February 13, 2012

How Blogging follows Chaos Theory

Having an opinion in an age of information is like screaming during a death metal concert: people may or may not hear you, but either way no one gives a damn.

close enough

Blogging is about composing those opinions into a coherent thought, much like forming your own screaming band. Many people try it, and you end up with infinite blogs blogging about blogging about opinions.

Does that make me a hypocrite?

Not exactly. I never said there was anything fundamentally wrong with having an opinion and expressing it. The frequency with which people are allowed to share their opinions is deafening, but it’s either that or shutting the fuck up.

One person CAN make a difference.

Blogging is much like Chaos Theory. You can either click the link to read the full explanation of Chaos Theory or you can listen to me try to summarize it for the mathematically less inclined (or both if you’re into that sort of thing).

Also in picture form

Chaos Theory, despite the name and its reputation for being abused by people who want to sound cool, is actually a term describing finding patterns within seemingly random sequences. This is dependent on variables that are too small for us to accurately measure, such as one-millionth of an inch. The best, and most popular, analogy is a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a tsunami on the other side of the world.

Now imagine you’re a novice blogger with big ideas. You write with your heart and soul, but no one seems to know you exist. No one leaves a comment, and your statistics show you barely get a single visitor every few days.

Now imagine there was this one person who randomly stumbled upon your blog, liked it, and never commented on it or followed you. They then start their own blog based on their interpretation of it (because no one credits ideas). This can spiral into dozens of other blogs spawned through a similar process. This is analogous to fractals, which are part of Chaos Theory even though we pretend they’re just pretty art...

nooo! my innocence!

Next thing you know, a popular celebrity/politician is talking about the topic. Then every fan starts a blog on that topic, and your blog becomes part of the crowd without you ever getting a comment or many views.

Did you cause a movement? Yes.
Do you know you caused it? No.
Are you left feeling hollow and worthless in a stream of crap that degenerates your beloved idea into some mainstream cult icon that has no relationship with its root intentions? Depends on your opinion of media.

"All I remember is getting hit by the truth"

Nothing is new, everything is relative

In terms of blogs, there are quite a few topics we actually care about, and they’re already categorized by bookstores. Marketing is based on culture, and we love hearing about food, relationships, sex, gossip, politics, and religion. Also money. Especially about making money from blogs.

If I were to make a blog about the religious sexual relationship I have with food and how it affects the gossip surrounding my political agenda... wait... that’s a money-making idea that you’re going to steal and pass around in the form Chaos Theory. Fuck you internet.


The comments posted on blogs, forums, and any other public space, have their own trends. I’m sure some expert already did the work for me, but I want to feel infinitesimally significant by naming my own categories.

  • Strict interpretation: what is said is taken literally and is analyzed as it is represented. Sarcasm and idioms are subject to scrutiny. The intelligence behind the interpretation is up for debate.
  • Loose interpretation: what is said is up for further interpretation. Reading between the lines is common and context is important. The intelligence behind the interpretation is up for debate.
  • Trolling: saying things just to cause an outrage. People who have strict interpretations fall victim to the trolls.
  • Dogmatting: using religious dogma as the basis for everything. “Logical” reasoning is futile with them. People who have loose interpretations end up in heated arguments with dogmatters.
  • Illiterates: saying something without having read everything, or anything. Very difficult to ignore. People who are anything except a troll fall victim to their baseless remarks.
  • Naysayers: what is said is immediately rejected and called retarded. On the same level as trolls.
  • Lolgasms: what is said is immediately praised as the most amazing thing ever. Will fight with naysayers, trolls, and illiterates.

If I ever get comments, I know what to expect. There is nothing chaotic about it when I present the patterns as shown above. Sure, I won’t know exactly what crazy shit someone can think of, but at least I know that crazy shit will be thrown at me.

"We communally laugh at your misery because
otherwise we would have to admit we hate each other."

Microcosm of ideas

Inevitably, every idea gains its supporters, its rejecters, and its idiots. Opinions of those ideas fluctuate between who is screaming the loudest... I mean, who has the most money... I mean, who is the most popular for whatever reason society deems it.

Do I win a prize if I say it?

I can take any topic and the discussion surrounding it will invariably fall into a pattern. In Chaos Theory this can be either stable (opinion settles down to one side or the other) or dynamic (opinion fluctuates).

The outcome is dependent on the type of forum.

In a closed forum, like a fan page, there will be stability. The population is full of like-minded people who all say they love the thing they’re a fan of. Occasionally there will be trolls, but that’s as unavoidable as death and taxes.

In an open forum, like a blog, the range of opinions is dynamic. You will always see a flow between “I like it” and “I hate it”, regardless of why or how much. You can’t exactly predict where you will end up, but you are sure that it’ll be fluctuating between the two central points.

Sometimes it's between two previously shown body parts.

You are essentially witnessing a bubble of opinions based solely around an idea, or a series of ideas. Everything boils down to a Yes or No from the public. People who spam can be ignored because they do not serve any purpose except to annoy everyone and take up space.

Information must flow

Extremists have the easiest time at being heard. People lean toward things that evoke gut reactions. Who cares about moderation anyway? People want to hear things they either agree or disagree with. They want to hear about the religious sexual relationship I have with food and how it affects the gossip surrounding my political agenda. They want the big picture to be simple, straightforward and concise.

Still too subtle.

The popular culture surrounding information is based on extremes, and I don’t agree with that.

I continue writing because I hope one day my ideas will spiral into one big giant movement where we see beyond our own bias. One day there will be whole forums dedicated to proving or disproving my definition of Grey.

I am nobody, and this blog is a cycle of nothing. That fact may never change, but I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep crossing my fingers. One day this will all mean something.

December 21, 2011

How to Turn Evil in 3 Easy Steps

No one is born evil, but everyone has the ability to become evil.

Evil = Sadism + Power - Empathy

It is the combination of Sadism, Power, and Lack of Empathy that contributes to the correct mindset to do evil things.

Something in here separates you from you-in-prison
The elements alone do not make an evil person...

1) Empathy

Empathy is often mistaken for being emotionally sensitive. However, it is merely the ability to project yourself onto others. The process is extraordinarily selfish- it is all about you- but it is empathy that separates you from assholes.

Lacking empathy is like lacking wi-fi. You simply do not connect to others.

Missing this vital link with others creates a phenomena where you objectify others. An easy way to visualize this is to think of a chair. This is an object which is beneath you. You own the chair, and you make the choice of whether the chair stays or goes in the trash. You do not consider the chair something you can have an equal relationship with.

"If you hit me, do I not bleed? Wait... I don't. Continue as you will."

Now let's imagine you're stuck in a cave with nothing but this wooden chair, and let's suppose you do not begin bonding with this chair because you lack companionship. It is freezing and you need to make a fire. You look over at the chair and think, "I can simply burn this wood." And so you do.

You do not visualize yourself as the chair: being torn apart and burned alive. You do not agonize over the karmic repercussions of your actions, and you do not question your ethical standards. I mean you could, as I previously pointed out, but you generally wouldn't under normal circumstances.

There is no desire to have empathy for the object...

... Unless it is a human-chair hybrid... 
... or several humans fashioned into a chair.

Essentially, going back to the original statement, empathy is not about being sensitive towards others. It is about vicariously living through them. Since you wouldn't want horrible things done to you, your empathy stops you from doing horrible things to others. You have the capacity to pick and choose who and what you care about, which this is why we are not all self-absorbed egocentric maniacs.

2) Power

Power is the perceived sense of authority. I use the word "perceived" because power is a relative term. We have to deal with power struggles on a daily basis in our mundane lives. Think of the last time you had a metaphorical tug-of-war with someone over an action or idea, and you'll discover that power struggles can happen over the smallest of details.

Sometimes it's a matter of survival.

Being empowered can be beneficial for society, especially if your ambitions are to help the greater good or to innovate something for future generations. There is a reason the common saying goes, "With great power comes great responsibility." The truly power-hungry aim for more power than they can handle.

When you seek to become the most powerful in the game of life, your efforts come off as malicious. Power-hungry people seek positions where they can look down on others and have ultimate control. Politicians become dictators; spiritual people become preachers; scientists become scientists; etc.

Mad Scientists: Ruining the magic of science for the rest of us.

3) Sadism

Sadism, the gaining of pleasure from hurting others, is the first thing to be pointed out in an evil person, and that is why I left it for last. I'm going to explain how being sadistic does not automatically make someone an irredeemable asshole.

Put your assumptions to the side and hear me out: There will always be assholes in every niche of life. What I'm going to discuss refers to respectful relationships, which are just as possible in every niche of life.

In the kink/fetish community a Sadist and a Masochist aim to be equals. 

Most people are used to sadists who either abuse their power or lack empathy for their partner, but I am talking about those who have common sense and courtesy. In Sadomasochism (S&M), it is common for cuddles to come after beatings because it is a sign of open communication and, more importantly, respect. A Sadist who shows an appreciation for the Masochist is generally not looked down upon. Out of context, of course, sadism still treads the lines of unforgivable violence.

Dear Everyone, respect in the bedroom actually exists.

We may not agree with the people who willingly ask to be hurt and abused, but we must respect their right to give over their authority to another person. It is difficult to comprehend, but a masochist in this situation has as much control as the sadist... at least that is the ideal. The thing to remember about an S&M relationship is that it should be treated like any other relationship: a two-way street. The Masochist has to take as much responsibility for their actions as the Sadist.

The negotiation of limits and the requirement for aftercare, such as cuddles, are the tools used to avoid abuse from either the Sadist or the Masochist, as long as both are explicit about their needs. These tools are also cut out of porn because they're the "boring" part, you know, with all the talking and the feelings being shared.

We have to be conscious of our assumptions. Reasonable sadism is not a one-way ticket to hell.

Sadomasochism, when done properly/respectfully, is the only time that safe, consensual sadism is acceptable and even sought after. People who desire to hurt others have the opportunity to find someone who enthusiastically consents to being hurt, and that is the healthiest way to get the sadism out of their system.

What does this all mean?

Evil is a mindset, perhaps even a psychological disorder...

A lot of times we see assholes who exhibit one or two of the traits and we call them evil because we don't like assholes. Then "evil" becomes a diluted term and is thrown around at the smallest discrepancies.

Real evil should not be taken lightly. The next time you point to someone and call them evil, ask yourself if they qualify for the Psychopath package. 

Fortunately, most people don't.

December 14, 2011

Being a Self-Critic is a Full-time Job

Count how many times you have criticized yourself in the past five minutes.
Now how many of those were self-deprecating?

There is the common phrase: “You are your own worst critic.”
However, I prefer to say...

You are your own meanest critic.

Allow me to explain...

There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity.
Ignorance is lack of information; stupidity is refusal of information.

I refuse the lack of Awesome as a response.

The Difference?
Ignorance: Children are unaware that a hot stove can burn them.
Stupidity: Child is warned about touching the stove and still does it.

I post this image as I sip tea from a mug.

A lot of time we allocate the title of stupidity to embarrassing moments we couldn't avoid unless we could see into the future. Spilling a drink on the most important person in the room because someone bumped against you doesn't qualify you as stupid, even though you'll be calling yourself that for the rest of the night.

Clearly you need to criticize yourself harshly because of your inability to be aware of every. single. possible. variable in a situation.

How dare you act innocent. GROVEL FOR FORGIVENESS.

I can already hear the chorus of angst.

Being able to distinguish between ignorance and stupidity requires objectivity (ie analysis without emotion in the way; the opposite of angst). Your emotionally charged opinion of yourself is a self-perpetuated delusion meant to keep you wallowing in your own sorrow instead of actively listening.

You can go on for hours angsting about yourself, your life, and your goals.
“Everything I do is shit.”
“No one will ever understand my vision.”
“I keep trying and I keep failing.”
“What’s the point?”
“I am ashamed of what I create.”
“Everyone will hate it.”

Because you should know better?

Ignorance is when an accident reveals a flaw in your judgment whether it was "your fault" or not. Being able to admit to the lack of better judgment is the strongest character trait you can have!

It is the first step to improving your life.

You have the right to call yourself stupid until the world ends. You're already smarter than actual stupid people because you are self-aware of your faults. Sure, that doesn't fix the issue, but it does give you the opportunity to cut yourself some slack.

I plead the fifth!

This is why I said you are your own "meanest" critic instead of "worst." Something about worst makes it sound like you begin at the bottom of the food chain, and that really instills the perception of "What's the point of trying to make myself better?"

If you start telling yourself you're the meanest to yourself, you'll react the same way as you would to other mean people: "Fuck off."

Then again...
Internet: Competing for the title of Meanest Critic since inception.

The choice to listen to criticism is up to you, as is the judgment of whether it's "good" or "bad" for you. It is your responsibility to yourself to defend against unconstructive criticism, especially when it comes from within you.

Spend less time listening to mean criticism and you'll have more time to improve your quality of life.

December 3, 2011

How to Spiral into a Cycle of Nothing

Cycle of Nothing is an experimental blog featuring serious topics and quirky commentary.

To understand its purpose, you have to understand binary.

What I imagine you doing right now.

Binary is a word that originated as a mathematical term denoting a base-2 number system (0 and 1). Computers and electronics use binary as part of their coding: 1 is on, 0 is off. In today’s time, searching for “Binary” will get you a mix of mathematics and a debate about gender identity. Male and female is the “gender binary”, and there are a growing number of people who break the binary by identifying as genderfluid, genderqueer, androgynous, crossdressers, transgender, etc.

This is about neither mathematics nor gender.

Binary is a mindset: if it is not A, then it is B (or vice versa). When we think of anything besides A or B, we use ratios of A to B (or B to A). This may sound mathematical, but it is a convenient way to avoid ambiguity:
“If it is not Yes, then it is No.”
“If it is not up, then it is down.”
“If it is not right, then it is left.”

Mind is blown

The functionality of the binary is necessary. We need it to be able to distinguish extremes, and oftentimes the extreme are the most interesting to look at. No one wants to be the average.

Average can go fuck itself.

The best of something is coveted, and the worst of something is mocked. The problem with binary is when you enter an “All or Nothing” mentality. This goes back to the On/Off for electronics:
“You are either with me or against me.”
“You are either a saint or a sinner.”
“You are either right or wrong.” (I’ll come back to this one later)

The issue is, as most extremes go, the majority of the population is somewhere in between. Let me use a simple, unbiased example of what I mean.

There is Black and White, the extremes. You can easily distinguish one from the other.
For the trolls.

Oftentimes, when people think Grey, they think of the middle, or the average.
Thus, anything that is neither Black nor White is Grey. The error of this logic is this is a binary in itself: “If it is not Black or White, then it is Grey.”

What is the Grey area?
This is a question older than time. It is like trying to find the fine line between genius and insanity. Grey is the equivalent of ambiguity, and following that nature, defining Grey is difficult.

There is no One Grey. It is a spectrum, meaning there are Greys that are lighter or darker than the average.

You may think this is a “Duh” moment until you realize that Black and White make up less than 1% of that spectrum. The extremes are at the edges. A better way to imagine this is to picture yourself at the North Pole with a compass. By standing exactly on the Pole, everywhere you turn is South. The moment you take a step off the Pole, even if by an inch, your compass will read North again. The same applies to the spectrum. Even a slight deviation from Black or White puts you in the Greys. This is why people have arguments.
...and then there is no sex for a month.

As I said before, Black and White make up less than 1% of the spectrum. That is true in theory. But have you ever heard of the saying “The loud minority”? Well, here is a representation of it.

And to help you see it:

The Black and White “squeezed” the Greys into a smaller percentage. A strange outcome occurs, one that the visual helps with: there appears to be more Black than White. That, however, is incorrect because the spectrum has been reduced in width without any alterations. This phenomenon causes more of the Greys to “lean” towards Black, and even the Greys near White seem to side with Black. Thus more people assume Grey is defined by an affiliation to Black and creates a new binary: “If it is not White, then it is Grey or Black.”

Now let’s go back to: “You are either right or wrong.”

What about: “If you are not right or wrong, then you are stupid.”
This argument is used when people are looking for facts. Facts are either correct or incorrect, but if someone does anything using a mix of correct and incorrect facts, he/she is called stupid.

I have a toaster. Your helmet is invalid.

What about: “If you are not right, then you are stupid or wrong.”
This is how derogatory language forms. If a person does not succeed at being right (or skinny, beautiful, intelligent, powerful, holy, etc), then the person is either a failure or imperfect. This is a downward spiral into low self-esteem and self-harm. The perception of perfection is what drives us crazy, and we can never reach it.

We are made to believe it is possible to be pure "White" because the model is of a loud minority. The truth is that "White" is less than 0.5% and that any tiny deviation automatically negates the purity of it. You cannot be yourself if you try to be perfect because otherwise you feel like you’re wrong or stupid.

It is like saying:
“My sexual orientation is Heterosexual.” Even if you joke about being Homosexual?
“I am a moral person.” Even if you think unethical thoughts without acting on them?
“My art is horrible.” Even if two of your friends would kill for your talent?

I hate you too <3

The binary is good for reference, but it is no good for living life.
Learn to live outside of the binary and you’ll be one step ahead of the machines.

Cycle of Nothing advocates intelligent opinions over biased facts.