Sunday, October 02, 2005

Interaction

Sheep


[dug up a doc I penned a while back. Liked it, posted it.]


The goal of chapel, as paraphrased from our dearly departed chaplain, is to "bring together our sense of community as well as highten our physical and spiritual awareness of the world outside of these walls".

Neither of those two things can be forced.

A sense of community is something that is formed naturally when enough people develop a sense of kinship towards one another. A sense of community is created by the members of the community. That sense is expanded whenever you find someone who shares a common interest, highten your opinion of someone, or overall figure out that the guys/gals your with ain't that bad. This cannot be influenced by requiring us to wear formal attire and sit in an archaic room while the collective body heat of the boarding community reminds you of what it feels like to be a lobster in Maine.

The strengthening of spiritual awareness can only be achieved by a voluntary means as well. The expansion of one's spiritual awareness is achieved when one acquires and thinks about an idea that has never entered his mind before. This can be achieved by either a lecture or a discussion, though discussions are usually more effective as they actively engage the participant and let's their mind open up more. When you're forced into either of these situations, your mind will instantly shut off. You'll zone out, and all the ideas, no matter how well put they are, will for the most part fly over your head. This is what happens in chapel. A huge amount of the kids get in, sit down, and zone out for half an hour, and the speaker, no matter how good he is, cannot get to the audience (The exception is when the speaker can successfully appeal to the emotions of the listener, a case demonstrated by some people in last week's chapel). Again, you must voluntarily debate with someone or actively listen to a speaker in order to take in new ideas and broaden your spiritual awareness.

Physical awareness is the one thing that can be forced. When you tell someone an important piece of news, no matter where the situation is, the person will in most likelihood remember it. Physical awareness is the ability of the mind to acquire and remember physical traits of the world, be it the numbers of the last ball game or the latest newsbreak in the Israel/Palestine debate, depending on how the person values the event. If you are forced into chapel while a red sox game is going on, and someone walks in saying the sox won, the info will be diagnosed and processed and retained if you find the information interesting. So, yes, chapel can be used as a news bulletin so that someone can come up and tick off all the important events of that week to the boarding community. That would work. But, in my humble opinion, I don't think that's the main use of the chapel.

The only way to develop a sense of community and mental/spiritual awareness is by instigating interesting discussions and lectures in which the attendance is voluntary. That way the people that go are willing to allow new ideas into their mind, and develop new opinions of those around him. Other than fostering a uniting dislike of chapel, the service has failed in it's attempt to foster a community mentality. Other than developing preconceived notions of new ideas, chapel has failed to strengthen our mental awareness. And I have yet to see a guy run in shouting the sox won, so I don't think it's done too hot on the physical awareness either.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Introspection

[nb: this was never meant to be a fully constructed rant, but I liked it and thought "what the hell". I apologize for the large blocks of unorganised and unrefined text, and the more rantish nature of the rant.]


Who am I?


I am me. I am the corporal form of my intelligence, emotions, and moral code. I strive for my moral values, I shun unattractive entities, I learn, mold, and adapt. I hold a strong value to intellectual stimulus, with a lesser kinship to emotions. I live through a constant influx of numbers that translate me to the rest of the world. I am my ideas, ideas slightly different from everyone else. I condone, promote and encourage intellectual advancement, as well as shun any block to the advancement of knowledge. I encourage the free exchange of Ideas, regardless of the values those ideas hold. I hold a deep disgust of anything preventing a free exchange of ideas, no matter how unacceptable they are by the values of current society, for it is my belief that, while societies come and go, Ideas wander through time, unchanged. I am allergic to the idea of the destruction of knowledge, be it through burning a library, silencing an opinion, or promoting one set of values over another. I live my life through numbers: the constant numbers of time, the regular numbers of our exchanges of goods and services, the numbers that evaluate our intelligence quota, the numbers that change our life on a daily basis. I strive to collect and analyze those numbers to further reveal what it is to be us. To be human. I strive for logic, and dismiss opinions founded on emotions. I enjoy the chaotic flux of life, and am quickly bored by the stagnant. I live for change – be it of numbers, of values, of life. I am the combination of an infinite amount of thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, as are you, as is he, as is she. I am me.


Am I free?


I am free to the extent that a human can be free: I may think my thoughts, develop them, and exchange them with others. While still bound by the innate laws of nature, I am free to expand my thoughts until they encompass all I know, and am free to be able to distill those thoughts to paper for others to pick up and tinker with. I am free to think, to express, and have reached the limit of freedom allowed a human being: I am free to, in a large fashion, control my life, and to a limited extent the lives of those around me, the most we humans may be able to claim as their own. I am free to think, which is the only true, unlimited and unregulated feat left for us. While our bodies are bound by laws that we do not fully understand, our minds our free to explore to the limits of our imaginations. I am free to take these ideas and do with them as I please – I may decide to do nothing, or I may attempt to revolutionize the world with the fragments of thought in my head. I am free to act upon what I deem necessary, within the omnipotent laws of nature. I am free to rally those around me, and am free to express my opinion. I am free to bear the full responsibilities of my opinion and its impact on society, no matter how broad the term “society” might dictate. I am free to be as free as my situation dictates I should be. I am free, yet a slave to the freedom of those around me, because humans may never be truly free without bringing about the destruction of freedom. I am free to truthfully answer the question as to whether or not I am free, and by doing that, prove that I am, indeed, as free as I am able to be.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Meditation

Apology
Bah. This is what happens when too much happens at once: you forget to just sit down and collect your thoughts. Apologies for the lack of updates, for the random people that pass by, and all 15 of you people who have such a lack of life that you subscribe to the blog. Yay RSS feeds.

Stupid Intellectuals


A thing I've noticed in the past bunch of years is that it's become less and less cool to be smart. I was talking with a cousin's daughter, currently enrolled as a junior in Andover, and she's told stories of smart girls who dumb themselves down to not be shunned by the rest of their school. Now, for little old me, not only is this the highest on my "wtf" list, but it's also very unnerving: the next generation is being told that it's not good to be smart.

Now, not to sound like a soccer momm-ey, but I blame the media. Kinda. Our society forces people to give us what we want in order to make money, and T.V. is doing just that. After Survivor came out, the people clamored for more reality shows, and that's what the network gave them. Then they wanted worse, and T.V. obliged. It's a vicious circle -- we seem to always want stupid shows, which in turn render us a tad more stupid, making us want to watch stupider shows, which render us more stupid, etc, until we wind up with the IQ of a monkey. Or a celebrity. Same thing.

Which brings me to question number two: Why do we want stupid stuff on T.V? And why just us? If you, again, take a hop over the pond, you'll find the BBC with new documentaries every week and views that challenge pretty much everything, and while there is the odd soap opera, there's nothing compared to the monstrosity of our 100 channels of idiocy. My little hypothesis is that we like to see people that are worse off than us, because it makes us feel better. We like seeing the stupid rich white girls get blasted at a party, because we think that we're better. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day, and when we demand so much of things that are worse than us, there is less time for the actual intelligent stuff. The smart stuff gets pushed to less prime times, until the only thing better than desperate housewives is a documentary on the Survivor series at 2:30 in the morning.

Closing that parenthesis, I wander back to my original point: It is no longer a good thing to be smart. Not geeky smart, that's always been bad in high school, but just book smart. Using polysyllabic words. Reading to pass the time instead of watching TV. I, for one, am quite disturbed by this stupid intellectualism, and hope that it can be changed around soon.

Friday, September 02, 2005

[off the record] White Ravens

[01:32] Scone: hm?
[01:34] Dreamwalkerofyor: that is one kickass raven
[01:34] Scone: heh
[01:34] Dreamwalkerofyor: that's gonna be on my todo list
[01:35] Dreamwalkerofyor: get kickass raven to sit on shoulder
[01:35] Dreamwalkerofyor: and look cool
[01:36] Dreamwalkerofyor: and....raveney
[01:37] Dreamwalkerofyor: ...it can dive bomb four year olds
[01:37] Dreamwalkerofyor: hehe
[01:37] Scone: ,,,
[01:37] Scone: oh yeah
[01:37] Scone: i'd love to dive bomb those 4-year-olds
[01:38] Dreamwalkerofyor: "mommy mommy look CAW! CAW AURGH MEIN EIEZ"
[01:38] Scone: you know my thing for little girls
[01:38] Dreamwalkerofyor: I can train it to only dive bomb german kids
[01:38] Dreamwalkerofyor: so they can be like SIEG HEIL HEIL HEIL CAW CAW
[01:38] Dreamwalkerofyor: ....or something
[01:39] Dreamwalkerofyor: *bored*
[01:39] Dreamwalkerofyor: hehe
[01:39] Dreamwalkerofyor: vicious is jesus christ
[01:39] Scone: ...
[01:39] Scone: reverse that
[01:40] Dreamwalkerofyor: bah
[01:40] Dreamwalkerofyor: figures
[01:40] Dreamwalkerofyor: google raven and the first two images are teen titans
[01:40] Dreamwalkerofyor: stupid people have no respect for cool raveney
[01:41] Dreamwalkerofyor: ...thingies
[01:41] Dreamwalkerofyor: nevermore!
[01:42] Dreamwalkerofyor: oh, that'd so kick ass
[01:42] Dreamwalkerofyor: an albino raven
[01:42] Dreamwalkerofyor: it'd be like, a social commentary in the form of a kickass bird
[01:43] Dreamwalkerofyor: hmm
[01:43] Dreamwalkerofyor: there are images of albino ravens
[01:43] Dreamwalkerofyor: so they exsist
[01:43] Scone: ...
[01:43] Dreamwalkerofyor: ...wonder if their still carrion feeders
[01:43] Dreamwalkerofyor: the white ones
[01:44] Dreamwalkerofyor: ...
[01:44] Dreamwalkerofyor: *bored*
[01:44] Dreamwalkerofyor: *doesnt want to write*
[01:44] Dreamwalkerofyor: *bloggs conversation*

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Divination

Deus Ex Machina


"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him"
-Voltaire

"God didn't create humans -- humans created God"
-Cowboy Bebop, ep. 23: Brain Scratch

The question of what happiness when we die is something that most people like to ignore, probably because it reminds them of their own mortality. That's also another reason as to why funerals are so depressing: It's not just that someone you know has died, it's a reminder that one day, will follow the path of the corpse in front of you. To quote a Mr John Donne: "For whom the bell tolls-- It tolls for thee." We hate being reminded of our own limitations, our own shortcomings, our own mortality. So what do we do about it? We create God.

If you look at it completely objectively, the Bible makes no fucking sense. Two people populated the world, but incest is bad? God created Earth in 7 days, but the universe in a second? Talking Bushes? Come on. Why is it, then, that Christianity held together for so long? Because it gave people answers. Why are we here? God made us. Why do we do this? God lets us. Why are we blowing up that tall building? God said so. It provides a convenient and irrefutable cure-all for the common man. In the past century, however, times have changed.

With breakthroughs in science occurring and reoccurring since the steam engine, people have slowly shifted their faith from God to Science. Science can also provide a cureall for the common man, but a better one: most statements can be provided with an explanation. Sure, the explanation is long and complicated, but the men in white coats sure look like they know what their doing. Pills could cure anything: Flu? No Prob! Take two and call me in the morning. Malaria? Give me your arm. You'll feel a slight pinch. There. All better. Cancer...uh....fuck.

In the past 7 years or so, science has faltered. We are no longer being given pills that cure anything, and the marvels of yesteryear are common practice today. So, we move to another deity: the Screen, and with it, Celebritism. Here are these people who symbolize everything we could possibly ever strive to be: Their beautiful, their rich, their powerful, they must be smart; hell, I'd like to know everything about them. What? whats-her-face changed her breast size? quick! Show me!. What? Whats-his-face is going out with whats-her-name? Oh my God!!!. Slowly, our culture, our people, our information has begun to mirror this fanatic behavior. It has become complete commonplace to see kids dressed in a manner that would make a jaded whore blush. It has become nigh-impossible to find girls that don't wear midrifs (which, I would like to add, for the better part of the time make you look fatter than you are). The trial of Michael Jackson took priority over the food crisis in Sudan in the national news. Movies sell not by their artistic or entertainment value, but by whose name and face is on the poster.

I would like to add that this is, for the most part, an American-only phenomenon. However, variations of it have sprouted throughout the world. It might not be to famous actors and musicians, but to the television in general. People have become glued to the idiot box, and it's a real shame. Books are slowly becoming a thing of the past, and ignorance is becoming fashionable. Fashion, for the most part, is what the majority favors. Logic tells us that because of that, the majority of the world is slowly degenerating into a shell of their potential. And it shows. With people rather watching Pimp My Ride than picking up a newspaper, or reading People in the stead of a Book, nothing is being done to quell this epidemic of ignorance. Things can change. Don't listen to an audiobook, pick up the real thing. Don't get your news of TV, get it off a newspaper, or the Internet. As long as you're actively reading and not passively listening, you will rise above those around you. Make people look up to you. Be smarter than the masses. We must rekindle the thirst for knowledge that has died out, to be replaced with the stagnant obsession of fanaticism.

Talk with others. Argue. Debate. Pick up new ideas. Apply them. Test them out on others. Form others. Merge them. Grow. Adapt. Do what we're supposed to do. Everyone has the capacity to grow beyond their intellectual barriers, it's just a matter of will.

{Note: Every other time I tried to write God I typoed it to Gold. Rememeber, a Freudian slip is when you say one thing but you mean your mother.}

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Investigation

I always knew...


A little pastime of mine is to look for good flash animations. There are good ones, among the myriad of mediocrity, and the reward is quite worth the expense. One of these extraordinary artists is a Korean trio that go by SamBakZa, who, to date, have begun a small comedy entitled "There she is!!!", as well as a great serious animation entitled "Hot Fish", a commentary on Korean society. I happen upon their site again, only to find that my favorite of them all, Hot Fish, was taken down for legal issues. This, of course, pissed me off. No worries. The Internet being the Internet, there's bound to be another copy floating around somewhere. Basic google search brings up nothing. Advanced google search brings back nothing. Half an hour of searching later, I come up empty handed. Damn. So, I drudge through the Wayback Machine to find a previous copy of the site, where the flash was still on it. Of course, they don't have a download link, so I have to then download, crack, and run a leech program, which is now doing it's little leech thing on the site, hopefully giving me my hot fish that I so deserve by now.

Which, in turn, leads me to my ramble-of-the-day (TM): Legalities suck. Hard. They didn't always blow the proverbial donkey: once upon a time, all of the laws made sense. But, time went by, and these laws turned archaic. Do we remove them? No! No one's gonna care, and it's too much effort for us. Well, until john q lawyer digs it up and slams some kid in the face with it. We need to renovate our laws and jurisdictions. Adapt them to a new age. Out with the old and in with the new and all that. The second amendment was for the guys on the frontier shooting Indians. Update it. Copyright laws were before the internet. Change em. Checks and balances weren't meant to be thrown out. Reinforce em. For Christ sake people, it's the 21st century last I checked. Let's make our laws reflect that.

A/S/L?


[02:13] Will: i'm debating whether i should even try to be social though

[02:13] Will: i mean...i do have a single

Being social is overrated, especially when you have to suffer fools, something that certain people cannot do. A little experiment I did concluded that spending one day a month being completely blunt with people makes you feel quite a bit better about everything, though you might regret it in the morning (like many other things in life). Thinking back, I realize being social is a damn hard thing to do, even if you do it without thinking. You have to keep track of all the little white lies you told here and there, complement people when necessary, gossip when necessary, and do quite a number of things I just plain don't like doing. Of course, that all becomes irrelevant if you can spark up an intelligent conversation, but, unfortunately, that's a damn hard thing to do in the good ol' US of A.

Enter: Internet. Here, you really don't have to guard what you say, because people don't really know who you are. It makes all points of view accepted to a degree, because the only way you can deny them are by putting forth arguments of your own. Say you were talking with a Neo-Nazi. The only way you can argue with him/her is intellectually: no emotions. Everything is transmitted through what you type, and as such your ideas take center stage. It's like, well, being social 'lite', because you get all the good things of being social (exchange of ideas, intellectualism, etc) without the bad things (idiotic/inane conversation, lies, etc). Internet 1, Real Life 0.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Interpretation

French Connection


"When I look back on all the crap I learned in High School,
It's a wonder I can think at all
And my lack of education hasn't hurt me none,
I can read the writing on the wall."
-Simon and Garfunkle, "Kodachrome"

Education is overrated. We've got it all screwed up; kids learn things they aren't remotely interested in, and don't have the time to pursue the stuff they like. This seems to have diminished somewhat in recent years, with electives becoming more and more popular, but there are always the obligatory subjects, even if it wasn't written in black in white. Back in my school, there were subjects that were required and subjects that were "highly recommended." It was required that you take up to Algebra 2. It was "highly recommended" that you take math up to Calculus. It was required to take a science. It was "highly recommended" to take Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Unfortunately, with your schedule full of required and recommended courses, you can only really tack on one elective. Of course, this all changes quite a bit in college, but, in my humble opinion, that's 4 years too late.

In France, land of the brave and home of the free, you branch off from basic education to three (or more, depending on the school) basic schools of knowledge: Science, Social Economics, and Literature. In those branches, there are still two classes you take (French and math), but depending on the branch those can be as insignificant as your third language (You generally learn three languages in French high school. Your first is French, your second is English, your third is a more exotic language of your choice). Emphasis is placed on the subjects related to the branch you chose: science courses for S, government, economics, sociology for ES, French, History, psychology for L. This balances it out pretty well: by high school you should have some basic knowledge on what you're interested in, and the branch you take can help you refine your interest into a major.

I will never understand how the French can take any instance of American government, look at it, and make it better. As for myself, I, too, am astounded by the ton of useless crap I learned in high school, and am quite glad I can still read the writing on the wall.