I live! I hunger! I roll dice!

Should probably not leave a month of silence after that previous entry! So here is to tell you all that I am seemingly unharmed, gobbling pasta and writing with dice.

For those who were not impressed to the level of never forgetting when I mentioned this technique years ago:  Basically I use the old GURPS ruleset and throw 3 ordinary 6-sided dice for a skill check when my  character tries to do something that is not trivially easy.  The result of the throw is compared against the character’s skill and whatever modifiers may apply to the particular situation, and the story develops depending on the result. This makes my writing at least somewhat unpredictable even to me. If I want a particular result, my character may need to take a different route to arrive at the goal. Or the story may even take a different direction. It makes writing fun. But I am glad God is not playing dice with the universe… Right? Unless the dice are us?  People sure act random sometimes. Me included.

Wakeup call

My heart went racing out of control again this evening a bit before 20 (8PM). It went at top speed for about 5 minutes.  Even after it returned to near normal levels, the event has left me half dazed, as if my senses are partly muted or fogged, and I am weak.

As suspected, I felt rather less assured about my eternity when actually facing it. Then again, part of that was from the fact that this all happened after I had brazenly ignored God’s plea to stop.  (Again, for the usual values of God: I can’t claim to be a prophet who sits in the council of the Most High, only that something more concrete than a conscience is transmitting thoughts to me that seem to be of a Heavenly nature. I, however, am not of a Heavenly nature, and the contrast bothers me.)

I guess it is not a certain thing that I will have months or at least weeks to prepare for my final departure. I should bear that in mind.

As for the health side of this, my state-assigned doctor knew of a couple such racing heart episodes from 2005, I think it was, possibly one in 2006. He was not particularly worried that I would die on the spot, but rather told me to contact the clinic so they could do an EKG (ECG) while the event was unfolding.  The tests done at other times were glowingly positive in all respects.

I would probably not have been very worried either if it was his heart. -_- But it feels kind of threatening when it is about me, the most important person in my world.

Sic transit gloria floppy

I thank you all in advance for your sympathy. ^_^

I mounted the external diskette drive today, for the first time since I moved. I found out a couple things.

One, I definitely wrote better fiction in New Norwegian than in English. The humor, the drama, the terse expressions at critical moments: All of them are stronger in my native language.

Two: In 1993, my hope for Supergirl was that she would love knowledge for its own sake like I did.  I am not sure whether that hope has been fulfilled or not. Well, it is out of my hands for sure.

Three: The most important fiction I have ever written, important for myself at least, was on a floppy that happened to lie in the old bag that I threw away the day I moved. There is no backup. It is probably fairly deep in the landfill by now.

Online libraries revisited

It will take its sweet time to restock my bookshelves after getting rid of the worthless stuff. But should I really fill them again? What is the chance that my heirs will want to read “The Challenge of Enlightenment”, “Meditations on the Tarot” or “One Cosmos under God”? Chances are they go on the fire or a landfill eventually.

This entry first appeared in my LiveJournal.

I have to say this Questia thing is somewhat impressive. If they had offered an Android client rather than just iPhone, I would probably subscribe. While it seems to be geared mostly at students and young researchers, there seems to be a lot of good stuff in there.

Of course, what I really hope for is that Google gets permission to do something similar. Millions of books, for free, on every imaginable device. It just might spell the end of the bookstore as we knew it. As it is, I use Google Books along with Amazon.com to scope out books before acquiring them (or not, usually).

But so far, there does not seem to be a “killer app”. You’d think governments at least would want to give their citizens an online Great Library, so as to surge far ahead of all other countries in the world and launch the next Renaissance. But perhaps an enlightened public is the greatest fear of a politician. In any case, leaving it to the market is even better. Imagine the world under Swedish hegemony.

There is also the Baen Free Library, but that is somewhat limited (to a subset of Baen books, naturally) and rather non-academic in nature, to say the least.

Project Gutenberg seems to still be geared toward download rather than online reading. It is one of the oldest attempts at creating a Great Library online. Constrained by its volunteer-based approach.

There is also something called “The Free Library” which has somehow been hiding from me until now. It is ugly as all ugly,with an undocumented and self-defeating interface, but it may still be worth much more than you pay for it, considering that it is free.

Anyone have any others?

“All this time”

That shadowy figure in your room is not actually shadowy, you just cannot see her, although she can see you. She is actually beautiful and wise, and she is trying to wake you up to the Truth. She is always watching over you with warm eyes, full of hope and love, that she wants you to share with the world.

It was almost bedtime and I was testing the clock radio because this morning my cell phone did not trigger its alarm clock as it should. I got up at normal time anyway, but I may not always be that lucky. So I plugged back in the clock radio from before I got the smartphone. It played a pretty, pretty song. I recognized it, but not completely. It had a phrase that repeated a lot though, so I guessed that was the title of the song. I was right. It was the song “All this time” by Maria Mena.

I was struck by how sweet and light it was, like fluffy low-fat vanilla ice cream. And what I picked up of the text was also amazing to me. Lyrics these days tend to be either trite or indecent or cynical. This… this was like something out of one of Ryuho Okawa’s books. Well, except for the “barefoot and pregnant” quip. Her guiding spirit must have cringed over that one, I imagine. (Not that it isn’t true, necessarily, but it is hardly kind. Or respectful to the barefoot, pregnant women of the world.) It must be what we here call “emergency rhyme”, like you find in doggerel. The rest, though? Sheer sixth-dimensional beauty.

Here is a link to a YouTube video. It is not quite as beautiful visually as I imagined from the song, but still hair-raising in its own way. The more mature looking girl is evidently invisible or at least not quite real to the younger, more casual looking one, but still able to convey her thoughts to some degree – like a guiding spirit! And the unnaturally bright lightning bugs at the end make sense if they symbolize inspiration. So we have a guardian or guiding spirit inspiring someone of extraordinary ability while trying to bring across a message of self-reflection, hope, and gratitude. Whoa.

I don’t know more about Maria Mena than I picked up from a quick search on the Internet. She is born in 1986 and still had (as of last discussions) a boyfriend rather than a husband, so it is almost certain that she is not religious in the sense that I would use the word. Spiritual, almost certainly – postmodern people with accomplishments are spiritual unless they confess to strict apelike materialism.

I don’t expect her other songs to be similar to this. I have not heard any of them yet, but it is obvious from this one that it is a case of inspiration in a pretty much literal sense. Written not so much by her as by her guardian or guiding spirit. That’s why it is superhumanly good – at least to us on a vaguely similar wavelength. Not sure how it feels for ordinary people. I am pretty sure people who love rap etc will suffer pain in their disharmonious souls from something as beautiful as this. (Classical music has proved effective in driving away drug addicts and petty criminals from public places in Britain. Conversely, rap has proved effective in driving me away from record stores before I could buy anything.)

Watching it again, I can also see the more mature woman as the future self of the younger, although they don’t look quite alike enough for that. In either case, the guardian spirit or sister soul is part of the greater self according to Happy Science. Different souls made from the same spirit. (We Christians have some other resources, as you may be aware, but I’m not going to dedicate this entry to Christian theology.) In either case, the exact interpretation is not important and may even get in the way. Just watch it and share in the happiness. Learn it, love it, live it. It is a pretty good introduction to the science of happiness, probably much to her surprise if she ever finds out. With some luck, I am under her radar though. ^_^

Warning: As with all super happy songs and other pleasures, continuous exposure for a long time will use up the happiness neurochemicals in your brain for a while. This is not a joke, the human brain is simply not made for intense joy to go on and on, although how long is too long depends on your baseline level of happiness.

Years of change

Well, people change after two years. (I am pretty sure I had very nearly the same text with a different girl a few years ago, perhaps this is a common proverb in Japan? Anyway, I have changed again so it is appropriate.)

I am honestly not sure when or how the latest changes started. It is a little more than a year since I came across the easy-to-read spiritual self-help books by Ryuho Okawa. It is a year and a half since I started experiments with brainwave entrainment. It is probably more than three years since I started reading One Cosmos, a right-wing political blog with a side order of perennial religion, or possibly the other way around.

Of course, the sheer process of growing older – specifically to be 50 and above – may also have made a difference. When you are 50, it should dawn on you that you are not a kid anymore. Less than 70 years left of the appointed human lifespan. Time to wise up!

So there is no helping that my on-line journal also changes. Most likely there will continue to be more religion, philosophy and psychology, and less game reviews, anime reviews, and buttpics. I like my new self, there is an added depth to it. I mean, I was already very wide. (Speaking of interests here, not my body.) I would write about many different topics, from the ancient past to the near future, from farming to computers, from mythology to economy. This is because I was thinking about all those things. I may be a bit less wide-ranging now, but going more deeply into some things.

There are also changes that are less obvious. I write very little about work, for a number of reasons, most of all because my employer really really does not want me to write about it. Ideally I should not even let you know whether I go to work on any particular day. But my attitude to work has changed perhaps more than anything else. I used to consider it a curse, a punishment from God. Now I see it as a mercy, an opportunity to express my love for the human world, to pay back some of the good civilization has done for me over the course of my lifetime. Unfortunately, there are still certain things that make it hard for me to be of as much service as I want, but progress has been made.

I hope the changes will continue and even accelerate. I am curious as to who I will become if I continue to live. In some ways, entering a new life phase is like being a child again, with a thousand new ways opening before me. Which will I take? Who will I become? Will I, as the Japanese song said, surpass multiple destinies while I am alive? This may not fascinate you as much as it fascinates me; but if it does, I hope to keep you updated as long as possible.

Headache and happiness

If  you are overflowing with joy, you may want to restrain yourself somewhat so as to not set off people’s insanity detectors. I did not have that problem though, since I was alone at work.  But I still behaved. Of course, the headache may have helped.

I had some breathing troubles last night – not asthma type, felt more like pneumonia, but I guess it was not since there was no fever and I felt better in the morning.  But I got less sleep than I had hoped, and had a light headache during the first part of the workday.

At the same time, I was also filled with joy, thinking about my bookshelf of happiness and good things that have happened in my life.  It was a kind of weird combination, headache and happiness, and I noticed it myself.

It would probably have been different with a stronger headache, I’m afraid. I don’t think I really have achieved “permaplat” in my life, or what easterners call “Enlightenment”, the state of mind in which no event of the senses can touch the Self.  Those who have reached Enlightenment may experience pain, but not suffering, it is said.  That is to say, they may experience the senses crying out, but they do not identify with the senses but rather with the true Self. There is some disagreement about whether this is a gradual process or something that suddenly happens. I would not know.  I am pretty sure I would worry if I felt a strong pain, since this is the body’s way of telling that it is in danger.  And I don’t really feel ready to let the body go yet.  I may not feel a constant fear of death anymore, but I am surely able to feel a specific threat.

Courage is cool, but sometimes you can’t tell it from stupidity. Young people in particular take a lot of risks because they simply don’t think very far ahead. It may be less pronounced in us middle-aged types, but if you just look at how people behave, you have to wonder how far ahead they think, when they think at all.

Since I seem to be temporary back to Earth, I may mention that I bought a bread. The other day I realized that it was months since las I had eaten bread. Bread is reasonably priced as food goes, and now that my income and expenses are more balanced, that is not a bad thing. (Though I think the noodles at Joker may be cheaper.) Bread is also reasonably healthy, especially bread not made entirely from white flour. The type I bought is somewhat rougher and has sunflower seeds that add taste and texture. I liked it, though I vaguely remember another sunflower bread that was even better.

See, I am still kind of human! I have not been transposed to pure spirit by the spiritual books I have been reading. ^_^

Bookshelves of happiness

In the computer game The Sims 2, in the Seasons expansion, there is a new career called Education. When reaching the higher levels of this career, the simulated person gets a free bookshelf. But this is not just any old bookshelf. It allows the reader to learn any skill, even those not usually of a bookish nature, at double speed.

In the Sim story I am currently writing, the bookshelf falls into the hands of a newlywed couple, both of which are Knowledge sims. That is to say, their main aspiration in life is knowledge and skills. They constantly want to improve their skills, and because this bookshelf lets them do that quickly, they are constantly in Platinum mood, the highest happiness for a sim.

With the FreeTime expansion, the game got another feature: Lifetime happiness. As long as the sims are happy, they very slowly accumulate lifetime happiness. Over time this lets them gain certain benefits, like needing a little less sleep or being content alone for longer. Eventually the lifetime meter reaches its maximum, and the sim from now on is naturally happy all the time for the rest of his or her life.

By the time I took this picture, Jenny (the sim in the picture) had achieved this “permaplat” – permanent platinum mood – of which I have written occasionally in the past. There were a number of things that contributed to that, including her recent marriage, but the final push came from the bookshelf.

In other news, Ryuho Okawa has now written more than 600 books (used to be more than 500). Hermes Trismegistus supposedly wrote several thousand books, covering virtually all knowledge in the ancient world, so his reincarnation definitely has the work cut out for him. (Only a few books by Hermes are preserved from antiquity, and what I have seen from them is pretty cryptic.)

In other news, I bought my first Kindle e-book on Friday. I don’t much like Amazon’s policy of pricing the virtually costless Kindle books higher than paper books. It is insulting and morally wrong, and the trees would almost certainly vote against it. But being able to read on my mobile phone when I don’t carry with me other books is definitely worth ruffling some principles over. The book I bought was Tao Te Ching, the short compilation of the wisdom of Tao, attributed to Lao-Tzu. English translations of his works are generally more like interpretations, since a vast gap in time and culture and language separate the texts. This one is supposed to be particularly faithful to the text, as testified by actual Chinese readers.

I am not a sim, but I am still trying to build my own bookshelf of happiness. I don’t expect whoever inherits my books to gain much joy from them though. Even for humans, it depends on your aspiration. Books of timeless wisdom is not for everyone, more is the pity. And even for us who aspire to knowledge and insight, not everyone finds the same texts easy or joyful to read. So it takes some experimenting, even if you know others who have found lifelong happiness in their reading. Still, it is certainly worth a try, to build your own bookshelf of lifelong happiness.

Flattery, lol

Why am I not excited? Read on to find out!

You may not be aware how awesome I am, but the comments I receive show it. Here are some of the most recent:

“an outstanding blog if i ever seen one. If you are the type to update your website daily, then you have gained one daily reader in me today. Please keep up the powerul work.”

“Thanks for the interesting content!!!”

“Incredible post. You really understand what you are writing about here. Im so happy I was able to locate this site. I look to see more great writing from you. Keep up the excellent work.”

“I just wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed reading your blog post here. It was very informative and I also digg the way you write! Keep it up and I’ll be back to read more in the future”

“Wonderful to read!”

Weren’t those all nice comments? And weren’t they all completely free of references to what I actually wrote? And weren’t they all from people whose contact info is some shoddy commercial website? ^_^  Yes they were!

Humans are so weak to flattery, it is hilarious. Well, it is all fun and games until someone loses an eye, as they say. Or their mind.  Or their virginity.  Or an awful lot of money, I guess, especially if you lose more than you have. Ancient Scriptures compare flattery with a hunter setting a trap, and that is certainly apt.

As you become able to connect to higher realities – through religion, philosophy, science, great literature – you can afford to think more objectively about yourself. Well, it is unlikely that we will do so 100%, but we can certainly move in that direction. And as we do, we gain resistance to flattery. This is an immensely useful power to have in real life.

Writing like a God

The view from right outside my door. It just keeps flowing every day!

Woke up two hours early today thanks to a desperate bumblebee, so here is a morning post!

I recently finished reading Ryuho Okawa’s book The Laws of Courage and I’m dipping my toes in Frithjof Schuon’s Survey of Metaphysics. The latter is much harder to read, as are all his books that I know of. It is extremely dense and precise and uses many long words that are rarely used, including some even I haven’t seen before. His writing is also consistently abstract. Well, I am not really complaining — I know some of my writing may look like that to the random visitor. I’m working on it, though.

Back to the would-be savior from outer space. I often think to myself that Ryuho Okawa truly writes like a god — more exactly Hermes, the god of speed. I mean, writing 500 books in a couple of decades? But that is not enough. In The Laws of Courage, he casually mentions that he reads approximately 1000 books a year.  (That’s why he didn’t find it unreasonable to say that the first step towards becoming an intellectual is to have read 1000 books. A statement I don’t find it hard to agree with, although I have no idea how many I have read. Probably comes well over that number only if we include fantasy and science fiction, or even worse, western books, of which my brother had at least a couple hundred during my puberty. I don’t really think they should count toward becoming an intellectual though. -_-)

My own attempt at fiction writing this month goes forward very slowly. Ironically, I think I could write much, much faster if I were to write books of the Truth, but at this time I am not qualified to do that.  Or at the very least I am not allowed to by the source of that Truth. There is just too much responsibility, and I am not yet a very responsible person.

However, I can certainly relate to the extremely prolific writing of people like Ryuho Okawa or Hans Urs von Balthasar. When you try to render a higher-dimensional object in a lower-dimensional world, like for instance a globe on a piece of paper, it just does not fit. You have to unfold it and portray it from different angles to try to let others reconstruct it in their mind. And even then, it largely requires that the recipient has Been There.  If we were not three-dimensional ourselves, a world map would not give us an approximation (and it is nothing more!) of the globe, but just perpetuate our illusion that it was indeed flat.

Now, spiritual truth (and maths and physics for that matter) is indeed on a higher level than ordinary life, so if we try to explain it in metaphors, allegories and parables, it expands and “splinters” into many details that are actually one on the higher plane where they belong. For this reason, there is “no end to the writing of books” and “even Earth itself could not have room for all the books that would have to be written” to convey even one Heavenly life.

God is by definition unlimited. The whole universe is simply an overflowing of God’s unlimited Being. That follows more or less from the concept of God, so if we are able to imagine the existence of a Supreme Being, this is necessarily one of Its qualities.  If it is all in our imagination, then just to have that concept we must be to some extent divine (in possibility even if not in actuality), and how did we end up like that?  Even if I had been born with the first star of the universe, and had been writing ever since, I would still not have come close to exhaust the imagination and intellection of even one soul.   There are no limits, or at least they exceed this seemingly endless universe.

If Shakespeare was still alive, he would still be writing. If Bach was still alive, he would still be composing. If Buddha was still alive, he would still be teaching.  If Socrates was still alive, he would still be asking. The spirit taps into something beyond the ordinary, and once that channel is cleansed of the things that blocked it, there is no end to it except death.  Beethoven kept writing symphonies even after he went deaf.

In short, our spirit taps into the inexhaustible.  There are levels or grades of doing this, but beyond a certain level, there is no end to it.  It becomes like a wellspring that gushes forth endlessly.