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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

How's The World's Culture Progressing This Year, 2023?

I started doing this last year, with the intention of continuing with it each year around the same date. Basically, a summary and/or a few highlights of my views and opinions on culture and its progress. You can read my 2022 article if you haven't already and then continue with this one!

My Personal Stance
It remains the same! As it has been from the very beginning, I stand for what is truthful, effective, and fair. I don’t yet have all the answers, but I do my best to consider and weigh different views and opinions to grasp the reality of the matter and find solutions to issues. Generally, I see that people are either ignorant, confused, misguided, malicious, pushing an agenda, or a combination of two or more of those. And I try to have patience but it can run out.

Cultural Progress in 2023
This year, I haven't delved much into the area of LGBTQ+, as it looks like more of the same to me. Essentially, movements having started with certain valid aims but being taken to outrageous degrees that I cannot agree with in sane judgment. And people in and outside of them being reasonable or unreasonable about them. Ultimately a fight between truths and lies. What I ended up seeing more of this year is the current state of relationships (and the dating scene) and I'd rather expand on that this time.

A few aspects of how relationships are taken and dealt with came to my attention and it's been both infuriating and disappointing to me, who's relatively fine being single. I can't imagine what a nightmare it must be for those for whom this isn't the case. And many of the problems seem to arise from blindly taking relationship advice from people who are not really qualified for it and may be speaking from their trauma, wounds, ego, assumptions, or mere inexperience and ignorance. 

• 50/50
Sounds fair, right? Except it rarely is. Too often, the 50/50 deal fails to take into account numerous relevant factors and, in its insistence on splitting everything (or what's convenient) evenly, makes the relationship entirely transactional. One or the two would be overlooking or taking for granted the investments and sacrifices of the other, as well as particular strains that would make things harder for one than for another. What should be an agreement to both do their best to contribute to the relationship becomes instead a poorly calculated deal - where one or both could be blind to their shortcomings and deluded about the value that they bring. In its short-sightedness, it also fails to take into account that, as humans, you may not always be able to contribute a steady percent; one day you may be able to give an 80%, another a 50%, another a 10%, then a 30%, or a 75%, and so on. And the relationship is not looked at holistically. 

• High/Low Value Man/Woman
Some would judge this value based on character and virtue as they relate to what would foster and maintain a fulfilling relationship, which would make more sense to me. But the number of people making superficial judgments and basing them on trivialities is concerning to me (to say the least). Yes, it is fine to have preferences for what you like and value a certain set of traits more highly than another for your personal choices. But when you're making "objective" calls on what is or isn't high value, you should at least try to see beyond yourself and your conditioning. 

• Masculine/Feminine
This has gone on in more ways than I can count, defining and redefining. I have my own notions of what can be considered "masculine" and what can be considered "feminine" and I know that, ultimately, they're just categorizations that facilitate descriptions. But I've been coming across a few takes that make me want to ask if they hadn't learned anything - until I realize that they probably never attended the same classes I did and I cannot expect them to be on the same page with me. Ultimately, this isn't set in stone and your own understanding of it can be quite flexible (not to mention, subject to epochs). But when people arbitrarily attribute traits to one side or the other or are completely going off outdated and shallow stereotypes, I have to breathe in and breathe out. Something I can appreciate, though, is the subcategorization I've seen come up plenty lately, of the Wounded Masculine/Feminine. This adds more dimension to it and is worth pondering, in my opinion. As would be the typical Mature and Immature, and the Healthy and Unhealthy versions of each.

• Situationships
Are situationships more common these days or did I somehow step into a a stream of them? I would guess that even if it is the latter, it is also the former to an extent. It's like they are more normalized and people don't experience as much guilt or shame over them - even when it's clearly making the other uncomfortable. And given how lifestyles have changed, with both pressure to operate in certain ways and freedom to do whatever you like, for countless different reasons, it has become the go-to for many. And maybe I'm just tired and they would have been fine for me when I was younger and could be fascinated by romantic drama and dilemmas, but I find them extremely frustrating when grown adults are involved. You can and should do better than that. 

• Battered or Bettered
There's a trend going on about the boyfriend and the girlfriend effect. And while not unbiased (mostly showing the girlfriend effect as favorable while the boyfriend effect as disfavorable), it does bring us to the reality that some relationships make you worse and some make you better. And this can be seen in how healthy and happy you look while in them. In bad relationships, your hair, your skin, and more suffer. You also seem uncomfortable and awkward in what you wear and how you present yourself. Not to mention tired. In good relationships, it is the opposite. And I find it insane that even at this point in time you can still find people who take pride in treating their partner badly. As if they deserve applause for getting away with being a lousy partner that would be a good riddance. If you look at your partner and you're not compelled to be and do what would make them and their life better, something or someone is seriously lacking.

• Loneliness Epidemic
Then there's the "loneliness epidemic". Something that many have laughed at and rightfully so. I mean, look at how careless people are being with others and their relationships with them. And then they wonder why so many are now choosing to be single and have accepted singlehood. Do you want people to suffer and be miserable when they could just not? And it's not a matter of having to force relationships and make it so they're a requirement for much, it's that people are not bothering to be worthwhile and have worthwhile relationships. That even the most tolerating and accommodating person would rather opt out of them. You're not entitled to a relationship in this regard ever, but even less when you don't show devotion to them. 

Again. That’s all for now. I may still sporadically engage and elaborate on various topics, but expect the continuation of this post next year. Please stay lucid and keep improving!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Familiarity, Comfort, & Nourishment

Being in your zone of comfort, where things are familiar, isn’t necessarily bad.
You may be deriving nourishment from it.

Maybe what you’re used to is not recommendable for you, maybe it is indeed something to move out and on from, and maybe it is holding you back from much better. You’re stuck there. And perhaps it is slowly killing you.

But this isn’t always the story. Sometimes we happen to land in environments that are enriching to us in one or more ways. Or we don’t have that fortune but devote ourselves to curating such a space for ourselves to at last be surrounded by what is best for us.

When that’s the case, leaving without return seems unwise. What is it out there that makes up for not being here? The possibility of challenges that lead to growth, yes. But should you be constantly on the go without anywhere to call home? That may or may not be for you.

There are things that you can do as a risk-taking wanderer and things that you can do while safely sheltered. And you can mix and switch between these two ends.

For someone with defined preferences, sticking to or at least often taking up what has proven to be beneficial to them, can make the entire difference between living a fulfilling life or not. But you must identify what that truly is, distinguishing it from what appears to be so but is no more than a detrimental addiction keeping you in a destructive cycle.

From there, you won’t feel so guilty about your “guilty pleasures”. Because they aren’t pleasures to feel guilty about, they are just pleasures that reward and treat you to what you need and more.

Points on Rootedness

 #1  To be rooted is to be firmly set and standing on grounds that support you. 

 #2  Rootedness may seem or even be restrictive, depending on how much freedom you seek or yearn for, but to those ready to stand in one place for long, rootedness is relieving, comforting, and even empowering.

 #3  You can be rooted in different types of things. It is something specific to you and the type of growth you are able and/or choosing to have.

 #4  Rootednes may be precisely what you’re lacking in prolonged periods of confusion and aimlessness. It can connect you to what matters and how to go from there.

 #5  Tracing back to our origins, we would find much of what will forever be a part of us at the root.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Lyrics Carried Within (3of4)

Another one! This one held dearly in my heart!

I was quite young when I first listened to this song, Celine Dion - Because You Loved Me. I had yet to form my concept of love and I liked so much how all this sounded.

I remember wishing I could someday have a love like that. And well... Guess what! The wish was granted. Not once, not twice, but several times. From minute to grand scales, from vaguely to precisely, from symbolically to literally. Romantic context aside, this is to me more of a sentimental matter. And indeed, I'll be forever thankful.

As I continue to grow and evolve, I become more able to fend for myself. So the situations I now can find myself in are less dire to me than the situations I could find myself in before, but I still appreciate the assistance in all the regards that can be covered. And similarly, I aspire to be able to give back.

Few things are as painfully lonely as being powerless (and handicapped) without anyone else to count on.

Once More, Thank you!

While we approach the end of this year and I begin wrapping it up, I'm again filled with gratitude for everyone who's been with me through it!

As it's usual, at least with me, things didn't go completely according to plan. It has been both less and more eventful than I expected. In that I couldn't do or participate in as many of the things I intended to, but was also met with more than I could have anticipated (delightful, terrible, mixed, and in between). All in all, it concludes mostly on a positive and constructive note, having made significant progress.

I'm truly thankful to those who believe in me and root for me, those supporting and assisting me, and those contributing in any or various ways. I haven't been able to be as present and engaged as I would have liked to, but you are not overlooked or taken for granted. (I'm just trying and failing to gracefully juggle and push forward to a point where I can give back more and better.)

Honestly, would not have been able to get anywhere near this point without your help. I may take my own credit, but I still see the ways in which you have patched and moved me toward higher and greater. And I'll continue to honor that in part by doing my best to stay on track, face challenges, overcome obstacles, minimize delays and detours, and keep my spirit.

Truly, thank you! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Hunter of Fate

I can't NOT have this here. I love it so much! I was going through an especially rough moment when it came out and wasn't too eager to check it out, but I'm so glad I took the time anyway! It turned out to be exactly what I needed at that point!

Everything from the settings, to the character, the colors, the music, and the lyrics, pulled me out of a shrinking space in my world. And it doesn't cease to blow my mind how art is at times capable of such magic. It's as if, due to circumstances, I was starting to cower in a corner without really realizing the true extent of it and, just like that, this work managed to make me ME again. And not because I no longer had threatening problems surrounding me, but DESPITE having them - which is a whole other level of enhanced bravery and improved vision. I am so thankful for the existence of this and the incredible timing of it.

Also, it's not that I know the artist from long ago - from around a decade ago (unbelievable history)! Tamlin, an amazing person, ally, and friend who leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the psychological and more. An enviable artist as well (though I like her too much to envy her, I'm instead in awe of what she makes!). I did love this song and this video by itself.

It's just so freakin' adorable, too! ❤️

Monday, November 20, 2023

Sagittarius' Basics

Transit Date: Late November.
Concluding Autumn.

Position: 9th.
Element: Fire.
Quality: Mutable.

Symbolized by: The Archer Centaur.
Typically Associated with: Honesty, humor, fortune. 

At Best: Philosophical and adventurous.
At Worst: Non-commital and irresponsible.

For context and more of relevance, please read about The Zodiac.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Fantasy, Charm, & Enchantment

How dreamy is too dreamy?

In a world of crude and crass realities, it doesn’t hurt to indulge in marvelous things. In fact, it alleviates the pain and suffering of it. Or at least this is the case if you’re born with an inclination to what is otherworldly.

You’d rather run or hide away than have to deal with more of the same that seems to be slowly but surely killing you. And while this can be frowned upon, chalked off as a disorder or disability, the story changes when it becomes a respected job - where what had you turning away from what’s mundane also has you forming an alternative that others can barely resist.

In fantasy, there’s more to things. This can become a problem if you let it make you into someone who is never satisfied or even appreciative of what makes you fortunate. But guided well, you can instead become an enhancer rather than a dismisser of reality.

Bringing fantasy, charm, and enchantment to what you do, is bringing magic to and through your work. Something many may be deprived of and in dire need of.

There’s the risk of losing oneself in it, not wishing to return to what’s dry and dull in contrast, but that’s something mostly to be managed by the individual indulging and not by who’s providing this “drug”. Yet, it is still considerate to not purposely make it so addictive (and even coercive) that it is sure to detriment others.

Points on Illusionment

 #1  Illusionment, besides being wishful thinking superimposed on reality, can be a form of denial or of escape. 

 #2  Illusions often are no more than delusions keeping you from uglier and perhaps harsher truths that you must face. However, at times, they serve to protect you from truths so cruel that you are better off without knowing until later on.

 #3  Illusionism is crafty work. It can be harmless, when its intent is to astonish. And harmful, when its intent is to deceit.

 #4  Mingling and switching, without fail, between illusory and candid realms denotes a vivid imagination paired with sharp senses.

 #5  Although it is noble and virtuous to seek truth in all, the power of illusions is undeniable when it leads to self-fulfilling prophecies that are rewarding.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Small Town Escapade

A picture's worth a thousand words, but I'm still tempted to say more...

There is so much contained within this compilation of moments and memories. A bit self-indulgent, you could say, but I look back with fondness to the small town life I had upon escaping the city, over a decade ago. It was in part by choice and in part forced by the circumstances. Regardless, I was extremely fortunate to be welcomed here. To a slower and softer existence.

To me, desperate for a drastic change, it was magical in more ways than I can count. But I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. It was everything from long bus rides, receiving protective items, seeing simpler buildings, staying in a cozy home, having gardens, growing food, adopting animals, spotting insects and other creatures, drinking tea, getting treats, being by the river or by the sea, collecting rocks and crystals, going grocery shopping, frequently eating out, occasionally visiting the theater, spending time reading and writing, practicing music, doing crafts, stargazing on the rooftop, enjoying the rain, reflecting on everything, to even a creepy and abandoned house closeby with a messed up story. And not fully quitting video games or tech in general! I needed that.

I had these pictures posted before with more on what they represented or commemorated, but now I'll only have them here to recall these events and not completely erase them from my history as I proceed to another phase (I had to leave many out but these can do).

So, ultimately, here's what was in store for me - condensed. All of this will eventually be further away in the past, but I might always hold on to it and cherish it as the salvation it was. 💜

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Romanticism & Sentimentalism

Have you ever been in love? It’s different from loving. But it could be both. You can be in love with someone or something you love.

The experience of romance and sentimentality isn’t exactly universal among human beings. We all likely have heard of it, most of us know of it, and plenty of us understand it. But how have we experienced it? It can dramatically differ in manner, intensity, and direction.

You would assume that romantics have it easy in romance, but the truth isn’t so simple. Relationships void of or with minimal romance and interest in it are easier to form and maintain. Hence, the term hopeless romantic applies to more and more romantics. Being and staying in love can be tricky.

Sentimental folks have it easier than the romantics since, in their case, it isn’t about seeking, finding, and sustaining exchanges to keep it alive. It is more about noticing what is worthy of holding dear and holding it dear. And this can be anything from a concrete object or an abstract concept. Loving speaks on your capability of loving whether you’re loved in return or not.

Both, being romantic and sentimental, can charge you with an extra energy that alters your state. And this extra energy may overflow to the point where you have no choice but to yearn to express it - and make it justice as you do.

It is no wonder muses are often a source of inspiration by inciting romanticism and sentimentalism, leading to beautiful works that may come across as sublime or even divine.

It is engulfing. Perhaps, for one or more reasons, it repels you or it doesn’t move you in any significant manner. But for others, it is a piece of heaven on earth. And it may considerably soften you.

Points on Veneration

 #1  Veneration can put you in a vulnerable position, but it is not to be deemed unworthy altogether. Some things do elicit and deserve that level of appreciation and doing so can enrich you too.

 #2  What you venerate plays a major role in how your life will unfold. Doors will open and close based on it. And paths will hide or reveal themselves to you because of it.

 #3  Beware of those demanding unearned veneration. They are ruled by vices rather than by virtue. 

 #4  If you are venerated, you can feel the pressure to remain as you are or as you are doing. But true love for you and your work gives you room to roam.

 #5  Veneration as a goal can have you engaging in questionable behaviors. Taking it merely as a bonus (and in some cases as a means to a greater good) will have you better directed.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Homage to Linkin Park (R.I.P. Chester Bennington)

I wrote about it in the past. In July 2017, right after Chester Bennington’s death. It was impulsive. And I promised myself I would write about it again, putting more into it. But now it’s hard because I know that, no matter how much I try to reach into myself and everything that Linkin Park’s work meant to me growing up, I won’t be anywhere close to making them justice through a few words in an article. And it’s also difficult because I’m not sure I’m ready to be that open and vulnerable. But I’m not special for it. Linkin Park helped a vast amount of us get through angst we didn’t even know we had, let alone know how to face and handle, while our intrapersonal intelligence was abysmally poor. And we could see the genius in that.

By the time I first listened to Linkin Park, my fangirling days were over. Yet, it was easily a band I’d look forward to hearing (and seeing) more from. So I kept up with them to a degree. They tackled topics that intrigued me and drew me in. And at this point, I owe much of my depth to them. Maybe I would have sought it out and gotten to it through other means if they hadn’t been around, but I got it through them and that’s just a part of me now. They got me thinking and feeling plenty. And now I can’t help wishing I could somehow turn back time and drop a “thank you” to Chester Bennington somewhere even if he could miss it. I wish I could believe in spirits roaming or watching from above, too. Although the day I heard of his passing and the days that followed I was shaken in ways I could not quite make sense of, I was still quite indifferent to it. However, as I become more and more aligned with what matters the most to me, it pains me more and more that he’s gone.

Ironically, rock and rockers had a reputation for being “a bad influence”. Linkin Park included. And back then, before knowing and understanding as much as you may now do, with all the information from different perspectives made available (especially the psychological), it could make you wary. But if you truly pay attention, who is really the bad influence here? This is a typical case of rocking the boat and what it entails.

Linkin Park, in particular, came off to me as anti-corruption. Not anti-establishment, rebelling for the sake of rebelling, showing off how indomitable they are, but specifically anti-corruption. “Corruption” in the usual and the wider sense. Whether it was within relationships, families, among peers, in regards to communities or societies, or within oneself. They addressed it in numerous instances, from various angles. Pointing to whatever was rotten or rotting. To those not caring to listen, it could sound like mere whining and complaining. But to those more attuned, it was insightful.

I’d say that there are artists so extraordinarily perceptive that it hurts. They notice and take in more than most. And then they carry that - which consumes them. They may release a bit of it through the art that they make and perform, but the rest remains for them to keep or let out in other ways. It can be maddening. So it’s not too shocking if some choose to cope via desperate means. Crushing if they eventually give up, though. It is a heavy burden bestowed upon them that’s not always sufficiently alleviated. They’d be the first to sense trouble. Possibly warn others of it before it is too late.

My personal favorites are many. Songs I could listen to at a time when I needed them. That practically guided me through what I was experiencing and/or witnessing. And that will always be important to me. Such as:

- Papercut
- Numb
- Breaking the Habit
- From the Inside
- What I’ve Done
- Points of Authority

These are only a few. You can check them out if you’re curious enough. But in short, they’re practically a self-awareness trip. While Points of Authority, instead, is a song that everyone should probably hear - and steer away from anything similar.

Taking on all the problems of the world can make anyone lose hope. And even if you go through them one by one, it can wear you out. I would never consider Linkin Park pessimistic in their work. On the contrary, they were optimistic enough to be courageous enough to do it. And regardless of how much it means to anyone, the effects of it are undeniable. We took an honest look at ourselves and at what was around us, prompted and aided by them. Although divine intervention could come in handy too.

R.I.P. Chester Bennington. You will be fondly remembered and your work highly cherished. Linkin Park and your voice in it is an immense gift to the world and to the lives of all of us who were in dire lack of it.

Linkin Park, you've become forever a part of my life and it is an honor!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Sense & Sensitivity

You may believe you can get away without them, perhaps overlooking how present they are in works, but it’ll probably catch on.

Maybe your work isn’t of the overly delicate kind, and that’s fine. But somewhere, somehow, you may benefit from having some degree of sense and sensitivity. They can tell you when something is off or in conflict. Furthermore, they can help you finely tailor stimuli.

It may not sound very compelling if you’re the type to steamroll over things or to leave things to chance. However, your perception will be greatly enhanced and, as a result, so will your art.

These may be talents in some, but they are also developable skills that anyone can have. At least up to a point. The first step is to relax and take a moment to allow yourself to notice details that you have overlooked.

They can be dimensions, layers, angles, connections, forms, tones, and more specifics. What is it like up close? And what is it like from afar? What if you turn it around? And what if you look at it from above or from below? How is it in relation to other things? And so on…

Beyond this, how is it affecting you? Is it affecting you at all? How and how much? What could that be pointing to? You may be numb to it or simply not be picking up anything too strongly yet. But it is in you to be open or closed to these sensations. Then, it is also on you to moderate it.

Points on Delicacy

 #1  Delicacy is a state of mind that you can access and switch to if you innately have it or have trained yourself to. You slow down and basically tell the rest of the world to wait. All nuance is now available to you.

 #2  There is the risk of losing your toughness and roughness when tuning into a more delicate side of you. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case; both sides can coexist within you though they may not be simultaneously active.

 #3  Being delicate is another of the gifts that can seem like a curse although it is a blessing in disguise. The more harsh and cruel the world around becomes, the more difficult it is for someone to thrive in this manner - but there’s still value in what you do.

 #4  Although being delicate can be considered a feminine trait, gender does not make it exclusive to itself. And depending on where, when, and how you manifest it, it can seamlessly blend with the entirety of you.

 #5  Certain things in themselves require a delicate treatment or they’ll break, malfunction, or simply not be optimal.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Thanksgiving Celebration

In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving!

Historical origins aside, it is an excuse to gather around.
To count your blessings and acknowledge your fortune.
To give sincere thanks for what is meaningful and significant to you.
And perhaps to catch up a little with neighbors and relatives;
see how culture is doing while differing ones come into conflict.