Lost in the Matrix

tumblr_mxpq0pMO941sxqh33o1_400Philosophical Tuesday.

Now…bear with me one minute. Quick techy babble coming.

Am watching “The Matrix”, which in itself is a complicated psycho babble movie, full of innuendoes and intentions and thoughts in the 5th dimension. It is one of those times that I don’t mind everything being over my head.

According to The Matrix for Dummies, Neo learns that the matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to make us feel like we are living a normal life, when in fact it is nothing more than an energy factory for AIs.

Us poor humans. We have to be good for something.

In these movies are blue pills and red pills and humans in pods grown in fields and the dude Morpheus whose words and appearances are marked by thunder and often orchestra crescendos.  There are computer aliens and walking, talking computer viruses and a whole lot more going on.

Here’s the psycho babble part. According to Spark  Notes:

Many precedents exist for the idea that the real world is an illusion, and the Matrix trilogy is riddled with specific references to philosophers who have entertained this idea. Although the films are meant to stand on their own and create their own set of philosophical questions, the Wachowskis pay homage to these precedents through….. Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Socrates’ Visit to the Oracle of Delphi, and the work of Descartes. 

Okay. The point of this blog this evening is:  Who are these guys?

Let’s take a mini philo tour. And I do mean mini.

Baudrillard believes that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is of a simulation of reality. Plato‘s  major philosophical assumption is that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually. The Oracle of Delphi is that Socrates truly was the wisest because all others were under the false impression that they knew more than they actually knew, that true wisdom lies in recognizing one’s own ignorance. And Descartes poses the question of how he can know with certainty that the world he experiences is not an illusion, that since he believes in what he sees and feels while dreaming, he cannot trust his senses to tell him that he is not still dreaming. I think, therefore I am (and all that stuff).

They all sound like Morpheusisms to me. Which bring me to the point of this evening’s blog.

What kind of minds think up these things?

Do people with minds like these eat cheeseburgers and swear when they hit their finger with a hammer and throw up when they get the flu and play cards with kids? I mean — what do brilliant minds do for fun?

These kinds of thoughts exist on a plane somewhere between the clouds and the stars and around the corner from the speed of light. These thoughts are so deep that deep sea oil rigs dance on their heads. I am fascinated by the train of these philosophies, yet I don’t really understand them.  Do these philosophers have a day job like you and me? When they’re not discussing the differences between reality and illusion, do they go to baseball games? Eat pizza with anchovies? Sing in the shower?

I’m  sure they were all fun guys with just weird hobbies. Like us writers and painters and all. And in the end, it doesn’t matter if you understand things like this or not. In worlds like yours and mine, it’s much more fun pretending you know something than wandering around, sad because you just don’t “get it.”

Like those horizontally challenged numbers.

 

Read This Right Now!

10410939_10203578780099885_8715010658202880461_nTo all you current and wannabe bloggers, I came across some interesting statistics the other day, courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics .

As far as us lovers of blab go:

The average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.

The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.

The average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds.

I just imagine the statistics for 2015 are even more mind blowing. What does that hold for us chatterboxes? Are we full of hot  air? Do we think we are Shakespeare when we are merely Rocky?

I tried to think of things you can do in 8 seconds.  You can:

Glance over one’s resume

Count to 8

Delete your Facebook account

Deseed a pomegranate with a spoon

Speed dial Japan

Make a bologna sandwich

So what the article was saying is — keep your message tight, short, to the point.

Right — and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really our president, either.

I looked back at my blogs. I’ve been chatting away since 2011. I must say I have cut back on my rhetoric. Back then, Dinner with the Queen (6/22/11) was 1015 words. Chocolate and the Tuscan Sun (4/23/11) was 1016 words. My last few blogs have been more reasonable. Incredible Edibles (686).  Evidence was 452 words. BFFs was 564 words. Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty was 686 (am I pushing it here?). I am trying to heed the warning that these days it’s really easy to bore people. To numb people. I have them flip past your book/page/article and move onto the next. And the next.

Some articles I’ve read say you should be able to tell your story in two sentences. Anything else is wasted work. (Of course, that particular article was over 1,000 words long). I know we are all used to Yahoo headlines. After all, that’s how many of us get our news these days.

But how do you know if you’re missing anything of substance? How do you know if you’ll enjoy what you read if the story is only 20 words? How do you know what the person(s) is feeling or thinking or doing in less than two sentences? I think eating only one piece of chocolate is easier.

I could shorten my blogs to a couple of sentences:

Evidence: My cat steals things from my purse and leaves them on the dog’s pillow. She is naughty.

Incredible Edibles: Going to a Creative Leftovers School would be fun. You could learn what to do with leftovers.

They just don’t have the same panasche as the thought process of the sneaky fat cat or the  truth behind impulse buying and portion control, do they?

I suppose that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Short, sweet spots of information. Glance and forget. Or glance and send to yourself so you don’t forget it. I have about 15 recipes on FB that I’ve sent myself so I wouldn’t lose them in the plethora of information spinning past me every day. Don’t ask me if I’ve ever gone back to look at them, though.

I think writing, like anything else, is done half way in the middle. Sometimes it takes paragraphs to describe scenery or someone’s evil thoughts. Other times, a few words will do. You will “get it” no matter which you choose. Just be careful the tone in which you convey your message.

You may be describing a decadent desert and someone will mistake it for porn. Worse yet, you may be describing porn and someone will think you’re talking about strawberry shortcake.

 

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

The Winner!

The following is a blog from the winner of my first contest for Humoring the Goddess. Although she prefers to stay anonymous, her words ring true in minds and hearts everywhere. It takes a lot to put your words and thoughts out there for even one person to read. I encourage you all to follow her lead.  Enjoy!! And please share your thoughts. The universe has no limits.

A story in the Jain culture (Jainism is a religion in India) tells the tale of an elephant and six blind men. None of the men knew what an elephant was so they went to the village to feel and touch the elephant. The first man touched the leg and decided an elephant was like a pillar. The second man touched the tail and decided an elephant was like a rope. The third man touched the trunk and decided an elephant was like a branch. The fourth man touched the ear and decided an elephant was like a hand fan. The fifth man touched the belly and decided an elephant was like a wall. The sixth man touched the tusk and decided an elephant was like a pipe. They all believed that they were right. They argued. The ever-present wise man that always seems to be walking by at the most convenient moment explained to the men that they were all right.

The story is about perspective. By definition (mathematics and graphics aside), perspective means “the facts known to one.” The Jain religion teaches that the truth can be stated in seven different ways. It teaches tolerance toward other people’s viewpoints. And why would anyone not want to try to be tolerant?

Just because you don’t agree with someone, doesn’t make either of you right or wrong. You’re just different. That can be hard for some people, including me. I get frustrated when people don’t see things the way I do. It’s not the fact that they disagree with me that gets me upset, it’s the fact that they will not even consider my point of view. I’m not trying to change their minds; I just want them to take a look at things from a different perspective. I think it’s important to view different perspectives because it may explain why people act the way they do. In general, I do not think people intentionally say or do things that they believe are wrong. I would like to believe that people aren’t bad or mean or evil. Maybe that creep that cut you off in traffic was having a bad day. Haven’t you ever accidentally cut someone off in traffic?

Everyone thinks they are right, according to the information that they have. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, and keep trying, to step outside of our minds and look at things from another point of view. Other people could be “right” too! Don’t disregard what others have to say. Not only will it help you in your interactions with other people, it will also help you deal with you. Sometimes it is helpful to look at your own life from a different point of view than what you are used to. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

But of course, this is all just my perspective.