That's the power of the Smilie-blade

Posted by Seleney on March 25, 2012, 3:04 p.m.

Perhaps this isn't a very pertinent blog, but then again society's outlook on the world affects us all, especially those to whom it falls to keep the populous satisfied through art and entertainment. Also, I have noticed many sad faces around here lately and I hope I can give you all a smile or at least something with which you can fight the dark image we have of ourselves. …And now my brain is running off with images of everyone as Link/Sora -esk people fighting their shadow-selves with the blade of emoticon smilies. You swing your blade, your shadow-self falls to its knees and you say “…â€? or “That’s the power of the smile-bladeâ€? (I should probably concentrate shouldn’t I? Yeah, sorry). It’s not that I haven’t been having my own depressing matters: my ex dropping me like so many Skype calls to date his ex and then calling me after ignoring my existence for three months (“Go stub your toe, and may all your bacon burnâ€?) or being presented with the possibility of not having all of my credits to graduate on time (I would say histology should die, but then none of the cells in my body would work :/).

Anyway, most of you don't know that I am a senior in college, about to graduate, hopefully, with a degree in biology and I plan to go for a masters in animal behavior as well. Why does this matter? Well, it means that I actually pay attention in classes like Ecology and Behavior (as opposed to sleeping through genetics and bio-chemistry; honestly, I tried to stay awake but they were just so tedious most of the time).

While sitting in class the other day, my professor stated something that struck me with its implications.

"Natural selection promotes what works, not necessarily what is most efficient. An organism may have a process that allows it to survive but also has negative impacts. This may seem counter-intuitive; however, the environment may change as a result and that process will no longer be favored."

Now, I know many of you are probably rolling your eyes right now at spouting something that is clearly upper level biology gibberish, but allow me to translate:

Nature is not perfect. It does not necessarily even promote perfection. It supports organisms that are equally fallible and liable to make more of an impact than would be ideal. Humans in general fit in this idea perfectly; we are clearly the dominant species on the planet, the epitome of survival-ship, and yet we sometimes do this at the expense of the environment. However…. is that bad?

So, this is what made my little brain-bulb shine like Christmas: What if humans aren't the parasite to this world that many seem to believe. It is merely just our turn to make what we can of this planet and its resources. If we fall by injuring this planet, it will still be here and there will still be life without us. It will out-survive us in the end. The human race has done and created some beautiful things (“love you elevators and cheese cakeâ€?), there is no doubt that in some ways we make this world a better place.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying go out and burn the forests because fire is shiny. I would be one of the first to punch someone in the face for starting a forest fire ("There were bats living in that tree, A-hole!") I am merely suggesting that our outlook on our own impact may almost be too negative. There is a balance between using and wasting that people often tend to be on the extremes of ("No, your drive to work is not going to smother the trees and yes, throwing your damn cigarette butt out the windows does result in fires"). So, find the middle ground. What humanity has done and is capable of on this planet is remarkable and it is not yet time to give up on us as the 'doom' of this world. We have more to accomplish.

This also applies on an individual level in my mind. If perfection is only a thing of the divine then should we really yearn so much after perfection? I think it says more for us to be the best we can be/ do the best work we can do while still remembering that we have our faults that make us who we are. I'd take a good character that has faults he tries to overcome over one who seems perfect any day in any form of entertainment. I'd choose a song with character over one that is the 'ideal' of its genre. I'd choose a game where the character trips up (why Brawl, why?) over one where you have the power from the beginning with nothing to work at.

So I say, throw off the part of society that seeks perfection and instead build upon yourself. Do not let society bury you in its desire for perfection, take the natural route and be a wonderful, screwed up, dynamic, insane, but none the less surviving human being. Be a good person, but be you; do it in your own way. More importantly, make sure you aren’t expecting everyone around you to be perfect, that just hurts everyone.

…and Link/Sora stands tall, watching the shadow creature dissolve into nothing, knowing that this was only a step on the path to Zelda/Kiri. They may have beaten their own dark sides but there are still approximately 10 more bosses to kill and then Gannon/Ansem to defeat. With his hearts intact (for now) he starts for his next goal… (Don’t you love extended metaphors, my brain apparently does).

Ps. Try for a smile today. I may not know many of you, but just the fact that you are a human being bending under the weight of the world along with me is enough for me to feel a connection with you. Know I feel for you.


Iasper 12 years, 1 month ago

Comparing biology with games? Awesome.

flashback 12 years, 1 month ago

You assume we cannot do sufficient damage that our own extinction does not come with the extinction of everything else on this planet.

Castypher 12 years, 1 month ago

Hey, you know biology well?

This may be a little off topic, but I've got a biological life sim in the works. I'm not sure how right at the moment, but it might be nice having someone in the field on my side. I can only take so much body chemistry myself.

Seleney 12 years, 1 month ago

@ flashback: Even if everything goes extinct, the raw planet would still be there. What is to stop life from developing again? All of the same atoms and molecules are still present and being cycled. Granted, extinction would be quite sad, but I don't think we are faulted enough to end everything

@Kilin: Sure, I'd be glad to help as best I can. (sorry I keep putting the second L in your name, habit i suppose)

LAR Games 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't think the translation was really necessary, but this was very interesting to read. I agree with flashback as well. We might just completely destroy this planet, and that'll be the end of that.

On a similar topic, I've always wanted to have the ability to live forever to observe the progress of humanity.

Darn you "Empire Earth II" for making me curious!

Seleney 12 years, 1 month ago

What I was trying to say is I literally don't think we can destroy everything unless we completely destroy the world into little bits and pieces that float around space, otherwise, as long as the shell is there (the non biological elements of the planet) life can start over without us. Sure we can destroy all life on the planet (which is harder than you would think) but the factors from which life came would still be there. So, how do you blow up a planet on accident?

I do agree that watching how humanity changes would be very interesting though. :)

flashback 12 years, 1 month ago

We don't need to blow up the planet, we just need to glass it. Or remove the atmosphere (at which point the sun does the glassing for me). If any old pile of rocks in space could support life, we would have similar-scale life on mars, venus, etc, so conditions for life to arise must be relatively specific. Your scenario requires our extinction to provide those same conditions.

Unaligned 12 years, 1 month ago

tl;dr: Perfectionists are screwed?

I fail to see how the fact that life will go on regardless of what we do to this planet is supposed to make me feel better. When I die I'm dead and that's it.

I suppose the point you're trying to convey is to give importance to the good aspects of people/things/games/etc, as people tend to focus their attention improportionately on the negative aspects ("How can you be sad about X, you've got a loving family and friends, a house and a good education…"). That's all fine and dandy and great, it's also what (incoming cliche) makes us human (another subject for debate would be if being perfect is actually a good thing). But given a certain situation, where, objectively speaking, the negative outweighs the positive, it's perfectly logical to feel sad/worried/depressed, because those issues require addressing and get in the way of your happiness.

Side note: I'm not going after anyone in particular, as in fact I'm having trouble remembering the specifics of the recent sadblogs.

Sometimes I wish I'd chosen biology at university, t'was my favorite subject in high school.

firestormx 12 years, 1 month ago

Now, I know many of you are probably rolling your eyes right now at spouting something that is clearly upper level biology gibberish, but allow me to translate
I'm not sure if you've realized how nerdy we all are. The translation wasn't fully necessary. =P

Also, this is very depressing. My whole life is nothing but a speck in time. The universe existed before me, it will exist when I die, and even if I contribute to my dream of the extinction of human kind, life can come again.


Anyway, on the negative side of things, you didn't contribute to our drunken teamspeak night. If it was because you were afraid that people might talk over you and ignore what you say, FEAR NOT, you will be heard, even if you have to repeat yourself.

So come to the next one. =3

Seleney 12 years, 1 month ago

ok on the point that some people may see this is depressing, its not. My point was not that, for me at least, it is more depressing thinking that I am screwing up the world than that I might not have a major impact. No matter what, the world will never be the same after us, we have already changed it. We are creating a new era in our planet's history that belongs to us. The reason this is a good thing is that our impact is good in some areas: because of us plants and animals can survive in areas they could not possibly before. If we can get back in space they may even make it to the moon. The point of all of this was 'We are not a curse on this planet' not 'we are pointless to the continuation of existence.' So, you should want to live so that you can pass something good on to others whether it be friends, family of just the general future. Beyond a doubt, you impact somebody. If you die some part of the world will be changed, if only it is the cashier at the corner store missing you awkward conversations. The world won't stop, but it will be different.

@Unaligned: i was actually more saying screw perfection and what other people think you should be and listen to your own mind. You know what your best is, not the rest of the world and if you try always to be what others want, their perfect little whatever, you will always be smothering yourself. I understand feeling depressed it is how we realize something is wrong. I was only suggesting that a lot of the depression that I hear about and much of my own stems from feeling like i am a failure, but I realized here that I am not really a failure, I am a human with people who sometimes expect too much, and when I can't meet their expectations I crumble. So, what I should do is look at those expectations and do what I can, but if I can't succeed then I should not beat myself up for it. Maybe this is all coming out wrong and not making any sense, but the message was supposed to be 'who cares what the world thinks of your work, what do you think, what does your conscious think?' As for those critical of their own work, are you critical because you thought you could do better or because you thought other would want it to be better? I think there comes a point where we have to know what we want from ourselves as opposed to what we think others want. This is all very in depth and everything has exceptions, i know, but I feel like I am droning a bit so ill stop for now. If you want more drabble just ask :P

@firestorm: Sorry about not coming, I was actually all over the place that day I think. Food, walmart/target runs board games and such. I will try to make it for the next one though ^_^ though I will not be drunk as I live on campus :P Also, if your dream is the extinction of human kind then I must regrettably brand you as my enemy and sic my cats on you so that they walk all over you in the middle of the night…multiple times.

edit: I feel like I am making people feel worse or am being trolled a bit, maybe both. @_@ I'm just a poor, innocent little girl of 21; please forgive my strange since of worth and my occasional gullibility. ;)