Pikachu Spoke Japanese in the American Dubbed Version of Pokemon!

I don’t know why, but I’ve playing Pokemon Go recently on my phone. My wife and I downloaded it back when it was still relatively new. We had a lot of fun going out to random parts of town at weird hours of the night, catching pokemon. Like many people that hop on to fads, we grew bored with it and eventually it became another app that takes up space. (ATTUS for short. I just made that up.) But recently, I opened it up again. Initially, I had to log in again, which meant I had to figure out what my log in credentials were, which was a bit of a pain. But once I got back in I start opening the app regularly to check out if any pokemon were around. One of the reasons that I started playing more was because we had moved and we now live near a park where there are multiple Poke Stops.

Anyway, all this pokemoning reminded me of when I discovered that Pikachu was speaking Japanese in the American dubbed version of the Pokemon cartoon. I don’t know why I have remembered this for all of these years. And this is probably pretty common knowledge as well. But I just remember being really tickled by this fact when I first came across it. When I say Pikachu spoke Japanese, I mean that the original audio track from the Japanese version of Pokemon was used in the American version as well. So even though Pikachu, like most all of the pokemon in the cartoon, only says his name over and over, he was saying it in Japanese. (Was Pikachu male? The voice actor was female, right? Probably another blog post.)

Most of the time this really didn’t make a difference. The emotion and meaning were always very clear from the context and the brilliant, three syllable voice acting. And, in hindsight, this was probably obvious to fans of anime in general, from the accent of the voice, or just from general poke-knowledge. But I didn’t know any of that. The smoking gun for me was during those scenes when Pikachu cried out to his trainer, the main character, Ash.

Every once in a while there would be a scene where Pikachu was doing something, and then, maybe suddenly, something happens to Ash. In his surprise, Pikachu would race towards Ash and cry, “Pi-Pi-Pi!!” Now what kind of three syllable word or phrase was Pikachu saying at that moment? “Oh No, Ash!” or “Here I come!” It didn’t really seem likely in the situation. What really made the most sense to me was that Pikachu was saying Ash’s name. I think, there may have even been scenes where other people are saying, “Ash!” and then Pikachu says, “Pi-Pi-Pi!” Is Pikachu saying Ash’s full name (Ash Ketchum?) This didn’t seem likely either. How often do you yell someone’s full name in a crisis situation? Try it, it’s weird. So then I had an idea to look up Ash’s name in the Japanese version and voila! His Japanese name is Satoshi! Pi-Pi-Pi in Pikachu language. I eventually looked it up and confirmed that indeed the original Japanese audio track was used in the American version, except in certain circumstances when the original Japanese track couldn’t be recovered. I never really went so far as to confirm my theory that those instances of Pi-Pi-Pi were really meant to be Satoshi, but I was satisfied enough with my conclusion.

I have no idea why I’m writing this in a blog post.

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The Myth of Stillness. The Myth of Speed.

I have never really been a speed demon. I am more of a slower type. It takes me a second to catch on to a joke. I shuffle my feet a bit when I walk. I was always late with homework. But I’m not the slowest of people, either. My wife tells me stories of a co-worker who would physically move really slowly when doing simple tasks. I also do enjoy the occasional roller coaster (not more than once a day!) and I do tend to occasionally drive over the speed limit. (Not more than 5 MPH over! Okay, maybe 10.) Thinking about this just reminds me of how relative the concept of speed is. If I am jogging down the street I am faster than someone walking, but slower than someone driving by. So am I fast or slow? I’m sure this has all been thought of before and explained, but I never got that far in the sciences to learn it. My grades were too poor because my homework was always late!

I read a lot of superhero comic books growing up and also watched a lot of martial arts movies. Each genre has a perspective on the idea of speed that I enjoyed fantasizing about. Superheroes tend to emphasize high speed as an asset. Super high speed, of course. Martial arts also views high speed as something to achieve, but there is also an element of slow speed in many movies. High speed tends to emphasize being powerful. Not necessarily in raw strength, but in being able to control the things around you because you are faster than them. Slow speed is generally more about self control, and in some cases is more spiritual. If you control yourself then you have more control of your surroundings, or maybe more control of your fate. One of the more spiritual concepts related to slow speed is the idea of stillness. If you can achieve absolute stillness you can achieve enlightenment.

I used to think of absolute stillness and what that actually means. Is it stillness of the mind? If your mind was still wouldn’t it be dead? Is it stillness of the physical body? If I am physically still then I should be the slowest thing in relation to everything around me. How do I get slower than a rock or a tree? What about the land that I’m sitting on? Or the continent? Or the world? Since the Earth is spinning, then even if I am sitting still, I am still moving with the Earth as it spins. And the Earth is traveling around the sun and the solar system is part of a galaxy which is moving around some orbit around some black hole. And all of the galaxies and celestial bodies have been moving away from the center of the universe from the big bang. If I could achieve stillness relative to these things, wouldn’t everything just fly right by me? If I could achieve stillness against the spinning of the Earth then I would be able to travel at the speed of the spinning. I could achieve super speed by achieving super stillness! Then achieving stillness against the orbit of the Earth around the sun could send me off of the Earth into space. I could sit in space while the solar system flies by and wait for the next galaxy to arrive.

But my mere existence also has inherent speed in the very make up of my physical body. The heart is always beating, the blood is rushing, cells are moving (while still alive anyway), and the atoms that make up the cells are themselves made up of sub-atomic stuff that keeps whirring and spinning and shooting in  and around itself. If I were to still all of those actions would I cease to exist? Probably. What happens to an electron if it is still? Is it still an electron?

What is the ultimate point of this blog. I don’t know.

My Personal Theory and Treatment of Hiccups

When I was a kid, a friend of mine said he had the hiccups and asked if I knew how to get rid of them. I don’t remember exactly what I told him, but it was something like this. First, I told him he should plug his nose, which he did. Then I told him to tilt his head, which he did, as well. Then I told him to stand on one foot, hold his breath, put his arm straight out to the side and start hopping up and down. It may not have been exactly those steps, but it was something similar. Eventually, he caught on that I was just messing with him, but I was able get pretty far. I think I actually told him to stand on his head, which may have tipped him off to the less than serious nature of my suggestions.

But really, how many cures for hiccups have you heard that are kind of ridiculous in some way? The funny thing is that when you start to compare the different methods for curing hiccups, you start to see that most, if not all, of the cures are similar in some way. They are usually related to one of three different techniques: drinking cures, breathing cures, or distraction cures. Many times hiccups cures are a mix of two or all three of these techniques, as well.

Drinking cures are probably the most common type of cures because, on some intuitive level, drinking something seems to be the most directly related to where hiccups seem to be located. In other words, common logic seems to conclude that the cause for hiccups is located somewhere in the throat, so drinking something would be the cure that addresses this the most directly. Some basic cures seem to address this logic; for example, taking big gulps of water to cure hiccups. But other drinking cures don’t even seem to follow this idea; for example, taking a certain number of small sips of water, or drinking from the other side of a cup, or even standing on your head and drinking water. How do these types of cures address the idea of washing away something that is irritating the throat. The fact that these odd types of cures seem to work for people suggests that this intuitive assumption for the cause of hiccups may need to be reconsidered.

In addition, the fact that there are other cures that focus on the other two techniques (breathing and distraction) also suggests that there may be other causes for hiccups. When we consider the different types of breathing cures for hiccups, I believe we come a little closer to understanding the underlying cause of hiccups. Many breathing cures should actually be called lack of breathing cures. They usually involve some type of holding of one’s breath for a period of time, or taking in small intakes of breath and then holding it in. Other breathing cures involve trying to control or measure one’s breathing; for example, breathing through a straw, or in a paper sack. What’s interesting here is that when we start to view hiccups cures in terms of different techniques we immediately start to see similarities and crossover techniques. For example, a normal part of drinking cures is to plug one’s nose while doing the drinking cure. This is, in effect, holding one’s breath for the duration of the drinking cure. Trying to control one’s breath is also similar to controlling the speed with which one drinks. But why are drinking cures and breathing cures similar and how are they actually related to the cause of hiccups? I believe the final piece of the puzzle is in the third technique, distraction.

The most well known hiccups cure that purely uses the distraction technique is the old scare-the-hiccups-away cure. However, I believe that distraction, on some level, is also a major part of most hiccups cures. Sometimes the wacky part of hiccups cures can be explained as being a distraction technique. For example, trying to stand on one’s head while drinking water is definitely distracting. Counting the number of sips you are taking or counting the number of seconds you are holding your breath both take your mind off of the hiccups, to some degree. But why does taking your mind off of your hiccups help to stop this physical, involuntary spasm?

Usually, when you are trying to find the cure for an ailment, you try and find the cause of the ailment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. I remember, years ago, I tried to look up the cause of hiccups and I wasn’t able to come up with a definitive answer. I remember reading a lot about how they believed it had to do with the vegus nerve being irritated which causes the abdominal muscles or the diaphragm to spasm which produces the hiccup. This may be part of the answer, but it doesn’t really answer why hiccups continue to occur over a period of time and why something like scaring someone will cure them. Then I remember reading a theory that hiccups were actually caused by a misfiring signal from the brain. The brain sends automatic signals to the body to breath at certain times and also to swallow at certain times. You can obviously override these automatic signals and breath or swallow yourself at any time you like, but if you aren’t thinking about it, your brain will make sure it still happens. When you have the hiccups, the brain gets stuck in a loop where it tells the body to breath and swallow at the same time, thus causing a hiccup. There may actually be an initial irritation to the vegus nerve, but usually the irritation gets cleared quickly and any hiccups after the irritation has been cleared is due to this brain loop.

This, to me, seems to be the most plausible, or at least the closest, explanation for hiccups. It explains why each different technique for curing hiccups works. The basic idea is that if your brain is trying to breath in and swallow at the same time, then if you force yourself to do one or the other you will reset your brain. Alternatively, if you distract your brain or shock it into resetting, then you can cure hiccups that way as well. So which cure is the best cure? Well, if the cause of hiccups is really in your mind, then really, any of those cures will work as long as you believe it will. Your mind needs to be relaxed and open to the concept of being reset in order for the cure to work. If it is a breathing cure then you need to focus on just breathing. Alternatively, if it is a drinking cure you need to focus on just drinking. If it is a distraction technique, then focus on being scared, startled, or distracted, if that is possible.

This theory pertains to most cases of hiccups where there isn’t some physical abnormality causing the irritation of the vegus nerve. Sometimes people can be more sensitive to hiccups. For example, I believe people with a long history of acid reflux or heartburn, can do damage to the areas that make them more susceptible to irritating the vegus nerve.

As for my personal cure for hiccups, I usually use a breathing type cure. This is mainly because most of the time you have air lying around somewhere. Also, you have less chance of getting water logged. If you have read this far and believe in any of this, then read on and get hiccup cured! If you have read anything and just skipped to this section, then read on and hope for the best!

  1. I usually clear my throat and make sure to swallow hard, in case any thing that I cleared up is hanging around in there. Sometimes I will take a small sip of water, too, if there is some around. I don’t actually get hiccups that often. When I do it is usually associated with a phlegmy throat, so clearing my throat makes me feel ready to be cured. On rare occasions, the hiccups will go away after clearing my throat and swallowing/sipping water. Most of the times I go on to step 2.
  2. Sit down somewhere and try to relax. This is actually really important for getting your mind to be open to reprogramming. All of the steps are important, but I think this might be the most important.
  3. Open your mouth wide and relax your throat. I like to do a fake yawn (which sometimes turns into a real yawn) and then keep my mouth in that wide open position. Having your mouth open in a weird way also provides a little bit of distraction for your mind. Also, relaxing your throat helps control the hiccups a little. You will probably still hiccup with your mouth and throat like this, but it feels different.
  4. Take slow, deep breaths. While you are taking these breaths, it doesn’t hurt to think, “Breath, breath, breath…”
  5. Repeat until cured!

If you are looking for a cure to your hiccups I hope this helps you! If anything, hopefully reading this whole post will distract you enough to forget about the hiccups!

My Perception of Time Perception

When most people think of time we think of the ticking of the clock, the rising and setting of the sun, and the constant cycle of the seasons and the passage years. Time marches on to a beat that doesn’t change. But we all have that side of us that recognizes that the feeling of time changes depending on our mood, or circumstance. Time flies when you’re having fun. A watched pot never boils. Where have the years gone? It’s like watching grass grow. Einstein helped us understand that time is not constant. He went so far as to say that, “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” I am not a physicist, so I can’t go so far as to explain the intricacies of time dilation or special relativity. But I do feel that the flexible perception of time on a personal level is very real and understandable. Einstein is also said to have offered an explanation of relativity, for her secretary to provide to others, that brings the idea of time to the personal level, “An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour.” I would like to breakdown how I believe we perceive time, to help my own understanding and to offer my ideas to help others understand.

For us mere mortal, non-physicists, who do not yet understand quantum phenomena, we are still stuck in a world view that separates time into the past, the present, and the future. This is the starting point for my time perception analysis. To keep this comparison simple, I will assign a value of fast and slow to each view. This gives us six different ways of perceiving time:

  1. Slow past,
  2. Fast past,
  3. Slow present,
  4. Fast present,
  5. Slow future,
  6. Fast future.

Time perception of the past is when we look back on an amount of time and we assign a value to how we feel the time went by. The amount of time that is looked back upon can be as recent as the past hour or day, to past years and decades. One difference in past time perception that seems common is the way kids view the past as opposed to older people. School always seemed to drag on as a kid and summers seemed to have gone by too quickly. As people get older it seems like the past just seems to go by faster and faster. We start to review the past in decades and we wonder where the time went. This difference of time perception due to age could be a hint as to one theory of how we perceive the past.

I had this idea a while ago, and recently I saw a blog post with the same idea, but I can’t find it again. In any case, the idea is that our perception of the past may be informed by how much life we have lived. In other words, the amount of time we look back on is a smaller and smaller percentage of our whole life as we get older and older. For example, if you are ten years old, then when you think about one year in the past, it is one tenth of your entire life, or 10%. Compare this with one year at age fifty, which is 2% of your entire life. It seems convincing when thought of in this way, but it doesn’t really cover all of the bases. Why, for example, do vacations always seem to go by too quickly, no matter what age you are?

Time as a percentage of age may be a part of the perception equation, but I think how we perceive time in the past is more dependent on how much information we process in the time we are recollecting. The more information that we take in and process, in a given time frame, the slower we perceive that time frame. This can definitely be related to age in that younger people generally take in more information than older people, and so time in general seems to move slower when they think back on it.

This does not mean that young people do not experience fast past time perception. As I mentioned previously, vacations are the perfect example of a fast past time perception. For me, vacations always seemed to go by fast when I didn’t really have much to do but laze around the house. During those times, not much happens in the way of meaningful information that needs to be processed, so when I reflect back on those times it seems to have gone by quickly. The brain is constantly processing information and a large part of that process is dumping information which does not seem to be important. Therefore, during the school year when the brain is constantly bombarded with information that seems to be important, it is trying to retain as much as possible. This means when reflecting back on an information packed time frame, there is a lot to recall, which makes it seem like the time went by slower. I think part of the reason why older people experience a fast time perception is due to the fact that older people get into a routine with their life. Much of life is the same and so the brain dumps a lot of that information.

An interesting aspect of this theory of information processing as part of time perception is that it also applies to present time perception, but with different results. Time perception of the present turns the idea of information processing around. Instead of a slow past due to lots of information versus fast past with little information, a slow present time perception is due to little information and a fast present is due to lots of information.

My current job uses a time clock and my boss is a little nit-picky about clocking out at the proper time, and not before. The problem is that the time on the clock is slightly slower than the time on my computer. The difference can add up to a minute or two. If I forget that the clock is behind, and quitting time rolls around and I walk up to the clock to punch out, and then see that there is still a minute left, my heart sinks. That last minute may not seem quite like an hour, but it is definitely five to ten minutes. Definitely not sixty seconds. On the other hand, if I have a report due for a meeting in an hour and I haven’t started it yet, then I will write two sentences in what feels like ten minutes and then realize that I have five minutes left before the meeting. Waiting for a minute to pass when there is nothing else to do puts me in a dull brain space, with that one thought of clocking out rattling around. This makes the seconds stretch out like hot mozzarella. Trying to fill in as much information as possible in a time frame that is smaller than needed, makes the minutes shrink like a wet, wicked witch.

This creates a contradicting perception of time between past and present. If there is a lot of information to process, then our perception of the present is fast, but when we look back on that time frame our perception of the past is slow. Conversely, if there is not much going on in terms of information, then our present perception is slow, but when viewed from the past perception, there is not much to remember so it is fast.

Finally, our perception of time in relation to the future is more forgiving than the past or the present. We don’t have an immediate experience to compare to an actual time, because it has not happened yet. We might have a guess at how long something will take, but if that guess is wrong then there is no real sense of bewilderment or confusion because it was, after all, a guess. If we are about to experience something that we have experienced in the past then we have a way of guessing or feeling an approximate idea of how long a future experience will last. In a sense, we are pre-processing future information and this is the key to our perception of future time. In other words, we take experience of a present time perception from the past and apply it to the future. When our future perception of time does not match up with actual time, or more likely with our present or past perceptions then we usually attribute it to a lack of information. If I get to work faster than I expected then I attribute it to lighter traffic than normal. If a child dreads going on a road trip vacation because it will be long and boring, then finds that the trip goes by fast, it is because the child didn’t know that Disneyland was on the way.

If this theory of information processing has any validity to it, then we can use it as a measuring device for how we live our lives. If our days seem to grind on at a snails’ pace while we wait for the weekend, and correspondingly, our months and years seem to fly by out of control, then we may want to examine the type of information we are processing. We may feel stuck in a routine where we feel afraid to move out of our comfort zone due to all sorts of cultural, financial, or social pressures. But I feel that information processing does not need to be scary, over-dramatic, or intimidating. Sometimes, something like reading a blog post and writing a comment or response is a great way to increase your information processing, thereby decreasing your present time perception, but increasing your past time perception, which ultimately adds value to your life.

 

A Systematic Analysis of Forgiveness in a Relationship

Full Disclaimer; I am agnostic. My wife is Christian and I go to church with her. This past Sunday the sermon was about forgiveness. It was a good sermon and it reminded me of some thoughts that I have had on the subject. Even though I am agnostic, I do believe that many of our values and morals have been influenced by religious teachings. The idea of forgiveness is, I believe, a big part of many religions, so I don’t doubt that my own ideas are influenced by religious teachings and other philosophies that are ingrained in our culture. In Christianity, one of the fundamental ideas is that Jesus is the mechanism by which mankind’s sins are forgiven. This was definitely part of the message of the sermon on Sunday. I don’t remember the exact specifics, but there was then a correlation made between the forgiveness of Jesus and people’s ability to forgive. I appreciated and enjoyed the sermon, but I do remember feeling that there was a little bit missing in terms of the practice of forgiveness for the individual.

By practice of forgiveness, I mean the repeated act of forgiving for the benefit of getting better at it. Forgiveness is definitely something that is not natural for people. In order to get better at it we need to practice it. But in order to practice it in the most beneficial way, I believe it helps to have a strong concept of what it is and what it does. My hope is to lay out some ideas on the subject in order to organize my own thoughts about it more. I have not really researched this or studied it, so these are probably ideas that are already out there or else they are ideas that don’t really make sense.

A quick internet search for the definition of forgiveness reveals only brief explanations of the word. There are slight, but interesting variations of the definitions. Google defines the word forgive as, “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.” Similarly, Merriam-Webster defines the word as, “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender),” but also as, “to give up resentment of or claim to requital.” Finally, Dictionary.com has many definitions of the word, including similar phrases like, “to cease to feel resentment against,” and, “to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.)” All three sites also mention the idea of forgiveness in the financial sense of canceling debts. Hopefully this lengthy explanation will simplify the idea of forgiveness so that the slight variations of the word can be encompassed into one understanding.

The first thing I notice about these definitions is that there are two different objects that the action of forgiving has an affect on. To “stop feeling angry,” or “to cease to feel resentment,” is definitely an action that affects the person who is doing the forgiving. Party A has been wronged, or has the feeling that they have been wronged, consequently, they become agitated because of having been wronged. If that person then decides to forgive having been wronged then then they change their agitated state.

The other view of the word is, “to give up … claim to requital,” or, “to grant pardon.” This perspective places more emphasis on how the party that committed the offense is affected. It implies that the offending party is somehow beholden to the wronged party, and so when the wronged party forgives, the offending party is affected by no longer being beholden. Party B wrongs Party A. Party B is agitated and feels that they now owe something to Party A. When Party A forgives Party B, Party B no longer feels that they owe something to Party A. This is particularly true with the idea of forgiving monetary debts.

So which is it? Is forgiveness more about Party A, the wronged, or Party B, the offender? Well, the world is a complex place, so to make matters easy I will simply answer, “Yes.” Yay! Easy! End of blog. Thanks for reading! Just kidding. I do believe the answer is, “Yes,” in that forgiveness is about both Party A and Party B. Sometimes more A and sometimes more B. And just to spice things up, I would argue that there is a third party, Party C, that is always affected. When there are two parties that have a disagreement then the thing that is ultimately affected is the relationship between the two parties. This relationship is Party C.

When I speak of relationships, I mean any type of interaction between two parties where both parties understand the role that they play to each other. Complex relationships, like family or marriage, are familiar, but I am also referring to relationships that can be as simple as a shopper and a sale clerk or even two people, who don’t know each other, walking along a sidewalk. A classic relationship is when two people, who don’t know each other, share an elevator. Many people find this awkward. I believe that one of the reasons for this awkwardness is the extended period of time of a relationship that is very narrow and small. As I think about it, this is a whole different blog topic. The bottom line, for this blog post, is that relationships are a two way street. Once the relationship is established, it immediately has a value. It can be positive or negative. It is also different for each party involved. So for a relationship of two parties, the relationship has two parts. For this example, each part will have a simple value of positive or negative.

So now that all the parties are identified we can try and line them up into some sort of de-humanizing, quasi-mathematical construction. I originally called it the Forgiveness Formula. But, I know that anyone with a little math background will roll their eyes at calling this a formula. It has a nice alliterative ring to it, which should have been a signal to me that someone has already thought of that. A quick search revealed multiple instances of the name in various media. So I will just call it some sort of systematic analysis. In review, here are the parts of the system:

  • Party A, the one who has been wronged,
  • Party B, the one who did the wrong,
  • R, the relationship between the two.
    • I called this Party C before, but changed my mind now and I will just call it R.
    • R is made up of two parts:
      • Party A value, labeled RA
      • Party B value, labeled RB
      • For now the values will simply be positive or negative.

Now that we have the parts we can define the actions and reactions. To distinguish these from the parts I will use lower case letters.

Actions:

  • When one party wrongs another party I will label it “w,”
  • When one party asks for forgiveness, or apologizes, I will label it “a,”
  • When one party forgives another party I will label it “f.”

Before I label the reactions, I forgot to mention that each party has its own value as well. This value represents that party’s state of being. For this example, I will represent this value as a positive or negative. Now I can define the reactions because they all relate to the values of the parties and the relationship. There are only two basic reactions: changing from a positive to a negative, and changing from a negative to a positive. Since there are four parts (A, B, RA, RB), when these two basic reactions are applied to each of the four parts we come up with eight reactions:

  • A changing from positive to negative,
  • A changing from negative to positive,
  • B changing from positive to negative,
  • B changing from negative to positive,
  • RA changing from positive to negative,
  • RA changing from negative to positive,
  • RB changing from negative to positive, and
  • RB changing from negative to positive.

Now that we have everything sorted out, let’s put them into a little diagram. In this figure, a relationship is present and we will assume that everything is positive and good between the two parties. Look at all the pluses!

Forgiveness 01

Now we can throw in an action and see what happens. As mentioned before, we are going to examine what happens when B wrongs A. You may ask yourself, “What did B do? Why did B do it? Did B mean to wrong A?” These are all valid questions, but things get really complicated really quickly, so I will keep it simple by saying that B’s action was unintentional, with no malicious intent.

So what happens with B’s innocent wrongdoing? Once A perceives the offense, A’s value is decreased. This decreases A’s relationship value with B. Once B perceives that A’s relationship value has decreased, then B’s value decreases as well. This, in turn, decreases B’s relationship value with A. Domino effect!

Forgiveness domino

What can be done now? All this negativity gets me down. In this simple example, both parties want to be positive again. Traditionally, (or is it culturally, or is it just logically?) the offending party (B) would initiate a reconciliation by offering an apology for the offense. The offended party (A) would accept the apology and forgive the offender (B) and then all would be good again. This can be interpreted in the system as in this diagram.

03 Apology

This would be the prevailing opinion of how a resolution to a conflict should occur. It emphasizes the importance of the apology and how the wrongdoer must take responsibility. Forgiveness is important, in this method, but it cannot happen without an apology first. It is almost like a business transaction. I feel like the emphasis on the apology and on the wrongdoer is too strong. I feel like the emphasis should be more on the offended. This is not to say that the wrongdoer should not take responsibility and does not need to learn from their actions. It is merely an observation that, from the offended’s position, the power to change their own value, the wrongdoer’s value, and the value of the relationship, lies within themselves and does not necessarily depend on an apology first.

What’s interesting to note, when the system is broken down into its parts, is that even though the apology starts with B, it does not change B’s value back to positive. In the system, an apology starts with the offending party (B) as an attempt to change the relationship back to positive (RB). If A accepts the apology, and forgives B, then A’s value becomes positive and so A’s perspective of the relationship (RA) also changes back to positive. Only once both parts of the relationship are back to positive can B’s value now change back to positive. But if A declines the apology, for whatever reason, the change back to positive stops there. A remains negative, therefore RA remains negative, and finally B remains negative. Because B remains negative, RB will change back to negative unless B decides to keep trying. This is what I mean by A having the power over the system. This makes sense to us when we think that the one who is wronged should have ultimate say on whether the system should be positive again or not. But because we have that sort of barter mentality of the system, we put the responsibility on the wrongdoer to change the system back to positive, when in reality they don’t have the power to do so.

Therefore, I believe the emphasis should be on the one who was offended, (A). The emphasis should be on the one who has the power to make the system positive again. Part of the problem with this is that we naturally feel like the wrongdoer is getting away with having done wrong. Again, I don’t think the wrongdoer should not be held responsible. But if both parties want a positive outcome, then either the wrongdoer understands their wrong doing and will apologize anyway, or they don’t understand and having the one who is wronged issue their honest forgiveness allows the relationship to start to be positive again. If the relationship is positive then there can be communication about the issue for more understanding on both sides.

Forgiveness is where the power to fix the system lies. If A can honestly issue forgiveness to B then A increases their value positively, and permanently. This increases RA positively and permanently. Now to complete the change back to positive, B must accept forgiveness and ultimately issue an apology or some sort of resolution so that B’s value can be positive and RB can be positive. But to reiterate, regardless of what B does, A has fixed themselves and allowed the system to be fixed as a whole.

And to reiterate again, this gets really complicated quickly and probably brings up even more questions. At least it does to my mind. The main question for me is, “How does one go about honestly forgiving someone else?” This is another blog topic, probably a whole book in itself. There are probably many books about it already actually. In fact there are probably books about the topic I just wrote about. Maybe I should have just read them. Or maybe you should have read them instead of my blog post.

In any case, thanks for reading to the end. It got kind of long. And now I’m just dragging it on. I’m not sure why.

Okay. Done.

In and Out, not the burger joint

The brain is not a muscle. It does not physically touch that first cup of coffee in the morning and lift it to the cracked lips and parched mouth of the half awake, stayed-up-too-late-binge-watching-Netflix, late-for-work, office jockey. It does not feel the squeeze of the shoes laces in the steel toed boots of a construction worker, or neo street punk, take your pick. It does not strain with the weight of round, heavy, metal, discs that are voluntarily picked up for the sole purpose torturing the body. But the brain needs more exercise than any other muscle in the body. In order for people to be themselves, they need to stretch, stimulate, and grow their minds.

In today’s society we can see the extremes of this idea played out. If a person looses all of their physical faculties, even to the point where they require assistance to stay alive, they can still maintain a mental life and be themselves. On the other extreme, if a person’s brain is non-functioning, to the point where they require assistance to live, they are no longer themselves. It is an obvious observation, but it needs to be repeated over and over to anyone who will listen, and also to ourselves. We need to stress exercising the mind and continual growth. This is not to say that we should neglect the rest of our body. There needs to be a balance of healthy body and healthy mind. But we need to remember that without a healthy mind a healthy body is meaningless.

This is the purpose of this blog. This is my personal mind gym to pump mental iron and pound pondering pavement. Getting my ideas out and sharing what I am stuffing in will help keep me motivated, in the same way that getting to the gym is half the battle of exercising.

None of this is new. None of this is original. But these things need to be said. Everyone needs to say this for themselves in their own way. Forgive me if this is cheesy. But I love cheese. Pizza. Cheese pizza. Not burgers.