How unexpected…

Well, it seems yesterday has been a really long day for me. And honestly, I had a certain expectation of how that day was going to go down. I thought that I was going to get my results in the form of a formal feedback sheet when I got back to university, and that there was a good chance that I had either failed or just proven unworthy to keep going on my course. It turns out that I might not receive my grade until the end of this week, or next week, but I am told that I didn’t do too bad, fine enough to pass, but there are many areas that I think that I have to improve in, along with the rest of my class.

Apparently we did fail at one thing though: communication. We failed to evidence any kind of communication in our presentation, and the lecturers suspect not only that most of us don’t get along with each other and don’t like to agree on anything, but that it hinders our work. Strangely enough they think the content we have produced is adequate, but that most of us are not figuring things out or coming up with anything most of the time, and not trying to understand for ourselves what the problems are and usually just act on what the lecturers tell us after they tell us what’s going on.

However, my point is I’ve survived the first half of second year and half of my entire course, and it turns out that there’s actually room for improvement. Even though I don’t have my formal marks yet, I can tell that I didn’t get severely low marks and that I wasn’t necessarily terrible. At the least, it’s enough that I feel willing to continue because I feel I can still do so with some semblance of hope for improvement and positive change. That said, I hope I can still maintain the reason for doing game design in the first place, and without it being at the expense of my other interests.

To be honest, my main fear, or rather my main source of anxiety, is not that I will fail as a game designer. Instead, my main source of anxiety pertains to what I see as me being pretty damn sensitive about the way I think things are going to happen. For instance, apart from the worry that I was going to go back to university only to find that I have failed, I also feared that because a train strike I’d be late and that I’d miss a lot of my morning, even though I had informed the lecturers that I’d be late.  In general, I feel like I have had a tendency to what one of the lecturers refers to as “making a mountain out of a molehill”. To me, it seems like I might have a tendency to overreact without really thinking about it, and I think I might be a weakness. I have to wonder where this comes from: is it down to me being a sensitive person by nature, or is it simply derived from a lack of knowledge or understanding regarding some circumstances rather than my actual character?

I also worry that I have this insecurity that I’m not as strong of mind, will, and spirit as I like to think I am, might be, or could be, or that I am either not living up to my potential or am just not as capable of doing so as I thought. It’s exactly the sense of doubt and insecurity that one of my aims is to eliminate or conquer. Perhaps that insecurity may also be derived from a lack of knowledge or wisdom pertaining to my potential. Or maybe it comes from the sense of a limitation that I didn’t know I was placing on myself. Or maybe it comes from an attachment towards perceptions I generate pertaining to circumstances, events, and my own potential that may be exaggerated to the point that they may not reflect what’s actually going on (who knows, this might be that thing which gets confused with “ego-attachment” in many circles, with insecurity and wildly generated perceptions mistakenly referred to as the ego, which is really just Latin for what we call the individuated self). Or maybe I’m just not doing enough magick in my lifetime and am missing out on important benefits of doing magick.

I think I’m going to snap at some point. Not in the negative sense though, as in to really lose my sanity and act violently against other people and the world around me for no good reason, but rather in the sense of reaching a point where I just have to act or make a decision regarding my being, my emotions, insecurities, and all that other stuff without looking back in the process. Perhaps it’s the kind of rebirth that my friend Mo referred to only a few days ago. But right now, I feel like I might be at a point of a certain sense of discovery, and hopefully a deep, profound, full-tilted change.

Self-belief and fighting the world

I was having an appointment with someone from Student Services within the university, and I had the opportunity to talk about an array of subjects primarily relating to my own experience in university, and one thing that got me thinking is an issue of self-confidence. One of the things that bugged me for a long time since my later years at high school when studying art is that I always saw other people’s work and felt that other people had made better-quality work than I did or could do, and in the world of game design this is still an issue where I feel like other people have been more capable in a number of fields than me, particularly asset modelling, digital concept art, and mastering the game engine.

That’s when I got into a discussion about self-belief, which I recall stressing as a virtue. But eventually something got to me: either my own self-belief is not yet as strong as I like to think it is or think it could be, or I’m not doing enough to fight the sense of doubt that I feel at times, particularly in regards to changing the fact that I sometimes don’t think much of my own efforts in what I do. We go through this life and encounter doubts and challenges to our self-esteem, and sometimes we think about ourselves and think that perhaps we haven’t been doing as good a job as we think, and we feel some amount of shame or displeasure because of it, and I don’t think we can always deal with that alone. That’s why it’s great to be able to communicate to others, and allow them to show the way when necessary. If you don’t have this, all you have is being alone with your thoughts, and I don’t think that’s very good when you have that alone. It’s a reminder of something Sean told me: asking for help is a sign of wisdom, not weakness.

I also want to mention that there is one thing I hold about self-belief in particular. I do feel that my path tends to consist of maintaining my self-identity and self-belief by fighting the world. Not in the sense that my brother might think about it (opposing the system at large) but in the sense of an individual going against the flow and consistently committing to do so. I would be mortified if I were to hit by 40’s or older and discover that I had lost my spirit, character, and identity to the weight of the world, like I perceive many people as doing. You know, much like how when people are as young as me they might have a solid idea of who they are and what their values are, but when they get older they hold back, stop committing to their own values, and give up their spirit to the weight of the world. My concern is live authentically and prove my authenticity. So when I argue with my brother on various things, one thing that bothers me is that I can feel like he undermines me or makes me feel like I have less passion than he does, as though he has more spirit than I, but I perceive him to be more simple-minded in arguments sometimes than I because I feel more like giving out moderation, balance, and reason. Well, just wait until the day comes when the boundaries between emotion and intellect, passion and logic, disappear. I can’t be sure yet what would come of it, but think the results might just surprise.

How power can make a difference

Power affects everything in the human world, and I don’t mean some kind status of authority. The power of the will, the strength that backs up our desires unabated by obstacles, is the power that makes a difference in the world of humans. This does not suggest a misguided social structure in which only people of physical strength and muscle are allowed to live, as has been the foundation of the ideas behind fascist nations. Instead, it entails an observable reality of the world in which we live, wherein those who have the will and both the drive and strength to exert it upon the world are the ones who get their way in this world.

When one shows a lack of will to do anything at all, it becomes a sign of either a lack of any sense of personal power or the abdication of it, and once that goes you either have a real mess on your hands, someone else takes the opportunity to act that you didn’t, or both, and in our world the power of will is ultimately necessary to uphold any kind of social order. There many instances in the world were the lack of power causes problems. When regulatory bodies who have a reason to exist do not exert their authority, corporations can do anything they want at the expense of their customers. When there is a lack of political will for any kind of reform in order to resolve serious issues, that reform never happens and things only get worse. When politicians do not exert their will over people who could buy them off in order that they might go against their plans, they get bought and then become corrupt. So when will is not exerted enough, social systems can fall out of control and the wrong people can run roughshod over the whole system and the people. And in the personal world, when no courage is summoned, or no will exerted, opportunities don’t wait for you and so pass you by instead, other people can take them instead, or your life can fall out of control, and I am certain whose who are aware of their own lives can see many examples of such.

Some guitar-related musings

Only yesterday I had my first real guitar lesson at last, and I think I might be learning a few things about the experience itself. When you get into learning the guitar, you may find yourself aching a lot. Your hands, wrists, and back may hurt, and your fingers well not feel comfortable initially. Only with constant practice may your body become used to it. I’m told that after a while, the pain in your hands, wrists, and back becomes less after you practice long enough, and your skin on your fingers may become thicker! Either way, if you keep at it, and get used to it, you’ll become used to it and perhaps you’ll no longer even feel uncomfortable any more. There’s certainly an element of personal growth involved, and it seems interesting how I’ve been told of how many youngsters try their hand at playing the guitar because they think it’s cool only to give up because they find out how much pain their hands, wrists, and backs endure while finding them. I felt like accepting the challenge of practicing, enduring pain and turning it into non-pain, which I always seem to liken to alchemy and Tantra.

I also have this feeling that if I continue to play and practice the guitar consistently, I’ll be a much stronger person inside than I am now. Maybe it’s because of the process of dealing with the initial physical discomfort, maybe think I might be feeling a tiny bit of strength from practicing at times, or maybe it’s that I sometimes think of the guitar as a source of strength in kind of the same way a weapon can be a source of strength. The last part kinda lent to me thinking I was going to somehow musically fight alongside that guitar, but I’m honestly sure what I would be fighting in that case. Maybe the stillness found in this world. My tutor seems to have done a great job of encouraging me, and I feel a strong desire to show some commitment partly because of it. He even thinks I’m one of the few people starting on the guitar he knows who admits feeling pain and discomfort while getting started on the guitar, and I don’t think that discomfort is getting me down too much. I can only imagine how far I’ll go.

Oh, and some advice for others starting on the guitar for whatever reason: embrace pain, and you may know success. Getting started on the guitar can be uncomfortable, but if you give up as soon as you started because of the initial pain, you’re wasting your potential, and that probably means you’ll become a real loser.

The warrior and the tiger

I don’t really care much for Tim Lambesis as a musical personality; in fact I dislike him as a general person for hiring a hit man to murder his wife, for pretending he was Christian after converting to atheism so that his band As I Lay Dying could sell records as a (falsely) Christian band, for apparently being the kind of the person who uses his atheism and rejection of religion to justify cheating on his wife (and thus playing right into the hands of falsely righteous Christians looking to say “see atheism justifies bad behaviour!”), and for getting himself fucked up on steroids. But all that aside, one of his tattoos gave me an idea. On his back, there’s a tattoo depicting a samurai fighting a tiger, and apparently it’s supposed to represent a conflict between reason and instinct. Depending on your perspective, you could say that in Tim’s case the tiger overpowered the warrior.

The tattoo in question

I didn’t think warriors were necessarily associated with reason, or at least reason as we tend to think of it in regards to solving problems with reason rather than force. I tend to think of the warrior as more associated with strength, virtue, discipline of the mind, honor, and devotion to principles. Thinking about it, the warrior as a symbolic force relates to why I like Asian culture and Asian religious images from India to Japan. The strength angle also seems to relate to my love of heavy metal, as I find it in most forms of heavy metal. However, the warrior as a symbol of the strong mind could also fit will with the faculties of reason or at least self-control. I remember being told once by a guy who was into astrology that the sword as symbol is the reshaping or extension of our purely aggressive urges (which would be symbolized by a knife) into something honorable. Perhaps this may be another angle to the symbolism of the warrior, but it might end up relying on the concept of instinct as a the core. With the tiger, I can definitely see the symbolic relation to animalistic instinct and nature, the same way I see in other predatory mammals and reptiles, and in images of the prehistoric world, and in the jungle (where tigers usually live, fittingly enough). Some traditional forms of metal also carry this over, namely old-style black metal. Perhaps you could argue the infernal forces are all about that which is base in us, but I’m not here to try and define Satan, demons, and Hell for today.

With that in mind, I’m actually thinking about some Tantric deities (from both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra); the kind that wear animal skins, bear weapons, are immersed in fire, and wearing crowns and jewelry. Thinking about it, they make me think of a harmonizing of the warrior and the tiger, discipline and instinct, the mind and the beast. It’s probably why I’ve fought of dressing like one of them.

Like what this guy’s doing. The costume is based on Vajrapani.

I see a similar angle in the symbolism of the Baphomet, since it presents harmony between the forces of the spiritual and the material, the logical and emotional, civilized and wild. Baphomet harmonizes the principles of the warrior and the principles of the tiger by bringing virtue and instinct together.

Standing on my own

After I had finished the first of my presentations yesterday, I got into conversation with one of my fellow students, and she raised an interesting point about confidence. She told me that it feels harder to do a presentation when you’re on your own or you’re in a small group, but it’s easier when you’re in a large group. And I remembered that what I desire is not to be stronger by being in a group, but from my own internal strength. From that point on I realized another aspect of the scope of my quest. My goal is to reach a new level of inner strength, a strength I do not know if I have yet.

I want to achieve the kind of strength where I don’t have to take comfort in the group any more, and I am interested in the means of attaining that strength. Since my vested interest is towards mental, emotional, and spiritual strength, I’m interested in the means of attaining that strength. As a Left Hand Path practitioner I’m very open towards magical means among other means. However I can achieve the strength I’m looking for, without going off the wagon so to speak, would be very welcome. Then, I can be stronger on my own, and celebrate the way of the hero.

Some resolutions for what might be the greatest chapter of my life

It is little over a month before I start university this year, but I feel I should mention this subject now while it’s still on my mind. With the time drawing nearer, I feel I should think about and meditate upon my resolutions.

  • To have a firm mind, a strong will, confidence in decision
  • To be free of doubt and worry that would constrain the will and bog the mind, or at least be of greater capacity to conquer those things
  • To reach out to the world, to express myself honestly as much as possible in that environment without holding back
  • To practice the virtues of honor and dignity towards myself and all who deserve it
  • To fulfill my wishes by doing all of the above.
  • To not worry about any expectations from others, or my idea of them.

I must practice these resolutions, meditate upon them, if I am to fulfill my desire to fulfill my dreams for this life, and evolve as a person of virtue.