Costume

I should have done this sooner: I’m plumb out of good ideas for Halloween costumes, and since I have a kick-ass party to go to, and my kick-ass girlfriend is going to be there wearing a kick-ass costume of her own, I don’t want to disapoint. I’ve considered Robot, but I’ve discarded that idea (too first year, too difficult to make out with my kick-ass girlfriend), and Bill the Butcher, but that would be too difficult (where to get the proper suit?) and people mostly woudn’t recognize it. I think I could pull of the white-protestent-murderer part though.

Please – ideas!

Advertisements

Life in the life of a pirate

It has been a while since my last life-concerning entry. Many things, however, have been in fact happening in my life. The critical theory seminar today was excellent – we discussed Adorno’s “Subject and Object”. On initial reading it didn’t seem like a very important analysis, but after what was oddly lecture like for what is generally a militantly seminar-type classroom atmosphere it became clear that Adorno is trying to reconceptualize the difference between subject and object without ending up in idealism or materialism. It’s really a work of brilliance – although it’s strict rejection of ontology as not even worthy of mention makes it difficult for me to grant it more than polemic value. Given the subject-object understanding of humans and being in the world, this essay is brilliant. Given the contextualization of the subject-object relation in a more fundamental analysis of being-in-the-world, what seem to be for Adorno fundamental terms become derivative terms, and the analysis looses the grounding that it’s denial of the possibility of a ground gives it.

It is monday today. Last monday, I met Kate. Today, we are dating. The time between (and continuing) has fullfilled my constructed expectations of what meeting someone ought to feel like. My impending fear is a)that I will spend too much time with her and neglect my studies, and/or b)that anxiety over my studies will impede me from enjoying time with her. However, I think I am laid back and structured enough to handle this.

I need to do my chore now, so I can call Kate and hopefully see her later.

Call for a General Strike

Please get angry at this entry.

I support the B.C. teachers federation. I support sympathy strikes a fortiori. I support the possibility (more than the actuality) of a General Strike. I believe that striking, and at best massive strikes, are the only thing that can affect our provincial governments policies in the current state of things. In a province where over 50 percent of the population voted against the party which has unilateral power, and where a significant portion voted for a party which has very different ideas about how public services should be run, a mandate for the manner in which the liberals have “negotiated” with the teachers simply fails to exist. If no debate can occur at a governmental level, the debate must occur on the street. And the only way for the street to effect change is for the general popuation to activly withdraw from reproducing the existing system which it has discenred as unfair.

Of course strikes hurt people. If they didn’t, they would be too easy and labour would have too much power. Strikes are hard – teachers arn’t being even paid strike pay. Students loose? Maybe, but most likely not if the semester can just be extended into the summer. Provincial exams? Provincial exams are comparitivly marked, and since every student in the province is out, no one has an unfair disadvantage. Going on sympathy strike, not getting paid? Don’t have a place to put your kids during the day, loosing money because you need to put kids in daycare? Hardship is the name of the game, and if you really think your own personal hardship is more important than what is to be gained, then maybe it is rational for you personally to speak out against the strike. That would, however, imply a degree of selfishness which is, most likely in most cases, reprehensible considering how rich a society in which we live.

I think what people misunderstand the most is that the Will to strike is often enough. If the will existed to shut down the province for a day, and the provincial government correctly discenred this, they would give into fairness without allowing the strike to ever occur. Thus, even if you are against the strike, if your choice isn’t going to be the marginal difference, your own best interests are better served in supporting a strike you don’t believe in.

This isn’t a call to individual action. Individual action, such as not showing up for work, always fails because the system can take care of small defections. That’s why unity is important. They can’t put all of you in jail. No, let me rephrase that. They can’t put all of you in jail if you’re right.

Thanksgiving, and giving thanks

I havn’t posted in a while. No perticular reason, I’ve still been online. I just didn’t “feel like” posting. Things have happened.

Thanksgiving was a bash at our house, an incredible day of preperation, followed by a dinner with 20 guests, and excellent pumpkin pie courtesy moi. After dinner, Chris Hendricks invited me over to his place for drinks and cards, and I took up his offer. Besides sitting down and emptying their pockets (I took a player out of the game in my first hand), I met a fascinating girl named Kate. A philosophy/english major, graduated in the spring. An unemployed kitchen manager. A girl who thinks I have a sense of humour, and actually understands my jokes. Someone who would not find the more cryptic livejournal entries indecipherable (except of course, inasmuch as they actually are indiscipherable). A girl with plenty of soul, intelligence, and coolness that i can only halfways describe as Alana-esq. I’ve seen her twice since monday, one of which times was for an extended time. We are not “dating”, yet at least, but we have already in this short time grown quite fond of each other. I look forward to seeing her again tommorow night.

A blog thing (not neccesarily stupid)

Leave your name and

1. I’ll respond with something random about you.
2. I’ll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. You know, “not neccesarily stupid” is logically equivalent to “possibly stupid”.
4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me.
5. I’ll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something that I’ve always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your journal. You MUST. It is written. (or whatever, I don’t really give a shit)

Rights/Duties

Consider the two following statements.

“You do not have the right to decide which laws are right or wrong and on that judgement to obey or disobey them”

“You have the duty to discern which laws are right or wrong and to obey or disobey them accordingly”

Are these statements mutually contradictory? Or can we think of a right opposing a duty?

Does anyone agree with both, a kind of neccesary contradiction in civil democracy?

It seems we cannot radically accept the 1st statement, it would prevent breaking the law in case of attrocity purpotrated by the law. Appeal to some higher law? That would be something like the 2nd statement asks one to do.

What I’m really interested in, is are these questions on a supreme court justice’s mind when proclaiming a judgement. Does the judge see themselves as a kind of neccesary movement, but not neccesarily the transcendental one? Or does the judge try to mitigate radical relativism by appealing to constitutional principals and thereby secure themselves a transcendental position?

“Stand up, stand and unite
It’s time for a general strike”

or maybe just a teacher’s strike.

Creationism, Intelligent Design. Oh, and actual science

This might prompt a storm of controversy (or, at least it might if my blog was avidly read by Mormon housewives 😉 ), but nonetheless I have a comment on the evolution vs creation debate. Now, it seems to me that Intelligent design tries to attack science on its own grounds. This is an inevitable failure, the essence of science is to produce and reproduce findings that prove itself. God is never an object of knowledge for Science, at least since Kant proved that the existence of a God is not an object of knowledge for us. (I wonder if Scientists know how important Kant is to this contemporary debate?). However, a few things hinted at in articles describing the new “People and Pandas” publication, proposed to be taught in US biology classrooms, suggest a far more intelligent manner of inserting religion back into Science – but in a manner that relies on faith alone and thus does not tread on the feet of the scientists. The book claims that whether intelligent design comes from an outside intelligence, or if it is inherent to nature, is not a question Science can answer. Of course it is not a question science can awnser – no Scientists or atheist such as myself could disagree with such a proposition, except for the fact that the intelligent design argument contains positive content, refuted by scientific arguments. Thus, Spinoza should be the creationists idol (pardon the pun). Spinoza argued for a mechanistic universe in which God set things in first positions such that the world would play out as the best of all possible worlds. The loss of a mechanistic universe, given an infinite knowledge in the first position, does not seem like much of an impediment to this argument. This argumentis, of course, totally theological and something Scientists would not have the least interest in (even if we want to study before ‘the big bang’, the theologins need simply to imagine a more primordial “first condition”, and if Hawkings “No Boundary Condition” is correct (check your Book of the Cosmos), then they can simply imagine a non-temporal origin which just as much would not be a possible knowledge for Science.

Becoming Spinozians would bring perfect harmony between the need for a religiously grounded cosmos, and the need to teach actual science (which, read your Kuhn/Heidegger/Edinborough School – is not “objective” or even “critical” in the manner we generally imagine it, but rather a social act which relies on its own, sometimes changing, epistomologies). (Not that I advocate that we teach the Sociology of Scientific knowledge in highschool, although a little Kuhn woudn’t hurt).

And on the question of “doesn’t Kuhn refute the idea of a universe in-itself which science investigates?”, yes, but this is no imediment to believing in a noumenal, in-itself, super-sensible world which is a certain way.

Unless we become Hegelians. In such a case, all this fails.

The fall of a giant?

Alright. So, Google is aligning with Sun systems for the purposes of further developing and promoting OpenOffice – a free open source alternative to Microsoft office. Also, Apple will likely release a version of OSX for PC to the public once they get through the test phase. So, Microsofts 2 most profitable software packages stand to be threatened in their hegemonic, monopoly status. What will happen if businesses switch to open office to cut costs (the costs are high!), and consumers switch to OSX because it’s better? Will we see Microsoft change from an all powerful monopoly, to just another one of the companies?

Teleology

Walking home tonight, cold, I needed to urinate quite badly. Not “the worst”, but my intentions upon arriving home were very directional – towards (after climbing the stairs and putting cheese in the fridge) the bathroom. After urinating, I got the sudden thought. More than a thought, it was more like a state of mind – why am I here? I had been so end-concerning towards pissing, that having accomplished the goal, I was goal-less, like I am almost always because I try my best not to live a teleological existence.

This is how I realized that a “meaning of life” is not only always a meaning-to in terms of the for-whom of the meaning, but a meaning-towards, or rather a goal-fullfillment which carries meaning. Pissing carried meaning for me – relief. After completing the task or goal, I felt the sudden emptiness of not having a task or goal. I certainly have goals of a sort – readings, friendships, courses, papers, degrees, jobs – but I never concieve of these goals as an imperitive task to be unterdaken and completed, never nearly so imperitive as peeing.

So, in laymens terms, what I mean to say is that I think I now have some idea of what it must be like to yearn for “meaning” in one’s life. I still think it is a deeply confused and damaging feeling (perhaps a Freudian “oceanic feeling” – but oceanic feelings are not universal to human existence for Freud), but I think I get a sense of how compelling it is. Not only compelling, but trajic. Epically trajic. “In the rose of his very being man is without why” – Heidegger. I still agree, but certainly ideology and a beer induced headache can bring up the why, and with all the force that religions play upon.

I still think the “without why” is the most important and progressive thought a person can have. I refuse to see such disconnection between Heidegger and the Frankfurt school.

Algonquin Park, Ontario

Thursday evening:

“Tristan, Arty is sick, would you like to come wilderness caneoing/camping with us this weekend?”

“umm, uh, ib… of course”

And what adventures followed. To stick to chronologistics – we rented a car, drove to the outfitters, rented canoes, piled our gear in the canoes, canoed to various camping spots, got lost in the woods, canoed to other camping spots, canoed home, drove home. And they wonder why Heidegger was so unsatisfied with time as chronology.

However, I have readings to do for classes tommorow, so most content will have to wait. Hopefully to come in forms of stories, or character analysis (my four comrades on this trip proved to be excellent trip-companions, and I hope will continue to become excellent friends). Quick descriptions of each would violate them in their complexity. What I will include is a blog entry I made on paper Saturday evening at camp 2. The entry smacks of the handwritten and the unedited, even though at some points I did change phrasing simply because I can’t stand to copy down very poor sentences. It is also overly long, and could be summerized as “I got lost in the woods and saw a bear and a moose by found my way back to camp safely and realized that being lost is a very anxious state which relates to being without the help of others”, but what would be the fun in that.

Live Journal Entry, Saturday October 1st

This is my first livejournal entry written by hand. There is a lot of I could write about writing by hand (as in, how impossible it seems when one is writing in a word-processor, when one can so easily re-write), but this is not my task here. Rather I write by hand because I am sitting at our camp in the north arm of Openongo lake, Algonquin Park, Ontario. It’s quarter to seven, and the sun (which is through dense forest to my back) is obviously getting low in the sky. It’s casting the most serene late evening rose on the opposite shore. (Picture to follow).

I’m writing bceause I just got back from one of my stupider adventures. Off to find a trail to a lake, no trail found I continued on an intuitive bearing towards where I thought the lake might be. As the sun got low in the sky I decided to take one last bearing and head north-est, backtowards the main lake. Now this is where things really got scary – travelling along a logging cut (they seem not to grow back, despite the only logging having been done some 130 years ago), I saw a Moose and a black bear (a large one at that). It was the second time I’ve seen a black bear in the wild, and the first time when I was nowhere neara marked trail [read – totally lost]. Also, the first time ever I saw a moose and I have heard that they will charge from time to time. At the time of this encounter I was singing Stan Rodgers “Northwest Passage” for the precise reason not to come across large game unannounced. To startled to even take a photograph (I even had my camera out at the time), I changed my course to due east, and scampered down through dense brush to a piece of the main lake. Based on some recollected knowledge from spending time staring at the map (I didn’t have the map at this point because one of my comrades – Tina, had wanted to hike on her own and I insisted she take the map), and some memory of the relative location of islands and our camp I determined that camp was to the west along the shore. A mere 45 minutes of fighting an entirely non-trail, I found myself back at camp. “Bushwacking” hardly begins to describe it.

Up to the point when I realized I had actually found the camp, I kept thinking that viewed with any amount of objectivity, my choices had been incredibly poor. To set out, without a map or proper compass (just figuring with my watch and the location of the sun), into an area devoid of trails and accessible only by canoe, at a time when bears are foredging for winter food, is simply not something anyone should do. That acknoledged, it has been too long since I was totally cut off from other human beings. It made it apparent that being-in witohut being-with is not only an unnatural state, but also a deeply anxious one. However, you may point out that the way I have defined “being-alone” as without any useful help of others, whether in the form of maps or GPS or cell phone, or technically even the knowledge aquired by oneself at an earlier point in time, is logically (and thus tautologically) the definition of being lost.

It is getting quite dark, so I’ll end this entry. There will be photos eventually on my photo.net page, and at that point I will post the link again here.