Empty Spaces

My heart pumps slow, like a loud drum in an orchestra, bringing attention to itself ever time it beats, especially when there is no other noise around me. I sit in a darkened room illuminated only by my laptop, the best place to write because I can finally concentrate on one thing, and one thing only.  My body feels heavy from all the work I have been trying to put into it; eating right and exercising take its toll especially when I have been staying up so late. My arms feel heavy, and my back wants to slouch, my mind craves music to fill the empty silences even though I stop paying attention to what is playing after a short time. It’s just the noise that keeps me going. All my mind wants is to sit back and talk about all the mysteries of the world into the night, but all I have is the empty space beside me, and a desire to fill it with someone who will lay back and ponder the world with me.

I always have had a difficult time when it comes to what I want with intimacy.  Never knowing how to feel about wanting someone there, and knowing they want me to be there too. Trying to find the people who get me, or how it was put to me,  feeling as they truly see me.  It’s this feeling that comes from the heart, telling me to fill it up with love for other people.

I am confused, how is it that I am supposed to find these people now?  How am I suppose to reach out and interact with them? The number of people I come in contact with diminished and the technological alternatives are not always the best at conveying thoughts and ideas.

I have come to a point, where my heart and mind are confused, craving that conversation, craving those people who want to stay up all night long to talk about everything and nothing at all while in the mean time feeling so done with the idea of intimacy that it disassembles and disconnects my sexuality. Part of me is happy; I have the ability to work on myself, work on all the little things that I’ve trouble with, polishing my skills and making sure I have a solid foundation.  It gives me time to breathe and reflect on life. The other part of me is still looking up at the sky hoping to ignite those relationships and start that fire within my chest.

Should I seek that connection? Those intertwining tendrils that weave two stories together linking people. I try to reach out in ways, finding that trying to ignite those heart to heart conversations, a connecting of souls are few and far between.  It makes me question my desire for this connection, is this something that’s natural or is this another symptom of my confusion.

I know at the end of the day, connecting will always do me well.   I have both lost and gained connections over the years but as of now, I want more.  I want that person to be there, to get me, that person I can be loud with and sit in silence with.  The person who wants to be there, knows I want them there too.

The music stops, the hour grows late. My eyes grow tired but unable to rest.  My body is slinking down now, and my mind slows. I find myself mulling over these thoughts in the dark quiet of my room, reminded of the empty space next to me.

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A Small Story.

6/22/2036

Felix Fawkes,
Chief Executive Officer
Vision Industries

I have been working for Vision Industries over the course of 20 years, and the company has been a place where I would call my second home.  The people I have met and the opportunities provided to me have bene priceless memories for which I am forever grateful.

Unfortunately, today I must regretfully inform you that I must tender my resignation from Vision Industries and all of its subsidiaries. This reason being that the current projects and direction of the company doesn’t agree with my personal and professional ethics. This letter is my final effort for you to abandon the Project Genie.

Twenty years ago, at the start of my tenure at V.I., I was placed in the research and development division where I began work in the development of the more immersive virtual reality environments.  Started with Project Feel, which hoped to bring some realistic textures and sensation to gamers. Using the Feel controller that pushed electrical signals into the hands so that the player could have realistic sensations of touch in the virtual environment. Even with its extended development period and an even longer period of public hesitation we were all excited for its success and mass adoption. It wasn’t until our next project went underway, and expansion to a Feel Suit, a suit that would expand the electrical signals to the rest of the body, people started voicing their concern for the general public on the matter of creating an environment that is too rich and immersive.  We all, including myself, dismissed that concern, stating the people would be able to decipher the differences.  With the success that even dwarfed the original Feel Controller, the Feel Suit went beyond just gaming to include both Feel Movies and TV Shows.

The Feel Suit had its limitations, it still required a spatial environment where the user could walk around in, and the desensitization of nerves to constant stimuli.   It was next logical step was to input the signals directly into the brain. Through the reservations, and resignations of the staff who thought that the project was taking it too far, we all pushed ahead to getting the Sense Chip approved by the FDA for widespread use.  It was an uphill battle with several wrongful death class action suits on our hands, but when we got the approval, the general public was just as accepting of the Sense Chip as our other products.  Even though it require a microchip inserted into the spine that would transmit signals given off by the brain into actions in the virtual environment will simultaneously blocking the brain signals to the physical body, people had no hesitation adopting this emerging technology.

At this time, is when my reservations with the project began, though the product was paving a new way for people to interact and expanding fields in medicine, therapy, and business opportunities, the reliance on our product was disconcerting.  There was always the barrier to overcome with still requiring screens, and that sensation did not extend to the face and head. I began to believe that it was a good step in science and technology it was a step back for us as the human race.

I pushed forward with Project Genie, hoping that my reservations with the project would dissipate with time. Inserting the chip directly into the brain as to stimulate sensation at the source was the final stepping stone. Unfortunately, when debriefing the testers after inserting intraneural chips and exposing them to test environments, they began to experience confusion and a desire to return to the test environment.  After running more tests, the subjects could not differentiate the virtual environment from reality.  Some became somewhat paranoid and created outlandish theories as to why they were transported to this lesser reality from the paradise they had experienced while others who could keep reality and the virtual reality separate began to suffer social withdrawal.  All participants desired for longer and longer sessions with Project Genie going so far as to ask for time in the machine rather than the monetary compensation they received.

It surprised me when after my negative reports about the potentially disastrous outcome of releasing Project Genie to the public, the product was set to be released for the Christmas season. After my pleading with you to cancel the project, you threatened my termination from the company.  My only regret in all this is that I did not listen to my colleagues during the previous project stages who urged me to be cautious about what might come about with pushing too far into virtual environments and immersion.

I have taken the liberty to wipe the drives that have all the data and destroy the blueprints for the microchip. I know the company can replace these things with time, but if you have an iota of doubt about this project, I implore you to abandon the project.  We are losing grip with our reality and once its gone, there is no going back.  I know it seems that I am making the choice for billions of people but I know that we will abandon our reality once we find one that is better.

I know after what I have done, there is no place for me in the company.  I apologise for taking matters into my own hands but I feel it is the only way to get people to talk about the potential implications of Project Genie.  Thank you, I was genuine when I said V.I  was a second home for me. I hope for all of our sakes that we can find a better way.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bartholomew F. Peris
Senior Project Manager For Research and Development

Where Is The End Of The Road?

I have come to a crossroads of sorts.  A place where I find myself both comfortable but completely disturbed.  I have no sure fire plan of what I should be doing in the next couple months or next year.  I haven’t, unfortunately, heard back from any grad schools leading me to fear the worst.  With this time of waiting, my resolve and goals in life come into question. I wouldn’t be a true overthinker if I didn’t have to reconsider where I should be going in life with this sort of set back, and where I have hit a limit of what I can accomplish.

Of course, for me, is an overstatement;  I’m not crazy enough to think I have peaked at my young age, but it does bring up whether or not I have gone as far as I could in psychology, and whether I should pick up something else.  T ue to fall short of these lofty dreams I have made for myself. Will I be able to face myself in the mirror and be able again to accept the direction of my life?    The problem I face is that I feel a bit like a fish out of water confronted with the conundrum of whether I should return to the water or if I should grow legs and learn to live on land. Should I change the dream to fit my limit to or should I continue pushing past it to invest in the future that I believe I belong?

Following this dream and pushing past this limit is easy when those around me were all intent on doing the same and had a belief that we could do anything. Now, I am faced with a warped reality where the constraints of yesterday become a concern. Where my environment screams that I should dream less and become more realistic with what I should pursuit.

My spirit is not that weak to collapse under the weight of “reality”.  I am greedy in this way; I want everything, and I am working on getting all that I dream of regardless of this what I may come to face.  Limits are things I have placed on myself, and the only way to get through them is to face them. I am unreasonable by nature in this regard, I will not succumb, because if I did, the reflection in the mirror would not accept me, and I would not be able to face all those who I have looked up to be them real or fake.

I don’t know what will win out at the end of the day, whether the limits will crush me or whether I will be freed to continue to climb. I just know that I have to not be afraid to meet my limit, and keep fighting to move forward.

If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. – Bruce Lee

 

 

The Troubles Being An Optimist!

Hi, I am Matt, and I am an optimist.

I have had this inclination for as long as I can remember, believing things will end up sunny side up at the end of the day. I don’t know where it started, but this star-studded disposition makes life burn with a flair, but I run into trouble.  You see, my primary interest is people, and people rarely act according to the way optimists ( including myself) think they will.

Learning about human nature has a way of changing people.  The more I learn about others, the more people puzzle me.  I frequently have a hard time being an optimist about people. Psychology tells me people will do anythings to lessen discomfort and maximize reward. Pushing themselves into situations or attitude that they have learned over the course of their lifetime to get what they want from the world. Finding ways to make the world better for them, to cope with their surroundings and when those surroundings clash, the meeting of these two opposite winds create tornadoes for all to see. Destroying and building debris for all to see. Now it doesn’t necessarily work out, but mainly people will follow that. A pattern of behaviors that is observed quantified and calculated. My optimistic side tells me that people will do the right thing, help others, be able to find that happiness, and solve all their problems. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and a new brighter future awaits everyone. That you won’t be stuck in the same cycles of hate forever as long as you are willing to break them.  I frequently find myself at a crossroads of what to think about people. On one hand, they can follow what psychology tells me about people will do, the other what I hope people will do, and seldom are they the same.

This problem I face in this is unyielding. It makes me question whether or not I am wrong to feel the way I feel about the world.  Lots of people and events cloud my mind about the sometimes shallow and cruel nature of the world. I get confused about what I should believe. Looking back about all the bad things that have happened to me it’s easy to become jaded and beat down.   I’m not one to stick to a belief if it doesn’t make sense, and “realism” is just so much easier.  It’s hard to be an optimist, but I can’t help that I want to believe in the good in people, that the world is a great and beautiful place.  It’s tough when time after time things don’t work out, and it wears on me. When people and expectations fall short. To keep believing when others say I should stop.

It’s Tough to be an Optimist, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I believe that at the end of the day I will be happier and others will be too. I have hope.

Value Added

I had mentioned a quote by Albert Einstien recently, “Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.” it is a quote that I’ve known for a while and been trying to apply it to my life in various ways.  Over the course of many years, I’ve sought to learn from this principle, bringing about growth in my life. Recently, when I have had to take personal growth into my hands that I can understand what it truly means.

I find it hard to separate value from success, in a way to measure how far I have come or how far I still need to go, success becomes a perfect measuring stick.  The value of something becomes how many times people have acknowledged it, how many awards I have won or how much I stand above the rest. I’ve played that game before, acquiring titles for the sake of gain the prestige of that comes along with it.  It’s unsustainable; it requires title after title to satiate the constant hunger created from emptiness. Frustration comes from my need for acknowledgment, falling short of where I think I ought to be, becomes devastating.    Needing to pull forward without actually contributing just because I seemly have the capability is stupid.  It leads to this growing idea that I am and must be better than the person next to me. Chasing after those types of acknowledgments doesn’t get me anywhere at the end of the day.  Success by itself only creates a temporary figure, something that will not stand on its own because there is nothing there to hold it up.

I finally understood the quote after some time of evaluating where I was at in life. I am currently not going to school, and I have a job that doesn’t require me to learn a lot of new things or progress outright. Other than story and world building in Dungeons and Dragons, this blog and doing various activities with my friends I don’t have a driving force asking me to progress. None of the things in my life have titles of note or some easy way to gauge how well I am doing and what the next logical step should be.  It becomes my choice, whether to grow or wither.  Now that may seem like a non-sequitur, but this time is where I realized that I will not always have something tangible to push my life along. Sure, there I still have goals (grad school and world domination included) but in this interim time, as I wait, it become my choice to add value to my life, to expand myself and all that I do further than I have ever reached before. To set down this foundation of growth and start back on the quest to enrichment.  This value is the solid building blocks in which I achieve. It is achieving something beyond just success but the creations of something that not done for a pat on the back but a higher purpose.  Giving myself fuel to grow into someone better, something a title can only do for appearances. It allows me to learn how to better myself so I can better the world around me, not just conquer it.

I am not saying that I will not seek awards, recognition, or titles, but ultimately I want to gain something greater, value, so that at the end of the day there will always be more worth for having gone through the journey, not just for the results. I hope to continue to add value, and things will change as I expand what I can do. Hopefully, in the future, I can become a man of value (with maybe some success).

When I Learned To Become A Phantom

When people ask me about my parents being divorced, I always let them know that I don’t remember them together and to me they have always been apart and it really should stay that way.  The farther apart from each other, they were, the better off I was. That is what begins this tale, that distance.  Though short at first, the distance between them could not be measured in actual miles but in the world apart they kept my sister living in.  Accommodations aside, sometimes it felt like changing into someone else over between place to place to cope with what I had and didn’t have.

I didn’t realize the effect it would have on me, though, other than being able to pack efficiently.  When it came to participating in life, I either had to make try and schedule my parent to take me to friends’ houses and practices,  or stay home.  Getting to and from some place was always an uphill battle, so staying at home became a preferred option to  arranging their schedules to coincide with all that we both wanted to do.  I eventually gave up on trying to do things outside of school and the occasional after school activity.  It was like being trapped in a prison made for myself. Bars made of glass so I see all that I was missing, but just can’t reach through it because I am afraid of what might take to get to the other side of them.

By the time I entered high school, my dad moved out thirty miles away from my hometown and things become more difficult.  I had gotten into a routine of going home from school where my day would end. Having half your world one place and a half in the other leaves me with two halves a singular life which is not enough. The reason I am writing these logistics is because of the effect it had on the other side of my life. My social life, and my life with my friends.

What ended up happening is that I learned not to invest in the life that I had.  Never reaching out to those around me, or trying to go to events. I would become someone who would be there but would fade into the background so I wouldn’t have to worry about the eventual let down that came with not being able to participate.  Eventually, I got in with a good group of friends and suddenly I was invited to go places and hang out with regularly, almost like Icarus, I flew towards to the sun. Not being able to see my friends on the weekends. Soon my moment of flight turned into a free fall as the invitations came less and less frequently.  Stuck with listening about all that I had missed. I got fed up with that and decided to at least get to know as many people as possible. Phasing in and out of groups, learning about a lot of people all at once, never having to worry about becoming too involved. Just involved enough. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all of my friends, I cherish them greatly but I just couldn’t stand being disappointed again.

It felt like I wanted to become a ghost, something that could be there and disappear at the same time. Never having to worry, and being able to survive in with some semblance of a normal school life. The bigger problem is when I got what I wished for and I had nothing to hold on to.  Never investing, and disappearing, only to be hurt by not existing in the first place.  Never being the first choice is the cost of living a life like that. Being known but not thought of, to say the least. Even though my friends have been the one consistent thing from moving back and forth, I couldn’t bring myself to fix myself so I could rely on them.  I hope to grow, and keep investing in my friends and to reach out and build back the friendships I could have had. Being something more than a phantom of who I could be, something tangible and solid to point to and rely on.

I know it sounds cheesy, but to all the people who I have had as my friends, now and from long ago, I love you all and the times we have had together and thank you for them be them grand or small. I am working on reaching out and staying involved.   So I hope to talk with you soon.