Category Archives: Philosophy

Thank you. You are too kind

So. Here I sit. On the train. Typing on my traveltop; that’s my netbook, I call it that because I normally only use it when I am away on holiday. I am not on holiday today. Today I just wanted to write. I’ve been wanting to write for some time but just haven’t sat down to do it, until now.

There’s quite a lot I wanted to write about. One of the topics being my adequacy as a developer and the adequacy of myself in general. But… I mostly forgot what it was I wanted to say. I know when I originally thought it, it was stunningly profound.

Something else I wanted to write about was the duality of self, of my self. I read in Stephen King’s book, On Writing, that you should not use language that does not “fit” you. I believe I follow his advice in most cases when I write. What I’ve noticed that the words that “fit” when I write are different to the words that “fit” when I speak. I would never verbally use the word vocation but when writing, talking about my vocation feels natural. It’s interesting that my vocabulary should change depending on the medium of communication. Then again, the more I think about it, considering the little I’ve learned about brain function, it seems perfectly normal that your vocabulary should change when medium of communication changes.

I remember now what it was I wanted to say. I constantly battle with myself and my self, trying to figure out if I am good at what I do or just above average.

I have always thought of myself as being bad at things or at least not good enough. And when I do get complements, I frequently brush it off because “they don’t know what they are talking about as they are laymen” or if they do know what they are talking about, “they don’t have enough specific knowledge on the niche area of the subject that they are somehow misinformed” or even simply “just mistaken”. Take an example, being a developer, Dev Leads, Tech Leads, peers, even a few Technical Directors have told me that my skills are valuable. And the vast majority of every company I have worked for has asked me to come back and work for them again, stay on longer or asked me to come on full time. Some of those companies are even well known for having a really strict hiring policy. Somehow even after all that positive affirmation, I still don’t think I am worth my weight in salt (I wonder what I would do with 80kg [£69.34] of salt).

Anyway, I realised something the other day. I’ve always compared myself to people better than me. I’m not sure if all people do this, but with me, I only compare myself to people better than me, or at least people who I think are better than me or have a skill I want or am envious of. If someone isn’t better, they won’t feature on my personal scale of comparison. I am generalising but do you realise what that means? On my scale, I’m always worse than everyone else. If the scale was based on 1 – 10, I’m always a 1. How crazy is that shit?

I think it’s sad that this is how I choose to define myself. Now that I know about it, I think I can change this. I don’t know if this is normal. Is this normal? I don’t think it can good for the self-esteem. It does explain some aspects about myself though. For a start, it explains is how I am unable to accept a compliment: If in the past I received a complement, in my head I appreciated your kindness anyway and thanked you, almost always in an awkward way.

How do I fix this? How do you change a mindset? Is actively knowing about it and being aware enough?

Update: I saw this online today, looks like it’s a part of the human condition.

aBqoY

 

The present is pretty decent too

The world we live in is an amazing place. A lot of the time it’s a really shit place but it’s also an amazing place.

When I was younger, I watched, read and heard about these Ancient civilisations that had these amazing technologies. I speak in general terms but the civilisation the captured my imagination the most was the Ancient Egyptians. I loved those mutherfuckers. I had a pretty decent sceptical mind as a kid so when I was told something along the lines of “We have no idea how the Pyramids were built” or I even think I was told “even with the technology today we would be unable to build the pyramids” I didn’t really know if I should believe it but there may be some truth to it so that added to the mysticism.

An amazing ancient race with amazing technology, so many uncovered secrets and awe-inspiring Gods. Even the Gods’ names are awesome (awesome in the true sense of the word): Ra, Amon-Ra, Anubis, Isis – All names fit for a God. Anubis has the head of a jackal. No offence to Jesus or anything but Jesus has a normal boring persony shaped head with, now that I think about it in my later life, stupid looking hair. (If you have hair like that in the depiction of Jesus, you look stupid – I’m not dissing Jesus, I am dissing you. So Christians with a persecutory complex can vent elsewhere). And Ra, Ra had the head of a falcon. Pretty sweet.

Anyway, in my imagination Ancient Egypt was when I wanted to live. This era of Ancient Egypt had mummies and curses, and untold treasure, and hidden traps and sweet Gods, which I mentioned, and loads of other cool stuff. I don’t think I am conveying the idea that well… but Ancient Egypt to me was Tintin and Indiana Jones and Jewel of the Nile and many other things all mixed into one… and all of these ideas were captured in a single symbol, the Pyramids.

The Pyramids symbolised… oh and lets not forget about how the pyramids line up with the stars, so like, mysticism AND science…. I forgot what I was going to say about what the Pyramids symbolised.

Anyway, in my mind that was it. Nothing the human race could ever do architecturally would ever or should ever be considered at the same level as that of Ancient Egypt. In my mind if we died out and a future civilisation discovered the buildings of our era, they would think them ugly and unimpressive.

I no longer believe that to be the case. Look at these fucking amazing pictures. I came across these the other day. Some of which I would consider to be architectural wonders. Now I believe if we all died tomorrow and another civilisation inherited the earth, they would be fucking impressed.

I'm speechless by it's beauty

So yeah, I guess I just wanted to tell you how I came to the conclusion that the world is an amazing place. It’s mostly really shit, but it’s amazing too.

//Image Source

 

Fuck Take2.co.za Errata

Update: For those posting comments, it’s my blog. That means only I get to be a dick. If you are not going to be civil and try to attack me or the others in the comments, your comment won’t get approved. If you do that, I will might change your comment to make you look like an asshole and then approve it. If you really want to be a dick, get your own blog, be a dick over there. :)

This is in regards to my original take2.co.za post I have the following to Note:

This was over 4 years ago, so it may not be fair to still hold this against them. A current employee of Take 2 has contacted me and told me that management has changed since then. If management has changed it may be fair to assume that how they treat customers has changed. I hope so but I would like to claim I have the courage convictions and say that I won’t be going back to find out.

 

The story behind this post:

I was contacted by an employee of Take2 in connection with this post. What they said can be seen in the comments of the post in question but I will post them here for ease or reading:

Are you banned from buying from us.. Cos you can’t hold a Grudge like that forever everyone makes mistakes including you we are all human..

Just so you know Take2 has new owners so their is always time to start off on a clean slate.

I replied with:

Yes, this WAS over four years ago, different management, whatever. When the company was taken over, you took over the good AND the bad.

It’s not a grudge, it’s my strategy for survival. I am a very fair person and it takes me a very long time to put people on my shit list but if they DO happen get on the list they never get off. I have that same philosophy with “friends”, acquaintances and business partners. It’s make sure the influences around me are positive.

Having said that, your refund policies may have changed but I am not willing to use your services again and find out. So to be fair, I will post an errata saying management HAS changed but I still won’t be using your services (provided you can prove you are from take 2).

The email provided by the “employee” was from a yahoo address so I contacted the employ via email to allow her to prove she was in fact who she said she was. She replied with ample proof she worked for take2. So the “employee” was actually an employee.

The conversation then continued via email… well it was not really a conversation. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, my reply to her verification only came what was already weekend time for her. So I have not yet received any response from what I said in the email:

I will put an update at the top of the post saying:

“Note: This was over 4 years ago, so it may not be fair to still hold this against them. A current employee of Take 2 has contacted me and told me that management has changed since then. If management has changed it may be fair to assume that how they treat customers has changed. I hope so but I would like to claim I have the courage convictions and say that I won’t be going back to find out.”

You might not think so but this is me coming to a compromise. I would just like to note that no such compromise was even attempted to be made when dealing with me. No compromise nor any apology was ever made – and now an attempt to make peace has only happened because it’s probably what shows up when you search for take 2. From where I stand the attempt to make peace has only happened because the balance of power has shifted slightly. I seriously doubt you would have contacted me if my site was result #30. But that’s it, rant over.

Apologies I can’t give you what you want (assuming what you want is for me to take the post down). You really do seem like a nice person. I really do want to give you what you want but I have to keep reminding myself that I am also a nice person and was being a nice person when this happened.

Then the more I think about it, the more I feel like I pussied out, the more I feel like I became a supplicant… but also the more I think about it, the two main points I made in the last two paragraphs solidify themselves in my thoughts:

No compromise, nor any apology was even attempted to be made with me. An attempt to make peace only happened because the balance of power has shifted meaning the post in question is what shows up when you search for take 2 thereby harming their public image.

They did approach me in a civil and non-antagonistic manner so I feel compelled to comply, however, on the other hand originally back then my approach was, knowing myself, more than likely even more civil and non-antagonistic.

By accessing the mind’s installed principle core, I know that there are two things that need to be done. I need to stay true to myself and I need to keep my word. In this case staying true to myself means sticking by what I said, having the courage of my convictions and keeping the post in the original form. An in this case, keeping my word means posting an errata at the top of the post. A moral conflict. A compromise needs to be made. An extract of my moral core can be seen on my other site and it states: “Some things you should never compromise on, one of them being yourself.

This is the result of the compromise.

Do you ever think the reality around you might not be the real one?

I do.

Not all the time, sometimes. It’s happened once or twice in public but private places. For example when I go to pee in the office toilet and it’s empty. While I am peeing away, I sometimes get a few seconds for my mind to wander*. If I happen to close my eyes  my mind sometimes stops on: “Am I really in the office? Am I maybe peeing in public on the side of a lamp post?”.

This usually only happens when I am really tired, but it did get me thinking. How do we know we really are here? How do we know we are, who we say we are? You get crazy homeless guys that believe themselves Jesus. Yet in reality they are just dirty, smelly, crazy homeless guys. This makes me think you might not actually know you’re insane if you are insane. If that is true, how do I, or you for that matter, REALLY know that you are not a crazy guy who believes he is someone else. How do I know I’m not a crazy guy who believes he is someone called Gerard Lucienne Petersen. How do I know that this blog not is just in my head, and me typing right now is not just me hitting the ground with a stick? It’s true that I may also draw a comic called Space Panda, but how do I know that it’s not drawn in my own shit?

If I am the only one that thinks this, my only consolation is that I am insane enough to know that I may be insane or at least have the capacity to be even more insane.

NOTES:

*I have never written the word “wander” down prior to this. I really enjoyed the experience


Fortune favours the brain

I didn’t really want to write a blog post. Technically I should be designing a site for my new project. But hey…. what can you do?

The intended outcome of the post I didn’t want to write was that you would think me smart and awesome. So I was going to pretend to write a post about how times have changed. About how society prizes those who had physical strength and brawn but now intelligence and the mind is what is more highly sought after. The punchline of the article was going to be that it used to be “Fortune favours the brave” but now in today’s climate it’s  “Fortune favours the brain”. (That’s not to say that the old saying is no longer relevant).

Awesome huh? I think it’s awesome. I think it’s awesome because I took an age old saying, modified it slightly by changing two letters and created profound meaning.

This is one for my quotation site.

If a tree falls in the woods

You know that old western kōan, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a noise?”

This question was circling my head for ages and as what tends to happen when a thought circles my head it gets distorted. It usually happens when I try to sleep. After unconsciously repeating the same line in your head over and over “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it does it make a noise?” it eventually becomes quite annoying. So after much tossing an turning and generally not being able to sleep, I attempted to get my head to quiet down by asking it: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, DOES IT MATTER?”.

“Interesting!”, my head replied.

“Interesting!?”, I thought. That was not the response I had intended. Having blurted it out to get my head to shut up, I didn’t actually hear what I’d said. I repeated the question again to myself: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it matter?”

I agreed with my head, “Interesting indeed”, and made the equivalent gesture of a nod that one would make when speaking in thoughts. We decided to work on trying to find an answer to the question.

After roughly 5 hours, we came to an answer we both thought satisfactory.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it matter ?

The answer we came up with?

Yes, yes it does!

Philosophy of correk thinking

I started a site called correk thinking. You can find it in the links on the right. The site displays a single message for 24 hours. At 12 o’clock each night, a new message is displayed. That’s it. That’s the whole site, just a single message on a single page. I attempt to make the message a positive one.

This site really resonates with me. I started the site hoping that someday someone will happen to come across it, and hopefully on that day the site will be displaying the message that this person needs to hear. Hopefully it will give them the push needed for them to improve their life. It might not happen, it might never happen. I know that what I am hoping for is pure coincidental. You may think I am being silly but I had an experience where this exact thing happened to me. I had been thinking and introspecting on a problem for almost a month. And if I had not been in the exact place at the exact time, I may never have found the answer. And because I knew that finding the solution was pure chance, it really enforced the solution. So, what I am hoping to achieve is improbable but not impossible. I think the idea of it unlikely makes it even more appealing to me.

The site embodies a so much of what I believe in:

Done things for the sake of doing them. One thing I really love about the site is that if it does help someone, there’s an equal chance that I’ll never know that I’ve helped anyone. The site provides no contact details and no way to contact the owner/author. Due to the anonymity of the site (from both my side and the user’s side), it means helping people just for the sake of helping people, nothing else, no thanks, no recognition, nothing.

Secondly, positive thinking. At the core of the site, it provides a positive thought a day. I believe they way you think and talk to yourself in your head, determines a large part of your success (whatever success may mean to you). Also an added benefit, because I am trying to think of positive thoughts for the site it forces me to think positively at least once a day.

Thirdly, another philosophy I live by and also incorporated into the site is the Buddhist philosophy of the impermanence of all things. Nothing lasts forever. So every message is shown once and never again.

And fourthly, it’s just a little bit a day, just one line of text. This is my newest philosophy that I have adopted and it has made me a much happier person. For a large part of my life I wanted to be exceptional (hidden under the guise of appearing normal) but I wanted to be exceptional immediately. I wanted results now. This latest philosophy I adopted has taught me patience. Just a little a day.

And that’s it. http://correkthinking.com