Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Just My Face

A friend of mine recently complained that people kept telling her she looked unhappy. She argued that it was just the way her face looked when she relaxed it. I could tell she needed sympathy, so I agreed with her, but knew she overlooked a vital fact. I was often confronted similarly, back when I was still your typical world-hating teenager. I, too, contended that I felt fine, had relaxed my face and that my expression was quite extraneous to my mental state. The truth is quite the opposite; I was actually suffering from chronic depression at the time. 

An obvious point is that, in many cases, someone's disposition can be derived directly from their facial expression. It's supposed to, it's an elementary piece of human communication, developed to convey emotions before language had arisen. When you're angry, you'll look angry and when you're happy, you'll smile or even laugh. However, people often consciously manipulate their expressions, so it's understandable that mood and look would seem detached to some. Nevertheless, when one truly relaxes, the naked truth is often exposed. But then, what about those stoic types who manage to smile their way through even their own mother's funeral?

Well, discounting any family feuds or the prospect of a massive inheritance, they have likely fixated their expression. People have taught themselves many clever ways to hide or even manually misrepresent their mood. This, too, has function. Expressing anger may evoke conflict and it is sometimes advisable to postpone the confrontation to a more opportune time. Alternately, one may be disinclination to bother others with one's problems; the reasons abound. Some take this masquerade so far as to put up a permanent fa├žade.

It's similar to when you injure your left foot and accordingly end up putting more weight on the right. If the pain is chronic, you will permanently alter the way you walk to compensate. This seems quite straight-forward with physical injury, but also holds for emotional pain. If the aforementioned friend is bothered about her expression enough, she will likely force a permanent smile to get people to stop whining. Despite the fact that after a while this forced expression requires no conscious effort, it's anything but natural and may do more harm than good.

- The Sinful Saint

My Sins As A Saint

So if I'm such a saint, what about those sins?

I have plenty. I'm human, I mess up, it's what we do best and I am no exception. One of my recent sins, at least in the eyes of society, is that I've begun to experiment with psychoactive substances. Yes, I'm talking about drugs. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not ashamed of it either. It was a conscious decision, made without influence of others after months of contemplation. I'm lucky enough to live in a part of the world, that doesn't have an active War on Drugs going on. Though some of these substances are of questionable legality, I've never done anything that would actually end me up behind bars and never intend to.

No, I'm not a heroin-junkie, meth-addict or coke-head. In fact, I don't even drink soda, alcohol or coffee very often these days, I smoke neither cigarettes nor weed and I have no interest in any substances that aren't considered psychedelic. I don't live for drugs, I'm not addicted and they don't control me, but to me, life's simply too short to ignore an entire category of experiences. At best, I'm what one could call a psychonaut. I seek to expand and explore my mind in any way possible and include the use of chemicals to achieve these goals. I won't deny there's a recreational aspect to what I do. It's fun, but why shouldn't it be?

Conversely, I'm not the stereotypical kind of liberal hippie who seeks legalization of these substances either. I firmly believe that effectively everything in this world has both its uses and its dangers. Drugs are illegal because, in many cases, their dangers to the general public outweigh their benefits. I won't deny this; people tend to be ignorant, self-destructive and irresponsible. Even the best devised control systems can and will be exploited. Making these drugs legal would definitely be detrimental to society. This, however, does not mean they can't be beneficial in specific cases.

Exactly why and how drugs can be beneficial, however, is too long a story for now. I'll dedicate a post to this later.

- The Sinful Saint

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In Pursuit Of Perfection

I'm not a perfect person. Frankly, nobody ever is, but I damn well strive to become one. I'm quite aware of the fact that perfection is both subjective and unattainable, but that in itself makes it a beautiful goal for life. It's infinite. You can never really run out of ways to improve yourself. If you feel like you have, you're likely a conceited fool who should probably try 'modesty' on for size.

Several wires in my brain have been crossed from birth. High intelligence, ADHD, bipolar disorder, high-functioning autism; they've thrown plenty of labels and pills my way over the years. I've more or less stopped giving a hoot. I know there's something wrong- no. Different about me, defining it won't make it go away. It's proven to be a double-edged sword, providing both challenges and opportunities. I've faced the challenges, found ways to work around my issues and make the most of the opportunities I'm given. I've learnt a lot along the way. It's not an obsession, mind you; it's more of a keeping-busy kind of thing. I work on actively bettering myself as a person every day, without stressing myself out. I know my weaknesses, I know my strengths and I know when it's absolutely pointless to attempt improvement.

Circumstances have driven me to open my mind beyond the obvious, especially over the past year. I've strayed from the standard and obvious methods of self-development, as they were not adequate to address the issues I've built up in my childhood. I used to be a cynical, skeptical scientist, living life as rigidly as my views. I tenaciously lived by society's rules, desperately trying to fit a mold that simply wasn't built for me. I've recently broken free, took my life into my own hands and began to make my own choices. I've been a significantly happier person since.

- The Sinful Saint 

Mandatory First Post

Here goes. 
My first blog.
My first post.
So who am I?

As potentially philosophical as that question may be, I'll keep it simple. I'm a university student in his early twenties, with a bachelor's degree in some branch of science. I'm the kind of guy who's constantly lost in thought. I'm always thinking about stuff, trying to figure things out, in an attempt to discover the inner workings of the world and everything in it. I've done this obsessively and incessantly for as long as I can remember, for no apparent reason. I can't stop it, nor do I want to.

Many aspects of my life are unusually rational and conscious experiences and, over the past two decades, I've come to quite a number of conclusions and insights, especially about people and society. I've reached the point where some of these conclusions might be of some value to others. I needed a place to dump these thoughts, someplace accessible to the public and preferably anonymous. A blog seemed like a decent solution.

I'm flaky, I get caught up in things and have a tendency to simply forget even the most important things in my life. Posting will be erratic, random and anything but dependable or periodic. Expect me to sometimes launch five posts in a day, then suddenly keep quiet for weeks. I'll try my best to apply some consistency, but I know myself too well to make any promises.

Enjoy.

- The Sinful Saint