Thursday, May 17, 2007

Silver lining, please...

It is my firm belief that every being on this planet, postnatal, is inarguably, exemplifying their own respective individuality, alone. As a necessary side note, in this regard, the word "alone" does not carry the connotation of "companionless" or "forsaken." "Alone" simply means that, outside of every individual's own personal self, there is no consummate guarantee of anything except for the provisions that each can effectuate themselves. For example, after birth, there is no universal decretum forcing parents to care for their young. Sure, there are probably concrete biological rationales as to why parents keep their young alive (propagation of genes, perhaps?), but in the rare case that parents ignore their progeny, the young almost certainly parish UNLESS the young can care for themselves.

In so many words, no one can count completely, solidly, thoroughly, and unconditionally rely on anyone, save themselves, to fill their physical or emotional needs.

It is a sobering thought. Human beings are social beings, and as such, I think that each one has the propensity to view their individuality within a social context. Since each individual inherently knows that they can trust themselves, they, almost undeniably, inherently trust those with who they intertwine their individuality. This reticulated view of individuality is, more than likely, the cause of expectation. When ample reciprocation (which is completely relative to each individual and their corresponding expectations) within an individual's social sphere does not occur, the first individual becomes disappointed, but I digress.

So, if all that is certain is the guarantee of personal provision, anything beyond that is completely ancillary. Friends are concomitant, and loved ones are adjuvent. Not realizing this, and just believing that supplementary camaraderie is owed to each one of us, is tantamount to taking everyone in our lives, and the blessings each bestow, for granted. This is a heavy realization, and we can all thank ourselves and each other for the fact that we have not all left everyone else out to dry. Still, mastering our own individuality is something that might further out understanding of ourselves, and each other.

I am sure that, once again, this sequence of thoughts would benefit from a good deal of re-examination, as would many of my posts. For now, I will just leave these thoughts where they are, and revisit later.

Thank you again for spending even the slightest bit of time with my thoughts...it means a lot.





"Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear that has been so long sustained by now that we can even bear it."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Let ambiguity speak for itself...

I currently have several drafts of potential posts waiting to be completed and, in all honesty, I'm not sure they'll ever be finalized. I've come to a realization about writing. In order to truly write freely, creatively, truthfully, and profoundly, a complete lack of inhibition is a fierce prerequisite. Recently, I've found my creative, associative, observant, critical, (dare I say somewhat derisive) edge blunted by self-consciousness, or fear of those who would presuppose. Not that I truly shudder at conjecture, but on the same token, there aren't many people who tend to hypothesize outside of their own personal sphere.

What I am trying to say is this: the bourgeois take things personally. Let's face it, we're all guilty of getting pissed because there is a lack of decent parking...

How in the world have we all become so self-centered? Who are we to assume that events that have no correlation to our daily lives, let alone insignificant existences, are set in motion for our own personal inconvenience. Who are we to assume that the stranger, who's mother potentially died earlier in the week, or who's house was recently repossessed, shot us a sideways glance because they didn't like us, thought we were ugly, or had a problem with our fundamental character, which, I may remind us all, they have no way of knowing?

My plea is this: Take what I write for face value. I make observations and comment on them. If something inflammatory appears in this blog in the future, realize that I am not directing my musings towards anyone. I do not write spotlights. I am not pointing out anyones' shortcomings. Hell, half of the time, I'll, more than likely, be making a comment on something I have done that seems a bit left of center.

I'm sorry if this post comes across as a bit brash. Actually, I'm not. I'm only sorry for those who are offended by its brashness.

Check in again soon. Now that I've offered a PSA, perhaps I can finally finish up previous abstractions.




"If your heart was broken, you'd be dead..."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A curt catalogue.

My music playlist as of recently:

1. The Almost - Never Say, "I Told You So"
2. Armor For Sleep - Stay On The Ground
3. As Cities Burn - Terrible! How Terrible For The Great City
4. Billy Talent - Devil In A Midnight Mass
5. Boys Night Out - Composing
6. Cassino - The Gin War
7. Chiodos - To Trixie And Reptile, We Thank You
8. Emery - Playing With Fire
9. Farewell - This Masterpiece
10. Hidden In Plain View - Bleed For You
11. Making April - I Wrote This Song
12. Matchbook Romance - Surrender
13. mewithoutYou - The Dryness & The Rain
14. Moneen - Seasons Fade...Fevers Rage...It's A Slow Decay
15. Quietdrive - Maybe Misery
16. T.R.E.O.S. - Dead Men Tell No Tales
17. Saosin - It's Far Better To Learn
18. Say Anything - Belt
19. Thursday - A Hole In The World
20. Time Tells All - Remember '85


Books on my reading list (not necessarily in this order):

+Kurt Vonnegut - Welcome To The Monkey House
+Kurt Vonnegut - The Sirens Of Titan
+Kurt Vonnegut - God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian
+David Sedaris - Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim
+Nick Hornby (editor) - Speaking With The Angel
+Jon Clinch - Finn
+Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
+William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
+Earnest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises
+James Joyce - Ulysses


Beer to try (and retry):

-Hobgoblin Dark English Ale
-Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
-Storm King Stout
-Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
-Abita Turbodog


Scattered Thoughts:

-Thank God Atlanta is not playing Tampa Bay in the 1st round of the NHL playoffs.
-I see nothing wrong with a bit of pretentiousness, if it can be backed up.
-Some professors assign essays with bullshit prompts. Case in point: "Beyond what is visible and invisible within mass media and your life."
-Days should include 36 hours.
-Bass guitar should probably not be as difficult to learn as I am making it.
-I am pretty happy that warmer weather is on its way for two main reasons: First of all, this winter was fairly half-assed, and secondly, warm weather is far more conducive to mountain biking.
-Boone is a long way from Ohio, but Oregon is even farther.
-Boone has no music scene.
-It is about time for this semester to come to a close.
-This summer has all the makings to be the best summer in the history of forever.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Geneva isn't Zurich

I am not a very faithful blogger. I will admit to this whole-heartedly. I am almost positive that the shortest post I have written on this blog took me a contemptible 7.5 minutes to type, re-read, decide that it was post-worthy, and to finally click 'publish.' One would think that I might have other 7.5 minute blocks that I could put toward entertaining my 3 person reader base. Well, I don't, and haven't.

Actually, I have. I was lying. Blogging is one of my 'personal time' activities, of which, I have far too many in proportion to the amount of personal time I have. I wish I could include a chart, graph, or picture to illustrate to everyone exactly what I am talking about, but since Google Images does not seem to have a graphic of my 'personal time vs. personal time activity ratio', I won't. Anyway, in conclusion, I put those short time chunks to what I feel are better uses: watching hockey fights on youtube.com, reading a quick chapter pre-bed, enjoying a second glass of wine, etc. Blogging world, I beg you, do not hold this against me.

It seems to me that in nearly every one of my other posts (...or at least 1 other), I bitch about the lack of free time I have. Well, this weekend, I completely inadvertently set myself up to have plenty. I had full intentions to venture back to Ohio and spend parts of Easter with Mom, Dad, and Eliza, but I completely forgot to request this weekend off at Gap. Stupid me. So it goes.

Quite recently a lot has been going on in my life, but maybe I'll attack that later. Right now, I would like to devote a couple paragraphs to a very strange coincidence that I have found myself a part of. It has also caused me to think quite a bit. Very few people will probably be as roused by this coincidence as I was, and I acknowledge that fact. If you find yourself shaking your head, thinking, "Big fucking deal!", then just stop reading. However, if you find this as interesting as I did, please, let me know what you think! I'd love to hear outside opinions, as I always do...

Anyhow, Friedrich Nietzsche, one of my favorite philosophers, wrestles with the idea of 'eternal return' quite a bit. Actually, as Martin Heidegger points out (in one of his many lectures on Nietzsche's posthumous 'The Will To Power, I believe), Nietzsche does not directly deal with the existence of eternal return, but the 'thought of eternal recurrence'. Before I continue though, it might be necessary to attempt to define the philosophy of eternal return. Essentially, it states that the universe is in a ceaseless state of recurrence - that reality will recrudesce infinitely. So, if the philosophy of eternal return is true, the moment that you are experiencing right now has happened a countless number of times, and will happen infinitely.

I recently revisited 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', and section III, chapter 2, deals with eternal return, which is why this has been fresh in my brain.

I also just read 'Slaughterhouse-Five' by Kurt Vonnegut. It is one of the best books that I have read. Ever. Kurt Vonnegut is a wonderfully adroit dark humorist, but that is beside the point. Shortly into the book, Vonnegut indirectly alludes to the philosophy of eternal return. I have absolutely no idea whether Vonnegut is a fan of Nietzsche, the philosophy of eternal return, or whether or not he just needed a comfort blanket to cope with the tragedy that he experienced in Dresden, but I suppose it does not really matter. As I continued reading 'Slaughterhouse-Five', it became more and more apparent that 'SH-5' was not a story that simply insinuates eternal return throughout, but is a story based on eternal return.

Some critics like to slam Vonnegut for 'trivializing' the tragedies that were perpetrated during WWII, particularly the bombing of Dresden. Vonnegut's response, in the forward he wrote for the the 25th anniversary of 'SH-5', is something to the effect of: "Well, I couldn't hold the bombers accountable personally, they were just following orders like the rest of us. I had orders to pull dead bodies from meat lockers, and I did it. It's the same." I respect that Kurt, honestly, but I could not help but sit back and think that the levity, which critics misinterpreted for trivialization, arose from eternal return. This may seem obvious, and feel free to shake your head at the blatant lucidity, but obviously, if everything has happened countlessly, and will happen infinitely, catastrophic situations are unavoidable, and therefore, not worth spending any grief on.

Then I got to thinking about it...eternal return is a cool philosophy, and I had recently spent a good bit of time contemplating it, but what are the odds that the universe is seriously caught up in an infinite cycle? Not fucking good. That means catastrophic situations are only one time deals. If the universe does not repeat itself indefinitely, then cataclysmic events, such as the Dresden bombing, are terrible human tragedies, and are worth more than a shrug. Still, how many people have actually heard of the Dresden bombing, let alone recognized its anniversary or prayed for the 100,ooo+ civilian casualties. Probably not you, or many of your friends, me included.

So as I sat back and contemplated, I arrived at somewhat of a chilling conclusion. As time progresses, humans become far more detached from events. This detachment exponentially increases as first hand sources (veterans, victims, etc.) die, and eventually historic events become nothing but encyclopedia entries. Essentially, if this is the case, even the worst humanitarian disasters are forgiven as they are being perpetrated.

So where is this strange coincidence? I am getting there.

After I read 'Slaughterhouse-Five', I was having a hard time deciding what my next book of choice might be. After a good bit of thought and contemplation, I obligatorily decided on Milan Kundera's 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'. Here is where things start getting weird. The first paragraph cites eternal return and Friedrich Nietzsche, and on page 4, Kundera writes: 'Leafing through a book on Hitler, I was touched by some of his portraits: they reminded me of my childhood. I grew up during the war; several of my family members perished in Hitler's concentration camps...This reconciliation with Hitler reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything is cynically permitted.'

Whoa. Right? That's pretty weird. What are the chances that I would revisit 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra', then read 'Slaughterhouse-Five', followed by 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being', which consummates all of the conclusions I drew because of the first two? This is both baffling, and a bit frustrating to me: baffling in the sense that it seems a bit too coincidental, and frustrating because this coincidence affirms to me that a lot of the conclusions I draw, which I seem to think are pretty fucking smart, somebody else has already thought up and written down.

Whatever.

I would say that this post has been a pretty successful return to the blogging world. After a 2 month sabbatical, I'm back. It did take a few more than 7.5 minutes to write though, so, quite honestly, I will not say that my return will be long-lived. Until next post, enjoy, and hopefully, I will be writing again soon.

.............one more thing: Mom, thanks for 'Slaughterhouse-Five!!!'




"In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine..."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

...ruminations...

I simply haven't had time to post.

First of all, school has become increasingly more time consuming as the days have rolled by. I'm reading piles of articles, newspapers, etc. for Communication classes. Geology lecture is still a joke thanks to the "Xtilizer" (her name is Crystal, and whenever she mentions crystals during the lecture, they are spelled "X-tles" on the powerpoint slides). My World Since 1945 class is still as hard as ever. It seems to me that no matter how much I read about Stalin, Churchill, Molotov, Truman, Roosevelt, or the surrounding events, I never seem to remember anything. Also, this past Thursday, I handed in my "Rough Prospectus Outline". This project will be a nightmare. The class has already had a couple of big scares. For example, at the beginning of the semester, Mr. Chauvin made sure to tell us that he would be scrutinizing the format of our papers because, since it is a history class, everything should be in Chicago style. He also gave us guidelines in his syllabus as to what the format for our rough prospectus outline should be (down to the number of paragraphs that we should include). I followed the guidelines very strictly, as everyone else did, I'm sure. To our surprise, during class, he told the class an entirely different format. Needless to say, a number of us stayed around after class to contest his new format. Thankfully, he conceded.

So that's school so far.

This past Wednesday was the NHL All-Star game. It was a great game. The All-Star game doesn't count towards any of the player's individual stats, or their teams' records, so everyone was playing for fun. I was rooting for the Eastern Conference. They lost. I single handedly blame Martin Brodeur for it. He netminds for the New Jersey Devils, and is one of the most recognized goalies in the game. In fact, he is currently in the running for the Hart Trophy. He gave up six goals in the seconds period. My favorite player, Marian Hossa, racked up 4 assists, one of which went to an old teammate (Zdeno Chara). Daniel Briere (center for the Buffalo Sabres) took the MVP. Games resumed yesterday after the All-Star Game break. Atlanta won their first game back (5-4 in OT v. the Islanders). Hossa was recognized as the 2nd star of the game, and was able to rack up an assist and a goal.

On Thursday, there was a dusting of snow here in Boone. This brings snow totals to 5.5". According to Ray at booneweather.com, we still have 50" (yes, a little over four feet) to be looking forward to. Bring it on winter!

An anonymous comment on one of my recent posts has had me thinking quite a bit. When I get time, I would love to sit down and type out my thoughts on individuality. When it comes to individuals, I think there is a distinct catch 22 that comes into play. More later...

To those reading, enjoy your weekend, pray for snow, and take a little while to relax.


"You're a legend in this room, but only in this room."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Life's School Of War

This morning, I saw ASU's art department personified.

I was walking to my 8:00 Badminton class and, as I normally do, passed Wey Hall. As I sauntered by, a gentleman in a shabby, neutral-colored flannel shirt leaned nonchalantly against a light post. He was completely under dressed for the weather - it was 30 degrees-ish with a wind chill factor of at least 20 - and sported a sandy blond mop of hair that was "oh so unkept". He had his hands in his pockets, but, somehow, was still able to smoke his cigarette. I smiled at him and gave him a friendly nod. I received a cold stare that reeked of faux-angst and pretense.

If I were to gather up ASU's male art student population, sit them down in my computer chair and force them to read the paragraph above, my prediction is that 97.44% of them would presume that I just described them.

Alternative stops being alternative when it becomes a trend, or is made unoriginal by a population.

This is a short post.



"To the things themselves..."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This might benefit from a bit more thought...

Let's think about trust for a minute...

In the past, I've made the assumption that people were inherently trusting. Recent events have led me to believe otherwise...

I would confidently make the statement that a very small percentage of the population falls in the category of the inherently trusting; the larger percentage does not. For purposes of this argument, I'll define trust as the belief in one party, of another, to reasonably fulfill ethical promises, however they apply. Now, exactly why the greater part of the populace is congenitally skeptical about what others claim is hard to say for sure, but I believe the roots of distrust can be pinpointed in two distinct schools of thought. Individual X mistrusts individual Y because either: a.) Individual X realizes that trust comes with the uncertainty of disappointment, and is not willing to subject themselves to the possibility of disappointment, or b.) Individual X believes that Individual Y lacks the moral competency to be trusted.

It's no secret that human beings are rationally self-interested, and , therefore, don't want to subjugate themselves to the possibility of disappointment. Therefore, reason A seems like a solid reason for our societal dearth of trust, and it may very well be between people who are unfamiliar with each other. Still, familiarities are formed in our society. While human beings are rationally self-interested, they are also social beings. The need for interaction among other human beings is necessary, despite the fact that familiarity comes with a conscience credit in another. This fact might incline one to think that the larger part of society must be inherently trusting, but superficiality replaces any sort of true merit one human might have for another initially. Many of us like to say we surround ourselves with friends, but how many of those "friends" are anything more than drinking buddies, sorority sisters, teammates, etc.?

There are, of course, those rare occasions when people move beyond superficial fellowship and begin to truly get a glimpse into the other's existence. Layers of the two personas begin to be peeled away. If one, or both, of the individuals decide early that they truly aren't compatible with who the other is, then the friendship is called to an early end, when much of the superficiality still exists. (Keep in mind, much of this is done subconsciously.) If the early layers don't provide something fairly reprehensible, familiarity is gained, and superficiality is shed. With the new found familiarity, the two can also begin making judgments as to who the other is outside their superficial social persona. Once the two begin to reach subjects near and dear to their hearts, personal moralities can begin to be identified. At this point, the two have probably shed most of the superficiality, therefore making a separation of the friendship somewhat impossible without disappointment, and as I claimed earlier, human rationale is to steer clear of disappointment.

Argument B comes into play at this point.

The two people are familiar with each other to the point where a separation is not entirely feasible without fundamentally breaching human nature, and consequently, probably will not happen. They are familiar with each other's moral conscience, and, at this point, can either have faith that the other will be able to fulfill their ethical promises, or not. That is to say, they can either trust the other person, or not. While I might make the argument at hand sound entirely black and white, it isn't. People are multi-faceted, and because of this, many different angles can either be trusted or not. With some resolutions, one might trust the other completely - on others, not at all. I suppose that the situational mistrust comes back to the point that Individual X does not want to be disappointed by Individual Y's moral shortcomings, BUT the shortcomings have to be acknowledged first. They must also be moral shortcomings. (People trust machines because they have no moral sense, and if the machine is mistrusted, the mistrust is placed in the creator, or programmer, of the machine - not the machine itself).

Trust is a tricky thing. It seems that to trust completely, one must go against their fundamental human nature. This may be the case, but I hope, and pray, that all of us are able to do so at some point in our lives.

I feel like I am lucky enough to say that I completely trust several people in my life. I realize that this could potentially set me up for disappointment, but I have a great enough faith in them to disregard that concern. Many many many thanks to those of you who have not misplaced my trust. I hold you near and dear to my heart.

Thank you for allowing me to get this off my chest.



"The reasons for which this world has been characterized as 'apparent' are the very reasons that indicate its reality..."