the digital garden
it ain't much, but it's honest work

Sit back and watch the garden of my thoughts grow!

Note: the date of a thought sprouting isn't based on when it was published to the public, but when I had written it. So if you find something new that seems to be weeks or months old that hasn't been there before, it's likely because I haven't published it until recently.

means that the thought is pinned and isn't going anywhere.

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01/02/2021

Welcome to my digital garden!

This is a place for growth, casual exploration, and sharing about thoughts that I think would be helpful to others.

I had the idea to create a writing website where a single page would perpetually grow in size as you added more articles. I was thinking that the articles were formatted with boxes laid in a mosaic layout, sort of like how a newspaper is laid out. But then I had this idea along with the concept of a digital garden, put two and two together, and now this page exists as a result. Look at all of these plant boxes!

This is definitely not going to be a daily thing. There are seasons where plants may not grow, and there are times when plants thrive and I have a lot of thoughts to share. Some thoughts may grow big and strong; some may wilt away, never to be seen again, or they may serve as fertilizer for the next thought that may take its place. Some thoughts may even grow to the point where I can harvest them and they get their own separate page in the writings section!

The mentality of this section is essentially "I post whatever I want, whenever I want". It may be an interesting space, it may not. Heck, this section could shut down at any time if I think it has lost its purpose. We shall see. Time will tell.

01/13/2022

Opposite Preference Phenomenon in Art

There's this thing that I've seen always happens when I share my art (whether on social media or elsewhere): the pieces which people like the most are the ones that are literal dumpster fires of terrible. Like, sometimes what I made took no effort and it looks irretrievably awful, and yet it gains a lot of engagement. Meanwhile, the pieces which I'm actually happy about get absolutely nothing. Zilch. No one cares.

It's not just me, but practically every artist I've seen has experienced this one time or another. And it's not like we're just conjuring this up in our minds, it could probably be proven to be a statistical pattern. It's not compliment-fishing, either. You could literally have no description posted and the same outcome will result. I'll never understand why this happens.

I've definitely have reached the point where the moment I like the result of my own piece of work, I immediately assume no one will care. Just assume the worst. I've made the conclusion myself so I don't have to worry about it going forward.

It's almost as if people are playing some sort of sick joke that we artists are not in on. It's like the world is telling us to stop caring about such inane nonsense.

01/01/2022

Superficial Causes of Skill

I find it odd that some people attribute a person’s skill to superficial things. And the fact that I can’t tell whether it’s a rhetorical statement or not doesn’t help.

With musicians as an example, some people say when they see them play “I wish I had their hands”. As if these people didn’t have any hands of their own that they could use. You could surgically replace your hands with theirs and you would be just as incompetent with the instrument.

Artists tend to get the same deal. I find it very funny that some people, when they watch Kim Jung Gi draw using his brush pen, say “I wish I had this dude’s pen”. My man, he could probably draw better than 99% of artists with ketchup and a toothpick regardless if we had his pen or not.

But then this question would arise: what brand of ketchup is he using? Because of course it would.

01/01/2022

I realize it's ridiculous to try and appeal to people who are beyond your interests, especially with something like the Internet where people will seek for the things that interest them. Why appeal to people whose interests don't even interest you? Sounds like a great way to make yourself someone that you’re not.

If they lose interest, so be it. If they change, so be it. If they weren't even interested to begin with, so be it. It's not within your power to withhold or enact any change towards a human being outside of their will to co-operate.

01/01/2022

Social Media Outcasts

I think it’s rather interesting that Neocities is filled with a lot of people (myself included) that are simply bitter with social media, whether because of the impact it has on mental health, or because we didn’t want to play their game.

We’re all of the people whose interests or creations weren’t popular. We’re like the uncool people in high school who are basically social outcasts. And somehow, we all managed to find a place where we can be at home.

01/01/2022

I’ve never understood why some people would think that digital art consists of the computer doing all of the work. If you frame it in different contexts this assumption is ridiculous.

Does the computer write a novel for me just because digital text editors exist? Do “real” writers only use pen and paper?

Does the computer code programs for me because of the existence of IDEs, and compilers? Do “real” programmers use only punch cards?

Digital software is a tool. Just because more optimized and convenient tools exist doesn’t mean that they do all of the work for you. It’s like assuming that the creation of modern power tools means that the tools themselves will build the house for you. It’s stupid.

06/07/2021

Perfect Hue

I'm very curious if there's an ability in art that is an equivalent to music's "perfect pitch", where you can identify a note only by hearing it.

One obvious ability that would benefit an artist is photographic memory, but it isn't really a parallel to perfect pitch.

Is there such a thing as "perfect hue" or "perfect value", where an artist can immediately mix a colour with 100% accuracy when they see it? Or they identify a value of a shade correctly first try? I mean, artists already build this ability when they start training, so maybe. Not sure if there is a person that's born with it, though.

10/13/2021

Distant Cultures

It's interesting to note that culture is becoming less and less bound by the place that you were born in, and is now largely influenced by the places that you frequent in the Internet.

Being able to choose the places that you frequent and the people that you hear from on a daily basis makes you start fitting into places that are far beyond where you live, which is something that has only really happened until recently. This also means that cultures of very niche interests start to form, which is something that may not have occurred before the Internet.

I also wonder if this may cause heightened feelings of alienation and isolation for individuals who cannot seem to fit with the people in their immediate surroundings when they disconnect from the Internet.

12/24/2021

You know artists have it rough when one of the main platforms for sharing art is Twitter. Twitter. Really?

I don't know, I think that art is treated as well as the environment it's displayed in. It's why gallery walls are white to ensure that all of the attention goes to the artwork. If the walls were just a hodgepodge of random colours, it will detract from the artwork it's supposed to display.

With Twitter, it's clear that art isn't elevating the platform, it's just degrading the art.

09/11/2021

Sometimes what I write feels so obvious that it almost feels shameful to share it.

Applies to everything, really. Art, writing, whatever. It feels like everyone has known about this "thing" except for me and it's only now that I'm realizing it. It sometimes demotivates me from sharing stuff.

12/24/2021

Remembered Contributions

People always seem to want to make a name for themselves, wanting to be remembered by their name. But that's what all of their actions aim towards: to be recognized and remembered.

How about being remembered for our contributions instead? It often comes with a price, however: you don't get remembered by your name, but through your contribution instead. You make a greater impact in the world, but you don't get remembered.

People may know popular celebrities for X, Y, and Z, but how about those who invented/discovered things that lead to modern technology? Who are the people who invented the first transistor that led to the creation of modern processors? Who invented the microwave? These people's contributions have lasted way past their lifetime, and yet if you pose that question to the average person they'll likely won't know who these people are. And could you really blame them?

We remember more about people who only aim to be remembered than those who have made long-lasting contributions to the modern age. If that isn't completely backwards, I don't know what is.

12/21/2021

I wonder how differently we would perceive the world if we never saw what we looked like to ourselves. Without a mirror, reflection, photo, or even the possibility of seeing a portrait/bust of ourselves.

Would we become less self-absorbed and more selfless? Would we be more concerned with our actions rather than our appearance? Would we be more suspicious with how other people describe our appearance to ourselves? Will the idea of self-image disappear?

Or in not knowing what we look like, we obsess over it even more?

12/21/2021

Unconditional love facilitates growth in the most authentic way possible.

Those who think that love can only be earned through works or favours or bribery won’t grow as individuals, but instead will bear the image molded by the people whose validation they seek.

12/21/2021

Dead Sites

It's quite bittersweet to realize that there will be a point in time where a person will update their site/blog one final time before (knowingly or unknowingly) abandoning it for good.

For some, they'll update their site until the day they die, and for others they've long since abandoned their site already, with no sign of returning. Eitherway, browsing the site of a literal (or figuratively) dead person is a very strange feeling.

10/13/2021

Articles That Quote Itself

I honestly don't like it when people quote themselves in their own articles. Something akin to this:

Like, they put some random sentence in their own article in a quote box, and then have buttons under it that make it easier to share that quote on social media. The fact that you've emphasized a passage in that manner doesn't mean that it's suddenly quotable or noteworthy.

10/13/2021

A person who self-proclaims to be a "thinker" or "intellectual" doesn't prove to me that said person is in fact intelligent.

If anything, it only tells me that their identity revolves too much around the mere belief that they are smart.

09/14/2021

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09/10/2021

Our School Mascot

Our university is perpetually under construction. In fact, the construction workers often surprise students by suddenly putting a high traffic area under construction, creating massive congestion and causing hundreds of students to be late for class.

It got so out of hand one semester that the students unofficially made the construction workers as the school mascot. To be honest, the construction workers represented the university far better than the official mascot ever did.

08/27/2021

Exposing Ignorance

To share one's knowledge exposes one's own ignorance.

It's a humbling thing to write about anything, whether it be for myself or the site, because no matter what I write about, I simply cannot account for every single viewpoint, and every single fact. In sharing what I know, I also implicitly share what I don't know.

Why should I then boast about knowledge? For if I boast about all of what I know, then what I don't boast about is what I don't know. This means that in my boasting I'm also declaring myself to know nothing: a fact which holds regardless if I share my knowledge or not.

And the ironic thing about flaunting one's knowledge: if you share it, then the people you've shared it to are no longer ignorant. Why in the world should I boast about knowledge when boasting about it removes the reason to boast in the first place?

A somewhat relevant example from Epictetus:

"Whenever someone prides himself on being able to understand and comment on Chrysippus' books, think to yourself, 'If Chrysippus had written more clearly, this person would have nothing to be proud of.'"

Enchiridion, Chapter 49

It essentially says that if knowledge were more accessible to more people, then people with knowledge would have nothing to boast about. And if people boast about their knowledge by sharing it, they make it more accessible by making people aware of it, and now suddenly they have lost all purpose to boast.

Funny how that works.

08/13/2021

Short-term Influence

I think that the general liking system that is an integral part of online social communications has really warped our sense of what's going to stick around and what's going to be swept away.

People often look to the likes counter to see the "performance" of their work over a few days at most before they move on to the next piece of work. However, that is such a small window of time to judge how much influence a piece of work will do over the long-term.

There are many pieces of work which did not have a large initial reception, only for it to snowball into something greater months, years, or even decades later.

The culture nowadays focuses way too much on the short-term influence that their work brings, being easily discouraged by how much their work "performed" in the short-term rather than in the grand scheme of things. Present-day relevancy isn't indicative of the impact it'll have in the future.

08/03/2021

Contempt

Would you say to a possession that is worthless "you are useless!" over and over again? No, because no matter what you say to the object, it'll still occupy space in the house. To constantly voice your contempt for something is to still care about it.

If you truly think it to be useless, throw it into the garbage and give it no more thought. The same goes with fame, attention, and externals. To treat something with contempt is not to lament about its existence, but to treat it as non-existent.

Throw it out and forget about it. Declutter.

08/03/2021

Thankless Work

The work with garners the least amount of thanks are also those jobs which are met with the most complaint when they are never done.

That's quite sad, seeing as that is probably the greatest evidence for its necessity.

08/03/2021

Unconventional Losses

We often take a loss more badly if unconventional behaviour leads to a bad outcome. We'd rather fail conventionally than unconventionally, because we can blame social convention rather than ourselves.

08/27/2021

Those who use their time trying to prove to others that they are smart are not using their life in a smart way.

01/25/2021

"To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewers' concerns are not your concerns (although it's dangerously easy to adopt their attitudes.) Their job is whatever it is: to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, to make a killing off it, whatever. Your job is to learn to work on your work."

Art & Fear

08/03/2021

Synonymity

I think that people correlate certain things that aren't necessarily correlated way too often.

Being popular isn't synonymous with making good work. And creating good work isn't synonymous with being popular either.

To do something unique isn't synonymous with getting distinction. The fact that it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it wasn't ever conceived, but because it's probably not appealing to a large amount of people.

Being worried about what other people think of you isn't synonymous with being valuable to others, and treating others as they should be treated.

Taking care of yourself isn't synonymous with being selfish.

07/30/2021

"If your silence is taken for ignorance, but it doesn't upset you—well, that's the real sign that you have begun to be a philosopher."

Enchiridion, Chapter 46

07/29/2021

Norms in Social Platforms

I've realized that despite having been away from the art community in social media, I've still been affected by the norms in those platforms.

Worrying about views, likes, validation, style, whatever, a bunch of that carried over. It's weird, because where I am right now these things don't matter at all. And after realizing that I'm basically carrying a burden that was handed to me from a different platform, it dawned on me how fickle these things are.

The interesting thing, too, is that people who come to Neocities from all sorts of platforms have carried with them these social norms as well. It's often obvious from a glance of a person's website whether they came from 4chan, Twitter, IG, Tumblr, and etc. They treat their site as if they were still using those platforms, with the same expectations and such.

The good thing about Neocities not really being a platform and moreso an index is that I don't have to care about any of this nonsense.

07/30/2021

"Without great solitude no serious work is possible."

~ Pablo Picasso

07/29/2021

Respectful Visits

I think it's nice that the people who browse Neocities sites are at least respectful of the spaces that they visit.

Comments made via guestbook or whatever often fit with the site's vibes. If the site exudes a lot of banter, the comments are often filled with banter as well. If the site is more on the wholesome side, then the comments left behind by individuals also reflect that. Of course, it doesn't happen all of the time, but it's nice that people put in the effort to respect the space.

Except for spambots. All my homies hate spambots.

07/17/2021

Under Construction

You know what I've never understood? The under construction thing in websites.

I guess it makes sense if you've only just started and are working on things as you go along. But when doing a redesign, I don't see a need to pull off all of the things on your website just because you're doing a redesign.

Why not wait until you're done redesigning everything before overwriting your site? I simply don't see a need to slap an "under construction" thing when you already have things on the site to occupy people until you're done.

I suppose it's because of the use of the Neocities' built-in editor, where it updates the site every time you save.

Personally, though, I think it's better to locally edit your website on your machine, and update everything when it's all done. Hiding your entire site from the public until the redesign is complete is wholly unnecessary.

07/17/2021

Sarcasm

If you had met me 4-5 years ago, you would have found that my humour was entirely composed of sarcasm. But it wasn't long before I realized that it wasn't good in the slightest.

I mean, I like a good bit of sarcasm every now and again when used sparingly, with some decent comedic timing. But if it's literally the basis of all of one's humour, I found that it sets up one's self for the "boy who cried wolf" situation. Like, if all I made were sarcastic comments, then how can people even tell when I'm trying to be serious? It would just be assumed as sarcasm at that point.

Not to mention sarcasm in text becomes very difficult to even discern, because a lot of the social cues for sarcasm are in one's vocal tone and inflection. Take that away, and it all just becomes a huge mess. Cue the obnoxious r/woosh comments that you see in Reddit, and now YouTube out of all places.

I realized that it was just wasting my time, and wasting other people's time, so I've given up on using it as much as I did. I think that the use of humour certainly has more impact than people think, seeing how the humour nowadays turns people on each other. Whether or not it's because of a lack of tolerance, or people's taste in humour has gotten worse is up to you to decide. It's probably both, if anything.

07/06/2021

Insecurity

There's always something to jostle your own sense of worth, given enough effort on your part.

If you think you are an accomplished individual, know that:

Seek for insecurity, and you will surely find it.

01/18/2021

Attempting to bend time to your will leads only to frustration. Try to slow down time, and it only speeds up. Try to speed up time, and our perception of it will slow down to a crawl.

Live in the present.

07/06/2021

Positive Vision

If I can't imagine a life where I finally stop doing bad habit X, or finally start doing Y, how could I ever expect it to happen in reality?

That's like driving forward looking at the rear-view mirror: vision and reality are completely inverted, and it's likely that reality will win.

At the very least increase the chances of not crashing into something by looking forward. It may still happen, but at least you have some sense of control when circumstances arise.

07/06/2021

Logic, Emotions, and Revelations

Something which I've observed for a long time is how people frame their conclusions about certain beliefs or stumblings.

Some people preface their conclusion with "I think that...", others with "I feel that...", but interestingly enough I preface a large majority of my thoughts with "I realize that..."

It's as if I was blind to something obvious until it was shown to me, rather than logically or emotionally deduced.

Whether or not there are greater implications to these use of terms, I'm not entirely sure. It's interesting nonetheless.

06/24/2021

Dialogue

If we had to read the words we say inside of a novel, we would agitate ourselves with how much filler we say on a daily basis.

07/06/2021

Hospitality

I've begun to realize that most of the stuff that I create for the website isn't even for others, but solely for myself.

And it's not even in a selfish way, nor is it something that is negative. The philosophy that's beginning to crop up for this website is what I've called the "hospitality" model of sharing.

I basically treat this website as if it is was my own home. I decorate it however I want, I fill the space with articles, artworks, whatever. If people are coming over to visit then I let them hang around the house. They can read whatever they want from the shelves, look at the artwork on the walls, etc. They're not obligated to visit all of the time, and they're not obligated to give anything back either.

Sharing in this manner is more intrinsically motivating since there's no real gain from all of this. I don't decorate my house the way that I do for the visitors, but for myself, since I'm the one who's going to be looking at it the most. The same way goes for the things within the house: they detail history, rather than something to be admired. If people aren't drawn to it, they're free to leave.

Now the other model, which is applied to more things than it ought to be, is the "business" model of sharing. "Sharing" in this case should really be redefined to "exchange", because it often becomes a business transaction rather than sharing. People consume my "content", I get views, attention, ad revenue, clout, influence, followers, whatever. I give the people what they want, but they better give something in return.

There's a time and place for that, but a personal website such as this shouldn't have to conform to such a thing if it doesn't need to. Imagine if you get invited to someone's house for dinner and they give you the bill for the expenses of your meal. That's less hospitality and moreso malicious business tactics.

06/23/2021

Jigsaw Puzzles

I recently realized that doing studies of photos/artwork is almost like a jigsaw puzzle.

You see the solution that you're supposed to get (the work that you're studying), and now all you have to do is piece it all together. However, the problem is that you don't have discrete chunks that make up the solution; instead, you have to manually create the whole thing from scratch, with a pencil, paint, or the tool of your choosing. It's basically a jigsaw puzzle but on steroids.

The emphasis of the puzzle can also vary, depending on one's focus. It could be exaggerating colour, proportions, or values; done with only line or only shapes; monochromatic or off-the-wall palettes. A single image can have a variety of ways that it can be studied, which enhances "replayability" to put it into gamer language.

Framing artistic studies this way sounds way more fun. It's like something that I'd do as a chill pastime rather than something I'm obligated to carry out to better my skills.

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