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Most recent entries

05/31/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (4:41 am)
I canít sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind races with thoughts and possibilities. 48 years of life has brought me to a strange place where I find the complicated dynamics that have shaped my life being revealed to me; I say revealed and not discovered by me because I am convinced that I cannot discover anything of my own accord. It is as if I lack the understanding, and then suddenly that understanding is uncovered within my being. It is a strange time in my life, one where I am led to questionÖ everything. I question why my life has taken the path it has, I question why I have made the choices I have made, I question what is right and just, what is truth, and what is reality.


I even question if what is right and just, if truth, and if reality truly exist. There are theories, legitimate theories, that the reality we live in might be a mere simulation; an advanced simulation run on an advanced computer, and we are merely characters moving through that simulation. As a longtime avid gamer, I canít disprove that theory, anymore than I can disprove the existence of God. It is simply inconclusive. Therefore, I must accept it as a possibility. If the nature of reality cannot be proven, then I must accept that questions about the nature of reality are irrelevant and let reality itself fall away as I continue to question elsewhere.


Why do I question? Aside from my amusement at the irony of questioning why I question, I think itís a legitimate question to ask. Iím searching; searching for answers, searching for truth. Iím searching for what I can prove to be real, what I can stand on; for a foundation upon which I can build my house; build myself. 48 years of life have torn down who I thought I was, and now I am asking myself the question, who am I? Not just what do I think or what do I believe, but who am I?


In an effort to understand myself I look to the world around me for answers, but the world around me is shifting and unstable. Like myself 48 years of life have seen the world itself slip into chaos; merciless, selfish chaos. I donít think I will find answers there. And in the end, isnít this the question we are all asking ourselves? Who are we? Some of us, most of us spend our lives accumulating wealth and possessions as if they might convey some meaning onto our lives. Certainly, they convey value, because we as individuals, and society as a whole assign them value. We all want a nice house filled with furniture and personal possessions, we all need to be mobile, so we all want a nice vehicle to get us around, so that we can conform to what society tells us is a successful person who has value. But do these things really give us value? Do these things really make us any better than anybody else? In truth, I must conclude that they do not. Possessions only have value because we assign them value. Do we have an inherent value, and if so where does that value come from? Certainly, I believe I have value, that my life has value, and I think that most people believe their lives have value as well. This is something that goes beyond the empty materialistic veil that the world tries to pull over our eyes, telling us that if we make a lot of money, if we live in nice houses, drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes we are valuable. In fact, many of those people who have those things in an effort to create greater value within themselves attempt to minimize and curtail the value of others, which is something I inherently see as a contemptible act.
No instead, I think that our value is something deep within us. But the answer to finding that value isnít something I will find by looking out there. I have to delve within. I have to question, I have to search.


And if the world is false, if the world is illusion, if the answers canít be found in the world around us, then the world itself must be stripped away. That which is false ultimately has no value. For all I know the world might actually be nothing more than an MMO video game, and I might just be a player character, and not even a particularly impressive one at that. Yet here I am questioning whether that might actually be the case where of my other fellow player characters are not. They adhere and conform to one belief system or another, and they accept what the world tells them is true because the acceptance of these truths make them comfortable. While I do have my own biases and my own beliefs, can I truly and honestly search within for the answers that I seek if I do not commit them to scrutiny? No, I donít think I can.


So what do I value? While I have possessions, while I need possessions, they offer me no truth. There is some value to be found in them because they offer me function, but itís a temporary value at best, because all possessions expire, and when they expire their value expires with them. There are things that I do value that last. Love, compassion, human kindness. These things give life meaning. They give me meaning. Why? Because when a person shows me compassion, or does something nice for me, it confirms that I have value. They value me. I find my meaning in those moments. So it seems to me that a meaningful life is one that maximizes these interactions. Likewise, rejection, rudeness, these things make me realize that the person I am interacting with places no value in me, and prompts me to respond in kind, so a meaningful life is one that minimizes these types of interactions. When a person fails to acknowledge my value whether it be in a job, or a relationship, or it just be some random individual I run across in the street, I remove any value I had placed in them, and I move on searching for value elsewhere. This is a human response; a rational response, and it is a just response.


So if true value cannot be conferred by society, but it can be conferred by individual people, then it is individual people in which I must place my hope and my faith. But what about God? God tells me from his various works that I have value, and I admit that I do take comfort in the value that he offers. Yet God is nebulous. I cannot interact with him like the person that I interact with. Yes, I can pray, sometimes I even feel a physical sensation that I have come to believe to be his presence, but the truth is, for all I know, that physical sensation may just be my own body responding to my own conscious want for divine interaction, and not the presence of an all-powerful creator being. I accept on faith that God is with me, but even still, I cannot prove that he is with me. I tell myself that God wants it this way, because God demands a choice; you can accept him, or reject him. Adam and Eve rejected him in the garden when they ate of forbidden fruit, and mankind was cursed ever since, or thatís how the story goes. But in the end, I can no more prove this than I can prove Godís existence. Still, he has value to me. He gives me comfort, and that has value. He shows me infinite patience and compassion, and I believe he guides my steps. And yet, not everybody will choose to believe like I believe, and to respect the choice that I believe God demands means I must respect their choice as well. To fail to do so is to defile the choice that God demands, and defiles the person who has chosen to believe differently than I do; it devalues them, and is in fact an ungodly act.


So am I searching for value for myself, or for all people? Am I in this journey of searching merely for myself? Why am I even writing this down? Ultimately, I donít know. I am writing it down because I feel compelled, even driven to record it. If this is just for my own benefit, or for the benefit of others, well time and circumstance will reveal the answer to that question. But this leads me to the next question, is the value that I seek, the value that we all seek merely an internal thing or is it something external? Or is it both? If value is something that can be conferred by others, and yet it is fully internal then it is a mere sensation, a feeling, and it is a temporary sensation that will eventually pass at that. And yet I value it, and therefore it cannot be merely external. I must conclude that for the concept of value itself to have any value it must be both internal and external. But the concept of God only offers me internal value, not external value. While I am open to discussing my faith, I have never really plumbed the depths before of why I feel it to be a private affair, and I cannot determine ultimately whether the act of sharing my faith values, or devalues the individual with whom I am discussing it. In this day and age, with the tone of the world turning so much toward disparity over even the smallest and most minute of details, is there a way to offer my faith consistently in a way that does not devalue the individual that has chosen differently than I have? I suppose the real question here is this: is there external value to be had from my faith? I must conclude that the answer is that itís inconclusive. So can true value be gained through faith? Perhaps, but perhaps not. That too is inconclusive.


So value is both an external and internal thing, yet it cannot ultimately be conferred by the world around us, or by faith in God. So where does true value lie? And how do I know that Iím not a player character in some MMO? How do I know that any of this is real? How do I know that Iím even real? It is my capacity to question. Here I am questioning the reality in which I exist that implies that I have some value beyond said reality. If I indeed am a character in a video game, then there must be more to me than what is within the game, because my understanding extends beyond the game. Perhaps my value might extend beyond the game as well. But what if weíre not in fact living in a video game? What if the universe is exactly what it appears to be? Well here I am still questioning reality. My understanding still extends beyond reality, and this implies that perhaps so does my value. Does this imply some kind of afterlife? Perhaps it does, but not necessarily. The question of an afterlife is much like the question of God. Ultimately, although it brings me comfort on a personal level it is inconclusive, and therefore the value of it is also inconclusive. And like my question of belief in God does that mean that I must reject it? Not necessarily. But if I am to respect the concept of choice, the idea of free will, then I cannot devalue those who choose to believe differently than I do.


So ultimately, here I am standing in nothing, searching for something. Where is this place that I have arrived at? It is a beginning; the beginning of a journey, the beginning of a search for truth, for value, for me. Where will it lead me? I honestly have no idea, but the uncertainty of it is as important as the journey itself, I think.
01/29/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (7:25 pm)
I will be at WhimsyCon 2019! WhimsyCon is a Steampunk & Literary Convention in Denver. It will be March 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center. I will be sitting on 3 panels. Here is my schedule:

Sat, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM, Fighting the Day Job (Wind Star A Ė Literary)
Sat, 2:00 PM-2:50 PM, RPG World-Building (Mesa Verde A Ė Steampunk)
Sat, 6:00 PM-6:50 PM, Marketing for Writers (Mesa Verde C Ė Maker)

If you would like more information on WhimsyCon, you can find it by Clicking Here.
07/03/2018
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (7:28 pm)
This Saturday (July 7th), I will be at Myth and Legends Con/WesterCon '71 at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center. I will be sitting on 3 panels.

Sat, 10:00 AM-10:50 AM, GMing 101 (Room of Requirement)
Sat, 4:00 PM-4:50 PM, Author Readings (15 min each) (Thunderpass)
Sat, 7:00 PM-7:50 PM, Making Heroines Even Better (Room of Requirement)

If you're also going to be at MALCon stop by and say hi! See you at the Con!
06/15/2018
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (8:01 pm)
My RPG World Building panel was packed out. It was great to just sit and talk about the craft of world-building for an hour. I hope you who attended enjoyed it. Below you will find the presentation in both .pptx and .pdf formats.

Power Point Version
PDF Version
06/12/2018
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (8:59 pm)
This Friday and Sunday, I will be at Denver Comic Con. This year, I am moderating two panels, RPG World Building, and Religious Themes in Star Wars. Here is my schedule:

Fri 6/15, 2:00pm - RPG World Building, Rm 607
Sun 6/17, 2:30pm - Religious Themes in Star Wars, Rm 605

Feel free to come by, take part in the discussion, or just say hi. See you at the Con!
12/10/2017
09/23/2017
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (12:48 pm)
Here is my fan speculation on the Avengers movies in phase 4 after the upcoming Inifnity War movie and it's still unnamed sequel transforms the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this video I cover who I think will be on the team, and what villains the New Avengers are likely to face.

09/10/2017
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (6:53 pm)
As part of my efforts toward world domination, I have started a Youtube Channel where I will be talking about writing (or whatever nerdy thing I happen to be interested in at the moment. Seriously, I might talk about comic books, or physics, or astronomy, or star wars. The possibilities are endless.)

I have posted my first video on the channel. Three mistakes authors make that kill their books:

08/04/2017
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (11:10 pm)
Thank you to those that attended my two panels at MALcon, "RPG world building" and "How to be a better roleplayer." Both panels were enjoyable discussions. As promised here are the sides from both panels in .PPTX and .PDF formats.

How to be a better roleplayer (.PPTX)
How to be a better roleplayer (.PDF)

RPG world building (.PPTX)
RPG world building (.PDF)
08/03/2017
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (7:36 pm)
Tomorrow is my first Myth and Legends Con! I will be on 5 panels (moderating 2: RPG World Building, and How to be a Better Roleplayer) and I am excited! Hope to see you there. MALcon Denver home page.

Brett J Baker (5 panels):
Fri, 5:00 PM-5:50 PM, So You Want to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business (Helms Deep)
Fri, 7:00 PM-7:50 PM, RPG World-Building (Serenity)
Fri, 8:00 PM-8:50 PM, How to be a better Roleplayer (Nevernever)
Sat, 1:00 PM-1:50 PM, Pitching to the Editor (Nevernever)
Sun, 12:00 PM-12:50 PM, Games and Fandom Tie Ins (Kings Landing)

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