“Peak everything”

Perhaps people will have to walk and bike more, the way Japanese already do. It does not seem to hurt them.

You may have heard the phrase “peak oil” recently. This simply means that the world’s production of oil has reached its peak, or highest level. It does NOT mean that suddenly one morning we will wake up and there is no oil left. Quite the opposite, in a manner of speaking: Because peak oil means that oil has become more expensive, it now is commercially viable to extract oil in places that were not worth the trouble before. America has increased its production quite a bit over the last five years or so thanks to this. (And added hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the process. So it is good for something!)

So what we are facing is not a sudden end to oil, but a gradual increase in prices as the difference between demand and supply grow wider and wider. When something is very rare but useful, like gold or diamonds, the price is very high. Oil is gradually moving in that direction. It will not forever be plentiful enough to just burn for heating. It will be reserved for production of chemicals, plastics etc.

But it is not only oil that may have peaked. There are also several metals that are starting to become expensive. Again, this is not because we have mined all the ore in the world for that particular metal. It is just that the reserves are deep in the ground, or under the bottom of the sea, or in other places that are hard to get to. Not even all of the reserves are in such places, but the ones that are easy to get are no longer enough.

It does not help the prices that demand is going up. The world population is still growing, but more importantly, many developing countries are now actually developing. And they need many of the same things we need:  Metal, glass, rubber, oil. After all, now that they are getting a bit of money, they want the kind of things we have, more or less.

Actually the newly developed countries won’t need as much resources as we did at the same level of development. For instance, we needed lots of copper for phone cables, but developing countries are largely skipping landlines and jumping straight to mobile phones. With these, and increasingly also smart phones and the Internet, the need for transport is also less than it was. Rather than having to travel to the next town to check whether there is cheap rice for sale, you can just call or check on the Net, and stay home if there isn’t. So a lot of time is saved, and transport of people is less necessary when everyone is connected.

Overall, though, more money means more activity of all kinds and needs more resources.

Some resources are almost endless, by the way. Glass is made mostly from sand, and we won’t run out of that until Sahara becomes Communist, as the joke goes. There is a huge reserve of high-quality sand, so we should be seeing plenty of affordable glass for the foreseeable future.  (In so far as the future is ever foreseeable – we may be hit by an asteroid or fall into a black hole etc, but you know what I mean.) Likewise there is unlikely to be peak salt as long as the sea tastes like tears. Arguably we are also pretty far from peak sun, but there are a few problems there.

There are two basic ways of getting electricity from sunshine. One is to collect the heat of the sun with big mirrors and boil water to run a steam engine. This should continue to be feasible for a very long time. The other approach is solar panels, directly converting the sunlight into electricity. This is the cool approach, and these solar cells can be placed anywhere there is enough sunshine, even on your own property.  This is particularly nifty if you live in warm areas where you need to use air conditioning to maintain a healthy temperature indoors. When the sun is baking, that is when you need electricity the most. With solar cells, you can get it right then and there, from the same sunshine that makes it too hot in the first place.

Unfortunately, solar cells need some rare earth elements. These are found naturally in small amounts in various ores, but the only large deposits in the world are all in China. That’s certainly nice for China. It looks like new technology may be able to replace some of those rare elements, but for now, local solar power depends on Chinese goodwill. (Or at least enlightened self-interest.)

When gas prices hit $10 per gallon (should not be so far off) you may want to be able to drive en electric car. These have become pretty good. They may not be able to run as far and as fast as gas cars, but they can break the speed limit and get you to daycare and work and back with no problem. And they are pretty cheap in use. They are becoming cheaper to make as well. But this may change. You see, the batteries again need some elements that are not plentiful. When you make a few thousand cars, this is not a concern. If you plan to make tens of millions of cars, or even hundreds of millions, and replace the batteries every couple years (even the best batteries are unable to hold a full charge after that long), you have a problem.


So, what does “peak everything” mean for you? Basically it means that a lot of things will become more expensive. This is not really inflation as we are used to thinking of it. The old type of inflation came from too fast growth and too much money sloshing around. The new price growth comes from a limited supply. This is not the same thing. Curing the old inflation was a matter of making sure there was less free money, for instance by raising interest rates. This will not miraculously cause more oil or copper or lithium to manifest on Earth.

There is a risk that central banks will just follow the old script and try to fight the New Inflation by raising interest rates and issuing less money, thus making the problem worse. So far the Federal Reserve at least has excluded energy prices from their inflation measure, and the Central Bank here in Norway does the same. But what will they do about products that need oil either to create (like plastics) or to grow (mechanized agriculture) or to transport (almost everything that is not made next door)? And what will they do about products that contain copper, silver, tin, antimony, bismuth or neodymium? When the cheap gas-powered cars become fairly useless and you have to buy a more expensive electric car, is it inflation?

It is hard to say whether governments and central banks will actually make things worse. Governments probably, if it is within their power, since governments represent the common people. You probably know a number of common people, so your wariness is quite natural.

But even in a best case scenario, barring divine or extraterrestrial intervention, we will see a period where a wide range of things become more scarce and expensive. If you are going on a long vacation this summer, enjoy it with all your might: There won’t be many more. From now on, we are on a course of gentle decline in the areas of transport and mass consumption.

On the bright side, electronic communication will probably continue to be cheap. So watch this space, or other spaces like it. There is a lot more to life than vacation in exotic places. In fact, some of us even LIVE in exotic places. And there are many sources of happiness that don’t depend on having lots of oil and copper.

Fine, have it your way!

“We may be perverted, but we’re not evil!” There are indeed many people who are off from the ideal in a number of ways, but who are not evil. When given help, encouragement and advice, they can live good lives without quite knowing how or why.

Long-time readers may have noticed that I have kind of latched on to the concept of “giving love”, as espoused by the new religious movement “Happy Science” and its founder and leader Ryuho Okawa. Of course, I did not just randomly decide that I would believe this since he said so. Rather, this is also the essence of Christianity, with which I evidently have had happier experiences than most of my readers. But as one goes through life and changes, an immunity can easily arise to teachings one knew when one was younger. Seeing these again in other words, from another angle, can make them new again, even more so than before. This was what happened to me in this matter.

Looking back on my life, I see that giving love rather than taking it has brought me happiness. Wishing to be loved instead has led to unhappiness, as was the case for much of my late childhood and early youth. By love I don’t just mean romance, in my case hardly at all.  But to be shown respect, to be praised, to be given things etc are also a desire for love, in a wider sense.

(Fun fact: In the computer game The Sims 2, when you click on a pet you get a menu of actions, one of which is “Give love”. Choosing this again gives you the choice between “Stroke” and “Feed treat”. It really is that way with people too: You can stroke their ego or give them something material, it has a similar effect. My former coworker used to say: “Praise the fool and he will work himself to death.”)

Anyway, I have been kind of missionary about this, I realize. I think everyone should give love to the best of their ability, because it makes them happier than waiting for others to give them love (or give them anything at all, really). I have generally held the belief that if you are of the opposite type, waiting for others to give to you, you will live an unhappy life, die an unhappy death, and face an unhappy afterlife.

This may indeed be the case when this attitude goes beyond all bounds and one becomes a black hole of self-made misery. But I just got a small correction to my zeal, by reading another reflection by Mr Okawa. In Happy Science Monthly no 205, he takes a more pragmatic approach:

People who desire to receive love make up the majority in this world, but a great many of them fail to have it satisfied. That is why Happy Science wants to increase the number of people who can bestow love on others – people who can provide love. At the same time, we wish for people to keep their health as they give love.

In other words, even though it would be better for them if they got up and did something for others, most people are not able to just up and do that. So if people are unhappy and whine about it, if we enthusiastically tell them that the solution is to do something for others, they may not be able to “get it” and just go on griping. In that case, we need to be able to think: “Fine, have it your way then!” and give them love, respect, praise and birthday gifts; but with wisdom so that we are not sucked dry by their bottomless hunger for receiving and receiving.

This is obviously the case with children. Even I knew that. No matter how much you may wish that children were actually grateful and tried to help themselves and others, they are severely restricted in that regard. They seem to be programmed to receive more than they give, which of course in a sense they are. If not, they would not be able to grow up, since they start with nothing.

But adults should know better, is how I have been thinking. After all, they already carry a burden of debt, morally speaking I mean. Whether they know it or not, they have all received a large amount of love – in the wider sense – during their childhood, otherwise they would not have been alive now.

Think about this: If a baby or small child is left in a place where there are no people, like a forest or an abandoned house, it will with certainty die within days. Now, the people who raised you may have been terrible people, they may have been evil, they may have caused you many forms of suffering and may have told you often that they hated you. But if you are alive, the fact remains that they have been better than nothing. Because it is a scientific fact that alone, you would have been dead. Therefore, even if they honestly believed that they hated you, something has compelled them to give you love anyway, no matter how grudgingly.

In short, the fact that you lived to adulthood shows beyond any doubt that you have received goodness from others, probably from many others. Therefore, no matter how much you may wish to hate the world and particularly those who raised you, the fact remains that you have received goodness and are obliged to give goodness to other people in order to maintain your karma balance, or more bluntly to not be a jerk.

But in practice, there will always be a number of people who just don’t get it. They don’t want to be bad, but they don’t really see the Light. For various reasons, they can’t even in their mind restore their karma balance to positive. In fact, I may be one of them. Besides being a very whiny kid until well into high school, I have also have long phases in my life where I wanted little to do with humans. In my job, I did as little as I could get away with, thinking: “God gave me this job to punish me, I cannot really do anything useful here, I am not being paid enough to bother, and I cannot afford to take further education so I could actually do anything useful.” Telling myself things like that, I spent a long time doing good only casually, on a whim, when I felt like it.

There are people who for various reasons are trapped in this mindset or worse for the duration of their adult life. But what I have now begun to think is that not all of these go to hell, in this life or the next. People who lack the ability for self-reflection can be said to live a 4-dimensional life, as they have no access to spirituality and the dimensions beyond. But not all of the purely 4-dimensional realm is a hell. If people live in a good environment where they receive goodness from others, many of them are able to live good lives. They may not be entirely able to pay back their karma balance, but they don’t sink into despair or get twisted into evil and hate either. They kind of stumble through life living reasonably good and pleasant lives as long as the environment is good.

What spiritual people can do, then, is to help provide such environment. By encouraging the more materialist people, wisely, they can provide them with a kind of light or happiness that these again can spread to others until it runs out and they need to be filled up again from someone who has an outside source.

If you think about it, you have probably met such people who have a strange ability to cheer people up, comfort them without encouraging self-pity, and make others feel strangely energetic for a while.  When faced with non-spiritual people, this is a much more useful approach than insisting that they come as they are and become like us. Some people simply are not ready for that, and may not be in this lifetime. But if they can refrain from bitterness and find forgiveness, they can live good and somewhat happy lives and die without holding grudges.

There are those who become so warped that even a good person will despair in their presence, and only a saint can handle them without getting infected by their darkness. These are not the ones I am talking about. Rather, there are many who just don’t see much further than their nose, spiritually speaking, and are in a sense not meant to. They just don’t have the capacity for it. Even some intelligent people may be ridiculously earth-bound. These people are in danger, but as long as they are not actually messing around with darkness, they can still channel goodness that is given to them from other people.

Yeah, that was pretty long and not as concise as I usually write. It is more of a first impression.

Wrist and everyday magic

Fly into that world you’ve been waiting for forever!

As promised, I got some more to do at work. The last two days I have been doing some data entry, which is a good job for me since I am pretty resistant to boredom. Unfortunately the first day in particular was really hard on my wrist, because I had to mouse a lot.

My wrists are damaged for life, something I wrote (and dictated) about years ago, it is still scattered through my archives. I thought for sure at one point that I would end up disabled. (Not an economic disaster here in Norway, but not very compatible with my current aspiration of giving back to society.) Meditation and exercise have restored my arm to the point where I don’t notice the problem in daily life; I can even type fairly large amounts of text. But if I have to use a mouse more than a little, such as I did at work now (or playing Daggerfall), the arm soon begins to hurt. And not only while I am mousing – until it heals itself, even typing causes some pain.

No longer completely stupid to such things, I spaced the work out, stretched, and took breaks. Today I also slept away the entire evening from before sunset to midnight, which also helps a good deal. I can still feel the pain, but I can live with this level of it. This particular job is almost finished anyway. I will probably add a few more lines tomorrow, and that’s it.

And of course, at home I have Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. I can only speak a few minutes at a time, since my voice is also damaged permanently. (The joys of growing old!) But if I can speak a few minutes and type a few minutes, and then do something else for a while, I can repeat this until I have written what I wanted.

Seriously, people: If you are able to speak something reasonably close to standard English, and have your own computer, and don’t live in abject poverty, get a quality microphone and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. It is ridiculously good, and it gets better every day you use it. I admit that I find it hard to use for some types of writing, because I have spent two generations of human lifetime thinking with my fingers. But for the 99.99% of humans who talk habitually anyway, this thing is like science fiction. Seriously, people, it’s like something out of Star Trek.

Check some of the demonstrations available online, for instance on YouTube. It really works like that. They’re not faking it. I still have some problems with my Norwegian accent, which is not one of those supported. But the program keeps adjusting, every time I use it it gets a little better. And so do I, probably. I don’t use it regularly, but when my wrist acts up, I remember it again, and become impressed all over again.

It is awesome to live in the Age of Wonders. Here’s an unrelated quote but with the same perspective from my friend Tsaiko:
“Who cares about flying cars?
The future is technology that lets me hold 1500 books in my hands. I HAVE A KINDLE.”

(Actually, I don’t have a Kindle myself, as I prefer to read my books on a high-resolution smartphone. But that does nothing to reduce my awe that I was really allowed to live to see an age where everyday items are virtually indistinguishable from magic.)

Dream – avatar of justice

This morning, I had a dream. It was mostly hellish, but it took an unexpected turn at the end.

The dream took place in a small town, where things took a turn for the worse. Bad things started to happen. People died. Eventually it became clear that a criminal syndicate was killing people off. One of their own tried to betray them and stop them, but was killed. However, he had managed to alert me.

Toward the end, death machines were running in the streets, guns on wheels, shooting everyone who had not fled. I am not sure whether they were robots or remote controlled, but they drove through the streets killing people.

The leader of the criminal syndicate was a Lex Luthor type. Perhaps it was just his personality. The place did not otherwise give off a DC Comics feel. The criminals were all gathered in a building while their death machines roamed the streets. That’s where I came and confronted them in their lair. They wanted to kill me too, of course, but they were not in my league. I pronounced my sentence on them: I would swap the dead and the living. They would die, those they had killed would be resurrected.

OK, I assure you that this is not the order of magnitude I usually operate on, even in my dreams. My only excuse for the resurrection part is that I dreamed this on Easter Day morning. Even in my dreams, I don’t usually aspire to resurrecting other people, certainly not hundreds of them.

There is some variation in how much magic I can use in my dream, but it normally lies within a certain boundary. If I use too much, I wake up extremely tired, even more sleepy than when I went to bed. And if I do something too spectacular in one go, I wake up gasping for breath and my heart hammering in my chest. Like the time I blew up a hill, or the time I tried to teleport someone backward in time. Usually I can teleport myself 2-3 times in one dream before I am exhausted. This time, while I did not actually get around to resurrecting people, I teleported the whole building, a piece of the street and a neighboring building to Antarctica. That’s normally out of my league. Evidently my dreams have been upgraded or something.

(It bears mention that I was not Magnus Itland in this dream. As is often or even usually the case, I had a completely different body, life history, name and memories, but the same spirit.)

So anyway, there was some disturbance and the Luthor type, the boss, killed several of the others with an improvised grand cudgel type of weapon, before they put him down.  I woke up so I did not see them all die, nor did I see the townies resurrected.


I have seen people as different as Ryuho Okawa and Philip Sherrard (Orthodox Christian philosopher) say that our dreams are a hint of our afterlife. Sherrard says that after our physical body dies, we will continue to inhabit the (inner) world we inhabited while we lived. Okawa says that upon death, dreams and waking life will be switched around, so that our dreams will seem to be our real world, and the world will seem like a dream.  People who have happy dreams about being together with friends are likely to have a happy afterlife being together with friends, because they have a life-content of love. People who dream about hate and fear and enemies are likely to have a hellish afterlife, because this is the content of their soul.

I reserve judgment on this theory.  Somehow I find it hard to believe that I will be a godlike avatar of justice in my afterlife…

Happy blue light worldbuilding

What if you had the power to change or create anything through concentrating the clear blue light of your mind? (Illustration picture from City of Heroes, featuring my heroic alter ego, The Eternal Newbie.)

I recently came up with another story germ. Or perhaps you would say I came down with it, germs being germs and all. Anyway, I’ve been sketching it out a little in my head and writing a first chapter.

The world in which this story takes place merges two of my favorite worlds: That of my Lightwielder stories, where absolutely truthful people wield a magical power to help others, and that of Happy Science. Well, more exactly TSI, the equivalent of Happy Science in the movie Rebirth of Buddha, itself by Happy Science. I wrote 50 000 words of fiction last November based on that world, and it was probably the easiest writing I had ever done.  The Lightwielders were used for a similar length of text in 2007, but it was not as easy to write.

So this story is part magical and part spiritual, I would say. Much of it takes place in the World of the Mind, where people are what they think. So the people who have Light in them are able to do magical things by that power while they are in the World of the Mind.  They can fly, they can change their clothes with a thought, even change their own mind-body with some experience. They can move to anywhere in the World of the Mind in the blink of an eye, or find another person just by thinking of them. They can even concentrate their light and create things out of thin air, at least for a while. So it is a fun place… for them.

The World of the Mind intersects with Afterlife, though, and that is not a happy place for everyone. I should be able to find all the drama needed for a novel in there. For instance, once in a while a stray spirit from the hells of lust or strife or gluttony or some such wanders into the World of the Mind and starts stinking up the place. What do you do then?


Now about the blue thing. See, there are 7 colors of light, like a rainbow bridging earth and sky. Blue, the color of reason, is thought.  Our main character and his  girl classmate both happen to be true blue. In their realm, everyone dresses in blue and shine from within with varying intensity of clear blue light.

Because Blue is the color of reason and thought, their part of the World of the Mind is filled with geeky things, games and puzzles and libraries of textbooks and stuff like that. Basically each part of the World of the Mind is filled with stuff that their kind of people would put there, and they keep placing new things there or improving on old. When you redesign a thing in the World of the Mind, you don’t actually delete the old version, it is still visible to those who remember it or want to see it.

Anyway, part of why I use the Blue Light is to distinguish this story from my Lightwielder stories, in which there is only one Light, and it is white. In this story, there is also only one Light, but it splits into seven colors to accommodate the many different people who live in the World of the Mind.


The first chapter is almost completely Happy Science, I mean TSI, except that the main character (a high school boy, of course) can see a faint glow around his classmate when he does not look straight at her, and he notices that the room seems to grow brighter when she arrives and a little dimmer when she leaves. Because of this, he keeps looking at her in class, trying to catch that faint aura, but he never succeeds. Instead, another girl in class who is his childhood friend from they were little, notices that he is staring at light-girl. Misunderstandings ensue.

Light-girl finds out and takes him home to meet her parents, but not the way he thinks. Together, they explain that he has the same kind of light in himself, but his light is mottled and dimmed by negative spiritual influences. This is because he has used pornography (which works like a spell book when seen from the World of the Mind) to summon a sexual demon / lost soul which has attached itself to him.  In order to do combat with the demon, he and his classmate and her father go to the World of the Mind. And that’s where the magic world part begins in earnest.

Me, a nightmare

Faceless, nameless nightmare. Once, this was me. In a manner of speaking.

There are many human nightmares. Robbers, burglars, rapists, stalkers… I’ve not been any of those. But I’ve been a faceless bureaucrat ruining your life through sheer incompetence and cowardice.

Before I branched into computer and software support, I spent years as an actual bureaucrat, working for the state as a tool of public suspicion. I shuffled papers, I read various explanations of why people wanted money the state would have for itself, and rejected them. I was probably a source of fear, hate and despair even when I did my job. When I did not, it could be even worse. This also came to pass.

Looking back on my life, I remember one time in the 1980es, when I was still fairly young and had only worked for a fairly short time as a case worker. There was a thick dossier on one of the famous people in our city, and he had sent in a form that I for some reason did not know what to do with. The details are pretty hazy, but I remember reading it and trying to figure out what to do with it. I was not sure, and the boss in charge of this particular thing was an elderly man of somewhat unpredictable temperament, when he was present at all. And of course we had a quota of sorts – we had to report how many cases we had handled each week, and I was already lagging badly. (I know this because I was ALWAYS lagging badly with the cases.) I held on to the document for some while, then misplaced it. Eventually it was destroyed before its time.

Much later, I found out that there had been a fairly high-profile case involving this person, where he had referred to the document, but it was nowhere to be found, and the corresponding arm of government naturally did not believe there had ever been such a document at all. At that time, I was doing something else and only learned about it afterwards. This was exactly the kind of nightmarish encounter that people have with the bureaucracy, where they lose money and get humiliated because some incompetent faceless bureaucrat has failed to follow their incomprehensible rituals.

This is one reason why I am skeptical of a big public sector (and other monopolies). I was intelligent, idealistic and basically a good person, and I still became a nightmarish villain through a brief combination of ignorance and cowardice. And I did not even lose sleep over it. It was just a job, after all, and not a well paid one at that. It was not my money that was lost or my reputation that was tarnished.

Now that I am old and look through my life, I see it suddenly from the other side. Whereas I have been thinking of myself as a Servant of the Light, this guy has rightly seen me as a faceless, nameless, shadowy figure of evil and probably cursed me a hundred times, wishing that I would burn in Hell and be violated by a thousand hairy demons.  After all, Hell has no fury like a conservative scorned by bureaucrats.

I have toyed with the idea of telling the guy the whole story, if he is still alive. But I am not sure whether this would make things better or worse. It happened a generation ago, after all: I cannot prove anything, and even if I could, there is no way the decision would be overturned now, these things expire after 10 years around here.  Nor do I really have the kind of income to compensate him for the money he lost, or at least it would probably take many years.

Or I could just say to myself: “Well, Jesus died for my sins so it does not matter that I caused Hell on Earth while I was alive, I’m still going to Heaven and there’s nothing you can do about it, nya nya!”

OK, got a little carried away there. But you know what I mean.

Spring leaves

What? Spring leaves? But it has barely even arrived here yet!

No, leaves as in leaf. Small, light green, but definitely leafy. There have been some flowers already, they seem to be in more of a hurry than the leaves. Can’t wait to spread pollen, you know. But this bush actually has leaves. And it is not alone. Yesterday on my way home from work I saw whole trees beginning to green, further up in the valley where there is more sun.

And further up in the hills I saw small heaps of snow still, in the shadows. Spring is a weird and varied thing here in Norway. And beautiful, but it is not easy to convey that beauty in a photo, because it depends on all the other things around. This bush was special because the other trees and bushes around were still dark. It was the first.  We tend to remember our firsts, and our lasts if we know. Each of the two has its own poignant beauty, that a lens cannot catch but only the heart.

Are we happy now?

“My emotions were almost unbearable.”  I have been in such a place, and I don’t want others to stay there longer than necessary.

When I warn against emotional advertising, or casual sex, or socialist envy, it is not because I crave that you agree with me or acclaim my opinions as being right. My purpose is simply to increase the happiness of those who read me.

I mean, I have other interests too. I am not a Buddha or some such, living only for the benefit of the world. Mostly I am minding my own small things. But if I bother to write about more general things, this is why. I try to pick something that is not so far out that ordinary people cannot “get” it. On the other hand, it should be non-obvious enough that not everyone has “got” it already.

People generally crave attention, acceptance and acclaim. Their map of reality needs to be verified by others. “Since others agree with me, I must be right!” For the same reason, people tend to only read books and newspapers that agree with them, listen to radio programs that agree with them, and so on. The need to belong to a group of like-minded people is so strong it might well be an instinct. And the best part of it is when you can get others to accept your way of seeing it, rather than the other way around.

But that is not what drives me. I am not part of a group. And I rarely hear from those who read me, well except for my old friend, who anyway seems to do quite well on her own. In terms of getting attention, it would be far more efficient to spend time on a dating site: Even if I never even got to second base, I would get a lot more excitement than here.

The other day, I read this in a newsletter: “A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it.” This was evidently considered words of wisdom or truth, and I agree that it is probably a fact for most people. But as I have told in the past, we are not supposed to be children all our life. At some point we have to give more love to others than we receive from others, otherwise the amount of love on Earth will dwindle and go dry.  Sometimes it seems this has already happened. In the striking mental image by Ryuho Okawa, a society without love is like a hospital filled with patients crying in pain. Where are the doctors and nurses, who can give care and prescribe treatment that actually leads to healing?

But it is not just old age or a sense of obligation that drives me, I would say. I am still receiving love, and lots of it, but from the Light, from God or Heaven. This is my experience. I am receiving constant love and attention and advice from Above. You may be convinced that all such things are fantasies and only exist in my head. Then ask yourself: If you were hungry and you decided to fix this by fantasizing about food, how long would you survive? A number of weeks, perhaps months if you were a fat American tourist. But I dare say that your imagination would wear pretty thin after a couple of days already.  But I have lived this way for many years. So either the Heavenly Light exists, or the need for love and attention does not. In either case, you probably have to adjust your worldview dramatically, if you are an ordinary person.

Please do. And you don’t need to report back to me when you find a wellspring of happiness that never seems to go dry. You don’t need to remember my name or tell others about me. Just pay it forward. I have plenty.

The last comic

The picture and title were coincidental, if such a thing exists. I had actually given notice of unsubscription two issues earlier, as is standard here.

Today I fetched my two last issues of Savage Dragon, the last comic book I have subscribed to. This particular series seems to just go on and on, so I eventually had to unsubscribe to it. The others that I have subscribed to have stopped or gone on hiatus or changed in some other way so that I just had to not subscribe to their new incarnation, if any.

To be honest, I have not had much interest in this for the last couple years at least. But when I lived in the original Chaos Node apartment, I had quite probably more than my own weight in comics, most of them superhero comics. I gave away most of them when I moved from there to Chaosnodeland, but kept a couple barely crates of my favorite comics.  Of these, I had read about a dozen again when I moved anew four years later, so I winnowed a little more.  I still haven’t read them since. I suppose I should give them away while I still can. I am not sure how long the used-book store will hang on.  Or I could burn them, but that would release CO2 into the atmosphere.

That part of my life is over, somewhat belatedly.

That said, I still play City of Heroes. At least for now.

Just say no to advertising

There is nothing quite like a light from Heaven saying “Think on your own!” But at least don’t let cruel enemies dictate your thoughts and feelings. The Servants of the Light have come to set you free; the rulers in the dark are seeking to enslave you.

This is a quick reminder that emotional advertising is evil, even demonic in a literal sense. Such advertising, most notably TV and movie ads but also the simpler form seen in many colored magazines, is callously designed to create insecurity, inflame desires for things you don’t need, and to make you identify with external status symbols.  It seeks to pull you apart from yourself and fuse you with highly temporary objects.

Modern advertisers know more about the human psyche than most of their victims, so it is no wonder they are successful. And make no mistake: To them you are valuable in the same way that cattle is valuable to the rancher. Your wellbeing is of no concern to them at all, as long as you can be used to create more profit.

There is no point in being angry at these people, though. They are captives of a deeper darkness than most of their victims, a hollowing that is the antechamber of Hell. The human subconscious operates in symmetry: What you do to others is done unto you. By making others into lifeless objects, your own life is gradually lost. Theirs is a fate worse than death. In any case, they are not your concern. You are.

There are two main defenses against manipulation. The most obvious is to run for your life.  Don’t watch TV or movies unless you have a good reason to. This is generally a good idea, but particularly so if there is advertising involved. The adverts are designed to manipulate you, and unless you are highly aware, they will.

There, I mentioned the other defense: Awareness. This again falls into two parts. One is to be aware of the purpose and form of the advertising. Typically it will depict a situation in which people receive acclaim, praise, respect or understanding from others, or experience emotional closeness. These are things people often feel they lack, and this feeling is aggravated by seeing others in these artificial situations over and over. In order to obtain these immaterial values, you are told (subtly, of course) that you need to purchase something you otherwise would not need.

The other part of understanding is your understanding of yourself. If you don’t know what makes you tick, if you don’t spend time watching yourself and looking over your actions and reactions, it will be hard for you to see when people are turning your knobs and pressing your buttons to make you work for them. Another benefit of such self-insight is that you are not easily manipulated by people in the flesh either.  Relatives, coworkers, bosses, many such people have techniques for manipulating you. If you know yourself and what is really important to you, they cannot pull your strings and make you dance to your tune.

If you are not yourself, who is going to be?

Be free!