On Forwards and Cyberpunk

Many Forwards, Introductions, and Continueds, are stuffy. They do one of two things, typically. Either they don’t address the topic of the work that follows thoroughly enough, or else they reveal far too much, depriving the reader of an otherwise exciting exploration into the text.

However, Forwards, Introductions, and even Continueds, can be used to great effect. All of these preambles, whether preceding a work of scientific inquiry, a historical piece of investigation, or a collection of essays or stories, should accomplish one important objective. Tell the reader how to read this piece of writing.

I am just the first few pages into a new anthology, one that hasn’t been publishes–I am lucky enough to have received a review copy, and the Forward did just this, as did the Introduction. The collect is focused on a genre of fiction that is sorely lacking in scope and current innovation. Cyberpunk, many believe died out with Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson when it comes to literature, and The Matrix in film. And by and large people are correct in feeling this way–I cannot remember the last, really kickass piece of cyberpunk anything.

I believe there are a couple reasons for this, and as the Forward and Introduction of this collection explains, the reason for the demise of Cyberpunk is that it is no longer science fiction. In fact, TED Talks have been given about the integration of our mobile devices and computers into our lives–there are even anthropologists who study cyborgs. Yes. Cyborgs. Because every time you use an app on your phone you’re utilizing technology to enhance your own facilities.

What I’m trying to say is this: Cyberpunk didn’t die because Snow Crash and The Matrix were so rad, though they were. Cyberpunk died because nobody knew how to take it into the future. Nobody knows what will happen to us next.

How Happiness Boosts Fulfillment

Oh, jeez. I know what you must being thinking. You know, I’ve spent all this time and all these pages and words just telling you about myself, and haven’t let you get a word in edgewise no-how.

Well sorry about that, I don’t know if there’s anyway to turn the tide of constant lectures since this is a blog, but I’ll try to ease up on the sharing of my life story–because I know it’s not that interesting, I mean, what do I have to be upset with these days anyway?

But being upset seems like a natural state of being for most people. I’m sure you know people like this, even if you’re not aware of it. People/friends who can’t help but complain about. . . pretty much everything. People who always see the glass half empty, so to speak. The truth is, if you fulfill one desire, you just will desire something else afterword. And this is why our consumer culture is such a dead end.

For example: lets say you work in retail and you get a sales target for each quarter. If you reach the sales target each quarter you get a raise, if you don’t you don’t. Now, who doesn’t want a raise? Pretty logical. If you have more money, that’s a good thing–you can do more stuff you enjoy, or you can get more stuff you want. And therefore you’ll be happier. So you work super hard to meet that quarterly sales target. Boom! you’ve accomplished something. You should be happier. You’re getting paid more. But the mind doesn’t work that way. The mind simply sets another goal, and in the end you don’t actually get fulfillment from you victory. The problem with consumer society/culture is that is tells us that if we work hard we can buy the things we want, and that will make us happy–but the mind works the opposite way–the happier we are, the more productive, creative, and beneficial we can be to others. There are studies on this.

So. If you can put aside your desire for a new car, a nicer apartment or house; if you can put away your ideas of success and happiness and understand that no matter how much money you make, or how many cool things you buy, or how much you travel–you won’t ever feel fulfilled. Instead, understand that you’re already successful. You already have everything you could possibly need. You’re always privileged and constant desire–>fulfillment cycle isn’t one that ever ends, unless you can observe your desire a let it pass. It’s much like self reflection. Difficult but not impossible.

5/18/15 We’re Back

Forming or reforming habit is among the most difficult things to do. For the first time in nearly a year I took off more than a couple days of freewriting. It has been 5 days since my last entry and this morning is shaping up to be a doozey. My eyes droop, my back hurts, my mind is reluctant to let the words flow. Something is blocking me from productivity. It’s tension in my neck. And perhaps if I just make a small bit of room for myself in my day to just do nothing, to just let go of all the things I feel like I need to do things will fall into place.

Yesterday I discovered Headspace, a small awareness and meditation app. The creator of the app has a nice TED Talk where he discusses how much time we spend lost in thought: 46%. Nearly half of our lives. Now, I’m not sure how you can quantify the way your mind works or doesn’t work. I’ve often noticed while writing I will take breaks between paragraphs to do something completely unrelated. Watch two or three minutes of sports highlights or read a small articles about Space X. Then when I turn back to the page I know exactly where I am going. As if my mind just needed to focus on something else before delving back into some critical thinking.

With Headspace it introduces you to some very basic concepts of meditation. I’m not a guru, but I’ve certainly meditated enough to know and understand the benefits. So for me, Headspace is a fun tool to keep me in the habit of meditating each day before I start my day–even before I have my coffee. It’s a useful service, one I’m excited to have discovered.