Tag: Procrastination

The Shoulders of Giants

The Shoulders of Giants

Don’t have anything too crazy for y’all today. Mostly because I procrastinated doing this for a while.

Classes, the gym and a homework assignment I’ve been putting off that’s due tomorrow took priority, I’m afraid.

Sorry about that, blog.

But I can do something about procrastinating another day. Today I wanted to talk really quickly about something that came to my attention the other day while doing a different assignment.

Lately I’ve been reading chunks of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” for my Evolution and Creation class. I actually mentioned it right at the beginning of my Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom pseudo-review yesterday, but we’ve been talking about natural selection and all of the details surrounding it for about two weeks now.

While reading the introduction to his arguably seminal work (which he calls an incomplete abstract in hilarious contrast to the fact that it’s nearly 500 pages), something very poignant struck me.

At one point, Darwin mentions a specific tenant of his theory: That creatures who have specific adaptations more beneficial than others will be more likely to live on and spread their genes, hence propagating that new adaptation.

Admittedly a bit distracted while reading through that part of the piece, I rolled my eyes and muttered, “well duh.”

Then I had to stop myself and reconsider my entire life.

Because I had just ‘well duh’d’ the man who literally invented the concept I was brushing off as obvious.

A concept which he only brought into popular consciousness less than 200 years ago.

Just starting to imagine that such a ubiquitous idea in modern science is so relatively recent is kind of mind-blowing. Schools teach Darwin’s ideas of natural selection and evolution as the first two paragraphs introducing a chapter in Biology 101.

The casual air with which we treat these, frankly, revolutionary and recent ideas is kind of stunning. It’s amazing how much one can take for granted that old tenant that we stand on the shoulders of giants with regards to the sciences…

But also with practically anything else on Earth today. Seriously, even things that we consider wholly modern like social media or 3D printing can see roots traced back to town criers in a pre-mass literate era and rudimentary use of electricity brought about by pioneers like Benjamin Franklin.

Honestly I think that’s the kind of mindset I’d like to hopefully instill in all of you with this quick post.

Even if you don’t agree that Darwin was a revolutionary figure (as I recognize that much of my reverence comes from a liberal-leaning Western education and an understanding of how hilarious the man was from reading his works directly), there are tons of things you use every day that you could think about in terms of which developments have become ubiquitous in making them a now casual idea.

So go on and think about all of the cool things you use that would be unthinkable just decades ago, and let me know what sort of interesting things come to your attention.


P.S. — When I say Darwin was hilarious, just know that in the portion of Darwin’s “The Voyage of the Beagle” that covers his trip to the Galápagos, he spends a page-and-a-half describing how he repeatedly threw the same iguana into the ocean to see how it would return.

That’s the kind of man I would party with.

Pushing through those Mental Roadblocks

Pushing through those Mental Roadblocks

Have you ever had those mornings where something seems like a mental roadblock, almost totally preventing you from getting started on work?

I’m asking as a rhetorical question, of course. I’d be surprised to hear that hasn’t happened to everyone at least once.

Be it from a serious problem, anything ranging from a bout of depression to the echoed memories of an argument the night before, or from something less serious, like the anticipation of an upcoming event or simply laziness, everyone has had those moments where they put off work they need to do.

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with the idea of possibly putting off plans to sit down and concentrate on something so long as that break isn’t an immediate problem.

After all it’s different to say “well maybe I’ll lay here a bit more and work later” when whatever needs to be done has no immediate deadline than when it’s due in the next hour. In the latter case it’s imperative that one finds a way to push through that apathy.

Now obviously I’m not just bringing this up as a casual conversation topic. Anyone who has been following my daily chats on various topics this summer should know they almost always tie back to an immediate consideration for me.

My sick has been a somewhat convenient excuse for me the last few days. It’s hard to bunker down and work when you sleep half the day away and cough away the other half into some phlegm-covered mess.

But even with that said, I managed to get through my transcript for the Magic interview I did while sick. So that can’t be the topic at hand here, right?

Yes, that’s right. You’re quite observant when I write your thoughts for you, aren’t you reader?

While I would consider sickness a more serious, justified reason to push off work at least a little, what I faced this morning was… Much less so. To say the least.

No, today I have to blame Fire Emblem. Because of course I do.

The game clearly was not an all-day kind of debilitating mental roadblock, as I’ve gotten the energy to at least write this post (though that in itself could be considered more procrastination, I just won’t get into that here). However, the fact that it stopped me from concentrating on anything else for even a few hours is something I wanted to unpack as one of the ridiculous ways my brain works.

Hector was the source of my ultimate dismay this morning. Specifically, his Legendary Hero special battle map.

You remember this sucker from a few days ago, right? The map that I said didn’t seem as hard as the Ryoma banner map from about a month ago?

Well… I was wrong.

For me, this map on Infernal difficulty was far harder than the Ryoma one. I was able to come up with my own way to defeat Ryoma rather easily, giving me the satisfaction of having conquered a hard challenge on my own.

I wasn’t able to come up with a solution to the Hector map. Each time you defeat one of the units surrounding him, a new one spawned that added a whole other dimension of pain that I wasn’t prepared for.

Luckily I was able to eventually find a solution (thanks to Pheonixmaster1, a YouTuber who does some pretty solid FEH content), though that required a good amount of set-up and resource allocation to match. I also didn’t think to look something up until at least a half hour+ sitting in bed frustratedly tapping at my phone screen.

Now I’m sure you must be asking yourself why I cared so much about beating this one stupid map that I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything else until I got through it.

Well, from a surface level I’m just willing to blame my brain for being weird and obsessive in all the wrong ways sometimes. But I also managed to rationalize it in a very specific way.

See, the special map for this banner goes away in two days alongside the banner itself. Because the banner is full of limited time units, it’s arguable that once they’re gone it’s the last time we’re ever going to see them.

That kind of nagging feeling was what drove me to spend far too many orbs on summoning after my lucky triple pull. However, doing so got me caught in a ‘worst case scenario’ loop.

The more I summoned, the higher my change at getting a rare unit got. But I wasn’t getting a rare unit, so the chance kept building. The higher it built, the less willing I was to let all the previous investment go to waste. Which meant I wound up needing more orbs to pour into the banner, and felt constrained by the two-day time frame.

It’s probably the worst part of free-to-start games like this, but it’s a reality I’ve gotten used to over the last year-and-a-half.

The Infernal Hector banner offered four orbs, so in my head those four orbs were a necessary object to help me break out of the feedback loop. So I threw myself against it over and over until I won.

Luckily, those four orbs were just what I needed to finally summon a rare unit, which brought my summoning chance back to its base and removed all stress from wasting that chance.

I’ll admit, getting another Myrrh instead of Hector is a double edged sword. I love the girl so I’m happy to have another one to merge.

But now I have four. And I probably would have preferred the special legendary unit in the long-run.

But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. After all, Myrrh here has helped me escape my summoning hell so I can go back to focusing on my work.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a similar kind of mentally debilitating feedback loop that you’ve had to solve before you could move on in your life, especially one you would consider bizarre in hindsight, let me know in the comments below! I’d love some validation that I’m not the only freak on this blue marble of ours.

However, don’t expect me to see if you do anytime soon. Because now I’m going to go bunker myself down and get into this profile since I feel kind of bad about pushing it off for even a few hours to worry about video games.