Tag Archives: Perception

Midafternoon Ramble: Another Shining Song and Real World Events and RPGs.

First, let me dispense with the new Shining (Norway) song, “Off the Hook.”  Their album is due out today in Norway and will soon be hitting our shores.

Secondly, a number of articles were released Thursday that made me think of dramatic situations or events in RPGs and what constitutes characters.  Rudimentary English/Literature courses provide us with enough examples of how to deconstruct characters and their actions and what they represent for the scope of the story.  Think of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Emma in Emma, Alexander D’Urbeville in Tess of the D’Urbevilles, MacBeth and his wife, &c; I could continue this list for more than a thousand more words, but that would belabor the point.  Ultimately, these characters and their failings are that from which we learn when reading their stories, their dramas entice us to continue reading, and their resolution leaves us with our general regard of the story.

For a good number of people, this is why we want to play games of Imaginative Fiction or RPGs. We want a story that plays similar to a collection of short stories or a novel.  We want our characters to experience something that we may not normally get to experience.

Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the family of Roger Ebert, a wondrous writer and critic and for all accounts a great person.  Will Leitch’s story (My Roger Ebert Story) in which Mr Leitch describes his interactions with Mr Ebert.  It is an interesting story and a touching one that describes how Mr Leitch was able to befriend the writer through a prank his peers at journalism school drunkenly dared him to do.  It details the efforts that Mr Ebert took on account of Will Leitch.  The documentation of this personal experience between the two is amazing in its effort and emotion as it is the events that occurred and I recommend reading the piece in its entirety.  Essentially, young journalist Will on a lark befriends the old critic through his brashness and their shared Alma Mater (University of Illinois).  Will’s career and efforts are bolstered by this personal connection and he receives Roger Ebert’s help to get a job.  Will, later in his career during the heights of the blog boom, writes a highly offensive article regarding Mr Ebert and his show (offensive in its nature because of undeserved criticism).  This wounds Mr Ebert who responds privately to Will Leitch.  It is an example of cognitive dissonance on the part of Mr Leitch, and reveals a very personal failing on a choice, and the graciousness with which Mr Ebert took this poor decision and responded.

In something completely different, the ICIJ (International Coalition for Investigative Journalists released the “RichieLeak” files today.  Needless to write, there are enough tales of wanton corporate greed, personal greed, and general exploitation of the rule and spirit of law, morality, and ethics to go around.  This is a tale of people doing what is allowed, but not what is right ethically.  Take your time to read some of the accounts on their website; it’s rather amazing.

Sticking with the realm of politics, Anonymous announced today that they hacked North Korea’s twitter.  The group, whose efforts have been labeled as hacktivism or criminal (depending on to whom you speak), is a great example of those doing what they perceive as correct outside the scope of what is correct.  Remember the Thomas Theorem when deciding how you feel about this: “things that we perceive as real become so in their consequences.”  To an extent this seems a very Robin Hood tale and a very ballsy one at that; another viewer could look on it as an American Terrorist attack against a sovereign nation (yes, I realize I just wrote that and I feel dirty here for doing so, because of North Korea’s disgusting history of human rights abuses).

Finally, a character profile came from Grantland today on Don King, the boxing promoter.  In a Lion in Winter portrayal of the fiery and flashy promoter, his intelligence is unquestionable, his longing tangible, and his perceptions completely informed by the reality he crafted for himself.  This article hits on an amazing perspective: one person can be a great many different things at once.  He is a tyrant and bully, a fast talking charmer, a civil rights activist, a bigot, a crusher of bigots, &c.  He is a great man with a great many things, but is also a small nervous man.

I choose to present these as inspiration for stories for games of imaginative fiction because these are real world events that people may never get to experience and things that real world people very rarely do.  In each of these events and narratives there are more than enough angles for meaningful, impacting stories.  It is my hope that Cultura will be amble to allow the cultivation of a mentor-student relationship that frays due to the student’s hubris over his ravenous success, be host to politicians and conglomerates that do all they can to shelter their secrets from the public eye whether for their profit or to skirt around the rules, to contain organizations whose actions are generally under speculative regard such as Anonymous, and to have a diverse and wide character such as Mr King whose history and story is open for interpretation.  These are the essences of great stories found in the real world, and these are the reasons why news can be so interesting.  You do not have to travel to Krynn, Abeir-Toril, Azeroth, or Middle Earth to find interesting events, people, and narratives.  And, you can craft them easily by relying off emotion.


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Nocturnal Ruminations: Space Again

From Twitter’s Astro Pic of the Day-



Image and all rights held by Ivan Elder

Link here APOD 2012 December 6.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Idle Words., Inspiration, Nature, Space, Words


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Apocalyptic of the Day: The Perception of Time

A few weeks ago, I offered tongue in cheek an image of a traditional roll of the seasons.  How we perceive time in itself determines how we generally take in the world.  Generally, we view time as a linear process or linear function of distance over space (e.g.: simple relativity).  However, these were not the primary means through which people have viewed time in the world.  For the majority of the human existence, it appears that humans have considered time to be circular.

The question of the “impending demise of us all” relates to the perception of the time.  The Maya, like a large number of native tribes in the Americas, view time as a circular roll of life and death.  One baktun died and bore another; one age died and did the same.  Sound familiar to Tolkien with the First, Second, Third Ages of Middle Earth?  These were inspired by the Norse perception of time, specifically Old Icelandic.  Geologically, this is well and easily noticed in the world: there are times in which it is hot (hypsithermal) and times in which the world is cold (the Little Ice Age) and times in which the world is pleasant.  Without much surprise or fanfare, times that are colder generally result in more famine, less travel, and a general closing in of the population centers; times that are warm typically see expansion (e.g.: the great migrations and expansions of the Woodland peoples from Ohio, Michigan areas into Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, &c).  Even the Anasazi, who’s famous and well noted disappearance in the public consciousness, were most likely broken apart due to increased local heat during a period of climate change that resulted in a large drought that caused the Pueblos to disperse across the landscape as the cultural centers fell apart.  These people most likely started or influenced the development of the Zuni, Hopi, Pueblo, and Navajo tribes (note: I am not that abreast of Southwestern Archeology, though I know some of its rougher details).

On a different level, there is a sense of positivism in the means with which Western Culture views time.  At its heart positivism argues for a linear course of progression to a more enlightened or improved state.  Our lives reflect this very concept: 1.) Stage I: Birth through Two = Baby; 2.) Stage II: Three through Five = Toddler; 3.) Stage III: Six through Ten = Juvenile; 4.) Stage IV: Eleven through Thirteen = Tween; 5.) Stage V: Fourteen through Seventeen = Adolescent; 6.) Stage VI: Eighteen through Twenty = Probationary Adult; and 7.) Stage VII: Twenty-one plus = Adult.  This can be extended further out, but the idea is that we progress through different stages of social obligations and concerns because we have “aged” to that point more so than earned that responsibility through our actions.  It’s a formulaic means of considering our lives as we age; yet we forget the riddle of the sphinx to Oedipus: “What walks on four legs in the spring, two in the summer, and three in the fall?”  Our own existences are essentially cyclical: we are born and learn to crawl, we enjoy our time running in the sun, and then we return to needing assistance to walk.  Yet, we arbitrarily define these phases based not only off our physical abilities, appearance, and sexual maturity, but also with time as a function.  Because we have achieved X years, we can now do Y social obligation!  It is as gifted to us as if a present.

Scientifically, time is a reflection of distance.  Everything we perceive is a few moments behind what is occurring when it actually is occurring.  Think of the time it takes for the light of the sun to hit the earth versus the time to reach Neptune.


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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Geek, Idle Words., Nature, Philosophy, Rants, Space, Writing


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Nocturnal Rumination: Considering Free Will versus Determinism

For Cultura, I’ve been pondering the dichotomy herein of these concepts for the specific dogmas of two cultures that have the exact same God yet remain separate in matters of faith.  Determinism carries a magical quality, doesn’t it?  God wills X to occur due to Y reasons (presence or absence of faith, pride, &c).  In it, God is not limited to good, but is also expanded to acts of attrition and violence to subjugate and demand loyal of faith.  In Free Will, we are to live a Holy life by our choices, knowing that if we do not then we will be punished (Paschal’s Wager).

It’s fun to think of how wide the gulf in logic is between these perceived realities and how much they can be used to divide entire sees of faith.


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Inspiration of the Day: Dada

The Dada Movement is a progressive artistic subgenre that demonstrated the arbitrary means at which we look at normal things (see the above from Marcel Duchamp).  It was born shortly after the end of World War I, spawned a bohemian means through which the artist created but did not defend.  It was incendiary voice in a time where all social norms from before were starting to melt away.  Its iconoclastic bent focused on the destruction of present ideology and rejected reason and logic as the sole means to existence.

Dadaism was short lived, lasting from 1917 through approximately 1925.  It is often viewed negatively and sometimes altogether ignored.  However, it was the first truly designed Avant-Garde movement, that developed into the later surrealist, pop-art, and social realist movements in other countries.  Its challenges, though immature and often a bit foolish at times, offered whimsy in the face of stunning and haunting destruction. I have referred to the “Cette n’est pas une pipe” painting from the early surrealist movement (Warhol’s famous Monroe and Campbell Soup prints too) are derived from Dadaism.

In the end, Dadaism was creation for creation’s sake, even though it was anti-art.  It stretched however the cultural imagination in time at which this had been nearly and ultimately destroyed by war.  Images typically change slowly; the War caused them to explode rapidly.  Even in Eliot, Christ was a hypocrite teacher.  In Yeats, the best of all (nobles) were indifferent and the worst of all (dissidents without cause) were filled with virulent and violent tendencies.  Dada provided a visual means through which to understand this change. A toilet was not just a toilet; a pipe was more than a pipe; and Dali began melting clocks and creating stilted legged elephants.


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