Blog - January 30th, 2024

My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. He writes a lot of Fantasy novels, all of which share a single world he calls “The Cosmere”. One of his novels contains a race of people called “The Listeners”.

The Listeners are, in many ways, basically human; bipeds, intelligent, they have their own cities and cultures, languages, everything. But, of course, they’re at war with the humans – it’s a novel series, right? Can’t have a novel without conflict.

Over the course of the novels (4 in this series, so far), we learn some important distinctions between humans and Listeners.

  • Humans are expressive with their emotions – Listeners’ emotions are internal, and are never displayed publicly (they don’t even know how).
  • Human emotions change quickly and unpredictably – Listener emotions are heavily influenced by what Form* the Listeners are in.
  • Humans use inflection to decorate their words with their emotions – Listeners speak their words to a pre-determined “rhythm” (which they can all hear, and their voices harmonize with that rhythm when spoken aloud), which implies their emotions.
  • Humans lie by concealing their emotions, while Listeners lie by speaking their words to the rhythm of the emotion they wish you to believe.

Whereas a Human body does not change from week to week, a Listener can drastically change the Form* of their body during a specific ritual. Listeners can be in Work Form, Dull Form, Mate Form, War Form – a whole variety of shapes. After the ritual is complete, the same person comes out of the transformation, however their mind in body is altered; someone going from Work Form to War Form might see an increase in arm muscles, less reliance in food, increases reflexes, decreased lift capacity, increased water consumption, etc.

But the changes aren’t just physical – they might also have decreased patience, increased self-starting, etc. Even their words are changed – whereas a person in Work Form might speak to the rhythm of Curiosity, a Listener in War Form may not even hear Curiosity; a curious thought may be expressed by speaking to the rhythm of Challenge. When in different forms, the same person might express the same thought in different, often contradictory, ways.

… But this is a blog post, not a book report – obviously.

I’ve always felt like my emotions are stuck in place. If I’m in a bad mood, I stay that way, often for days. If I’m in middle of a large project, it becomes all-consuming, and the rest of my responsibilities mute and fade into the background. I’ll often find myself being lazy about small tasks, but when it becomes time to move a bunch of furniture or clean out a garage, I take on the task and am determined to see it complete.

When I get angry or depressed, I’m either emoting very strongly, or I have a flat, dull expression. My phrasing and thoughts take on that same form, and slowly take over other aspects of my life. No amount of effort seems to shake them, until one day, things are just changed, and I’m in a different zone. Then all of the sudden, my “orders” change, and I’m off in a new direction.

I feel like I’m a Listener.

Listeners know what rituals are needed to take on new Forms. If a battle is coming, they know to take up War Form. If a fence needs to be built, they know to take up Work Form. I feel as thought I’ve been stuck in one or two forms for most of my life. My ADHD diagnosis/medication has really shown me how inflexible I’ve become over the years, and while things are a lot better, I don’t think I’m nearly as flexible as “The Humans” (or neuro-normies, or whatever). Maybe I still have “Forms”, and the diagnosis/meds just help me change forms more frequently. That might even be enough.

Now I just need to learn how to change forms when I want, and not when the situation forces me to do so.

Blog - January 30th, 2024

My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. He writes a lot of Fantasy novels, all of which share a single world he calls "The Cosmere". One of his novels contains a race of people called "The Listeners". The Listeners are, in many ways, basically hu... Read More

Blog - January 7th, 2024

It's hard to sort all of the things I want to do. When I list them out, it becomes this long, never-ending pile of tasks I'll never get to the bottom of. Different categories and buckets, and the time things take doesn't match the time that I have... Read More

Blog - December 26th, 2023

"Am I being a lazy underachiever? Or, is that exactly what a neurotic overachiever would call themselves?" Should I be focused on work today? Is a half day a good compromise? Do people usually work the day after Christmas? I'm on my computer anywa... Read More

Blog - December 8th, 2023

I've been staying in "Focus Mode" the past for the past two days, and it's been weird. I'm still talking to people, but (in theory...) I'm choosing the conversations I'm having. This leaves me feeling like I'm missing out on conversations that are... Read More