Project 313 – Post No. 002

Some might wonder about yet another framed photo . . . well, I’m testing my bounds with the tool before going back to various photo presentation formats. For them curious and not having read earlier posts, the tool is Topaz Studio with the Digital Frame plugin.  

The photo:

Project 313 002

In part, I’m trying my hand at choosing patterns and colors that complement the subject matter. I have no formal training in art or colors so I’ve no idea if I’m breaking all manner of “rules” . . . all I know is that I stop when I hit a combination I like.  

Also, for right now, the photos are all phone photos (Samsung Note 8). Some might eventually show up in a post that puts them in context, explaining why I shot the photo in the first place. For now, they’re offered “as-is”.

The jokes . . . well, the first batch of jokes is likely to come from Willy ‘n Ethel and Mr. Boffo as Joe Martin is one of the few cartoonists who bothered to respond about me using his art on my blog. Plus, you know, those two strips rank way up there on my unofficial list of Best Cartoon Strips in the World. His site is HERE. You could do worse than visiting it. 

Over the years, there have been different spellings of Willy’s name (Willye, Willie) and it finally settled on Willy. I think Ethel also had a different spelling at one point, but I can’t confirm that.

Doodles . . . Right now, I’m on an animated doodle GIF kick, so that’s what you can expect for a few more posts. I’m still finding the limits of what can be done with these. They have a size limit as well as an inverse speed limit. For instance, I will run out of space sooner if I draw a slow long line than if I draw a bunch of lines very fast. Go figure. 

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Other Stuff | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Project 313 – Post No. 001

Here we go; the first post of Project 313 . . . 

Hmm . . . I should say something profound and memorable to kick off this effort. Something so profound and inscrutable that Deepak Chopra himself would be in awe . . .

How about:

We exist for the benefit and fulfillment of our imagination.” – Disperser (2018)

And now, the photo:

Project 313 – 001

That is a Koa wood bowl. Snapped with my Note 8, processed in Topaz Studio. 

As for the first joke, it’s probably one that many will look at and say “meh!” but I like it.

And finally, a doodle . . . I have the choice of many fine efforts, but this one was kind of a no-brainer . . . à propos because I’m tired and in need of sleep.  

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Other Stuff | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Project 313 – Post No. 000

Many people get involved with Project 365 derivatives. For them who don’t know, these projects are meant to instill the discipline in bloggers to post regularly . . . like, every day. It’s usually photographs, but it could be the end result of any artistic effort. 

Hence the 365 number — the effort is supposed to last one year; 365 posts. I’m not sure what people have against Leap Years. I mean, I think it would be much cooler doing one Project 366 every four years. Why, you could call it Project Leap, or Leap 366.

But, it’s not just February 29th people are dissing. Oh, no!

Do these sound familiar? Project 52. Project 12. Project 7. 

OK, OK . . . Project 7 is a bit too short and you’d have to set your clock for a monthly alarm or you’d be likely to forget you were actually doing a project from one month to the next. Project 52 got some promise; I mean, once a week sound doable and as long as you do it on the same day of the week each week, it’s a bit easier to remember than a monthly posting. 

For the record, I’ve never done a Project 365 . . . well, sort of. I’ve never done one unless you count THIS effort where I did the equivalent of a 365-day project in four months (I’m impatient that way). Don’t believe me? It’s my Untitled Posts series (102 posts) and there’s a gallery HERE with all 365 photos. 

Ah, you know where I’m going with this, right? Clever of you to work it out. 

Yes, I’m embarking on a Project 313 effort. Three-hundred-and-thirteen posts, each with a photo . . . and a joke and an original doodle. 

“Why 313?” you ask. 

Well, Bob — can I call you Bob? Yes? Great.

Well, Bob, let me tell you something you might not have worked out on your own. I pride myself on not following the crowd. Of being different. Of going against the tide. I may be one of nearly a billion bloggers on the planet, but, by FSM, I’m going my own way! An antisocial, reclusive, private, loner with a big ole window open to the public. 

OK, OK, that’s not true . . . there are only an estimated half a billion blogs in the world today, but at this rate, we should top a billion is a few short years. 

Anyways, 313 is a prime number. That means 313 days doesn’t break down into an even number of weeks or months. Also, it’s a palindromic number. Also, the addition of the individual digits is seven (7) which is one of my top five prime numbers. 

Anyway, that’s it . . . that’s the announcement of Project 313. 

Starting tomorrow — and for the next 313 days — at the stroke of 0000, a post will go live. It probably won’t have many words, but it will have a photo . . . 

P313 000

. . . and it will have a cartoon . . . 

. . . and it will have a doodle . . . 

Just to be clear, it’ll be a different photo, cartoon, and doodle each day. 

Mind you, I’m not saying they will all be good but, by golly, there will be 313 of each!!

One note of caution. The photos and doodles are obviously mine — obvious because of their puerility and because they lack the air of professionalism exhibited by commercial offering. 

The cartoon will be stuff I have saved throughout the years. I try and get permission from the owners of the cartoons before posting them but I seldom get replies. If someone (the owner of the copyright) objects, let me know and I’ll take them down. I see no monetary gain (direct or indirect) from posting them and I present them only because I admire the humor within them. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Other Stuff | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Some action, a bit of intent, a dash of motivation . . . and the tick to bind them all.

I have to mention my other title choice for this piece: Action and the Tick

Notice: this is a piece about writing. Specifically, my writing. Ergo, the need to have a disclaimer, right here, ahead of the piece. The disclaimer is:
I’m not complaining.
I’m not despondent or depressed.
My life is pretty good, and Writing is only a small part of it.
Most of all, I’m not asking for sympathy, encouragement, or advice.
I sound out some things; no more, no less.
Finally, did I mention it’s about writing? There are no photos and it’s just me rambling on about stuff. Boring stuff; 2,713 words worth of boring stuff.

I’ve oft stated I write for myself. That’s true, but there’s an implied larger truth, a motive beyond entertaining myself when I share my writing. It’s the assumption that I’m not so unique as to have singular tastes; it assumes other readers like what I like.

How to define the breadth and scope of what I like? It’s one of them I’ll know it when I see it things,” but if hard-pressed, I tend toward writing that reflects my understanding of the simple truths of human nature.

Truths. That’s a big word, but I use it in a small and plain way.

Readers should understand a few things about what I’m about to write. I’m not a philosopher, although I follow the discipline. I’m not a sociologist, although I follow the discipline. I’m not a historian, although I read history.

Without a shred of false modesty or excessive airs, I’m just a guy living my life and trying to get to old age and a natural death with as few problems as possible. To that end, I think I’ve figured out a few things about human beings and the lives we live.

I’ve figured out it’s not what people say they will do. It’s not what people say they want to do. It’s not about why people say they want to do something. It’s about what they actually do, and, I don’t care about what they say is the purpose, identity, and/or self-image driving them.

I care about what people do, and that’s what I write about; I write about people’s actions, and I like reading about people’s actions.

~ ~ ~

Side Trip — Free Will
Let’s talk about this thing we call Free Will. I’ve written about it before (HERE and HERE) and I’m still trying to work things out about what it means.

For them who are not in on the nuances of the debate, it can be simplified into a couple of major camps: those who think we have agency and those who think our actions are nothing more than the sum total that has come before and we cannot but do the very next thing in the chain of actions and consequences.  (HERE is a wordier summary; one of many that can find).    

 It’s a difficult debate because we are self-aware and “feel” like we have agency but there is compelling evidence we might not.

Remember when I said I don’t care? While I’m interested in the debate and listen to the various arguments for determinism versus free will, I ultimately don’t care because I live in what I perceive as the real world where my actions and those of others have consequences.

Before branding me as a Consequentialist, understand Consequentialism deals with moral judgments of one’s actions whereas I’m more practical. Morality has little to do with it; actions are something happening, usually something requiring my response or the response of others. Actions produce small and large ripples in our lives and the lives of people we know. Eventually, we die. Some ripples continue for a bit, but eventually, they too die off.

~ ~ ~

I said I care about people’s actions and that’s what I write, but that’s because actions are my preferred path to emotions and emotions are, for me, the payoff for both writing and reading.

Some will argue that emotions are equivalent to purpose; emotions are drivers; emotions are catalysts.

I find it faulty reasoning because there’s a bit of a circular argument going on; almost a chicken and egg conundrum. Emotions certainly are powerful and can drive our actions, but unless responding to an action, there’s seldom any emotion swirling in our consciousness.

For me, emotions are the result of something happening and I write to elicit an emotional response.

While I can — and do — readily use emotions as drivers to initiate the actions of my characters, I don’t dwell into the reasons for those emotions because my primary objective is the emotions at the tail end; emotions resulting from actions and not so much the emotions driving the action.

Mostly, I don’t explain much beyond the face value of emotions.

Wait, that’s not exactly true. I can and do explain more about the emotions of the “good characters” than I do the “bad characters.”  That’s because I have more of an understanding of good traits than I do bad traits.

I mean, not to give myself airs, but I know what it’s like being honest. I have no clue of the mindset necessary to cheat or steal. I understand more about honor and personal codes of conduct than I do of greed. I understand more about empathy than I do of hate.

Even then, I might describe someone as honest without explaining “why” they’re honest. I don’t explain the character’s life’s history forming the basis for their honesty. I only have to say they’re honest.

Keep all the above in mind as I get to the main point of all these words . . .

In the last few years, I’ve received very good feedback on some of my writing. In the last two months, I’ve received especially good feedback on my Gin’s War novel. Feedback that has me looking to changing a few things in the book.

I seldom rewrite based on feedback (other than to fix plot problems) because while I listen to the feedback to pinpoint potential problems, I ignore things that would — in my opinion — substantially change the intent of the book.

What do I “intend” when I write something? To elicit an emotional reaction from the reader, and remember that the primary reader is me. Me — the writer — knows exactly what me — the reader — wants out of the book.

I may not be able to explain it, but I certainly know — as I’m writing — what I want to feel when I later read my novels. I want to feel certain emotions as a result of the character’s actions. Those emotions are the payoff for reading what the character does.

Based on the feedback, I have two action items for the novel:

  • Simplify the plot — both readers mentioned difficulty with following the plot. This is difficult for an author to see because the author knows the book backward and forward, so I trust that feedback. One of the ways I could remedy that shortcoming is to add periodic reminders of what’s happening and why. Seeing as Gin is learning things as she goes, she’s constantly putting pieces together so this should be doable. Additionally, the initial plot was to have the eight on the run for noble reasons (revealing nefarious practices, Snowden-like) but that didn’t ring true. What rang true was greed. I could simplify the plot by removing the initial misdirection and go with greed right off from the get-go.

Caveat: that removes some of the discovery and key points in the story. I don’t know what I will replace them with, but I’ll figure something out.

  • Better differentiation of the characters, especially the bad guys. This might involve Gin getting information earlier than she does. Not sure how to go about it because Gin has limited resources (hence why the initial interaction with the Geriatric Spies which, by the way, is different in the current manuscript than the version on the blog). I could make the story more personal by introducing additional history between Gin and the good guys and Gin and the bad guys.

Caveat: that changes the dynamics of the story a bit. Not a lot, but my preferred approach to protagonists is that of loners. People who may help others but are reluctant to ask for help, accepting it begrudgingly and only as a last resort. By introducing additional personal motives, I also change Gin’s motivation. Simplifying the plot may complicate the characters.

That’s all fine and good, and I can see how I might be able to work all that into the novel.

I don’t know if I’ll like the re-write more or less than the current version, but that’s not the concern right now, and it won’t be until I write the new material.

HOWEVER . . . The rest of the feedback is where I run into problems because addressing other issues raised by the reviewers means a substantial change to what I like about the characters and what they do.

Specifically, both reviewers addressed questions relating to “who” the characters are and “why” they are doing what they do. Both reviewers (although for different reasons) were left unsatisfied with what the character did and — I presume — why.

It’s a complaint I’ve heard before and while it’s all under the same umbrella, the complaint resolves itself into three specific areas: wanting to know more about Gin and why she does what she does (what makes her tick), wanting to know more about the bad guys (what makes them tick), and the fact that the resolution of any conflict is killing the bad guys. In fact, in my writing, the answer to everything often comes down to killing the bad guys and that appears less satisfactory to some than it does me. Me? I get giddy when the bad guys get wiped out.

I get requests for a physical description of the characters, an emotional description of the characters, and looking for ways to resolve things other than shoot first and step over the bodies later.

There are two problems with those parts of the feedback; roughly speaking, the information the reviewers ask for is already in the book, but it’s not explicit. There’s a fair amount of information about Gin in the narrative, but it’s divulged by her decisions and subsequent actions. Perhaps it’s too nuanced or perhaps I recognize it because I wrote it but it’s otherwise obscure to others.

Second, as a reader, I have near-zero interest in any of those things (remember: action and emotions are what hold my interest) and hence why that information is not center stage and slapping the reader in the face.

I even know why I feel like I do . . .

It’s because both when I read and when I write, I’m playing a movie in my head. But, not just a movie; a movie populated with protagonists who are mere placeholders for character traits.

The difference from a regular movie is that — in my head —the protagonists (actors) lack definition and distinguishing details.  Perforce, I differentiate genders, but other than that, the protagonists don’t have faces, skin colors, hair color, and so on. Occasionally, I’ll mention eyes and perhaps height, but even then it’s brief and inconsequential.

In my head, what distinguishes the protagonists from each other are their character traits. Well, character traits and their names. The character traits are where I focus and where I want the reader’s focus. As far as physical attributes, readers can imagine whatever they want.

Gin is at least partially of Asian descent, but that’s all they know. But, she could just as well be Caucasian or African-American or Inuit, or whatever one might imagine. Ultimately, I want the reader to identify with the character traits of the protagonist and not the physical person.

That’s what allows me, the reader, to identify with and root for Gin. Start describing her in detail, add a backstory explaining her propensity for deadly violence, define more of her personality and motivation as relating to experiences, and each of those details takes me further away from identifying with her . . . because now I have to broaden my attention beyond what she does. Remember, I only care about what she does. The rest is just stuff people make up to rationalize other stuff.

Most readers want to know more about the background and “understand” the characters; that’s not me.

Take Navy Seals. I can read about what it takes to make the squad and read what they can do. I gain nothing by learning their path to becoming a Seal; it doesn’t help me explain the missions they undertake, the action they see. Basically, I don’t care if they are ultra-patriots fighting for flag and country or if they are psychopaths who love jumping out of helicopters and killing stuff.

Perhaps a better example is of a quarterback and a wide receiver. I can appreciate the skill required to throw a ball and connect with the hands of a person running downfield. I can appreciate the ability to catch the ball while running full blast and trying to avoid 300 pounds of flesh and gear barreling down on you.

I don’t understand why they do it. It may be money, it may be fame, it may be the love of the game, or it may be a combination of all those things. I don’t need to know the motivation; I’m happily admiring the action and voicing approval of the result.

In fact, the more I know about the players, coaches, and owners as people, the more I lose interest in the game. (Side note: I don’t watch any sports because my impression is professional sports are overwhelmingly populated by jerks, crooks, and more often than I ever imagined, criminals.)

The two reviewers — reviewers I trust — suggest changing the intent of the book from eliciting emotions through actions to embellishing those emotions by peeling layers from the characters and showing what’s beneath the visible layer.

I don’t know if I want to do that, let alone if I can. I mean, the reviewers are not asking me to do it, but they’re expressing what they thought the novel lacks relative to novels that sell. They point to the action as insufficient to carry the day.

As I mentioned, they are not the first to say it, and that worries me just a tad.

If that’s what it takes to publish, if that’s what publishers and readers want, I don’t know it’s even worth me trying to publish anything because to succeed I’d have to write something that not only I might not like, but that I might find uninteresting.

I say “might” but I pretty much “know” because I read a lot of books last year and there are none that crossed my path that I would re-read (re-reading is the mark of me liking something).

And yet, there are successful books I like that I think are at least a bit like mine. I read the Dresden Files books, and they are mostly action. Dresden doesn’t grow as a person. He gets more powerful and violent with each book, primarily in response to bigger threats, but that’s not growth. There’s little beyond his motivation besides “doing the right thing”. How do we know it’s the right thing? The end result. We don’t hate what he does.

I read Old Man’s War books, and they are mostly action. Some primary characters you learn almost nothing about, and they’re some of the most favorite characters. Jane Sagan in The Ghost Brigades is as close as one comes to the definition of inscrutable.

Go back to many of the classics, and it’s all action and little angst. Heinlein, Asimov, Niven, Pournelle, Saberhagen. Heck, I’d re-read Saberhagen’s Berserker books right now had I not gotten rid of them when we moved two years ago.

Final note:

Let me repeat the reviews very useful and resulted in actionable items, and in that respect, they were pure gold.

But, the reviews also make me wonder about the state of the current market. And, it makes me wonder about myself and my writing.

Perhaps fiction has “grown up,” and I haven’t. Perhaps, what used to require it be only an escape from reality now demands acknowledging said reality.

The other possibility is that I’m not “there” yet. Maybe I’ve not hit my stride but will eventually come up with a successful formula transcending the need for what I don’t like and buoyed strictly by what I enjoy writing. I better get cracking then, don’t I?

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Writing | Tagged , | 18 Comments

PC be down again . . .

. . . but I still find stuff to do using my trusty Samsung Note 8, its camera, its stylus, Pixlr, Snapseed, and a complete lack of talent (on my part; not the Note 8).

First up, a couple of doodle variations I’d done before but forgot to include in previous posts . . .

To some, these may seem the same ones I showed before . . . but they’re not.

Or, are they? I guess the only way anyone can answer that question is to reread — thoroughly reread — the previous hundred posts, or so.

Or, you can just accept derivative works as unique.

A few days ago, we went for a walk down the street from the complex where we now rent. I had my P900 with me (clipped to my belt . . . I’ll do a post about that soon) but ended up only using the Samsung Note 8.

I could not believe I’d never noticed this before . . .

That’s a relief mural decorating the front of a condominium complex in Ali’i drive. I’m either much less observant than I think or that’s relatively new. Perhaps, both.

Here’s another version of it . . .

The first version is closer to what it looked like (it was slightly overcast) but I like the second version better.

Along the way, I photographed a few flowers.

The last one is particularly striking because of the pale accent around the bright red center.

I tried a silk version of it . . .

. . . and then a “pop” version with a bit if a glow.

I like the last one, but some will say the original is better. I won’t argue because they’re different and should be judged on their individual merits. That’s also a good practice when it comes to people.

Yup . . . another doodle and you know I’m going to play with various looks, right?

Here’s the first . . .

Bold, they said. Striking, they proclaimed.

Not sure who “they” are but I just bumped the contrast and saturation.

I did try a B&W conversion . . .

But wasn’t thrilled with it. Then again, I didn’t put much effort into it. Instead, I played with negatives and colors.

I noticed some color combination gave a hint of depth . . . so I went to town with it . . .

I’m not sure how they’ll show on your device, but on the phone there’s definitively an illusion of depth.

A strong one, at that.

Lastly, I played with the “live message” function. It’s meant for quick doodles you can include with text messages but I use it for generating random GIF files with it. Usually, they’re too large to send via text which is weird because I would assume the program wouldn’t let you generate stuff it couldn’t use. But, what do I know? Nothing. Me and Schultz; we know nothing!

Well, we have to run a few errands so I’ll stop right here.

Hope this was an enjoyable interlude for you, dear readers . . . It was for me.

Posted in Flowers, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Samsung Note 8, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

One more post from the Note 8

I should be transitioning to my PC as early as tomorrow (this being Saturday, here on the Big Island). However, I had worked on some photos for a phone update, so I’ll use them.

Warning: this will not be a long post.

First, an original doodle . . .

It don’t look like much, but a little Pixlr magic and . . .

Continue reading

Posted in Black & White, Black & White, Flowers, Photography, Photography Stuff, Samsung Note 8 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Some thoughts on violence

I’ve received some feedback on Gin’s War (my third NaNoWriMo novel). It was useful feedback and I need to digest it before tackling how to address the issues and concerns it raised. However, one particular comment got me thinking.

A comment about violence. Understand, this was a comment about violence in my written work of fiction but couched with the relationship to the violence in the real world. The disconnect seems to be the (perceived) unrealism of the level of violence in the narrative. For the record, I keep my violence a lot more sanitized than what one experiences by watching the news. 

I’ve written about violence before. If you want better writing than mine about violence, see the articles by Sam Harris (HERE and HERE).

On the one hand, I agree with what the reviewer says. Namely, we live in one of the safest times in human history, at least when it comes to violence. You wouldn’t know it listening to gun control enthusiasts or gun control opponents or politicians leveraging fear as a power play or even the evening news. You especially wouldn’t know it listening to the 24/7 cable news channels.

However, I think people draw the wrong conclusion from this statistic about violence in today’s civilized society. Namely, they conclude we are less violent as a species; less violent as individuals.

As many might guess, I don’t share that view and that reflects in my writing and while it is fiction and made to be more interesting (and fast-paced) than real life, I don’t think it drifts into the incredible. Side note: it’s argued it makes the heroine seem “less heroic” and no better than the bad guys. That touches on what I call the Batman Problem. Batman is forever fighting the same bad guys who keep hurting/killing people because of his unwillingness to kill. The problem at hand is not to appear heroic; it’s to stop bad guys. My solution would be more draconian than Batman’s. 

I do agree that society (or, societies) have become more structured, more controlled. Countries are cooperating more and as such all-out wars are less frequent . . . at least between world powers.

That lends validity to the argument about less violence because the opportunities for wanton violence are fewer, especially when it comes to large groups (very few instances of bands of marauders descending into our manicured neighborhoods to wreak destruction upon us and ours).

So, yes, statistically, collectively, we face fewer opportunities for violence and thus experience less violence.

Unless you are in the unlucky few who live in high-crime areas or who chance upon individuals without the typical behavioral restraints most people exhibit.

The US is often portrayed as a violent country, but even a casual perusal of the data shows violence to the level that is reported (for which we are much maligned) is highly concentrated.

And that, I think, is a problem . . . well, not a problem in the sense that violence should be more widespread. It’s a problem in the sense that the majority of people have zero experience with violence that cannot be reasoned with.

I’m not sure where people get the idea violence can be countered with a reasoned argument and can be defused by discussing things in a civilized manner. It’s more likely you’ll make someone even madder and force the transition from what started as generalized violence into focused and targeted violence; violence not as a means to gain something or out of impulse, but as a mean to punish and make the target suffer.

I hate to generalize, but this idealized and antiseptic view of violence is most prevalent in liberal-minded individuals who, grossly generalizing, tend to have utopian-like views of what societies “ought” to be doing and are isolated from some of life’s harsh realities. And yet, even they — when mildly challenged — are likely to see violence as a viable option.

I don’t want to make this political but it’s somewhat unavoidable. If you read the news, you are more likely (at least these days) to see people resorting to physical violence while espousing high-minded ideals . . . violence in support of those ideals.

Mind you, I have high-minded ideals . . . I just don’t believe that we should resort to violence in the promotion of said ideals.

Now, sure as liquid effluent flows downhill, someone will challenge me by saying that conservative-minded individuals are more violent. They’ll even point at various examples . . . while ignoring what’s happening on campuses and in the same breath justify groups like Antifa as bravely resisting tyrannical forces.

Look, as a rule, my personal belief — born of observation and experience — is that people who don’t get what they want — or feel they’re entitled to — are prone to anger and can easily drift into violence.

While this isn’t normally based on politics, I do see this more on the Left than the Right (at least for now). Obviously, it’s not everyone but, at the same time, I’m surprised when I hear (or read) people who normally decry and profess disdain for our baser instincts profess violence as a viable option to getting their way.

They see it as crucial, justified, and the last resort to keep civilization from sinking into chaos . . . exactly the same arguments that can be heard on the Right when their most radical elements try to justify their violence.

The point I’m trying to make is that violence is not buried so much below the surface that only the “despicable” will resort to it.

No; it’s just under the surface and we’re seeing it bubble up more and more and in unexpected places. And always with “justification”. That’s one thing all humans seem to excel at: justifying the use of force.

After nearly thirty years of declining violence, 2016 and 2017 saw a slight uptick. I hope it’s just a fluke, but I think I have a pretty good handle on human nature and I don’t put it past even the most educated, erudite, and ethical individuals letting loose their own violent tendencies while decrying those of others.

So, when I hear someone ask “how can anyone do that?” — usually speaking about people they don’t identify with and in reference to some act of violence by the “opposition” — my answer is short:

They are humans; it’s what humans do.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

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Posted in Musings Stuff, Personal, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments