Why Minecraft means so much to me

It’s been a while since I’ve made a blog post, but today Mojang released a video that really hit me and I wanted to get the words out while I had them. I would strongly recommend watching that video, it’s extremely short but it does a great job of capturing a person’s experience with Minecraft and their disability.

The video tells a story about a person by the name of Join Chris who was born with underdeveloped corneas which are what focuses the light into your eyes so you can see. His story about how Minecraft assisted in his adaptation to his disability is incredible and amazes me to no end, so I don’t want to downplay the differences between what he did and is doing by telling y own story. However, I feel it’s important to bring multiple angles up in this conversation because Minecraft, and games in general, have so much to offer.

The idea that games can be more than just something fun to do is something I strive to live by, and I feel Minecraft is such a perfect example of that. It’s so open to interpretation and the player that it can be a great stand-in for things the player may be in danger doing otherwise. I think that’s why I love it so much, I’ve mentioned before that Minecraft is what taught me how to control a character when I was younger and I always get laughed at about it (not in a bad way lol), but it couldn’t be more true. Like most people with autism I have/had a very poor spatial sense and would manage to hurt myself by trying to make it better. Minecraft gave me a place with known limits and a way to try something again with my surroundings exactly the same as they were, meaning that I could make mistakes and learn from them without injuring myself or others.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in as bad of a situation as Join Chris was, at least not one that can be attributed to what Minecraft taught me, but with how basic of a skill that perception is I can’t say for sure. What I can say is that what I learn in-game is what gave me my IRL reflexes Well… what little I have. When I was younger (<10) I was attending Physical Therapy 3 times a week so that I could learn how to write, run, catch things, throw things, or even walk without hurting myself. There are so many situations IRL that can result in extreme injury if you can’t remember how to move properly, and that was me.

When I turned 14 or so my best friend at the time got me into Minecraft. Up until then, I had been playing basic flash games that didn’t require me to move a character. Every time I would try a game that had a character to control I wasn’t able to move the way the game wanted me to and it just resulted in my frustration. But I took on to moving in Minecraft quicker than anything I ever had. Every limit was visible and static, I knew what I was looking for and I could track it as I moved.
If you’ve never had to re-learn how to walk or had issues with moving in general you may not know how essential of a thing that is. When you move you have to keep a visual in your head, however unconsciously, of your body and the area directly around you. Everyone has a different amount of skill with that, being good at it results in a good sense of direction, and being poor at it results in clumsiness. I was on the very low end of that spectrum in that I couldn’t keep track of myself at all, I basically had no balance and would always slam myself into things because I forgot something about where I was. Always covered in bruises and marks from missing my target.

With how simple Minecraft is, even in 3D, I was able to learn how to think relative to what I saw better than what my Physical Therapist could explain. That’s not to say they didn’t help me at all, not in the least! But Minecraft is what made it click for me, and I feel like it was a similar situation for Join Chris. You can tell someone that the sun rises in the East and that you can use that to orientate, but you never know how to use that information effectively until you get the chance to put it into practice. Minecraft was the perfect place for me to do that and I still do to this day.

Even watching my content, you wouldn’t notice how much Minecraft has changed my life. Most of the struggles I had when I started I’ve learned to work around and if you didn’t know me then you wouldn’t be able to see the difference. If you are interested in seeing how Join Chris plays Minecraft through his disability with other blind Minecrafters he does have a YouTube channel where he does just that and more. I’ve only watched a small amount of his content but he seems like an amazing person who is taking a challenge I could never imagine in stride.
Also, check out the video Mojang posted, they do an amazing job at making Minecraft accessible to people who need it.


A word to define a lifetime

When I was growing up I was ravenous for knowledge, and random pieces of information that I came across would be next obsession. Every week I was on a whole new topic, a completely different field of study. While I still retain a large portion of that hunger, to the extent that “Information Sponge” has come to be my de facto self-description, there has been a rather large change in a significant portion of my world view.

When I was about 9, I got stuck into reading the dictionary, I loved learning new ways to describe things that I had previously had to work out with multiple words. Each page turned unlocked summarized knowledge I didn’t know I was missing. Well, one day I found a word that would change my life and mental stability for years to come. I remember looking at that word, realizing I had never fully understood its scope, never realized what it could mean. Now I feel like I’m good at inferring words I’ve never heard when used in a sentence. But of course, with a word like this, one that holds so much between the lines, I had a very limited view of what it entailed.

This word has defined my reaction to the world ever since then, and I’ve done my best to explain what it means to me over the years. But for whatever reason the word doesn’t mean as much to everyone else, it doesn’t seem to capture the same intent outside of my mind. To me, it defines and references an individual’s world view, brings forth the idea of an imperfect mind, shows that the world we see is altered by our ideas and motivations. The world is defined by our perception.

Perception is a simple word that is thrown around in everyday conversation without thought, but it has shaped everything I see about the world. In that word I see the differences that state of mind enforce on your vision, I see the effect of memories and knowledge on normal reactions. Through it I follow every change I make, I watch myself grow daily, watching my “self” get lost in time. The word perception holds so much value to me, it will always remind me of the vast differences between every mind.


Senseless Time

As time goes by it becomes harder and harder to trust my senses, to know exactly how and why my body reacts to the world. My interpretation changes by the second and some days it’s impossible to keep up. Each sense working on a scale that changes with every new piece of information I gleam from it, a drastically fast kaleidoscope of broken images and feelings. Brighter lights, clearer sounds, sharper temperatures, and a swaying scope of scale attack me constantly, wearing at my view of the world. Each shift defines a whole new set of actions and reactions to reinvent, a constant game of mix and match, find the value, adjust and prefix.

Check my vision, watch for space, rescope distance and speed. Always a broken game, a losing battle against a shattered brain. Skills that wain faster than their use, moments of clarity that set me free. Moments by which my motivation flys, a vision of broken skies and solid ground. The heavens lost, confounded in their great scope, with solid burning ground screaming it’s putrid truth.

Adjust and prefix

Watch the scale
A distance around you
Measure the falling hail
Shattered parts in view
Leaving burning trails
Make your perspective true
Your center motion rail
Feel each push pass through
Moving you by sail
Shaking you broken and skewed
Counter actions or fail
Reaction and survival impromptu
A new sound prevails
The world coloured in blue
Cracking foundations hollow and frail
Prefix the action in due
Lest you end with an action designed to fail
A motion written in the best of truth

Watch for Space

Hear your dreams
Become a master of seams
Find the open lost scenes
Hidden behind noise that screams

Hear the space
Watch it race
Rushing into place
Ending with a blasting face

Hear it’s words
Know what they hold
Waiting for time to scold
Teaching a lesson of life gone cold

Hear the shatter
A pattern of broken plaster
Each its own single splatter
Tearing through space and matter

A shattered brain

Men define their world
With a mind short of pure design

A preemptive idea of hot and cold
Flying truth a feature undefined

Vision is but an image to hold
Ideas forming the world they find

A broken game for time to mold
Perception built to define the sane

Brightest light

Reflect the world my light
Show the feature rich world in sight
Shape it’s contours just right
Bleeding edges of colors fight
A diming future for all of life
Brighten to fight the waxing night
A future doomed with unbending might
My vision all but burning bright
Fighting the deadend fright
Colours burn the world alike
A feature rich landscape a colours flight


The world will scream as long as I live

My senses have been at war with me for as long as I can remember, always tricking me, forever showing me more than I need to know. My earliest memory that I have a date for is 9/11 on a military base, and in it I remember nothing but mechanical screams. I remember standing on my porch as the base rallied itself, sirens and flashing lights on every car, tearing at my body with monotonous pulses. I remember the jets overhead, the bone wrenching blast of movement that they left behind. I remember the cracks in the concrete, wavering in front of my tiny face as I trembled in the wake of the neverending onslaught. Just waiting, watching the world shatter in my mind.

Even now, 19 years later, I still fight with the world my body shows me. Always having to predict where my senses will fail, where and when they will alter reality. I’ve built my whole frame of mind around constantly predicting and verifying my own thoughts against the world as it should be. Always having to watch for context and verify what should be there before trusting what I see, forever watching my step in preparation for the world to run away. A knife edge between life and agony.

The world is a changing mass laid out before me, too large to grasp and overwhelming without context. Sound and motion holding stories too subtle to put to words. Stories of interactions between man and nature, of a never ending cyclic energy. The world is on fire while color and heat make shapes in the wind, marking scenes out in oily swirls. Each ray of light showing beauty in my pain and forging a vision of non reality that burns its way into my dreams.

I will never have a quiet moment, as long as I live. There will never be any form of stillness in my mind. The very vision I wish to define is broken and mismatched. A jigsaw puzzle smashed together in reaction to so many constraints. A machine running on false information, never able to produce the desired output. But as it is, this is who I am. The man who struggles to see, who values moments of clarity and vision beyond its worth. A faulty process by all standards, but one that nature has wrought out of it’s own jagged methods.


Audio processing with mov

You know that person that always tries to finish your sentences for you, trying to prove that they have a sense of the world around them by making an assumption and rolling with it? Well everyone does that, or at least their brain does. When you hear something your brain tries to predict what it is as soon as the sound begins, the more information it receives the more defined of an idea it has. As it hears a word in the sound it switches to recognizing speech, and tries to make it easier to understand malformed sound by predicting hat word will come next. This can make it hard to understand people who have a different accent than you, or if the topic suddenly veers off course from what you were expecting. If you pay attention there is always a part of your mind running those predictions when your talking with someone, a part of you trying to make the audio processing job easier by ruling out words based on context. A sort of echo in the background of your thoughts that jumps in reaction to every new word.

Now because of that, we do have instances where our brains make mistakes. Where we expect a different sound than what was said and it’s enough to cause confusion. This is normal to happen in day to day life and our brains are really good at sorting out the context to make up for the missing word. But there are times where people can have a very hard time processing audio in general and the context isn’t enough to make up for it. For me it’s an issue with how my brain compares sound and words. I don’t always know how a word sounds, and will get very confused when I come up with a different mental sound for a word than what I hear. That leads to a cascade of misinterpreted sounds that just mix up the context and ruin any chance I had of accurately getting the word right.

There are thousands of reasons why someone might have issues with processing sound though, and it varies in intensity. For me, it generally just means I’ll ask for the word again or ask you to spell it while for others they may not be able to recognize certain sounds on demand or even understand speech. Most of us who have this diagnosis learn to deal with it when we are young, whether by therapy or necessity. So it is often a forgotten part of myself, coping with it becomes something I do in reaction to everyday life. Just another thing that gets between the communication of two people, and a reason to listen more intently than the average mind. Just like any condition it’s a spectrum of symptoms, effects, and causes. So we all have to find our own weaknesses and how we can turn them around, so that we can each learn the most from each other while making the world a better place.

Sources,
Very new to citing sources on things I talk about. These are things that explain what I’ve experienced over the years of dealing with this disorder and I don’t actually quote any of them directly. Use them as a diving in point if you feel more interested in the topic.

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/central-auditory.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auditory_processing_disorder
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_processing_in_the_brain


Traverse

Traverse the lands brink
Across every world link
Each defined and distinct
Making broad skies blink

A world by which minds are made
Through it lines can fade
Boundaries defined melt away
And lay to waste mans decay

A global force for uniting
For connecting those dividing
And to thwart those in hiding
A web of that needs defining

Make of it what you will
This miasma of man’s own skill
A putrid sensational boil
Of man’s own turmoil


Motion Defined

Find me motion defined
A motion that shows its mind
Staying within lines predefined
Reactions by which life can bind

Find me a word stuck in time
That shows meaning through design
The word a beating heart against a flatline
Showing itself through a motion defined

Show me where the world lies
On the brink of two torn lines
Lines built on what motion defines
Motion derived from lidded minds

Teach me moving truth
By which our minds find youth
In tandem our lost bodies move
Our thinking towards something new

Take notice of the moving world around you. By the interactions we and the world around us has, we build the future, just as the present was built by the past. Watch, and learn. The world wants to teach. It has wonders and mysteries in every inconsequential action, areas of study not yet conceived of, and struggles by which millions may die.

– mov51

The world reeks

The world reeks of beautiful waste
Of stories told with volatile taste
A human mind seeks with haste
Each source of this rancid trace

The world reeks of a foul fume
With anger and venom in bloom
A scented flower clearing the room
The aftermath of a race to doom

My world reeks of a delightful spark
Each whisper of anger a work of art
Goosebumps raize the thought apart
A testament to a god of naught

My world dreams of senses anew
A palace where I can enjoy the view
A structure by which my eyes are true
My senses become my own to use

This is a very heavy poem to me. Through it I show many of the challenges I face interpreting the world through broken, over exaggerated senses while outlining those that still don’t recognize they are fighting with it. With it I hope that people can see that pain in of itself is no measurable thing, and is a fight we must all conquer eventually.

– mov51

A changing mind

Time is strange, the changes it incites in the world happens at such a scale and is so ingrained in how we function that we can’t escape the limitations it imposes. As we travel forward with time its effects change both us and our environment. Moments pass and leave nothing unadjusted, everything altered by its incessant march. Growth and rot share this friend in common. Change over time a helping hand to all, both willing and mindless.

Time and it’s forceful motion is the only thing that allows for any sort of, well, anything. Time itself runs our universe and mandates the order in which processes happen. From the order and direction time provides, we step forward, beings that poses the ability to measure and notice its passing. Complex objects that do more than react to the shifting world but define the changes that take place with our own hands. Humans who take their will and make the world react to us.

With time we are able to make our own world, the first steps taken in any journey will always require some amount of time. On grander scales time is your worst enemy, changing the game field and destroying your stockpiles. But if the game were to stop, then no one would be any better for it. No progress could be made, no changes, nothing accomplished or derived from all of the work put in over time.

Is it so strange to think that time, which gives us the very ability to measure it, also changes us as we pass through it? So often I see people counting on the future like its just as set as the past. Acting as though everything is and will be just as it was before, with only the changes they can predict. So many times I see people ignore the warnings of those who have been battered by time, who have seen their beauty fade. I’ve seen them warn those in their glory days that time will see them fade as well.

We often compare ourselves to who we were years ago, to a person that existed before X amount of time. But what if you looked at the small scale. How long ago did you decide to do what your doing now? What length of time was required to set you in your current position, where you stand right this instant? What information do you have that may change your path in the future? At the end of the day, its unquantifiable. There is no way to trace things to that degree, but the loop it puts you through brings up an interesting question that has trapped me since I was very young. Are you really the same person you were just moments ago?

To me, the mind changes every time you get new information. So from my perspective, no, you aren’t. While you may set yourself on an unchanging path that isn’t affected by new information. Every time you look at something, or hear a sound, or even think about a past event you could change your whole path from there on. There is no defined pivot point for changing your life, your mindset, or your sanity, each step on the way alters the course. So stay aware of what your doing and the course it sets you on, it may change you.