Member Questionnaire (Alexios)
1. What is beauty? What is love?
Both are intensely pleasant experiences that make up some of the greatest joys of life.
Beauty, perhaps, is the sense of deep satisfaction with something that you behold. It can be literal, metaphorical, or even pragmatic. Beauty can be found not just in a fine silk dress, but also the words of a poet or a well-oiled machine that functions properly. Whenever something sparks that sense of satisfaction, it is beautiful.
What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more...
Jokes aside, love is a troublesome thing to define, but perhaps it can be said to be borne from some combination of respect, vulnerability, adoration, concern, care, and affection. One can love without affection and maybe even without adoration, though that would be a shameful excuse for love, but not without the other four. It, too, is an experience, but it is the sense of deep respect for someone or something to whom you are vulnerable by choice that can be called love.
2. What are your most important values?
God, I hate questions like this, they’re so dreadfully open-ended that you can barely discern what people are actually asking for. Aside from that, the sheer banality bores me to tears.
If I think about this as I am wont to do, my values would be cleverness, critical thinking, charisma, influence, wit, humor, autonomy, curiosity, adventure, and enjoyment. I view life as a sort of game, one that must be kept interesting, and I enjoy playing it.
3. Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I believe most religions (and most laws) exist only to keep the poor and powerless in check, especially when codified into law. Why can’t you lie, cheat, and steal? The gods say so! Nevermind that the rich and powerful lie, cheat, and steal all the time and never get punished in this world. But alas, ye weak and powerless, do not despair, for the offenders will suffer in the next life! Bloody lot of good that does for all the people in this world who were beaten, incarcerated, or executed for the words of these gods who clearly cannot be bothered to care.
If there is a god, I am not sure how this deity is just or good, but I do keep an open mind in case any such deity reveals himself, herself, or itself.
I do believe some religions have a uniquely elegant background, something that could suggest a connection to that which lies beyond our human perception. Islam ironically seems to be one of the more rational religions, especially given that there is much room for interpretation for adherents of the holy texts and no old bald man with a white beard issuing decrees for common men while murdering millions, but even then, I remain unconvinced.
4. Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
I believe it was Thomas Hobbes who first codified the belief that the natural condition of man is a state of war, a state in which life is solitary, poor, brutish, nasty, and short. The history of man, of beast, and of all life is the history of war. As such, war is necessary, though the sort of war is not always the one fought with swords, guns, or missiles. It would be better to say that life is struggle and that struggle is necessary. We, as all higher order beings (including cephalopods), have the ability to channel this struggle into more meaningful things.
Militaries are a necessity, though perhaps a brutish one. I’d prefer the throngs of people who serve me to avoid such a miserable fate, but, alas, this is not always possible. If a war must be fought, then it is my side that must win, as survival is the dictate of life on the living.
Power is, simply, the ability to control or influence. Power can be found in strength, cunning, competency, skill, charm, wit, or any other number of things. It is invaluable and quite fun to have.
5. What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
I’ve had long conversations about just about anything that can pique my interest even for a brief moment. I’ve particularly enjoyed long conversations about politics, culture & anthropology, sexuality, health, typology, religion, books, films and other visual media, relationships, and human nature.
My interests are rather numerous and spark up at random, often in phases. All those topics I particularly enjoy discussing are the sum of my major interests.
6. Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
I enjoy it, to a point. It’s not something I want to spend every waking moment talking about, as it just starts to drone on after a while, but I do enjoy it.
I am reasonably focused on my body. I am considerably hedonistic, quite vain and even somewhat profligate, and very picky.
Where hedonism is concerned, I can say, without false modesty, that I have enjoyed a great deal of success with the opposite sex and have been called a Don Juan...repeatedly. I have a humongous appetite for that sort of activity and have the skills to match. I am also lazy to a fault, like my father and his father before him.
For vanity and profligacy, I have a taste for extravagance and luxury, but not necessarily the sort that requires a cost to match. Truly, itt is the enjoyment I crave, with less concern for the accoutrements associated with that enjoyment. The bells and whistles are worthless without the fun.
Pickiness...well, I’m quite squeamish, in spite of everything. I don’t have much else to say about it, just that I’m squeamish.
7. What do you think of daily chores?
“There's no worse punishment than worthless, hopeless labor” - Albert Camus
I am not one for Sisyphean labor, it is disgusting and detestable.
8. Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
- ASOIAF (and anything by GRRM)
- Good Omens
- Sherlock Holmes
- Anything by Orwell, Mark Twain, and some by Dostoevsky
- Anything by Michael Chrichton
Film or Series:
- Game of Thrones (first four seasons, then meh)
- House of Cards (both BBC and Netflix, but Netflix only until the end of Season 5)
- Breaking Bad
- Good Omens
- Rick & Morty
- The Boys
- Avatar TLA (guilty pleasure of mine, it’s one of the few shows that lives up to my nostalgia)
- Fate (the whole series)
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- One Punch Man
- Seven Deadly Sins
Essentially, I like content dealing with adventure and politics. Also people acting crazy, because why not?
9. What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
The death of pets or family members, breakups, bad relationships, or the need to convince someone of something through the use of tears. Smiling...uh, when things are amusing or make me happy? Seems pretty straightforward why.
10. Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
With my head in a good book, plotting the “story” of something I’m working on, sitting outside in the shade with a cool breeze, going for a drive in a fast car, cuddling with my partner, petting a cat who curled up on my lap. Also things like figuring out where things could go wrong, planning a political maneuver, or setting up and knocking down the dominos to make an event more interesting (often through chaos). I thrive in and deeply appreciate both peace and chaos, but for different reasons.
11. What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
I have been criticized, rather openly, for being inconsistent and arbitrary. I rarely adhere to a fixed plan of action, I find them more of an annoyance than a benefit, and I am consistently inconsistent when it comes to technical tasks or my interest in performing them. A few people have criticized my practicality, though most of these people are the sort who like to work in muck and grime, applying elbow grease to everything. I’d much rather send someone else to do the dirty work and rest easy knowing that it’ll get done without me having to waste my time on it. Also, I am really terrible at following orders from people I don’t respect or trust.
I don’t dislike anything about myself. What kind of fool thing would it be for a person to dislike themselves at all? If you don’t like yourself, you’ll be miserable until the day you die and begin rotting beneath the ground.
12. What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
Strategy, planning, resource management, influencing people, my tendency to find loopholes in everything, and my ability to accomplish virtually anything I set my mind to.
Managing resources comes naturally to me, truth be told, and I almost always manage to increase the resources under my control, rarely suffering significant losses. Influencing people is also quite easy, speaking generally, and I’ve always been able to make short work of convincing anyone of virtually anything, often without using any logic at all. Between my tendency to “collect” interesting people and have abundant, buoyant enthusiasm, my ideas spread like wildfire and people are all too willing to follow me.
13. In what areas of your life would you like help?
To be frank, I don’t know that I want or need help in anything specific. I’m capable of doing pretty much whatever I set my mind to or anything I have to do, but I like to outsource some physical labor and menial tasks to others because, to put it as nicely as I can, I cannot be bothered sometimes.
14. Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Not often, so I haven’t much to say about this.
15. What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I like people who are interesting and unique, who are friendly enough to hang out with but cunning enough not to be played. I like loyal and trustworthy people, the sort who won’t stab you in the back at a moment’s notice, and are able to handle my penchant for the dramatic and larger-than-life. They also need to be a decent conversationalist, otherwise I’d rather spend time with people who actually like to talk.
I dislike the sort of people who think all power must be expressed through aggression, who are insecure about themselves and their status to the extent that they’ll do stupid things that demean and degrade themselves to “prove” their status to others. I despise people who encroach on what is mine, unto the point of wishing hellfire and brimstone to be poured on them ad infinitum.
16. How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
Ah, the greatest gift that mankind has ever received, for which many wars have been fought and many men have died! As Oscar Wilde so eloquently put it, “Everything in the world is about sex - except sex. Sex is about power.”
I love it. Romance like a spice - good in limited doses, but can be overdone - but sex? Sex is of penultimate importance and brings more joy than most anything else in life.
In a partner, I want someone who is affectionate in word and deed, who is willing to spend time in physical contact (not just sex, but also sex) to the satisfaction of both parties, who can discuss matters of sexuality and sensuality openly, who understands the value of foreplay, and who doesn’t take themselves so bloody seriously that everything is a challenge to their status (see answer 15). Most of all, I want someone who is not just my partner, but my friend, with whom I can share complete trust and faith while enjoying all of life, not just the relationship.
17. If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
In the early years, I would focus mainly on supporting their development and allowing ample room to explore and test limits and boundaries. The way I’ve dealt with small children before is to encourage them to explore and to be clever (being clever is always a good trait to have) while setting very clear but far-off boundaries which, if crossed, will have small, but progressively growing, rebuffs until they get the picture.
As they grow older, I’m likely to continue supporting them in their endeavors, including some of those that are like my exploits as a child. I’d be fine with my kid getting engaged in some skullduggery or enterprising behavior and would even give them pointers.
I thrived with freedom and struggled with excessive boundaries, which my family set in abundance and I ended up having to sneak around to do what I wanted to do. This taught me to be cunning, but also hindered my ability to explore. By setting some firm boundaries and allowing exploration in other areas, I believe the child I’m rearing would be able to freely be themselves while remaining safe from things that may pose a threat to them. Also, this may help build trust between the child and myself in those areas that I do actually set boundaries.
18. A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
This really depends on a lot. The degree of our friendship, the belief, my current willingness to get into an argument, and so forth.
Speaking generally, I’m likely to point out where that idea doesn’t really line up with what I already know. Since they’re my friend, I’d probably mock them for good measure, if I’m in the mood.
19. Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
Society is irksome, but I am fond of it nonetheless. I like people, they’re amusing and very easy to manage. I think people are often too fickle and changeable, but such is life.
Society is strange, sometimes lacking entirely in common sense. I find it odd that society is willing to send men and women to die in a pointless war but is unwilling to provide money to raise up the lowest among us, or that it is willing to throw poor people in prison for smoking weed but allow rich people to commit fraud and ruin the lives of thousands without recourse.
20. How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
I choose friends because I like them, I choose close friends because I trust them. I behave around them like I usually do, like myself. I see very little reason to change who I am or how I act for my friends, since that would defeat the point of having friends.
21. How do you behave around strangers?
This depends entirely on my aim in talking to strangers. I’m usually full of cheer, happy-go-lucky, and like enjoying the great game that is life. That isn’t all I am, as I fancy myself a sort of actor, playing whatever role I want or need to play, but it is my baseline. I enjoy acting, putting on faces, but those faces have to be born from a significant part of me or they’re useless. In truth, I rarely have to change my face, I just have to give it another color and the game continues onward.
Handler of Choronzon
Last edited by Djinn; 03-02-2021 at 12:51 AM.