Dr. W's Space Travels
Space Cadet Flushes Conventional Reality Down the Toilet
Dr. Wood XLV
These diary entries are starting to become quite the regular occurrence. I hope I keep this up – it’s extremely therapeutic and makes me feel like I’m investing in a literal “life story”. Just a quick update on things before I share my random thoughts: I got the auto insurance thing taken care of, although I had to push my delivery date back to Saturday. No problem though. I’m also clear to send in my work laptop whenever my transportation means permit me, and I’m about 63% of the way done transferring my files (yeah, I have A LOT). Maintenance has also been notified about the leak, so that’s taken care of too. Work today was fine as well. And the linen spray came in! Smells like Joann Fabrics but fruitier. It’s pleasant! Daki-hugging tonight will be lovely (always was, though).
So I was feeling a bit depressed but I’m already feeling a bit better as I write this. I was thinking about materialism and what it means to me. This topic came up as I was reading the second chapter of the new book we’re reading in the Christian ministry thing. I really don’t know why I’m still a part of it – I mean yeah I actually do, and that’s because it’s mostly a sense of obligation borne from willingly joining years ago. But that’s another story… and perhaps it’s a good thing in this case because it spurred the train of thoughts that I’m writing currently. Anyway, it’s a book titled “God’s Economy”, and I guess it talks about the role of money and wealth and the spiritual implications surrounding them. In the latest chapter, the author cites how the system of money is evil as it makes the poor feel too worthless to connect with God, and that it tempts the rich away from him. I’m guessing the subsequent chapters will talk more about how to achieve a lifestyle that doesn’t endorse this kind of idea. I don’t really care about the spiritual stuff, so my thoughts went to general notions of wealth and materialism, and if they are truly evil things or if they’re actually okay.
I consider myself to be a materialist, and I’m not a guilty one. But I am also not addicted to materialism (I don’t think?) I was reading some insights on Quora where people shared their views on materialism, and one person stated that materialism isn’t a bad thing, so long as it remains a servant to one’s needs and not a master. I think this jived best with me because despite how much stuff I own, I really don’t feel like it owns me. I get a lot of happiness from things, and so I surround myself with many things that bring me happiness (Marie Kondo would feel very unaccomplished in my home). I have an entire collection of thousands of postcards, all neatly organized by location or theme. They’re all from people I was either acquainted with very briefly as well as people who became lifelong friends. I have a shrine of Pokemon memorabilia, a shrine of video game merchandise, and a shrine of goods I bought while traveling overseas. The first two evoke charm, joy and childishness within me; the third brings me great memories of my time exploring the world and meeting some really wonderful people. Then there’s the sheer amounts of anime stuff that I have flooding my bedroom (some in the living room too): wall scrolls, figures, manga, posters, convention materials, postcards… there’s a lot of it! Oh yeah, and a human-sized anime girl in the form of a huggable marshmallow, I forgot about that. Every time I walk into my bedroom, I feel like I’m in another world. It’s brings me so much joy just seeing everything. And it’s not a joy gotten from feeling like I have status – I mean, I’m not showing it to anyone except my closest friends, and if I do, it’s more so to share the kind of world I’ve created for myself, rather than flaunt how much money I can spend and still lead a sustainable life. I like being a materialist, I think there’s something to be said for the underrated happiness that comes from things.
I guess too though that I also look at “things” differently than a lot of people. It was either Joseph Campbell or Thomas Moore that advocated for the idea that things have souls (I read their respective works “The Power of Myth” and “Care of the Soul” one right after the other, some years ago). I personally feel like that’s such a beautiful way to live life. Maybe it’s my way to believe that I’m not alone (I have no roommates, pets or even plants), but I’d like to think of it as something much more. Sentimental value plays a part in it, but even that still largely undercuts what I imagine when I see “soul” in something. I’m gonna elaborate on that idea with an invariable reference to anime. Let’s take an anime girl for example. She’s a product of humans and wouldn’t exist without them. She’s a composite of hand-drawn lines, computer-assisted enhancements, and a voice actress’s speech. One can easily dismiss her as being no more than all of that, and I guess it wouldn’t be wrong under the context of *ugh* reality. But I see an anime girl as greater than the sum of her parts. Imagine it this way – the humans who create her also give her a soul of her own. What she does is inspire joy and happiness and admiration in others. And she elicits empathy too. To this day I STILL hurt for Nagisa from Clannad. It’s not me reacting to pixels on a screen – it’s me reacting to her and her hardships.
I don’t really know if I’m getting at a specific point – I mean, I actually am, but I’m prefacing this particular paragraph with that statement so as to make it seem like I’m not hotly rambling about something as radical as believing things have souls when in fact that’s what I’m actually doing. It’s really not something I would ever assert to anyone. A belief system or point of view should really never be asserted, now that I think about it. The terms “belief system” and “point of view” inherently imply fallibility, because the holders of said belief systems and points of view are human. But, I would say that it’s okay to see the world in this way. That’s really what it comes down to. There’s so much beauty in seeing the world differently from what reality dictates. As a matter of fact, lemme throw in a good ol’ cliché here: perception is reality. It’s a great saying, I think. I hate the connotation it gets, though, like when it’s used to incriminate innocent activity. Y’know, like, if a guy and a girl who are married to other people are casually talking with each other, and they’re accused of cheating because “perception is reality”. I love “perception is reality” in that it places a humongous emphasis on what one experiences. Even a solipsist can agree that the realness of their experiences is incontrovertible. I care a lot about what’s right in front of me, what I’m seeing, what I’m hearing, what I’m tasting, smelling and feeling. I don’t believe in the idea that at the end of my life, some game show host is gonna pop out and be like “you thought things had souls… well guess what, sonny boy? ERRRRT! That was the wrong answer!” The right answer doesn’t matter when the wrong answer makes me the most fulfilled. My point is, the right answer to life – which, by the way, is elusive to everyone because none of us who are living have died yet, amirite? – is no better than the supposed “wrong” answer. As a matter of fact, “rightness” doesn’t even matter. If I’m living my life to its fullest in how I see it, the joy that I feel is REAL, and that can’t be denied. Of course, I say this with all normal disclaimers reserved – one’s way of life should abide by the golden rule (it shouldn’t take away from others’ happiness).
I think talking this through has helped me get out of my depression a bit. I think I’m gonna go and grab a snack, then play some Maitetsu. BTW I just started the Hibiki route last night and I love it so far. It’s gonna be tough to pick out my favorite girl (although I think it’s gonna be Paulette, followed by Hachiroku and then Hibiki – though they’re all amazing in their own, unique ways… they’re own, unique and soulful ways, heh…)