Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chasing Rabbits

"If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both." - Native American saying (via Goodreads)

I currently pursue multiple rabbits, but I do have a somewhat hierarchical order of bunnies arranged by priority. If I catch one, then I allow myself a second chase and continue in that fashion. Indeed, some of the beasts I bolt after are not rabbits at all, but horses to ride as I further the rabbit hunt.

Allow me to explain.

Horses, unlike rabbits, can be ridden by humans - as can ostriches - and will help in the long-term pursuit as a vehicular creature. It does one well to thank and nurture one's horses. I've never literally owned actual horses, but I have interacted with many. They're gorgeous animals, and they deserve our respect.... In fact, I not only respect horses, I revere them and hope to keep them one day. Possibly rabbits too, but I digress. (I'm not Radagast, after all!) The point, metaphorically speaking, is that one must often invest in one thing so as to achieve another.

For instance, I'm a writer and a blogger. I currently don't know much about computational workings beyond the basics, but knowing even the bare minimum about how computers function can help immensely in writing. In the blogosphere, it's essential. Now, if I were somehow not interested in how these things perform their duties (disclaimer: I actually find them fascinating), and hadn't the motivation to learn, I'd essentially be screwed. Computers can be a means to an end. As a side note, I have a book about computer basics, but it's Windows-oriented and I currently use a Mac. Perhaps I could use a simulator of some sort before I get my hands on an actual PC?

Another example might be acting. Bruce Miller's book, The Actor as Storyteller, argues that many effective film actors begin on stage. The transition to the screen is more rewarding than the opposite because those who perform in stage plays require more discipline. One cannot exactly cut or edit with a live audience! They must solidify not only their deep understanding of the script, but also their resolve for theatrical greatness. Personally, I like fantasy and science fiction. These are not always impossible in a traditional theatre, but my amounts of dragons and spaceships would be very expensive to pull off without video editing! Whether acting in plays or writing them, I am trying to think of more ideas that genuinely interest me that don't involve people shooting green lightning from their palms. These concepts do exist, and I'm trying to tap them in order to further my experience as both an actor and writer. I still write prose fiction and screenplays involving "big magic," and hopefully I will be able to perform in this sort of thing later on, but for now, I'm tinkering away at other things that also delight me. Hopefully, if Mistborn and The Dark Tower ever hit the silver screen, I will be involved in some way.

On the side, I chase a few other sorts of rabbit as well, but having said equine tends to assist the process. Classical and New Age music, acrylic painting, European broadsword fighting, Asian stir-frying, and Irish step dancing seem like fun, but are not absolutely paramount to my continued existence. Close, but not quite. These are "bonus bunnies" that I'd love to catch but will not despair without. Astrophysics and biochemistry are also vital, but not everyone needs to be the one doing either.

Of course, this is all a metaphor, however I may have exhausted its meaning. That's what I do - I plumb things for deeper possible meaning. I don't literally chase wild animals, for I wish no undue harm or stress to anything. That being said, I think I've made my point. Or at least, I hope that I have.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why are people so judgmental?

"Bigotry and judgment are the height of insecurity." - Jasmine Guy (via BrainyQuote)

In a recent post to a Facebook page, a dual image depicting two girls claimed that one was more beautiful than the other on the basis of clothing. Aside from the possibility of their being the same girl (they looked similar), this neither makes sense nor is fair to the girls depicted.

The girl on the right's shirt was slightly pulled up, and I witnessed a slew of snide remarks about "wardrobe choices" and "sluttiness." Nor were these reserved for the one, as the left girl's "wholesomeness" was attacked on the grounds that her shorts were too, well, short. (Seriously?)

Can someone inform me of how attire could be harmful simply by leaving less to one's imagination? I intend to skewer the notion of anatomical "modesty" in later posts, but suffice it for now to say that dressing less (or none) does not inherently harm anyone. Anyone who claims to feel sickened by the image of another person's body (provided it's not covered in pus-filled scabs) has only his, her, or their own predispositions to blame. I wholeheartedly agree with the Rede followed by Wicca: "As it harm none, do as you will." What could be simpler? (This is my one umbrella principle.)

However, the elephant of body-shaming is in another room. Down the hall, I'd say, behind the opaque door installed to hide the room's contents. Its trumpet is muffled by the door. Or the media.

Anyhow, the pachyderm in this chamber goes by a broader title: judgment. So why do people care about things that have no negative impact on them? It's an excellent question, and I can only theorize for now. At the local grocer, I often see poorly-edited images of celebrities on the covers of gossip magazines with headlines such as "Rihanna's Nightmare" and "Will & Kate: Secrets of Their Royal Romance." While I usually do not deign to glance twice at these periodicals, I will here consider them because they feed into my wonderment at human nature. Why people care what famous individuals do puzzles me, and the amount of time people devote to gossip is downright baffling.

According to John Cleese, certain people feel better about themselves if the negative spotlight is pointed at someone else, which we see a great deal of in political straw-man arguments. If someone else's flaw is exposed, a less dignified person might be relieved at the shifted burden of shame or embarrassment. Perhaps this is why our lack of morale is blamed on the LGBT+ community, and economical crises are cited as being done by Jews.

I briefly studied the Japanese self-defense style known as Ninjutsu, and I plan on continuing my shinobi education soon. One thing I observed from my sensei and fellow students was the philosophy of defense without overly aggressive retaliation; in other words, instead of absorbing and brutally countering attacks, a shinobi (ninja) should be able to redirect a blow and restrain his, her, or their assailant. While I admire and agree with this kind of physical defense, I think conversational disputes should be handled differently. I don't suggest tactless spilling of heated emotion. Instead, an issue ought to be civilly and directly addressed, striking at the root rather than the branches (to paraphrase Henry David Thoreau). Redirection in ethics leads away from any hope of actual resolution.

So why do people judge? Some are bored, some are unhappy, some were simply brought up in a privileged and snobbish environment, and many simply wish to avoid their own guilt. But ultimately, I would posit that these factors often combine with idiotic societal norms to culminate in a greater lack of empathy for others.