Habitica Diary

A blog where I try to be positive about my daily grind. I want to be creative but not productive. Just the word "productivity" makes me feel tired and weary.

The focus will be on the tasks I do rather on tangential observations.

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Bookmarked Entries:
  1. Books on Early Buddhism
  2. Two Types of Meditation in Therevada Buddhism
  3. Slavoj Zizek - Desire is True Sacrifice
  4. Non-Attachement, Writing and Love


I have narrowed down my tasks to three habits, one daily and a maximum of five to-dos that all need to be cleared before any more are added. Irregular tasks go to to-dos.

Can I narrow it down further? Should I? Having a bit of variety is good.

I have so far neglected using any custom rewards but now that I have got my tasks in order maybe I should pay attention to that. That'll further reduce the speed at which I can collect the items on from the Enchanted Armoire but if I don't have non-game rewards then that means that rewards won't mean anything the moment I run out of items to collect.

The cost of the reward should be roughly proportional to the time it takes it takes to complete the reward. If 1 gold equals 10 minutes then a 20 minute anime episode costs 2 gold coins. However rather than listing out specific rewards maybe I should buy time. Then in the notes for each reward I could list out roughly which activity this relates to.

Added: "20 Minutes of Play" for 2GP. Added "5 Minutes of Play for 2GP."

I don't think I'll be using this reward system all of the time beccause I don't always have access to habitica. For example right now I have no internet right now. However even if I use it only somewhat frequently then I would consider it a success.

I am almost done with chapter 21 of TLNC. It's 4600 words long. I really need to get more beta readers. I don't even know what my total word count is anymore because I have broken up the chapters into different documents. Maybe I could use a spreadsheet to keep up with my wordcount. Or maybe total wordcount is not that important for now. Well, I'd like to know if I broke the 100k word mark which would mean I finally wrote something as long as a novel.

I have decided to add a rule to limit the number of habits to three. Any other irregular tasks would have to be non-repetable to-dos. of which there can only be five at one time (as per my rule).


Was sick in bed due to respiratory problems all day. Still managed to complete all of my habits. Now all that's left is my novel scene.


Don't think. Just Act.

Alright I think I have a grasp of the tasks I must do.


Had to stay up till 3am but didn't miss writing for TLNC

I regularly medidate for 10 minutes now so I am going to increase it to fifteen minutes. I am going to leave the Habit unchanged and just click the + for "medidate for 5 minutes" three times instead because there might be days I can't meditate for 15 minutes but 5 minutes is still better than none.

I have started collecting information about time loop stories in a google doc. Don't know if I'll ever publish it. In fact I added a habit to "read a time loop chapter" per day. For various reasons I won't go into detail here I feel like time-loops have a lot of story-telling potential. For example it allows to reuse scenes and explore different aspects of characters and different possible outcomes. Maybe I should look into some of the scientific theories around time-travel into the past cause I feel like a lot of time-loop stories don't bother to explain why and how the loop happens which is a pity since it's an interesting topic in itself. The main draw however is seeing the protagonist struggle and put all the pieces together to achieve the perfect run, saving everyone and making use of every piece of information that the reader is also aware of. Maybe I should re-read Mother of Learning and Steins;Gate to make notes on my google doc about how these works handle time loops.

I have been regularly re-evaluating why it is that I meditade and now I think it's because I want a peaceful heart rather than conflict with othes. I am just not someone who thrives in conflict, although admitedly such people do exist and shouldn't be disregarded, well such people wouldn't allow themselves to be disregarded so I may be worrying for nothing. Or at least that's what I felt like reading the school festival concert scene at the start of Vol 6 of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi lives wonderfully in the moment, pretty much a Boddhisatva, I am joking of course.

Started another google doc to list stuff related to Accounting. I have both google docs linked in the description of their respective habits on habitica. I have also made both docs available offline cause I can't trust my internet connection.

Here's a list of books on early Buddhism that I want to read. I got the list from Dough's Dharma YT channel. He's a scholarly type which has its pluses and minuses, the plus is it sounds like he knows his stuff, the minus is perhaps an emphasis over whether things are textually accurate more than if they are actually true. According to him the Buddha's ethics are pragmatic rather than conceived of bottom up - but he doesn't seriously discuss any potential pitfalls of pragmatism. I am getting a little bit tired of Stephen Bachelor's Buddhisms Without Beliefs because I want to know where did he get this and that so maybe I should check out one of these books which go a bit into the lore:

  1. Bhikkhu Bodhi: In the Buddha's Words.: A selection of sutthas. Repetitive because they were supposed to be orally transmitted originally.
  2. Rupert Gethin: The Foundations of Buddhism: A good introductory book. Probably what I'll read first.
  3. Williams, Tribe, Wynne: Buddhist Thought: Also deals with Mahayanaism.
  4. Walpola Rahula: What the Buddha Taught: A book by a Sri Lankan Monk, traditional understanding perhaps not as scholarly not as upto date, takes commenterial literature more seriously than modern scholar. Rahula is a good writer.
  5. Richard Gombritch: What the Buddha Thought: An homage to Walpola's book. An Oxford scholar's book on early buddhism. Not as accessible as Foundations. Only read after you understand the basics. Some controversial hot takes.
  6. Richard Gombritch: Therevada Buddhist, 2nd Ed.: Early Buddhism book.
  7. Johannes Bronkhorst: Buddhist Teaching in India: Hot takes but well informed. Doesn't think Brahamnism had as much as an effect on early Buddhism.
  8. Analayo: Satipatthana, the Direct Path to Realisation: German Monk's PHD disertation. Somewhat scholarly. Lots of footnotes. Introduces Buddhism through Meditation. This is probably what I want to get because meditation is what makes Buddhism special in my eyes.

Learning Renpy? I have already spread myself thin by focusing on so many hobbies so trying to learn how to use Renpy on top of that might not be a good idea. On the other hand if I keep putting it off I'll never do it. I should not be straining my eyes by trying to follow video tutorials. No, instead I am going to go through the documentation and test things out. I am not going to aim to create a particular game or anything like that. My goal is simply to figure out how the engine works. Added: Read "Renpy Documentation" to Habits.

Got Ren'py syntax to work on Vim using these files: https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?p=425854&hilit=gVim#p425854 and https://github.com/chaimleib/vim-renpy Without these indentation didn't work properly. I was tempted to try using emacs but I didn't want to learn to use two tools from scratch.

HousekeepingIf I reduced the number of tasks I do per day I might spend more time on each task. Yes on second thought maybe I should grey out a few tasks for now so that I can focus more on the remaining tasks. I greyed out the Time Loop Doc, I already have "Read 1 Time Loop story chapter" habit so I think that I'll instinctively pick up the conventions of these stories without making notes. Greyed out Ren'py. Now is just not the right time. Changed Accounting task to "write 1 page of notes on Accounting" because this is more measurable. Added a "trivial" difficulty habit of do "Do 2 Habit Reps," basically each time I do a habit twice I click this habit. This is to incentivise me to do more than the bare minimum which is what I have been doing. Dailies will remain untouched, because there I think the main incentive is to maintain the streak, if I make it too hard to maintain the streak then I'll just stop.

Managed to squeeze in another short scene for the The Light Novel Club web novel by 12:15am. I should do my daily earlier so I can relax while doing the habits.


Not I, Not Mine, Not MySelf

Not, Not Mine, Not Myelf. Something to remember when you get too attached to things outside of your control, even when they are related to you.

Today's Meditation: Walking.


Meditation Tried some love & kindness meditation. Felt a bit silly wishing everyone indiscriminately good will without particularly doing anything for them. I was worried that I would feel bad if I tried to empathise with other people too much when I can't do much for them but on the other hand it feels good to let go of some of the impotent illwill one feels towards some people. Of course it can come back just as easily and perhaps not always unjustifiably so. Let's say that just because I wish them that doesn't necessarily mean I love them, at most you could say I have compassion and pity for them and wish them to do better but that's not really love and that's fine.

In a way it is rather self-serving practice, wishing others well just because illwill is exhausting and unsatisfactory, but so what? Let it be selfish.

I think I am getting better at breathing meditation too.

Webnovel I finally finished the rewrites for Chapter 1 & 2 of TLNC. Chapter 20 has also got more than 3000 words so it's a matter of polishing it up.

Read a time-loop novel called I'll Expell You as Many Times as it Takes; Your Failed Skill Will Awaken Later... and the web novel title goes on. It's pretty short and the characters are not too detailed but I liked it because I like time-loop novels about saving someone you love and saving the world. Seriously, it's got to be the most coolest super-power. It's just so satisfying seeing each piece falling into place. Steins;Gate and Mother of Learning are great for that reason. I might write a time-loop story for the Faust Academy arc of The Light Novel Club but I don't think I am currently good enough to write too many loops so I'll write as few loops as are absolutely necessary.

I should read more regularly to get more ideas for stories about time-loops in particular. Changed "Read 1 Chapter" to "Read 1 Time-Loop Story Chapter."


Two Types of Meditation in Therevada Buddhism

I have decided to look into the Theravada way of meditation because apparently it's simpler and has less bells and whistles.

The types are: Samatha and Vipassana meditation. Samatha focuses on calming the mind, while Vipassana meditation aims to gain insight into reality.

Only by calming the mind first can you be able to see through to reality. We shall see what I feel like after I have practiced both.

Did some walking meditation on a threadmill today. Apart from the machine's noise I think that this was a lot less distracting than sitting meditation because there's a whole lot more to focus on other than my breath. One of the reasons that I stop doing exercise is that I can't maintain focus, and regrets about the past and worries about the future suck out any joy that I might be getting from the exercise. I should do this again. Added: Do walking meditation Habit.

On another note I have found that putting one leg on top of the other makes it easier to sit flatly with my pelvis.

I still don't have an answer as to why I should do anything if I didn't care about the outcome, if all outcomes are the same... Maybe I should ask ChatGPT. Accoriding to GPT-san Detachment/Equaniminity is not about Apathy, or Indifference but about being free from the grip of strong desires or aversions. This still feels like semantics, if you don't have strong desires or aversions why should you care about the outcome? Even if you call a desire a preference, you are just subsituting one word for another. I am afraid that if I tell myself that I don't care about the outcome of something because I might fail then I'll just genuinely stop caring about it. Nevertheless that if I want to do anything, and not run away then I must be somewhat indifferent to the risk of an outcome of failure.. So I should not care about it because I care about it? That is too incoherent and yet I can't deny when I feel calmer when I tell myself "This too will pass" and "Remember you are going to die. It's all, these feelings are impermanent." I just fear that in the process, just because it feels good to numb myself, I might lose something important. After all other people are impernanent too. Civilisation is impermanet too. Art is impermanent too. I hear they just found out Plato's burial place. The people who changed history have not been forgotten and are still loved and hated.


Slavoj Zizek - Desire is True Sacrifice?

"The true sacrifice is not sacrificing your desire. No, we often sacrifice our desire to make it easier for us... The true sacrifice is Desire itself. Desire is an intrusion which throws off the rails the rhythm of my daily life, it compels me to forfeit everyday pleasures and comforts for discipline and hard work in the pursuit in the object of my desire, be it love, a policial cause, science or whatsoever."- Slavoj Zizek, Buddhism Masterclass Part 2: Against Sacrifice

Desire itself is already a sacrifice.

"Desire and narcissism are mutually exclusive. Desire is never narcissistic. Desire throws you out of yourself. Narcissism is precisely a defence against desire. Desire is disentering. It throws you out of yourself... Do not compromise your desire because in your desire you are not reduced to your ego-self, desire is precisely a moment of opening onto the world. In desire you are vulnerable, open, so again narcissism is like hatred and attends against desire." - Zizek, same talk.

Avoiding suffering by abandoning desire is narcissistic but why is that wrong? If everyone abandoned desire there'd be no progress, true, but that's not going to happen because abandoning is desire is something that people do only after they have given up trying to satisfy it, which means that those who can satisfy their desires don't need Buddhism unless they reach a point when they can't push forward, when the situation is truly outside of their control.

In the first place I think there's a lot of people who don't know what they want, or rather there's nothing that they want for or dream about in particular except for having something that they want or desire. Wouldn't these people be better off wanting and desiring to desire nothing? Instead of lying to them and saying "Oh you just haven't found what you really want yet." Isn't it more liberating to say... I want nothing. After all to actually desire something means to will the suffering that comes with acquiring that thing but what if the juice isn't worth the squeeze? You might say it's just the fox calling the grapes sour but what if all that hard work trying to experience something new, it turns out it was not worth the effort? That the grapes actually were sour? Isn't that even worse? Isn't that just enduring worthless suffering and worthless effort?

I feel like the problem for me with all this is that it doesn't offer a concrete path forward. Nobody knows what desire comes from exactly. Also unlike Zizek I don't have the luxury or option to be selfless in my rhetoric, I am looking for an answer and I don't really care one bit if it turns out to be a narcissistic or selfish or egoistic answer. Or in other words I don't care if meditation is egoistic or like taking drugs or whatever as long as it works.

Here's more Zizek on Buddhism: https://thephilosophicalsalon.com/why-lacan-is-not-a-buddhist-a-belated-reply-to-my-critics/

Habitica Report

Meditated for 10 minutes. It's quite funny seen my mind wonder about when trying to meditate. Of course this happens when I don't meditate as well, it's just that I didn't notice it consciously. I wonder why it is that I am naturally that way, what purpose could it serve? Maybe it's not natural but due to material circumstances.

Another thing which I have found out that is that I can't really meditate when it's too late at night, for at that stage my mind naturally enters the first stages of sleep where the distinctions between my thoughts and myself breakdown and it's possible to forget who is having those thoughts, who is the dreamer. In that sense I suppose that meditation which attempts to separate "you" from your thoughts is the opposite of dreams where "you" dissolve into your dreams. Night is the only time that I have any silence so I'll have to time my meditation so that it's not too late but not too early.

Changed Read for 5 min to "Read 1 Chapter". I read chapter 5 of Zen at War. Maybe I should look into Zen and into D.T. Suzuki.


Non-Attachment, Writing and Love

I have seen certain Buddhists make semantic differentiations between non-attachment and detachment but I can't see how either are different from not caring about the outcomes of life because we do not have perfect control of events. But if you don't care about the outcomes of your actions then why act at all?

One answer to that might be because you like acting for its own sake, like an amateur novelist who tells himself that he writes because he likes to write even if he is not good at writing, and I suppose this is better than not writing at all, but what reason does he have to try to get better at writing if he doesn't care whether the novel he writes is a good one? There is no point in writing bad novels for its own sake, at that point it's just masturbation, it can't bring hapiness to anyone else.

I also can't see how detachment and love can co-exist. Detachment is egoistic because actually caring about others means being willing to risk being hurt by them and by what happens to them, but if you have detached yourself from suffering then you don't actually need to trust anyone because nothing can hurt you. On the other hand what's wrong with being selfish? I mean you can still care about "humanity" at a distance in the name of "Compassion." I just don't think that real compassion for humanity as a whole is tenable except in mere words because you can't actually care about every bad thing that happens to everyone without immediately immolating yourself for the sake of a suffering stranger, so in actual fact this sort of compassion is an egotistical excuse to not care about anyone in particular.

Even if you shamelessly accept that it's egotistical, I still think there's a problem, this all feels like a convenient post-hoc rationalisation, a transparent armour of non-attachment to hide what you are actually feeling.. Or in other words there's something about detachment that feels dishonest towards yourself. If you don't care about the outcomes of your actions then why do you act towards any outcome at all? Aren't you just saying that you don't care whether you succeed or fail because although you have not faith in yourself you'd also like to have faith in yourself? Isn't this pretending to not want the cake and then eating it too? It is true that you can't be certain whether you'll succeed but pretending you don't care or worse yet not caring about it because it will hurt you if things don't go your way isn't this selfish and childish, an absconding of all responsibility for your actions? I don't know but for the sake of argument lets grant all that, even then if being detached is the only way you can keep on working towards something, isn't it better to be detached and carry through the motions to get the job done until you are strong enough to be attached, strong enough to bear the burden of losing something or someone of value without telling yourself you never really cared about it? Maybe it doesn't have to be logical but as long as it just works.

Perhaps it's merely a difference in preffered outcomes. I find the idea of everyone being selfless to each other rather empty because the only reason why selfless/sacrificial actions have any value is because we are selfish, but if I was selfless then it wouldn't be a sacrifice and more importantly if the person whom I was sacrificing myself for was also lacking in selfishness then she wouldn't really gain anything from it either.

Maybe it's worth it to suffer but I just want to suffer a bit less rather than not at all. I need to read up on Suzuki. I don't approve of it but there was something alive about Japan, vivacious even, so there must have been something alive about Buddhism. I wouldn't get my ethics from it though. To fall deeper I need to detach from myself first and rise higher first.

Habitica report 1

Started the day with duo, read some poetry, medidated for ten minutes. Started to watch tv series version of Love exposure. The subs are not that good.


Tried to read the Dharmapada. Got halfway through.

Immersion: I am going to watch Sion Onno's film Himizu. I hope it's good bcause I'll rewatch it without subtitles if it is good. Next I could try immersion with something shorter. Maybe I should try watching something without subtitles first and then re-watch it with subs.

For meditation I tried counting my breaths until was distracted by some stray thought. Got up to 21 breaths. Last night I read some threads on an imageboard about Buddhism. To sum it up, removing the unecessary jargon about nominalism and nirvana, the Buddhist critics seemed to argue that the Buddha ran away from real life by abandoning his wife and child and kingdom whereas the Buddhists argued that actually ordinary apparent life is not real and understanding this is what it means to live in reality. They were accusing each other of escapism or of lacking idealism. I don't know who's right or what's real but there's always something strikingly fortright and unmitigated about imageboard arguments. And yet this effect lasts only when I read the post... Take this post by anon for example:

You're the worst kind of arrogant fool there is. This obsession with eastern sorcery has never solved anything, it's a cult of stupidity made up by a charlatan who left his wife and child to become a degenerate beggar. Your entire conception of religion and ethics consists of sitting on your own ass as an attempt to abandon the very idea of thought, of knowledge and even self, and then you dare drag your pitiful existence here, utilizing some of the greatest technological achievements of Western civilization to poison yourself and others with this oriental babble.

The Cult of the Buddha is the very antithesis to mankind, that our hard-earned knowledge should be abandoned in favor of a literal empty mind, that civilization is ultimately meaningless, and that even joy is a falsehood. It argues about the banalities of existence as a means to disguise the fundamental egoism underlying it. It seizes the minds of the weak and feeble, teaches them that they are wrong to struggle, turns them into pitiful creatures waiting to be consumed by death. It thrives from the wealth seized from society in an attempt to stop existing by doing nothing but existing. It is ignorance in itself.

Buddhism has never improved anyone or anything, it has only insidiously wormed its way into civilization through lies and deception. It claims to be the very purest of truths and yet, if it ever converts, it's syncretism, and if it exists anywhere, it is corrupt. Indeed, it is the charity brought forth by attachment to the very evils of Buddhism that keeps these monks alive. The same kindness that kept the family Buddha abandoned alive. Finally, it is our tolerance of this cult of misery and ignorance that still allows it to seize minds, denounce the gift of consciousness and turn men into a worthless thing.

Following Buddhism to the letter, the word of Buddha himself as he said it, has never produced anything other than beggars and ignorant men. Ironic.

Sure there's a lot of seething in this comment (the "ironic" at the end in particular feels kind of forced and unconvincing) but that's not what I want to bring attention to. Rather than that what's more important is that to some people the beautiful, ideal things, the dream of life which he exalts may only exist in fleeting images in films and are as distant to everyday reality as is the Buddha's enlightenment. In that case a pean to reality is worthless.

Ultimately I can't deny that my motivations for approaching Buddhism have been selfish... to be able to act wit a clarity of purpose through detachment rather than the fickle passions which are as easily put out as they arise. What I want is a single-mindedness which can disregard the odds of my success, dull my attachment to the result, to the end, a resolve which I believe those buddhist monks who followed strict monastic values possesed whatever their motives and ends might be. Of course the simpler way to achieve this would be to train my body, get humbled in a wrestling match and let my mind be my body's plaything. The problem is that I already don't have much of any faith in my body. I don't need to find out, I already know and have tasted being unable to retort or counterattack someone instantaneously over and over again. Perhaps that is why I have taken on to writing, to get my own back where I have time to mount a defence or even an attack...I am really rambling today. I should stop. Thinking alone and coming to some essay-type conclusion achieves nothing but a shallow sense of fleeting catharsis from an unearned epilogue.

There is probably more truth in fiction than in philosophy, religion and science but the truth is not enough. Anyone can "handle" the truth but who can change it?

Web Novel: I finsihed the edits for C1 and C2. All that's left is to re-read and re-post these chapters. It's exciting to get back to writing new scenes for new chapters.


The Ides of May

"Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?" - That was the subject of my meditation today. I got it from Buddhism Without Beliefs. Or as I have more memorably heard it: "Death is Certain, it's hour is Uncertain." I suppose the lesson is that "This will pass too."

I don't know if I totally managed to calm myself. In a week I will be facing something unpleasant again, something which I have faced again and again during the last ten years.

I think I have come to terms with the fact that I'll never experience some things but I have not come to terms with all the things which will happen to me.

Of course the answer is not to have a preference about the outcome because nothing is really in my hands but whether it is in my hands or not, I will have to face it.

Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. The "thicket of beliefs" is very thick and one in which I very nearly got lost in. It is also full of thorns. There are some men who can thrive in that environment, I should not forget this, but I am not one of them. Every debate I have ever had no matter on which side I was, I have lost it, so I have nothing to gain by arguing but I must not generalise this to others and assume that others are like me. Only they can decide what's best for them, not me.

I want to say that it's not because "death makes it all equal" because even if I were immortal my thoughts and feelings would remain impermanent, changing, and frankly I wouldn't want them to be any other way. Amor Fati. We can live because we can forget the pain of the past. This ordeal too I'll come to forget in give or take a year, and even if it's longer, a lifetime is not very long.

So like Caesar we too must walk to the Senate ignoring fate and let what will be done to us be done to us on the Ides of March.

Of course we cannot live without beliefs or opinions or preferences, that's how we live, but when they become an obstacle to my happiness I must get rid of them. Whatever happens will happen next month. Just like I was able to gamble and lose on life this time, I'll continue to do so after this until the end. I shouldn't get too hung up on this one outcome, because the final outcome will be the same: death. Making a rosary out of all the miserable moments in my life is as idiotic than making one of all the happy moments I have had and then getting sad that they're gone. In the end I can't exactly recall either of them.

Habitica Summary for 22-04-2024

I medidated as I discussed above. Although I didn't feel much peace... No, I only felt at peace when I wrote. I should try meditating on the same subject of death tomorrow, because I should be able to feel good about it without the aide of writing.

Web Novel Writing: I removed the "Write a Scene" daily and re-added it as a checklist item "Write a New/Old Scene" for the "Friendly Reminder to work on your project" Daily. By Old/New I mean that it can be a new scene for an old or a new chapter. There's only one big correction left for C1 of TLNC. Basically to re-do the character introductions for Tanaka, Izumi and Yamada. I did not know these characters as well when I started writing so it is going to be fun to find a way to introduce them. Yes, once I detached myself from the idea of "creating art" and just viewed it as a chore which I mildly enjoy it has become much more enjoyable and pressure-free. Is this how everything should be? Maybe once I am stronger I will be able to handle greater passions better but for now my engagement should be as light as a feather. I can somewhat understand ascetics who self-flagelate to prove that they can take the greatest pain of life and yet somehow I feel like what they're feeling is not the real pain of life because it does not give birth to anything, it is not out of necessity for creating something great or beautiful, it is not that it will help anyone, just shallow self-satisfaction. Of course, on the other hand, that doesn't mean that I am advocating destroying yourself for the sake of helping others - for if others were to follow your example then no one would be happy - so this too is escapism and shallow self-satisfaction which leads people nowhere in the end. Well, let's leave it at that, don't want to get lost in the "thicket of beliefs" and arguing uselessly. This is just what I believe. Don't argue with me and don't believe in me. Make up your own mind.

Reading: Buddhism Without Beliefs. I don't like the teaching of taking no thought for the tomorrow. In fact I don't like the Sermon on the mount in general. And yet what I have said in today's entry is not that different on the surface. The obvious objection is that this idea of not caring for tomorrow is predicated on the belief that the world is soon coming to an end rather than the impermanence of things, the impermanent self, therefore I would say I am being more honest. But the more important point of disagreement is the absolutism of the statement, it's not "don't care too much for the future," it's don't care about it at all. Anyhow that's enough, I am getting lost in the "thicket of views" again. What will I gain by scoring a point against the gospels? Nothing.

Immersion: I have continued watching World Trigger with Hiragana and English subtitles.


The lesson of Zen at War seems to be that Buddhism just like all the other faiths and ideologies is subject to and contingent on the currents of history including material factors and the political climate. There is no escaping history.

Buddha Contra Nietzsche

What I am attracted towards Buddhism for is that it can be practiced in the form of meditation, it is not just endless prattle which leaves you with nothing to do but just talk about the same subjects more and more in detail until you forget what the initial argument was. Maybe there are philosophies that can be lived as opposed to merely discussed. I suppose the natural sciences are philosophies that can be practiced but I feel like the age in which individual researchers could make progress by themselves is gone. You have to be part of some instituition and its hierarchies to actually do science rather than just being a promoter for science.

Rather than a science I would compare meditation to an art. In the sense that you can also choose to participate in the creation of art rather than just watching and observing life from the sidelines. I wouldn't go as far as to call meditation a science though because it doesn't reveal anything true about the external world which we already didn't know. This is fine since not everyone has to do science, not anymore than everyone has learn to do programming. Art is cheap, by cheap I mean it's not expensive to consume or create just like meditation is available to most people. Whereas science is costly, it's not a surprise that so much progress is being made through computers because programming is probably the only science related activity that doesn't require a crazy amount of resources.

I think (secular) Buddhists should just admit that they don't care about greatness of any kind, but are only interested in reducing suffering... But doing so would be to admit that Buddhism is not for everyone... Most people would benefit from it but there's a select few who would only benefit from taking participating in certain practices but not by buying into it wholesale. There's certainly a certain level of detachment which can grant one a clarity of purpose but detach yourself completely and then you'll lose any other purpose other than that of remaining detached and wanting to drag everyone else into detachment to validate one's choice of choosing detachment (i.e. compassion). This is an obstacle for greatness, because indeed greatness comes with courting great suffering with no guarantee that you'll be rewarded in the end, indeed the odds are stacked against you. Detachment only benefits those seeking greatness in so far as it removes any inhibitions to endure the necessary suffering to achieve great feats.

The men who went to the moon suffered a lot for the potential, not the certainty, of doing the impossible. Where would they be if they had chosen not to suffer for their goal? To measure achievenemt in terms of pleasure gained and suffering suffered is so silly for these men. On the other hand if you're someone who's seeking greater wealth for the sake of pleasure, you might find that you'd be better off with earning just enough money for physical security and enjoying the little things in life, rather than becoming a slave to money, to those you have to pay to get pleasure from. What I mean is that money doesn't come free, you have to work for it and worry you might lose it. And yet there's a qualitative difference between the astronauts and this hypothetical seeker of wealth for its own sake.

Maybe the reason that I can't be a Buddhist is because I think like an artist despite not being able to make any good art myself. Why you could even say that Nietzche's message wasn't meant for me and that I'd better off only having heard Buddhism. Indeed the only way to "practice" Nietzsche's ideas peacefully is through artistic endeavours, great feats of engineering, of science and so on... But such acts of greatness are simmply out of the reach of these short hands. Now, I don't want to escape into ethics and compassion, not yet anyway, what I am after right now is peace and clarity of mind. For now this can be a purpose in and of itself but what then? I don't think compassion is necessarily the answer, or at least not the only answer.

Beauty and Impermance

What I mean is that the idea that permanent things must have more value than transient things is just an opinion, not a fact of nature. In fact, some things like youth or childhood or the blooming of cherry blossoms are more beautiful because they don't last. One could very well say the same about history or life itself. Wistfulness need not only create suffering. On the other hand if at some point science does manage to create eternal life then that would have its own tragic-comic beauty too. To say that postulating such a notion is excessive attachment to life betrays an attachment to an idealised form of impermanence. Buddhism was created in an historical context before recent scientific trends, and so it is natural that these issues might at best then seemed like an after thought. We ought to be at peace with both possibilities - continuity and cessation. To dismiss this with some reference to some past heretical sect is just escapism.

Habitica stuff


Thoughts on getting back into watching anime

Try to watch a "shitty" long-running Shounen series like Naruto and Dragonball Z. Detach your identity from watching anime, and from the pretensions of having "good taste." Don't burn out on anime by just trying to watch all of the "good" stuff with a deep meaning. Stop trying to find good anime to watch to discuss on forums; if you can help it don't even read the synopsis or tags, look at the picture and make a split second judgement.

Stop trying to be efficient about watching anime, reject efficiency. There's another thread here by someone who can't escape from short-form content addiction. Short-form content addiction happens because you want to be efficient and maximise the use of your time. These are all delusions born out of attachment.

There's a website called animelon which lets you watch anime episodes with and without english, romanji, hiragana, kanji subtitles. Re-watch the same episodes with and without subtitles if you want. It hasn't got all anime though, so you could just torrent anime and watch with and without subtitles.

I recommend World Trigger, it's pure Shounen Slop.

Other Habitica Updates

Added a Daily for Immersion, where I watch an episode on animelon. Watched one episode but I don't want to turn this into an anime blog because I don't want to make anime blogging a justification for watching anime. It's just not enjoyable for me.

Added Dailies for reading [5 min] Desc: For Pleasure, meditation [5 mins]. Diff for both is hard.

Thinking back about it, I was wrong. It is a good thing that Habitica doesn't add too many gamification systems, I should make my own fun, and if their systems would work that means that I would be more dependent on those systems, or in other words more dependent on Habitica devs.

Animelit reached 1000 views, mostly because I redirected my homepage here on neocities to AL. All in a days work.

I have effectively cut out discord from my life. I feel much lighter.

I am dealing with the last bit of the feedback on my novel's chapter 1 and 2. At this rate I should have the chapters ready within the next week. Just finished correcting all mistakes on Chapter 2 but before I re-release it I want to read all of it along with Chapter 1 so I can release them on the same day.

Detachment and Writing

I have detached my identity, my self from my novel writing too because it's only something I do because it is enjoyable in the moment. It was never some grand Nietzschean Life-Unifying Project because you can never know when you'll croak. I mean look at Nietzsche's own Life-Unifying project to re-evaluate all values, it went unifinished because he went mad, something out of his control, but I am sure that he enjoyed it in the moment, all the way, being enraptured in a dream. "Those days when you're enraptured are pieces of your dream, You get to burning, As you pick up those pieces, I can see (you have) the courage to aim for tomorrow, to be..." On the other hand Tennesse William's Maggie would put say: "Life has got to go on after life's dream was over." I say pick whichever is more convenient at the moment to have the courage to aim for tomorrow. I suppose it's fine to think of it as your life unifying project after you have succeeded. But enough about such abstract matters. I don't have any of the answers.

Read Chapter 1 of Zen at War.

Meditated a bit today. Rather than trying to actively try not to think of anything, I tried to not to aknowledge the thought but then not think about it for too long.


Immersion: I have kind of stopped watching anime but what if I watched an anime episode with subtitles and then without subtitles? Stein;Gate has been on my mind lately, maybe I could do it with that. Added Habit.

Meditation: I think I am getting better at not letting every intrusive thought into my mind. What I want from meditation is a stronger will.

Poetry: read a bunch of poems. They were alright.

Novel Writing: I am nearing completion on my Chapter 2 corrections for the light novel club.


Poetry: In the Park by Gwen Harwood

Here's my reflections on the LitCharts notes.

The Clod and the Pebble by William Blake.

All of the readings of this poem which I have seen online seem keen to stress that Blake does not specify which perspective on love is correct: that of the selfish Pebble or the selfless Clod... but to me it is clear that since the Pebble gets the last word the poem Blake seems to be suggesting that it's more truthful.

It's important to keep in mind Blake's strong commitment to the Christian faith (though his views on Christiantiy were fiercely independent). God gave humanity his son, Jesus, as a kind of loving sacrifice (who, in turn, sacrifised himself for humanity). As the Clod seems to express, people should show a similar willingness to love -- without the expectation of a reward. This all sounds nice, but when Blake relates that the Clod of clay is being trampled on by cows, there is something ironic about it, realistic as opposed to idealistic. The Pebble simply makes a leap from the realistic to the cynical.

The opening four-line stanza (quatrian) of the poem follows an ABAB rhyme A rhyme scheme is a a pattern to which end rhymes (rhymes at located at the end of lines) are repeated in works of poetry. Rhyme schemes are described using letters of the alphabet, such that all the lines in a poem that rhyme with each other are assigned a letter, beginning with "A." A four-line poem (or stanza) in which the the first line's last word rhymes with the third line's last word, and the second line's last word rhymes with the fourth line's last word, follows an ABAB rhyme scheme. "

"So sung a little Clod of Clay, Trodden with the cattle's feet." It's interesting that it is cows which tread upon the poor Clod of Clay, and yet you can't help but also blame for being so passive and supplicant that it gets throdden upon by lowly cows.

The poem is neatly dvidied in two with the second stanza which itself is neither written from the Clod's nor the Pebble's perspective. the second stanza itself is divided in two though I'd say that the half dedicated to the Clod mentions how it's trodden so it might count against it.

"Love seeketh not itself to please,Vs.:"Love seeketh only self to please." When you put two extreme positions like that next to each other, it's natural that the critics come to the conclusion that the truth is somewhere in between. The use of identical vocabulary, syntax, and grammar suggests that these views are the two sides of the same coin.

Nothing much is said about the Pebble in the stream. You could extrapolate that it is alone in the stream as the world passes by him, and that it is smoothed out ut by the water it bends the course of - but it still is not as affected as the Clod of clay which is trodden.

I think there is a difference though in that the idea that the pebble is alone is extrapolation or in other words conjecture whereas the idea that the clod is throdden upon is explicitly stated. I suppose it's a matter of opinion which of the two you accept as more important, what's actually stated or conjecture.

The fact that an answer is not given, might also be because there just isn't an answer, that love is unknowable or that it irrational.

Both the Pebble and the Clod are rather small, and insignificant parts of a greater landscape, sugesting that there may be more to love than their grand but simplistic interpreations.

Meditation: I have been mostly meditating at night because that when it's quiet and cool. "But for another to give its ease" vs "joys in another's loss of ease" might be to emphasize the sharp difference between the two perspectives. In a way meditation is more satisfying than sleep for me because I can't control what I see in my dreams, although I have heard it might be possible to an extent. I tried another exercise which consisted of counting my breaths from 1 to 23 and then backwards.

Reading: I have downloaded Zen at War and Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist.Also got Buddhism Without Beliefs. I tried reading some Therevada texts directly but I couldn't penetrate them so I am going to go about this indirectly. I believe that there's a Osamu Tezuka manga adaptation of the Buddha's life. It being a manga I expect a lot of artistic liberties which should be interesting in itself. Okay I started reading Chapter 1 of Tezuka's Buddha. Tezuka seems to be taking shots at India's caste system, and implying that the Buddha was a reaction against it but I'll read more than a few chapters before reporting back. The cartoony artstyle will take some time to get used to.

Okay I am already 8 chapters in and there's no Buddha yet which is only building tention. On the other hand I have already gotten attached to the current cast of characters. Well this wasn't supposed to be a review anyway, I don't feel like I have learned much about the Buddha, other than some miracles happned when he was born, and I mean, sure, that's what they all say.

I wonder if the elevation of animals in Dharmic religions has got to do with some subconscious guilt over treating lower caste members like animals or worse.

Winter Song by Elizabeth Tollet

It's a Long poem. The lover seems to be a woman. What suggests to me that the speaker is a woman, taking into account the period this was written (the 18th century), these lines "Undaunted I thy arms would bear,And give thy hand the hunter's spear,", "Thy rural feast I would provide," and "The softest moss should dress thy bed." I wonder if by "I thy I arms would bear" she means hold the weapons for him or join the fight herself. It isn't clear to me which she means.

"What I would suffer for my love" establishes the theme of the poem, and also implies the speaker's lover has just questioned her commitment for some reason which is left unsaid and she feels indignant about it.

I did not like the accusatory "Ask me no more, my truth to prove." Although I do like the repeated /m/ sound. In fact there's a lot of alliteration going on. I think I read somewhere that Tollet did not end up marrying anyone.

The poem is written as a series of couplets because couplets are rhyming pairs, suggesting the pairing of the speaker and their love.

Surplus Value by David C. Ward

It's a poem about the decline of detroit.. From the perspective of an auto-mechanic. I do wonder what happened to all those worked in detroit before it collapsed? Were they able to "reskill?" Or to keep on being auto-mechanics of some kind? I feel like anyone who has mechanical skills would remain employable but then again I am not in the industry so I don't know. I don't know about Marxism but I am sick of this competitive society where you are always competing against someone else. On a larger scale it might make sense but on an individual scale it's awful and causes instability

The best lines in the poem are: "He took pride from his craft and skill Building something bigger than the Fords and Chevys He pushed on down the line of America to drive." He seems to have felt he helped build America, working for a broader national and social purpose so even if he was making his bosses rich by creating Surplus Value for them, he felt relatively valued by society. The detail about him having to sell his Harley was also quite sad and without any insinuations that there's something wrong with being into expensive motorcycles.

Father Returning Home By Diliph Chitre

The poem made me think about my own father as much as it did of my own alienation from the modern world. And yet I do not dream of "Of ...ancestors and grandchildren... Of nomads entering a subcontinent through a narrow pass," as nicely put as that is I exist in the here and now, not in the past or the future. And I am going to stay here for as long as I can like a cat on a hot tin roof. This poem is set in 1950s India and talks about a father coming home from a dreary, wet and muddy commune only to be enstranged by his "sullen children" but of course now children can grow up without both their father and their mother. We have come such a long way. One thing that could alleviate this is if the government at least tried to encourage remote work wherever it is possible. Of course this may have unforeseen consquences, and staying under the same roof doesn't guarantee deeper bonds, I am just saying it's time to try something other than complaining.


Preliminary thoughts on meditation and Buddhism

ADDED MEDITATION TO HABITS. I tried some meditation today. As I have done before I tried to look if there was any link between meditation and improvement in life but I couldn't really find any definitive evidence. In the end however it is not scientific evidence that matters but my own experience, even if it's self-hypnosis, placebo or a lie it doesn't really matter as long as I get results. The results I want are self-control, and control of my thoughts... Too often my mind wanders without a clarity of purpose. This is what I want to correct with meditation.

I found a course https://arocourse.neocities.org/ that someone scraped off of an email-list course. As it suggested I wrote an entry about meditation.

I also did some research on Buddhism and I have some mixed feelings. My Catholicism has been waning due to the fact that I just cannot see any excuse for the world being the way it is... Telling Job that he wasn't there at the start of the world so he's ignorant is iself just a fallacious argument from ignorance.

Perhaps in the future thanks to technical progress things will be better but I'll be dead by then and I am not self-less enough to be satisified by the thought that distant people in the future might be able to live in a more intelligent, noble and just world. I would love to be Nietzschean, embrace amor fati, love the earth which gave me life and existance itself as well as those around me, heck if I could be such a Nietzschean then maybe I could be a good Christian and a good Nietzschean. Besides the problem with Nietzcheanism is that it is too intellectualised and romanticised, it doesn't tell you what to do, Nietzsche's life is harldy an example to follow. Many talented artists have found Nietzsche useful and I think it is an ideology made for artists. On the other hand there's a whole army of handwringing Nietzschean intellectuals and fans who do not do anything impressive and so instead just seem like a bunch of edgy neckbeards, not in a based otaku way, but in a resentful and pathetic way towards everyone. I think these people would be better off leaving Nietzsche's alone rather than tarnishing it, and instead they should understand it wasn't a philosophy made for them but rather N was built a rational basis for great artists like David Bowie.

It's the same with Randian Objectivism, if you're some genious businessman then it's fine and it suits you and justifies your choices but when it's some loser who's obsequiously sucking up to said succesful businessmen when it's obvious they will never be able to join their ranks then it's just pathetic. Similarly it's fine for King Charles to be into Evola's aristocratic ideas but when it's an ordinary person doing so, it just sounds like they can't wait to go on and grovel in front of another man.. I could go on making these same points about ideologies across the political spectrum, it's not just rightwing ones as I have singled them out here, but you can make the parallels yourself because I know that the people on neocities are mostly left-wing and I don't want to get into useless arguments. For what it's worth, if this was a right-wing site then I would have used left-wing examples because for some reason when it's about their own side getting scrutinised all ability for reason and honesty dissapears on all sides. Basically the problem is that there is no use for a philosophy that you cannot practice, but can only talk and talk about till the cows go home. If you're not a middle class person who has the talent to work in science or administration/charity then you can't be a secular humanist, if you're not a great artist you can't be a Niezchean, if you are not a succesful you can't be a businesman, if you are not an aristocrat you can't be a royalist. If you try to be any of these things without fitting the bill then you'll just a joke living a simulacra, wearing words and ideologies like badges dangling on a North Korean General's uniform who's never led an army into battle. It's just that after you read Niezsche for example, there is nothing you can do but nod agreement, feel a short satisfaction at understanding the validity of the argument... and then after a dry-spell after an orgasm go back to reality like nothing has changed, it just gets harder and harder to get that satisfaction from just understanding alone because it becomes harder to find ideas that will shake and alter your mind entirely so the dry spells will get longer, I think my ideas have already cemented themselves too much to change my mind radically that often anymore. Same with objectivism, there is no prescribed path to take, just a general directive to be creative and never to betray your vision but if they already had a vision then they wouldn't need to turn to Mrs. Rand for one. Whereas with Buddhism there's meditation which presumably can be milked for bliss (by any other name) for extended periods of time, then there's a whole social architecture and culture you can get involved with, if you so wish.

Who knows perhaps this diversion into Buddhism, the faith of my land and my people as I have belatedly come to accept them, might be just that which leads me back to secular humanism or Christianity by restoring my hope in this world - but I doubt it. I feel like Buddhism, at least the Therevada Buddhism which makes sense to me, is much more selfish than Christianity - because even as it denies the self, it also denies others and so love for others. Mere dissipated compassion is cheap to dole out, moreover you can hand out a compassion from a position of superiority, hence why you don't want to be pitied, but love is a lot more intense than that, sure it might not last forever, so what, it is much more valuable for how scarce it is, and just because something lasts longer that doesn't mean it is better. Moreoever even the Compassion itself in Buddhism, just like the ethics strikes me as a means to an end, than the genuine feeling. Perhaps being ordered to love your enemy is no less a dissipated feeling, a means to obey God than genuine love but I feel like once you love someone, it doesn't matter why you love them - love cannot be questioned by reason. This is why when Objectivists try to define love by the "Values" in yourself being reflected in others, it just sounds like some ridiculous post-rationalisation.

On the other hand love is genuine therefore love never fails... it's deep in our blood, it's older and deeper than any religion, ideology, philosophy or text. Who knows maybe once we figure out how to do genetic engineering properly we might be able to create a human being which cannot feel love but only an unspecific compassion which rejects the self and the self-of-others but I'll be long dead or too dead to care by then, unless their computer God decides to bring me back to life as an act of compassion... What I mean is maybe it'd make a neat idea for SciFi short story but I don't think you'd get any more mileage out of that idea than that.

I suspect that even though Christianity now seems to be declining, it'll recover, not because of any vulgar disgusting reasons like differences in birthrates compared to secular folk but because of Christianity's appeal to love, not greatness, not prosperity, not enlightenment.

The above withstanding why would I still look to Buddhism. That's pretty shrimple. I believe that "Englightentment" or rather the pursuit of enlightenment (for I believe it is a thing which exists only because it is sought after) could be not an end in itself but a means to an end (for me). Just as greatness and prosperity are also means and not ends (for me). Well ends to what? "Amor fati"? No, not quite, Amor Fati (love of fate) realistically is at best tactically looking away from the things that you dislike about the world, although I would certainly like to minimise the things that I hate about the world, rather than maximise them. What I have in mind is something far less ambitious and ostentatious than that. If you are in a negative mindset about the world and can't get back to be positive in one step, then perhaps it might be better to first seek to take the middle step, and try to be neutral about it, neither despairing, nor affirming of the world. Then perhaps you might be able to go all the way and be able to affirm reality. For in the end some people are just built in a way that they can't separate themselves from the world, these deficient people can't distinguish their feelings about themselves from their feelings about the world, and because they can't self-affirm they need to affirm reality and the other people who exist in reality first as a step to affirm themselves. You can pretty much replace the word "affirm" with "love."

I chose to start examining Therevada Buddhism partly because I am finally excited to see some cultural phenomenon (which is not civil war) at which my country has been the centre of rather than in the periphery... Whoever says that Buddhism is not tribal or ethnic is a fool which is why when westerners put on the orange robes and shave their heads it does look rather odd and slighly funny... Of course the converse is true as well, western religious garments can look like they're an imitation of other people. Of course with time all things get adapted, but isn't it that when you are the one doing the adapting it puts you in a subordinate position? It might not seem the way from the other side which thinks it is bestowing something worth more than what it replaced... But yeah I hate neither side and it's yet another fucked up situation that I hate - all these unplesant group dynamics where there needs to be a victor and loser group, it constantly leaves a shit taste in my mouth. Another reason is that I feel like with Therevada Buddhism I can somewhat separate the faith claims from the ones based on reason alone whereas say with Mayahanaism, Hinduism, Shintoism or Daoism etc.. I feel like I'd be getting lost in an even bigger polytheistic celestial psycho-drama, confused by different gurus, rather than getting straight to the meat and the potatoes of the Sermon on the Mount. What I mean is that, at least outwardly, Therevada Buddhism looks like it is about one person, "The Awakened One," dealing with one problem, suffering/dissapointment.

I have had the same issue with Buddhism that Nietzcsche has had with it, that it feels like escapism into a "True World" called Nirvana rejecting the false outside material world. An Italian catholic friend of mine once suggested that perhaps the reason why South Asia lagged behind Europe might have been due to a rejection of accepting the real world as real. I wonder about that, I suppose in any case, whatever the real reason was, it no longer matters because the obvious necessity and power of science, of understanding the material reality of the world, has been proven and every state has to act on this assumption and invest into scientific research if it doesn't want to fall behind. Besides, what's more important to most people is whether a faith benefits them personally rather than whether it benefits their nation over a long period of time. It's not that it doesn't matter whether it's good for nation, but this is something that the government should think about, there is no use in me thinking about it when I don't have the political power to change anything, moreover when I have things closer to my self to deal with. So setting aside all this what effect does the fact that Buddhism might be an escapism from the world have on me? Some degree of escapism from reality is okay, even if I empty my mind of my problems during meditation, those problems will not permanently leave my mind, they'll simply flood back in as soon as I stop meditating, so it's not a permanent escape from reality into delusion. Although that begs the question about what is the point in medidating? The point is, I suppose, the pleasure that you get from it, that it might allow you to impose at will some peace into your mind, having a reprieve from the cruelty of reality is fine, you'll be in a better mood to deal with the bullshit(dhukka) which you cannot escape from. I think why I said all that stuff about the government is because it's best that we not forget that the government has the power through science and law to actually change reality unlike us having to change how we think about reality, as a reaction to our lack of institutional power. It is important not to forget this culpability while accepting that there is no way realistically unless you have the charisma for it, to affect wider events and move the hearts of men.

That website I linked earlier said that the reason why I medidate would change if I keep at it, so I suppose I might be able to look back at this post and reflect on my motives which might be summed up as, for my future self's convenience: Reach a neutral feeling towards the world (myself + other people) where I am not as deeply affected by everything, not so soft and thin-skinned, but a bit more detached, so that I can then find a way from an easier footing to love the world (myself+ other people + maybe even nature which like men have to be tamed by the law, I regard nature to be cruel and in need to be tamed by science) more. This might sound arrogant but even if there were such a thing as Nirvana, which I have no reason to assume that there is, then I wouldn't want to want it anymore than I want to be der ubermensch.

I do hope (in vain) that I haven't pissed off anyone by talking of a sensitive topic as religion. Nevertheless these are my thoughts. If you disagree then can we just not agree to disagree rather than starting another useless argument on the internet? I guess not. The digital world and its pointless never-ending arguments must be added to the samsara at this point.


I have been marking off corrections to chapter 1 & 2 of TLNC. That has been going rather well. Added a new character in passing while editing chapter 1. I created an entry for her on the wiki. I hope that by keeping track of these minor characters I can make use of them later, and create a well-connected story, maybe fuse similar characters into one.

I have started reading up on Poetry which is what I am going to dedicate myself to during the next few days. Yes I'll re-read C19 and C20 of my web novel and make notes while taking breaks between reading poems. TO-DO EDITED.

As for the Poem, I read a marxist one called "Surplus Value" about the auto-boom and bust in michigam USA, it was a bit preachy but it was also very clear and straightforward. Surplus Value is the excess value that your labour produces for your employer, or in other words what according to Marxists you are being exploited for. Is it the same as profit? Not sure, tried to look it up and then gave up cause it's economics. The speaker goes on a rant about his brother in law who was a mechanic who had it great when times were good but not-so good when the regional auto-industry collpsed.. The brother-in-law is kind of a stereotype I guess, not so much a character as a montage of a paid actor playing his part. Does the speaker even really have a brother-in-law? The reason I say this is cause in the last stanza the poem zooms out of the poem to talk about the general situation. When I tried to imagine the context in which the speaker would give me this little speech about not-just his brother-in-law it was not that easy, but maybe a youth, a university student, in some east-coast city in 1970s America passing out pamphlets to workers leaving out of a factory.

The other poem was Winter Song, a love poem, by a woman called Tollet telling us how the speaker if her lover went into exile in some cold wintry wildy place she'd go with him and be by his side, pass him his weapon to hunt animals and cook "rural feasts" for him, because the whole thing is an hypothetical situation, her words don't hold much weight for me, sounded a bit like a 20th century romance novel. They'd dress their bed with the "softest moss" which I found a bit funny unless making beds with moss is something that's done idk, still a fanciful scenario from a probably sendentary person. I prefered Surplus value of the two poems.

Some thought's on Ian McEwan's Atonement

Finished reading the York Notes for Atonement by Ian McEwan. I should probably re-read the novel.

Found out through an interview that Ian McEwan is an atheist but I am not surprised. The narrator's thoughts about God at the end of the novel were a give away: "How can a novelist achieve atonement when, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God?" and there was "No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they were atheists." I don't think that a believer would allow himself to think these things, not in public anyway. McEwan is clearly stating that in his view God cannot be forgiven because if anyone forgave him it would be because that's what he decided they would do, so it would rather be like God forgiving himself, but a believer in the abrahamic God would a). Not believe that God could do anything wrong that would warrant needing anyone else's forgiveness, and b). Believe that God gave humans so humans could technically forgive God if God did something wrong not that a true believer would believe that God did anything wrong. Then again perhaps by "atonement" McEwan meant something more self-indulgent than forgiveness, something that you confer to yourself... a state of mind perhaps, of penance or penetance.... If so it's not my cup of tea. What I mean is that if by atonement you mean to "make amends for" something wrong you did then even if you don't get forgiven by the one you have wronged, you can still make amends for it in any way you choose and say that according to your own judgement you have atoned for it. Of course that is exactly what the quote is pointing out, but point that out doesn't make it any less irritating. Honestly at that point I have to ask whether it would be more respectable and less arrogant to carry on with life as if nothing happened without any feelings of guilt, like Lord and Lady Marshall or like Tennesse's Maggie The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, who felt no guilt about leading Skipper to his death because she was "honest" and just blamed society which couldn't look at the truth. McEwan doesn't have the guts to outright say that that society can't look at the truth of Lola's and Paul's relationship because we are only given hints that there is any love in that marriage.

The York Notes guide was keen to point out McEwan used the pronoun "she" for God, honestly I felt this was beside the point, Briony is a woman so that sentence wouldn't have made sense otherwise, besides even if that were the case then that superficial pandering wouldn't be striking the attitude that they would like it to. After all McEwan is not exactly praising the Lord here, on the contrary he's saying that God's beyond forgiveness and not in a Christian sense if you get my drift. I am being deliberatly vague because there are few things less interesting than a religious debate. When I said that a believer wouldn't be treating God like this, what I meant was that McEwan is using God as a character to make a point.

I do not like the term atonement but I also don't think that Briony achieved Atonement or even really wanted to. If it was her imagination and her ambitions as a writer that led her to make her fatal error of falsely accusing Robbie of assaulting Lola, then Briony would have given up her ambitions as writer, now that would be an actual Atonement. It is true that she witnessed a lot of gory stuff when the wounded soldiers from Dunkirk arrived at her hospital but if it was as a penance that she became a nurse rather than going to Camebridge and joining the Girton lasses, then it was also in order to assert her "independence" from her family. And yet I don't hate Briony. Maybe it's my bias towards narrators, fantasists and aspriring authors...

About the West Indian cab driver in the epilogue. Did this book come out before or after September the 11th? All I can see is that it was published in 2001. I am not saying that the West Indian cab driver/lawyer is a myth, in fact it is very likely that someone qualified to be a lawyer will end up as a cab driver instead, and yet the heroism of the plucky Englishmen who orchestrated the Dunkirk evacuation was also not entirely a myth generated by propaganda. There was not a single positive portrayal of the British authorities, if you didn't know how the rest of the war went you might think the British had lost. Ian McEwan was friends with Christopher Hitchens whose father was in the Navy and who clearly wanted to live up to somekind of manliness because of it (not saying it's necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it's necessary), and I fear that in a way this was their reaction. What I mean is that Christopher Hitchens and Ian McEwan never got to fight in the war their parents, and their fathers were part of, so like Christopher became a militant atheist, militant supporter of American military activities as way to live to his father's ww2 generation, so this is book is in part McEwan's Atonement for not being part of the war effort. Honestly it makes more sense as that than as Briony's Atonement.

Apparently McEwan had in mind for Atonement to be a sci-fi novel rather than a historical one. I would have liked to read that because all these ideas of different endings could have been explained within the text using sciece fiction concepts... Unfortunately he seems to be a literary fiction snob: " In an interview with the Guardian, the author of Atonement asserted that his new novel, Machines Like Me, takes the motif of artificial intelligence into new territory by addressing it “not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas of being close up to something that you know to be artificial but which thinks like you.” " Source: https://slate.com/culture/2019/04/ian-mcewan-science-fiction-machines-like-me.html . "Tell me you haven't science fiction novels without telling you haven't read any science fiction novels." Maybe Briony's Prigishness wasn't entirely the author's invention. Don't get me wrong Ian, I get it science is hard, and science fiction is harder to read. I just finished volume 5 of Haruhi Suzumiya and the maths calculations in the last arc went totally over my head. You need to be a fan of science first to be a fan of those heavy sci-fi novels with the subject to a kind of snobbishness of its own, not unlike that of the literary fiction world... But also not subsidised by the state... It's just when you are not in the literary or sci-fi novel world or the anime world or the table top rpg world, what happens in it ceases to exist for you. These are the things you can only be aware about it if you take an active interature in them, and including literary fiction are not really necessary for life. It's just that literary fiction has institutional backing and students are forced to learn it in school, but the difference between literary fiction and genre fiction is not the difference between actual science and crack-pot science, so institutional endorsement means nothing, it's all fiction after all. Certainly I am not going to sit here and pretend like there's something deep or noble about the MCU, though it does have at least one decent character in Iron Man... (not worth going through all that slop just for him tho) but isn't much of literary fiction just slop contingent on you having consumed other slop in order to understand it... with a few good readable texts here and there.

McEwan thinks that plot is childish even as he makes excuses for it : "Your most sophisticated readers might be well up on the latest Bergsonian theories of consciousness, but I’m sure they retain a childlike desire to be told a story, to be held in suspense, to know what happens." but honestly what I find more childish is the idea of going to fiction to find the truth about humanity rather than just interacting with other human beings. No, you don't need a filter of literature to interact with other human being, just enjoy the litearature for its more vulgar aspects that's all. Otherwise it's an excuse, a shield against censorship called "artistic merit" and against the shaming of the reader's and writer's self-indulgence in the luxury that all culture ultimately is, especially fiction.

The common excuse, as presented by Briony in this novel, that novels/fiction allow you to explore the consciousness of people different from you, from different backgrounds and personalities and thus become more emphathetic, understanding of other people's viewpoints is also complete nonsense. You can read a thousand novels and still be an asshole who doesn't undertand other people or be a rube who can easily be deceived by anyone with any real life knowledge of people rather than the stuff in books.

This idea that writing fiction is in any way a way to run a realistic simulation of how things would turn out in reality is silly, this applies both to science fiction and to literary fiction, you can make your characters do whatever you want them to and make it convincing too if you're good at it and if you spend long enough at it, what kind of truth could this process reveal?

Unless you are writing a novel for explicitly political reasons, and in that case good luck with that lol (especially if your novel goes against the prevailing politics of the day) then the only point of writing novels is to write more novels. The pleasure when you feel when finishing writing or reading a story is all. There is nothing to atone for. No "responsibility" of the author towards the audience, what is he (the author) your mother? The reason these fantasies exist is that reality is unsatisfying. If there is any responsibility on part of the author and writer then it is not to forget that this is so.

Yes, I think I know now why I don't hate Briony, despite the fact that she did one of the most evil things that you can do to a man in our fucked up world (don't ask me some rando on the internets for solutions - i am just here for my own entertainment for as long as it lasts). It is because I too can recall, as a child, distant memories of misunderstanding caused by fiction leading to embarassing moments that are now far enough to all seem extremely trivial. For example, for a while I wanted to be a detective after reading some Sherlock Holmes and Detective Conan stories. I even told my friends and family. Of course with time I came to realise the actual dangerous, often boring and sometimes not very clean work one would have to do to as a real life detective or police officer. I remember thinking how unexciting it was that there weren't any crimes or crime-scenes around me lmao. Something I could only think coming from a background devoid of any violence or much crime at all. I remember trying to deduce facts about people I wasn't really interested in as practice and some of these efforts being met with derison by classmates. I think it culminated with me cosplaying as Sherlock Holmes for a con or maybe by then that mania had already died. What I mean is, that when you are younger it's easy to fail to differentiate fiction from reality.. Even in adolescence when the more obvious delusions about being like Sherlock Holmes wore off I carried some delusions of romance for a while longer, until I finaly realised that I enjoyed these stories because they were fiction and not reality, and that happiness was the only purpose they needed to serve rather than some indirect happiness gained from looking at fiction as a guide to living.

Going back to what I said about this being directed towards the parents of Ian McEwan, I doubt that Emiliy and Jack Tallis were based on McEwan's parents but perhaps some of it is a criticism of some of the views that ww2 generation or perhaps an even earlier generation held... Whatever the case Jack and Emily in particular is a good example of how fiction allows you to paint a whole class of people in a certain light and assert things about them without evidence. I am not saying that McEwan is necessarily doing this on purpose but the critics are fools who want to have things to say and so they extrapolate and take the example of a certain (fictional) individual as a representative of a (real) group of people. Yes, and then they will assert things about this class based on this individual without providing an iota of empirical evidence to back that up. How can anything they say have any truth? Emily Tallis is an ineffective house wife who just lets things happen to her and to those around her because of her stilted upbringing, whereas her more assertive daughters, Briony and Celia shun her passivity to grab their fate and purpose with their own hands as individuals enlightened by a literary education. There you go, I can only do it so well because I am not that used to lying but that's how that sort of shallow flimsy analysis goes. If someone brought in some numbers to show if this reflected reality they would laugh but they'll happily quote each other until their writing become totally unreadable.

Anyway I don't want to end this on a such a negative note. Is this a masterpiece? No but as is my usual habit I have been way too negative compared to my actual experience... I have read it twice and I may read it again next month. It didn't grow on me like Tennesse's Cat did. Maybe it's cause there's so many things going on... Tenesse drafted and re-drafted Cat many times and so did Briony for Atonement (or whatever the in-universe title of the novel is) but this was a bit spotty and unbalanced, experimental true but only for a literary fiction novel. There's plenty of genre fiction with multiple endings and multiple character POVs, Visual Novels existed before this book was released. Not enough happens for the word count, at least in the first part, soon enough while reading the descriptions I stopped looking at google for what a Cheshire sofa or whatever looked like, it didn't matter.. apparently it's expensive... okay. The book references must be nice fan service for the target audience of this book, which perhaps might be the problem for me, this is a book for those who are already fans of those books but reading this book will not necesarily make you a fan of those books. Again though I want to emphasize that those things didn't really bother me... I am just grasping for a point right now. Yes, it didn't all mesh together well enough. I don't care if reality is like that or whatever, it's still boring. One section led to another. One voice gave way to another... But if the point is that the ending is ambiguous then it wasn't ambiguous enough. There's things that I like... I am just rambling now. I probably need to read this book one more time to actually make up my mind.

‘I gave them happiness, but I was not so self-serving as to let them forgive me.’- Briony. You know I wouldn't have minded another twist where it turns out this was a lie too and they lived happily ever after. Is that what McEwan-san wanted to elicit? I didn't care that much about the lovers but I am just saying I wouldn't have minded. They felt like characters in a short story. What happened to Robbie could have been too many other men in Dunkirk. For some reason Steins;Gate visual novel keeps coming back to my mind as a counter-example of how to write a good story. No, not a good story but what I wanted him to wirte. I wish F would give me back the copy I gifted him if he's not going to play it. Kurisu in Steins;Gate is a bit of a feminist icon too, I must admit, with how her father's little ego can't handle her being better than him, but would it make a difference if Dr Nakabachi had a son rather than a daugher? Probably not for this. I guess this feminist angle is more evident in steins;gate zero. No, I can't remember now. Besides it's because of the good nature of those who made SG that in the audio CDs Nakabachi was not a bad man - and eerily similar to Okabe. Is that how Okabe would become after inevitably falling behind Kurisu if they got together. The romance works because like many anime romances it's about how they get together. Robbie and Cecilia, sounds good together. Robbie is the more competent one but they're kind of boring, is it due to a lack of imbalance. kujibiki unbalance.


It's 3.37am and I have finished all the tasks I have set out to do.

Doing stuff I like for the last few months has slowed down time again.

I invited a friend to Habitica. He's currently working on a project of his own so I hope that by progressing in quests in the same party on habitica we'll in a sense be able to work toegether even if we are working on different projects.

Redirecting the home page of this this site to animelit.com has breathed some well-needed new viewers to the animelit. Twenty-five viewers in total last month.

For Atonement by Ian McEwan I finished reading the chapter notes and there's more to read. I am almost done compiling the quote bank for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Honestly this play has made me curious of his other plays. It's a pity I won't see more of the characters and it's a while since I have thought that.

Now that I have my tasks in order, I wonder if I should focus on delegating my "rewards" for my efforts... but that would mean less gold for the Enchanted Armoire. Is it even a good idea to try to regulate my play time? I don't want to be productive after all. If only there were streaks for rewards too then maybe I'd use that feature. For now, I guess I'll stick to virtual rewards.


Published Chapter 19 of The Light Novel Club on Animelit.com yesterday. The new Faust Academy arc has begun.

Started doing English Coursebook exercises. Finished the first two units. Analysing texts so quickly has been interesting. It's not like literature where I get the text in advance and can spend some time on it. Learning how write with a voice that is not my own will surely help me to write better fiction.

Finished reading the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof essay collection by Howard Bloom et al. It started out pretty roughly but the last few essays were good. I'd single out "Four Chaters in Search of a Company" by Jeffrey B. Loomis as the best essay because it actually adds some new information in the form of extracts from earlier drafts of Cat which reveal more about the characters. This must have required a lot of research unlike some other essays which felt like psychonaltic babble and interpretations which had little to no basis in the story or characters. The final essay also clarified something which had eluded me for a while. What is the punchline of Big Daddy's Elephant joke? The punchline of the joke is that women do not fully understand or appreciate male sexuality. Anyhow this blog isn't a review blog so I won't go into any more details. I started working on a quote bank for Cat. In total it will have fifty quotes, and each quote will be between 1-8 words because I won't be able to rememeber any quotes longer than that.

Biogundam also released a new chapter of Tharos on Animelit.com. The city's defense systems are collapsing and with it so are the systems which trapped Tharos and the monster that he was guarding.

Poetry: Re-read the clod and the Pebble by Willima Blake. It's a poem about love, two forms of love. The Clod of clay's love that is totally selfless which leads the lover to be "trodden with the cattles feet," and the Pebble's sadistic love that's totally selfish and "seeketh only self to please." In particular the question was how the Clod's naive love would lead to a negative outcomes for both the lover and the loved. It's quite clear that being trodden upon, or being made use of is not pleasant to the clod(lover) but what's negative about it to the loved one? Perhaps a niggling sense of guilt about taking use of someone one-sidedly? I can't of any other downsides than that. I suppose some people do not find it attractive when someone sacrifices himself for their sake, some people prefer detached and aloof types... It may also lead to dependeny in the loved one, because if the lover does everything for the loved one, then the loved one might become incapable of doing anything by herself. This might be bad if something happens to the lover but otherwise it might not be considered a disadvantage either, being dependent might also engender love rather than guilt in some cases. It'really not that simple I can give a definitive answer. It might just depend on the people involved.

Web Novel Chapter 20: Added a monologue about the history of Mu. Added a TO-Do to GO THROUGH ALL OF CHAPTER 19 AND 20 AND LIST EVERY CHARACTER IN A GOOGLE DOC (NOT THE WIKI). For the time being I am going to refrain from posting notes on the FA arc on the Animelit.com Story Wiki because it would be spoilers for readers. Added the usual to do to delete all to-do's at the end of the day and set diffulty to HARD for both.

Oh and I just reached level 81 on Habitica. I wonder if I am going to restart when I reach level 100 or continue with the Mage class.

I wrote this diary entry while listening to denpa music.


I read some poetry, and read some analysis on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Atonement by Ian McEwan. These two texts have grown on me since I started studying them but I don't know if I can write an analysis on them... so I added to-do's for tomorrow to: Start Writing an Analysis Essay about EVERYTHING You know about Cat & Atonement for the Animelit.com site. Difficulty: HARD.

Worked on the Wiki for my TLNC web novel and marked as resolved another comment on chapter 1. Made some corrections to C19 but I really need to re-read the whole chapter. Added a to-do for that. RE-read C19 and FINISH MAKING CORRECTIONS. DIFF: HARD.

Finally added the all-important DELETE ALL TO-DOs AT THE END OF THE DAY to-do. Basically what this means is that I won't add any more today's from tonight onwards until I either clear all these items or delete any remaining items. It has to be like that or else I'll just go on adding so many items that it'll feel like there's no end to it. Set te Diff to hard to incentivise me, it's that important.

Poetry: I have been finished reading all the poems and I am going through the poetry guides.. For Poetry I am going to change my "Habit" to write asnwer a question about it per day rather than just read it. I tried reading the LitCharts guides but none of it sticked in my mind. UPDATED Habit: WRITE ONE POETRY ESSAY AND POST IT ON ANIMELIT.

English Language: It's 2 AM. I am going to change up this daily. I don't think I can post language analysis of random texts from my English text book on Animelit.com so I'll write my answers with ink and on paper for my eyes only. UDATED HABIT: Write 1 ENG BOOK ACTIVITY ON PAPER. DON'T USE PC

Web Novel: I wasn't quite able to write a whole scene but I just finished the previous scene and started a new one... Wrote about "two character turns" in TRPG terms. As usual when I went ahead and opened the page I was worried that I had totally written myself into a corner but writing myself out of it was fun and easier than I expected. Maybe that's why I can hardly read any stories these days, it's because I enjoy writing them more. I have decided not to add any habits relating to reading or consuming because then I'd have to weigh my creative habits over my consumptive habits. Never again will I try to review everything I read, that's just a recipe for becoming jaded because nothing other than what I made for myself is exactly made for my tastes. Of course it's a bit slower to write my own story rather than read someone else's but isn't that better than watching something, liking it somewhat, and then quickly forgetting about it to move on to the next story.


I finished all of my habits today. Still it doesn't feel like I am working hard enough.

Gamification is mostly a dead meme now. I remember being really into the idea despite not being into video games around 2019. At that time I signed up to Habitica but I quickly got disillusioned with the whole concept once I reached around level 69 but kept on losing levels because I didn't complete my dailies. In the end you've really got to want to do something in order to do it. I couldn't trick myself into doing things that I didn't want to do just for imaginary points. Moreover I was let down my expectations of the whole thing, of the implementation I mean. And what a let down it was... What I expected was that making progress with my goals would lead to more things to do in the game opening up... But what I got was an ugly pixel-art avatar that felt totally separate from me, nor was there any plot or things to uncover.

Despite these disappointments this year I got back into it with some more realistic expectations. I think the reason why the whole gamification thing/gimmick died was because people expected an actual game out of it... A few people cashed out by marketing themselves as teachers of the concept. I still think Habitica could do a lot more to add more game aspects and that the devs saying they won't do that because they don't want people to waste time in their app is just a cop out. It's just a matter of pacing the game/story rewards with effort. However I believe that even if they were to do that, and improve the game aspects it could never beat a great game that was made only to be fun... rather than be productive.

This time around I am aware that this is just a glorified spreadsheet. In fact this app started out as a colour-coded google sheet. More importantly all the tasks on my HabitRPG now are things that I want to do, rather than things that I have to do. Doing things that I didn't want to do was the problem.

There's other issues with Habitica such as the slow servers, the fact that the app doesn't work offline even though they have promised for years that they'll add that facility. That they shut down all major community contributions because they couldn't be bothered to reward volunteers a bit. Oh and the unforgivably ugly pixel art... I like Pixel art but only when it looks like 90s Visual Novel pixel art. Needs more anime waifus. Despite these issues there is no alternative I could find, and I 80 levels in, so rather than worrying about the "productivity" tools too much I'll get to doing the tasks I want to do.