ImaginaSean

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

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ArgueRants #11: Opinions

Posted by sean berry on June 5, 2011 at 2:57 PM Comments comments (0)

Once in a blue moon, I will ask people what they think I should write about and by doing so I have had the opportunity to write about some interesting subjects. The latest suggestion I received was on ‘opinions’ and what delicious irony there was in asking someone’s opinion on what to write about and the subject turning out to be ‘opinions’. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one,” and how many of us would really argue with that statement? If we look up the definition of opinion, we find that it’s a personal view or a judgment that lacks sufficient proof to be proved certain. When it comes to what we like as individuals, it is all in the name of opinion as there is little certainty in what any individual will adore or hate for that matter.

 

How important are opinions though and how have they changed over the course of history? My answer is not to say that opinions have changed but the reach of the individual is greater now than ever before. We live in an age of “insta-judgment” whereupon people can twitter about how bad a movie sucks while they are at the theater watching it and we can witness people across the planet via live television and chat the same way on a web cam. So nowadays, any time someone has an opinion, you can hear about it very quickly and though a lot of what we hear we may not agree with, it still enters into our mindscape. As it is our natural tendency to adapt to changing situations, obviously, the quicker the feedback, the sooner a response can come about and thus changes can be made. Just think of how much society has changed since communications have improved?

 

Opinions may only be fleeting sometimes because they are not always rooted in fact, but as most politicians can attest, a well worded opinion can dismount a solid fact. People tend to hear what they want to hear and the opinion is the mental pressure gauge of any subject we can pass judgment upon. Even the trivial things that people can talk about like ‘opinions’ or comics or TV shows, movies, etc, still give a window into the minds of other people. I have always thought that every time I get to know someone I know a little bit more about the world because much of our world is what it is because of every one playing their own part. This doesn’t mean that I seek out every single persons opinion in some futile effort to become one with the whole of the human population but I am always curious as to what people think on any subject they choose to talk about because one never really has to ask another person for their opinion: they are given quite often without prompt or command.

 

It’s an interesting age we live in as technology is beginning to separate us physically while on another front it is interconnecting us mentally. Facebook and Twitter are technological realms of opinion and with the ability to have all your close friends a few keystrokes away, there is no wonder why each have attained their respective growth and popularity. There is some comfort in knowing to some degree what others are up to when much of our life seems like an endless stockpile of random and unexpected events. Predictability in the face of unavoidable chaos is the name of the game but a futile battle it is sometimes.

 

Let’s not overlook the principle benefit of opinions and that is sheer pleasure, for who doesn’t like to put their two cents in about something? It’s why websites like the one this blog is being published on are achieving more and more success over the years because we are social creatures and there a many among us who embrace their innate curiosity in others. Who knows what’s in store for us but one thing for sure is that we’ll all have something to say about it and some people we’ll want to listen to and others we will pray for them to shut up. Like it or not, the people in our world define themselves further and further with every statement they make and the flow of knowledge, the path of entertainment, and the direction of science, is all is guided in some subtle way by the opinions of others both important and inconsequential. No man is an island unto himself when so much of our identity is comprised of the knowledge of others whereupon they themselves got it from someone else who got it from yet another person and so on and so forth. So now you know what potential the power of an opinion can have, what will you choose to do?

ArgueRants #10: Anxiety and Fear

Posted by sean berry on May 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Fear plays a vital role in our life as it guides us into making more responsible choices that will ensure our continual survival, but what happens when your natural urge to fight or run is activated without cause? When I speak of fear I don’t mean the dread of seeing one of your ex’s while you’re out with a new date but the fear of life and death that makes your heart pound and your mind race with a million thoughts that all seem to want to pull you apart while the world seems to come down on your chest making it hard to breath. What I’m describing is a basic panic attack and if you’ve ever suffered from some sort of anxiety disorder you know full well what I’m talking about and those of you who have never experienced such a thing, count yourselves lucky. I have had issues with anxiety my whole life and when it comes to matters of the mind, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate if our fear is the result of an expected response to a particular situation or if it is simply neurochemical in nature.

 

It would seem that one is invariably linked to another as each experience we go through in life is met with a particular reaction whether it is positive or negative and thus the balance of our brain chemistry is always in constant flux due to the nature of our ever changing environment. Even if we do the same thing our entire lives, go the same places and talk to the same people, we will still grow older as well as the people around us and things will always change. No one is immune to the imbalances that life creates but some are obviously more balanced than others. Sometimes I think that some aspects of our mind and body that we consider to be flawed nowadays could have been advantages in another time long before our own. If you’re prone to being overweight and you gain weight easily, you would more than likely have a better chance of survival than your skinnier counter-part in a time when food was scarce, so who’s to say that those of us who are overly anxious now, wouldn’t be inevitably safer in more primal times when danger and injuries were more prevalent?

 

We will never really know but in this day and age to experience levels of deep fear is extremely taxing on the system. When our energy decreases, so does our productivity and even our ability to enjoy life can be exhausted. It is astounding how paralyzed one can become with fear and that how the normal world we live in can become an actual nightmare and a simple sound can make your body ache. We choose to see the world through a filter and take in what we want and when that normal filter has been replaced with a larger mesh that allows for more stimuli to pour through your mind, it is that very feeling that one is beginning to lose their mind. It’s at this point that one simply can’t “get” over it by simply convincing themselves it’s all their head. It is in their head and that’s the problem because the mind is a very complex place and the brain itself is a computer which has no equal and holds just as many mysteries as the earth and cosmos. Luckily, we do know a bit about the brain and many drugs have been created that can help with the symptoms of a host of mental and physical disorders. Medication can work wonders and has done so for many who suffer from anxiety disorders, including myself.

 

For some, medication may only be a temporary thing, a sort of life raft when your life is suddenly flooded, but for others with more serious issues, there may need to be a regular balancing of one’s brain chemistry through artificial means. Behavioral therapy can also help work for anxiety and there are many coping exercises that people can utilize to help themselves work through panic attacks, like controlled breathing and mental exercises that help focus the mind. I myself sometimes use counting as a way to work through a potential panic attack, when your mind wants to run a million miles an hour, you might as well give it something to do so I just keep adding up numbers starting with one plus one equals two and then two plus two equals four and so on and so forth. It seems really simple but after awhile you have to think very hard to figure out the answer and it shifts the minds focus on worrying to problem solving. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also ensure someone has the necessary nutrients and activity to ensure healthy and efficient brain function, not to mention simply getting enough rest in any given night.

 

So drugs are not always the answer when it comes to problems of the mind but I don’t think people should abstain from them just to abstain from them. It’s probably safe to say that a portion of people who take medication for depression and anxiety may not necessarily need to do so and probably could eliminate a lot of their symptoms with some lifestyle changes, but being a person prone to vices myself, it’s hard to find fault with people who want to help their situation even if they are the cause of their own problem, so to speak. If we are not willing to help ourselves than we cannot expect the world to be sympathetic to our situation, but if you have a friend with anxiety issues, try to be understanding of their plight and talk them down if necessary or sometimes just getting them out of the place that’s making them freak out is a quick fix too.

 

Anxiety is a part of life but it shouldn’t consume your life so if you find that you have a propensity for high anxiety, take a hard look at your habits and general perspective on life and it is always sound advice to see a doctor if you feel your anxiety is causing you detrimental mental and physical effects. Some people may feel cowardly for seeking help about “nerves” but for whatever reasons sometimes shit just happens and we have to do what we have to do in order to get back into the routine that we call life.

ArgueRants #9: Birthdays

Posted by sean berry on May 6, 2011 at 9:07 AM Comments comments (2)

Today I turn 33 and although nothing has physically changed in the past 24 hours besides my official age, I still always find myself changing mentally when every new birthday presents itself. Just like New Years, birthdays are a jump off point for a new lifestyle and an end to some bad habits. It is always interesting to see who will wish you happy birthday and if you are bold enough to mention it out loud, most people will automatically wish you a happy birthday. Everyone loves a holiday and what more personal a holiday than the anniversary of one’s birth, so I look forward to other people’s birthday’s as much as my own because it’s a justified excuse to party.

 

 I think it’s also interesting that with birthdays the format remains much the same your entire life. Whether you are 2 or 82, you are going to get a cake, people are going to wrap gifts and at either extreme of the age spectrum, you may need assistance blowing the candles out and unwrapping the gifts. Of course, some things do get left behind when we grow up as I have yet to see a clown performing at an adults birthday party, as I think this would generate more fear than excitement in most of us. Plus I have found that drinking heavily and clowns often times don’t mix and that is all I will speak on that particular subject. So the partying changes a bit over the years in addition to the gifts. Just like with Christmas, as young kids it was customary to get a lot of toys, but in retrospect we realize that most kids toys aren’t as expensive as the toys we come to love in our adolescence and although as a teenager you may get less gifts for your birthday, its usually a given that they are anything but cheap.

 

As an adult now, the gifts are not important to me as with all of my friends I like to stay within a certain price range so we don’t all as a group go broke trying to wish our friends a happy birthday. The old saying, “It’s the thought that counts” goes along way with me as I have given many gag gifts with much success. There are times when you can use the most personal of holidays to wish someone a most personal wish and give them a gift that really shows that you’ve been paying attention to them as we all have wishes and desires that we speak out loud with no intention of anyone granting them to us. Sometimes to give is to truly receive for the priceless reaction of someone surprised and happy is indeed quite an intoxicating feeling and the main reason parents go into debt during Christmas so they can watch their kids in utter heaven ripping apart package after package.

 

Even if you take all the people out of the equation on your birthday you still have yourself and the fact that you’ve made it yet another year. It’s a time of reflection, a time to evaluate if the path you’ve taken has led you to success or led you astray. If we didn’t have holidays and birthdays to punctuate our life in regular intervals, how odd would the passage of time seem for us? I have found that the older I get, the more repetitive life becomes and time definitely tends to fly when there aren’t a ton of new experiences to really stick out in the film reel that is your life. That is part of the essence of the birthday as well, you can’t stop them, you can only choose not to celebrate them. We can’t deny the years that we’ve existed as inevitably we’ve left a footprint on this world.

 

I look forward to seeing my friends tonight and people buying me free drinks. I look forward to people singing out of key to the tune of “Happy Birthday” and I look forward to eating a special birthday dinner of Empanadas, blacks beans and rice and Jell-O cake (all at my request of course). My life is sometimes heaven, my life is sometimes hell, but most of the time, it’s nestled in the place in between I call earth and reality. A birthday is something to be excited about or dreaded depending on your perspective, but in a world that doesn’t always cater to the individual, any time we can take to steal the spot light without consequence, we should embrace whole heartedly. If you’re young, you have a lot to look forward to, if you’re old, you’ve made it far you cranky bastard, either way, just celebrate. So happy birthday to me, happy birthday to you, and happy birthday to any one decent who deserves it: just remember, one man’s party is another man’s good time so no matter what side you are on, there is going to be fun.

ArgueRants #8: Moods & Movies

Posted by sean berry on April 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM Comments comments (2)

Anyone who has explored the internet at all has seen that it is a virtual haven for film critics of every type.  Movies are a big part of our culture and much of how we think and feel is reflected in the stories we choose to watch.  I loved movies as a kid and was quite the movie theater buff in high school as I liked to save my ticket stubs and put them in a page of my photo album as a way to have memory of all those 1 ½-3hour experiences.  It was always funny to me how my motivations in life always changed when I watched a movie, for example, after seeing American Ninja I would sneak around my apartment complex in black and try to practice the art of stealth or even back to the days of T.J. Hooker, I took it upon myself to be the neighborhood private eye and keep a watch on crime.  When I grew up though,I did not become a cop, nor a ninja, but I still enjoy living vicariously through others if only for an hour or two at a clip. 


 There is one thing that I have noticed in the last decade or so of my life and perhaps even longer, that has made me think about the future of cinema as we know it.   Times are always changing and just as drive ins gave way to indoor movie theaters,the technology boom gave us bigger and sharper televisions, not to mention cheap and powerful home theater systems.  Let us not forget also that downloadable bootlegs are more prevalent than ever, so for some they don’t even have to wait for the actual legal DVD release.  I am the type of guy who likes to operate on all sides of the spectrum though, as there are some movies I wouldn’t miss in the theater, there are some I’ll just rent when they come out, or a few I may download a bootleg of if I’m just not sure how I’m going to like it.


 One thing I will say that as much as technology has changed and made movies better looking, I definitely watch a lot less movies than I used to and even with Netflix, Cable On Demand, and Blockbuster, there are still a lot of movies I haven’t seen that I had thought would probably be good.  It’s not that I don’t have the time or a theater to see them in or money to pay for any movie subscriptions,put simply, I’m just rarely in the mood. It’s the strangest thing as it really has to be a certain type of movie that I’m just dying to see but there are quite a few that I have rented via Netflix for them to only collect dust until something else I really wanted to see came out and I just sent that one back without watching it first. 


 There are times when I just don’t want to watch a comedy,but I may be up for something sci-fi. There are times when I’ll watch a drama and other times when I want to watch horror.  Hell, there will be times I will be flipping through the television and come upon a movie I know is bad and I still sit there and watch it and think with amazement if any one finds it good or do I just not get it?  The point is, my moods rarely allow to even watch a movie, let alone a specific genre,yet I’ll watch television for hours at a clip. I know I’m certainly no poster child for what the average person in this country is like, but it’s a trend I notice with some of my other friends as well as strangers alike.  Perhaps it’s our multi-tasking nature preventing us from wanting to devote too much time to one particular event, maybe we are more concerned with fast acting pleasure and stories that get to the point without hours of development. 


Our technology is always changing us and thus we are beginning to be entertained differently. I think I may be more moody when it comes to movies because I feel like I have so many other choices in the way of entertainment that don’t involve 2-3hours of my time.  Just as with fast food, entertainment is becoming more fast paced and bite sized.  There are more web shorts out there than ever, I mean, duh, look at this site, as well as web comics and television shows that run below the traditional 30 minute mark.  As we discover more about the world, we in turn are often inclined to want more of it and this will always keep entertainment expanding and who knows what movies as we know them will turn into?  Perhaps in the future I won’t be contemplating if I’m in the mood to watch a movie, but rather, am I ready physically for the experience itself as it could eventually become a more interactive and sensory stimulating process. The progression of technology is only making our experiences seem more real and virtual reality already exists but will only become more refined and our connections to these places may become more physically linked than they are now.  As our moods control how we perceive the world, our own reactions to it go noticed by others and thus we have the ever changing face of entertainment as we know it.  We may not want something different because we are looking for something specific, we may just want something different because we aren’t in the mood for what we have had already.

 


ArgueRants #7: Drugs

Posted by sean berry on February 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM Comments comments (0)

For as long as man has been alive, he has been finding ways to get intoxicated.  I imagine ancient man was trying to find different things to eat when he tried a certain kind of mushroom and then found himself ‘tripping balls’ as you may have it and thus the drug revolution had its start.  Is this how it happened, I’m not really sure, but drugs have been a part of our society for a very long time.  From caffeine to cocaine, there is a chemical for nearly every mood and as society has evolved, so have the drugs we take. Thirty years ago it was weed and acid and nowadays it’s pain pills and Xanax,as more and more prescriptions are being written for all kinds of physical and mental ailments. 

 

Drugs are a funny thing in that on one level, they can potentially destroy your life and in some cases, kill you in a single dosage,but on another, they can have profound effects on us that while may seem temporary, can often times carry over into your sober state of mind.  We can’t forget the drugs that are prescribed medically either, as more and more seems to be alterable by the consumption of synthetic catalysts and for some people these effects have been very positive and life changing.  Our drugs have evolved and just like us, they are becoming even more specialized then before.  There is Xanax for anxiety and Zoloft for depression, pills to give you erections and even ones to help you concentrate.  Soon, they may just come out with a pill that makes Monday’s suck a little less. 

 

Despite whatever positive effects they may have medically or how good they may feel when taken recreationally, drugs are very much demonized and to enjoy them on any level makes you a deviant yourself in the eyes of many.  People’s arguments against them are very solid, there is no doubt about it: they are illegal, bad for you,and can ruin your life.  This can go for many things though if we allow them to take control.  Eating unhealthy food isn’t good for you either but people still make the choice to eat that way because it is pleasurable.  I don’t encourage drug use but the whole point of this article is to say basically if you do or have used drugs, it’s not an automatic indication that you are the scum of the earth and minions of the Devil himself.

 

I feel a need to make a distinction between drug addicts and recreational drug users and don’t think you drinkers are off the hook because alcohol is included as a drug though the common misconception is to classify the two as different things.  If someone wants to get intoxicated and they are not in a position to hurt themselves or anyone else, then it should be their very right to alter their state of consciousness how they see fit. If someone is spending their rent money to get high that night or isn’t watching their kid because they are shooting up, they are a fucking addict.  I think drugs are something that can be used responsibly and with minimal health damage.  Of course the potential for dependence lurks but that is more for people with a natural predilection towards addiction.  It’s even harder to make an argument that there is a possibility for responsible drug use when there are so many horror stories of the op

The fact of the matter is that among us are professionals who are fantastic at what they do and drugs are very much a part of their life.  You may know a drug addict and you may know someone who you don’t even think is a drug addict but in fact is, you just never really know.  Is it really wrong to indulge in something that more than likely isn’t going to kill you in the end?  How many of our mothers and fathers did drugs and are alive and well today and by no means destitutes of society?  It’s just another one of those things that we always want to play safe with so we are always outwardly negative in our public voice in the matter of drug usage.  Drugs, like guns, can be deadly in one person’s hands and harmless in another person's.

 

There are many cultures that use drugs in their ceremonies and how many weddings happen without booze present?  There are obviously really bad drugs out there as I’m not going to compare crystal meth to champagne, but more people are dying from alcohol poisoning a year as opposed to over dosing on coke and meth, so go figure.  I deliberately went out of my way to not really focus on much of any drug in particular because it’s not about justifying any particular drug as each drug can be deadly to any individual if certain circumstances exist. Thousands upon thousands of people try coke for the first time without a hitch but every so often some poor unlucky bastard will fall dead and with certain things like that it gets tricky when you really think about people being able to do whatever they want. 

 

In time, I can see technology allowing us to control ourselves better if we are under the influence and perhaps save lives as self control is just not always so reliable. Perhaps one day someone will invent an insta-sober pill that you could take and be free of any intoxication after you were done partying so you could go home safely and put no one in danger. Hard to have your cake and eat it too and even if you make the cake illegal, people will still have it.  I do see hope in the future that perhaps we will learn more about our wants and pleasures and be able to live the best of both worlds and that is to the live the high life of induced pleasure coupled with the certainty of responsible actions.

 

ArgueRants #6: Cats & Dogs

Posted by sean berry on February 16, 2011 at 11:29 PM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to pets, most people think either cats or dogs.  Both animals have been domesticated and a part of society as far back as the B.C. era , so it’s no surprise that there is a quiet prejudice regarding the two animals.  Most people will tell you that they are either a ‘cat’ person or ‘dog’ person, I am a cat person myself, as they’ve been around me most of my life so therefore they are what I’m used to having as pets.  I love dogs too, don’t get me wrong, but as far as animals go I have always had a fascination with cats.  I think a lot of it has to do with their similarities to the big cats, which are obviously some of the best hunters in the world, so it’s cool to see one of nature’s perfect killing machine in an adorable, miniaturized version. 

 

For some though, dogs reign supreme and the idea of even owning a cat is gay.  There are definite advantages to owning a dog versus a cat, such as added protection, specialized functions via training, and even exercise, as you have to walk your little friend so they can do their business. Now a cat has its pros in that they don’t require much attention or care, they don’t need to be walked and their general small size makes them suitable for smaller houses and apartments. Both pets will provide you with endless hours of entertainment and years of unconditional love, but yet still people find reasons to hate each of these animals respectively.

 

A lot of people tend to think of cats as snobby, as they don’t often come to you when you call them. While I can’t claim that my cat comes to me with the trained regularity of a guard dog, but she does generally come to me when I snap my fingers.  People also mistake a cat’s natural independence for a lack of affection and I can tell you that most any cat you show love to habitually will be just as happy to see you as any wagging-tailed dog out there.  The other problem that commonly affects people in regards to cats is that many people are allergic to their hair and although though are medications to help control this, for most people the simplest thing is to just not own a cat.

 

Just as with people, not all dogs and cats are alike.  I have owned many animals throughout the years that have had amazing personalities and to be close minded about the joy a good animal can provide in your life is denying yourself a very basic pleasure in this world.  As companions, dogs and cats can help improve the lives of whoever give them love and a home.  There are some considerations to make before deciding to get either one of the two because despite the fact that it is your pet, it is also a living creature and it deserves the basic respect that living things should be entitled. 

 

I see a lot of people that work a lot of hours getting dogs and this can sometimes put stress on the animal.  I know on one level the animal is probably being saved from being killed at the pound eventually, but on another, the animal is in dire need of attention and has to “wait” on you most of its existence while you go out and make your living.  Even if your animal has access to the outside, it is still “alone” and their excited disposition when you return home is not because they are somewhat glad to see you, it’s because they’ve been dying to see you!  I also realize that some people can’t avoid this, but if you are in a similar situation and if you can make the time to give your dog the attention it deserves, do it. 

 

If time and space are not something you have in abundance, a cat may be more your style, as they don’t need much room and don’t need to go outside.  I am generally against having outdoor cats because I have had way too many run over by cars,but if I lived in a more rural area or had a screened in porch, I would let them out.  Cats can be very neat pets and whether they are trying to pounce on birds from behind a glass window or bolting through your house for no particular reason, like dogs, they can make you laugh and smile.  People want to be dismissive towards cats because they can’t do as much, well my argument for this is simple:  I don’t need protection from any one; if I throw a ball, I can retrieve it myself, and I get enough exercise at the gym and work to where I don’t need to walk a dog; I’m not blind so I don’t need a guide; nor am I looking for drugs or tracking any animals.

 

I wanted to write this article to talk about the benefits of both animals because I don’t like hearing people say, “I hate cats” or “I hate dogs”.  I hate even more hearing about the horror stories of people torturing either animals or any animal for that matter.  My question is, what is it about a certain type of living creature that compels people towards such hatred?  It seems so much of that which we dislike in this world is so easily avoided and acting upon our hatred most of the time is not worth the consequences if we are caught in the act.  So in closing, is there a perfect pet out there?  Well, it’s all relative to the person and what they expect and therefore in turn, what they are willing to do themselves.  When you do find the right pet, it’s an almost immediate connection and a friendship that will last the animals entire life and a memorable portion of yours.     

 


ArgueRants #5: Society's Pressure Towards the Norm

Posted by sean berry on February 15, 2011 at 9:33 PM Comments comments (0)

There are a lot of people that don’t believe in destiny but if you think about it most of us already have a set line of how we are going to live our lives.  It seems like the natural progression is that one grows up, finds a job they like doing, a suitable mate, and then they have children and live happily ever after, but is this really the dream we should all follow? Society is not what it used to be and women have begun to cast off a lot of the old stereotypes and have been focusing more on fostering careers instead of families.  Should we be afraid that women are concerned less with having babies and more with making money and building status?  No, of course not, the world is anything but scarcely populated so it only benefits society that less people have children and more people be concerned with the economic welfare of them selves and in a greater sense, their country.

 

Men are filling the role as single father more often as of late too and with much success as you don’t need to be of any specific gender to love and care for a child. Society is much like ourselves and gets bored with the status quo, plus when you have someone who has been at the bottom of the totem pole, they are inevitably going to try and work their way up. You can imagine the conflict this creates and it is conflict from which we all profit and suffer by because we live in a world a thousand battles happening all at once and ever continuing.

 

We can all see how an environment can create a person and change how they see things and in this day and age, people are coming into their own while our technology is growing exponentially around us.  The America of suburban families may find itself a minority to the rise of individualism as more and more technology puts us in total control of our destinies. People can walk amongst us yet be completely lost in their own world oblivious to the people around them.  You do it yourself when you get in a cell phone conversation while walking around in public.  Information is starting to pass between us almost instantly as more and more devices allow people a degree of connectivity of a hive like mind.

 

However strong the pull of technology is, there is no denying our most primal of desires and that is to seek love and from this we are going to have children.  The sum of our population is like water that spills into the future and fills in any cracks of possibility out there, that we will do all that is possible with in our realm and potential and whatever we can’t do ourselves, we’ll do with our imaginations and reflect that in our art and entertainment.  There is a direction we travel which is beyond any of us to control, but we all play our part in setting these inevitable circumstances into motion.  There is, of course, an incredible amount of potential for any individual in this tide of certainty, to go beyond what is expected, to try what hasn’t and to sometimes go against the grain of what is common.  It’s this very tendency that has carried us this far and will continue to until we are no more.        

 


ArgueRants #4: Beauty

Posted by sean berry on February 14, 2011 at 8:41 PM Comments comments (0)

I will admit something very personal to everyone; I have always wanted to be good looking.  I don’t think this is uncommon and I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way, but for most of my life, I have stuck out like a sore thumb.  Now before I make this seem like a self-pitying rant, I must say I am cool with who I am now.  Though I would still very much enjoy being a better looking guy, I have learned over the years that it is not the most important thing in the world. 

 

You always hear that birds of a feather flock together,well while that saying does hold true sometimes, most the time, it is way off basis of what we call reality.  You don’t need to be a great looking guy to date a great looking girl, because it’s not like beauty is color and pattern coded and only certain people can go together.  Beauty goes far beyond the skin and what we consider beautiful can involve many aspects of who a person is such as their personality as well as the placement of their facial bones and the size of their chest. 

 

There is a science to beauty often times though, as we generally consider faces that are symmetrical to be more attractive and obviously in art we have a high reverence for those that can accurately capture how something looks with a level of detail that gives reality a run for its money.  Anything can be beautiful because it’s not simply about looks but how something makes you feel.  When you see something beautiful it is a rush of stimulation:  your eyes open wider and your nostrils flair while you are transfixed on a sight which by its very nature captivates. 

 

Beauty is great because it is all around us.  The articulate puffiness of the clouds, the magnificent glow of the setting sun, the apple-like shape of a beautiful woman’s ass, or sometimes the swirl of cream in your coffee can be beautiful, it’s as much your own mood that determines the beauty you see. When you learn more about something, you may find the ideas beautiful because they appeal to you, they make you yearn for more like we do for a woman we find beautiful.  Are we all superficial for being attracted to beauty?

 

It’s more a matter of survival then it is simply people being picky.  While we as a race like to think of ourselves as sophisticated, we are still animals and when it comes to mating, most creatures are concerned with the genetic compatibility of their mate to ensure the survival of their species. Beauty can usually tell us if someone is healthy, which automatically makes them desirable on a very primal level because they are seemingly capable of bearing children.  Even if someone is not what is traditionally considered beautiful, there is always a similar group of people that are attracted to these people. For every type of look a person can have, there is a person that dig that look out there, now whether or not their personalities are compatible is a matter all its own.  There is no standard for beauty because it’s always different strokes for different folks.

 

I don’t have a type when it comes to women because I think there are so many different types of beautiful women out there that each has their own little personal flair.  I can’t imagine a world where beauty didn’t exist and I think you can sometimes take for granted the beauty of things around you. Just the way simple things work sometimes is beautiful or the way circumstance seems to act as fate sometimes is beautiful.  We don’t see beauty simply because it exists,we see it because we need it to and we see it because we are always looking,always evaluating, always open to the world around us and how it makes us feel. 

 


ArgueRants #3: Coolness

Posted by sean berry on February 14, 2011 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (4)

What is it exactly that defines coolness?  Is it calm under extreme pressure?  Is it rebelling against the status quo?  Is it the charm of words and fashion that immediately present someone as a person others would like to imitate?  People learn by copying, it’s how we all got to this point because we watched Mom and Dad do stuff and we tried it too and even to this day we’re still taking cues from those around us to help us in our own individual plights.  So what is it that cool people do that gives them that label exactly and who’s really to say what is and isn’t cool?

 

One thing for sure is that there is no specific morality placed on the idea of cool as many evil characters are often labeled cool,perhaps not simply only for their ruthlessness, but their general attitude and effectiveness.  When we think cool we think carefree and yet strangely always under control and on top of things.  It’s that ability to make something difficult look effortless and natural that captivates us.  Cool is thankfully nothing that is confined to only the genetically gifted, it’s a label which can be bestowed upon any one because we are all open to be interpreted in many different ways by people as well as have the free will to make choices that will improve our image in the eyes of others. 

 

Of course, depending on your crowd, the idea of cool may not even have anything to do with grace or respect but rather cruelty and humiliation.  The idea of coolness may be dominance and establishment of self created norms such as in the case of gangs.  Everyone uses cool as a label to make their lifestyle seem desirable, so not only can they increase their own potential to have fun but they can improve their status on the same stroke.  Cool is also about decency and generally being a good person.  It involves having forethought beyond that of others, anticipating needs and fulfilling them at a beneficial time.  We need in our society archetypes upon which to structure our behavior, as we further and further refine our interpersonal relationships and the society that exists around them.  So as seasons come and go and the tide rises and lowers, styles change and thus what is around us does along with it, though some forms of coolness are not necessarily seasonal but declarations of character.  Also it goes to say if you can’t imagine yourself as cool then it’s doubtful anyone else ever will either, so it becomes more about an attitude which may be recognized by others immediately, sometimes literally by the way you walk.

 

So in closing, coolness is in many ways a cloak that we may wear upon ourselves that is in its nature only visible to certain people.  With people there are no  absolutes and no sure fire way to guarantee any individual can be called or labeled cool.  People can be near identical in one respect and completely alien in another.  While there are people and things that are generally considered cool, there is always those who don’t agree with the norm and think completely different.  When it comes to opinions, styles and ultimately the essence of cool, the ideas are as many as there are people on this planet. Moral of the story?  If you aren’t cool here, you’re cool somewhere and if you aren’t cool now, you can get cool later!

 


ArgueRants #2: Sensitivity

Posted by sean berry on February 13, 2011 at 10:06 AM Comments comments (2)

There is no doubt that the world can be a very vicious place and at times it seems there is little sacred.  Despite this fact, I am not one of those people that think the world is in dire chaos and we as a people have no moral compass any more.  I believe this because I don’t think it was ever any better earlier in our history and because of the way society has changed and technology along with it, our interactions have become much more complex than before.  So it’s imperative that people adopt a sense of thick skin because no matter how well you safe guard yourself from offensiveness, no matter how polite and respectful you are yourself, someone is going to be a dick to you and it’s going to hurt if you let it.

 

Information is a funny thing, certain kinds of it you can absorb without a care in the world and then other information seems to pass like acid through the blood vessels in your head.  The fact is we place a lot of importance on what others think and we evaluate most of our self-worth upon the opinions of others.  Sure, people can see things about you that you may be blind to yourself, but what does someone else’s opinion really matter?  Opinions to me are either indestructible in that you can never change them; feathery, as in they can be swayed from one place to another with just a gust;  even ghostly, as they can fade away and become transparent if a more logical or beneficial opinion is introduced. 

 

When someone says something mean, take the time to think:  why does it hurt or why does it irritate?  Are they pointing out some obvious truth that other people have been polite enough to over look?  Are they bringing attention to something that is off topic or that you are trying to keep hidden?  Are they making far fetched and demeaning assumptions?  Perhaps they are just being plain rude and insulting you.  If someone never read Moby Dick, would you question them about it for reliable information?  So if someone who doesn’t know you then decides to talk shit about you, how are they in any way a reliable source themselves?  Sure, it’s never fun being the odd person out but no matter who you are, at one point in time you will play that role. 

 

I also want to state that I have dealt with my share of shit over the years from bullying to being picked on for a multitude of things, even to this day I still get stared at for looking a little different and can be the butt of many jokes.  I can also say my natural tendency is to be a little sensitive myself sometimes but it’s a battle I have fought adamantly over the years because the older I get, the more I realize that not only are people basically the same, but they are all fucked up in their own special little way.  We make the choice to be hurt by others because we feel we need to defend ourselves when sometimes it’s just as effective to indulge your opposition and let them reveal their thoughts or feelings no matter how conflicting or disturbing they may seem. 

 

We live in a society of words and ideas, whereas in the past, it was more about action and response. Emotion is what makes life beautiful but there is a time when you need to learn to turn it off.  The causes and reasons for people being mean are many, such as for revenge, a cheap thrill, too much to drink, a desire for attention, intimidation, and even fear.  A verbal assault is usually a call for a return of the same and to not do so would almost seem against code, assuming any such regulation existed.  Can you fight fire with fire though?  Of course, if you fancy conflict that is, but you can also choose no response and that may not still get you off the hook, but it’s what you’ve decided in your own head that determines how what you see outside of it that will affect you. 


It’s important that I note this wasn’t written simply to tell people to toughen up and accept that there are a bunch of mean bastards out there, it’s more or less to say that you have control over how you interpret these people and the potential reach of their insults.  As we bundle up when it’s cold, we must mentally cover ourselves in the presence of people who would seek to tear us down.  This may seem easier said than done of course, especially with very sensitive topics and in some cases, socially destructive rumors.  Not to mention that your own mental health comes into the picture, so if you know full well by now that you are easily offended by things, perhaps it’s time to examine why before something worse comes along.  The reality of life is that we as a people are going to be offended on a nearly daily basis, but if you take it as something that is inevitable, then there should be no need to let it bother you.  I also want to close by adding that some of the things people say can be very mean and it’s hard to turn your back on, but in order to survive and live well you must suffer through many hardships and be able to adapt to adversity in its every form.

 


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