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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in Jeff's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, August 13th, 2016
4:21 am
...that night in Toronto...
My feelings of isolation are not as bad as they once were but they are still there. It leads to the odd problems associated with feeling disconnected. This means that I am oddly moved to emotion. While, at work, a pointless argument will quickly cause me to fly into a rage while, at home, it sometimes means odd things move me to tears.

I was watching some videos of The Tragically Hip performing their farewell tour, as it stops in Toronto. Seeing the crowd erupt, while they play Bobcaygeon, at the line "that night in Toronto" can easily move me to tears.

It is a beautiful moment where we realize that we are all here, together. We build this great city, simply by existing within it, connected to each other through economics, culture, transportation, and a myriad of other dimensions.

It makes me happy... but also sad.

We are all here, together, but how come I don't know any of these people?

It is a great reminder that we are connected, but why do I still feel so alone?

'Bout a quarter after nine,
...Nights
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
12:55 am
A world without magic
Is this why everything has shifted to the grey?

Once upon a time, I gazed into the future and wondered my place. I knew then that I would be in a position of stability, as I knew how secure those who had the education I sought were, in turn, sought by the industry. It was an uncommon privilege, and I made good on it, more of less.

But that was nearly half a life-time ago, when I first knew my place on this path was secured. It wasn't easy to walk it, but it happened and I completed it, more than a decade ago.

The time since then has rarely been easy, but every hardship has been something I could understand and overcome.

Now, what of it?

I find the movement to inspiration so difficult. I have, for some time, thought that my present-day dysphoria is because I "forgot" something from my past. Tonight, during the ritual, I may have unearthed it: I have lost the magic.

When I was a child, I always loved the wizards of fantasy worlds. As a nerd, it spoke to me that someone who wasn't the physical paragon of their age could still turn around to move worlds though their understanding of the world, though study.

So, I became that. I spent my life learning the nature of the machine and becoming a force to be reckoned with when it came to understanding the machine or the abstract logic of the craft.

After a few years in my professional career, I was sought as a member of an all-star team of great creators to define the next generation of my area of technology (by several years the youngest of my companions). I loved the world in that fray. I loved those who fought the same problems, at my side, and I loved my commander. He eventually came to call me one of his "heavy artillery": someone who you send into an impassible problem to break it open for the rest of our legion. Together, we redefined the world of our technology. We were like gods, standing together at the whiteboard. Those days, at IBM, were thoroughly engaging. If the religious could have experienced that era, they would have no need for gods, as they would be them.

Then, things changed. I left that world. I entered one which disappointed me, so I left. I decided to forge my own world. It was beautiful, but I couldn't sell the idea.

I tended it, until I was drawn to something which sounded like that old world. It was/is good.

But, in the moments outside of work, I can have engagement. I have grown to find the taste of this fray sour. Why? Why would the single defining element of my life become empty? Is my life to end? I am still healthy and I still have responsibilities so that seems a bit premature (we will talk, again, after the Ash cat has completed a long and happy life).

I think I realize what I have lost. It is the magic. In the space ignorance occupied there was something else: dreams. Magic consumes dreams to give them form. While banishing ignorance was arguable a good thing, I miss the dreams and the magic which were swept away with it.

Without those things, all problems are small and solved, all life is without meaning.

The 90s was an unusually magical era. Maybe the last we could ever have. I miss the dreams and dreamers of that era. They don't miss me, it seems, or they could have come for me. After all, I do little to hide myself from those who look for me.

...Nights
Monday, July 4th, 2016
9:22 pm
The controversial definitions of progressive
Yesterday's rather frustrating Pride parade got me thinking about what it means to be "progressive". Through time, I assume that its definition has always been in flux and always a cause for conflict and disagreement.

In the past few years, I have come to realize that I don't agree with the modern narrative of "progressive" as realized by the "social justice warrior" crowd. That is, they seem to believe that a combination increased segregation along largely arbitrary lines followed by applying "2 wrongs make a right" treatments to these false dichotomies is the way forward.

Personally, I don't see how this is either progressive or fruitful. I always ask "when does the war end?" and I am either told that it never will or that it will in some nebulous "later". To follow that up, I am then usually told that I don't have a right to speak on such matters since I am "privileged".

I find that the attack on myself (not personally, but through demographics) isn't a particularly useful way forward. To me, it feels like an example of the problems we sought to resolve. Ultimately, this approach is a microcosm of the broader problem in approach: "2 hates make a love".

I don't buy it. I think that the way forward can only be found by imagining a world where these problems don't exist and trying to build that. Instead of looking backward, I think we need to look forward.

While I know that this is an unpopular position, I think that it is the only way we can know that we are moving in the right direction. Some will say that it is an impossible dream but I realized that it is at least a dream worth having.

Imagining a world where we are divided and looking for a reason to demand special treatment or attack someone who we feel is getting it too easy just doesn't inspire me or sit well with me. In that nightmare, there is never a reason for inspiration or joy. It is just a place where we blindly trudge forward, hoping we don't live to see what is over the next mountain.

Imagining a world where we are beyond those trivial troubles and moving forward as a complex sea of individuals is something which can inspire me to act, to care. I might be the only one who thinks it is the right way to live, but it is a life I can choose and a dream which gives me reason to smile and to hope.

It might not be popular, but it is the "progressive" I think we should adopt. I need to stop apologizing for that or acting as though it is a question. While we might not agree with each other, at least I can agree with myself.

...Nights

Current Mood: hopeful
Sunday, June 12th, 2016
11:18 pm
Distractions and a Calm Mind
I have noticed that I have become fixated on distractions. Not engagements, which would involve any decisive act, but merely the distraction from the meaninglessness of life. This typically involves watching videos with which I hold only a passing interest (or have seen before), reading articles which are only slightly interesting to me, etc. I think that this is related to my general feelings of disinterest, disconnection, and lacking motivation.

Sure, the feelings of disconnection are either born of a real lack of human connections or are the consequence of a mental block inserted by hateful ideas, but the others should be more purely internal. Also, all of these might have the same solution.

In short, it comes down to the pleasure one finds in dreaming of an idea, planning its execution, fulfilling those plans, and then living in a world where the idea has become reality. This has been lacking in pretty well all facets of my life for a few years, now. There are no more dreams, so there is no reason to do anything, so there is no movement within which to experience pleasure.

The distractions are employed because they are easy ("Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." -- http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0535/6917/products/procrastinationdemotivator_grande.jpeg?v=1416776298 ) but they do not provide any lasting pleasure. Much in the same way that sugar is a food that doesn't nourish, one needs something more complete.

I wonder if I do this for some other reason. All I can think of is that my "boredom watchdog timer" is set to be a little too sensitive. It snaps me out of a still moment before my mind can begin usefully casting about.

I need to get better at preferring that silence and stillness. Otherwise, I have become a mindless consumer of time-wasting distractions, not the creator of worlds.

Maybe I can find clues back to that path if I let it get quiet enough,
...Nights
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
10:04 pm
No Inspiration
For some reason, I have had a hard time doing much of anything, these past few months.

It is some sort of motivation problem: I just can't get sufficiently interested in many of things which have historically held greater interest for me.

I am not entirely sure what is different now, versus about a year ago when I was still doing some of those things.

In general, I just don't feel engaged, or something. I miss connections with more people, I think.

...Nights
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