The benefits of my strange experience are mostly gone, but I still have a little of that confidence it gave me.

Now, on to the news.

I’ve been reading more of the news lately — mostly BBC and ScienceDaily.  The latter helps me come up with new, interesting ideas, in addition to being a fun site to read.  The former helps me keep up with current events, which I had been turtling myself away from.

As I got back into reading the news, I was immediately confronted with the reason I stopped reading it to begin with.  Many stories are on recent, developing situations with much of the information missing, meaning that it would be pointless to form an opinion on them.

And yet, most people do, forming opinions from their own life experience.  One example (and I hate to use this, since I tend to stay away from celebrity stories) is Oprah’s accusation of racism in Switzerland.

Was it or wasn’t it?  Some say it’s racism while others say it’s snobbery.  The information that I would need in order to form an informed opinion simply isn’t present.  However, people (myself included) form opinions on such incidents based on their own life experience rather than the facts of the situation in specific (which, even after they all come out, can be interpreted either way).  In the end, there is an objective truth about what really happened, but all we can do is guess what that truth is based on our own experiences.  When it comes down to it, unless one is a practiced people-reader, it is difficult if not impossible to rule on the situation objectively, and the sheer volume of misinformation at the start of many high-profile cases skew opinions in one direction or another based on that first impression, sometimes prompting people to action over the internet.  An excellent example of such were the rumors that were reported as fact following the Boston bombings earlier in the year.

Perhaps a wider variety of life experiences and meaningful encounters with others brings one closer and closer to the truth?  If so, then I’m definitely not one who should express an opinion on this.

Of course, I could just read the news without forming an opinion, right?  Nope.  Part of the fun of reading the news, I believe, is forming that opinion of the events and/or opinions contained within.  It strengthens or weakens our mental predispositions, giving us a high of experiencing strong emotion in a context divorced from our everyday lives, kind of like a good book or movie.  To judge the situation is an automatic response, and even if one suppresses it consciously, it takes strong mental discipline to walk away without forming any opinion at all — stronger mental discipline than I have, for sure.  I don’t doubt there are those out there who can do this, as I’ve seen that a great many interesting things are made possible by the brain.

In the end, I decided it was fine to read these things despite my automatic judgments.  It is, after all, part of being human.  Or at least I think it is.

For a long time now, I’ve been pretty jaded about the idea of unexplained and unexpected events from out of nowhere changing a person’s life.  Yeah, that’s how these stories always start, right?  Skeptic, undergoes strange experience, blah-de-blah blah blah.  Hasn’t happened to me for 8 years now.

Though in this case, I’m sure there’s a perfectly valid biological explanation for it.  I just hope it’s not a tumor.

The short version is, I was in the middle of the mall last weekend when I had the most interesting experience of disorientation and dizziness, followed by a feeling of sheer euphoria.  When it passed, all of my social anxiety was gone, I experienced a new clarity and sharpness of thought, and I felt happier than I’ve ever felt in a while.  The feelings of euphoria and mental sharpness (mostly) went away over the next few days, but since then, I’ve actually been able to hold conversations with people without feeling out of place.

Now, one week later, the feeling has mostly passed, but the reduction in fear seems likely to stay.  It’s a good thing, because I’m at a critical point in both my software and writing careers right now.  Software-wise, I’m at an internship where I really want to show what I can do.  Part of that is in interaction with co-workers.  Writing-wise, I’d really like to ask someone to beta-read story once I’m done with this pass of editing.  Before the Event, the thought of such filled me with absolute terror.  Now, I can live with it just fine, even if the response is absolute rejection.  I can see the bright side of everything at last.

I’ve also noticed some other things from my happier mood.  For one thing, I’ve been eating healthier and smaller portions recently.  I just don’t need to eat to feel happy anymore, and I’m quite glad about that.

It seems that miracles do happen — seizing the moment comes naturally when it happens.  I firmly believe that certain types of brains require outside assistance or lucky events to make sweeping changes in their lives, no matter what sort of advice is popular these days.  I just want to say that if you’re one of the people out there who doesn’t feel uplifted by the “inspirational stories” and “inner power” self-help advice that gluts our society today, you are not alone, and you need not feel ashamed for being unable to act on that advice in your own life.

If fear is the mind-killer, then shame is the brain-killer.  The less shame you bear, the more ready you’ll be able to seize an opportunity when it finally presents itself.

Stay strong out there.

What is Twenty Thousand Eyes?  I could come up with many crazy stories to explain the name I came up with so long ago.   My favorite so far is the idea that my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome could be characterized as seeing the world with fewer senses than most, yet taking in tons of information from the senses I do have.  That indeed would be poetic, but it would be a lie.  Certainly, the second half was completely untrue until three days ago — more on that in a day or two.  Probably.

The name in no way came about just because I was once obsessed with a song called “The Night has a Thousand Eyes.”  Uh-uh.  Not at all.

But what is this blog?  I know what I wish it to be: a conversation between myself and whatever readers decide to come and respond to my half-baked thoughts, with the goal of greater understanding.  I want to exchange ideas and share experiences here, while hopefully providing some entertaining tales and perspectives.

I’d also like to exchange ideas on the writing process here as I encounter them, in the hopes that I can help people avoid the newbie mistakes I’ve made along the way.  Alas, I am still quite a ways away from being able to offer an informed opinion on the matter.

(Despite being a programmer, I have little web design experience and no idea what a good layout is, so I went with colors that look good.  Please tell me if these colors are terrible, or unfriendly to the colorblind, or something else).

Status

Listening to: Radio/Video by System of a Down

Awaiting: the imminent release of Rise of the Triad

Absorbed in: Editing my first full-drafted novel, working at my internship.

Procrastinating on: My thesis project