Reflections on my graduation from university

I plan to do plenty of writing concerning the false dichotomies that so permeate our understanding of the world, of the various forms of the Lucifer or morning star archetype throughout the world that I had not yet thought about, and some Mythological Spotlights in the future, among various other topics. But first, as something of a break from the content desert on this web blog, I have decided to a little write-up over the fact of my graduation from university.

As of yesterday I have finished four years of studying game design as a Masters graduate, and have thus earned a degree. Naturally I’m pretty happy with this. In addition to this, I’ve been getting confirmation of my marks back before graduation and I’ve earned First class marks for my final module. I’ve often given myself a hard time over the work that I do in university, frankly I still think a lot of the practical work that I’ve done isn’t as good as some of the other students, but to have worked my way up to graduating with a first class grade shows me that I have very little reason to be down about my academic achievement. I mean, sure, a lot of the reason I got the high marks was my written work more than my practical work – in fact, it’s my written reports associated with the modules that ensure a reasonably high overall average with my marks a lot of the time – but hey, a great result’s a great result. And, I think it seems to be evidence enough that the path of diligence and dedication to academic study has paid off.

So at this point you might be wondering by now what I’m going to be doing now that I’ve graduated. Well, obviously I hope to move out of my home town in the not too distant future, but that’s going to require me to get a reliably steady source of living income going my way. But I am ambitious at this point in time, and I’ve got pretty big plans for what I want to do with myself. During my final academic year I arrived upon the idea of setting up an enterprise of some kind that would focus on narrative writing for the video game industry. In terms of the specifics, this means setting up a company to handle story-writing for small game developers, as well as numerous other services involving my writing. This service centers around writing specific documents that record every detail of a given game’s universe as applicable to story and world information. This was going to be a simple limited company at first, but as 2018 began to roll in, and my worldview began to change with it, I decided I want to do something even more unique and challenging: take that enterprise and organize it as an author’s cooperative. This basically means that we’d be running as a company competing in the market, but instead of just having it be me calling all of the shots, I work as part of a jointly-organized enterprise as a part of a collective of people with similar talent and interest, with each participant getting some say in how we organize.

You might think this is a strange road to go down, but for me it’s arguably a logical extensive of game design as an inherently collaborative principle. I mean, let me put it like this: a single game project is not just the product of one man or woman, and the course of a game project is not simply the result of the will of one particular designer. Each project is a product of a conglomeration of designers and artists pooling their skills together , and in the industry itself you also find the finished product is also effected by producers and market forces. I learned this very early on when studying game design, when I learned of how game designers aren’t the kind of purely artistic bohemians licensed to venture into the realm of individual imagination and individual production alone, and for about a month this revelation almost drove me to transfer to an illustration course because I thought it wasn’t what I wanted. Thank gods for the program director setting me straight at the time. Who knows what might have happened otherwise. But anyways, it makes sense to me that game design should be seen as a collaborative effort, which means that working as part of a team, or a collective, is not a taboo or a source of oppression.

However, I do feel that the current model within the games industry still ultimately disempowers the true creatives – that is, the people who lay at the heart of the design process in every project, the designers – as in the current industrial environment you the biggest and most successful game projects are shaped so much by market pressures. And not just them either. I have seen the Shin Megami Tensei game franchise that I love become debased within the last three years or so by blatant attempts to chase the kind of shonen anime tropes that are all too easy to sell in the Japanese market, and I think a lot of it is down to the higher ups over at SEGA (who now own Atlus, the company that develops and publishes those games). With the model I aim for at least, I aim to bring more power to the designer, or rather the designing team, to do more than just go with the flow of the market. Of course, we could say something about the limits of what we can do within the current system, and what to do about that, but I think we can skip that for now.

Anyways, this is going to take a lot of groundwork: I need to lay out the overall foundation of the enterprise and I’ll need to find people who might work with me in forming it. Not to mention, getting funding for such a project. However, there’s a positive twist to that. Even though I’ve already graduated, I can still visit my careers advisor who can potentially link me up with a pool of talent from my university in my corner of the world, but I have until September to make the most of this opportunity.

Going forward, this all means I’m going to be focusing on my material standing at least for the time being, to form a creative enterprise and make a life for myself. I will try to write some articles for this blog in the coming months, but let’s be real it’ll probably be in a kind of an as and when sort of thing – if I get up to writing and releasing posts here, I will, but if not, I won’t – and this will likely be influenced by me trying to, as I just said, make a life for myself.

For now though, I think I’m going to have a fairly easy week and weekend, just to chill out from graduation. I already had some fun last night with some ciders in celebration, but there’s room for a few more drinks, and play some games as I do (hey, what’s a game designer if he can’t play games?).

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A little update concerning where I am now

I feel it necessary to write a short post concerning my standing in life with regards to my academic life and what I am to do going forward. After all, I am living my final term of university and I have over two months left before I graduate. I think this is enough of an important point in my life for me to say something about it.

I have pretty much a day left before I hand in my assignment for my major project, so I am almost done with it. After that, I will probably be helping out with the end of year show that is being held within two weeks, and in between the date of the show and the day of my graduation in July I am expected to talk to some external assessors (or at least I think that’s the case anyway) to talk about what I submitted, so I we’re not done in that time yet but we can use that time how we see fit besides the talks. I also plan to use as much of that time as possible on finding a part-time job, work experience or pave the way for an actual career so that when I leave university I can move out of my current residence and build up a stable life of my own in a new setting.

I honestly don’t have a good grasp as to what I want to do after I leave. You would think that I’d be dead set on getting into the video games industry as soon as I leave, but that is not how I think of myself. Instead I see myself in a state of cynicism towards the video games industry, with its decadent emphasis on commercialism and its present trajectory towards stagnation, and as having been embittered by my experiences working as a game design student. So I almost want to shed myself of the destiny that I had made for myself by going down the road that I took back in September of 2014. That’s not to say I don’t ever want to go into the industry or don’t see myself as having potential; to take that stance despite what I have learned from my lecturers who’ve supported my efforts would be an exercise in ungrateful ressentiment. But at the same time, I feel like there’s other things I want to do. Not to mention I think getting a stable income in for myself will be very important for me materially and in terms of making for myself an independent, self-managed life, and allow me to possibly open up more socially within a new setting where it’s practical for me to just get out and do things without feeling tethered to the limits of living area as has been the case with my current location. On the one hand, I think I can still do something within the video games industry, on the other, I wish to break out of a path that began from obvious naivete and devolved into me making unfulfilling choices in the name of personal advancement all while getting the sense that I have never achieved what I really wanted to achieve. That’s why part of me kind of feels like “fuck the games industry, I want to find some people and just jam with them every Saturday night or whatever just for fun”.

As far as the blog, things might still be slow for the forseeable future, although I do have some ideas for posts I would like to write in future. As I implied earlier I want to minimize politics here, although I am and have been learning new things about political philosophy since my conversion. I might talk philosophy though, but want to keep politics at a minimum because I feel like I should write about something else. I also want to start doing Mythological Spotlights again in the future because it has been almost a year since the lengthy Mythological Spotlights I wrote for Satan and Lucifer. Haram Month is probably not going to return this year because the last one was really sparse and I outright expect to be too busy sorting my life out to commit to it. However, I do fear that I’m losing a lot of motivation to write for the blog, and as such I predict that I may announce a hiatus for it after some posts. It’s been over five years since I’ve been writing for it, so I suppose something like this was bound to happen eventually.

Sorry I haven’t written anything in such a long time, but hey I did I was going to be on a pretty slow blog writing period going forward. I hope I didn’t make you think I was dead or going to die soon with that last post regarding the possibility of World War 3 breaking out.

And to cap off this post, I wish a late Happy May Day, Happy Walpurgisnacht, and Happy Beltane to all my readers.

Maybe I should stop caring

Some time last year I started watching Styxhexenhammer666, and one of his videos that I took a liking to was his video titled Be Not Afraid. The basic message of the video, as he sums up, is not to take life so seriously. Sometimes I feel as though I am too conscientious in my actions, and university really tends to bring this out in me. I still have yet to truly get past the fear of losing control. And, on a somewhat unrelated tangent, there are still moments where the mind is occupied by contemplations of eternity, and the existential dread that follows it.

Yet what should I find these days but reasons for either apathy, indifference, laid-backness or serenity?

In university, I find that I’m always getting the work done, even if it’s not at the pace that I’d like, and I’m getting good marks for it. And while others tend to put off the written assignments until later, I spend the duration of a given academic term slowly, but surely, getting the work done. And for me it’s not that I can work without pressure. On the contrary, I would argue that I can feel the pressure to complete even the smallest thing within each milestone, which for me is typically every week, which is no less than the next phase of progression for me. And if I get the master’s degree right, and properly establish the path to a sustainable career, I could go from my university degree to a career in the game’s industry (which in my case seems to involve a lot of creative writing). So while my conscientiousness seems to be doing me good, I could probably do with a more relaxed stance because it seems to me like things are going fine.

In life, I’m approaching a mindset regarding the nature of the world, or at least a mindset to aspire to. Put this way: you have no way of knowing what lies in wait for you once the maws of death drag you out of your mortal coil. The only thing I’m certain of it’s probably not the kinds of heavens and hells we thought of thousands of years ago. I find no sensible reason to think we live in a simulation, but even if we do what makes us think we’re going to get out of it? What makes us think we’re going to transcend The World (as people of a Gnostic mindset might think)? There’s the world/cosmos you live in, all things bright and shit, and for all you know the abyss at the end of it, maybe a pagan underworld if you’re lucky, goodness forbid reincarnation turns out to be true. You probably don’t even have as much certainty about the reality you live in as you would like to believe. But what’s the point of thinking about it other than, maybe, try to desensitize the psyche to the inevitable existential dread that arrives on your doorstep now and then? So just go with the flow. Or perhaps, go with your flow. Just focus on living your life for yourself, as I have believed things should be, pursue your worldly goals and, perhaps, find your true will or whatever, and don’t waste too much time dwelling on much else. Look at the world for what it is,  which is arguably a kind of Hell, and then get over it somehow. All in all I suppose I can only hope a little alcohol, and some spirituality, actually helps.

And that’s another thing, if I factor that in, how long will it be before I successfully conquer my longstanding fear of losing control. Either that or I find a way to get on top of most things and just make that fear redundant.

I feel it’s worth mentioning politics and political/cultural movements for a bit, because I’ve been paying attention and its another reason for some of this desire to just not care. Ever since the middle of 2016 I’ve been doing some soul-searching in the political department -rethinking the way I actually relate to the political environment in the West and so forth – and I’ve come to understand my place in things a little better. Unfortunately, I’m also bitterly disappointed with almost every movement out there. Most movements today are incompetent, vapid, stupid, pretentious, or worse. Some of them are actively morally corrupt, to the point that it’s probably better to be either apolitical or dead rather than join them. The ones I like have also fallen prey to this. I have for instance seen conservatives gain considerable opportunity with the downfall of progressivism, only to waste the wind they have been given obsessing with the culture war and acting like the same old insufferable boomer conservatives I hated before 2016. At this very moment, they’re acting like Donald Trump just saved Christmas simply by being in office this year. Libertarians, the movement that for a long time I loosely identified with, I abandoned because I’ve seen them simply give into madness by embracing anarcho-capitalism at the core of their movement; and the ones who aren’t doing this have decided to either leave libertarianism in favor of the alt-right, or embrace some kind of “libertarian fascism” or “anarcho-monarchism” or some stupid meme ideology concocted by the far-right to salvage some sense libertarian identity that can be cohabited with their reactionary and racialist tendencies. I won’t even get into the situation the Libertarian Party of America is in (except, perhaps, in a separate post). And liberals? They have almost no intention of reform outside of online circles, wherein this is limited to the laziness I have seen from the “skeptic community”, which has degenerated in a cesspit of pointless drama and a race to pwn their opponents. What’s worse, I find out that even people like Jordan Peterson (who despite his Christian leanings I did have some respect for), after spending so much time explicating the importance of freedom of speech (which I agree with him on), barred a former Rebel Media journalist named Faith Goldy from attending a free speech event because, of all reasons, she was just “too hot for us” – this, coming from the man who was already a walking controversy over the Bill C-16 issue. No one in my view who has looked at this development can judge it as anything other than pathetic.

Oh and don’t forget the actual political situation we’re dealing with; particularly here in the UK where my government seems intent on half-baking the whole leaving the European Union thing, or in America where every god damn minute is spent dreaming of some bullshit way of getting Trump out of office while the revolution proves a little more underwhelming than anticipated, or in Europe, especially Germany where they apparently can’t even form a government.

In short, politics is a clusterfuck. A clusterfuck that, to me, is destined to drive any sane person into the arms of nihilism (a fact that nearly all of the people who cry about Man’s descent into nihilism dare not concede). And that’s not getting into all the conspiracy theories I’ve had to put up with, which, frankly, it’s better that we don’t touch on.

So to cap it all off: yes, I feel like I’ve seen a lot that is convincing me to care less and less. I just hope I follow through with that mentality, shed some of my attachment to all of this, and stop taking life seriously entirely. Then, maybe then, the beauty of chaos can flow through and truly be appreciated, and life can make enough sense for it to be a rapture in spite of all things bright and shit.

Living “forever”

Recently I had been made aware of a tech startup aiming to be able to transfer people’s brains or consciousness into artificial bodies. The company, called Humai, believes that by doing so humans will be able to live forever, and that a human being will be resurrected for the first time within the next 30 years. A lot of people have been talking about how terrible the idea is from a practical point of view when the company founder, Josh Bocanegra (previously the creator of a dating site/app called Loveroom), told everyone about it. But for this post, I don’t want to talk about the practical implications of the Humai project as much as the question of the “immortality” that Humai proposes. Namely the question of why? Why would anyone want what Humai is offering in the first place?

First of all, the notion of physical immortality, the eternal survival of the body, seems like nonsense to me, especially if it involves simply transferring your consciousness into another body. For me, it doesn’t matter whether or not you put your consciousness in a machine, or an artificial body, or a computer, or whatever else, because you’ll never actually live forever. One day the Sun will die, and the Earth will be destroyed. Eventually the galaxy will meet its destruction, and ultimately so will the universe, time, and all matter. In either case, I highly doubt any body human or mechanical will survive, certainly not at the point when all matter dies. And in the event that creation starts all over again, I don’t think you’d be alive to see it or even participate because your body will have been destroyed beforehand. So much for “conquering death” then.

Second, I have a suspicion that something like physical immortality would be reserved for the upper classes. You know, all the rich people and the so-called elites would be the ones who get to live as the equivalent of living gods and the rest of humanity would be consigned to mortality. And then the people in the upper classes will think they have the right to treat the everyone else like garbage because they’re purely mortal. At any rate, I don’t expect consciousness transfer to be a service made cheaply available, so most people would stay purely mortal just because of the price tag. The best technology (if you could call it that) always tends to be in the hands of the wealthy few rather than the consumer majority.

Third, in my opinion, all physical immortality means is that people no longer have to deal with death as a part of life, and that we’d no longer have to feel particularly grateful to be alive. Worse, I think we’d be a bunch of entitled bastards who think the world, and life, revolves around them because they can’t die (except when they’re bodies are destroyed eventually anyway, like I said before, not that they’d know), or because they’re humans, and they’d think any life that isn’t they’re fake immortal life is a crock of shit (much like people who dismiss any video games that aren’t 60fps). And if you could live in the physical world forever, and have what could be millions of years to not worry about death and live a complacent life, that means you’d live a complacent life spiritually. You wouldn’t grow as a soul, because why would you when you can stay in the material world forever? Why think about any kind of spiritual consciousness or afterlife or any dimension of reality other than plain material existence? And aside from that, why would you even think to do something with your life, when there’s no pressure to do so because you live in the material world basically forever. And in that situation, life loses its meaning because death is part of what gives life meaning. You are born, and someday you will die, but your life in between all that is the thing that matters. People would be richer simply for being grateful with the lives they have and making something of them while they still can rather than living in this world forever and life being either peachy and uneventful or the Great fucking Gatsby. Besides, staying in the material world forever? I don’t think it would be long before people get bored of that. I’d say living forever in the material world just isn’t like anything in the afterlife, or the stillness of oblivion if you’d rather that instead. And don’t get me started on the thought of generation after generation being preserved forever. Billions of people never passing on and taking up space as machines. I don’t think I can imagine it.

If consciousness transfer becomes a thing any time in the future, I’d want to be buried in secret so that the people doing it could never get their hands on me and force me to live in the body of a machine.

Disappointment

Even though my brother and I are physically identical twins, we have different attitudes. Lately, my brother seems to be very tight and edgy when it comes to work. For him, work means completing assignments in college (not to be confused with university) and completing an extensive series of paintings alongside that. Sometimes I feel he just gives himself too much to do that he isn’t going to do in the time he has planned. I don’t like seeing him act so disciplined and uptight, it feels like a pretense. But when he does act that way, and when I find myself disgusted by it, I also somehow become less ashamed of not doing as much as I want to do, even though at the same time I feel I am suffering from the excess of sloth.

Part of me now feels like I have put too much expectations on myself for what I’m going to do during the holidays just because I have the time, and then I didn’t do all that I had planned to do. Part of me is not ashamed of not meeting expectations if it means not being tightly wound, but part of me still is for not raising the spirit to change that.

Under the sword of destiny…

Well I’ve finished the first term of university, for the most part. There’s still one assignment for one of the modules that’s been extended until January 8th, which means I’ll have to do some work over the holidays. But otherwise, I’ve finished my first term of my second year at university. But when I had after the main presentation, I was still left with a feeling of unease: I feel like there are things that I have been unconscious of this entire time, that I may not of paid as much attention to as would be ideal. And afterwords, one of the lecturers said that one of our problems as a group is that we still aren’t living as a team, instead we’re doing our own thing, and we were warned that we can’t just act as individuals. There’s probably many ways this could be interpreted from the standpoint of game development, but to me the meaning couldn’t be clear: I might have to live or work as a team unit, or at least moreso than an individual. I don’t think I can do it. I want to excel myself as a designer but I don’t want to be just a unit in a group or team. I want to be an individual. And I might be overreacting, but I’ll never get to know until I come back in January. I still can’t help but think that if I operate more as a team unit and I get used to it, where will it go from there? For now, I want to continue further in the course, and I think I might, but at the time I feel like I may not, and I’m soon to approach a turning point that a large part of my life hinges on. And I’ve said it before: it’s all about morale.

That sense of doubt would be enough to deal with without something else happening alongside that. For the one module that’s due in January we actually did have a lecture, but most of the animations students we were meant to be working with weren’t present for that. The students I was working with said they’d be in today, but only one showed up and even then he was late. We also had a fire alarm go off, and after we went back inside he left. As for the ones who did not show up, I wanted to have a word with them about why they did not attend. One of them responded, but after he explained his reasons, we had the usual friction about our work versus our professional practice (the latter of which is more important than the actual work in this particular module), but this time things got worse. The student accused me of tracking everything he did and getting on his case even though I did less work than him, but my complaints are not about his work, but rather about his professional practice. Anyways, after an argument over Skype (one of the methods we communicate with for our project) he decided that he didn’t want to participate in Skype meetings with the rest of the group and just work on his own behind the group. I wouldn’t go feeling sorry for him if I were you: the same student tried to get someone who works for a company called AMC (and supposedly is a third year student) to do some of the work for us in exchange for paying him about £50 from each of us in the group. And if that’s not enough, the animation students were told repeatedly over the module that, while you still have to produce work, the work itself is less important than the planning and professional practice behind it. But the animation students I work with always lead me to believe that they never listened, and not only has this not changed, my relationship with at least one of them has deteriorated badly because I have to tell him why he’s wrong and he won’t listen. But that things deteriorated in such a way is the only thing I feel bad about. Otherwise I’m just too arrogant and too stubborn, let alone proud of it, for the right reasons, because in my mind I feel I know I’m right, and this student was simply too dumb to listen to me. The way I see it, I’m the most disciplined person in my team for that module and the main reason for our team running just fine, and that team-mate who chooses to ignore me is just a peon, and so is everyone like him.

And yet, it may be that stubbornness and arrogance that may lead me to believe that I’m ultimately unfit to continue the course, or at least I feel I’m more likely to feel that way when I find that deteriorated state of affairs blown up in my face. Or maybe I only feel that way because I just feel tired of dealing with dummies who don’t listen to me, or who tell me to loosen up when I’m trying to talk business with them, or who make assumptions about the way I act without respect to the fact I’m just not like other students: not in the game design course, not in animation, not anywhere, and frankly it should be obvious at an early point to everyone who I dare to work with.

Anyways, through all that, I think my journey in the world of games design is slowly becoming less clear-cut than I’d like it to be, and I believe I will not know the full truth about where I stand and where I’m going until I return on the week of January 4th. Until then, the time between today and January 4th is a period where all I can do is wait. At least I have plenty to do in that time, and plans to make. But all the while, I’m walking to towards a path with the specter of certainty and what may dare be called destiny, awaiting the moment of truth, waiting to see the writing on the wall.

Rembrandt, Belshazzar’s Feast, 1635.

A desire to watch the world burn?

Apparently this month has been host to its fair share of doomsday theories. Many people thought an asteroid was actually going to hit Earth this month, and people also seem to believe that the blood moon set to appear by the end of this week is supposed to be a sign of the end of the world, obviously referring to somewhere in the Book of Revelations that says the sun will turn black and the moon will become red with blood. It seems like every now and then someone throws up a doomsday prediction set to fulfill itself in this lifetime, often coinciding with religious beliefs or an old prophecy (the second coming of Jesus being a common example), or a familiar doomsday prediction springs up again and people believe it again, or an unusual cosmic phenomenon occurs and, since we tend to fear the unknown, we greatly exaggerate it (like those solar flares from two years ago). If the scientific community is right, the end of the world won’t happen for a few billion of years, and even then there’s no telling whether or not it will necessarily coincide with the extinction of the human species. But until then, humans seem to be very impatient for the world to just up and get destroyed within their lifetime.

Any moment now.

I feel that there’s a rather bitter reason for people to keep believing in the imminent end of the world happening in this lifetime, or keep throwing up predictions. I personally have a feeling that people want to believe the world is going to end soon because they don’t seem to like life on Earth a whole lot, and when the end of the world happens and they die, that would all go away. Think about it: in death, you don’t have to deal with the life you lived anymore, and the responsibilities of life are naturally finished. To me, people wait for doomsday because they want to be swept away from all the responsibilities of this life. People are anxious die and go to heaven, hell, or just plain oblivion the easy way without ever having to be responsible for their own lives. That’s my opinion anyway. Or, it be, as Michael Caine put it, some people just want to watch the world burn.