Understanding Death & Coping With Grief

Anyone who claims to understand death has either a forked tongue in your ear or a crucifix at your throat.

The less we understand a thing, the louder and emptier the psalms become; and the louder we cry, the more deafening the silence.

Nay, no solace may be found within scripture, or within the contrived meaninglessness it advocates. Nor will it be found within the calcified hubris of academia, which, ironically became the very thing it sought to destroy. For, when it comes time to explain why those whom the world needs the most are seemingly extricated from us with surgical precision and swift prejudice, we’re left with what we started with: nothing. Both clergy and laboratory become uncomfortably similar in that they merely proffer masterfully articulated answers to questions that were never asked.

No, the meaning of death is just like the meaning of life; understood only from within.

In this regard, the failings of both scripture and formula alike are truly spectacular…do not seek meaning within either.

Seek meaning within yourself and incorporate that meaning into the very fiber of your being.

Do not let those whom the world lost be truly lost to the world. So long as we carry them with us throughout our daily lives, we ensure that the world comes to know who exactly it was that made it a better place to begin with.

People only die if we truly let them.

We Will Ultimately Pay For The Time We Think We’re Saving

So I was thinking again…yeah, that really bad thing I do that winds up costing me friends. I have the most important meeting of my entire career tomorrow, and I’m trying to meditate during the calm before the storm, and I figured it was time to jaunt down something that’s been rattling around my empty head now for a coupla months.

And that something I’ve been thinking about happens to be time, and how we just don’t have any of it anymore. Who has time for anything nowadays? Kids, deadlines, chores, this, that, the other thing. It never ends…we wake up, and a few blurs later, it’s time for bed. The day is gone, poof, forever. Just gone in a sea of busy, busy, busy.

However, if you stop and look carefully around you – at nature, at life, at energy and mass, and things of that sort, you begin noticing something. Well, at least I have. And that something is this:

You can’t cheat. You can’t cut corners. You can’t conjure an advantage out of thin air. Nature will equalize all our efforts to cut her “Conservation of Energy” corners. It’s going to be tricky explaining this, so I need to be very careful with how I do so, so please bear with me.

Let’s say, for the sake of providing an effective analogy, I live my entire life eating McDonald’s. I eat this fast food morning, noon and night for breakfast lunch and dinner. Now, just bear with me here, as I’m simply describing an analogy for the sake of illustrating my thought clearly. I eat this food because it is extremely convenient; it saves me time, money (well, sort of) and effort. I can eat on the go, in my car, or right there at the shack, very quickly and conveniently so I can get back to doing all that stuff that necessitates eating quickly.

What this means is, in terms of not being able to cheat, is that, in the long run, this will ultimately cost me MORE time later on than I think I’m saving today. Let’s say that I save 1,000 hours over my lifetime by eating McDonald’s every day. All those hours were obviously saved by not shopping, preparing, cooking, eating properly and doing the dishes afterwards. What a pain in the ass! Who has time for that?!? But think about this: by eating McDonald’s every day – to save time, mind you – how much time will I lose at the doctor’s office? Sick days? Falling ill? Hospital visits? Possible bypass surgery and time spent in the hospital? What about the time I lose by simply being dead?

And all for what? So I could get back to whatever it was that was so important I’m willing to literally kill myself over it? What could possibly be so important that you’d be willing to kill yourself over doing it?

We have to make the time, folks…somehow, and someway, time must be made, because all that time we think we’re saving ourselves is doing the EXACT opposite of saving time. Those time-saving corners we’re cutting are going to cost us more time than the time-saving corner cutting was supposed to yield in the first place. Nature tends to equalize things – you can’t get something from nothing, you can’t conjure energy from nowhere, and she is always there, waiting to bring equilibrium to any system she finds any irregularity in. If you’re not spending the the you’re supposed to be spending making your food, nature will find a way to spend it for you. You’re gonna have to pay for it ANYWAY…may as well pay for it on YOUR terms.

For some reason, I know this in my gut as one of those “truths.” So, I am now very cautious about illusory advantages…I now ask myself, are there any strings attached? What’s the catch? There’s always a catch, and that catch is There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. And if there is, it is likely too good be true…perhaps this is the reason why that statement fundamentally exists.

Anyway, that’s the dumb thing that’s sort of been on my dumb mind lately in between all the work, chaos, depression and what-not.

I’m still here..

Hello, blog…it certainly has been a while, hasn’t it? This’ll just be an update sort of explaining a little bit about what’s been going on lately, and my recent absenteeism.

A coupla weeks back, my Windows Vista machine finally forced my hand, by doing something incredibly retarded. I had been having difficulties so extreme with that operating system, I basically couldn’t use my computer – I didn’t WANT to use it, as Vista had this magical way of turning the most trivial of work-related tasks into colossal ordeals which taxed my time, patience and sanity.

My Vista box finally did something so incredibly retarded, it served as the final straw which broke the back of my tolerance camel, and I was forced to get a new computer – a new computer that I couldn’t really afford.

So, I was going through the motions of loading all my old software onto my new machine when something happened. It was time to load my music/studio/recording software and get my “recording studio” set back up on my new machine. On my Windows Vista machine, I had been using Cubase as my recording software. However, Hugh used Sonar to record his music, and one of the really big important things we were going to do, was, when the time finally came for me to ditch Vista for Windows 7, I was going to get Sonar so our music files would be the same format. Hugh was also going to show me how to use it like a pro, and give me lessons on how to get the right speakers for recording working, how to use the equalizing software he uses, and then ultimately collaborate using the native software he liked.

This was one of the biggest and most amazing things I was looking forward to..having the master show me how he worked his magic, so moving from Cubase to Sonar upon a new Windows 7 machine was sort of a big deal for me. And I had thought that we always had the time…maybe after work took off we could really grind on it…I was really looking forward to picking his brain, and having the privilege of working with a true, gifted master..I was finally going to learn how to do honest-to-goodness real music. Inside and out.

Needless to say, I haven’t loaded anything. I stopped drawing…I stopped writing, and work came down like the Hammer of Thor on me the past of weeks. I’ve been tasked with essentially filling his shoes in the company at an executive level. So, his passing not only fucked me up in my personal life, his passing also did a number on my professional life as well. I’ve been forced to grow, and mature prematurely in ways that I have no genetic predisposition for: the responsibility, the image, the management, addressing and speaking with affluence to billionaires and directly collaborating with high-caliber business people to help them broker high-level deals.

That was all Hugh’s domain…I don’t have his wisdom, charisma and experience, and now I’m finding that I’m being forced into a position that demands – somehow – doing what he did, not because I like it, or because I’m good at it, but because I HAVE TO. Sure, at some point, I would like to naturally grow as a person and maybe mature NATURALLY into the myriad of executive roles he held, but being thrust into it with nary a life-preserver has been a bit much, on top of all the personal affectations his passing inflicted upon my life. We could not have asked for a more perfect CIO…Hugh was razor-sharp, disarmingly friendly, super magnetic and personable and HIGHLY technical. He had mad skills in a suit and in the trenches. He could talk the talk AND walk the walk (he did the math in aerospace engineering by programming the EDM machines with all that scary angular math and geometry)…there is just no way he could ever, EVER be replaced.

The Vista => Win7 => music thing snapped something in my brain, and I fell into a spot of depression, desperately trying to keep my head above water with work. So, between the two, the drawing simply stopped, the writing stopped, and basically everything stopped. I was using art, writing and music to help cope with the depression, but something about the Cubase => Sonar thing just tripped something up in my brain. Do I install Cubase…or do I get Sonar…? Do I even want to look at music again at all?

So, in between getting fried at work, what little down time I’ve had I’ve spent playing Starcraft. Starcraft ONE, mind you, and single player to boot. I came across it loading up my new computer with all my old software, installed it, and I’ve been using it to decompress from life.

Starcraft 1, the original, ancient Starcraft from 1998 has been a sort of “surrogate buddy” for me throughout the years…I played it convalescing from all my major surgeries. It was just engaging enough – and FAMILIAR enough – it was perfect. I was always on painkillers, so I couldn’t really read, or write, or use Cubase to effectively record anything and new, bright and shiny video games were hard to track with the medication. Starcraft was familiar enough to where I could play it through the fog of pain-killers, but yet engaging enough to help get my mind off the pain.

So, I have basically been using Starcraft 1, and it’s single player games to convalesce from the grief…I thought I was doing fine using art, music and writing – this whole blog thing – to manage my grief…but something about not having Hugh around to show me how to be a Sonar master just sort of snapped something inside.

I’m still here, and I will still draw and write and do music an’ stuff…but I think I just a little more time, at least until work lets up a bit.

Another silly quote just fell out of my brain

“There’s no news in truth and no truth in news.”

The truth is largely mundane, boring, doesn’t sell, or is contrary to specific agendas or popular opinion. Therefore, “The News,” which is still largely product, is the last place to expect it.

(Edit: the blogger who commented below, cognifeeder, pointed out that this kind of quote is something called a “chiasma.” I found an EXCELLENT page about it here: http://www.drmardy.com/chiasmus/welcome.shtml
ya learn something new every day, I tells ya. Thanks cognifeeder!)

A Thought About Dreams, And Broken Sleep

So I laid down for a little while to nap (or sleep through the night, whichever happened first). And sure enough, again, right about at the two-hour mark into my nap, I woke up…with a mind loaded with dreams. I could’ve gone back to sleep but since I’ve been wondering about the notion about whether or not we’re actually supposed to have broken sleep (as I’ve wondered before here at this post – which shows some evidence for it), I decided to get up and write them down while they were fresh in my memory into a blank dream journal that’s been laying around and unused.

I suppose, along with everyone else, I too, wonder if dreams mean anything or if they’re just some random chemical by-product of the brain. If they are the latter, this post is moot, but what if they belong to the former category? Furthermore, if they mean something, are we supposed to reflect upon them during the “Broken Sleep” period? Because this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten up after only two hours of nap/sleep with a brain full of fresh dreams.

Here are my thoughts on dreams: if they have meaning, they are going to fall into one of two categories (or a combination of both). Either one, dreams have a collective, universal, or archetypal meaning to everyone, or their meanings contain a specific interpretation to the individual. It may be true that snakes are a powerful symbol in this regard, and they could hold a symbolic meaning that blankets all of humanity. However, it may be possible that what a snake means to the individual could override the archetypal symbolism.

In other words, let’s say you grew up with a pet snake that you absolutely adored. And you continued owning snakes your entire life because you love them and they mean something special to you. Now, let’s say I got bit by a poisonous snake as a child and nearly died. Clearly, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that our individual emotional outlook on snakes could override the archetypal interpretation of what the symbology of a snake means in our dreams.

Or, it could be a combination of both. Perhaps our individual emotional interpretation, if strong enough, overrides the universal meaning of that symbol, but, by default, the universal archetypal interpretation holds true should we hold a neutral emotional reaction to something.

At any rate, I wonder if there’s any value in recording them. I know for a fact that by writing your dreams down in a physical journal will spur more and more dreaming. This in turn has the possibility of leading one down the path to experiencing lucid dreams, dreams in which the dreamer’s control is absolute of the dream, instead of the dream being in control of the dreamer. This, is also a path some individuals take when attempting to experience Astral Projection, or, an Out-of-Body experience, or (OBE).

Journal => More Dreams => Lucid Dreaming => Astral Projection. I know for a fact, from first hand experience, that the first three items in that progressive list hold true. How much time it takes varies, of course, from individual to individual, interest levels, effort, intent, etc…

I’ve heard it said that our subconscious, should it speak to us in dreams, is just like a person…ignore it long enough and it’ll surely begin ignoring you, which will manifest in a lack of dreams. But, if you start listening, just like a person, it’ll begin talking again. All you have to do is open yourself up to the listening part. Whether or not this person says anything of value is up for interpretation.

Perhaps there is inherent value in recording our dreams simply from a physiological perspective. Maybe we give our brains a good work out by going through the mental gymnastics of recalling dreams from the gossamer webbing that conceals them from us. Maybe it does something like exercising, growing and strengthening neural pathways or something. We know that keeping the mind active with little puzzles and engaging recall games helps stave off things like dementia…maybe dreams can offer the same benefits?

What if nature designed us to dream, have broken sleep, and use that broken sleep to reflect on our dreams to keep our minds healthy? That’s an interesting question, I think.

Who knows…maybe even there’s an entirely new undiscovered phenomena encoded in our dreams as some sort of pattern that would show itself over time which would allow us to learn something profound about ourselves. Or, maybe dreams are a throwback to some sort of survival mechanism before we as a species learned to write.

An interesting subject for sure.

Our Measuring Stick

I was thinking really negatively about my art last night when I uploaded that political cartoon. I’ve been basically “talking myself into” pressing on, well, in all things. This negativity is contradictory to my recent inspirational epiphanies about a positive attitude, so I started thinking about the true nature of these things, so I can better understand them, and be better equipped to implement my “positive attitude” philosophy into my life in a practical way.

I’m going to document my findings here, not only for me, but for others who may find them useful. I want to be able to refer to this post in the future in order to strengthen my resolve when the going gets tough, and negative thoughts start taking over.

I believe that the core of the problem is that we are immersed and conditioned to live in a culture of idolatry and I think I’ve figured out how exactly this leads to a path of self-destruction…problems I didn’t even realize I had until I was in my mid 30’s and as recently as a few days ago…

(this is another long one)

Continue reading