Friday, September 30, 2011

"A classic example of what we already knew."

Apparently CERN broke the speed of light, although it is contested. What was the response? Well, of course they broke the speed of light, it should be obvious from souls and cosmic healing and time travel!

This is an extreme example of what I wish to discuss. I am thinking more of "Cultural garbage our own fault" by Dylan Wilks in the Sept 21 2011 version of the Nexus. A new study has been done, Dylan reports, which shows that watching badly written TV shows is bad for children. Instead of explaining the study in detail so that others can have an opinion he quickly remarks "although the empirical evidence may be new, it's actually just a classic example of garbage in, garbage out." Now this could just be bad writing but it isn't only writing. I encounter it in speech as well. Whenever an interesting study comes out people remark 'but of course the Siberians have known that for centuries. Firstly, I'm not Siberian, secondly that isn't the point of testing a scientific hypothesis!

Science is not straight forward. We make big mistakes. We no longer lobotomise crazy people, but we used to. I think it is a darn good thing we realised it was a bad idea, even when people thought that it was. The trouble is this: Whenever a scientific study confirms an opinion of one of these people, they don't get excited and say 'look, now I have scientific justification for believing this, isn't that exciting?' instead they say, 'I already knew that so the scientists must be stupid.' But what about all those things that don't agree with their opinions? Those are just ignored, forgotten, or mocked as the 'evils of modern science.'

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Woman home-makers

I struggle sometimes to be open-minded. There are those still in this world who want a heterosexual marriage with gender roles clearly marked. The man works, the woman stays home and looks after the children and the house. The 50s style suburb but without the Cold War playing on the radio. Now that I am educated and able to defend my ideas I rarely make vitriolic statements against things I disagree with, and rarely even believe those things. Instead I make good arguments for my own side and point out flaws in the other. I do not call someone who wants to be a 50s style house wife a sheep and I no longer think her one either. But this is one area where some of those harsh judgements still remain, and I struggle against them.

I was homeschooled. I am an advocate of homeschooling. I learned how to tell stories, and do art, I learned about plants in the forest and really nothing useful at all. Once I could read, however, I would take a subject I was interested in outside of school and find all the books on it. I loved learning. I think home schooling did that for me. It also gave me a chance to mature in a protected environment so when I finally faced the world my beliefs on right and wrong stood strong. Day Care, to me, is cruel. Children are not supposed to cry all the time. They do at Day Care. What are we thinking putting all these hardly human creatures together in a room and telling them to share? I learned to share by being given too much and realising that I wanted those around me to have some too. Scarcity and obedience do not teach a sharing spirit, they teach greed and secretiveness. Looking after your own children instead of paying someone else to do it seems quite sensible in this respect, although not always possible.

The world is really not that nice a place. If a couple can afford to have someone stay home, that might be a good thing, especially if the person who stays home happens to be extremely shy, sensitive, have some mental disorder that makes dealing with the external world every single day difficult. As a consensual act between two adults having someone to stay at home is not unethical and sometimes desirable.

This is my defense for the bread winner / home maker model. Note that it does not assume women ought to stay at home, but that there isn't anything wrong with one member of a partnership keeping charge of the house well the other works. This assumption is built on my positive experiences as a homeschooler and my observations of friends who had parents contribute positively to their up bringing. I still find it difficult to understand the woman willing to, from how I see it, give up her freedom. But would we still calling it giving up freedom if both members of the relationshio were women? No. So why is it patriarchy if one of them is a man? I'm not saying it isn't. Maybe that is something we still need to work on as a society.

I have a trouble, however, with those who defend a women's right to stay at home. Not the right of a person to become a homemaker, but the right of a woman to look after her family because it is her natural role. It is appropriate to defend women who wish to be home makers. They need defending. They get flack for their choice and should not. The trouble is that you have no right to tell me my natural role, and all those who do not fit into your little box. I am not abnormal for my choices. I am not abnormal because I do not wish to have children.

It makes no sense. These people deal with criticism all the time. People think they are weak or dumb or abnormal for their choice. They should know better then to turn around and try to force others into the same role in which they themselves are suffering.

"If suddenly the majority of women decided to pull out of the workplace, it would cause economy to undergo quite a shake, but eventually, we might all be better off. " How should young women prepare for their future? from Domestic Felicity by Anna T.

We would not be better off. We as women would certainly not. I personally would be a very upset philosophy student running around asking why no one wants a female scholar. Then I would probably change my name legally and try to pass in order to get a job. Thus would begin a repressive and tyrannical society! It would not be better. It would be better if those who desired to stay at home were encouraged instead of discouraged. That is what would be better. This is the trouble with apologists for woman homemakers: They take it too far. They take their arguments beyond what is acceptable, beyond simply defense, and make claims that are meant to apply to everyone, thus encouraging alienation of a different group instead of solving the problem.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tea cups made of bones

At a yard sale today my partner bought a belt. I bought a tea cup made out of bones. It does not matter if it was more valuable, because I am unlikely to give it up. There were other tea cups and saucers. I chose this one because the one with pretty blue flowers cost five dollars. It is paragon fine china and cost three dollars.

The British, wanting to make porcelain cups and dishes at home instead of paying for chinese porcelain, ground bones to mix with the local clay. Bones made the clay whiter. In China porcelain was made from a white clay fired at extremely high temperatures. Genuine porcelain glows just a little, is just a little bit translucent.

I am starting to learn that this is the way with history: Tea cups are made of bones. It is so very much the way of the British empire. To say 'yes, these people did great things; yes, it is beautiful, it was heroic, it is amazing' but look again. Look at the bones. We cannot praise the past, but I long to. The sun never set on the British Empire, and it was grand. But the imperialistic policies were used to subjegate the peoples of North America, and I live on land which they stole. In some places the land was fought for. Here we signed a treaty with the local people, and then built on the land which the treaty gave them.

I am a skeptic now. I doubt Plato, who thought that beauty, goodness, and justice were unalterably linked. But every time I find a thing of beauty I also find that other thing, like my tea cup made of bones. I think it adds to the beauty, but it's a good thing I'm not vegan.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Violence in Victoria

I thought of this in terms of violence in modern North America or contemporary society, but unlike most of my posts it is an observation based on, well, actual observation. Hence I will limit my claim. BC, Canada, is a violent place. Victoria, BC is a violent place. A convenient limitation as I can include some of my own pictures this time. The pictures included here were taken last year, around sunset. I don't bike in the downtown core. I wouldn't lock my bike down there. As a female, I should be down town at night because I could be a target for rape. My male friends also find it dangerous to go downtown because fit, healthy males are the target of people who simply want to fight someone. They are targets because they can look after themselves. I over hear things about the clubs downtown, about underage drinking, fights, and people being beaten by the cops.

Why is this of interest? Because it is Victoria, BC. Victoria is a tourist town, and the capital of the provincial government. It is kind of fake, a tourists trap. It is without a doubt a beautiful little city. It is a little city. Vancouver is big, dangerous, a real big city like you read about in books. Victoria is the most European city in BC. It isn't a bad place. Isn't it strange that there is so much danger?

My second interest is the Vancouver hockey riot. It happened. Set cars on fire, fought, looted, mob mentality type stuff. In Vancouver. Canada is supposed to be a peaceful, up right sort of place.

These things got my thinking. I started to wonder if there was something wrong in our world. Everything seems calm and peaceful and yet famous people are murdered in the middle of downtown Vancouver. How is this an okay place to live? Shouldn't I be concerned?

It reminded me of lyrics from the song "Slipping" in Doctor Horrible's Sing along Blog --a brilliant superhero/supervillain musical by Joss Whedon if you have not encountered it before.

"I bring you pain,
the kind you can't suffer quietly.
Fire up your brain
remind you inside your rioting
society is slipping.
Everything's slipping away..."

It does seem, from what I see around me, that society is slipping. And yet, I don't want to associate with the villain of the piece. I do not want to have those views. I do not want to see society in that way. I must see it differently because I cannot afford to think that this is the end. People have always thought that, but we aren't in the middle ages anymore, there is no definite end. Therefore I can ask, is it really slipping?

No. There has always been violence. Cities have always been dangerous places. Paris is a beautiful city, a night city, and you should not go into the alleys. That would be stupid. It was the same in the 1800s as today. Things are actually under control. The riots occured one day, and the next day people apologised and went back to business as usual. We may have robbery downtown but we do not have a curfew and you are really rather unlikely to be shot by an enemy of any sort when walking downtown. Of course it isn't okay, and we have a long way to go before it will be, but I can still consider Victoria a sleepy tourist town even with the violence.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The slippery slope

In 1927 the Pope claimed that cigarettes would lead to "the deterioration and destruction of a Christian society and civilization."1 Today we claim it will lead to the deterioration and destruction of your lungs, but that isn't the point. The point is I think the Pope was right. I mean, I am sure it is a collection of factors which have led to a greater freedom of religion and a acceptance of a secular way of life, but all those things put together, they were right! Those people who said that allowing women the vote would lead them to be less womanly were right. I'm certainly not womanly. That might be because standards have changed: I would probably fit better in a world where womanly did not require quite so much make-up. I certainly would not fit well in a world where educated females were considered odd and out of place. I feel like no one comments on this, and I often wonder about it, because often these peoples slippery slopes seem ridiculous, but are actually correct. It doesn't need to turn out this way but in the end it does. The trouble is we cannot see it like that, because what we have now is a good thing. Maybe talking about it is dangerous. We can say 'oh, don't be silly, gay marriage will not destabilize gender norms.' It might be true that it won't, but the trouble is there are lots of people who support gay marriage because it does exactly that. It makes husband/wife a little less clear, a little less the only way to be and we think that's a good thing. It's strange, because their fears seem so ridiculous but are in the end valid. Maybe in the end what is ridiculous is that people feared those things.

1("The Pope's Appeal to Men to Reform Women's Dress," Literary Digest 72 (January 29, 1927): 27-28, 57-59.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

My last year of university

My last year of University begins in September. I feel that I have put it off long enough.

I spent the first two years living at home and moved out in third year. Part way through third year I realised that if I wanted to cook myself proper meals and remember all the classes I was taking I would have to take less classes. I can do 15 hours of class a week, but 9-12 hours I actually remember and enjoy. I loved learning, so why was I 'suffering through' it? So four and half years became six. Six years is a long time. I feel ready to be done now. Five would have been enough I think, but this way I can be awake for my final year. It certainly feels like a finally year. I will be graduating next June with a double major with honours in Philosophy and History. I wish my mother was alive to be proud of me; I will have to be especially proud myself to compensate.

It makes me queasy.

I am afraid without a constant affirmation of my ideals I will not remember what I believe in, that I will forget to be a good person and to pursue the things that I am passionate about, that I will stop writing and stop learning. I am afraid that I will become cynical and sour. I am old enough now to encounter those dreadful people who believe that they live in the 'real world.' I will say more on this real world of theirs later. Needless to say it is not the real world, but a very particular place. Everyone who lives in this place becomes obnoxious and narrow minded. This is because this reality of theirs is a very long but very narrow place and they must all squeeze past each other all the time. No one ever stands still and everyone becomes tired and overheated because it is unventilated and stuffy in this place. I do not want to go to this place. Growing up I was not interested in humans, except those who were my friends, and I would really rather not enter Sartre's hell if I can avoid it.

I am afraid also because I fear change. I fear what I do not know. It is a grand adventure but it is also frightening. I am happier to finish university then I was to finish highschool, but it still frightens me. Another town, different friends, a new life. These things scare me. What if I do not meet anyone? What if I do not pay the hydro bill and a collection agency hunts me down and drags me off to a laboratory somewhere in the underground of Toronto where they mainly do experiments on rats but sometimes on humans too? I wouldn't put it past the current mayor.

I am also the sort who likes ritual and sybolism. I am writing this because I need a last year of school. It needs to be something that I remember. I have already finished my philosophy degree. After this summer I have seven more courses to take and then I am done my history degree as well. I will audit some philosophy classes, but I will miss my friends and the group of philosophy students that I spent so much time with last year won't really be there this year. My roommates will, however.

I had a friend who I miss very much now. It makes me wish I graduated in four years because she had this special talent for making everything special and important. I need it to be special and important, because I am that sort of person. I will have to try hard to do it for myself. I will probably write more throughout the year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dante's Inferno Test

I took this test a few years ago. I expected I would be much more sinful now, since I have been a student for a few years and do terrible things like have sex with people who have different last names then I do. Apparently not.

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell - Limbo!

First Level of Hell - Limbo

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very High
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

What better place for a philosophy student? Why would I ever want to go to heaven when I can meet Aristotle instead? And Socrates too. We could corrupt the youth together!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Marxism doesn't taste like philosophy

Neither does feminism**. Neither does capitalism. These -isms are what people call 'a philosophy.' Sam has a Marxist philosophy, which undermines her brothers capitalist philosophy, although they still manage to maintain a coherent feminist philosophy when going fishing on Sunday.

I do not fully understand these things, as I have not studied them. It is a dark area and I think it will come in time. Here are my thoughts on the matter, but I warn that they are strangely formed as the landscape for me is still dark and I cannot quite make it out.

I study in an analytic tradition, bias. Philosophy students today, I have been told, tend toward "eclectic." That is, like an apartment full of bookshelves where some of the furniture is modern, an old couch, an Art Nouveau lamp, an oak dining table. There is art on the walls but it shows no coherent interest. There are many things, and they are all in close proximity and it makes a sort of sense all put together but it cannot be read at a glance. Eclectic philosophy is taking the parts of each philosopher which are appealing and using them to build. I have been told that there are no more Kantians. I've heard that James R. Brown is a Platonist, but that does not mean he follows a school of philosophy which adheres to Plato, rather he himself has studied Plato and chosen to consider himself in line with enough of Plato's views to be called as such.

Maybe this is why Marxism doesn't taste like philosophy, because we have waged war on -isms and everything has to be between the person and the book. Maybe it is simply not what I am used to. People also call such things 'ideologies', which refers to ideas that relate to economy and politics. This seems more accurate. Do I delude myself in believing that philosophy is not ideological? No, it is, but there is a difference here. I suppose it is that, like the apartment full of books, it is not obvious what that ideology is, two different ideologies might exist simultaneously and contradict each other and that does not undermine philosophy because philosophy aims at knowledge, not just system. It isn't just a way of doing things.

That is why Ayn Rand is not philosophy. Ideology does not give you breathing room. It tells you what your values are, instead of asking. It dictates all further choices you make. Novels take you near the truth of things, but sometimes the writer is just as puzzled as to why Sam goes fishing with her brother every Sunday as I am. Ayn Rand does not leave any mysteries. There is nothing secret for her, there is no core that cannot be fathomed.

And that is it. It is not modern analytic philosophy only, but also my belief in mystery that leads me to think Marxism is not philosophy. In philosophy there are questions which may not have answers. Sam's brother, who is a very clever person and has many degrees, could spend his entire life arguing that chairs are chairs because we call them chairs and not because of their essential nature. He could make a very important contribution, and Sam would certainly be very proud to have such a clever brother, but it would not settle the problem. It might settle a new area of scientific study, but it would not prevent some other brother the next day or ten years later from writing something just as certain on the other side of the conversation.

Ideologies seem so certain. You learn the system. You look at the world and see the system in it. The system is confirmed and you proceed to take down the feudal system, cut taxes, divorce your lover. These are useful tools. But I do not quite understand how they are philosophy.

**Feminism, not feminist philosophy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

25 dollars a week on food

University means debt, grad school means more debt, and I do not have a job at the moment. I joined my partner in thinking that maybe I should keep a tighter hold of my spending, particularly on food because that is the only thing I really buy. I eat quite healthy and rarely go out to restaurants, but nonetheless I have been living a bit beyond my means lately. I like to own various different oils and Asian sauces. Sometimes I want chocolate or rhubarb pie, or cookies with half a cup of butter in them. When I first moved out I would never buy ice cream. Now I buy a 4 l tub when it is on sale at a dollar per litre. This is more sensible then purchasing it at a higher rate, but can I afford it? Am I willing to sacrifice my present happiness knowing that I will be in difficulty in the future when I finish school.

To some degree I am, otherwise I wouldn't be in school. So long as the economy doesn't not fall apart so completely that there is no job for me, I can do okay. I do not have a disposition to suffer unduly. Being poor will not overwhelm me. For one thing I am not willing to risk my health in order to eat more cheaply. That to me is foolish.

So what I will be doing is pulling in my finances, taking a look at what I am buying, and limiting the luxury goods like ice cream. I might up date on this from time to time, but honestly I do not think it is that exciting. I have discovered that various blogs are dedicated entirely to eating cheaply, who report their receipts at the end of the week. Although it is somewhat interesting to know what people are eating it is not something that would keep my attention.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Imagination and logic

There is a particular style of thinking which annoys me. This style of thinking advocates the imagination/logic binary. It often advocates other binaries along with it, such as women=emotional/men=rational. I never accepted this binary. I did accept that some people are simply not suited to logical, rational thinking. I believed this because I did not understand math. It just did not work. Other things came naturally, but not math. It was not easy and I did not trust myself, as I do now, to struggle with it and succeed. This is to say that the imagination/logic binary is something I consider to have done me some personal harm.

There are a few ideas associated with this style of thinking. Firstly, logic is limited. It can only get you so far. It allows you to get you into a rut and it cannot get you out again. People who use logic are close minded and frightened to go beyond it. Second, logic is dangerous. It can shut people down. If I tell someone they are not being logical it puts all that they claim into question. It is a tool of the bad people.

To the first, yes, it is limited. It can only get you so far. For the second, logic is a tool. But it is not a tool of the bad people, those nasty bureaucrats, who ever it is you want to attack. It is a sword. It is a sword because it can be equally used to fight for freedom against an oppressor, or to oppress the oppressed who are fighting for freedom. Today we do not think killing is ever right and I really ought to use a hammer, but I like to use a sword better because using a hammer to do harm is not using it for it's proper purpose and as such the metaphor is weaker.

From what I can understand when people attack logic they really mean to be attacking particular people. They want to attack bureaucracy, the scientists, and suchlike. Sometimes they want to attack the philosophers. With the other attacks I do not have personal experience, but as I have knowledge of philosophy I can see that their attacks are usually quite ill-managed. Philosophy is not easily understood. Sometimes their points are somewhat valid, but for the most part any complaint made about the use of logic has also been made, more cleverly, within the discipline itself.

By saying this I do not mean that people should not keep talking about logic and imagination. What I mean is that it would be better to seek allies then enemies. My mother, being a non-academic poet, would sometimes discuss how the academic poets did not take her seriously because she did not have a university degree. Logic is present everywhere. She saw them as overly logical. They see philosophy as overly logical.

Most of the time I might agree with half of what the person is saying, but as they are making an attack I have yet had the presence of mind to turn the discussion to more fruitful directions, addressing the problems inherent in logic. These are interesting questions. The imperative that we do away with reason and it's ruler ship over the passions is not a discussion, it is an order given by someone who has not bothered to find out if I have any association with either of those things. Being told that I should be less logical is similar to being told I should "batten down the hatches, and levy the tug rope". I'm just not sure what you mean.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"What are you going to do with a philosophy degree?"

It's a question I get asked when I report my degree, and frequently. Sometimes it is asked out of curiosity or interest. They have not heard of philosophy before. They have studied some and enjoyed it. Sometimes it is asked because this is small talk and that is what you ask. Sometimes it is asked because the person thinks a philosophy degree is a fluff degree, that cannot lead to 'success' in the world. Success in their sense is having a job that allows you to purchase a house and a car. For me success could also be the ability to attract someone with a house and a car. My part in the success can be raising a good, sturdy family. These people look down on philosophy, as some snobby academic discipline that can never allow you to 'succeed in the real world.'

I think that these people are less common, but I think there is a touch of it in the question each time it is asked. Even if they do not know why they are asking it, there is a general impression from society that a philosophy degree will get you nowhere.

I used to tell people that I would be in debt and live in a cardboard box because I did something I love. One day a man asked me, 'do you really believe that?' No. I didn't believe it. I just come up with something to tell people when they ask 'what do you plan to do with your life?' and I tell the same story to everyone. I told them about how I would be a biologist. I told them about how I would work as a translator. I'm not certain where my future will lead. Many people interpret this uncertainty as a weakness. It is not. I keep changing my path but that does not mean I am flaky or indecisive. I love a great many things. There are many things I could be passionate about. I select based on talent, opportunity, and lack. It doesn't mean I am flaky. It doesn't even mean I'm keeping my options open. I'm not keeping them open, I'm just making changes in the places that have not closed off yet. At the moment some doors are mostly closed. More changes will be made before the currently open options have disappeared. That is how I create my life.

Now when asked I tell people that I want to be a professor. I tell them that I am going for grad school but might not get in. I don't like doing this because it makes it appear as if philosophy really is a limited discipline, a snobby academic thing.

Sometimes I list the jobs you can do with a philosophy degree: Office work, writing, editing, civil service, military. None of these jobs clearly link to a philosophy degree.

Part of it is that the job market has changed. They might have got a job because they finished high school which I will be lucky to get now with my fancy degree and all. Yes, you used to be able to walk into an office and get a job. Now there is so much competition that you most often need a bunch of school or a bunch of experience in order to get that job.

But what does philosophy really give me in the end? The opportunity to read good books, explore interesting arguments, and learn about the world. The opportunity to have classes with talented scholars who are making contributions to the academic world. The ability to speak my mind clearly, present arguments, to hold to convictions. Other disciplines do this too, but one thing you can certainly say about philosophy is that it makes good citizens.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why we hate principles

"Why We Hate School Principals: Every adult remembers being a child who was afraid of getting sent to the principal's office. It may have felt like the principal was out to get you ... but only if you misbehaved. Take for example Principal Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off He tried to keep high school student Ferris Bueller from playing hookie. Why did he make it his life's mission to get Ferris back to the classroom. You would have thought he'd be happy to have this troublemaker out of his hair."

From Most hated professions.

I am sure that there are people who disliked their principles because they were authority figures. Personally, I got along with most of my authority figures. Of course it was upsetting to be called out in band class for making a mistake or to have my math teacher ask me why I nearly fell asleep in class, but these experiences point toward the position of an educator. It is their job to point out mistakes and encourage improvement.

The principle on the other hand, I hated. Why did I hate the principle? Because he was stupid. This was not the case at all my schools, I am thinking of high school particularly. I went to a good school. I didn't know it at the time but we had a lot that other schools didn't have. The honours program and specific teachers who helped you through scholarship applications and university choices, a fantastic band program, and well-funded science classes, among other things. The principle was dead set on messing all this up. Every decision they made was out of line with what was good about the school, what the students valued, and so on. The honours program was changed because it was discriminatory. The music program was cut so that we could have more soccer. There were 900 students in the music program. That is a sizable portion of the school, many more then can fit onto a soccer team.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rant: On being genuine in the workplace

This rant turns out to be about why if you aren't able to be genuine you shouldn't try because you will end up confusing your philosophy-student coworkers. That isn't really what was intended. The advice it is based on is 'when you see a coworker say hello, greet them by name.' What you should learn from this post, if you are following that advice, is not to assume your coworker is stupid.

'Hel-LOO, Jesse!'

Said loudly by one of my co-workers as I walk into the kitchen.

This should make me feel recognised and respected. The goal of such a greeting, I have just learned, is to do that. Recognising the people around you and using their names makes them feel like they count for something.

It is certain people use a certain tone and suddenly I feel like I am in some sort of psychology experiment, that I'm being tested, that I'm being tricked into believing something that is not true, that this person who is greeting me is disingenuous.

I know you know my name now but I don't really care if you know my name. You can call me miss for our entire acquaintence if you want. My trouble is that you aren't looking at me, and I'm not even sure if you really remember who I am or what I do here.

You show interest in my interests. I try to explain something I care about, although I would prefer you spoke instead so I could understand you. My explanation is poor. I can tell you don't understand but I do not get the opportunity to correct myself.
You agree that that is very interesting and tell me that you are going to upgrade your math, imply that I am much cleverer then you for making you confused a moment ago. You have no love of learning, and so instead of speaking of something we both care about, like how to cook pastries, we have discussed what I am interested in, because you do not realise I could care about the same things as you, because you are only pretending I am a person.

The thing is, you don't need to do this. You don't need to know my name. Other people care, but I don't. I'm here to make sure things go smoothly in my section of the kitchen. That's my job and I'm here to do my job. I don't need you to pretend for me.

But now I know! From now on I will assume those who great me with that certain sort of 'hello, Jesse!' are slightly socially inept and making an effort to do better. Or it is just habit.

Really it is quite possible that they are at work for the same reason I am, to do a job and do it well, and that we don't really have any interest in each other aside from a vague concern that maybe there is another person over there and maybe we should have remembered their name.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New years resolutions 2011

This year my New Years resolutions sound more like a long term checklist. A very long checklist in fact. I don't know how I will remember to do all these things.

I didn't do much last year. I don't want to ask too much of myself this year but I am also bothered by my lack of interest in something that used to be, and appears to remain very important. Last year I managed to make art into a reward instead of a procrastinatory technique, now I need to desire that reward on a continuous basis.

☐ Submit to student journal for publication.
☐ Paint three pictures
☐ Write five Poems
☐ Write two short stories

As with Artistic pursuits I wish to continue on with what I have been doing. I am learning to cope with more work and learning to work on less stringent deadlines. 

☐ Read more essays
☐ Improve writing technique.
☐ Second reader for all essays.
☐ Submit one essay to a student journal.

I didn't do quite as much as I could have last year and I regret those adventures I did not have, although the ones I did have were quite as grand as I could wish.
☐ At least one day trip per month
☐ Bike/Camp Saltspring
☐ Hike to Hot Springs
☐ Bike Rural Saanich

The topic of my honours paper was Virtue Ethics. Something was bound to come up with that much immersion in the subject. I am now a more ethical human being, I think.

☐ Acquire first aid kit.
☐ Learn about emergency procedures in my area.
☐ Watch for morally dangerous situations.

These things are in the Volunteer section but my desire to do them has nothing to do with doing my part for society. That is simply a pleasant byproduct.

☐ Philosophy summer camp.
☐ Be a better Peer Helper.

This is the challenge section. The goals here are both for very common and fairly unmanageable.

☐ Get up at 7:30AM every day.
☐ Morning walk/jog. 30 minutes. 5 days a week.
☐ Become a better self-modifier.
☐ Eat healthier. (what does that even mean?)
☐ Try something new.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reflecting on 2010 New Years Resolutions

Last years I posted 4 New Years Resolutions. I like doing New Years resolutions because of the ritualistic feeling. It is one of those things that treats the year as a whole rather then important academic dates, holidays, and months of dull work connected only in that they are sequential.

So, how did I do last year?

1. More adventures:
I hiked two of the Gulf Islands. More adventures, check.

2. Pursue my personal projects:
I did okay here. I wrote my first non-fantasy short story. A bit of painting, a bit of drawing. I also had the nerve to let someone else read one of my nano-novels which although not as good as editing is pretty brave. Did the artists way course and changed writing from a procrastination to a reward. Still more to do but improved.

3. Learn social skills:
I did toastmasters so, check.

4. Less procrastination:
I handed some of my work to friends to read over. I modified my study habits. I am starting to understand how I work under pressure and why I stop working sometimes. Less procrastination, check.

I need more work in the personal projects area, and adventures. Lack of adventures last summer most likely had to do with a low level of food for the intensity of labour at my job. Next time, more food. I am quite pleased with this in any case. I like telling people that. I know that my resolutions are sort of like cheating, because they are general and not particular, as such it is easier to complete them then it would be to 'get in shape.' Maybe I should make it harder this year.