Friday, August 19, 2011

A Post Where I Become Many Peoples' Enemy

Yes, yes, I know I am really going to do it this time.

I'm going to pick on your "friends", and my "friends" also, for I am not exempt in this.

How many friends do you have?  Real friends.  By "real" friends, I mean friends who you spend time with in person.

Now, go to your social networking site, forum, e-mail, blog, whatever you use to connect to people on the internet.  How many friends do you have?

In this day and age of internet, chat rooms, and e-mail, it is so easy to form friendships with anyone.  Those who are introverted often find themselves freed by not having to speak to someone face to face.  Extroverts... Well, they have even more people to talk to now.

With this freedom to talk to billions of people literally around the world, comes big complications.  Think back to the olden days, before internet, before e-mail, before Facebook and Myspace, before chat rooms.  Back to the days when people actually had good friends in person.
Try not to have a heart attack.

How many friends did people have back then?  Probably not as many as you have.  How many could they unerringly trust?  Probably?  Most of them.
So, how many people do you have through the internet?  Fifty?  A hundred and fifty?  More?

Now, how many of those people would you actually trust with sensitive information about yourself?  I would be surprised if you were able to honestly answer half.

So, how do you define friends?  People that you chat with, have a good time with, people that you never have a meaningful conversation with ever?  Or people who you can trust, who you absolutely know you can go to in a hard time, someone who accepts you for who you are, respects you, but still gently urges you to develop in areas that need development?

After all that, please do not think I hate the internet.  I have a blog, for cricket's sake.  If I thought the internet was the worst thing on the planet, I wouldn't have a blog.

The internet is misused, however.  It is used as a crutch for those who feel unable to interact with people in person, and as a way to have a thousand friends for those who love talking to people.

It also gives people a false sense of security.  Chatting with someone is the equivalent of being in a soundproof, windowless room with them.  You can say whatever you want and no one will ever know.  Or so it feels.  But all it takes is for you to say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and all of a sudden, you have a problem.

It has happened before.  Someone thinks they can trust a person.  This person is trusted so much, that you tell them your secrets, struggles... everything.  Then, somehow you irritate or anger that highly trusted friend, and he goes out and starts revealing all the things you told him.  Maybe you don't even need to anger him, maybe he simply does it for the fun of it.

Am I saying to be paranoid about all your internet friends?  No.

Am I saying we should be careful about what we say to our internet friends?  Limit what we tell them to things that we don't mind everyone and anyone knowing?  Yes.

Of course, there are exceptions.  If you have a great friend who moves away and suddenly the only way to communicate with them is through chat, e-mail, messaging, etc., then there would be a degree of change in how you treated them.

To sum it up: Have common sense.  Treat friends in the way you should treat them.  Don't treat an internet friend who you've known for a year the same way you would treat a flesh friend you have known for ten years.  Don't trust the "security" of the internet more than face-to-face relationships, or use it as a guard to avoid cultivating the friendships you need to make with those you can actually meet in person.

Until next time.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Monday, August 15, 2011

Like Leaves in the Wind, So Is a Schedule

Some days just don't go as you planned.
Some days, you wake up with a fixed schedule in your mind, and the wind blows it all to pieces.

Am I speaking from experience?  Yes, in fact, I am.  As would most if they wrote an entry about schedules and their changeability.  I doubt anyone has gone through life with everything perfectly planned, and had it work.

Life is not like that, you cannot fix it in place, or know beyond a shadow of a doubt what will happen tomorrow.
It shouldn't be like that, either.

How boring would it be if every day went as planned?  Sure, it would be a lot less vexatious, but where would we be?  A lot of times you end up somewhere that you love, or somewhere that you really needed to be, all because your schedule was pulled out of place.

Young and old alike have a distaste for mix-ups and mess-ups in their lives.
For young people, they want to finish high-school at such and such a time, start college at this point, finish college on this date, get a job, find a girlfriend or boyfriend, fall in love, get married...
Then, when things go wrong, because rarely in this life does anything go as planned, they start thinking something is wrong with themselves.  Or the people around them.  Or the world.  Or whoever is in charge.  Blame begins getting thrown, depression begins, and everything seems to be falling apart, just because things are not going as they should.

Take a step back.  Sure, some of those things could be at fault.  It could be your fault, maybe you have a bad work ethic, and sit around instead of doing your job, so instead of being hired, you're... not.
Maybe your school doesn't have the best system or teachers, maybe the government isn't in the best shape, and that effects how things work for you.

And so, because things certainly aren't your fault, you blame others.
I saw a movie not long ago which had a character who was always blaming things and people for what happened.
The things that were happening were not his fault, they really weren't, and neither were they anyone else's fault.  The things just happened, because that is how things go.
But he had to blame people.  No matter what happened, no matter how ridiculous it seemed, someone would be blamed.
Finally, at one point in the movie, one of the characters said something to the effect of, "Why are you blaming me?"
To which the blame thrower paused, then said, "Well, I have to blame someone, don't I?"

Many people function like the blame thrower in that movie.  Something goes wrong, and someone has to be blamed.  It can't be that no one is at fault for the problem.  No, they have to blame the government.  Or their teachers, or parents, or friends, or siblings, or children, or even themselves.

But it doesn't occur to them that schedule changes are life, it happens, and there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

This goes for both young and old, I have seen it in both.  Human nature is to blame things and people when things go awry.
But just because it is human nature, ingrained in our personalities, doesn't make it right.

Until next time.
In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Kills. But...

I know, I know, my last post had "Summer" in its title also.

But, since I am blaming Summer for my inactivity on here, I decided I may as well give it a spot in the title as sort of a comfort for me disliking it so much.

That aside, I really do have no one and nothing but myself to blame for the neglect of this blog.  I have been busy, but not so much so to prevent me from posting here.

But, now that I am here, has anyone else noticed that Summer seems to slow things down?  Perhaps I am the only one, but it seems to be unmotivating.  To exercise, because you get hot more easily, and therefore more sweaty, which is sort of nice because it proves I've had a good workout, but also annoys me.
The heat of Summer causes me to dislike going outside and getting fresh air, too.  Since nature is an important thing to a shinobi, I try to spend a good amount of time in the outdoors, but in the Summer?  I lack in that area.

As I've thought all this, all the reasons I dislike Summer and wish it could be Autumn or Spring, or even Winter instead, I am reminded how necessary all four of the Seasons really are.
Sure, I complain about Summer, and go on being ungrateful for it, but in all honesty, what would happen if there were no Summer?
No crops, which would equal no food.  Which of course equals no life.

This is a pretty obvious observation, I seem to be a pro at obvious, but it goes on to other things.

How many things do we take complain about?  That we are ungrateful for?
Rules?  Laws?  Bugs?  "Pests"?  Sickness?

I once wondered what on Earth a wasp could possibly be good for, aside from causing pain and fear.  Then, I observed one attack and eat a damaging caterpillar in our garden.  Wasps, though pesky, help with "pest" control.  Now, me saying that caterpillars are pests doesn't mean they have no use either.  They turn into butterflies or moths, which pollinate things and therefore help plants to grow.

I challenge you; next time you complain about something, instead of thinking of all the bad things about it, turn your attention to the good things.  It may not make the unpleasantness go away, actually, in most circumstances, it won't, but it may help you to be more grateful for it.  And this world could use some more gratefulness, and less complaints.

In the shadow of the Greatest Shinobi