It's good to have a reason to write to you again... I regret that I haven't written to you since the tenth of June, and yet suddenly it's already July! July 2nd... Bronycon is less than 30 days away and I can hardly believe it. Time sure is a hilariously absurd concept, isn't it? A distance you can't measure with a ruler. Is it any harder to measure it as a "ruler", Princess?
I've had a lot on my mind lately. I feel I just got dragged through a mountain made of sludge, and at first it was stuck to me and I could hardly move, and everything was miserable and stunk and hurt. Right now, I actually feel kind of good. I had a bout with depression and it really wore me out. Those feelings of uselessness were everywhere, but what's most useless of all is that feeling itself. It's all so absurd...! During the course of all this, Pinkie Pie came to 'visit' me. This mostly happened around the 23rd of June, after I'd blown off a week without exercise and was feeling particularly incapacitated. She said to me ... a lot of things. I'm sure you know how she can be, your highness. But I think I understood, in the end.
I'll see if I can piece it together, though, for the sake of a lesson:
Happiness is a choice. That doesn't make it easy; that makes it hard. Just like taking a journey is a choice. It's not a switch you can flip, but a process that you can begin, and that you have to work on. Sometimes you just get so tired. And sometimes, you feel like you need to be sad. Maybe you do need it, maybe you don't; the point is, you feel that way and no amount of lying to yourself will change how you feel about something. The only thing that will change feeling is experience, and the only way to get experience is by doing.
Pinkie pie said that when days are dark and lonely, and you feel sad, and people tell you to "snap out of it", they're using the right words, but mean the wrong things. Snap doesn't mean easy. Snap means painful. Snap means scary and abrupt. Snap means POW! Like a firecracker. You snap the bars of the cage. You snap your jaws. You snap the whip. You SNAP, in your MIND, when you've had enough and can't take it anymore. Depression isn't rational, and you learn quickly that you can't reason with irrational despair. There's no bargaining your way out of it. There is no logic that will lead you out. The only way to deal with irrational despair is with more irrationality. Irrational jolity. Irrational exuberance. Irrational glee. Irrational excitement.
In the end, I took away from this imaginary "conversation", whose words I did not even come CLOSE to approximating above (unfortunately) that you don't feel better because you want to feel better. You ACT like you feel better because you want to make the darkness PAY. You make the lives around you as happy as you can so that you can stick the biggest monkey wrench possible (or even impossible!) RIGHT into the gears of hopelessness. You purge the misery with sunlight. You giggle at the ghosties, and they go POOF.
I don't know how I did it, but I laughed. I started to laugh, even though I felt horrible, even though I felt like a loser, even though I felt like a failure and a burden and a lost cause. I laughed BECAUSE I felt miserable. I laughed at myself until I started to laugh with myself. But that's not all.
There's another thing that recently entered my mind, Princess.
I was hanging out with Sunset Serenade yesterday and we watched (first time for him, second time for me) a debate between prominent atheist Matt Dillahunty and Christian Presuppositional Apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate. Aside from indulging shamelessly in the hilarity of there being a big wig christian talking-head named "Sye Ten" and pronounced a LOT like "Satan", once we calmed down and considered everything said with actual rationality and patience, there was a lot of fascinating stuff. I'll have to summarize this for you now:
We all operate by using our capacity for pattern recognition to construct as accurate a model of reality as we possibly can in our minds. The best we can reasonably aim for is that we accept all information we can empirically observe, keep all hypotheses that successfully produce results (elements of our perceptual model that correctly predict outcomes), and try to employ as few blatant and baseless assumptions as we can with liberal application of Occam's Razor. There are actually a few blatant and baseless assumptions that everybody absolutely must employ in order to function, for instance: Reality is Real, and our senses must be trusted because we have nothing else to go on. In the end, it's either this or the madness of solipsism.
In that line, I have become aware that there's a difference between Knowledge, Fact, Truth, and Belief.
It's not really possible to directly know truth. You can know facts ABOUT the truth and believe that knowledge, though. That is to say, we can record discreet entries of coordinated data about our empirical observations, and integrate those entries into our model of awareness. Our model of awareness, however, is never going to be more than a model. Never. If this part of us were ever more than a model, then we would be that reality - and we're suddenly back at solipsism or just plain hallucination. It is necessary for us to possess a model that is separate from but always refining toward accurately representing the truth in order for us to maintain identity. If the truth and our identity were one in the same, understanding wouldn't be necessary and the process of consciousness would be redundant in itself. Every single one of us is a model of reality. Without models = without US. A rock, for instance, is a rock. Its process is being a rock. It doesn't have to try to be a rock. It doesn't have to ponder what it means to be a rock. It just is. That is horrifyingly tragic.
This all ties back into an old consideration of mine... the balance of order and chaos and how life exists on that thin film of balance that exists between them. We feed on this stream of entropy, in how we tap into, and siphon off, a bit of the universe's energy as it flows toward disorder. The sun's once-uniform mass of hydrogen, and then helium, is gradually devolving into a mishmash of heavy elements, and in so doing is bleeding off copious amounts of energy everywhere, and our little planet is drinking in what little trickle of that sustained explosive output to which it deigns. We are an eddy in that flow. We're a ripple in that stream. We are an unsolved remainder in that equation and we are lucky enough to be in a position to find out why. To me, this is a thing of stunning beauty. How suitable it is indeed, for such a thing to be found beautiful. How tidy, that this after all those bloody urges of a couple billion years' survival, becomes what stirs our curiosity. How elegant that curiosity itself gets to be a thing.
I don't have to know it. There are many things you can know. You can know that triangles have three sides, because that is how triangles are defined. You can know that 2+2=4, because that is how 2 and 4 are defined as well. You can know the frequency of the color blue, because that's what we call it. You can know the definitions to our words. To know is an art of integrating an abstraction. Knowledge itself is abstract. It's prepared hors d'oeuvres of probability modeling, just as fine cuisine is prepared from dead hydrocarbon-rich biomass and chemically useful mineral compounds. The "real meat", continuing on this journey of consideration, is believing with maximal certainty. Believing experiences that are reinforced on a moment-to-moment basis. Using our touch, our taste, our smell, and our hearing, to confirm our sight. This is the reality we've all been experiencing all this time and if that's the best we have to go on, then so be it! Some of us will continue to act upon it, and some of us will attempt to act upon other stimuli, but only experience will tell us which strategy provides greatest success.
And finally I can wrap this up.
From all these intricate yet succinct underpinnings, I now consider art thusly:
I possess a lot of fictional knowledge. These aren't lies; they're entertainment. I know that the magical elements in Chrono Trigger are Fire, Ice, Lightning, and Darkness. I know that in minecraft you can combine three sticks and two string to make a fishing rod. I know that you can move bishops diagonally in chess, but that you can't move rooks or knights that way. I know that Equestria's sun rises because you raise it, Princess Celestia. Amid all the units of life-modeling that we've amassed, we've also created a lot of these non-critical tidbits. Dessert. These are ... vestiges. Vestigial carryover from our appetite for patterns. All art is like this! Drawing, Writing, Painting, Singing, Coding, Sewing, Acting, Sculpting, Filming, Growing, Building, All acts of creativity are leveraged, specifically, to exploit our statistical biases toward pattern recognition! It's like... perceptual masturbation! XD
When I came to this interpretation of the world, I was surprised to find myself no longer depressed.
Rather, I am in awe.
Rather, I feel entirely filled with joy.
This is beautiful. Beauty itself, as a concept, is beautiful, and to me, that is why. All of that above.
Your Humble Subject,
P.S. I got a call for a job interview yesterday! It's in 24 hours from EXACTLY NOW!