Dreaming of “Happy Science”

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. This morning, just before I woke up, I had a lifelike dream where Happy Science in Norway held a congress on the south coast, so it was convenient for me to attend. It turned up that there were actually very few members who attended (though there may have been others who for various reasons could not). The national leader, a woman, was there though, and at least one other guy who was a member.

I apologize for the fact that if you google Happy Science Norway, my blog will come at the top of the list. I did not ask Google to do that! I guess I am just that popular. -_- There actually is a small division of Happy Science in Norway, or at least there was last summer. Unfortunately it seems to have gone underground again, if it still exists, I have not seen any mention of them since last fall. As I am not actually a member of the organization, I feel that it is not appropriate for me to give out any kind of contact information on the Web. For all I know, the Norwegian leader in real life may have left the organization or the nation or even the mortal world. Oh well, if Mr Okawa’s plans come to fruition, they will definitely be back, very much so, until the whole country is brightly lit with Buddha’s golden Light. But for now at least, my dreams are not the reality.

Back in my dream, the female boss turned out to be polite but very hard-nosed / businesslike. She spent a lot of time with me, reviewing the changes that the Truth had made in my life. There was quite a number of them, something that made her happy. She also inquired about my plans for the future, among other things how long I thought it would be before I was a millionaire. Even in the dream, that was a “what the heck” moment.

In real life, Happy Science in Japan has a reputation for being an upper class cult, with a disproportionate number of successful businessmen and even high-ranking politicians as members or closely aligned with it. Due to its financial freedom, the organization even participated in the country’s general election in competition with the two main parties, although in the end almost no one voted for them. They still have indirect influence though because the doctrine mostly appeal to the rich and the intellectual, whereas most other religions condemn prosperity to some degree and discourage people from thinking too deeply. Mr Okawa however feels that good people ought to be the richest and smartest, that way goodness will get the upper hand in society, so he encourages innovation and lifelong learning and seeking positions of power and responsibility.

Back in the dream, someone appeared with some papers regarding the congress, and the boss gave them to me to read through and sign, presumably because I was local to the area. Reluctantly I decided to sign them. Where was the other guy who I had assumed was the second-in-command? How had I ended up becoming Happy Science’s face toward the Norwegian public? 

And then I woke up, made a Google search and ended up asking myself the exact same thing.

“Nice guys” vs Happy Endings

What must I say to be sincere? The unsolvable question!

I mentioned yesterday that love takes the path that leads to happiness for the other person.  In the case of romance, it is pretty obvious that this also is your own happiness. Or one should at least think that would be pretty obvious.

I mentioned long ago the irony of young men complaining that a nice guy can’t get laid.  How nice are you really if you expect to be rewarded for it? It is for the same reason I don’t go out very actively and preach the Truth that you get deliriously happy by loving knowledge and insight for its own sake. I am glad I am not the only one to notice this, but there is an obvious problem:  If people know this beforehand, they may pursue knowledge simply for the joy that awaits them, and then their motivation is not pure love.  And the relationship between a man and wisdom is very much a love, only not physical.

When I grew up, in Norwegian schools we learned a couple poems to the effect that “the greatest joy you can have is to bring joy to others”.  I wonder if this has not contributed more to the affluence of my country than the oil in the North Sea.  There are plenty of nations with oil resources, and most of them are truly tragic places to live, so that can hardly be it.  However, Norwegians are also the most trustful people in the world.  This has its drawbacks – they have more unprotected sex outside marriage than anybody else, according to statistics compiled by Durex – but it also makes everyday life much smoother. It is only in areas with immigrants that people need to lock their doors, and in the countryside you will still get your wallet back if you remember where you lost it.

The thing is that even a small increase in the people’s care about others will have a great effect on their own happiness.  Self-centered people, which is the ideal in the USA and increasingly here in Norway too, will never be happy.  This almost goes without saying when you have lived a life of personal growth, but it is not really obvious at all until you have tried it.  And if you try it only to increase your own happiness, you have not tried it at all!

This is a difficult situation, is it not? As long as you look for your own happiness, you cannot find it.  But when you love a person or a virtue, you will find that happiness seeks you out. By “love” here I mean in a selfless way, that you experience at least moments where your self becomes transparent and for a little while, silence of the mumbling voice inside you that always says “it is about me, it is all about me”.  You may not think you have such a voice, but then ask yourself:  Why is it all about you?  Who told you that?

Being a parent is a struggle and an unpaid workload that I can not really imagine.  Year after year of work and worry.  And yet, at the end of the day parents rarely curse their fate. Yes, there are times when they will tell you that they would never have had children if they knew how it was.  But it does not last.  Eventually, some kind of satisfaction remains.  I believe this is because of those moments when your self became transparent, and forgetting yourself briefly you could delight in the happiness of another.

If you expect your children to pay you tit for tat, you will definitely die unhappy and unrewarded.  Nobody loves a debt collector.

On the topic of endings, happy or otherwise, I am going to post spoilers for the Happy Ending Oneshot manga, which I came across in my research on happy endings.  In this 41-page comic, Boy has a crush on Girl 1.  He is found out by Girl 2, who promises to keep his secret and teach him the basics of not scaring away girls.  Several times, she saves him from making horrible social blunders.  But in the end while he is telling Girl 1 his feelings, he realizes that she is not the one he loves the most. That is Girl 2, who was only seeking his happiness rather than her own, and so he runs off to seek out her instead.  So cute. ^_^ But it won’t work if you try it, obviously, because selflessness is the one thing you cannot do, until you give it up.

Good Endings

Not all love stories have happy endings, and not all frogs are princes. Well, perhaps deep inside, but it would require divine intervention in some cases!

It has gradually become clearer to me that my JulNoWriMo novel is in fact like a single play-through of a ren-ai game (dating sim or visual novel of romantic nature).

When playing such a game, you get to know a number of imaginary people of the preferred gender, and based on your choices, their relationship with you will rise or fall. At some point you will need to show preference for one of them over the other – and it needs to be realistic in terms of your personal statistics –  in order to get a “good ending”.  Depending on the maturity of the game, the depiction of a good outcome may vary, but that is somewhat beyond today’s lesson.

What I want to achieve is to write a novel that may or may not lead to a “good ending”, but that at least conveys the personalities of the girls so well that the reader in his or her imagination is able to go down the other paths to reach a “good ending” for their favorite girl without compromising her personality. It is a safe bet that I won’t get anywhere near a completion in July. Probably not ever, if I know myself, which I increasingly do.  But there is always a small chance.

One of the most unlikely inspirations for my writing is the book The Laws of Courage by Ryuho Okawa, the would be world savior from Japan. (Or Atlantis, or Venus, depending on your time horizon.) Despite the occasional (well meant?) blasphemy, he is a really interesting person. And he truly writes like a god – more exactly Hermes, the god of speed. A couple years older than me, he has already written over 500 books!  Only about 15 of these are available in English from Amazon.com though. This is the latest of them, though a new one is supposed to be released later this year.

The Laws of Courage is written mostly for the young reader, although there is also a chapter about how to keep the good part of being young – a “hungry” spirit – later in life. Even simpler than some of his other books, it speaks directly to the concerns of young people in the midst of making choices for their lives. As such, it gives me some good idea for my own writing.

His ultimate advice for living life like a roaring fire of courage, is to imagine your death.  What do you want to have achieved when you die? How do you want to be remembered? What kind of person do you want to be when you lay down the workbook of your life? In its naked essence, courage means to be ready to die.

(Needless to say, I don’t have a lot of courage.  Although a couple weeks ago I was lying on my bed, thinking about how the floor of this old house might collapse under the weight of my double bed, and suddenly I realized that unexpectedly I was not afraid of death. I am sure this is not permanent. When I get severely ill, I will probably feel fear again. To some degree I think this is biological. What I no longer felt was the deep conviction that upon leaving this world, I would surely go to Hell.  Maybe I will and have only been deluded by the writings of the Antichrist.  But then again, something has begun to change deep inside me.  I am more consciously thinking of how I can actually be a blessing, rather than how I can rig things so I won’t be punished.)

Perhaps the nature of love, even divine love, is  to go down the path to the Good Ending for the other person. Which, with pleasant irony, is the one that does not end.

Dating sims revisited

A little known fact? People who play dating sims descend from molluscs.

As my July novel slowly, slowly unfolds, more and more of the girls become likable.  I am not very surprised, since girls tend to be likable in real life as well. My research (watching anime, reading manga and trolling forums) has shown me that the ideal format for my story would probably not be a novel or a screenplay or a movie, but a computer game.  More exactly a “dating sim”.  Now, I am used to playing The Sims, and both Sims1 and Sims2 had dating expansions: Hot Date for Sim1, and NightLife for Sims 2. There is no such thing for Sims3, which is a shame, since I find dating in that game hard to do. My sims usually end up adopting some random kid when they approach the latter part of their adult life. -_-

Anyway, it turns out that dating sims are not actually about The Sims, but is a genre that is very popular in Japan but very unpopular in the west.  In such a game, you play a boy or (in fewer games) a girl, living through a specific time of their life where they have the opportunity to meet a number of different people.  The goal is to form a romantic relationship with a person of the opposite sex (or, in extreme rare games, of the same sex).  The games differ in that some of them offer an ending depicting sexual intercourse, while others do not. There are often released two different version of the same game, where the non-explicit version has more of the milder content.

I think this is a great idea.  It saves people from experimenting on each other. On the down side, the reproductive rate in Japan is really low. The country will be almost empty in a few generations unless something changes. Hopefully the production of robot catgirls will eventually be high enough to replace the falling population.  (That was a joke.)

Anyway, I’ve tried out one of the few dating sims in English. Well, supposedly there are more of them, but this is an innocent one and you don’t play it online so they are not gathering information about you. It is vaguely recommended for people who are curious about the genre.  The game is called “Summer Session”. It can be run on Windows, Mac or Linux. The graphics look dated, as it were, but that probably means it runs on pretty much any old machine that you can get it installed on.

I’ve played through it a couple times. It is kind of neat that you can learn from your mistakes so you make new mistakes next time.  ^_^  Unfortunately in real life you can’t go back and do it over like that, so that’s why we need to listen to the guidance of Heaven. Incidentally, Heaven says to not get too absorbed in such games, but then that’s just common sense.

I am pretty confident that my writing is better anyway.  Although it won’t have multiple endings. Probably.

Writing about writing

From the anime KimiKiss Pure Rouge (I keep spelling it Rogue, but actually it is probably because it has an insane amount of blushing). Anyway, the meaning will make sense further down.

Things have their ebb and flow, and right now my creative writing has its ebb. It may look like it is not just the creative, but I have actually been writing some pretty groundbreaking non-fiction too. Unfortunately it is not ready to be shared, I think.  I guess this goes into the “bottom of the iceberg” for now.

Also for the benefit of my writing, I have watched Japanese high school love anime.  First I reviewed my favorite episodes of the series Hatsukoi (meaning First love).  Well, that one is partly about middle schoolers too.  As such, it is fairly decent, although it did have more vaguely erotic moments than I remembered.

Then I started watching KimiKiss Pure Rouge, another similar series which (like Hatsukoi) was not very well received by fans.  Traditionally school love anime has either been about one couple and their rivals, or one boy and a circle of different girls.  The first type is usually aimed at girls, the second at boys.  Oh, the surprise!  I am actually writing a story about a boy and his relationship (or lack thereof) with a number of girls, mostly in the Literature club at his school.  Unsurprisingly, the working title is Closed Books.

Both Hatsukoi and KimiKiss Pure Rouge, however, have a number of different pairings and especially love triangles.  KimiKiss has, from what I can see so far, three different male protagonists each with two different love interests.  They are generally not very honest with themselves either.  I guess that is business as usual, but when the three main character are blandly deceiving themselves despite intrusive memories of their real feelings, it becomes a little like parody, I think. I am a bit past halfway and I find it kind of hard to watch now.

Anyway, I think I just realized something pretty important when writing about love.  See, the problem is not really that I don’t know much about sex. This is a story about high schoolers, and if they are lucky, they don’t know much about sex either. The difference is that I don’t know much about loneliness. Barely anything at all.  A few minutes a few times in a lifetime. Perhaps an hour in total?

Ah, this may be hard.  Just when I think I have this “being human” thing down, I suddenly come upon something like this. Not that I am complaining, mind you. The thought of being alone, without the Presence, is like Hell itself.

Perhaps I should write about being a sixth-dimensional programmer instead, but who in their right mind would read that? People don’t even believe in the fifth dimension, even though it only takes a few minutes ridiculously simple practice each day for a while to begin sensing it.

Second specialist visit

And probably the last.  The lung lady was quite upset that I had not taken the medication. I explained why: There had been no measurable effect of the drug they tested last time, and it seemed likely that my lungs simply were only 80% effective because I had spent my whole life breathing only 80%. After my childhood asthma, I had automatically checked myself every day and night of my life, slowing down before getting seriously winded. So there was no reason for my lungs to develop fully.

She still thinks I have asthma, which is probably true in a certain sense – you may call it potential asthma – but I still think there must be better ways to go about this than giving pharmacy companies a drinking straw in the health insurance for the remainder of my lifetime.

The throat specialist agreed that it was quite likely that part of the reduction was irreversible, and what they had wanted was to find out just how much. If I ever want to try that, I can call them after about a month of using the drugs, he said.

From what I have dredged up, the long-term inhaler is a local-effect anti-inflammatory drug. It basically dampens the immune system in the lungs. That seems like a pretty bad idea unless my body gets upset over nothing and attacks itself. Of course, a lot of people experience just that.  But meditation and self-reflection is known to prevent it, as the main source in most people is chronic stress.  I intend to continue down that road and see what happens.

Dreams and dying bumblebees

This morning I had long and complex dreams, since my alarm did not go off as it does on workdays.  Most is forgotten, of course, but toward the end I was in a city that looked too perfect, too sparkling clean and modern. It made me think of the capital city of the Praetorian alternate world in City of Heroes. Anyway, I went into a large church there.  They were about to cure some people of deadly diseases.  The first was a young woman who went into an enclosure beyond our sight.  I had a bad foreboding about this.  At the same time, a woman was wandering around in the church, telling about how she could not afford surgery.  I and the woman beside me were about to give her money (something I would not do in real life, since in real life people lie shamelessly if they can get paid for it). A very muscular man came over and stopped us.  “All money should be given to the Church, which will then use it to help those in need.”  There was a definite “or else…” in his demeanor, and I got out of there very quickly.  After a stroll on the city’s moving pavements, I returned with a coworker to the garage under the cathedral, just as they were removing the bloody remnant of the girl who was “cured”.  Exploded seems a more fitting description of what happened to her.

The other dream I remember was of attending a job-related seminar, about some new software that was introduced.  I understood it easily, but most of the people there were just ordinary users, and they had a harder time with it. Two of them were from Kristiansand, where I work, and we knew each other at least somewhat. I cannot now remember if I know them in real life, but I know the type at least.  They were women, like most of those present, and rather cute. I wanted to look at one of them in a lustful way, but did not get around to it before the seminar was over and we all had to leave.  Evidently ogling women is not a high priority even in my dreams anymore.  Someone had forgotten a camera, though I don’t remember if it was me. There was also something else computer-related going on, but it did not make it to my long-term memory.   As if this is not enough filler.

In waking life, a badly incapacitated bumblebee was in the upstairs hallway, right outside my bedroom door.  Later today she was crawling along downstairs, outside my bathroom door.  It is  a big one, presumably a mother bumblebee (kind of like queen bees, but bumblebees have fewer offspring.) I have had a couple of those come inside to die before, but it is weeks since last time. I wonder what makes them come inside and, from the looks of it, seeking me out. Does their little bumblebee spirit regard me as some kind of god, thinking that if they can only die in my presence, they will be guaranteed a good afterlife?  Or are they simply instinctively trying to get stepped on, to end the pain?

Well, I don’t even really understand myself, so what is the chance that I will understand the dying wish of a bumblebee?

JulNoWriMo has begun!


For now, JulNoWriMo (July Novel Writing Month) is just a dust cloud after NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month (which is actually international almost since the start).  But it is growing. And I fully expect that eventually there will be more of them, until every month is novel writing month, and reasonably good novels are available for free in larger quantity than you could read even if you were retired but not tired.

But that is still some way off, even barring spectacular global disasters. For now, we are just a bunch of overly optimistic (and pretentious) people, most students, and most of us will probably never actually complete our masterworks, much less rewrite them, edit them, polish them and publish them. Though it may well happen to someone.  And we certainly won’t do any of the above if we never try.

Although there are better things to try during July, I suppose.  I was sorely tempted to impulse buy a greatly shortened version of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, today, from my mobile phone.  The HTC Hero upgraded itself to Android 2.1 today, after having been stuck on 1.5 for the longest time. What does this have to do with the Summa Theologica? Well, the thing is  that there is a free Kindle program for Android phones, but it was only made for later versions, not 1.5, so today was the first day I could actually use it. Thus the temptation. I was only a few keypresses away. Because, you know, I don’t have enough Books of the Truth to last me for an eternity already…

Forgot the mobile phone at home today.  Been months since last time. (It was after I came home that it updated itself, because it waited for me to say OK. And to backup the whole thing, which I didn’t, and I don’t seem to have lost anything. Your loss may vary.) So anyway, there were 2 missed calls from the Mormon Missionaries, and I did not find them at the place we had agreed to meet.  I will probably drag the book along tomorrow too.

On a related note to almost all of the above, I finished my re-read of Okawa’s “Science of Happiness” on my way home. I was thinking of replacing it with my third-and-a-half read of “Philosophy of Progress” – the one with Higher Thinking for Infinite Prosperity. I mean, you all want Infinite Prosperity, right? But in the end I opted for “The Laws of the Sun”. It has a higher concentration of weird stuff than any other I have seen, with numerous sunken continents and all the higher dimensions. If there is any of his books that can cast some real doubt on his sanity, it should be the one. Unsurprisingly, it is a best-seller in Japan. 0_O

Perhaps Aquinas would not be such a bad idea after all.

But he would probably not inspire any romantic fiction for JulNoWriMo. I think that is pretty sure.