all. 

Or was it?

The night sky shone above her with an unreal brilliance. She saw all of the cosmos at once. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Bright swirls of purple, red, and blue danced across the night sky accompanied by the sparkling lights of a billion stars. They all danced with happiness. She became jealous. But why? What do they have that I do not?

She heard a lingering voice in the distance. She couldn’t make out what it said. But it seemed to call for her. Instinctively she ran. She ran and ran and ran after that voice. Tears began to roll down her cheeks. A mixture of a thousand emotions formed inside of her. She didn’t know what to do with them other than to follow the voice.

I must find it. I MUST!

But it stopped. She stood in an empty field … she stood in silence.

In a fit of rage, she screamed and a volcano erupted from the ground behind her. A tornado burst through the still sky with forces so powerful that it knocked her onto her face in less than an instant. The sky filled with ash and magma that swirled about like a wild animal of flame and ferocity. The lava-filled tornado desecrated the ground around her. But she was untouched.

Rather, she stared into her horrifying creation and remembered.

The sky was falling. Ash and flames were everywhere. A giant object was falling toward the earth. Everyone was fleeing. But she merely stood and stared.

The man grabbed her. IT WAS HIM!

Despite her surroundings, she was filled with happiness. The one who was missing was him!

But who is he?

She tried to look into the man’s face. But it was shrouded in smoke from the devastation around them. She fell from his arms and quickly picked herself up, but when she looked toward the man, she saw nothing but the empty field.

She was confused and startled. Question upon question began to assault her mind. She needed to discover who this man was. She needed answers. But nothing came to her. Everything was fuzzy.

She wandered her world and strayed away from her volcano that now lay dormant. But soon, she grew weary of wandering. She looked up to realize that it was night. Her dream must have woken her up in the middle of the night. And she quickly realized her weariness.

Sleep overcame her soon afterwards.

She saw a man working on something. It appeared to be a mini spaceship. I love spaceships! But the image quickly changed to a classroom. An elderly woman was showing the class a powerpoint on space travel. She showed pictures of the moon and Neil Armstrong. She showed slides on new space technology and how it is currently being developed. But then there was a crash. All of the lights went out and everyone panicked.

The image switched over to a man and a woman. They were driving her somewhere. But they seemed worried and rushed. Loud noises sounded all around her. She wanted it all to stop. She was about to scream. But then everything faded away.

She was back in her field … her lonely field. It was daytime.

To fill whatever void was within her, she created whatever came to her mind one after another. Tall trees and beautiful plants. Wild animals of all shapes and sizes. Reality defying objects that lined her new grove and shimmered in beautiful combinations of the many colors of the forest. She created a beautiful fantasy land for her to explore. But when the initial rush died down, she still found herself alone.

She explored her newest creation. It turned out to be bigger than she had expected. The trees grew closer together as she wandered deeper into her newly created forest. Floating crystal rocks seemed to follow her around as she brushed past the colorful bushes and the gentle animals.

She tripped over a rock and fell, bruising her hand. But it didn’t hurt. And neither did she see any scrape marks.

As she felt her arm, an image appeared to her – this one more vivid than the rest.

A man with a slightly untrimmed beard and a friendly smile looked at her with kindness unlike anything she’d ever seen. Or had she seen it before? Is it him?

She stared at him with wide eyes.

It is.

He reached out to her to hold her hand, but she embraced him in a loving hug.

The man was warm. She recognized him.

Dad!

But something was different. She felt something drip onto her shoulder. And when she looked up, he was crying. He kept his loving smile, but tears of heartbroken sadness covered it up.

“Daughter, I need you to be brave,” he said.

She listened with complete and utter attention. But she was confused. What is going on?

“It’s okay to be scared. But know that I will always be with you … in here.” He pointed at her heart. She looked down and then back up.

“But daddy,” she said. “I’m not scared. Because won’t you always be with me?”

He looked away for a moment, the tears worsening. His face became grim.

“Yes honey.” He tried to sound cheerful. But it was mixed with a burst of sadness. His words sounded like he was choking on something. And despite all of his attempts, he could not hide his emotions.

“Daddy?” she said.

He did not reply. Rather, he picked her up gently and held her close. She didn’t fight back, but was filled with childish curiosity. He placed her in the pod of the mini-rocket she had seen earlier. She realized that she was in her dad’s workshop. It was a huge complex. And they were in the vehicle production center. She looked at the rocket she was in. Even though she was small, it still seemed massive to her.

“Daddy, are we going to outer space?” she asked excitedly.

“Yes honey,” he replied. “Put this on.”

He took a pair of visors from the cockpit of the miniature rocket and placed them over her eyes. Then he wrapped her up in a few seat-belts and other attached devices that fastened around her arms and legs.

“Just relax now honey,” he said.

“Daddy, you’re coming with me right?” she asked. “I don’t want to go into space alone.”

“Like I told you before.” He touched her heart.

She smiled slightly. But something was wrong. She removed her visors. And what she saw horrified her. The roof of her dad’s lab was gone. Instead she saw the large object falling straight toward them. It covered almost all of the sky. Her father had a look of anguish on his face. But when he saw that she had taken the visor off, he turned it into a smile.

“Goodbye daughter.”

He shoved the visor back on and closed the cockpit. She heard the sound of the rocket launching off and felt a strong force pushing against her. She struggled fiercely agianst her confines, realizing that her dad was not in the rocket with her. But she could not escape. She was stuck in a small cockpit with nothing but the sound of the engine roaring outside. She reached up to take her visor off, but her arms went numb and fell. Soon, she became drowsy and fell into her dream, forgetting everything else beforehand.

When she awoke, she was still in her forest. But something odd happened. The world around her began to change. Everything went away into a blank grid-like system. Then, her dream world seemingly reset reappeared as a whole new world to explore.. However, all of her previous memories seemed to slip away. She knew they were important. But she could not remember any of them.

Soon, nothing remained but a simplistic fascination with nature. All else was swiftly forgotten.

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A little girl floated in space in a pod – put into an endless dream. It was just her and the pod … the lonely pod.

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By Justin Priest

(Influenced by Porter Robinson’s song “Shelter”)

 

Though this story is quite sad, I mean it not to portray how hopeless this situation was, but rather selfless the love of our parents can be. Great parents will often work completely unnoticed by their children and provide them with unimaginable love and sacrifice. The father in this case sacrificed everything to let his daughter live out the rest of her life in a virtual reality world in a space pod while the earth was destroyed. He even went so far as to create a system that attempted to erase the memories of her past so she could create a whole new life in this virtual world he created for her.

He worked unnoticed and unremembered. But his love remained. This is how she still managed to regain her memories. But his system detected that and erased them anew.

What do you think? Is it worse to live without the ones you love? Or is it better to sacrifice all for one’s chance at a new life?

Also to answer a few questions you may have:

The girl is a child of about 11 or 12.

There are probably some humans left alive other than her but not many. It is up to you whether she lives in the rocket forever or not.

Speaking of living in the rocket, she is supplied with a lifeline that will last a very long time. The things attached to her arms and legs would supply her with the proper minerals to stay alive. Plus she is placed in semi-hibernation, so her body doesn’t require nearly as much to survive.

Lastly, this whole story is to get people thinking. There are many angles you can approach with this. If you have any questions, think through it. Or you could comment and I’ll try to answer you.

Either way, thanks for reading.

Until next time,

-Justin Priest

10) Meaning in Life?

This one is for those who think of life as mostly or completely meaningless. (Not even necessarily in a depressed or nihilistic way).

If you think that all or most things in life are meaningless, that doesn’t mean you should do things half-way or slack off.

Unless you want to sit down and die, try your best.

If you involve yourself in the things of life even a little, but go at it with the ethic that it is all meaningless, you are likely drag those without similar beliefs into either having to deal with your lack of care or what the others would view as “dark thinking.” This could end up inadvertently hurting those close to you.

If you view life as meaningless, don’t involve others who don’t want to think of such philosophies, or at least fulfill your responsibilities to others so they aren’t harmed by your ethics.

I’m not trying to bash people who view life as meaningless. Neither am I trying to bash any philosophies or religions. I am a Protestant Christian Theist who also enjoys dabbling in some of the philosophies behind Buddhism and Shintoism. However, I see some (not all or even most) of Nihilism as interesting and partially valid. Even the Bible says “everything is meaningless.” Though its used in a context where one works only toward materialistic goals.

I view it as meaningless to want. If you want things you will always find yourself never satisfied. Instead of wanting things that you don’t have, look at what you have now and find satisfaction in that.

For me, I am satisfied with my friends, family, and the various items and activities I can use for my enjoyment. I am satisfied with my mind and how I can learn and think. I am satisfied with my religious beliefs. I truly believe in God, and I gain great comfort from Him.

Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, don’t force them upon others in uncomfortable ways. I am totally not saying to keep them to yourself. Whether you are an atheist or a devout believer, discussion is always a great way to learn. Just don’t cause pain to those who don’t see eye to eye with you. Whether you believe life is meaningless or full of more meaning than most would see, don’t cause your religious or philosophical ethics to put stress on others.

Examples: 1) You are a nihilist so you don’t work hard and you don’t schedule or plan things because it is all meaningless.

  • Though you are debatably not hurting yourself too much with this belief, you are causing stress to others who do want to keep plans and are suffering because you are slacking off.

2) You are a devout Christian, so you scold everyone who does anything you believe to be sinful or wrong.

  • Most people who grow up Christians (or other religions) simply don’t understand the mindsets of those who don’t share those beliefs. How can one see you as a good person when you act angry and judgmental toward them? Rather, discuss your beliefs in a neutral setting and show the kindness and goodness of your beliefs rather than pointing out what is wrong with everyone else.

 

 

9) Certainty

If you are certain about anything, then you do not know it well at all.

We are finite, but everything can be connected in an infinite number of ways.

Even I am uncertain of this statement.

There could very well be an infinite number of exceptions.

8) Debates vs. Arguments

To many people, debating and arguing are the same thing. They are the same annoying banter that cause people who would otherwise be good friends to not get along.

They are the  epitome of stressfullness and the bane of all things peaceful. They are annoying and useless.

However, there are a few people, including myself, who are inclined to disagree.

According to the dictionary, an argument is “an exchange of diverging or opposing views, typically a heated or angry one.” It is compared to “quarrel” or “dispute.”

Debate, on the other hand, is this: “a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.”

They don’t seem to similar to me. But some of you may still think that they are merely worded differently and basically mean the same thing. Or you may think that argument is a common word and debate is a fancier version of it.

However, the concept of debating was formed into an instrument of the intellection by Socrates, the great philosopher. He believed that a true debate was “a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions.” (wikipedia.com).

An argument, on the other hand, is like a fire started from a spark. It grows and grows and burns and burns.

My underlying statement here is: debates are good and arguments are bad.

Not only are they different in their purpose, but they are different in cause and effect. A debate is where two or more people with different opinions try to learn by explaining their views and listen to the opposing views. The goal of a debate is to learn, and the cause and effect are a lack of knowledge that turns into enlightenment.

The purpose of an argument is driven by negative emotions. It is usually caused by anger or selfishness. Where debates use researched facts and informed opinions, arguments are sporadic and little to no factual information is used. The cause of an argument can be many things, but the effect is almost always negative.

So perhaps you should rethink your interactions with people. Disagreeing with someone is not wrong. It makes you unique. It means you are an individual.

What truly matters is how you go about your disagreements. Will you use intelligence and facts, or will you yell at someone until they submit to your rage?