Thursday, July 25, 2013

Potential and Satisfaction

                Potential is a tricky thing. It’s not what we are or can do now, but what we can be or do. These powers range all over the place though sometimes imaginary limits keep us from obtaining them. Limits that exist not in reality are based in the mind. They live in the minds of others or thrive in ourselves. In order to surpass these imposed limitations, we need to have willpower. If they exist in the minds of others, we need to combat them and prove to them, as well as ourselves, that the potential does exist.
                On the other hand, it’s not that simple. There are some things we should never do unless necessary. Some should never ever be done (like destroying the world, of course). Just because we have the ability to do something, doesn’t mean it is right. How can we know this to be true? Because Temptations only exist with the perception of being able to do something. These include good and evil temptations. If we do not think we can do something, we will not be inclined to act on them. We may wish for them, we won’t act (though, unhealthy wishing may produce the illusion that you can do it).
                So why are we tempted? It’s because success can give us a satisfaction. When we live to some of our potential, we feel joy. We feel like we are more complete. We define ourselves by not only our failures, but our accomplishments. When we realize we don’t tap our potential, then we feel dissatisfied and turn to either anger or sadness. There are cases when these don’t occur, but quite the opposite, but I will address them later.
                I know from when I was playing soccer that I would feel depressed and angry for my coach not placing me in the position I could do my best. I did not have the skill set to be a great defender; the only problem was that everyone else was worse. Since my coach believed the best offense was a good defense, he decided to place his best players on defense, even though they were better for offense. Though we really were good for midfield, which is why we were at least decent for defense. The problem is that because the offense was so bad, we were always defending and we could not hold it out for the 90 minutes. With no help from offense, it just became annoying, because we knew we could do better if our coach would arrange us where we could play our best. We actually did much better the few times we had a 2-man defense instead of our usual 4, because that allowed us to further tap our potential.
                This leads to perhaps the happiest moment for me on the field. It was a rainy day, but rainy days seem to amplify great moments. This was the one time I scored a goal. I had been training for that my entire career, but I was almost always placed on the defensive end. So finally, I was allowed to go on the offensive. Finally, I could play the ball as it should be. It happened within 10 seconds after the 2nd half started. So even though we lost 10-1, and it was raining almost the entire time, I was ecstatic and that moment still brings me some joy. Four years of heavily devoted practice had finally paid off.
                Potential combined with hope. The two are linked and they give great joy when fulfilled. When it’s just potential, then the joy does not always follow. Sometimes, it’s pure boredom. Good fathers generally lower their skills when “competing” with their little ones. At this point, they do not care about winning, because they find more joy in their children’s happiness and hope. I know I’m not great in some games, but I’m definitely better than some of the people I play with. If I wanted to, I could win possibly 100% of the time, but that’s not fun for me and my friends (at least those very casual ones). So to play with a handicap is not a problem for me (by playing a character I’m not good with). To let them taste victory gives me more satisfaction. Similar to ping pong where I like to play with my bad hand, though there I also like the idea of training that hand so I can still play when I screw up my good one.
                One last example is one I can taste the satisfaction every time I realized I have done it. It may seem small, but it gives me hope and lets me taste potential. My friends know that I refuse to see or read Harry Potter. They think it’s stupid that I’m “missing out,” but frankly, I don’t care. There are plenty of good movies I’ve seen. I can afford to skip out on a few. I also know, we have other options to have fun. It does get annoying to have to endure the peer-pressure, but it gives me strength knowing that I have resisted. It gives me the courage to be able to resist anything that I don’t like. It allows me to be myself and let my friends know instinctively that I can act on willpower. It lets me be a positive influence around others instead of them potentially being a negative because I can show every day that I am above the influence.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vision Theory

                Today, I’ll dive back into concerning video games because there’s a subject that caught my attention. Part of the debate concerning video games is how it affects our eyes. I don’t have any studies to back up my theories, only experience and what I have heard or read over the years as well as trying to recall biology from a long time ago. It’s an interesting area because studies support both arguments that they are good or bad. So this is an attempt to try and decipher how that can be (and maybe how we can make it only benefits).

                The first thing to address is how it could possibly be bad for your eyesight. The reasons would be the same for TV, computer usage, and even book reading in general. If we use them late at night or in not properly lighted spaces, we could be hurting our eyesight. My theory for this is that we are confusing our rods and cones (the receptors in our eyes). If the rest of the room is dark, then we are probably going to be overloading the ones that are used in the dark.

                Another problem would be forgetting to blink. This would cause some strain on the eye. One thing to realize is that we are looking straight at a light source, so not only would this confuse our eyes, we also dry them out. Another theory I have is that we don’t really change focus and since we might forget to blink, our muscles tighten up.

                Now in relation with the focus, I have already mentioned. This is the same as with book reading when we don’t shift focus, but only concentrate on the 2D plane. As said before, the problem would be the improper exercise of our eye muscles. Though, if something is not in proper focus or good quality, we might also overwork our muscles.

                One section to consider is why we think it’s bad for our eyesight. I think part of the idea came with the association of games (and computers back in the day) with nerds and geeks who, stereotypically, wore glasses. There’s also the connection that the kids who had these would play for far too long. I think these images got so ingrained within our minds, that the effects of such associations still lingers with us, even as these things become common for everyone.

                Now to address the benefits for eyesight. I recall reading a long time ago how people who played first person shooters like Call of Duty had better vision and were able to perceive small details and movements easily. I think the nature of those games make sense how they would train these aspects of vision.

                Another benefit I think games like Call of Duty have is the 3D world. Games that allow you to be able to shift focus, by simulating depth, help you properly exercise your eyes. By changing focus, we naturally blink more too, so this addresses dryness as well.

                I also heard that these kind of games helped people to distinguish colors more. I think the reason would be is that the environments created in video games tend not to be bland and stable. Something is generally happening all the time, especially in the more recent games. So players learn to become more aware of the details in what they can see. This probably also helps with peripheral vision too.

                There is one other thing I was thinking about. I think 3D world games help with hand-eye coordination when it comes to depth. For a long time, I heard the idea that you lose depth perception if you only have one eye, but I didn’t seem to have a problem when I tested that theory. I could play tennis just as well as when both eyes are open. I think it’s because 3D game worlds simulate depth, but unable to make it actual. I know that may not make sense, so I’ll try a different explanation.

                In a game set in a 3D environment, especially First Person games, you see the world, but the true depth perception granted by having two eyes, cannot be replicated unless you get a good and recently made Nintendo 3DS game, or play on a 3D TV. So this actually trained us to be able to act without proper depth perception.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Loving Each Other

Here’s a rarity. I’m going to delve a little bit into religion because I had a thought that should be true despite one’s creed. It’s a thought that one does not need to be a Christian to contemplate, because most Christians don’t think about it, even though it is there and should be the most important thing.

Everyone knows of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a great rule of thumb, hence the title it has earned. However, I don’t think people think too much about what it is the Golden Rule for. Some just say it’s the most important rule, but I will shortly say why it is not. This is the rule for treating each other with Respect. In that sense it is, however the universality of the rule is still limited due to how we treat ourselves or how we would like to be treated. It’s a good step, but it does not encompass everything society needs.

Jesus, when questioned about the greatest Commandment, he replied with the two that sum it up. First concerns God, and the other says, “Love your Neighbor as Yourself.” This is also a great rule. It lines up with the Golden Rule, but this time it is for how to Love each other. Yet it still falls to the same limitations as Golden Rule.

Now what I am seeing as probably the greatest rule given is he said, “Love One Another as I have Loved You.” Here the understanding needs to come from the mythology of the situation. We don’t need to be Christians to interpret this as a High and Honorable Standard. How much did he love? The idea of dying of everyone, even those who abandoned and betrayed him, forgiving those who were insulting and cursing him while he was at his weakest, going through a painful and cruel death knowing beforehand how it would be, is how he loved them.

This was the rule for Love; a Love that was not simply good wishes or desire, but of self-sacrificing action for the good of anyone and everyone, good and bad. This is what makes his “new commandment” the greatest. It’s a Love that is strong even for those who hate you.

I think about Alfred’s scene in The Dark Knight Rises where he leaves Bruce in order to try and get him to move on. His monologue is very touching and heartbreaking because he is trying to get Bruce to live life, something that a lie kept him from doing. While the Truth was heartbreaking for Bruce, it was what was needed. This love went beyond the first two rules I mentioned, and dove into the third.
Perhaps when we hear the song "What the World needs is Love," we should consider it to be this kind of love. It might bring pain, but it's the love that will bring progress and happiness in the end.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Relation of Faith and Reason

                A Long time ago, I wrote an essay on A Higher Power through Technology. In there, I stated it was not a proof for the existence of a God but that the idea is reasonable. Some people however, may see it as a proof because it addressed something they had difficulty grasping, how it was reasonable. It proposed a situation in response to the question, “Where did God come from?” The concept of the question itself is interesting, but I will get to that later. All of this led to this essay’s theme of the relation between Faith (in general) and Reason.
                Faith is an interesting thing. It appears to break the rule of “Can only give what you have” due to its immaterial nature. Like said above, it could be that I don’t believe it, but that does not stop anyone else from coming to believe because of it. Another example is how some Catholics cite C.S. Lewis for their Faith but C.S. Lewis was not Catholic. Perhaps an argument could be made that everyone has a potential for Faith and that’s what is given and then it just happens to blossom in the receiver. For example, a man may not have a cherry tree, but he has the seeds though the soil and environment he has is not suited for them. He can give them to another who has the right soil and environment and the seed will become the tree. The same example can also illustrate the idea that the person always had the potential, but was just missing some piece the other had.
                One misconception is that there is no room for Faith when you have Reason. In dealing with actions there is always Faith. There is Faith that what you know is true, that you have accounted for everything. Concerning probability, there is Faith that the number representing your desire will come up. If the odds are 70 % in your favor, you act on faith that the other 30% won’t win out. It can also work the other way, either way you are acting on faith.
                Reason can actually give faith, the greater the odds, the more assurance you have the result you are hoping for will happen (or is true). However, it is not always the case. Some people, despite all reasoning, won’t have faith. I saw a clip of an Atheist debating with Piers Morgan, who claimed to be Catholic, about aspects of Catholicism. Here, the Atheist was actually defending Catholics (to Piers’ surprise) by showing how it was perfectly reasonable.
                There is another way of giving faith is by living it. Sometimes people ooze with an abundance of faith and optimism that it is almost impossible not to feel its effect. Sometimes people just need to see that something is possible.
                Another tenant of faith is how it is necessary. There are some situations where the risks are to high unless there is absolute certainty (or faith) in the results. Someone can have a great product but the publisher still needs faith that it will sell. They know that even though it is great, there is the chance and the examples that it won’t sell.
               Another instance of the necessity comes with dealing with the dual nature of man. While man might be reasonable, there is also the unreasonable side. It’s the side of man that gets trapped by fear.  Consider the building on fire scenario.  Now the person at the top has the choice to jump into the fireman’s arms or stay and burn. There is absolute certainty that the building will go down and will die if stay, but there is the fear of falling that keeps them from action. Faith in the fireman (and self to an extent) plays in finally making the move. Sometimes it’s not even the fear of the jump but that someone else might not make it. This could be seen in the movie Airforce One where family shows some resistance until the lead tells them he’s “Right behind them”.
                Faith is an interesting subject. It’s interesting to see how often we practice it. I’ve been playing a game where the odds are always given to you, but you still have to make the decisions and moves. In that game, there are many situations where I’m hoping the 5% will prevail while another time yelling at empty space why it did. That game is Fire Emblem. Anyone who has played that game series intensely would know what I’m talking about and why it becomes so important. It certainly brought to my attention that Faith is always present and necessary, whether I know it or not, despite its relation to Reason.
                Now for the part I promised and outside of the main essay because I don’t see too much of a relation besides what I mentioned (maybe I’ll just do an essay on the general mistakes made in discussing the existence of a God by both sides). One thing I was thinking about for that question for “Where does God come from?” was has to be the assumption. Either way, whether the argument is a God or just matter or the god particle, the argument is being made on the assumption that there is something to be the “First Mover”. To take away this idea would be making it far more complicated and actually sort of against the “evidence” scientists found.
                Anyways, the thing that entered my head today when I considered that was, “What would be more reasonable to assume acted as the First Mover, some matter or a higher power outside of our world?” To me, as much as I could argue that it would be matter, it does not eliminate that a God used that matter in that way. That’s all I have for now. I probably will do that essay sometime after contemplating it a little more.