Monday, December 12, 2011

Viva la Vida

Many people have speculated about what the song "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay is about. I believe it is about lost love. It is a song about a person who has lost everything, but looking back, there is one person they missed above all else.

For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

However, the song is powerful because it isn't about any one person who lost everything. People have applied it to God's feeling as He watches people forget Him. People have speculated that it's about Napoleon. I think this song applies best to someone who has been close to God, then forgotten Him, lost everything, and now wants to come back.

Why? Because the only relationship on which everything depends is our relationship with God. When a person is close to God and has confidence in Him, they feel like they rule the world. Nothing rivals a special spiritual experience--no pleasure, no drug, nothing. It's wonderful.

But we have the ability to choose to forget. We do something against God, we choose some cheap thrill or easy road, and He withdraws. We forget how close to Him we felt. And suddenly we feel that there isn't an honest word in the world.

Soon, we lose everything.

But the sound of Viva la Vida isn't one of despair. It is a song about hope. The music creates a feeling of bittersweet determination.

The feeling of a prodigal son who knows his Father is waiting.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Rubik's Cube of Goodness

This morning, as I watched my wife solve a Rubik's Cube, it occurred to me that the orange side looked truly chaotic, even though she'd been working on the cube for a few minutes. Then, I laughed at myself.

She was solving the red side first.

This is a great metaphor for the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many principles that we must learn and obey, but we don't always do them in the same order. For example, the first principle of the gospel is always faith in Jesus Christ, but my faith may be different than someone else's faith. I may have unbounded faith that He will give me personal revelation when I need it, but I might not really believe, with my whole heart, that He loves me.

One reason the Lord is so merciful is that many of us are improving our relationship with Him, but only one step at a time. One person is perfectly honest but sometimes uncaring; another is full of compassion but doesn't see the need for priesthood authority. Line upon line, precept upon precept, grace for grace.

Of course, being perfectly honest without charity would be like having a "fake" solved side, when it appears to be solved, but the pieces actually need to be rearranged to align with the adjacent sides. "Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Non-Violent MMO

Why are MMO's so violent? I like a good online game, but most of them are the same routine: kill the monsters to gain levels, talk to person A, person B, and person C, gather 6 crystals by killing crystalline elementals, and talk to person C again to finish the quest. You will never see any of those people again throughout the course of the game, but you will gather a lot more items and kill a lot more monsters.


Puzzle Pirates is original, but I never really got into it. I hope Star Wars: The Old Republic does a good job with the story, but they're definitely planning to have fighting be central to the game. Free Realms and Endless Forest don't have a compelling plot or interesting goals. The Sims Online failed, and A Tale in the Desert is mostly about crafting. I think crafting is cool, but it tends to rely on gathering. And gathering resources bores me to tears.

Matthew Everett posted a great analysis of why violence is a convenient mechanism for game design. Dana Massey posted a wonderful suggestion for a non-violent mystery MMO, which I find fascinating. If somebody created a good mystery/adventure MMO, I know one thing for sure.

I'd play it.

Captain Dwur posted a list of ideas for genres that can provide non-violent RPG challenges: adventure, detective, natural disaster, political, and puzzle. Some of his readers posted other ideas, such as card games, treasure-hunting, getting close to animals to study them, or competitions based partly on numerical skills and partly on strategy (e. g. footraces, archery, art/poetry). Syp also wrote a commentary on some common non-combat elements of MMORPGs.Link

The new Mistborn Adventure Game is a tabletop RPG that focuses much more on mysteries than combat. When questioning someone, the GM has a list of "secrets" that are revealed in order. If the person resists questioning, there are three ways to challenge them: physical, social, and mental. The victim is "unconscious at 0 Health, disgraced at 0 Reputation, or devastated at 0 Willpower." (See Crafty Games's downloads section for a free intro to the game.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

xkcd Journal series

One of my favorite bits of humor, from :) Unfotunately, Blogger can't seem to handle images this wide, so you'll have to click on each image to see the whole thing :(

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Quotes from Bill Cosby

I've always felt a kinship with comedian-educator Bill Cosby. Here are some of my favorite quotes from him.

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.

People can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what's bitter and move on.

You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.

“A thought comes . . . it's a true feeling, a funny feeling. And I get to develop it. [Writing] is more fun than performing, because I get to color with words.”

The truth is that parents are not really interested in justice. They just want quiet.

No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.

The heart of marriage is memories; and if the two of you happen to have the same ones and can savor your reruns, then your marriage is a gift from the gods.

Nothing I've ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Covenant of Responsibility

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Wisdom, insure domestic stability, provide for our general Sanity, promote Common Sense, and secure the Blessings of Responsibility to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Covenant for the United Stated of America.

Article I – Financial Responsibility

Section 1. Governmental

We shall cease voting for any and all Officers of Government who promise to both lower taxes and increase government services. All Representatives, Senators, and Presidents will be held accountable by the People for financially irresponsible conduct with public funds.

As the Government of the United States has proven to have only limited power to improve the economy, we agree to refrain from complaining about the President or Congress every time the economy suffers.

All Officers of Government shall support legislation in favor of keeping and maintaining a balanced budget, such that Congress shall pass no law allowing deficit spending. In addition, they shall pass legislation requiring the setting aside of a portion of all tax revenues for a rainy day, to be spend in times of emergency or war.

Section 2. Individual

Each of us will spend less than we make. We will avoid debt whenever possible, and we will repay our debts quickly and honorably.

Debt shall be considered permissible for simple housing, transportation, education, and other necessities. We will implement financial education in our families, communities, and schools.
We will be honest and diligent in all paid work, in order to increase the value of the goods and services we provide, and in order to maintain our self-respect.

Section 3. Community

Each of us who has more than enough for the necessities of life will give a generous portion of their income to Charity, to provide food, shelter, psychological services, medical treatment, and other necessities to those who cannot support themselves, including the mentally and physically disabled. All such systems, whether public or private, will be designed to reward those who do everything they can to support themselves.

Each of us will give careful reflection and discussion to what is truly a necessity, and we will lower our expectations for our quality of life, if necessary.

Each of us will look for opportunities to help those who need it on a personal basis, but we will also respect and encourage others' need to develop independence.

We will provide special care, including health care and Education, for children who are neglected or have few opportunities.

If public systems of Charity exist, tax deductions will be given to those who donate to private charity, so that each Citizen may choose how they wish to support those in need.

Article II – Familial Responsibility

Section 1. Gender Equality in Families

Every person—female or male—who participates in creating a child will be responsible for their efforts in caring for that child.

Each of us will appreciate, respect, and participate in the unpaid labor that takes place in home a
and family life.

Spouses of both genders will have equal say in family decisions.

Section 2. Parenting

The community will recognize that the primary Responsibility for nurturing children lies with the parents. If parents have patterns of abuse or severe neglect, their children may be placed in foster care. However, in all other cases, community-based programs of child care, education, and health care will be designed to support the parents in nurturing the child. Parents should be given the opportunity and responsibility to have a voice in decisions concerning these programs. If educational or other administrators do not grant this voice, parents have the right to fight for it. No authority should be more binding in programs for children than a majority or consensus of parents.

As parents, we agree to recognize our children's responsibilities. If our children fail to meet their duties for any reason, we will help them to understand and cope with the natural consequences of their actions, and we will encourage them to grow and fulfill their responsibilities in the future. We will also make it clear that our love for them is not dependent on their successes or failures.

Article III – Use of Freedom

Section 1.

We will hold ourselves responsible for any and all exercise of Liberty, and we will recognize that a Right never includes the right to harm others.

We will hold ourselves accountable for the use of Free Speech, since it comes with the ability to express love, hate, knowledge, ignorance, gratitude, and selfishness.

We will hold ourselves accountable for the use of Property, since it was once God's, and it will someday belong to another.

We will hold ourselves accountable for the use of Religion, since millions have been given death in the name of God, yet millions have been given comfort and care in the name of God.

We will hold ourselves accountable for the use of Sex, since it can be a power of love and creation, but it can also be a power of abuse and manipulation. We will hold ourselves accountable for the children we choose to create, or take the chance of creating.

We will hold ourselves accountable for the use of the Courts, and we will not petition the government for a redress of grievances which could be resolved in another way, or which are inconsequential or fictional.

We shall hold ourselves accountable for the use of these and all other rights, and we will fulfill our duties to God, to each other, and to our families.

Michael Reed Davison