Night Shine

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About Night Shine

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    Bird
  • Birthday 05/27/1996

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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    Princess Luna
  • Best Pony Race
    Bat Pony

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    Male
  • Personal Motto
    How would you know if you were wrong?
  • Interests
    Reading, writing and dicussing analytic philosophy, psychology, and futurology. I have also enjoy reading MLP fics, especially if they touch on any of those ideas.

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  1. Merry Birthiversary!

  2. Hi! I am very curious about that story, but can't find it elsewhere. I read a ton of your posts here last night after someone on Reddit linked this thread and said to check them out. I would have sent you a private message to ask about this, but I haven't sent one on this site in almost 5 years and I apparently used 211% of the storage in my inbox. Do you mind if I ask what happened? Have you told that story elsewhere? Also, sorry to resurrect a dead-ish thread. I suppose I should mention my own experience with pony hypnosis. I tried the Twilight hypnosis once about 6 years ago, and it was a pretty interesting experience -- I felt like I had hooves, but not a horn. But besides that, I have not really tried it much.
  3. The main idea from "Sounds of Silence" is very similar to that of a (neuro-) ethics paper I finished Sunday after working on it for 9 months. I plan to write a blog post describing the connection soon, especially if any of y'all are interested.

  4. Merry Birthiversary!

    1. Night Shine

      Night Shine

      Hey, thanks so much for the birthday message! Sorry that I took almost a month to reply, but this genuinely means a lot to me. I used to love sending people birthday messages on here, and am glad you gave me one.

    2. Denim&Venom

      Denim&Venom

      No problems bruh. Glad I brightened your day, even a little.

  5. Does anyone know of any good Avatar (LoK or TLA) and MLP crossover fics that they could recommend? Thanks!

  6. Fine by me. I simply thought that it would be interesting to take a look at the ideologies implicit in the episode, and might generate some interesting discussion. That is why I tried to avoid value judgments in the post. Hopefully it is not likely to cause conflict that makes anyone angry or hurt. Good point. However, Twilight is still rejecting the EEA's claim to authority over all Equestrian schools, which I think "bypasses" them in an important sense. As a Princess, Twilight gave herself the right to open a school outside of the EEA's jurisdiction. To use an analogy, imagine the President going to Congress with a request, having it denied, and then using an executive order to make their own institution which carries out the request and answers only to the President. As she described in her hearing in pt. 1, the whole reason Twilight wanted to open her School of Friendship was to spread the ideology of friendship in other nations to prevent them from becoming dangerous. On Earth, one may rationally fear the tolerance paradox, where tolerating intolerance only allows it to grow stronger. But in MLP, friendship can be harnessed as a literal weapon to defeat enemies, largely resolving the paradox by providing a method to address intolerance. Normally I would totally agree with you about the flaws of an arbitrary monarchical rule with absolute power, but the distinction between real and MLP politics plays an interesting role here. Two of the most powerful arguments against a monarchy in real life are that 1) even if the monarch is benevolent, they eventually have to die, and their successor may not be benevolent; and 2) power corrupts. Point (1) does not apply to immortal Princesses, and point (2) – being a contingent psychological fact – may not apply to characters who are guided by the influence of Harmony, the "telos" of Equestria (which I discussed in my last post). There is a genuine question as to what extent liberal-democratic values should be applied to the society seen in MLP. James Madison said, "what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary" [Federalist #51]. It is an open question whether Celestia and Twilight et al., guided as they are by Harmony, count as such "angels." Harmony did, I think. For the sake of argument I will flip the question around: why should there be clear laws if Harmony and the Princesses will always be there? You could argue that Luna shows that even Princesses are corruptible, but even in Luna's case Harmony brought her back. This is, I think, a very good critique. I earlier mentioned that MLP only avoids the problems with monarchy if it avoids the largely-arbitrary succession, but hereditary succession would bring those problems rearing back. I think that neoliberals generally oppose "large governments," if by that term you mean governments which heavily interfere in the economy. Remember, neoliberalism is first and foremost free-market capitalist. While I agree that a micromanaging global government could go terribly wrong in many ways, it could be cool to have an analogue for the UN in MLP. It also might help stabilize things.
  7. This blog post contains spoilers for "School Daze" (Season 8, Episode 1-2). I am not sure if the intended lesson from "School Daze" is "ethno-nationalism is bad; do away with national barriers and unite!" on the one hoof, or "a monarchy has the right to bypass any bureaucracies it pleases" on the other. Then again, they are not mutually exclusive. I originally intended to post this as a status update (hence the initial zinger-y phrasing), then realized that it is probably a major spoiler. So I thought, "Why not do a full blog post?" As in my teleology post, I assume that if the protagonists of a show explicitly believe in an ethical idea, their antagonists explicitly believe the opposite, and the protagonists win in the conflict between them, then the show is teaching that those ideas are correct. I begin by discussing Chancellor Neighsay's ideology, and then Twilight's, concluding with implications. Disclaimer: I am not intending to cast any value judgments in this post about the episode, its themes, or their implications. School Daze used the character of Chancellor Neighsay to represent a whole bundle of -isms: traditionalism, nationalism, racism, and bureaucratism (if that is a word). Regarding traditionalism, he considers it crucial that ponies are "prepared to defend our way of life" [pt. 1], and traditionalism attempts to preserve a cultural group's way of life. For nationalism, he shows outrage at Twilight because he thought she was "opening this school to protect Equestria!" [pt. 2] from other nations -- and other races. MLP:FiM has used species as an analogy for a racial or ethnic group to teach lessons about race and ethnicity in the past, e.g. in Over a Barrel and Bridle Gossip. Note that the first thing Neighsay says in his outrage is call the incident an "act of aggression against ponies" [pt. 2], showing that he sees "ponies" and "Equestria" as interchangeable. He also wanted Twilight "[t]o protect ponies from... dangerous creatures who don't have our best interests at heart!" [pt. 2]. His view of the other species as "dangerous creatures" is speciesest (read: racist) and recognized as such by the adult characters representing the other nations/species (let's call them "diplomats") when they become angry at him. When Neighsay yells at the diplomats to "return to your kind" in pt. 1, Ember is immediately offended by the term your kind because she recognizes that it was intended as a speciesist slur. Regarding bureaucratism, he leads an institutional review board that makes the rules which Twilight has to follow and is introduced while at the head of what looks at first like a trial. He also is insistent about following "the rules," which causes the main conflict of the episode. Why call him an ethno-nationalist specifically, though? Wikipedia identifies the "central theme of ethnic nationalists" as the belief that "nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry." Since MLP:FiM is already a world where nations are defined by species, it is difficult to distinguish a nationalist in MLP from an ethno-nationalist. But when Twilight says, "Friendship isn't just for ponies!," Neighsay replies, "It should be." Neighsay's logic begins with species identity, which then proceeds to nationalism and traditionalism. His value of traditionalism causes his bureaucratism, since he is averse to "changing the rules" [pt. 2]. School Daze pt. 1 began with an expanding map, and with Twilight proclaiming that the Mane 6 need to spread friendship "beyond Equestria" by bringing new friends from distant lands into Equestria. This need stems from her realization that "the world is full of so many different creatures who know nothing about friendship" [pt. 1]. Twilight's line that "different creatures" from beyond Equestria "know nothing about friendship" is strange in an episode where the antagonist represents racism, since it implies that the ponies as a species have a very basic socio-moral cultural element that others lack. Still, her solution is to bring in foreigners that the bureaucrats deem dangerous, ultimately using her royal authority to circumvent the bureaucrats' opinions. The clearest ideological statement Twilight gives is in her hearing in pt. 1: "If we want to keep our land safe, and create a friendlier tomorrow, we need to teach the Magic of Friendship far and wide." She agrees with Neighsay in holding national safety as a goal, but wants to achieve it through international cooperation. At first I was very confused how to reconcile the vilification of nationalism with Twilight's use of royal authority to bypass a bureaucratic process, since valuing monarchy often implies valuing nationalism. However, I think some of that can be explained by saying that the episode supports globalism. I should define this ideological term, since it is often thrown around as an angry buzzword. By globalism here I mean support for globalization, the process of politically, economically, culturally, etc. integrating nations and cultures around the globe. Traditionalism, nationalism, and racism are each opposed to at least some form of such integration. If Neighsay as a character is taken as a Strawman Political symbolizing nationalists, the episode is making the controversial (but not uncommon) claim that nationalism stems from racism and should therefore be condemned because it stands in the way of international cooperation. I found it so interesting that the villain represented bureaucratism because I have seen certain conspiracy theorists lump bureaucratism and globalism together as one big enemy. However, I found an ideology that approves of globalism even though it is averse to bureaucracy: neoliberalism. While it has been thrown around as a vague and vitriolic buzzword as well, neoliberalism generally implies support for free-market capitalism and a government with only the functions needed to ensure that the market runs effectively. It favors unrestricted movement of goods and people across borders in a global capitalist system. A common complaint among free-market capitalism supporters is that government bureaucracies impose too much regulation, which was reflected in this episode. My only reservations calling the episode "neoliberal" are that Twilight's bypassing bureaucratic authority with royal authority is still government action, and that there is no kind of capitalist free market prominent in this particular episode. To the extent that globalism implies centralization of power, there is a possible but weak explanation that the episode's globalism makes it support that the chief executive of a government use executive orders to overcome bureaucratic opposition. However, it is clearer that the episode's characterization of nationalism and racism in the villain, the implicit condemnation of nationalism through association with racism, and the explicit support for diversity and multiculturalism (e.g. the "overcoming differences" mentioned at the trial) as well as for the immigration of "dangerous creatures" show support for globalism. I considered naming this post "Does School Daze Promote Neoliberal Globalism?," but then overcame my temptation to commit the sin of egregious clickbait.
  8. Hi. Not sure who remembers me, but I posted here a lot in 2012-14 as "Night Shine." After dealing with some personal issues and losing interest in MLP for a while, I became interested in MLP again over the last year-ish, largely due to reading fanfics. I wanted to share some random musings I had relating various philosophy ideas to MLP, and I thought this the right place to post them. For example, I just made a post contrasting teleological ideas in MLP and Steven Universe. I initially intended to make a new account, since I am fairly embarrassed by how overly emotional and melodramatic I acted before. Since that is against the rules, though, I am using this account again. I do not know how much/often I will be participating in the forum community generally. Still, hi! Hopefully some people here will find my ramblings interesting.
  9. MLP:FiM and Steven Universe are both examples of recent family-oriented cartoons with positive moral overtones. However, they take contradictory positions on a millennia-old debate in ethics – so according to each show, the other’s position is not simply incorrect but immoral. A few notes before I explain why: In the title I used the word “existentialism” to mean the belief that an individual should choose their own purpose, even though that definition is not as broad or commonly used as others. To figure out the ethical ideas that a show teaches, I assume that if the protagonists of a show explicitly believe in an ethical idea, their antagonists explicitly believe the opposite, and the protagonists win in the conflict between them, then the show is teaching that those ideas are correct. This assumption would not work for all shows. However, it probably works for these two because they were designed partly for easily understandable moral education. Outline of this post: Crash Course Aristotle Horse Teleology Rock Teleology An Uncomfortable Ethical Trilemma from the Contradiction of Rocks and Horses TL;DR Crash Course Aristotle Before understanding the ethical conflict between MLP:FiM and Steven Universe, one must understand a few basic terms of the conflict: telos, eudaimonia, virtues, and universal essence. I will try to keep the explanation brief. Almost 2400 years ago, Aristotle distinguished 4 different ways to explain something: its matter, form, agent, and goal. For example, Aristotle would explain a hammer in these four ways: A hammer’s material cause is the matter out of which it is made: wood and metal. A hammer’s formal cause is the form of the matter which makes it a hammer instead of something else: the design of the hammer. A hammer’s efficient cause is the agent that brought it into being: the person who created it. A hammer’s final cause is the goal for which it exists: hitting nails to build structures. The Greek word for final cause is telos, which is why teleology is the study of things in terms of their purpose. The telos of a hammer may seem obvious, but what is the telos of a human? Aristotle said that the function of a human is to reason well [1]. While the precise definition of “virtue” can take paragraphs to flesh out [2], virtues are basically “good moral habits” [3] which help one attain the highest good, eudaimonia. That term is often misleadingly translated as “happiness,” but can be more accurately translated as “human flourishing” or “a complete life” [1]. Even asking about the human telos, though, assumes that all humans have a telos. Without delving into religious questions [4], note that Aristotle based his teleology on a belief in the universal essence: the defining trait of a category, which exists fundamentally in all members of that category at once. To Aristotle and other essentialists who believe that such essences exist, we categorize things based on their essence: e.g. we call something a “human” if-and-only-if it contains the essence of humanity [5]. According to Aristotle, a living thing’s telos is part of – or identical to – its essence. Horse Teleology Some people[6] don’t believe they have a telos, but I bet they would be more easily convinced if it was stamped on their butt! In MLP:FiM, a pony’s cutie mark represents its telos because it represents 1) the purpose for which that pony exists, which 2) cannot be created or altered by a pony’s beliefs or choices, but instead 3) is permanent and unchangeable throughout the pony’s lifetime. Each of these is stated or implied in MLP:FiM. First consider “Magical Mystery Cure.” The cutie marks of the Mane 6 were swapped, and consequently each of them believed and chose to follow their false cutie mark because “It’s what my cutie mark is telling me.” When Spike asks Twilight why she does not fix her friends with a memory spell, Twilight responds that “It's not their memories, [but] their true selves that have been altered!” After Spike raises the possibility that “our friends will grow to like their new lives,” Twilight asserts that “They're not who they are meant to be anymore” because “Their destinies are now changed.” Twilight’s language brims over with teleology, especially considering that a telos is what something “is meant to be” objectively. Changing a pony’s cutie mark, beliefs, and choices is insufficient to change “who they are meant to be,” so the pony’s purpose must be objective and intrinsic. What “ponies are meant to be” according to Twilight comes from “their true selves” which exist independently of belief, choice, or representation in a cutie mark. By using the term “destiny,” Twilight implies that a pony’s purpose – the referent of that pony’s correct cutie mark – is determined before that pony makes any choices. “Magical Mystery Cure” shows that, try as they might, a pony cannot alter their purpose by believing or acting as if they have a different purpose. “The Cutie Map Part 2” is even more explicit. As the villain, Starlight Glimmer urges the Mane 6 to “Free yourself from your cutie mark” and “Choose equality as your special talent.” I will note a major difference, however, between the teleologies of Aristotle and MLP:FiM. To Aristotle, every human necessarily has the same function, but to MLP:FiM, every pony necessarily has a different function [7]. Before Starlight shut her up, Twilight said that “Everypony has unique talents and gifts, and when we share them with each other, that's how rea—.” She presumable meant to say something like “how real friendship forms.” Compare Aristotle's idea that friendship is the mutual pursuit of the highest good by virtuous people [8]. Also note that in “Call of the Cutie,” Cheerilee defines cutie marks as “that certain something that makes them different from every other pony.” Since this matches the definition of a universal essence, a pony's telos is its essential identity. Each pony may have their own telos, but they are still directed by objectively-defined virtues towards a highest good analogous to humans’ eudaimonia. I am unsure whether to call it Friendship, Magic, or Harmony, but that is a distinction without a difference given that the three are identical. The title states part of this equivalence as bluntly as possible: Friendship is Magic. And in “Friendship is Magic Part 2,” Applejack asserts that the Mane 6 “really do represent the elements of friendship,” which Princess Celestia confirms. If the Elements of Harmony are elements of Friendship, then Friendship is Harmony, which should be uncontroversial given that those terms are nearly synonymous in their normal use. I will call this highest good of ponydom “Harmony,” for convenience. In the same way that Aristotle says all humans strive for the good of eudaimonia, all ponies strive for this good of Harmony, because the Elements of Harmony relate to Harmony itself in the same way that Aristotle’s virtues relate to eudaimonia. The five main Elements are defined as virtuous traits. At the end of “Friendship is Magic Part 2,” Twilight says that each of the others in the Mane 6 “represents the spirit of” that trait, i.e. the virtue defined by that trait. But the last Element is different: “the spark that resides in the heart of us all” creates the Element of Magic. That “spark” is the essence of ponydom. Because the Element of Magic requires all of the virtues, and emerges from the essence of ponydom, it is the highest good of ponydom. Rock Teleology At first glance, it may appear that the gems of Steven Universe are teleological in the same way. Rose Quartz points out in “Greg the Babysitter” that “When a Gem is made, it's for a reason. They burst out of the ground already knowing what they're supposed to be, and then... that's what they are. Forever.” This brief description covers the criteria for a telos as previously described: it exists throughout the gem’s lifetime regardless of that gem’s beliefs or choices, never changes, and is that gem’s essential identity. However, the apparent telos of a Gem is not the morally correct purpose for them to pursue. The protagonist Crystal Gems, under Rose Quartz’s ideology, assert that the correct purpose for a gem to pursue is their chosen purpose. Consider how Bismuth describes Rose’s ideology in “Bismuth”: “[Rose] was different because she decided to be … Gems never hear they can be anything other than what they are, but Rose opened our eyes.” The idea that identity can and/or should be altered by choice is incompatible with teleology. Bismuth later cites “[Rose’s] talk about how Gems could take control of their own identities” and “how we'd been convinced to ignore our own potential,” which confirms that identity can be changed by choosing a different one. Choosing one’s identity/purpose is upheld by the protagonists in Steven Universe, so it is presented as good. Conversely, adhering to one’s given/intended/innate identity/purpose is upheld by the antagonists, so it is presented as bad. An Uncomfortable Ethical Trilemma from the Contradiction of Rocks and Horses The fundamental contradiction between MLP:FiM and Steven Universe is that the former claims that one should pursue only their inherent purpose regardless of belief or choice, whereas the latter vehemently disagrees by claiming that one should pursue only their chosen purpose regardless of their inherent purpose. When the two conflict, MLP:FiM says to pursue inherent purpose, whereas Steven Universe says to pursue chosen purpose – a direct contradiction. From this contradiction, we are forced into one of the following strange conclusions (under the assumption that we can know that actions are right or wrong): When innate purpose conflicts with chosen purpose… …one should pursue innate purpose, so Steven Universe teaches immorality by implying the opposite. The Crystal Gems of Steven Universe should have followed their design and intended purpose. …one should pursue chosen purpose, so MLP:FiM teaches immorality by implying the opposite. …the right choice depends on the context, so claims about moral purpose can only be judged as true relative to their context. As a side note, I would have included that the Mane 6 should have followed “what their cutie mark was telling” them in “Magical Mystery Cure” – and were wrong to overthrow Starlight Glimmer in “The Cutie Map” – as part of option 2, but in both cases the ponies who had chosen to pursue a purpose different from their telos conveniently changed their minds and chose their telos. This potentially shows another difference between Harmony and eudaimonia: the former, being Magic, is a goal but also a force that can interact with the world to bring itself about. It's also a tree. That raises its own weird metaphysical questions, but I will shelve those for now. Anyway, to my knowledge, the three options of the trilemma are mutually exclusive (if one is true, then the others are false) and mutually exhaustive (necessarily at least one is true, such that no alternatives exist). Which of the three do you believe? Alternatively, is something wrong with my reasoning? (Probably.) TL;DR MLP:FiM calls it good to do what one was created for and to follow one's intrinsic purpose (what Aristotle called a telos). Steven Universe calls that bad and instead says to create one's own purpose. Either one of the shows is morally wrong, or purpose is only right or wrong relative to context. Footnotes Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics Book I, ch. 7 §8-16. See Alasdair MacIntyre’s three-stage definition of virtue in After Virtue, ch. 15, p. 219-20. To be fair, though, MacIntyre's writing style is about as concise as C.S. Lewis's is subtle: not. James K. Smith, You Are What You Love, ch. 1, p. 16. Note however that the 13th-century Christian philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas fleshed out Aristotle’s philosophy and merged it with Christian theology. The philosophy he created is called Thomism, which is still “the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church.” Aristotle and Plato disagreed over whether the essence of a thing could exist even if the thing did not exist. Plato said it could because the essence exists more fundamentally than examples of it; he called the essences Forms. Aristotle disagreed, saying that essences only exist in the things which instantiate those essences. Myself included, for the record. I think MLP:FiM shows what the world might be like if final causes existed. A human's telos comes from its essence (i.e. "quiddity"), its "whatness" which makes it what it is: a human. In contrast, a pony's telos comes from its "haecceity," its "thisness" which makes it this pony instead of any other pony. Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics Book VIII, ch. 3 §6. Edits: 2018-03-25: Fixed broken links to "four causes." 2018-08-01: Added footnote 7.
  10. Hello, everyone. Two years ago tonight, I decided to become a brony. That decision caused a massive shockwave of events in my life that brought me through the past two years, struggling against depression. For better (see these examples) or for worse (see these examples), being a brony has changed me. Bronydom guided me through my phase of teenage rebellion. It provided an escape from depression when nothing else could—even to this day, nothing else works. It helped me discover my values, and provided me with a powerful experience against which to weigh all new experiences. It was my childhood's last stand against realism, so that when my passion inevitably died, I could enter the real world as a young adult. Now is that time. I am leaving the fandom behind for purely personal reasons, and me leaving does not reflect poorly on anyone but myself. Over the past year, my MLP interest has ever so slowly faded away, so I now feel comfortable saying, "The time has come to say goodbye / I've got to leave you far behind" (from "Legends Box - Pinkie Life" by Legendary). So long, and thanks for all the fish. -Greg C, the late "Night Shine" I will no longer be active on this MLPForums account, except to read responses to my older posts. I will still be available on Skype, to any of my old friends who have my Skype address. If for some reason you still want to contact / get to know me, find the user "NFPWannabe" at PersonalityCafe. Thank you for the experience, everypony. Have a nice night—or day, if that is when you are reading this.
  11. If anyone remembers the chart below, I just realized that it is well suited to the pony's MBTI types: Sorry for posting again. This should be my last time...I "officially" quit MLP a few months ago, but old habits die hard. I just thought some people might appreciate this chart, and wanted to share it before leaving.
  12. Part 2: The Nocturnian Revolution (Summer 2012) Resistance is futile. AS SOON as I returned from summer camp on July 22, 2012, I dove right into the brony phenomenon. I used GeneralZoi's Pony Creator to re-create the pony I had seen in my head at summer camp, and I have kept the result as my profile picture ever since. I started binge-watching MLP episodes every night, starting with The Return of Harmony and then going back to watch all of the episodes in Seasons 1 and 2 in order. I found and joined MLPForums on July 24, two days after becoming a brony. Because I knew how ridiculously powerful my interest in MLP was--it had overpowered me after I decided not to become a brony--I thought to take advantage of that interest. I used the raw willpower given to me by my newfound MLP interest to radically shift my interests, thoughts, and mindset. Here's where things get interesting. ASSIMILATE OR DESTROY This was my mindset regarding anything in my life that was not pony-related. It would either be assimilated, or it would be destroyed. 1) Minecraft: Destroyed After diving headfirst into bronydom, I never played Minecraft again. I considered it once or twice when I heard about pony Minecraft servers, but I never really overcame the extreme paranoia I held towards Minecraft from how it had sucked away all of my creativity and made me extremely depressed. The last thing that I did in the game of Minecraft was take an airship that I created with the Zeppelin mod and bomb Summerside City, destroying what may have been my greatest Minecraft creation that I created over several months. 2) Youtube: Assimilated Before MLP, I liked Youtube simply for its own value. I enjoyed watching Youtube Poops about all kinds of subjects, I was a dedicated watcher of Equals Three, I loved watching funny cat videos, and overall I liked Internet humor simply for it being Internet humor. During my Minecraft interest, this became slightly more focused as most of what I watched were Minecraft parodies, Minecraft instructional videos, et cetera. However, once I was into MLP, I was not only extremely paranoid of anything related to anything related to Minecraft, but also was in love with the concept of Ponification. I saw Ponification as a form of Purification, where something as corrupt as the humans could be turned into something as pure as the ponies (I will expand on this purist ideology later). So, with the combined forces of Paranoia and Ponification, I purged my Youtube habits of anything that was not pony-related. I unsubscribed from every non-brony Youtube channel that I had previously subscribed to. I replaced music with pony music, Youtube Poops with MLP Youtube Poops, and Minecraft parodies with MLP parodies. Everything non-pony had to go. To this day, I will still think twice before watching a non-pony-related video on Youtube, and am generally wary of them. 3) Furdom: Destroyed (This one is kind of disgusting, so I will put it in a spoiler if you want to skip over it). 4) Christianity: Assimilated This was one of the crucial components to my MLP obsession, believe it or not. You see, most of the first videos that I watched about the Brony fandom were the propaganda/history videos that I've taken to calling videos (the most notable and/or well known of these is Saberspark's "Ballad of the Brony"). After watching enough of these videos, I was completely brainwashed into believing that the Brony 'family' was the purest group of people on the planet. Why? Being exposed only to this beautiful propaganda, I saw the Bronies in their most idealized, purest form: a group of friends dedicated to the high ideals of Love and Tolerance, refusing to descend to the impurity of Hatred. As an INFP, this was a dream come true. Except for one slight problem that this article about Bronies points out very well... The slight problem was that, according to my perceptions, the Bronies had surpassed the Christians in terms of moral purity. That seriously screwed with my mindset. Why was it that this group of Bronies was following the Christian values of love and tolerance better than the Christians themselves? Of course, this was based only on my perceptions--the media and the world was feeding me propaganda about how bad the Christians are, and Youtube was feeding me propaganda about how good the Bronies are. I was very afraid that this cognitive dissonance would cause me to lose my faith in God, which would be the worst possible thing I could imagine. So, in order to preserve my Christian faith, I decided to take my two purest interests and combine them. My faith in God and my faith in the Brony movement became one and the same. This soothed my fears that I would become an atheist, because as long as my interest in MLP survived, so too would my faith in God. All I had to do was never give up my combined Faith. I came to view this as a mutually beneficial agreement. All of my incredible experiences with the Brony fandom could now be attributed to God-given heavenly joy, which ensured that the Nocturnian Revolution would not dethrone my Christian faith, and in exchange, MLP received something that I later christened, "THE DIVINE RIGHT TO PRIORITY" I'm guessing that this sounds familiar to you because of a very similar term called, "The Divine Right to Rule [of monarchs]". The Divine Right to Priority was actually almost the same exact concept. It stated that, because my MLP interest encompassed my faith in God, it had the divine right to priority over everything. "Everything" in this case refers to: -Sleep -School -Health and Safety -Truth and Honesty -Anything else that may have threatened my combined Christianity and MLP interest But, there was one more interest that was essential to this prioritized passion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHhWVpNlwU8 Everyone, yeah, everyone, we feel so empty... When I look at the stars, I feel like myself. There's a reason that my superior internet-personality (aka my OC pony) is named Night Shine. As I stated in the post that I referenced above, I believed that I "sh[o]ne when it [wa]s night." My favorite pony was, and still is, Princess Luna, not only because she had the same personality type that I have now, INFJ (which I found out recently) but primarily because she is the Princess of the Night: During the Nocturnian Era, I legitimately tried to split myself (psychologically, not physically) into diurnal and nocturnal selves. The former was the person who is me currently, who was focused on schoolwork and his public life. The latter was Night Shine, who was focused on his friends online and private life, as well as his relationship with God. This nocturn-diurn split primarily came from my competing priorities. On the one hand, I had a pretty busy 'public' life, including not only schoolwork (I was, and still am, an A student), but sports like tennis and skiing, Boy Scouts, the school band, and my church youth group. On the other hand, ponies. ...actually, my decreasingly imaginary psycho-separation was not quite as dualistic as nocturnal vs. diurnal, although it was never very defined--I also constructed several other alternate personalities which embodied parts of myself I disliked. While I hesitate to digress too much, the multiple-personality aspect of my Nocturnian mindset is too important to be mentioned later in the post. Here are the definite alternate personalities which embodied concepts or emotions that I separated in order to keep them organized and respectively unmitigated: To compromise between the desires of Night Shine and of the Person that is Me, I decided to pursue my public interests during the day, and my private interests at night. Nighttime was my chance to unwind and relieve the pain of depression that I had experienced during the day. I used my nighttime ponies and star-gazing as a way to fight my depression (I'd seen the memes, and you probably have as well, that present MLP as an anti-depressant--and I took them seriously). And believe it or not, I recently found psychological proof of my method's effectiveness in an article about the effects of a bad sleep schedule on depression which you can find at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Although I didn't know it at the time, the real antidepressant wasn't MLP:FiM or even stargazing. It was the accidental nightly sleep deprivation that resulted from my personal desire to be nocturnal clashing with my public need to be diurnal. Whaddya know. Speaking of the influence of pony memes, one link between my attempt at nocturnality and my love of ponies was the huge encouragement provided by brony culture of my form of nocturnality (which most likely resulted from the fact that most bronies are teenagers or college students, the sleep schedule of whom has been scientifically shown to be much later than that of society). Again, I took the memes one hundred percent seriously: This combined interest of MLP, Christianity, and Nocturnality, I later deemed "Nocturnianism." It was a Triumvirate of passions that together carried enough weight to overpower any other interest or belief I may have held at the time, and was specifically designed to ensure that it was the most important thing in my life, and would remain so for as long as it could. The quintessence of Nocturnianism as an ideal for me was my passionate faith in Love, Tolerance, and Moral Purism. But wait, you say, isn't that a contradiction? How could that possibly make sense?! Well, I'll explain it; it's a major aspect of the INFP worldview. Basically, I saw it like this. Hate is bad. Love is good. Purity is defined as the absence of any of the following corruptions that I saw as innate to human nature: anger/hatred/aggressiveness, sexuality/lust, and cynicism/pessimism. Living with this mindset, the ideal of Love, Tolerance, and Moral Purism made sense on a conceptual level. If everyone loved each other and was tolerant of each other, then the result would be purity. Injecting hatred, cynicism, sexuality or cold logic into a situation would thereby corrupt that situation. However, while this may have worked (albeit flimsily) on a conceptual level, you can imagine that it caused some serious cognitive dissonance when I attempted to practically apply it (which was always). The biggest problem was certainly my purist view of sexuality as innately corrupted. For example, I still dislike what i call the Clop Dilemma, which is to say, is it ethical to Tolerate cloppers as an NP would argue or to Purify the fandom by rebuking them as an SJ would argue? And if the best answer is a balance between these views, where do you draw the line? I still struggle with this issue. Interestingly enough, in order to 'properly establish' my ideal and make sure that I followed its spirit, I drafted a 'Constitution' of sorts about how my behaviors must reflect my new ideals: This was the basic groundwork of how I applied Nocturnianism to my own life, although there were other aspects--many other aspects, some so ridiculously trivial that looking back it is kind of hilarious (for example, I only wore certain clothes going to stargaze, only held my phone in a certain position while using it as a flashlight, only visited certain websites at specific times and in specific orders, et cetera). Actions became routines, which became habits, which quickly became sacred traditions. My Nocturnian system was primarily built around a routine that became arguably the most important tradition, how I spent my nightly free time: 1) After "going to bed," I would catch up on all of the new content that my subscriptions had released on Youtube. This included Youtube Poops, brony music, brony fan animations, et cetera. 2) Next, I would watch exactly two episodes of MLP:FiM on my iPhone. These would hypothetically bring me out of a depressed state and into my purer Night Shine mentality. 3) Immediately after finishing the MLP episodes, I would sneak out into my backyard (making extra careful not to awaken my parents) and begin stargazing. Whilst stargazing, I usually listened to specific pieces of music, although I did listen to others occasionally, and I would listen to these at specific times in my stargazing experience. First, as I walked out of my back door and saw the beauty of the night sky for the first time, I would watch (but mostly listen to) dedicated to Woona and Celestia of a song entitled "Going Home." Next, while stargazing, I would listen to several songs, the first of which would always be what is still one of my favorite songs, CommandSpry's " ." Finally, before returning to my room, I would listen to my own personal favorite composition, " ." However, that's not to say that all I did under the stars was listen to music. I developed an odd tradition of watching videos of MLP con panels in between listening to music while stargazing, which to be honest I kind of miss...but then again, I miss pretty much everything mentioned in this post, so that's irrelevant or redundant or both. 4) Once I returned from stargazing, I would go online to my pony websites. First, I would go to MLPForums and send Happy Birthday messages to everypony whose birthday fell on that day and who had logged on in at least the past month.* Then I would go adventuring around and ponying around on the Internet, which later involved messaging friends on Skype but at the time mostly involved watching more Youtube videos. One interesting and kind of awesome aspect of the way I would spend my nights on the Internet is the way I listened to music. I created one brony music playlist for each approximately month-long period of time in the Nocturnian Era, dividing it further into sub-Eras, if you will. Each playlist had exactly 32 songs, and these songs were arranged to provide an emotional experiences, transitioning from Fun songs to Epic songs to Dark songs to Sad-Feelsy songs to Relaxing songs to Happy-Feelsy songs (not necessarily in that order). I would listen to the playlist for each sub-Era every night that I could during that sub-Era, so I came to associate that music with that period of my life. This provided 2 benefits: 1) it formed a way of storing emotional memories, as I can go back and listen to any given playlist to remember the time period that the playlist refers to, and 2) it was an effective way to consume the huge amount of music produced by all of the brony musicians that I liked. Please note that, even though I used the past tense in the previous paragraph to keep it consistent with the past-tense nature of this post, I still use this tactic of organizing brony music for its aforementioned benefits. *Clarification relating to INFP vs INFJ in my behavior below: 5) Once done on MLPForums, which involved replying to topics and such as well as sending Happy Birthday messages to everyone, and Youtube, which involved listening to my music playlist and/or watching random videos, I would end my night by going on Equestria Daily. EqD always had to be the last thing. Firstly, I would check out the Drawfriend Stuff post from earlier in the day, and download any of the art which I particularly liked. This led to the creation of an Art folder in my general pony folder on my computer, divided into the following genres of art: Funny, Feelsy, D'aww, Beautiful, Crossover, Dark, Holiday&Celebration, Physical (or IRL), Miscellaneous, and Awesome. If I didn't really know where to put any given piece of artwork, I would either put it in Miscellaneous if I kinda-sorta liked it or Awesome if I really, really liked it. After checking out the Drawfriend Stuff post, I would read through EqD's Nightly Roundup, and once I did that it was off to sleep. The song I would listen to while falling asleep, which has always been one of the last of the 32 songs in the playlist, was extremely important to me, usually falling into the ranks of my favorite brony songs. Here are the first eight of my ending-playlist-songs (the Nocturnian Era was technically only eight sub-Eras long, although I'm still not sure if sub-Era 9 counts as part of the Nocturnian Era or not, for reasons that I will explain much later): Before The Fall (which will be explained in the next section), I had another tradition which was not quite as harmless or tolerable in the Synthesian eyes of the law. A few minutes' walk away from my house is a statue of Jesus out in the middle of a large field which also happens to have a cemetery in it. During many of my spiritual highs that resulted from a combination of sleep deprivation, ponies, and stargazing, I would walk out to the statue of Jesus and sit out under it so that I could see the stars better and also be physically closer to my Father, in a sense, even though I've always seen His essence as of the stars so there was really no "point" in such walks. Why I brought this point up was first of all so that I could show the following poem I wrote on the subject at the time which captures my mindset brilliantly, and second of all because it transitions well into the next section: The Fall, or The Octoberan Era, when the Golden Age ended. Here is the poem, "Surreality" (or "Night"):
  13. "The Nocturnian Era: Spiritual Bronyism in Hindsight," or "The story of my bronydom, from its beginning two years ago to its end a month ago." http://mlpforums.com/blog/1842/entry-11948-introduction/

  14. Part 1: The Death of Minecraft (Spring 2012) "[T]hat game legitimately made me so addicted, so depressed, and so empty that I needed MLP in order to be happy." IT ALL STARTED with Minecraft. Or at least, that's when my depression struck, and my depression was key to the entire Nocturnian affair: I used the depression as a justification for all of my actions and beliefs, as MLP was the "only thing" that had the sheer raw happiness and purity to fight my depression. But before I had any of those radical thoughts, I was...well, I wasn't normal, but I sure as hell was not as radical as during the Nocturnian Era (which is to say, 7/22/12 - 4/12/13). I was a smart little freshman in high school who liked to play Minecraft with his friends in his spare time, and also played on a few sports teams as well as participated in his high school church youth group and his Boy Scout troop. Still, I wasn't quite a total goody two shoes--I stayed up several hours past my bedtime watching Youtube videos and looking up furry porn (yeeeah, no way to tiptoe around that one). Back then, if I had free time, I spent it either watching random Youtube videos or playing Minecraft. I had started playing Minecraft in October 2012, when a school friend of mine introduced it to me. It promptly murdered my other creative interests and became my dominant interest, as I am easily sucked in to creative activities. After spending a while just building things in Creative Mode on my own, like the large city of Summerside, my same friend told me he was opening a server for my group of school friends to hang out on. I joined, and hung out with them on that server for about six months before MLP took over...but I will get to MLP's takeover in the next section, "The Nocturnian Revolution." One day, when browsing the Internet, I discovered a creepypasta called "Herobrine" and thought of a deviously ingenious idea for a prank. I got my friend who was the admin of his server to join in, too. That prank was that I would travel to all of my friends' homes in the server and build the signs of Herobrine, primarily focusing on tunnels with deadly traps. They never figured out who was doing it, at least not until I told them. When I told them in early 2013, I was obsessed with becoming the magnificent bastard Herobrine. I changed my Minecraft skin to Herobrine as the Grim Reaper, and I spent all of my time in Minecraft learning to build ever greater and more complex deadly traps. My favorite song was , as I came to love the idea of cheerfully blowing things up and general happy evil in Minecraft. My 'greatest creation' was a gigantic, fully-functional death labyrinth with a control room, many death traps, a reward system designed to give players a diamond but only one, path-switchers...my friends were impressed and thought it was very cool. So did I. I'll include a link to a map that I made during the labyrinth's creation--I didn't have room to put a few sections of the labyrinth on the map, and the picture's kind of fuzzy, but hopefully it can give you a general idea of the complexity of the project. It was around this time that I first discovered MLP, sometime in March of 2012. I discovered it in a related video to a Youtube Poop, a short clip of Discord from The Return of Harmony. Interestingly enough, I could relate to Discord, and that was why MLP caught my interest. I knew, even then, that if I journeyed even further into MLP, I would become incredibly obsessed with it and it would murder my Minecraft interest. So, I put it to a decision: one day, when I was walking home from school, I flipped a coin to see if I would become a Brony or remain obsessed with Minecraft. When I flip a coin for decisions, I usually have Heads represent the Noble or Right option and have Tails represent the Selfish or Necessary option. Therefore, Tails represented Minecraft and Heads represented MLP. I flipped the coin. It came up Tails. From then on, I decided that I would not be interested in MLP:FiM, would not become a Brony, and would suppress any early interest in MLP that I had garnered. However, at that point I failed to take something extremely important into account: Depression. I am actually extremely thankful for that depression (which I am still coping with), because it was the catalyst of everything in this post and effectively the catalyst of my teenage rebellion and subsequent maturation. Still, at the time, I closely associated Depression and Minecraft, mostly because of the situation in which the depression surfaced. At the end of the 2011-2012 school year and into July, my school friends were one by one leaving the server that my other friend, Nick Abbott, was the admin of. They hated him for his egotistical attitude--interestingly enough, he has an a Synthesian (the opposite of Nocturnian, E_TJ) personality type, but I would not discover that until over two years later (about a month ago, May 2014). So, in the beginning of Summer 2012, it was just me on the server, all alone, building new death traps to kill people who weren't even there. It just felt...empty. And that is where the depression association works in: depression can basically be defined as a feeling of painful, consistent emptiness that leads to sadness and pessimism. I am not sure right now if Minecraft actually caused my depression--it seems unlikely, because I currently think that it is some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder--but that is how I perceived it at the time. Minecraft made me depressed...I had to cut it off and find something that was the opposite of Minecraft. I needed something that was extremely cheerful. I needed something that was idealistic and moral, something that would bring out the best in me instead of the worst. I needed something for which my interest was strong enough to overcome everything and anything related to my Minecraft interest. These were the thoughts I pondered in my spare time at Boy Scout summer camp from July 15 to July 22. It was then that I conceived Night Shine as a character--no, scratch that, that the character and image of Night Shine came to me while I was daydreaming. I spent a lot of my free time at summer camp imagining my Minecraft interest (personified as the Herobrine Reaper) battling it out with my MLP:FiM interest (personified as Night Shine, who at that time was not yet named). After I saw the pony in my head murder the Herobrine Reaper, I composed a funeral march for my interest in Minecraft, "Casket for a Scythe." I would not finish that song until January 26, 2014, about two weeks ago. "Casket for a Scythe": http://soundcloud.com/night-shine-1/casket-for-a-scythe Themes used: -Skyfall. While the movie did not come out until late 2012, the song became a theme of despair for me which was inevitably associated with Minecraft and with depression. -1812 Overture in Minor. Notice that, in minor, it becomes tragic rather than celebratory. -Funeral March. This one should be obvious--the entire song was composed as a funeral march for my interest in Minecraft. However, there is more to it as well. During the 2012-2013 school year, my school band played an arrangement of Grieg's Funeral March, and practicing it in class became one of most depressing parts of my day. I'll end this section with the lyrics I came up with over the past 20 months or so for the song, some of which were original and some of which were added only recently:
  15. "[R]eality will never measure up to your imagination." –lindsay, an INFP from PersonalityCafe “INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they see life through rose-colored glasses… [they] have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. Even for the most unlovable the INFP is wont to have pity… [o]f course, not all of life is rosy, and INFPs are not exempt from the same disappointments and frustrations common to humanity... [they] struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection, e.g., performance of duty for the greater cause. An INFP...describes the inner conflict as not good versus bad, but on a grand scale, Good vs. Evil.” –INFP Profile on TypeLogic NIGHT SHINE is not, contrary to everything I have ever said or implied on this forum, simply another name for the person that is me. In fact, I often feel guilty using this name which I worked so hard to purify last year for my ordinary human and intellectual activities so long after its original meaning died. This blog also contains the reason that I feel that I no longer have any right to post anything on this forum under the name "Night Shine." No, Night Shine was not a person—he was a dream I had, an alternate persona specifically designed to be superior to the real, tangible person who is me. Last year, I regarded Night Shine as nothing less than my very soul. This blog, which will undoubtedly be very comprehensive as well as very melodramatic due to the melodramatic and complex nature of its subject matter, is aimed at dissecting my mindset from last year when I joined the Brony movement, and why that mindset was incompatible with the Bronies, with the Internet, and with the World itself. If you read this entire post, you just might understand me fully and completely, or at least as much as I do. Several factors made my perspective last year utterly fascinating to study in hindsight: 1) My absolute and unshakable faith in the belief that the Brony movement was the purest group of people on Earth. 2) The extreme willpower with which I radically shifted my mind into questionable thoughts, beliefs, and actions. 3) The degree to which my radical actions and thoughts were justifiable as a method of fighting depression, and the degree to which they were not. 4) My determination to transcend human nature by splitting my personality into multiple separate individuals. 5) How I was able to utilize the Brony movement to justify all of the radically positive and negative shifts to my lifestyle. 6) How my teenage rebellion developed as a form of moral purism. However, as I am retelling events only I remember from my perspective, this article will contain a lot of bias--that is unavoidable. This bias probably will skew the facts in the following ways: 1) Exaggerating the abnormality of the mindset and events in order to make them more interesting. 2) Exaggerating how 'bad' the mindset and events were, because I need to feel like I have learned from this experience and thus am insecure. Introduction: So, let's get started. What the heck does "Nocturnian" mean? I came up with the term in order to describe my mindset last year in April, when it finally came under assault by reality--but I'll get to that later. After thinking over the quintessence of Nocturnianism and considering over a dozen different ways to try and explain it over the past nine months, I have come to the conclusion that the Nocturnian mindset is the mindset of a Myers Briggs personality type which has Introverted Feeling as one of its primary cognitive functions, such as the INFP (for more information on Myers Briggs psychology, read the background information in the section later in this blog post). The opening quote from TypeLogic describes the relevant aspects of the INFP mindset better than anything else I have found in the past year (June 2013 to June 2014). But why "Nocturn-ian"? What does night have to do with any of it? Well, in order to answer that question, let us dive into the beginning of the story: how I used My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the Brony fandom as a method of radically altering my mindset and lifestyle. Before we dive into that, however, I would like to explain the situation in which I encountered MLP:FiM, as it helps to explain why I treated MLP and the Brony fandom the way that I did. The next blog posts will contain an account of each season chronological order of what happened to my little experiment, when I used a fandom to manipulate my emotions, personality, and lifestyle. Part 1: Death of Minecraft (Spring 2012) Part 2: Nocturnian Revolution (Summer 2012) Part 3: Fall and Rebirth (Fall 2012) Part 4: Heart of Winter (Winter 2012-13) Part 5: Ultimatum (Early Spring 2013) Part 6: End of the Era (Late Spring 2013) Part 7: A New Beginning (Summer 2013) (please note that the entries are currently in an unfinished form.) PREFACE This section will explain any information which will be used as common knowledge throughout the rest of the blog. Information covers Myers Briggs personality typology and the Brony phenomenon. Myers Briggs Typology My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fandom, referred to as the "Brony Phenomenon"