I sometimes notice that I’ve basically got two types of thoughts. Let’s call them active and passive thoughts for now. Active thoughts are my thoughts, where I feel I’m actively deciding to think these thoughts, whereas passive thoughts are, well, passive. They just pop into my head. no effort required.
I don’t always notice the difference between the two of them. I think I notice the difference most when I’m trying to speak fairly loudly. Then active thoughts feel louder in my head, whereas the passive thoughts are still pretty quiet. I don’t know if this is always the case, I only remember such details from the most recent time I noticed this. That time I was trying to speak to someone while we were walking in a park.
I also remember I noticed these types of thoughts a few times a long time ago. Back in secondary school I one time described the passive thoughts as someone, kind of giving me the answers to certain test questions and one of my fellow students asked a bit more questions and I did admit it was probably just my own thoughts. Back then, I was also very into star wars and eventually started to think of my passive thoughts as a long-dead Jedi knight who was being reborn in my body… I don’t think I actually believed this most of the time, but it was an entertaining thought.
I also described these types of thoughts to a friend once during University. I think not much after I noticed the difference between them again. He was quite interested, but I don’t think the conversation lead me to any new insights.
I quickly googled (or in my case ecosia’d, since that’s my default search engine) a bit while writing this. Just to have a look if other people have written about this as well. Turns out they have, so maybe I’ll write another blogpost about this with some perspectives from other people (or maybe even some research into the phenomena).
Quite a long time ago I had a dream where I was a woman (not my gender outside of the dream). I don’t think I recall what I looked like, besides fairly slim and I might have been wearing a dress.
I was at a party, having a good time or maybe not (I don’t remember many details about this dream, because I had it years ago and I didn’t keep a dream journal yet). I think I just watched one conversation evolve, not getting involved myself.
After a bit, I left alone. I think I took my car and just drove away. Over at the party, there had been an orange lamp on the wall, but most of the scene was pretty dark. Now the orange was slowly taking over as I continued driving.
Then I arrived at a cliff. Here the orange was at its brightest, the morning sun had conquered the shadows of the night. I got out of the car and jumped off the cliff.
The suicide wasn’t out of the ordinary for me. In the past, I have often had thoughts about suicide and though I didn’t usually dream about it, it didn’t seem surprising.
I don’t think I thought much of the fact I was a woman in the dream, even thought it was a fairly good experience. Maybe I thought nothing of it because of the nature of dreams, or because at least at the time I didn’t care what gender I was. I think now I might care a little bit, just lucky I was born in a matching body.
I think what did strike me was that I wasn’t myself in this dream, something I had at least not noticed being the case before this one.
I also don’t think I believed you could grasp any special meaning from dreams. However, about a month ago, I heard dreams aren’t all random either. In the Netflix docuseries The Mind, Explained, I learned that the emotions of the day can have quite an impact on what you dream about. Citizens of Germany during Hitler’s rule, for example, had a lot of very dark dreams.
Up until a few weeks ago, I was having plenty of luck, remembering and writing down my dreams. Now unfortunately not so much. So, I can’t examine if my emotions too have quite the impact on my dreams.
Despite that, I did find it odd that the episode stated that only 5% of peoples dreams take place in locations the dreamer doesn’t recognize. To me, this seemed very low, so I checked my journal for a bit and though my dreams take place in unknown places a lot more than 5% of the time, my initial guess, of almost all maybe 90%, is also probably wrong.
Something I didn’t post back in 2016 because I didn’t have the energy to polish it. This might get a bit confusing (very appropriate), since I’ve tried this before, in May 2016, but failed to publish it then. I kept the intro I wrote back then in this post (just to torture you, jk). Some context, Daphne was my girlfriend when I was 10 or so years old.
For me the Daphne period of life has ended. I think I can let go of the pain now. It did produce quite a spurt of creativity inside me. I wrote in a diary and in a notebook plus a thing I shouldn’t mention. The work might be too unstructured to properly publish or even make into something decent. So now I leave you, dear reader and myself, with one the last post that was actually one of the first things I wrote after hearing of Daphne’s death.
I calmed down again since I’ve written my last post. Of course I still feel some grief, but it’s now mostly present in the back of my mind, instead of consuming almost every moment, like it’s done in the past two days.
When I first found out about Daphne I wrote a lot and talked to a lot of people about it. In that emotional chaos my dad showed me a page in a book called “Who’s who in the Ancient World”:
Daphne (‘bay’ or ‘laurel’)
A Greek mountain-nymph who was pursued by Apollo, and in answer to her prayer for help changed by Mother Earth into a bay or laurel tree….
The story goes on after this first sentence, but for the purpose of this blog post the mere essence of the first sentence suffices.
After showing me the Daphne of antiquity, my dad also told me that we have a Daphne plant in our garden. He said it was there when we moved in. But in recent years other plants have hidden the Daphne plant from sight and he thought the plant might have been dead too. The next day he showed me a picture of the Daphne plant and we went to look if she was still there.
The plant wasn’t dead there was still something of the Daphne plant remaining. It is the plant with the light greenish leaves in the picture below.
I think I’ll try to give it more space and if the plant is also dead, I’ll plant a new Daphne plant. Maybe when I do so a new Daphne will be born too. Reality of course doesn’t work that way but in fiction we can pretend it does.
Here I’ll give a note from the present (May 2016), the Daphne plant hasn’t died. After my mom and dad came back from their vacation in Greece, my dad saved the Daphne plant for me, by removing parts of the plants that were blocking its acces to the sun.
In a way her death makes me feel the suffering of others more… I probably couldn’t have saved her even if I tried to contact her again. But maybe she will inspire me to safe some other lives. My first thought was to do something political, but the succes of such endeavours would always be uncertain. Today I was called by someone from the red cross. I have made some one time donations to them, and the person calling me wanted to know if I’d be interesserend in having a monthly “subscription” thing. I said I’d prefer not to since it’s often necessary to change where your charity goes depending on circumstances, however now the circumstances dictate that the redcross is probably in need of more donations than usual. I think I remember the guy on the phone telling me the redcross is the only organisation with acces to the region of Syria. A quick google search falsified that statement, however I do agree that the redcross currently probably needs more money than usual so I’ve donate something to them.
Some last notes from 2020.
I now know much better what charities (and methods of giving) are more effective. GiveWell has a list of evidence backed charities. This might not literally be the most good you can do with a charitable donation, since GiveWell requires pretty solid evidence a charity actually works and some charities might have more uncertain but potentially bigger impacts. It is a very good start though.
The Daphne plant is dead. I guess that’s ok. It was always only of metaphorical importance.
This post could probably do with some more editing, but I probably shouldn’t return to it again soon, because of mental health reasons, so I’ll publish it now anyway. Might occasionally edit it.
I had a really nice evening yesterday. I went to one of the regular evenings of my debating society. I think the debates were some of the best I’ve ever seen. But that might also be because my mental state was perfect for watching a debate and thinking about it yesterday.
Despite this, or perhaps because of this, I did feel kind of weird. When I was talking to Robin and Takenori (two of my friends) at the bar, I wondered: how is it that everyone else seems to always be in this state of mind, where you can truly listen and bring truly great ideas to the table? Whereas I am only on rare occasions in such a mental state. I’m not sure to what extent this perception of mine was true or merely a skewed view I had of things.
Whether my perception was accurate or not it did make me feel a bit like the main character in “Children Are Bored on Sundays” by Jean Stafford. The main character, Emma (one of the people present at the debating evening is also called Emma), is a very smart woman who thinks she’s not smart.
The reason I recognized that feeling within myself, is perhaps not only caused by the debating evening itself, but also my own reminiscing of primary school. When I was always the kid with by far the most spelling errors, and humiliatingly had to put my hand down last when numbers of spelling errors were asked for in class.
My general state of being doesn’t help either. I’ve, unlike Emma, not finished any degrees. I’ve only ever come close. And I, probably also unlike Emma, am still far ways away from making any real money off off my intellect. Sure I’ve taught physics and math a bit to highschool kids but those aren’t my ideas, and as far as ideas of other people go, also not the most challenging.
But enough about me below here is the short story in podcast form. For the one in writing I think you need an subscription.
I usually try to avoid writing these kinds of posts, overly emotional ones about politics, but my current emotional state really created the desire to write this -and some of the stuff I wrote elsewhere, about the subject of politics- in me. I think this kind of emotional reasoning most of the time leads to the wrong conclusion. But here it goes:
I’m not that sure I really am a @SenSanders supporter anymore. Over the past weeks I’ve seen he’s wrong on too many issues. @HillaryClinton seems wrong on a lot of issues too, but I never suspected her to be right on that many things. I did from Bernie. At least my seaside neighbour has @jeremycorbyn. He seems to be the real deal… Hope I don’t find out similar stuff about him, and that the stuff I already found out isn’t going to have a harsher impact on me later. Rationally I understand I can’t really expect a candidate to be perfect, there’s too many compromises that are required to be an effective politician and people disagree without that too. But I really want one of them to be perfect right now. So we can have a shining beacon of hope to guard away the darkness of corruption and the stench of reality itself. My own state of mind is probably playing a large role in this as well. Seeing death so close by really opened me up to the suffering of others. And it made me very emotional about it as well.
Sorry that I don’t fill in the details of why I feel this way, but this way the emotional message seems clearer to me. Maybe the details will spill out in a future chapter or a second draft.
I feel kind of guilty again. This feeling feels very much the same as the last post I did about it. However, it’s slightly different this time. I kind of feel that I shouldn’t take anything good away from Daphne’s death. That it should just be a terrible tragedy instead of also something “good.” But I am taking something good away from her death. The sadness I feel fills me with motivation to write things down. Now I’m even writing a very weird kind of book, because of it and in part about it. It might not be a book, it might become a game or visual novel or walking simulator. (This probably also means the post I promised will be the end of that novel or game. So you’ll have to wait for that one for quiet some time.) At least it’s going to be something, instead of the sadness and tragedy I almost feel that this should be. I’m wrong about that of course. Sure death is sad, but we are always allowed to make something good out of it. I’m not sure if Daphne would have wanted this to happen, and I think I want to talk to her parents about this and some other things, but it is happening. It’s the way I’m going to deal with this sadness.
I also kind of feel like I don’t deserve to be sad. That because I haven’t seen her in 12, 13 or maybe even 14 years. I don’t deserve to be sad about her passing. That I can’t honour her memory because I didn’t really know her anymore. This is wrong too of course. Lots of people, which I actually know in real life, I know to the same degree as I know her. Those people and her I know more as almost an idea of a person than a person in and of themselves. And I bet that many people I know, now know me that way too. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be sad if I die or that I shouldn’t be sad if they die.
Today you’re getting a different post than I expected to give you. When I heard about the death of Daphne I did write quite a lot. Posts to the Facebook group I found out about her death from, a private message to Daphne her facebook profile, the post that went up that day, but also I half finished a post filled with poetic metaphor and yesterday and today I found a way to refine the central metaphor even more and link it back to my own thoughts and actions even more. However today I don’t have the energy to put in that kind of intellectual work. I’m tired from the emotional chaos of the weekend, and feel I should take a bit of a quit day to myself. Eat some food (I ate almost nothing yesterday) watch some Youtube, read some fiction and rest.
Creating fiction out of my real life experiences can wait a little longer.