Member Questionnaire 1 (DonPolarBear)What is beauty? What is love?
To me, the things I find beautiful tend to fall into one of two categories: firstly, expressions of raw, powerful emotion, and secondly, pieces of work ripe with meaning in them, especially if it's a message I've never heard or considered before. Generally speaking, stories can leave a particular mark on me that lasts for months to years, making me constantly revisit their messages in my head and ponder on their beauty. Characters with particularly relatable stories make me become attached, and characters rife with thematic meaning inspire me. These things, to me, are beautiful.What are your most important values?
Love, to me, is a feeling of happiness that's contingent on the person or object of my affections; particularly for persons, it's a sense that my happiness is contingent on their happiness, and not in a way that's abusive or coercive, but willing.
I wish for a world where kindness, compassion, and love for everyone was a reality; a world where no one had to worry about their livelihood and security, but could instead focus on the things they love doing. Granted, I know this utopian idea is likely impossible, but it's nice to believe. I just wish everyone had genuinely benevolent intentions for those around them, rather than viewing people with apathy or even scorn, and that people could love each other. Deep down, though, I do believe the vast majority of people really would and do care about the people around them, it's just that the systems of power in place at the moment disincentivize mutual cooperation.Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I consider myself agnostic, and I have weirdly mixed feelings about religions, particularly Christianity. On one hand, I often feel resentment towards whatever power(s) created the universe, for making a world that has concepts of pain, misery, and suffering, it must be an evil god, right? On the other hand, I find Soren Kierkegaard's ideas on theology, and the personal significance of one's relationship to god, to be oddly compelling, and putting the focus more on one's own relationship to the powers that be, rather than the religious dogma, written by man, that's to be questioned, in my opinion. While I was raised Catholic, when I was around 12 I started questioning the religion, and I think that's largely due to me starting to frequent the internet around that point. In the end, my views just kind of molded into a different shape.Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
War is a terrible thing that's largely the result of malevolent actors using their power to further their interests, while simultaneously destroying the lives of innocents, often tricking their constituents into believing they're fighting for their people, when they're actually only fighting for the interests of the powerful. That being said, sometimes war is necessary, and, especially with the way power is structured in the current era, it'd be impossible to shift power equally *without* war.What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
In terms of power, I guess I'll use a scenario that I often think about as an example for my beliefs: Often I imagine a story in a similar style to the manga Death Note, where one person gains the absolute power to kill anyone on Earth that they want with impunity. However, rather than targeting criminals, a large quantity of which are victims of unfair systems, this person targets the elite that are abusing their power, keeping people impoverished, refusing to progress the world, demagogues, racists, sexists, and the like. This person kills them in extremely excessive, brutal, and disturbing manners in an attempt to scare the elite into either working to create a better world, resigning their power, or being killed, and to make sure the *only* people who have power are either benevolent actors, or at least actors that won't abuse their power. Keep in mind that this is an extreme example, and I recognize that the hypothetical character is also a terrible person for doing these things, but admittedly, that's how I imagine power best being implemented: keep the benevolent ones in power, and punish the malevolent actors with power to prevent anyone from ever attempting to again. Use power to progress for all, rather than sustain for one.
In general, I'd say usually my long-conversations fall into one of two categories: hobbies, or relationship issues. With the former, I feel it's much, much easier to establish a relationship when it comes to discussing shared interests such as games, shows, etc., especially since I really, really enjoy giving my thoughts on the meanings of certain media that people often find amusing and/or interesting. With the latter, I enjoy people confiding in me their struggles, since it makes me feel relevant.Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
In general, I mostly have an interest in games, shows, music, books, politics, geography, and history, mostly because with all of these subjects, I can really sink my teeth into studying them, digesting them, and forming ideas in my head about them that are more "subjective" than the "objective" deductions of, say, the sciences, as an example.
Not in particular. Funnily enough, this is emphasized further since my mother works in the medical field, and a situation often occurs where she's talking to me in medical terms, and I basically have to respond with: "can you explain that in English, please?" The sciences as a rule were the only classes in school that I particularly struggled with, in large part due to me not really finding the subjects that interesting, with the sole exception being my genetic science class, which I did well-in due to me liking the subject.What do you think of daily chores?
A few years back, I was physically pretty active, being one of the fastest runners in my school, going to the gym three times a week, etc., but nowadays I've gained some weight and have stopped focusing on physical activity, mostly due to a lack of interest and wanting to use my time elsewhere.
I often feel extremely bad in regards to them, since I have a tendency to shirk chores and just let them pile up more and more, just further demotivating me from actually doing them. There are a few chores in particular that I like, such as cleaning dishes, washing clothes, and cleaning toilets, and a few that I dislike, namely vacuuming and cleaning tubs (before anyone asks, I don't know why I find cleaning tubs gross but not toilets, I just have an instinctual disgust of the germs in baths). Regardless, I usually have an easier time getting through them when I have someone to talk to; not necessarily helping me, just distracting me while I unconsciously do the chores.Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
My favorite book of all-time is most likely either 1984 or Crime and Punishment, with my love of the former being derived mostly from Orwell's visions of what an authoritarian future would look like, and the latter for how well-fleshed out Raskolnikov's guilt, doubt, and self-hatred is, as well as its themes of what it means to be free and "well." I've never particularly been a fan of movies, since I have a hard-time watching them in one-sitting without getting distracted, and for some reason I can't really even choose what my favorite is. As compensation, I'll also list the two games that are in contention for my favorite video games: Hotline Miami 2, and LISA: The Painful. I love Hotline Miami 2 for its focus on how the player perceives the game, with each of its characters, in my opinion, representing the types of people who would have played and enjoyed the first game, and I love LISA for its incredibly well-fleshed out and nuanced characters, and its masterful use of comedy in such a terrible world to live in.What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
I very, very rarely find myself ever crying, mostly because I tend to be pretty unaffected by things others would get emotional about, although that may be largely due to the societal pressures of being a man, but in general it usually is just me keeping control over my negative emotions externally. That being sad, there were a few times when I was in complete tears, both of which were in High School. Firstly, one of my best friends decided to stop being my friend, which, at the time, was a complete blow to my self-confidence. I felt worthless, annoying, and ashamed. Secondly, my High School gave out awards for the graduating students who performed the best in each of the four main subjects, and I prided myself on being the best in the school when it came to knowledge regarding Social Studies. Needless to say, I didn't get the award, and I felt devastated- like that path was no longer meant for me, and that I had no meaning. I didn't cry on stage, but a few of my friends actually noticed my face seemed to get crooked when it was announced I didn't win it. These are both pretty meaningless to me now nearly 3 years later, but they did get to me.Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
In terms of smiling? It's weird, because by default I'm pretty much always in a good-mood, or at least I appear to other people, it seems. My default face is usually me smiling, and I very rarely have a hard time entertaining and improving my own mood by myself. I've been told I have an aura that increases the mood around me just by doing my own thing. But in general, I always get the most euphoria when I do something that gains me recognition with the people I'm surrounded by, usually in the form of making entire groups laugh. It makes me feel seen, and not invisible.
It's weird right, since I've lived in more homes than the years I've been alive, I don't really feel a particular sense of "home" in terms of my living areas, with each of my rooms and apartments being rather undecorated; to me, there's just little point in doing so. That being said, I do feel a sense of belonging with my home city of Anchorage, which I feel deeply attached to, especially after leaving. Along with that, I feel belonging when with my best friends, especially when they take interest in me. I'm not sure, I never really have that strong of a feeling of belonging.What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
I think there's a few things: firstly, my tendency towards isolation. I've been known to go off the grid for months to the majority of people, with a lot of my friends last year speculating that I wasn't alive, and as for why, I'll get to that in a bit. Along with that, I need long, long periods of time to just be completely and utterly alone. I'm an extreme perfectionist, and when I fail to live up to my standards or the standards of others, I get extremely angry at myself, with a tendency to verbally berate myself and, when I was younger, self-harm. I also feel slower than others at learning manual activities: I never learned how to ride a bike, usually I need help when building furniture, etc. I procrastinate extraordinarily long, oftentimes feeling daunted by the fears of failure. Finally, I'm extremely shy, where I can project an image of happiness. I have a really hard time initiating contact with other people, especially if I have to request something from them. This is especially amplified by the fact that I have an extremely hard-time saying no, or being pushy in any way, as usually I'll attempt to be as polite as possible, or just resign and capitulate to demands made of me.What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
In general, people have always seen me as the "smart one," and to be honest I'm not really sure why, since in almost all of my interests I'm nowhere near the best out of any of my peers. People have told me I'm extremely good at presenting opposing viewpoints and being fair about my judgements, that I'm good at a few particular games, that I'm extraordinarily organized and methodical in terms of directions, and I guess being "insightful," which I interpret as noticing things others don't. I pretty much never make enemies, I've been told I'm calming to be around and very approachable, that I'm generous with money, and that I'm compassionate. Finally, I've been told I'm an extremely good mediator for when two or more of my friends are in conflict.In what areas of your life would you like help?
Deep down, I wish someone would just grab me, look me in the eyes, and tell me exactly what my "role" in this world was, whether it be to make some insane breakthrough, to serve humans entirely selflessly, or that I'm just low on the totem-pole of relevance; I want direction and meaning that, I think mostly unconsciously, I've felt I've always lacked. I'd also want someone who would be able to handle all of the murky details of bureaucracy that I constantly struggle with interpreting and dealing with, such as scheduling appointments, big purchases such as cars, etc., as usually I've really needed the help of my mother to get me to understand how to do these things that I feel my peers just haven't really struggled with.Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Several times in my life! As I just mentioned in the last question, I have absolutely no idea what I want to/should do with my life, since I feel I lag behind in every endeavor I consider. So recently, I've pretty much just been working, coming home, playing the game my friends consider me best at and/or playing other games with them, go to sleep, and repeat. I feel pretty stuck and directionless, like every possible road will just lead to a dead end. But I think I hide it well to those around me; not a single friend knows that I feel this way.What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I completely and utterly despise things such as willfully attempting to harm someone's mood, insulting for no reason, putting people down, etc., because to me there's no purpose to it besides the short-sighted desire to get some temporary relief in the form of superiority, but in the end it's just going to make everyone feel worse. Willful ignorance of the ideas is also abhorrent to me. People who pretend that certain groups of people are scum are abhorrent to me; don't get me wrong, I think people like rapists, serial killers, etc. are terrible, but other, lighter groups such as drug addicts are victims, and to pretend you could never be in that situation, or any other situation where you felt powerless, is vain to me. In general, I get along most with people who are light-hearted, not particularly serious, and who I'm able to just have fun with.How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
I should specify that I've never been in a romantic relationship, or had sex. However, I've thought about both of these subjects extensively. At least right now, I do not think I'm even close to being in a good spot to have a romantic relationship, but I still desire the feeling of being wanted, passionately. To know that someone sees me and thinks I'm more worthy than any other candidate is just amazing. However, I think I'd need a partner who shared a similar lifestyle to mine, or at least would be ok with my somewhat isolationist-quirks, as I really like how I live and wouldn't really want it to change.If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
As for sex, it's admittedly the thing I'm more interested in, and, almost as an extension of my thoughts on romance, I see sex as an ultimate merging of two (or more) people in the current moment; that, in this very moment, you two want nothing more in the entire world than each other, and to make the other feel amazing. I'm particularly fond of power dynamics in sex, whether that has me being more dominant or submissive, power-play adds an intensity to the sex that just emphasizes the lust: to own or be owned, and the thought that only your partner gets to see you like this. Along with that, in general I've had a lot of "interests" that wax-and-wane over time, but I'd say they're less fetishes, and more just a result of me really liking variety. I'd like a partner who was also particularly explorative in sexual matters, and who also enjoyed power dynamics.
I'd absolutely, without a doubt, want to make sure the child knows full-well that *nothing* in the world comes before their happiness to me, and that I'd never abandon them for anything: they're always my first choice. That being said, I'd want to instill in them values of compassion for people, never looking down on others, as well as teaching them to be open-minded and explorative in regards to interests, their emotions, who they are, etc. I'd want them to grow up to be happy; they don't need to be "successful," just happy.A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
From experience, it's usually fairly light-hearted. I consider myself very, very far-left politically, but I still have a lot of right-wing friends. See, for the most part, I actually enjoy debating things with people; one time, I had a 40 minute debate with a Lyft driver once we reached my apartment over the absurd idea that God is about to perform the Second Coming and punish all sinners, and I enjoyed myself. With my right-wing friends, I think I've personally convinced almost all of them of the issues that are most important to me being value, namely LGBT+ rights; I can tolerate economical beliefs moreso than I can bigoted beliefs, and I don't think any less of my friends for being staunch, pure capitalists, even if I disagree with it.Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
In general, I think society has always been structured towards flowing resources to the top while leaving those on the bottom to starve, and as history has progressed, this issue has gotten better and better. As a whole, I think people are generally good who are often coerced into performing morally dubious things, with a minority of people being actively bad actors who refuse to critically think about issues. An extremely relevant social issue right now is the overturning of Roe v. Wade: it takes away bodily autonomy from women, forces women to give birth to the children of rape, incest, etc., disproportionately affects lower income families, and can cause deaths that are otherwise preventable, alongside many, many other issues.How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
I don't really think I'm selective at all with friends, since, usually, I actually end up wishing I was friends with everyone. In general, I feel it's mostly my friends choosing me, rather than the other way around, since I find myself admiring most people in some way or another. I think I'm known for two, very opposite tones: firstly, joking extensively and making entire rooms laugh, and secondly, giving long, information-tangents on subjects that people ask about.How do you behave around strangers?
To be honest, rather passively. Usually I try to be extremely polite to strangers, always giving people the benefit of the doubt, doing things that ensure no stranger ever gets angry or upset with me. However, I always enjoy it when a stranger approaches me with good intentions, such as to compliment, ask a question, etc. I often like to do little things in public that may make others think I'm a bit more interesting, such as banging my head to music, wearing colorful clothes, seeming more excited about the things around me, things like that.