ImaginaSean

Sean Berry's Thoughts on The Human Mind, Behavior, Movies, Video Games, Television, Technology, Internet, Culture, and Everything Else In Between

Blogs

My Thoughts on Trolls

Posted by sean berry on November 25, 2010 at 12:04 PM Comments comments (2)

There has been a lot of talk around the blogosphere about hate, specifically trolls, and I feel compelled to write about the matter.  Not everyone is made of steel, so when someone says something nasty about you, it can definitely dig deep.  It is important to observe though that two things are happening at once, first, someone is conveying a vicious thought and two, someone is taking it seriously.  I know it is difficult to blindly ignore someone when they are verbally ripping you to shreds, but does it really take away from your work if someone says something bad about it or you?

 

 I have to admit to looking kinda funny myself, so I know first-hand how cruel people can be and I can tell you it is downright scary sometimes. The older I get though, the more I see through people and the harder I examine them when they say the things they do. To them, it’s a battle cry, to me, it’s a warning.  This person is unstable, this person is abusive, this person not only lacks basic respect, they completely spit in the face of it.  The internet itself lends people the ability to take their verbal abuse even farther than they would in real life, since most of these people would be physically ousted before things got too out of hand or rather, just lack the pure courage to say the things they do to another person’s face.  With these screens between us, there is sometimes a delay in reaction and sometimes no reaction at all.  When we do something in real life, there is usually an immediate response, but if I’m an asshole on someone’s blog, they might not see it until they check it again and then at that point they have the choice to respond or not.  The only problem that follows is that sometimes monkey see, monkey do, and when one asshole starts the fire, there are more than enough little pricks to add to the blaze.  The whole idea of mob mentality is nothing new and if people can be one among the masses, they are often prone to do so,even if what is being conveyed and pedaled is garbage.

 

So what should be our response to this?  As entertainers or artists, we have to have a certain ego about us to believe in what we’re doing and to gauge the reactions of other people based on the merit and presentation of their critique.  As fellow readers, we have to chime in and defend someone if necessary or in some cases ignore them completely.  If someone wants to call you ugly and tell you that your blogs suck, well, they are obviously a douche and have nothing to say.  If someone suggests you use better lighting, speak more clearly, and write better dialogue, then at least they are giving you an honest appraisal of your work. Most the people that say these fucked up things online are deep down inside very hurt themselves, they suffer from low self-esteem and will take any attention they can, be it positive or negative. They essentially try to tear down what we as thinkers create, so consider it a battle of wills.  I will admit to being pissed off very easily, but I get it all over with after a few minutes and come back down to earth and realize, he’s just a douche, I’m not,let’s move on.    

 

When we make the decision to walk on stage, whether it be publishing our stuff online, stepping in front of a camera, or recording your voice, we are putting ourselves out there for everyone to critique.  This means the good and the bad, but assholes are not going to go away but thankfully they will always remain a small portion of the population.  We have to remind ourselves that we do work because we love to do what we do and if people can share in that and enjoy it, all the more better, but if some dipshit is just going to tell me my shit sucks without telling me why, then he’s simply going to lose any validity and all my respect with it. 

 

Chaos Theory, Fractals, & Possible Theories on God

Posted by sean berry on November 20, 2010 at 1:19 PM Comments comments (2)

When I was in high school, I remember watching Jurassic Park and much like everyone else, I was blown away by the movie.  So much did I like the story that I actually went out and got the book to gain an even deeper perspective into the idea and in doing so I learned more about the mathematician who was so quirkily played by Jeff Goldblum.  Although the character himself was pretty cool, what caught my eye in the story was the brief mention of chaos theory.  Chaos theory is the belief that tiny changes in a given system can produce large systematic changes,which was popularly coined as “the butterfly effect”.   Fractals, which are patterns that repeat themselves with varying degrees of self-similarity, are often used in defining many types of chaotic systems.  I was intrigued by the idea of self-similarity, because it showed that if you looked deeper into something you would find that the parts making the whole, looked much as the whole did itself.  For example,an atom by itself mirrors the look of the solar system that all those atoms combine to create.


How far does this self similarity extend though is impossible to tell since as we know the universe is continually expanding.  How does any of this relate to God, well,it’s very simple: by acknowledging an infinite number of possibilities as well as the multiple onion layers of existence, we can come to a very basic crude assumption that just about anything is conceivable.  There could be a million God’s, each with their own little universe that they spark up, expand out, then eventually snap back again, much like a child playing with a yo-yo.  God could also be in actuality, an alien or aliens from some other planet who sought to change the course of our evolution by implementing morals and the fear of a higher power.  Ancient civilizations spoke of visitors from above, so is it totally far-fetched that beings from an infinitely expanding universe came to this planet and made us who we are today?  Maybe we are biological experiments devised to prepare planets for our creator?  Some may think it’s blasphemous to even think this, but what if the opposite is true, that it’s insane not to believe it?


All of these theories are pretty much impossible to prove,but despite this fact, the very possibility of some of them definitely provides a few answers to some long standing questions, specifically, why is man so different then all the rest of the animals? What if, though, we’re completely wrong though and we’re not as unique as we think but just as primal as the dogs we walk and the roaches we kill?  Could it be the very evolution of our society has been planned from the start to facilitate our later reunion with our creator or creators?  Earth itself could be some sort of universal purgatory, to test the fortitude of many species and if we were created, is it possible that our creators were once like us?  I think as we learn more about ourselves and exactly how we tick, it begins to open up a wide array of possibilities.  Think of how far we’ve come in the last 100years, what will reality be like if we live another 500? 


I’m not attempting to dispel any one else's vision of who or what God is, but I’m simply trying to see the possibility of the concept on the same logical terms I have tried to see everything else in my life.  Does it matter to me whether God is a celestial being or an alien in a spaceship who can control my thoughts with advanced technology and telepathy?  I can say without doubt that either one is far superior to me in knowledge, awareness and power, so they would both be a god in any right.  Also, who is to say that aliens do not have compassion for us either, maybe they literally are listening to your prayers and affecting changes on microscopic levels enacting the miracles we have all heard or bare witnessed to personally. What if there is no emotion involved in God though and instead, it is not so much a creature but an indefinable force that winds the gears of the very universe? 


Then there is the conundrum of if some other creature plays God to us, then who played God to it? Obviously, I would not write an article like this with any specific intent to change any one’s mind, but rather to open up the possibilities for the limits of what we call existence.  I want to think that in the end it doesn’t matter who’s up there but who we are down here.  There will come a time when we all will have to face the touch of death and when that time comes, whether it’s tomorrow or fifty years from now, I want to know I lived a good life, for when it all flashes before my eyes, I want a damn good show before the lights go out for good!  Whether I go to Heaven,come back as a woman’s bicycle seat, or simply add my own unique energy to that of the universe, I know I’ve had my spot on the time line and I intend to enjoy it while it lasts.

 


Nazi Nutritionists

Posted by sean berry on November 17, 2010 at 1:52 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s no secret: America has a weight problem.  Let's be honest though, a lot of countries have issues with obesity.  When you think about how most people live, it is no surprise that a bulk of the population has a few more pounds then they should, but what really bugs me is the type of nutrition that is imposed on us as a counterbalance to this epidemic.  We live in an age of organic vegetables, sugar free sugar, and vitamin water,but have these new products really made any impact on America's current health state?  I think you know the answer already.


What really sucks about ever trying to eat healthy is how expensive it is to do so, that is if you don’t have a fairly generous budget for food, you will not be able to buy fresh vegetables and the leanest cuts of meat.  Thankfully though, fresh and high quality is not necessary for a decent life, after all, we have come from days when we were not guaranteed a meal every day, yet alone one with all of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals.  There have also been studies that have shown that people on a calorie restricted diet tended to live longer, as it sort of pushed the body to be ultra efficient in its absorption of nutrients. 

 

People have all sorts of different body types and although certain foods are definitely more harmful than others, in the end, it’s what you do that will determine the extent of your health.  If red meat was honestly as bad as most vegans proclaimed it to be, people would be dying in droves.  I am not advocating extremes in any kind of diet, as I have always thought the best diet is one that doesn’t go to extremes but one that entertains many food choices and a variety of portions to boot.  You are expected to eat many small meals in a day and this is the most efficient way for your body to metabolize food, but as a lot of you know personally, with work and school and parenthood,there is often times just no time to entertain some of these healthier eating habits.  If all you get to eat is breakfast, then don’t be afraid to have some bacon and sausage, or even a donut for breakfast is better than nothing at all.


 I have read so many articles proclaiming the horrors of sugar and processed foods.  They tell me I should avoid whole milk and white bread and white rice, yes folks, white rice.  This is the kind of shit that really gets my bowels in a frenzy, in an age where we have chicken sandwiches with pieces of chicken as the bun, you are going to tell me that even white rice isn’t healthy enough?  Fuck you.  I like white rice and as far as I know, it’s quite popular in Asian countries and they seem to be a healthy bunch as far as I know.  People also walk a lot more in other countries too, so that accounts for some of the weight difference.


 So let’s talk about the heart, because that is the main reason people get onto the health kick.  Cholesterol is a real danger and I’m not advocating you all eat fried chicken every day because it will clog your arteries up eventually, but if you had a balanced diet and spread your choices around, chances are you wouldn’t be over doing it on one particular nutritional no no.  You can’t eat McDonalds every day and expect to feel good, but if you have it a couple times a week, it will more than likely not be the cause of your death.  While fast food certainly has a ridiculous amount of sodium, so does everything else, but guess what?  We’ve been eating this stuff forever and it’s not as deadly as one would think, but it’s our attitude towards it and the marketing of it that have started to change how it negatively impacts our health. 


 Again, it’s down to business.  Food is pleasure, people like to feel good and people want to make money off of that and it’s a damn profitable business.  Eating is one of our most primal desires and the pleasure of eating itself is much akin to the pleasure of sex to the brain.  So really, good nutrition becomes more a matter of control then just eliminating anything that actually tastes good.  I can admit to being in fairly decent shape, but I work out regularly and my job is very physical too, so I can sometimes eat more calories then somebody who sits at a desk all day.  I have times when I eat garbage and then I have times I eat healthy. Sometimes I crave a spinach salad with tomatoes and peppers and sometimes I’m ordering a large cheese pizza, the fact is, I try to see food as a means to something, that is eat some stuff simply for the pleasure of it and some stuff because I know it will benefit me nutritionally.  For instance, after a workout, you won’t find me eating a candy bar or anything like that, I want real food, but if I’m out drinking with some friends, I’m going to order a juicy burger or wings to compliment my already pleasurable evening. 


 People need to stop demonizing food and making people feel horrible for having cravings and guilty pleasures.  You really can have your cake and eat it too and it can be a cake with real sugar and not Splenda.  Enjoy your Starbucks mochachino or whatever the hell that shit is called once in a blue moon, but a regular cup of coffee a few days a week won’t kill you either, it has done well by people for centuries now.  I guess what I really wanted to say with all this is that you don’t need to live by any extremes to be a healthy person and even if you have a few extra pounds that does not make you unhealthy.  If you really think more about it, all the people that are easily prone to gaining weight would have been the only people that survived in the early days of man because when food was scarce, they still had fuel to draw upon, whereas someone extremely thin would succumb to famine and exhaustion more readily.  As with everything in life, balance is paramount.  There is no reason to go vegan your whole life, but a couple days a week would be great; there is also no reason to stop eating red meat, but you don’t need steak for dinner every night; no reason to quit drinking soda either, but if you are able to pay for gas at the end of the week with the money you got from recycling the cans of soda you drank from the start of the week, then perhaps it’s time to adopt another beverage of choice. 


 Carbohydrates have become the new enemy in this day and age and if you read around, you will find lots of people telling you to avoid them like the plague.  In case you don’t know, there are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates, the simple break down quickly for faster energy, the latter more slowly for prolonged energy.  Now while avoiding excess sugar is certainly going to allow you to avoid the dreaded sugar crash, avoiding complex carbohydrates can leave you feeling exhausted and without energy.  Most people would be better off eating the complex carbs to give themselves energy to work out and be more active, instead of simply trying to starve the body of nutrients in order to lose weights.  Now, if you are seriously over-weight, some of this may not apply to you because your issue is beyond mere bad nutrition and involves a lack of control or using food as a means to fill in some void. 


 We should never feel that there is only one way or one type of diet that will guarantee us good health, because as individuals we all process things differently and have different demands on our body.  I think it’s important that we evaluate our own health needs and determine what and truly we should be eating.  I know many people, just as I’m sure you all do, that are in great shape, have a ton of energy and no health issues to speak of and these people are not drinking diet sodas, sugar free cookies, and carbohydrate free pasta.  Variety truly is the spice of life, so be sure to include that in your attitude towards food and stop taking cues from people who do nothing but worry about what they put into their bodies.  Our species has been through a lot of shit to get to where we are today, so if you want to eat some ice cream people, enjoy! 

 


The Devil Wants You to Go Green-My 50th Blog Special

Posted by sean berry on November 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM Comments comments (3)

The green movement has been gaining a lot of strength and you are seeing more and more people attempting to do better by their environment.  The only problem is that much of what people do to save the environment is really not helping at all.  Let me give you an example:  recycling. How can this be bad you ask?  Well, let’s think about it.  What is the main issue with pollution?  It’s waste.  What people don’t realize about recycling is that you have even more trucks on the road burning fuel to go pick up these containers and that you are using more fuel processing these items through a recycling plant as well as producing more waste by cleaning them and breaking them down again.  We want to keep our landfills small because those big trash heaps become demonized after awhile, but how bad are they really?

 

Landfills get a bad rap, but in actuality, they are a means to an end and can also be beneficial as well.  There are many landfills that harbor the methane gas which is naturally released when trash is decomposing, thus, giving power to the community and the facility itself. We are not likely to be drowned in trash quite yet and if we ever get to live that long to see that point, I can guarantee you trash will be the least of our problems.


You see lots of talk about fuel consumption and gas efficient cars, but most of the ozone damage we have experienced is not from your mustang or shitty gas guzzling truck, you can thank all the militaries of the world for that, because they burn a hell of a lot more fuel than the average person does and I don’t see many people I know igniting massive bombs all throughout the planet.  Our government personally has detonated well over 30 atomic bombs and now you are guilt tripped into buying a more fuel efficient car because you don’t want to ruin the ozone layer.  Seriously folks, we didn’t start the fire, but we’ll damn sure burn in it.


Another big thing is organic foods.  Let me be the first to tell you it’s a misleading term and an excellent marketing ploy and a horrible use of land.  Did you know that if we converted all the crops we have to organic that the planet would starve in a few months?  With organic crops, you need more land to grow less food.  Another kicker you may not have known?  They use pesticides, but let’s be clear, not the advanced ones that we have been tailored after years of use, but older, cheaper ones that aren’t nearly as effective.  So not only are you paying more for something, you are still eating poison.  Many groups have also done taste tests where they would give someone two apples and ask which one tasted better and if they thought it was organic or not.  Well, should be no surprise that nearly everyone thought the non-organic one tasted better and even people that REGULARLY ate organic foods, seemed to prefer the non-organic alternative. 


The problem with this day and age is that we are a guilt ridden generation, thinking that the whole world is going to shit before us.  It isn’t folks.  Global warming?  All increases in the earth’s temperature have been directly linked to increased solar activity, you know that huge ball of fire above you and there are just as many natural sources of destruction on this planet as there are artificial.  I’m not trying to say that the destruction of our planet is justified, what I’m trying to say is that as an individual, we all don’t add much to it.  It’s that classic scapegoat mentality that has us all thinking we will be the new messiahs of our environment when it’s the very people telling us how to save the planet are actually the ones responsiblefor its larger scale destruction. 


I will say that not all recycling is bad, the one thing you should recycle is aluminum and batteries, but just about everything else is better off made from scratch.  The fact is that we live on a planet with billions of people and things are going to get messy eventually.  If we want to care for our environment, we should enact tougher restrictions on big companies like BPand devote more of our scientists to the pursuit of the future of man-kind and not figuring out which perfume makes a woman smell better.  I think we live the lives we do because we can and when the time comes that we realize that it is no longer possible to do so, we will adapt, after all, for all the creatures on this planet, doesn’t it seem that we are the most ill fit to live here sometimes?  We have technology though and society itself,and thus, we have spread ourselves to nearly every little corner of this planet, no matter how inhospitable. 


So if you must go green, then just know you are doing it to make yourself feel better.  Also realize that the people with the greatest amount of impact tend to not give a shit, because at the end of the day, they want to come home to a big house like you do and watch a big TV and acquire whatever it is their little heart’s desire.  The time to stop blaming ourselves is here and the time to put problems back into the arms from which they came is upon us.  So screw green, let’s go red, as in I’m pissed that other people are fucking my world over, making money off of it, and then wanting me to fix it by altering my lifestyle.   

 

 

 

Life is Like...A Game of Pool

Posted by sean berry on October 9, 2010 at 2:19 PM Comments comments (3)

You would think a bar would not be the place to give birth to a lengthy metaphor, but the other day I found myself in labor with such a creative comparison.  I was playing pool by myself and I thought, ‘hey, this is really quite like life itself: the setup, the playing, the victory and what happens afterwards…’.  Allow me to whittle this little log of thought so you can grasp it smoothly in your mind’s hand.


From the beginning, we start, all the balls are racked neatly at the end of the table, whispering thousands of possibilities amongst themselves and finally the words become clearer when you ‘break’ and everything is scattered.  Perhaps a few go in on the break, ok, so already much like in life, you may have been born with great parents or with a really great genetic trait, but even so, the game is not won yet.  Your birth is much like the break, whereby all is opened up to you and the eventual path of your destiny is akin to the scattered placement of multicolored balls on the table—these are your shots to shoot, this is your potential. Since you are playing by yourself, there is no real opposition, but a duality which seeks to drive you in different directions with no consideration of the other side, as some desires do not mingle well with others.  This is something we see all throughout our lives, whether it’s in bright lights or in shadows, we often play villain to our hero, we subtract when we are adding, and we find a way to challenge even the most basic of our own desires, because to be human is about adaptation, having a counter move to every move that comes about naturally. 


So there you are at the table, the balls are spread throughout and now you are deciding what path you want to take.  Not only do you see the ball you want to make into the pocket, you want to see the ball after it.  In your mind, an alternate reality has already been created whereby you do every thing as you planned and maybe a few things you thought you couldn’t do but you managed to pull off any way.  So when you go for your next shot, much like in life, you may not be thinking ahead at the time, maybe something has distracted you from your next move, so now the whole reality you had created is shattered and now you have a bunch of new possibilities and another sequence to follow to get to your goal.  To make it even more confusing, you have people around you in the bar giving you tips and telling you how they think you should do it, but they can make their arguments and its up to you to decide if they are worthy and whether or not you are going to follow them. 


Even when you know what you have to do, you still have to execute the shot and it’s therein that life plays tricks on you, be it circumstance or a slight hesitation on your part, but a shot that seems like a sure thing can be ruined very easily by a slight flaw in execution, just as in our own lives, we fail to notice small important details or don’t properly prepare for action when it is necessary. So when your cue ball goes more left then right, the perfect little plan you had just excuses itself quietly and walks out the door never to be seen again.  So as we fail in life, we fail in the game, but just as in the game, we try to take note of what we did wrong when the shot was flawed, we try to see our own life and look at our own habits, perhaps our grip on reality is all wrong, maybe mentally we need a slight straightening of the arm and a twist of the wrist to find our destiny, ball by ball, because every shot is leading itself to the next, like all our experiences branching off one another  in a fluidity that makes even water itself envious.


Minutes go by in the game, as years go by in your life and after many successes and failures, you arrive at that pivotal moment in the game:  sinking the eight ball.  So there you are by the table contemplating the shot, your pool cue warmed partially by your tensely gripped hand, which is itself thicker feeling from the chalk you’ve put on it over the course of the game.  It’s at this point that you realize that winning itself doesn’t really matter, but the feeling afterwards,like a holy justification for some wicked obsession or a wide open field ahead of you when you’ve spent most of your travels in claustrophobia inspiring tunnels.


Let’s say this shot is like a test you have to pass to graduate, now you know it means everything, but at the same time, there is much in the world to distract you from whatever purpose one part of your brain may have created.  So when you walk around the table to get the best angle on your shot, you see a very beautiful woman walk right by you and your brain is set on fire by the smell of her perfume.  For a few seconds, the eight ball doesn’t exist and it’s only until she sits down with the meathead at the end of the bar who has been obnoxiously ordering drinks for most the night, do you finally turn your attention back to the shot at hand.


You have made a choice to shoot a certain way and in the back of your mind is the thought that you could very well miss this or make it in without a hitch, so already you go ahead in time and contemplate the defeat as well as the victory and these visions play themselves out in microseconds while you move the cue back and forth in a stroking motion.  You shoot and at first is the sound of the cue vibrating from hitting the cue ball, then the click of the cue ball and eight ball colliding, and then finally the sweet gentle tap of the eight ball going into the corner pocket. Victory!  You’re happy, but alas, the world hasn’t changed, but even so, you feel a little better then you did a few minutes ago.  Another task has been accomplished and you think to yourself, what now?  It’s then the meathead with the pretty girlfriend walks up and puts his quarters down on the pool table and says, “You play with yourself pretty good, now how about a real opponent?” 


So there it is, much like life itself, games are meant to be played again and again because a new challenge or challenger always arises.  I suppose the moral of the story is to plan your shots ahead as best you can but always be ready to see a new path when your old one is altered by circumstances beyond your power.

 

Every One's a Comment Whore

Posted by sean berry on September 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Even before I ever thought about writing blogs, I have to admit I had a thing for reading the comments section of the various articles I would peruse through online.  There is something inherently fascinating in knowing full well someone else’sopinion.  I think for me it helps my understanding of others and gives me an idea of where I may stand on a given topic in relation to other people.  When someone leaves a comment, the writing itself becomes almost democratic.  Think about the bulk of the material we read and how we are always supposed to take it as factual, but with blogs, there is an almost immediate reaction if your ideas are outlandish, poorly described, or vicious.  The same may go for simply thinking outside the box sometimes on a subject people may find sacred.  I am in no way trying to say that comments are an accurate representation of what exactly people are thinking, but even if what someone is commenting about is gibberish, they are still choosing to comment.  It’s interesting to see how we all correlate to one another and how one idea triggers another and yet another.


As technology further integrates us so we are quickly linked to one another, it is only natural that art be created and commented on almost within minutes of each other.  The blogosphere is in itself like a makeshift brain and grows stronger as every new site is linked to another and the chain of communication gains more links.  The impact of comments can be positive or negative depending on the work itself.  If someone says something negative, does it mean that one’s work is not good?  Absolutely not, for sometimes people are simply assholes, but even given that fact, they are still people.  Certain work may not go over well with certain audiences, so if comments are truly important to a writer then it would be best to pander to your own particular audience.  When a comment is positive though, it is a good feeling to behold as you feel your writing has had an “effect”. 


So in closing, I think blogs and comments go hand in hand, whether they are good or bad. The more we know about one another will only heighten our ability to interact and to further increase the quality of our run ins with people on and even off the net.  It’s ok to admit you’re a comment whore, for until we can read minds, we’ll just have to settle for what people say or put into writing.     

 

 


The Appeal of Zombies

Posted by sean berry on September 19, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (2)

In today’s culture, we have many genres of entertainment and for each of those we have yet even more sub-genres to further define them.  One of the sub-genres that appear to be gaining quite a bit of popularity is the Zombie movie.  From Night of the Living Dead the film to The Walking Dead comic book series, zombies seem to be every where and it doesn’t seem like they are going away any time soon. I can’t help but wonder what exactly makes this particular subject so appealing to people, so I will dissect my own love of the idea of zombies and why I think it’s so entertaining.  What is interesting about a lot of Zombie movies and stories is that usually the zombies are not the primary focus; rather they represent a nearly insurmountable obstacle for the protagonists of the given story.  It’s not necessarily that zombies are badass, but that they bring out the best and worst in the people they encounter.  Depending on who’s version of zombie’s you follow, you may be dealing with the slow, shuffling type i.e. The Walking Dead zombies or you may be dealing with the explosively fast 28 Days Later zombies,but no matter which one you choose, the base still remains the same—they are both undead. 

 

I think part of the essence of these movies is having an enemy which is nearly limitless in its numbers but decidedly simplistic in its attacks.  Whereby in some stories the villain may not always be cut and dry a bad person, with zombies there is little doubt.  To kill a zombie is almost equivalent to putting someone out of their misery, thus, the idea of killing something is no longer vicious but merciful. What film or story of this genre would be complete without shot gun blasts to the head, decapitations, and indiscriminately driving throw crowds of the infested?  Though many people can argue the point, it’s safe to say people are in general fairly violent in nature.  We are all not killers, not by a long shot, but I think the seeds are there within all of us.  Are we inherently bad as a species?  Of course not, but we must be dynamic because there come times in a persons life when they may have to fight for their life or worst yet, have to take another in defense. 

 

Zombie movies not only give us a morally safe reason to kill other things, but they also show us how corruptible we all are in the end.  Most of the movies possess the same logic in that if you are bitten by a zombie, you get turned into one, assuming you are not completely devoured in the process. That makes a fight with a zombie quite an intense one because its not like a fist fight where you can take a punch or two and come back with a surge of adrenaline, no, one bite and its over—well, maybe you can avoid the infestation by hacking off the affected limb.  Rarely is there just one of them, but instead, you have to contend with crowds of them.  It’s almost as if the zombie infestation is an analogy for the opinions and views of the masses—be an individual with your rifle on top of a roof or join the crowd below in the search for fresh meat.  When you really think about it, zombies are not that evil in the sense that they have some diabolical plan to take the world over…no, they are just hungry. 

 

Going further on the subject of analogies, aren’t we all sort of zombies to some degree to somebody on this earth?  Does not each one of us represent a single-mindedness which threatens the livelihood and existence of some other person or being?  Are not the followers of pop music like zombies to those of us who like more obscure independent artists?  Aren’t the followers of the opposing political side much like the hoards of undead walking aimlessly along fictitious streets?  Underneath all the reasons for zombies being there is the fact that the survivors left want tostay alive. 

 

The things people will do to stay alive are often times more horrific than what any crowd of zombies are capable of doing themselves.  I think most of the good stories involving zombies focus on this premise and this is the reason why I happen to love The Walking Dead so much.  Even amidst half decomposed ambling undead cannibals, people can still be decidedly sicker andwicked.  The zombie world shows us that when all the shackles of society are removed and we are left to manage ourselves, the resulting world is filled with killers, rapists, and people hungry with power.  We often times take for granted the luxuries our society has bestowed upon us because most people have never known any different.  This doesn’t ring true for every country, obviously, as some regions of the world are war torn and poverty stricken.   


So in conclusion, I think the idea of zombies is appealing because as far fetched as it is, ideologically, it’s still very plausible.  People can be very easily reduced down to their most basic of emotions and urges.  Need proof? Go to a Justin Bieber concert, strip club, or any kind of political rally, but don’t bring a shotgun with you—please.  I think another reason for the rise in popularity of this genre is the way the world is changing.  As we become more aware of others, we find weare either a part of something or against it. Couple this with our inherent drive to live and succeed at nearly any cost and you have got yourself a subject which nearly any person can ultimately find appealing. 

 


The Fate of the Word

Posted by sean berry on September 14, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever really pondered how much power words have?  They are lines and curves and dots but when you interpret them, they transcend beyond mere physical representation.  Behind every word is a meaning and consequently, an emotion that we carry along with it.  Who you are may change your interpretation of the word of course, but even so, we are all still very much lead by their power.  With words, the intangible can be touched, the voiceless can be heard, and the dreams of the brilliant and inspired can become the dreams of the dull and apathetic. 


This is a subject that fascinates me because I often think of what the future will be like and in turn, I can’t help thinking of how far we’ve come already.  So we started out just making sounds, right?  Then one day we decided on what that sound would mean specifically, then we made a symbol for it, but eventually, we needed more ambiguous symbols because a simple representation was not enough.  Just as every instrument has a certain number of notes, we have developed our own alphabets to determine what words we can create and like music, how we string together these words creates the meaning we intend to convey.  And just as in music, words can be mixed and matched to nearly any degree while still maintaining some sort of coherent value. 


Let us quickly walk through history and see how we have evolved in communication.  First, man makes sound, then writes it down, then man has a common language with other men and now we have written and verbal communication. So in the beginning, if you wanted to talk to other people, you either wrote it on paper and sent it away with someone to be delivered to the reader of your choice and that was that, but in today’s society, not much has really changed except for the mediums of which the word travels and the very speed of it now is dizzying in comparison to its origins.  Messages that would have taken years by ship to be delivered can now be sent by computers in mere seconds. 


In this day and age, things are changing quickly and seldom in society do you have one thing changing and not everything else.  Words need to travel fast because our messages would be outdated by the time they reached their destination in current times.  The video game you write to your cousin about may have already had a sequel out that is everything like the original and then some.  Not all that has to do with the written word is just about what we say to one another in friendly passing though.  Our words can be used to construct limitations and barriers on our very behavior and we decree them as law. 


While I cannot claim to be a religious man, I can say that most religious texts are simply laws of behavior to guide whatever society for which they were created.  Doubt the power of the word?  Try burning a bible or Koran and see what kind of reaction you get—chances are it will be extreme.  Logically speaking, what does it matter if you simply singe away one transmission of a message which has been written a billion times?  We cannot simply ignore words, as any one who has ever broken a written contract can attest, as they are the final say on what really is “is”. Words lay a foundation that to us would not otherwise be there, that could be shrugged off or forgotten for emotional convenience, for let’s face it, people are moody bastards.  We react in ways the words couldn’t have predicted, so therefore, the words must be reinterpreted and rewritten so as to convey the same message without allowing for a loophole. 


Will we be texting in ten years or will it simply be video texts?  I have a tendency to think that we will never truly abandon the word as it is in a sense private, somewhat impersonal, and open to interpretation. It is so much easier to say things in writing then it is to say them in speaking because when we write, we are concentrating on the message and not the person, as to when we are speaking, we are more aware of the persons reaction.  The other reason is simply speed.  In our “1-2-3 done!” society, there is no time to hear an entire page read aloud when you can scan it over in a quarter of the time, but as technology progresses, we sort of loop back to how things use to be, sort of like going so far into time that you go back to the beginning and start all over again.  So now you can walk in the park in New York and talk on a video phone with someone in Japan.  Words can never truly tell us what we see when we look at something, they can only guide us and it is that flaw which will keep the medium itself from going any farther then it has already. 


Fear not though, the word is not going any where, but now it has much more competition then it ever has before.  Books gave way to television but eventually, voicemail gave way to the text message, so it is not clear in which direction we will choose to take our own technology.  What is clear is that we are all becoming more increasingly aware of each other as we are all becoming further unified by the ubiquitous technologies of our age.  One mystery which has yet to be solved is what will happen to the written word, as more and more hard copy is translated into an electronic equivalent.  How much is being lost?  For that matter, how much has already been lost in translation of already ancient texts?   And to finish this, I can’t help wonder if it really matters what is genuine any way, since we basically see what we want to most the time.  Do we make this world step by step or are we simply dancing to a beat that we aren’t even consciously hearing?       

 


The Waiting Game

Posted by sean berry on September 5, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Just as space has matter and dark matter, human beings do things and in between doing different things, they wait.  Waiting is like dark matter because it fills such a huge volume of space, yet at the same time, it is invisible and intangible to us, but still affects our lives on very deep levels.  We all wait, whether it’s for the sun to rise or for it to set, for how few moments of our existence are we not actually waiting on some level or another?  Is life itself not a million little mouse traps of anticipation set up to catch their prey?  I am fascinated by the concept of “waiting” and how we all as individuals handle it differently.  We don’t often times play the waiting game,as much as the waiting game plays us. There is that distinct touch of self truth when we see how it is we wait for the things we desire, because it shows us where we have control and often times, more importantly, where we lack it. While I cannot examine the deep psychological reasons for certain behaviors in relation to certain types of waiting, I can certainly help further define what it is the mind conceives of and what behaviors we display when we are waiting in certain situations.  So in the true fashion of most any blog, I will give a handy dandy list of those moments in time when we are engaged in anticipation and how we deal with reality at that point.


Waiting to Eat.  When our desires are primal and our body needs things, waiting becomes a conflict akin to an imaginary friend coming to life and pushing you around until it gets its way.  You may choose to think about what you intend to eat, practically tasting every morsel in your mind or you may rather choose to exert some will power and direct your mind elsewhere.  How long will you wait?  Most of the time, you will wait as long as you have to, but I guess it’s safe to say if you are hungry enough, you won’t wait at all!


Waiting to go to the bathroom.  Whether it’s number one or number two, there are few urges within us that cause such stress.  When you have to go—you have to go and when you finally do…well, if you could bottle that feeling up, you would be able to sell it as the world’s most addictive drug.  It’s all about time and place and we can not always act as our bodies would want us to, so we may be forced to tap our toes,withstand drinking any more water, and quite possibly avoiding another cup of that strong coffee at work which is quickly liquefying your insides. 


Waiting in line.  When we get in line at some place, whether it be the grocery store, the bank, or a fast food place, we know that we are going to wait a certain expected time and then services will be granted to us, but what if the asshole in front of you decides to wants to write a check instead of paying cash, what if the person in the car in front of you has to ask the guy at McDonalds what is on the cheese burger, and what do you do when all the bank tellers seem to get every one’s deposits taken care of before yours?  Do you tap your toes?  Do you tap your fingers?  Do you look back and forth towards the person ahead of you or stare out at some other point in space, trying to summon some thought which when over will find you next in line ready to do your thing?  It’s funny how we can totally zone out at points in our day that fill up more time then most time we wait for something,yet there is no stress involved.  Does the Id really have no ability to reason?


Waiting in traffic.  This one can get messy and frustrating really quick.  You are waiting for the traffic to clear, waiting to pass the slow cars, waiting for the train to cross the tracks, waiting for your boss to call and bitch you out as to why you are not there, waiting to drink the coffee you bought but can’t sip because you have to start and stop your car every minute or so and its hot as fuck.  When you wait in traffic, you wonder how much you love your fellow man, as it really brings to perspective just how much of inconvenience we can all be to one another. How much of our life is really just petty conflict?  Maybe it’s that way to desensitize us to the greater conflicts we will experience in life, like someone slapping you repeatedly in the face before they finally deck you. 


Waiting for the opposite sex.  I’d say waiting for a girl, but I realize there may be some women reading this, so I had to make it appropriate.  There is nothing that will put you into more of a stupid daze then when you are hard up for meeting up with that special person in your life.  Your brain is loaded and ready to blow with excitement (no pun intended) and you are just sort of skating around on auto pilot until that times comes.  It’s in that time of waiting that your brain goes into fantasy mode, whereby you can imagine all the things you’ll say and do, but maybe that is too much for you and you have to bury yourself with work and just go buck wild with your friends so you can keep from dwelling.


Waiting to puke.  Whether you just drank too much or ate something really bad, we have all hugged our toilets at one time another with much love and tenderness.  If there is a fire storm in your belly, then there is no other place on the planet that you would rather be then right there on your bathroom floor in front of your toilet(normally a place with the dirtiest floor in the house).  This is a bitter sweet way to wait, because you want it to happen but then again you don’t. You may pray to God that you’ll never drink again or swear off of that new burger joint down the street from you, but you know that your waiting will not be in vain as you can taste the rush of saliva in your mouth.


In closing, waiting is like the mind asking a question and trying to answer it at the same time.  It is a time when our destiny has already been set for us yet amidst that time is the conflict of the present itself.  All the time in between waiting for the things we do, life is happening all around us, so it’s like our mind is setting the points and the world itself is drawing the colors as we connect the dots.  In a sense, our life is all the stuff we don't set out to do but wind up doing anyway.  So I choose to end with a quote by John Lennon who summed it up best:  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”    

 

 


Science Says You're Boring

Posted by sean berry on August 22, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I read an article of a study by a physicist named Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, who figured out that people are inherently 'boring' by using anonymous phone records to track peoples movements for a year.  It was found that even people that weren't typical homebodies still behaved predictably, but why is this exactly, I wondered. I think as human beings we feel a need to glorify our lives past that of the common animal, but in the end, are we all not looking for a warm nest to sleep in, some food to eat and a nice patch of land on which to take a shit? The part of our lives that we may consider exciting would probably only be a small percentage of our time and in typical fashion, these are usually the memories that fill our heads when we day dream and reflect upon our existence.  This being what it is, it makes me think, that if all that we inherently find stimulating happens to be activities that make up a small percentage of how we spend our time, then is our level of interest in something proportional to the amount of time we spend doing it?  It would make sense that we are hard wired with "duty" in mind, that any species would be invariably be doomed if it simply worried about its excitement level and cared not for the bare essentials.  It could also be a neurochemical impossibility for someone to live in a state of constant mental stimulus, as it would require a steady release of normally exhaustible levels of serotonin and dopamine.

 

So I guess what the big question is how much does time govern our enjoyment of things in life? Are our constant and fundamental shifts in interest a genetic advantage—compelling us to achieve different skills and knowledge, as well as diversity the sources we seek for stimulation?  Humans usually live a much different lifestyle than most wild animals, due to the fact that our food is readily available, our mortality is more closely guarded, and we basically have the luxury to entertain higher thoughts because all of our primal needs are fulfilled. 

  

I sometimes contemplate the question of who is truly happier: the person that experiences positive stimulus all the time or someone who only experiences it now and then?  One could argue that if you seek sustenance from something constantly that there is some sort of deficiency that you are trying to compensate for, that perhaps by constantly seeking gratification, we are only putting off the inevitable lack of it.  Is it possible to want fun just for fun or is there a reason we are compelled towards enjoyment?  What is the primal reason for fun? Is it indeed an off shoot of higher brain function--that it's an ideological spit in the face of the survivalist instincts that pervade us all, because let's face it— we're all practically hairless, soft-skinned, and inherently interdependent creatures that are virtually at the mercy of mother nature or man kind at any given moment. 

  

I just think its funny how what is usually really important to our survival is sometimes at the bottom of the list of priorities, while what is simply for the sake of fun is at the top.  Modern living is indeed a struggle between the scavenger and the poet, the animal and the man, and of the worm and the hawk.  We live between two realms, one a direct reaction to the world around us and the other a reaction to the world we build in our heads.  In the end though, does it matter if stimulation is external or if it is self-created and what really gets through to us any way, for the brain has as many filters as it does lenses, governing what we interpret and ignore, be it in the interest of self-preservation or good old fashioned hedonism.

  

So in closing, I know why people are predictable and the reason is because we are all fundamentally the same.  We have needs and we will fulfill them whenever we can and often times at whatever price.  Maybe it is this way so that deep down all of us can be somewhat in tune with everyone else.  So that we can essentially synch our individual patterns with other peoples because they are inherently constant and formulaic, making our individual efforts more efficient by having intimate knowledge of other peoples movements around us.  Simply put, by being predictable, we are ensuring other people can predict us and that we can predict them and that the hive mind that is all of thinking combined, can move forward—not as individuals—but as a species in general.  For even despite all our differences and conflicts, we work more in unison now then we ever have, mostly on behalf of technology, which of course is just another byproduct of our own desires.  So if any one ever calls you boring, you can tell them, it’s the human way, just as it is their right to be a douchebag.