Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Published 7:58 PM by with 0 comment

Chronophobia - The Illusion of Wasting Time Pt. 1

No, You Probably Are Not Wasting Your Time or Life.

For those who begin to fear the ticking clock as part of Chronophobia, sometimes also called "Stir Crazy", "Prison Neurosis" and as a symptom or element of Existential Depression, you will likely get this unbeatable feeling that you are wasting what time you have in life. You have also looked up articles on Chronophobia and found not much to actually help you feel some relief on it like I have by September 2019. The inspiration or wisdom you have found here and there largely tell you things that are not wrong but counterproductive to this particular dilemma: "Life is short, go out there." "You're only young once." "This time that passes by now will never pass again."

While these things are true, the message has been oversimplified and requires context.


Ancient Context: 

Pretty since much before the advent of the counterculture movements in the 60s and 70s (or if we're honest generous, probably in the 1950s), humanity has largely been repressed and confined as part of a wide variety of realities: ruling classes, lack of technology, lack of medical care, lack of education, lack of globally acknowledged value on human life, storms and many other types of hardships where the decency of even reasonably expecting to live to 70 years old isn't even 90 years old itself (at the time of this writing, at least).

"Life is short" indeed rings true, but it was true on a lot more levels back in history before now. The message as it was intended was to tell people to get up, have some fun and actually pay attention to what they are doing; because for 99% of the population, there wasn't anything else to do except work and survive. Wasting time was practically a privilege reserved only for the richest, and even then a lot of them wouldn't make it too long into their old ages.

Modern Context:

It's actually pretty staggering how much of a stride we've made in upsizing the global value of life with each generation succeeding World War II, and in fact the whole subject of geriatrics has been discussed for, ironically, how young of a subject and study it really is. By 2019, we've actually conquered a lot of human condition qualities so quickly that the consequences of doing so are totally pulling the rug from under our feet. 

Human life is now the only type of life on this planet where survivalism is no longer the whole core of its existence. And this still isn't true for much of the global population. Pretty much every other type on this planet only thinks and acts for survival and reproduction and only up to a point of time. Animals do have recreation and fun, and other lifeforms do perform actions with expectations of results that appear weeks or months down the road, but no other animal, bug, plant or anything, as far as we know, thinks about whether or not they are wasting their lives. They don't fear middle-age, old age, regrets, unfulfilled wishes, squandered youth, wrinkles, crows feet or any of that. 

If animals or plants had evolved like humans and built religions, philosophies, corporations and awareness of their mortalities, would they worry about aging and death? Impossible to say. Some studies have been undertaken to see if non-human primates experience midlife crisis and other animals have been known to mourn their families and friends once they are aware that they have died, but so far, we remain unique as the only known anything that has this kind of fear.

The fact that every other type of life known to man simply acts according to its nature and accepts the reality of the world while doing it is significant. It is a significant clue that you were not meant, in any sort of spiritual, existential or natural way, to be afraid of time or how you spend it.


How You Live And When You Live It Is Your Business.

Life, as we should know by now, is not nearly as easy as going out to do whatever you want. No one has control how their lives will play out or have control over the obstacles that will naturally arise from any pathway. You do not own time and time does not own you. People can make their own luck and their own path, but there's still no guarantees for anything other than all things pass, all things pass away, and then they return in new forms as part of cycles upon cycles.

The bottom line is to do the best you can with what you can. That's all you can do and, really, it's enough.

In the next part(s), I'll go over other aspects of how people fear wasting their time and lives and details ways and perspectives you can adopt to help relax on the subject.

Additionally:


“Your ancestors are rooting for you.”
― Eleanor Brownn

“Put one foot in front of the other, no matter what. Enjoy the hilltop views, have courage in the valleys, pay attention to the bends in the road, cry when you have to, laugh when you can, be helpful to others, share your joys as well as your sorrows, and remember that God created you for a purpose.”
― Eleanor Brownn

“I'm not opposed to aging - even though society is kinder on men than women when it comes to getting old. How can I look at aging as the enemy? It happens whether I like it or not and no one is set apart from growing old; it comes to us all. Youth passes from everyone, so why deny it? I'm proud of my age. I'm proud that I've survived this planet for as long as I have, and should I end up withered, wrinkled and with a lifetime of great wisdom, I'll trade the few years of youth for the sophistication of a great mind...for however long it lasts.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
― Confucius

“I have but shadowed forth my intense longing to lose myself in the Eternal and become merely a lump of clay in the Potter's divine hands so that my service may become more certain because uninterrupted by the baser self in me.”
― Gandhi

“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”
― Saint Teresa of Avila

“Old age. I don't know when it really starts, and I'm not interested in finding out. Julia pretty much ignored the whole thing, and that may be the only real lesson there is for the end of our days. Just pretend like it isn't happening, until you have no choice but to accept reality. If you're lucky, like Julia, you'll die peacefully in your sleep after having enjoyed a dinner of onion soup.”
― Karen Karbo, Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

“All things pass...Perhaps the passage of time is a kind of healing, or a kind of salvation granted equally to all people.”
― Mizuki Nomura, Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime
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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Published 6:37 PM by with 0 comment

Afraid of Decay? Don't Be.

Remember to speak with either your general medical physician or with a qualified psychiatrist if you are experiencing severe depression, anxiety or inability to cope with the realities of growing old and dying. This fear has its place in humankind, but only for a very short period of time. Your doctor will be able to help you with this and this blog article will help you between doctor visits.

The Problem:

There isn't a good way of defining the fear of decay that comes with existential depression/depersonalization (and its associate, chronophobia), without reinforcing some of the objects that trigger that fear within those of us who have to suffer it. I wish I could tell you that not all things decay as time goes on, but that just isn't true. Technically speaking, all things eventually decay and die off one way or another. 

With the exception of some possible things in quantum physics (which I don't have enough knowledge to speak on, and if even I did it wouldn't really be helpful here), nothing we've ever observed in this universe ever truly gets "younger". From the moment of its birth, advent or creation, the proverbial hourglass has been set. Entropy on it moves forward. You can reverse entropy on it with the expense of energy (such as spending time and money on a new hair color to make yourself appear "younger"), but this is technically also its own form of destruction since what you're really doing is removing one element and replacing it with another on a micro-scale.

This just brings us back to the inescapable exchange of input/output in all creation - something has to die before something new can come in. A price, a death, a sacrifice or something near it has to be enacted for something constructive can take place. This is true on all micro and macro scales and the everything in existence operates on it.  

That being said, there is quite a bit of good news and perspective to help you with a fear of decay.

The Insight:

It's irrational to be afraid of decay, because decay is really just "change" in a slightly more specific term.

We use the word "decay" to talk about things getting uglier, losing strength, getting close to death and other sort of negative things that are really much more specific in our linguistic and emotional history, so that's what we think of when we become afraid that all around us is decaying. It's actually kind of a complex misnomer because, while things naturally decay, that decay also directly leads to change that ends up solving problems.


Positive examples of decay include:

* Alcohol and wine being required to age and ferment in ways in order to become the products we know them as.

* Same with cheese and certain dairy items.

* Ideas and things that were "ahead of their time".

* Concrete construction from cement.

* Cooking dishes and their individual food ingredients.

* Hindsight - "In retrospect, we dodged a bullet on that one. If it had gone as soon as we expected, it would've been a disaster."

* Changing seasons - most particularly from Winter to Spring and Summer when nature and life is renewed for quite a while.

* Barriers that are in our way would naturally need to weaken so we could pass through them.

Those are just some of the most obvious ways decay is actually good for people. Millions more exist. 

I somewhat suspect that modern man's growing anxiety over decay actually stems from the last several generations reliance on recorded media for everyday life, a concept that produces a weird variation on the reality of decay if one were to think about it, as well as an over-exuberance on scientific processes being successful at solving many of mankind's former sufferings without the knowledge that all things humans can suffer can be solved by science. We wouldn't want that anyway. 

Ultimately, we already, on many levels, know and accept this as part of our objective reality and the fear is actually misplaced. It's not decay we're afraid of, it's the loss of all that's dear to us before we die ourselves. This manifests itself most commonly when people reach certain ages, become existentially aware, and see all their favorite things and people aging around them. Our friends and family get fatter, greyer, their skin droops more, you see more and more imperfections on their skin and being and nothing can change that without some drastic, and typically non-natural, solutions to them.

Again, there's no way to get around that without reinforcing it as a potential trigger, but it does need to be reinforced. You have to accept this as reality in order to begin the process of having it stop harming you. And, again, there are some ways in which you can already begin changing this mindset.


The Relief:

1. All things decay, but decay is required for new things to come into place to begin with. This is the foundation of nature. It's just "change" by a different name. 

2. Decay is not a subject that most people need to emotionally think about all the time in day-to-day affairs. You were perfectly fine with decay before you really understood how it affects everything around us, and that wasn't really wrong. You are overthinking it.

3. Instead of thinking about the technically-accurate-but-not-really-relevant knowledge that all things decay, consider your loved ones and necessary items under "It is ok/available, or is it not"? Something like that. Just because your Grandma is 81 years old doesn't mean she's not pretty much the same loving woman you've been able to enjoy throughout your life. She might even be healthier and happier now than she was 10 years ago. That is far more relevant to your reference than microscopic, biological decaying terms.

4. Not all things decay at the same rate at the same time. It is therefore logically impossible and inadvisable to think about it because, for the most part, there is no relevant, fundamental information that you should base those worries on. 

5. See nature around you. While we don't know how much insects, animals and non-humans know about the reality of decay, it doesn't stop nature from going on. Autumn and Winter killing off things doesn't stop Spring and Summer from bring new plants, trees, animals and insects in. Mountain ranges on our planet are older than recorded civilizations and they decay, but they're still largely the same now as they were then. Nature being in constant decay does not mean everything around us is going bad. Growth and newness continues on alongside it. 

6. Decay, as it applies to us in an emotional sense, is also not linear. You can be 88 years old and still build muscle, strength and agility to your body by working out at the gym. It's not about turning back the clock, it's about improving the quality of life while you have it. 

7. This is the primary reason so much basic inspirational philosophy tells you to "concentrate in the present". You need to know that things eventually decay and you need to think responsibly about your age and the upcoming future, but there's only so much future you can see and plan for at a time. Worrying about the future is literally giving yourself pain because you know you will have pain in the future. That is illogical and inadvisable. Find a balance between thinking of the future and appreciating the present that works for you.

8. As is a common theme in these articles by now - remember that you have reincarnated many times before, you've already done this quite a bit before and the worst that happened was you died, which was going to happen anyway. You are going to be ok and your friends, family, loved ones and loved items are going to be ok as well. 

Additionally: 

"Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn."
― Mahatma Gandhi

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."
― Maya Angelou

"No one can lose either the past or the future - how could anyone be deprived of what he does not possess? ... It is only the present moment of which either stands to be deprived: and if this is all he has, he cannot lose what he does not have."
― Marcus Aurelius

"Frightened of change? But what can exist without it? What's closer to nature's heart? Can you take a hot bath and leave the firewood as it was? Eat food without transforming it? Can any vital process take place without something being changed? Can't you see? It's just the same with you - and just as vital to nature."
― Marcus Aurelius

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
― Robert Frost

“It’s [old age] not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”
― Betty White

“Aging is not the process of making you old and ugly, aging is the process of making you bold and beautiful”
― Dr.P.S. Jagadeesh Kumar

“For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Published 2:18 PM by with 0 comment

Does Everyone Fear Aging?

No.

And good news for that. Thankfully, for as many reasons as there are for as many people exist on the planet, not everyone fears getting old, fears time, fears the future, or middle-age.

In the midst of a major existential depression or crisis, you may experience an obsession about the upcoming future and future of yourself that fills you with fear, anxiety or some sort of deep-seated negativity. In that, you will likely do as I did and start looking around online to look for articles that others have written on fearing middle age or aging at all. The articles that others have written are extremely insightful, but may not help you in the midst of a crisis as many of them begin and recite the exact fears you are experiencing and make you feel as though they didn't really accomplish the natural fear. Their advice is neither totally relevant or irrelevant to what you are experiencing and are meant for more... "casual" types of blues about aging.

Instead, we need to try a different approach.

  

Consider This:

Look at the world going on around you. In all its good, bad, changing, building and decaying, if human beings were meant to be afraid of aging and time moving forward, or totally shut down at the approach of middle-age, would we have anything here at all?

All of the systems you see around you and the history you can discover are not the products of pre-40-year-old persons. They are built, managed and maintained by a variety of ages, from some of the youngest of adults to the very oldest. 

If time and age were really universal in disabling us, we wouldn't have any of this.

The Accomplishment:

While I do think almost all healthy human beings have pondered their existence and the nature of temporal reality, the experience of feeling that age or temporal limitations completely screw with the ability to just go about their daily business is thankfully not nearly as common. This helps the argument that what you are experiencing requires professional help, not something you should count on always having in life or that you can't count on others for help as needed. 

Why doesn't everyone fear time and aging? Again, it's as individual as the individuals themselves. It is accomplished with any combination of the following:

* Individual psychology.

* Individual life history and experiences.

* Spiritual belief reconciliation.

* Personal self-worth.

* Connection to goals and follow-through.

* Connection to community.

* Social and long-standing cultural attitudes on age and time.

* Physical and mental health.

* Perspective on the lifespan condition.

And others likely. What it really boils down to is they just don't feel like encroaching age is something that bothers them. It's a combination of "I've got all the tools and learning necessary to be ok with and enjoy this temporal incarnation" and "it really just isn't that bad at all." 

Even some of the most sobering articles you can read on things like "midlife crisis" if you were to look them up state that those who experience it only do so for a few years - not a short time to be in existential crisis, but it does actually end while you still have a few more decades to look forward to. 

Again, I would like to encourage you to rest your most fundamental fears on reincarnation, a form of fate and a form of God. You've already done this before, you WILL get to reunite with all that you've lost one way or another, and some kind of higher power is looking out for you. You don't need to believe that if you don't want to, but it's there if you need it.

The bottom line is this: It feels like you won't be ok, but you will be ok. Speak with your general doctor or a psychiatrist about being treated for depression, anxiety or related fears on aging and time moving forward.


Additionally:

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
― Rumi 

“I enjoy intuitive peace, and I play in bliss the cycle of reincarnation is expanding for me, and I am merged with the God, Lord and divine mother.”
― Shreeom Surye Shiva 

“When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan I realized that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock…Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more.”[12]”
― Christopher S.M. Lyon, Holy Warrior in an Unholy Age: General George S. Patton and the Art of Sacred Violence in the Twentieth Century 

“My sun sets to rise again.”
― Robert Browning 

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God 

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.”

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 

“It’s [old age] not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”
― Betty White, If You Ask Me 

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost 

“When Dr. Jung said we must be able to look forward in old age to the next day and to look forward to the great adventure that is ahead, he was making life’s “imperative to grow” personal. As long as we are alive, we must be able to dream of the future, of a better world or better ways of life. We are also invited by our greater Self to dream new dreams of creativity and fresh ways of expressing ourselves, as many great artists have into their nineties.”
― Bud Harris 

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it,”
― Dalai Lama XIV
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Monday, September 23, 2019

Published 1:46 PM by with 0 comment

Afraid of Death? Don't Be.


Remember to speak with either your general medical physician or with a qualified psychiatrist if you are experiencing severe depression, anxiety or inability to cope with the realities of growing old and dying. This fear has its place in humankind, but only for a very short period of time. Your doctor will be able to help you with this and this blog article will help you between doctor visits.

The Problem:

You already know what death is and you already know why you're afraid of it. You're afraid because we don't really know what it's like when it happens to us or if there is an afterlife or not. Death is a universal concern for humanity, but honestly it's kind of a twisted dynamic and our whole lives are dictated by its presence in the life cycle and our fear of it - as well as fears of certain afterlife scenarios that we've thought up.

But how much of that is really true? There's a saying that goes around for the folks that believe there is no afterlife that is some variation of "Well, I was dead before I was born, and it didn't bother me much." I've always found this line interesting and very true - are we just dead if we're not alive? Does that count for not being born yet? It seems so and that's something that I'm surprised more people don't take into account on their attitudes about death. I don't agree with atheists and people who don't believe in an afterlife, but I do agree with them that pre-birth and post-death is the same "state", as it were. And we should treat it as such. 

So we can conclude, if not by full-on proof than at least by having no reason to disagree with it, that we've already been dead before. That should eliminate some fear of it already, but interestingly enough, that quote does not seem to clue people in that also means being dead does not prevent you from coming to life.

The Truth:

You are going to reincarnate. Get rid of your fears of cessation of existence, being in a fiery hell or a golden heaven without end because no matter what happens to you or all of us after death, it will only be temporary. As temporary as life was.

How can you rest your fears that you'll be back somehow to live again? There's really quite a lot of clues around us in nature. Matter is energy. Energy is not destroyed. Matter breaks down and fertilizes new life. That energy becomes part of new life. We have a life "cycle", and why else would it be called a "cycle" if it didn't repeat? Think how many cycles we see in nature - day and night, seasons, planetary rotation, galactic rotation - it's all cycles. Cycles upon cycles upon cycles. The only catch is that we generally don't have any memory of our past lives when we come back (though some exceptions can be possible), but so what? We already lose memories of the lives we're living now before we die. There's a lot more I could write about it here, but the main purpose of this is to get you to relax about life and death.

I really am amazed the religious and non-religious alike don't take upon reincarnation as their base system for death belief because it is a brilliant system that can be spiritual or simply mechanical. Gods are not required for it, but there could still be a chance they would be. Reincarnation works in Christianity as well, but I'm not sure the Christians even know it. They base all their plans on getting to Heaven, but then what? No omnipotent or even intelligent God would bring people in without sending them back out. Same for infinite punishment for finite sins. All afterlives have to be temporal as well because change is required for them to exist in the first place. 

If there is a system of divine justice there, it will likely be like some Eastern religious have it - you get punished for your sins to be cleansed, you get rewarded for your good deeds, then eventually you are sent back out to occupy new forms in new times. As far as systems that we can conceive go, that is probably the best one. Any of us who would be God and need to come up with something brilliant and fair would do the same.


The Relief: 

1. Nothing lasts forever. Life doesn't last forever, but death doesn't either.
2. Yes, you are, one way or another, going to reunite with your past loved ones again. You may or may not know it at that time, but it will happen.
3. Although controversial in nature, for good reason, there are studies that have been done on children who remember past lives and it's probably better evidence we have than for any other afterlife scenario.
4. This would apply to universe lifespans and alternate universes as well. Eternal recurrence or eternal recurrence with slight mathematical, and therefore historical, variations.
5. Some people even suggest that our pets know they will die and reincarnate as well. They will reincarnate, though I'm not totally sure they are aware of it as said. I do think they are closer to nature than we are, so there's no reason to think they aren't aware of it.
6. And on that note - there really is no reason to not believe in reincarnation. There is not one thing known to man that completely obstructs you from ever coming alive again. The very fact that you exist at all proves it is possible in this universe and something like that just doesn't happen only once in a universe lifespan. Your identity and incarnation as you are now will not come back to life in this universe lifespan, but YOU, the first person energy and awareness that occupies that body, will be born again one way or another.

Additionally:

"I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born." —Jack London

"The theory of Reincarnation, which originated in India, has been welcomed in other countries. Without doubt, it is one of the most sensible and satisfying of all religions that mankind has conceived. This, like the others, comes from the best qualities of human nature, even if in this, as in the others, its adherents sometimes fail to carry out the principles in their lives."

"As long as you are not aware of the continual law of Die and Be Again, you are merely a vague guest on a dark Earth." —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"I believe ... that the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life, respecting its conduct in this."
- Benjamin Franklin

"I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning." - Benjamin Franklin

"I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time." —Walt Whitman

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting. And cometh from afar." —William Wordsworth

"I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence." —Socrates

“As a man, casting off worn out garments taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, entereth into ones that are new.” ― Epictetus

"If we’ve been born once already (which we know we have) why then is it so hard for some to believe that we’ve been born before? The answer to that is nothing other than the information about life one has previously received.” ― Renee Chae

“You think God created us to be born only to grow and then die? Not even the tiniest perennial grows only to die. It comes back again and again when the season and the time is right. Even annual flowers grow seeds as they grow so that they can drop the seeds of themselves and live again year after year, life after life.” ― Kate McGahan

“We are all one. Everything is meaningless, and yet at the same time meaningful. Everything matters and doesn’t matter just as much," Wisdom said and looked beyond time.(Nakoma, by Gala.J)”
― Gala.J

“No one, good or evil, ceases to exist; life is energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed; it is recycled.” ― Patricia Cornwell Blow Fly
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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Published 1:56 PM by with 0 comment

Afraid of Aging? Don't Be.


Remember to speak with either your general medical physician or with a qualified psychiatrist if you are experiencing severe depression, anxiety or inability to cope with the realities of growing old and dying. This fear has its place in humankind, but only for a very short period of time. Your doctor will be able to help you with this and this blog article will help you between doctor visits.

The Fear:

The fear of aging is the fear of change and the fear of time moving forward. Because there is no way to stop time moving forward (which we should be thankful for), fear of aging and fear of time is widespread but actually the most ridiculous thing to be afraid of in the known universe.

Fear of aging is a product of several things either going on exclusively to each other or in combination with the following:

* Fear of death.
* Fear of change.
* Fear of loss.
* Fear of decay.
* Over-attachment to the qualities and timespans of youth.
* Unfamiliarity with the realities of temporal existence and mortality.

Additionally, this fear could actually be a product of a mental illness like depression or something similar like I've got. You will need to speak with a medical professional about this.

People with this fear routinely see a human lifespan in terms of compartments and stages. The reason for this is fair, humans have several stages in their span that are shared by almost every single other human that has ever been born. It is overwhelmingly predictable, but most have a tendency to use only this model for what they could expect life to actually feel like once they get there and thus greet the passive into new ages and stages with dread or worse.

The Relief:

Here is what I say to you to relieve any negative feelings you have about getting older.

1. Being afraid of getting old is the same as being afraid of what tomorrow will bring. How many tomorrows have you woken up to? Some were good, some were bad, others were just ok. The future has a dynamic to it where you simultaneously know what you can expect, but don't actually know what will happen. You focus too much on the former aspect of it and not enough on the latter. Think of how many other things you dreaded up to now that weren't quite as bad as you expected or that you got through it. Aging is literally the same thing as that. If you live to be 80 or 90 years old, you're going to be ok. 

2. The stereotypes of the negativity of being old have been studied and proven to be overblown. Almost everything you are afraid of has a chance of happening, but isn't really guaranteed. You don't know what the future will bring, you can only do your best to prevent bad things from happening. This isn't something that is exclusive to being old, you've actually been doing it your whole life. Take care of yourself but don't let preparation make you unhappy.

3. Why do you worry what you'll like when you're old? Not everyone gets fat, not everyone gets ugly, not everyone gets jowls and hanging skin and even gray hair isn't fully guaranteed. Some people even manage to look better older than when they were younger - George Clooney, Roseanne Barr, Leslie Nielsen are just a few names to come to mind. And even if you do get gray hair and jowls and wrinkles, so what? It's just change. You're really not rotting away. You knew from middle school on that your "peak beauty" or whatever would not last throughout your lifespan and, seriously, you really wouldn't want it to either. See below.

4. Almost everything that you're dreading in old age could've already happened to you at a young age. Wrinkles, gray hair, hip replacement, cardiac arrest, ballooning figure and weight and death. The only difference is the longer you live makes it more likely that these things will happen to you, which means it was inevitable. And if it's inevitable, there's no point in worrying about it.

5. If you really need to get some cosmetic work done on yourself, it will be available. There is no shame in having cosmetic work done if it will make you happy, but do it within a level of moderation. If you are too dependent on cosmetics to make you look young for happiness, it will eventually fail and won't solve what truly makes you unhappy - that you have not given up your attachment to your youthful look.

6. Consider how many old people are out and about right now. Go to a festival and see how many old people are there - even in wheelchairs and breathing masks. See how many people past the age of 65 are still running businesses, performing in theaters, creating technology, acting as doctors and medical staff and more. These people know they will die sooner than later, but they live on anyway. If old age really was something so horrifying to the overall human condition, there wouldn't be a lot of elders out and about. They got through their fears and you can as well. Granted, there are many elders who are not able to be out and about and their age and mortality does scare them, but even the worst that can happen will only be temporary and it is not worth giving up hope for.

7. Finally, you've already been young, middle-aged and old many times before in many past lives before. This is because, one way or another, you have already reincarnated and will again in the future. You've already been old, sometimes it was bad, sometimes it wasn't. You will have youth again in a perfectly natural manner. Nothing ever stays forever, but nothing ever leaves forever either. 


Consider This:

Think deeply about the alternative to aging - there aren't many:

* Death
* Permanent Youth
* Stagnation of Existence

Death is the only one that even exists currently, thankfully, but even then, it's not a fitting alternative to aging in almost all cases. Death is inevitable, so why rush towards it just out of some basic insecurity? You will have your death naturally.

The other ones are far more terrifying because they are far less tangible and knowable to the human experience. Imagine if there was a fountain of youth that people could recharge themselves with every 50 years. That would wreck havoc on the planet due to overpopulation, obliterate resources, and change practically every way of life we know now. People would become overly dependent on such a thing and abuse it, creating even more problems that we can and can't conceive of.

Stagnation of existence is even more frightening. No changes, at all, ever. You might enjoy it for a short period, if its even possible, but eventually you would crumble to it. More likely, you'd just be frozen in time with it, and then you either wouldn't know it was happening or you would. How long would it go for? Who knows, time isn't moving, so how would anyone know when it was supposed to come back on? No person can even conceive such a horror.

The reason the other two are so frightening is because we simply don't have it in our natural code to have youth for longer than nature gives us. If human beings were computers, we have it as part of our factory installed operating systems to, on some subconscious level, operate with the knowledge that all things change and die. That's why we actually build things and create value in existence - because we know all things are temporary.

The fact of the matter is that impermanence is something we should be thankful for. If there is an intelligent force in the universe such as God that created everything, then God specifically chose this model of impermanence because it was the best model for having balance and longevity.

Additional Info: 

"Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form." - Rumi.

"My sun sets to rise again." - Robert Browning

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." - Maya Angelou

"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." = Zora Neale Hurston

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love..." - Marcus Aurelius

"I am no longer in my 20s and 30s, I am 46 and I love being in my 40s. I think there is this incredible freedom that comes with a woman in her 40s and understanding that this is who I am and I’ve stopped worrying so much about what people think of me.”
- Gwyneth Paltrow
 

“I’m excited about getting old. I feel like there’s much more freedom in aging and just going with the flow.” - Pamela Anderson

“We need to revise how we think of aging. The old paradigm was: You’re born, you peak at midlife, and then you decline into decrepitude. Looking at aging as ascending a staircase, you gain well-being, spirit, soul, wisdom, the ability to be truly intimate and a life with intention.” - Jane Fonda

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Published 6:01 PM by with 0 comment

Depression, Depersonalization And The Fear Of Existence Itself


A new angle for this blog that I was interested in doing for a while but didn't have the right availability for it until recently.

Some background: I am an autistic adult, born in 1984 and, as of writing, currently 35 years old. I have had anxieties with reality in the context of the temporal as far back as I can remember. Some of it has been a product of autistic youth, but much of it that exists today is a product of an episodic combination of major clinical depression and major clinical depersonalization. I have had these episodes at least since the age of 18 and had them at age 21, 24ish, 32 and currently have one at age 35 that works to erase the work I've done accepting aging, death, change, loss, decay and the most basic fundamental understanding of what it means to exist. For some reason, these episodes focus only on existential issues, but from there makes sure I am thoroughly afraid of all of it. It's something like a stereotypical midlife crisis combined with what I imagine it's like to be given a diagnosis of a terminal illness and given 6 months to live.

Thankfully, I am familiar enough with this weird episodic affliction that I am able to recognize it for the sickness it is and work to bring myself back to normal. Since 2016, when I had my age-32 episode (the worst of them), I have been taking appropriate medication for it and working with my doctor to manage it. The bad news is that what I'm going through does not appear to be as normal or common as other types depressives go through, so finding that which can neutralize the fears with logic and wisdom has been tough - though in so many years with so much research on it where I need it, I have found that which can work to help others in my position, and anyone else who is afraid of aging, death, change, loss, decay as it applies to them.

In subsequent articles, I will be tackling them as short, to the point, and with as little ambiguity as possible. I will be taking quite a religious/spiritual approach here, so invocations of God, afterlife, fate and such will need to be part of it, however this, again, is designed to help appeal to the emotional/spiritual part of the person who is suffering, because that is the part that needs help until medical science can jump in. I do genuinely stand behind what I say and there is no condemnation or hellfire that will be applied here (in fact, you'll see that I largely dismiss eternal afterlife scenarios in what I talk about).

I used to be afraid of getting old, of dying, of parting from things. I am not any longer and I refuse to be afraid of these things. I was born a human being, I have a lifespan and life cycle and it is mine to make good with as best I can. I will invite you to do the same.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Published 2:54 PM by with 0 comment

My Interview With Hiroki Kikuta (Seiken Densetsu 3).



Late in 2018, a project I had long, LONG been involved with and eventually climbed my up to assistant director of was an Ocremix project that served to remix the ENTIRE audio score of famous SNES RPG Secret of Mana 2 (Seiken Densetsu 3). This project had more roadblocks and difficulties than Duke Nukem Forever, but we persevered and got it released.

One thing I got to enjoy doing was I got to interview Hiroki Kikuta himself for the project as part of a "bonus material" type element for the project. Hiroki is famously easy to approach and talk to from a non-industry denizen vantage point and he agreed to shed some more light on what it was like working on Seiken Densetsu 3 where his contractual obligations with Square-Enix allowed, as Square evidently prefers to keep some aspects of their behind-the-scenes stuff to corporate confidentiality and we respect both Square's and Hiroki's wishes on that.

Furthermore, for some reason, this interview has had quite a bit of difficulty in getting posted. It's been lost more than twice by all people involved with it and I had to ask Jahan Zoltan, who very generously translated the interview TO Japanese and then BACK from Japanese, to do it again because we lost the first version. Eventually, I just decided it was easiest all the way around to post it myself to my websites jslawhead.com and meteoxavier.com for people to read.

This interview was written and conducted by me, MeteoXavier.
It was translated into Japanese and back to English by Jahan Zoltan.
Date the interview was conducted was... I don't know, somewhere between 2010 and 2012 I think.

Thanks again to Zoltan, Hiroki Kikuta for allowing this interview to happen and Ocremix for being patient with us long enough to produce the project. See more on the Seiken Densetsu 3 project at http://sd3.ocremix.org/.


*******************************************************************************************************


How did you go about creating the Seiken Densetsu 3 soundtrack? What were you goals? What kind of preparation did it require? Were there any specific influences? How did SQUARESOFT approach you about doing the game?

For starters, I can say that I already had an idea of the direction I'd like to take Seiken Densetsu 3's soundtrack while composing for Seiken Densetsu 2. That game's music was limited by the Super Famicom hardware, but I wanted to emphasize a feeling of translucence and grandness. So I wrote that soundtrack in a very particular and special way. In my opinion, it came out perfectly, but I knew that if I did Seiken Densetsu 3 the same way, I wouldn't be able to surpass Seiken Densetsu 2. So I thought long and hard about a way to surpass Seiken Densetsu 2 with such strict hardware limitations. The answer was not to focus on translucence but on atmosphere and presence. So I threw out what made the Seiken Densetsu 2 soundtrack so attractive to create a completely different kind of attractiveness for SD3. I ended up keeping the number of simultaneous sounds down to 6 and reducing the number of samples. That extra capacity allowed me to create an atmosphere that nobody thought possible on a Super Famicom. I started considering what kinds of melodies and harmonies I could make with this structure at a very early stage. I think the fans already know this, but the Seiken Densetsu 2 arranged album, The Secret of Mana, contains a melody from Seiken Densetsu 3. That arranged album was being made after I had already established the atmosphere for Seiken Densetsu 3.


The Seiken Densetsu 2 soundtrack was energetic and focused on melody while the Seiken Densetsu 3 soundtrack was more rhythmic and progressive sounding. What was the inspiration for this?

Making game music means working under a lot of restrictions. There are hardware restrictions and data capacity restrictions in addition to restrictions related to the game's world, system, and sound effects. There are so many factors to take into consideration. The composer can not simply create whatever strikes his or her fancy. I chose to emphasize atmosphere and presence when composing for Seiken Densetsu 3, but in order to help create a brilliant world with a colorful map, I decided that regular instruments would be insufficient. So I sampled a lot of tribal instruments. Short and impressive sounds complexly interlaced into music has the flexibility to portray any atmosphere from fun to scary and the convenience to allow you to freely change up the arrangement. This resulted in music that was labeled "World Music" and "progressive" even though that was not specifically what I was trying to achieve.


Seiken Densetsu 3 came out 15 years ago, yet the Wii and 3DS rereleases do not at all look like old games. The soundtrack still sounds great to this very day. When you listen to that music today, how do you feel? I would imagine that it feels quite different from the time that you composed it.

The short answer is no. It doesn't feel different at all. For example, the other I was looking for the midi data from when I produced Genesis from the Seiken Densetsu 2 arranged album, and when I heard it, I thought it sounded amazing. Even I was surprised to hear that the musicianship and my ideas for composition didn't sound old. This is just my opinion, but I think the fact The Beatles still sound so good despite the advancements in recording and instruments says it all. If we could create great things simply by using high-performance machinery, humans would be obsolete. We could just let the machines do it.


What was the process to convert your compositions into game code? In the 90s, when you worked at SQUARESOFT, what kind of equipment or programs did you need to get your music into the game?

There isn't much I can say publicly about the techniques that were used. The way I went about composing music for the Super Famicom was to play on a synthesizer or a regular instrument and then rearrange it in a way that it would work on the hardware. You have to restructure the music and you can't hear exactly what it is going to sound like during the composition phase, and that makes it less satisfying. So I would make my own samples for the Super Famicom, play them through the Super Famicom, record those into an AKAI sampler, and then play them through a sequencer and compose with them that way. That way I can hear exactly how it is going to sound on the Super Famicom. I think I was the first person to come up with this method.


A lot of gamers know that programming music for old game consoles can be tough. (For example, FFIV and Chrono Trigger) What kind of hurdles or challenges did you have with the Seiken Densetsu soundtrack? I read a rumor that you once stayed in your office for 24 hours to work on a surround sound application.

Generally speaking, there isn't enough space. Compared to today, memory was too expensive for too little space. Seiken Densetsu 3 takes up just 32 megabits. In other words, 4 megabytes. That is but a tiny fraction of the hard disc space people commonly used today. But that is all we needed to create a world where for 50 hours children can play, go on adventures, feel moved, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Of course, that involved endless hours tedious labor. We had to perform every possible trial and error, type every individual command, and keep optimizing the data little by little. It was like we lived there, and staying at the office for 24 hours was a possibility. But the result was like a crystallization of effort.


This question is for people who aspire to be game music composers. What was the budget and schedule of Seiken Densetsu 3? How much did the budget and schedule affect your music?

Although there wasn't a budget specifically for music production on Seiken Densetsu 3, I was allowed to buy the AKAI sampler and the LEXICON reverb unit. So, there is a small degree of freedom. I also bought a charango from a traditional instrument shop to record samples. Much more important is the schedule. Before anything had been made, the team was formed, and I had two whole years to spend on music production. The first six months I did nothing at all musical. Everyday I was just eating with the team, chatting away with them, gathering information from them, and trying to get a grasp of the image they have. That was by no means a waste of time. In order to understand the world they are creating right in front of me and to be able to create the most suitable music for that world, that much time is needed. That's because you need to have a deep understanding of the game's system, graphics, and the various inner workings to create great game music.


When Seiken Densetsu 3 came out, there were a lot of Americans who wanted to play it, and we were all upset when we heard there would be no English version. There was so much demand that fans made the first English translation of the game. How was the reception of the game in the West compared to Japan's reception.

Well, Seiken Densetsu 3 didn't have much name recognition with the overseas audience. When talking to foreign fans at conventions and such, I got the feeling that lots of people knew about Seiken Densetsu 2, but hardly any had heard about Seiken Densetsu 3. I was surprised when I met people who knew about the game. Those people would tell me that they went ahead and played it in Japanese, even though they couldn't read Japanese. They just loved games that much. I remember feeling quite happy when I heard that.


What are some of your favorite songs from the Seiken Densetsu series? I feel like you were really enjoying composing for the series. Whenever I listen to Sacrifice Part II, I can't help playing air drums. And I have to head bang whenever I hear Faith Total Machine.

I wouldn't say that I was enjoying the work. (Hahaha) Composing game music is just hardship followed by sadness over and over again. Still, it was a great experience because I had full jurisdiction over the music and could do whatever I wanted. The appeal of game music for me was that there were no common practices or theory about how to do it. It was all through trial and error, fumbling around, and experimenting over and over that I was able to come up with my own original style and method of composition. Being a composer itself is nothing but surprises. The normal state of things is always changing, we get new equipment to use. . . It's like opening a gate to the unimaginable. It's fun in that way. I don't expect it's very fun if you can imagine exactly the song you're going to make before you compose it. I tend not to write music for drums, strings, and chorus because it'll sound like everybody else's music. When you're aspiring to produce something great, I think more people need to learn the lesson that "Boredom equals death."


Do you have any interesting stories or happenings you can share? Please don't hold back.^_^

It's not really that interesting, but we were having trouble getting all the bugs out of Seiken Densetsu 3. Even at the very end we couldn't work out all the bugs. I remember the entire team being completely exhausted, but we kept on working on it forever. To be honest, I don't really know when we actually finished the game. We were debugging for so long that everything was turning blurry. (hahaha)


Thank you so much for your time. All of us at OCREMIX are huge fans. Are you working on anything right now? We're all looking forward to the next Hiroki Kikuta project.

Recently I finished the soundtrack for a board game called Werewolf, also known as Mafia. The soundtrack is called Jinrou Bansou Ongaku Shuu (人狼伴奏音楽集) (Werewolf Musical Accompaniment Collection)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap4GwTXC1L4

If you have the chance, I'd love for you to listen to it.



Photos of Hiroki Kikuta come from his Facebook profile page.
Artwork posted here comes from the Seiken Densetsu 3 website and was created by Keiiii (Min Kwon).
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