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Student Knowledge / Walking to Regain Your Senses
« Last post by ARLewis on December 04, 2016, 05:36:36 PM »
Walking to Regain Your Senses


 
Go hiking. I dare you. No, really. Find some local trails or head further out from your living areas and explore. Okay, I can’t really say I’m a hiker, I tend to walk more than I hike per se, but when a walking trail becomes a hiking trail and vice verse, I don’t jump off of it screaming. Be ready for either and you’ll have a good day.
 
Why do I say that you should go hiking/walking? Not only is it a healthy activity, even if one is playing a game or just taking pictures, but it helps you to regain your senses...forces you to actually.


Regain my/your senses...yes, I mean that literally.


As we walk around, if at all, in cities and towns, we grow complacent. Nine times out of ten we are walking on flat and safe ground. We see houses, we see buildings, we see shops, we see malls. The list can go on. Our senses are inundated with input, so much so that in general we tend to filter most things out as regular and routine. Eventually we start to no longer see or hear them...yet, they are still there. We walk around with our proverbial blinders on and begin to have no clue as to what is going on around us anymore. At best, we are usually just going from point A to point B and wishing we had a fast travel button to use.


Think about going to walk in a park and what is it that comes to mind? There is an element of point A to point B, sure. But in general people think of green, in the grass and the trees, possible animals or at least animal sounds, and maybe the occasional sign or two pointing out picnic areas or “this way to” such things. And that’s about it.


Actually go to walk in a park and you get a whole different world. In some places, there is the lush grass beneath your feet. The possible dew on it in the mornings or the frost in winter. The sunlight coming down through the trees painting the ground in shadows. The green in the leaves as you look up and around painting their own pictures and adding more colors in the fall. Feel the cool breeze on a warm day as the boughs hold the sometimes harsh rays of the sun at bay.The songs of birds and animals as they live in what’s more natural to them. And yes, sometimes, there is even a playground where even as an adult, a swing set can help make you soar, and not just in physicality.


Think about hiking on trails or out in the true wilds and what comes to mind? Grueling effort. Treacherous land that can kill you, and that’s even just on the trails. Broken ankles after exhaustion and dehydration with the major benefit being sweat and tears...and that’s assuming you don’t drop the keys to your vehicle somewhere, out there.


Actually go to some hiking trails or somewhere out on the plains or up in the mountains and again, a whole different world presents itself. Natural beauty being a feast for the eyes. Landscapes that change in elevation, forcing the body to adjust and work when it otherwise wouldn’t have to. Discovery of plants and animals that one doesn’t always get to see. Finding a tree in a clearing where all you can find is peace and quiet. The smell of the sea air as you look out across it from the top point of a cliff. The horizon, unbroken by man, separating the land or sea and the sky and yet also being the string that ties them all together. Animals living without the need for man as nature created them to be able to do.

I urge you to find a time to either take a walk/hike, or sometimes both. Both are exercise while creating not only the energy while burning calories but taking into the soul all of the other senses in the input that is lost in our normal everyday lives. The greatest benefit is not even the exercise. It is the regaining of the appreciation of those buildings, of those cement roads and sidewalks, of all of the lights in the city as things that are still real and true and full of beauty.


That...and the fact that while hiking or walking on trails, you do sometimes have to mind where you put your feet. For not everywhere that you can walk is flat and dull.


Do it...to re-learn to live...and to keep on living.


ARLewis
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Student Knowledge / Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road? - Enduring Determination
« Last post by ARLewis on November 27, 2016, 06:05:31 PM »
Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road? - Enduring Determination


   I thought, of all things, a turtle today. No I did not dream about a turtle. I remembered a turtle I saw during a family trip many years ago. I know, real exciting. Some would say almost as much fun as watching paint dry. But there is one trait that turtles seem to have, at least metaphorically speaking, that I wish I had.

   The main thing I remembered about the turtle is that I saw it when it was trying to cross a paved road. I don’t remember the exact reason why I stopped to watch it, It didn’t have laser on it’s back, it wasn’t racing a mammal with long ears, nor was it saying anything along the lines of “I’ll be back”. According to my eyes, it was simply trying to cross the road. (and no, I don’t remember seeing a chicken on it’s back either).

   Now, simply is probably not a word to be used there for frankly, it’s not easy for turtles to move around on land. They aren’t equipped to move as well on land as they are in the water. So to see a turtle even take a few “steps” is remarkable. Looking back, I remember thinking that it must be struggling so very hard. And for what? Just to get to the other side? A full minute had gone by and the turtle wasn’t even a quarter of the way across the road. And that’s when I heard the car.

     As the car came down the road, I wanted to scream. I wanted to run and get help. But somehow I knew, no one would come in time to respond to a scream, not to mention did I think I’d bring someone back in time. So I just stood there in silent horror. But...the turtle somehow made it close enough to the center of the road in time to be out of the way of the oncoming car. Again looking back, I wonder why I didn’t run and pick up the turtle and help it across. Did I think I wasn’t strong enough to lift it? Did I think I might get hit by a car myself and therefore I should leave it to its fate? Honestly, I don’t know.

     I prefer to think of it as I was holding onto the vision as a life lesson for future reference. An anecdotal piece of forethought if you will. For, to a turtle, a simple trek across a road would be as if we tried to walk across a football field length field of hot coals. Sure, you can sprint the long distance, but you’re most likely going to get burned across the way. And there’s even the distance. For some of us, who can’t very well sprint due to health issues, like being massively overweight, that 100 yards would seem like a marathon. Compare that to a turtle crossing a paved road and the similarity is undeniable.

    So what anecdotal piece of information did I retain from the turtle? Why did I even think of the turtle to begin with? I nearly gave up my fight with trying to lose weight this past week. I am not the most energetic of people. I tend to plod my way around. It wasn’t until the past couple of years when I realized hey, I need to do to this or I might as well toss my health out the window. For the umpteenth time, I found myself looking at a scale and seeing that yet again, almost all of the weight I had lost had come back. To say I was disheartened would be an understatement.

     And then I thought of the turtle and its enduring determination, despite the struggle, to get across that road. Why did it want to get across that road? Did it absolutely have to? Who knows. But yet it plodded on, and on, despite all of the odds, or cars, against it. The hot asphalt, devil incarnate tons of metal, and the share distance all conspiring against the turtle (I will not say poor). But yet it still did it. It did take its first step out onto those hot coals and kept going.

     Do I have the right to compare my battle with weight to that of the turtle crossing the road? Part of me believes that the turtle would say yes.  I need to lose the weight to become healthy again. The more I move, the more I will burn. The more I burn, the better health I will achieve. Am I only be doing that because I’ve come this far and it would be too far to go back? Maybe. But I’m trying to persevere just like the turtle. Despite the hell, I still want to try. Or maybe it’s that I need to. Besides, the turtle on the other side of the road is holding a cinnamon bun for me.


        ARLewis


“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
― Seneca


“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
― Confucius, Confucius: The Analects


“Never, never, never give in!”
― Winston S. Churchill


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou


“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture




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Student Knowledge / Re: Honorable Violence...the Code Duello
« Last post by ARLewis on November 20, 2016, 02:37:18 PM »
Oh, the violence from duels did catch on actually. It was the trying to stop the violence before an actual fight took place that did not. It was some military commanders that tried to slow the whole concept of the fight to begin with, as it was primarily their officers that were getting themselves killed in these things for slights of honor. Rather difficult to run a successful military without the midlevel commanders. How rude of them to get themselves killed while not on the battlefield.
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Student Knowledge / Re: Malignance and Malice.
« Last post by ARLewis on November 20, 2016, 02:35:36 PM »
True. The who, what, where, and how are all important in any task that anyone performs. It is the 'why' that is the most important as it is the drive behind the action that fuels the activity.
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Student Knowledge / Re: Precognition of the Now - Foresight vs Prescience
« Last post by ARLewis on November 20, 2016, 02:31:17 PM »
Thank you. Sometimes differences between ideas, concepts, or even the words themselves are so subtle that a casual glance does not see any difference. Part of my job is to point out those differences.
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Student Knowledge / Eyes in the Darkness.
« Last post by ARLewis on November 20, 2016, 02:28:25 PM »
Eyes in the Darkness.

I’ve begun to be afraid again.

After what I call my “whatever happened to me” experience, I tried to dive back into work and of course Prof. Slate kind of steered me another way, which, in the end, I believe was good for me. I learned to relax, appreciate nature, and to, in general, reconnect with the world. Without even realizing I was off the path, I found myself on the path again, happy as one ever could be and content upon realizing I could still do good in this world. Looking back on that time, I realized that I don’t remember dreaming. Restful sleep, yes, but active dreams, no.

That is until recently.

Dreaming is not a bad thing in general. As a matter of fact, it’s way for your subconscious to stretch itself and let out the inner most thoughts and ideas. It’s also a coping mechanism in order to process un-relatable reality in real time. In other words, your brain can spout out knowledge in visual riddle format and see how everything works together.

In trying to use hindsight, I realized that for the past couple of months, I don’t remember actually dreaming. Only senses or flashes of emotions. Happiness, excitement, fear, terror, etc. The feelings I’ve been waking up to have been progressively darker but I think I’m finally starting to see through the haze.

I woke this morning in fact and realized that I had the first dream I’ve been able to remember in months. I yanked out a notebook and pen from my nightstand and let the memories fall onto the page. As I’ve been transcribing/translating, my handwriting is horrible, especially when trying to write fast, I realized that I haven’t been back to the Afterlife in a while. Why that is relevant, honestly, I do not know. Maybe I’ll have to go back in sometime soon, I think I’ve been neglecting my studies there for far too long.

Below is a portion of the notes from my dream. I don’t know if it was just a dream, or if it was a Vision, or maybe my dinner yesterday caused indigestion. Perhaps, the future will tell.

The forest is beautiful. The trees, the animals, the very nature of nature itself seems to scream life and the goodness and beauty therein. I take a deep breath and try to inhale and borrow a portion of that life essence to enrich my own and the forest gladly provides. I realize that I’m soon going to lose the light and need to find an appropriate campsite. It feels as if the sun itself has slowed down it’s departure so that I can find a suitable place in time, for which I am grateful, as no spot screams out “settle here” to me. Not worrying in the slightest, I meander about a bit longer and come to a clearing that feels perfect. I don’t truly know why. It’s as if the forest said, ‘here’s a good spot’. So listened.

I setup my tent and after finishing getting things inside of it squared away, came back out and saw that some seemingly dead wood had fallen off of various trees around the clearing. I thanked the trees for their good will and set about creating a small camp fire. There was a slight chill coming on in the air and I felt as if I was going to be grateful for the extra warmth. That night, I almost felt as if the fire wasn’t needed for warmth, but the light was still comforting somehow. I watched the flickers of flame dance and almost sing up into the sky. I watched the stars come out and all seemed right with the world.

As I got up to go and sack out, I started to begin to put out what was left of the fire. I got a sudden feeling that I shouldn’t. It would be perfectly fine as there would be no danger of the embers sparking a forest fire. So, pleasantly, I bowed good night to mother nature herself and went into my tent.

I don’t know what it was that woke me, but I sat up in a very cold sweat. I could no longer see the fire through the tent so I figured the fire must have finally died out. Then there was a flash of purple light from almost everywhere at once. I blinked and then started to hear a dripping sound. A sound similar to a kitchen sink dripping, but farther in-between dripping sounds. What was odd though, besides not having a kitchen sink nearby, was that it eventually turned to a “ploop”ing sound as if the water falling become heavier as it got mixed with dirt and turned into muck as it fell.

A smell of increasing rot and decay filled my nostrils. A sense of wrongness began to fill me with dread, as if mother nature herself turned her back on the world and it was suffering for it. A repetitive squelching noise began to reach my ears, as if someone was trying to step through heavy muck or a bog. It sounds as if someone was slowly pacing in a large circle but while ankle deep in mud.

‘Everything’s fine’, I thought. ‘It’s merely an animal walking around. I must have rained while I…’

An animalistic scream went out that was the ended rather abruptly. And then the squelching sound continued. After another circuit of the clearing, a wolf howl flows over the area, making me shiver with a sudden terror.

‘That was really close,’ I thought.

As if in response, a deep laugh rolled through the air. I can’t decide which scares me more. The wolf or the evil laugh. As I quickly got up and bolted to the entryway of the tent,as if to run away from that voice and hide, a great flash of red light erupted outside the tent, just about where my campfire had been.

A voice inside my head screamed “NOO!” and I tumbled back onto my makeshift bed.

As I sat up, I distinctly heard a twig snap. I realized that all other sounds had stopped. I cowered into my sleeping bag and zippered it up to the top, cocooning me in.

When I unzipped the bag, stretching as I did so, I realized it was light out. A normal, but rather muted light. I went to the door of my tent, and hesitated, almost as if waiting for the bright red flash again, but no such thing happened and I walked out...and immediately wondered where I was.

I was now in what appeared to be part of a swamp. Dank, dark, and full of rot and decay. The sounds completely different than what they were yesterday. I felt a sense of foreboding as I took my first step away from the tent and saw that there were scorch marks outside the ring of stones I used as a base for my campfire. I turned away from the now dead fire and walked to the edge of the clearing. I then noticed that the extra twigs and such that outline the clearing yesterday were still there. But beyond the ring, the forest seemed to be dying.

The last thing I remember was walking around the circle and finding one single twig snapped, as if something had stepped on it. I also noticed the ground immediately in front of that broken twig was as dark and dank as the now decaying bog that now laid beyond it as if death itself was seeping into the clearing. I looked up from the broken twig and right at the level of my eyes was...a floating pair of deep evil red eyes.

I started screaming and tried to run but I couldn’t move my feet. And then a harsh voice started to laugh.


I woke screaming, sweating and still able to hear that laugh. I don’t think I blinked for hours, for fear of seeing those eyes for even a brief moment.

What this all means, I honestly do not know. I was afraid of asking anyone about it for fear of it just being dismissed as a flight of dark fantasy, something my subconscious cooked up due to indigestion. I give it to you in the hopes that you may help me shine some light where I do not yet see any.


ARLewis
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Student Knowledge / Re: Precognition of the Now - Foresight vs Prescience
« Last post by FI-PaulD on November 16, 2016, 09:20:04 AM »
I never thought about the true idea of what Foresight and ESP was. Interesting thoughts on the matter
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Student Knowledge / Precognition of the Now - Foresight vs Prescience
« Last post by ARLewis on November 13, 2016, 05:13:24 PM »
Precognition of the Now - Foresight vs Prescience


   If I could see into the future...If I could have direct knowledge of what is going to or could happen...what would I do with such power? Honestly, be scared out of my ever loving mind actually. To have specific knowledge of what’s going to happen, is a very scarey thought. What if I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to change something bad from happening? Would I be able to hold my mind together? Would my conscience be able to withstand the pain? Who knows. Thankfully though, I am no precog. I have to live in the here and now. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to prepare.

   Precognition, or Prescience, is the ability to actually see into the future, to perceive events before they happen. As if one opens a third eye and looks beyond the veil of time and sees things as they occur before they actually do one might say. Some have such visions thrust upon them. Some actively try to see beyond what the limitations of what their own two eyes can actually see. In either case, it is still an action, whether voluntary or involuntary. In other words, that third eye has to be opened somehow.

   This ability would be highly sought after by some who would want to take advantage of the knowledge, and perhaps make bets in a casino or the stock market and make lots of money quite easily. Some would covet an ability like this so they could perhaps stop horrible things from happening. But so few are actual precogs. So few actually have that third eye.

   So what can us normals do? We can use knowledge and reason to prepare. For the here and now, we can take what we see, reason out the possibilities, and commence preparation for those possibilities. One might say those who do this are seeing into the future, having their own version of the third eye. That would not be correct. Prescience is looking ahead and then potentially reacting to the possibilities Foresight is the pro-active ability to predict the possible outcomes of certain actions. There is no actual seeing of what will happen. It is anticipation of possibilities.

   As with what happens with a lot of similar meaning words, the difference are subtle but are definitely there, and such definitions can have definitive consequential actions. One can be a precog and actually know what’s going to happen before it actually does. Someone with foresight can surmise future possibilities and prepare for them beforehand. As already stated, it all comes down to a reactive versus a pro-active response.

       Which would you rather have? The ability to literally see the future or the ability to already have prepared for its possibilities? A fine line yes, but one of which I’m guessing you already saw. And knowing is half the battle.


ARLewis
   


“A man may plant a tree for a number of reasons. Perhaps he likes trees. Perhaps he wants shelter. Or perhaps he knows that someday he may need the firewood.”
― Joanne Harris, Runemarks


“One can have only as much preparation as he has foresight.”
― Jim Butcher, Changes


“Our approach to existential risks cannot be one of trial-and-error. There is no opportunity to learn from errors. The reactive approach — see what happens, limit damages, and learn from experience — is unworkable. Rather, we must take a proactive approach. This requires foresight to anticipate new types of threats and a willingness to take decisive preventive action and to bear the costs (moral and economic) of such actions.”
― Nick Bostrom
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Student Knowledge / Bolster - More than just a pillow
« Last post by ARLewis on November 06, 2016, 05:50:26 PM »
Bolster - More than just a pillow

I went to the clinic on campus recently as I have been suffering from some lower back pain.

A good friend of mine pointed out to me that I had been rather irritable lately...snapping at people and being a regular big giant jerk. Nothing truly had been happening out of the ordinary that was truly stressing me, at least that I could think of.  I then winced as I twisted in my seat and decided to take some ibuprofen. My friend then asked how long I had been having the pain. A good couple of months I replied. They suggested I go to the clinic.

The nurse I first saw at the clinic asked what I supposed was a normal series of questions...name, date of birth, etc.  When I told her my occupation, she just nodded and said nothing. While I was in the examination room, I stared around me and wished I had a book.

As the doc walked into the room, he wasn’t facing me at the time, he said, “Hello there. Sit up straight please.”

I was slightly taken aback by this. As he turned around and looked at me, he smiled as I had subconsciously sat up straighter, as apparently I had been slouching.

“My apologies for sounding so curt with you if I did,” said the Doc. “But those who have a job similar to yours and that end up with lower back pain have already developed a tendency to slouch. The hunched over nature of their work, or sitting at a desk all day, tends to stress out the back muscles and eventually ends up being painful to some extent.”

We then had an interesting discussion about the psychology involved in dealing with pain and the adjustments that the psyche makes in order to adjust. (the clinic wasn’t too busy that day). I also ended up describing to him the Afterlife, the Visions, and the work that we are doing there and for a while there, I think I may have persuaded someone to become a student.

As I was walking out of the examine room, the Doc, tossed me a bolster roll pillow. It’s designed to help support the back and improve posture if one has to sit for long periods of time.

“And tell whoever it was that suggested you come here thank you,” said the Doc. “They probably saved you more than just aches and pains.”

The next week, I offered to take my friend to lunch at one of the sandwich places near campus. It was a nice day out and we decided to eat in the small park across the street from the local Catholic church, the architecture of which to me always seemed a little too gothic and medieval. The buttresses on the east side always seemed to be a bit too much, especially in this day and age.

We ended up talking about paintball...I know...what a shock. We’ve all seen movies where there’s some kind of battle scene where someone cries out at just the right time and rallies the fighters and drives home the victory. Well, that happened at his latest paintball match. His side was about to lose entirely when this little pipsqueak of a guy, who had been going for quite some time but always seem to get shot right away cried out, “It’s Saint Crispin’s Day. To me all, to me!” and rallied the team and they won the match.

After trying to persuade me to join him the next time they go to play paintball, I hate pain by the way, they realized that they were going to be late for a study group meeting and dashed off. For some reason, I decided to take a longer way back to campus and came upon a small festival or some such that had a climbing wall set up. I saw a rather young kid trying to get up a 30 foot wall. Of course, at the bottom of the wall, was a dutiful parent shouting, “Come on, you can do it.” When the kid was able to reach the bell, I realized that they had not been using their legs at all. As their parents were helping them back into their wheel chair, I could only think, ‘wow.’

I got back to my documents lab and finished transcribing some notes for Professor Slate. I took them to his office and he said, “Thank you for your help. Your support has been an invaluable asset to this project.”

I replied, “you’re welcome,” and left his office.

When I got back to my lab, I adjusted the bolster, and was thankful for its support.


 ARLewis
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Student Knowledge / Re: Honorable Violence...the Code Duello
« Last post by FI-SamN on November 01, 2016, 12:32:03 PM »
I have always wondered why the concept of the duel never seemed to catch on. Stopping violence by keeping it contained between two people seems like a perfectly reasonable way to resolve conflicts. Can you imagine what the world would be like if duels took place instead of the extreme wars involving innocent lives that never wanted anything to do with them?
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