Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Duality, Self-Awareness, and The Anti-Spotless Mind

Last night I went to a movie by myself, and I believe that's the first time I've ever done that. Oh well, this summer is a summer of firsts...but that's not where I'm going with this post.

Movie prices are getting ridiculous, but that's not where I'm going, either.

I paid the required $8.50 to see the movie that I had heard nothing but good reviews for but had never been able to see, called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Check out an MSN Review for a synopsis of the plot. It stars Jim Carey and Kate Winslett, and it is one of the best movies I have ever seen. See it.

I am fascinated with the concepts of memory, and the past, and how integral each is to who I am today. I think individuals are 100% their past experiences while at the same time 100% their future. I know what you're saying: "You idiot, that's 200%! Unless we each are two people, what you just said is mathematically impossible!" Ever heard of duality? Humans will never understand duality, because of their simple mathematical brains which will repeatedly conclude that 1+1 will never equal 1. But sometimes this statement is in fact true, even in science, in the case of the wave-particle duality.

In any case, in the movie Carey attempts to have the memory of his failed relationship with Winslett erased from his memory. But as the process is actually occurring, Carey finds himself in a sort of lucid dream-like state, going backwards through his memories...re-living them. He is smart enough (or in love enough) to realize early on what is happening. Eventually, he reaches the memories of Clementine (Winslett) that he suddenly recognizes are essential to his entire being, and to take those memories away would be to, in effect, kill a large part of what his soul has become as a result of countless moments of supreme connection with Clementine...moments when nothing else in the world moments...perfect moments. I mentioned in a previous post that a perfect moment is one in which you are certain that there is no other moment that you could possibly be within.

What I loved about the movie was how it illustrated the importance of others, and their love, in the development of an individual. The truth, I believe, is that individuality is inherent within each human. Self awareness is the consciousness of one's individuality. Personally, however, my self awareness has been spurred by the realization of how others saw me. Somewhere along the line I realized that a few very special people were able to see me the way I wanted people to see me. Actually, it was then that I realized that there was a specific way that I wanted people to see me. This way in which you would like people to see you is your inherent individuality--it is how you want people to see you because it is how you see yourself. It is your self-awareness.

I guess the point is that while there may be "Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind"--that is, the mind that has not ever been modified by the influence of the love, ideas, and perspectives of others--this "eternal sunshine" is quite simply only the bliss of ignorance. It is other individuals who are the catalysts--they are attractive force that pull individuality and self-awareness from the depths of souls. But while it is others who bring out one's own self-awareness, one cannot forget that at the same time he or she is helping others realize their own. Its a deeply reciprocal process. Once you learn to truly love the growing individuality of others, it is then that you are ready to love your own. IndiviDUALITY. That's why the girl on the train was so quick to love that little boy.

Now I look at each day as another opportunity to meet other individuals and to establish relationships, whether they be long-lasting relationships or 10 minute relationships, as in the one that little boy had with the girl with sad eyes. Sometimes these 5 and 10 minute relationships can be almost as important to one's individuality as a lifelong relationship, in that they might show you something that you've never seen before. In any case, each new relationship sheds light onto new ways of thinking and approaching life. These new ways do not cloud your uniqueness, they can only enhance it.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Weekend Ramblings:

I flew back to the home state this weekend for a famiy reunion at Whitefish Lake, in NW Montana. It was fun, except there are too many crazy women on my Dad's side of the family. There is no cure for crazy women...

I realize each time I reunite with my extended family how essential it was for me to leave the state for college...People need to be out of their element once in a while, or else they will become unknowingly trapped. People need reference points. They need to be able to say, like I can today:
"Damn, being away from my family/high school friends/hometown/home state for the last three years has really allowed me to appreciate how much they mean to me while also showing me that there are other places, other people, in the world besides those I grew up with."...Never get too comfortable...

Is it just me or do you find yourself successfully predicting the idiotically simple take home messages of Bush's speeches (which CNN helpfully places within a graphic at the bottom of the screen). Today's speech regarding the early handover of the Iraqi government: "The Iraqi People Have their Country Back." Awesome. Lets pull all our troops out tomorrow. Does this mean Al-Queda will stop beheading innocent people every other day?

I watched a bit of Ron Reagan's interview with Larry King. Seems like an alright guy. Quote that struck me (might not be exact, but I'm putting it in quotes anyway): "I remember once Bush was asked if he had consulted his father about going into Iraq. He replied by saying he had consulted a 'higher father,' in the 'Almighty'. Maybe its just me, but when someone starts justifying a war by appealing to the 'Almighty,' I get a little worried." My 2 cents: Absolutely. Does Bush honestly believe God picks sides? Read the fucking parable of The Good Samaritan for Christ's sake.

Somebody should write a book where all they do is ride public transportation and observe people. A public bus or train are a sociological goldmine. Yesterday, I was boarding The Max, which is the train that would take me from the aiport back to my apt near downtown Portland. This crazy-eyed, drunk-off-her-ass woman gets off at the aiport as I am getting on, with a bright eyed little five-year-old boy with her. She's missed her stop obviously, as she is asking everyone in sight "How do ya get to Gresham." Finally, the conductor arranges for a transit employee to meet her at the appropriate stop and escort her to the appropriate train. Meanwhile, this very pretty girl who looked to be about my age or a little older gets on the train. She has sad eyes. Girls with sad eyes always get to me. Anyway, first she sits down near me, but then recognizes that the drunk lady has a little boy, and she gets up and ventures over to the duo, sitting down next to them. She then begins interacting with the little boy, in the most beautifully soothing voice I've ever heard. She gives him a box of reses peices, she asks him how old he is. She is also very tolerant of the woman, which is more than I can say for the rest of the train-riders, or even myself. She makes sure that the two get off on the right stop, and after they leave, she sits there in deep thought...with those sad eyes...no doubt with every hope that the love she has just shown might somehow just be enough to encourage that little boy to do everything in his power to break free from the very sad path that he has involuntarily fallen into. Had she done all she could? More than that. Little did she know that I was watching her actions from afar, and that I would be inpired as much as I was. Its easy to lose faith in humanity, but it only takes one person to restore that faith in a second. The girl, with her sad eyes, would soon exit the train at her own stop. Just before she got off, she turned her head toward me, gave me half of a smile, and then left both the train and, most probably, my life...She will never know that she made me feel like crying those good tears...tears like I cry when Rudy sacks the quarterback in the final scene.

Freddy Garcia got traded to the White Sox...I realize baseball's a business, but I hate it when my favorite team trades a player that I have grown to love. Freddy was a Mariner through and through. Seattle is all he's ever known as a major leaguer. He got the first Seattle win at Safeco, and I was there. I have his autograph (which I got the next day, as a matter of fact). He cried on TV after he learned he had been traded. Best of luck, Freddy. Maybe you'll come back next year. If I was GM, I'd have you back in a heartbeat.

Lastly, my computer in my room is broken, which is severely frustrating. Its gotten to the point where internet connection seems essential to my healthy existence. Is that sad? If you say no, read this post on The Success Blog.
Its long, and it rambles, but its some good shit...a lot of it coincides significanly with some of my own chaotic thoughts.

The only reason I am able to blog is that I'm at "work," a place where the most significant thing I've done all day is write this post. So it goes, I guess.

Song Lyrics of the day:

"Do you realize the the sun don't go down? Its just an illusion caused by the world spinning 'round."--Flaming Lips

"You were right about the stars. Each one is a setting sun."--Wilco

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

MJ, Einstein, and The Sports Guy: Archetypes

I'm really into the concept of archetypes these days. I'm sure you all know what archetypes are, but just bear with me.

Humans think relatively. Simply, we understand an ideas and values relative to other things. For example, what is the number "2" if there was no number "1" or number "3"? Or, would we even have have the word "happiness" if we didn't know unhappiness? Our sensory perception of the world is in a constant state of change, which makes it quite easy to think relatively, and our thoughts flow very smoothly, almost as if along a continuum. In fact, it is this obvious state of constant change (time?), that prompted mathematicians to start studying rates of change--which led to the birth of Calculus.

Archetypes are the far right limits of our continuum(s) of thought. We can have percieved nothing better than our personal archetypes. As perception is essential for comprehension (this is simply how our brains work, and one of the basic aspects of the "human condition"), I'm going to go so far as to saw we can't even comprehend anything beyond an archetype, we can only imagine it. Therefore, we can only imagine the qualities of something or someone that could potentially replace our archetypes. Not many would disagree that Michael Jordan is an archetype.

Will anyone ever be better than Michael Jordan? Will Lebron, or Carmelo, or maybe even someone that nobody has even heard of yet one day replace Michael Jordan and become the new archetype? Who knows. Its difficult for me to even imagine how somebody could be a better basketball player than MJ.

While Jordan seemed to defy the laws of physics, Albert Einstein actually did defy them.
Einstein was not only an archetype himself, but he also succeeded in radically replacing the archetype of the way in which people think about and and percieve the physical world, with his theories of special and general relativity. According to Craig Gonsul, the physics world is in need of another Einstein-like figure. Another Einstein? Thats almost scary to think about. Have you ever suddenly realized that something you had thought all your life to be correct was actually blatantly incorrect? An archetype was replaced, and you weren't prepared for its replacement. Thats one of the scariest things that could ever happen to someone, in my opinion. The world is our perception of it, and if we are suddenly told that one of our perceptions is incorrect, suddenly all of our perceptions will be brought into question. People like me, who think too much, begin to freak out, and may ask, "Do I really know anything at all? But thats another topic for another post.

On a lighter note, I have just decided that Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, is the archetype of sports columnists. He is a sports and real world genius, as far as I'm concerned, and I encourage you all sports fans, of all interest and knowledge levels, to read his columns. If anything, check out his occasional "Ramblings" pieces and laugh your asses off. And he now has is own website! Check it out: Sports Guy's World

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Incomprehensible psycho philosophy babble, the Spike Lee analogy, and a call to arms

Ha. Ok, so I'll admit that was a nice little piece of writing by Squirts, author of the The LACK-OF-Success Blog and full time cynical-ass-(wannabe)-deity. A bit melodramatic, though, wouldn't you say? Oh thats right, he's an English Major who had to "finish this Dickens chapter" before he could write his brilliant(at least in his head, but thats all that matters) response to the relatively extensive criticism recieved for his blogs about blogs.

Colderwater, the third name that has become prominant in our ever-so-nascent blog network, seems to be on my wavelength in terms of said criticism. For the type of shoutout I was given on Squirts's page I would normally give a metaphysical nod of appreciation in the direction of the shoutout-er. But not this time. Nope, just as I was about to praise Colderpuddle on this here post I came across two very intriguing pieces of information: 1)I learned the true name behind the alias 2.) The man--or should I say boy--in question DOES NOT even have his own blog. He is very severely mistaken if he thinks talking shit from the sideline is justifiable. It seems he only siged up to comment. If so, that is piss-poor form. Ooooooooh, man. Here we go.

I like analogies, so here is one that fits about as perfectly as John Stockton's shorts would on the only Utah Jazz fan in the city of Portland.

Who do you think you are, Spike Lee? Is it just me or did Spike Lee look like the biggest dumbass every single time they showed him attemting to talk shit to Reggie Miller? Especially when Reggie was in his ultimate smooth-baller-ness in the playoffs...and he was draining three ball after three ball on those little knickerbockers with that crazy, elbows-all-over-the-place shot. Spike Lee can't talk shit! Step out on the court, Spike! For one minute! Reggie woulda tore you up! He would have taught you so many lessons you now could have your rightfully earned Ph.D--PLAYA HATIN' DEGREE! Don't hate the player, or the game, if you ain't a player yourself, with your own game to put on the table. Now...don't get carried away, Scribbledbycrayons is NO Reggie Miller of blogging, not even close. But the little guy with the hiphenated last name(yes, I realize you both have hiphenated last names. I said the LITTLE GUY.) is starting to look a lot like one contoversial African American movie maker/Avid New York Knick fan. Do the Right Thing,man. Put your hoops shoes on and come play.

I think I can speak for SLS when I say that right now there are at least two guys out on the blacktop court that is the blogging nation that are pretty sure you got absolutely nuthin'. Shoot for ball.

Research Labs and whiny multi-millionaires piss me off sometimes....

I will not go into a career in basic biomedical research. This is my second summer working in a research lab, and I've realized that while shit gets done here, it gets done painfully slowly. I'm sitting here at a computer in my lab (which is studying the neuroscience of drug addiction) with nothing to do but post this blog. And I haven't really had anything to do all week. I need a faster pace. I need to be busy...to feel like I'm actually accomplishing something, contributing something to society. And, maybe I'm impatient, but I think I would like to see an aspect of my contribution immediately. So maybe I really should be a doctor? I've been thinking a lot about this stuff...this so-called post-college life. The "Real World," if you will. My boredom has allowed me to keep up on my Sports Guy columns, of late, however, and keep up on all the latest sports news. Right now the big story is the impending Tracy McGrady for Steve Francis trade. Professional sports, while I love it, sometimes disgusts me to no end. I mean where else in this society is it ok to complain about one's working conditions when one is making $93 million dollars over seven years? This isn't the God Damned Industrial Revolution, Mr. McGrady. I don't think you're working 12 hour days in a cotton mill. And your Magic have the number one pick. Suck it up. Ever think that maybe your ginormous contract is one of the main reasons you guys suck?

Favorite Song of the Moment: Manu Chao, "Me Gustas tu"...Get it while its hot. Peace.

Monday, June 21, 2004

"One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing."-Socrates

Ok. I know very little about ancient philosophy...or any philosophy for that matter. But I like to philosophize on my own sometimes. So it goes.

I'm reading this book called Sophie's world, a self proclaimed "Novel About the History of Philosophy." It kinda breezes through the main points of all the major philosophers since the beginning of time. Once I read Plato's section, in which his concept of the "World of Ideas" vs. the "World of the Senses" is introduced. I got to thinking...(uh oh!)

What is this “world of ideas” that Plato presents?

The horse example (from Sophie's World): A horse has a “form” that is immortal and immutable...a cookie cutter, of sorts. But each individual horse is imperfect, just as each cookie is imperfect.. Ok, I guess I buy that…it makes logical sense. And this immortal form…according to Plato…exists? In some alternate, no…transcendent state of being? Or is it a state of being? Doesn’t being imply time? Time is what makes horses imperfect (or is it not? And if not, what is it that makes a horse, or any being on this earth for that matter, imperfect?). Time is imperfect itself, just ask any theoretical physicist…which reminds me: EVERYONE SHOULD READ The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene). So what is perfect? I guess perfect is the immortal form. So human consciousness is perfect in its immortal form, I guess. Perfect consciousness? What does that even mean? We can’t comprehend what perfect consciousness is, because all we can know is the reaches of our imperfect-ness. We know imperfect to its limits…in people like Einstein, but we would not know what perfect consciousness was unless we were perfectly conscious. But this perfect consciousness must exist, because isn’t imperfection a word that only has meaning in relation to some perfect entity? Simply: Imperfection does not exist without perfection, and we (imperfect) exist, so perfection must also exist.

So I thought: “Of course a human philosopher would make this statement, because a human can only think in terms of relativity. The way the brain comprehends and produces consciousness is through a very simple relative process: The synapse.” Ok. But then wouldn’t saying “humans can only think” and comprehend in a certain way imply that there are other ways to think and comprehend?” Could you imagine rewriting the world’s physics books for the next century, using nothing but your own thought? That’s what Einstein did. His theories couldn’t be proven until 30 years after he came up with them! What? We can’t even imagine it. But it happened. Thus, there are other ways to think, to comprehend. Who’s to say we stop at Einstein? Archetypes and prototypes. Einstein is an archetype. Jesus is an archetype as well, apparently (why the hell didn’t you write anything down, Jesus?!? You and that bitch Socrates)…but of a very different type of thought that Einstein. Different types, different levels, of thought. Perfection. We can’t understand perfection because we don’t ever experience it, and when we do we often fail to realize its perfection. Perfect consiousness is the prototype. So there’s a perfect “form” for all horses, but is there a perfect “form” for all humans? I have a really hard time believing that. The human condition is so much more than its physical form. So maybe there is a perfect, immortal “fom” of each individual soul. And life is an attempt to move as close as one can to their perfect selves, their perfect souls, using to the best of his or her abilities what Plato’s imperfect “world of senses” provides.

So what of love? Maybe love is our one glimpse into our immortal consiousness. Love could just be word we use to represent the experience of perfection. Maybe when we truly feel love (love that is reciprocated, on at least one level), we experience perfection, but we don’t realize it…we call it love…we can’t explain it. But then again we wouldn’t be able to explain it even if we knew it was perfection. Like I said above, we can’t comprehend perfection. And we can’t comprehend what love really is. But at the same time, somehow we can. It must be our “peek” into the transcendent. Granted, I don’t think my feeble human mind can grasp the notion of “absolute,” but I would venture to say that love is pretty damn close to an absolute. An absolute is by English definition without imperfection. Perfect. So maybe we really do experience perfect moments. Moments in which we know that there is no other moment that we could possibly be in. Ever experienced one of those?

Please comment.

Maybe this summer is starting to turn around...

As some of you know (not that there are more than...maybe...5? people that would ever read this) I have been living by myself in Portland, OR for the past two weeks, doing a summer internship at OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University for smart people). When I first got here, everything sucked. I didn't know too many people, I wasn't used to living in a city, blah blah blah...basically I was lonely. Lonliness inspires a lot of thinking, however, and usually I can find I can think myself out of any hole, even if it takes two weeks.

Ok. So this summer is going to be productive. As much as it’s almost excruciatingly difficult to realize that I am having an invaluable experience, I will realize it at some point. Maybe not while I’m in Portland, but definitely when I get back to Walla Walla and the TKE house. Its so weird though, because as much as I cannot wait to grace the walls of the TKE house again, I don’t want to start feeling the beginning of the end. All of a sudden I’m absolutely terrified of graduating…I am terrified that I’m not ready…not ready to leave college, not ready to leave the greatest friends I’ve ever had…not ready to leave just sitting around at 3am and philosophizing about random shit, with random people. But I think that when its time, I’ll know its time. Just like how I know that if this would have been last summer, I would be having a nervous breakdown. That’s kinda scary. That I was one summer im some alternate, parrallel dimension away from a nervous breakdown. But I’ve grown enough in experience-through the passage of one year-so that I can just barely handle the fact that I am so alone in an unfamiliar place. Its somewhat encouraging, actually.

Yesterday I played in an authentic playground basketball game. Ok, so maybe it wasn't "authentic" like in the projects of The Bronx. But there was more shit talking than I've ever experienced. And a coupla ballers. I just happened to be walking by the court and they just happened to be desparate for one more player. I never get any respectright off the bat in these types of games. I guess I can't blame anyone for not respecting the game of a 5'8'', 145 lb skinny white kid. So I had three legitimate looks from behind the arc...and was just off on all three. Damn! I just needed to make one of those and maybe a couple of those guys would remember me when I come back to the park. And yes, I'll be back. I gotta earn my cred, though...Don't worry, I will. The funniest part of the experience was this bald white guy (who, incidentally, had "Big Pimpin" as his ringtone...if you're gonna have that ringtone, you better be able to back it up, thats all I'm saying.) Anyway, he was a dipshit. He was whining and talking so much shit...I just wish I was bigger sometimes. Whatever. I'll drop a couple treys one of these days.

notable song lyric quotes:

"There's only so much time in this crazy world...I'm just crumblin' herb."--Outkast

Sunday, June 06, 2004

What the NBA needs is a Motown championship...

I'm sure you NBA fans have heard it before.

"I don't watch the NBA, its too boring. College basketball is so much more exciting because the players actually care."

Maybe its true. Maybe the NBA will never again be as intriguing as the days of Magic vs. Bird and all that, but I don't buy it. Why? The 2004 Detroit Pistons. These guys care. These guys want it SO much more badly than that sorry excuse for a retirement home (sorry GP, you are my favorite player that I have ever seen play the game, and you still have that intensity that I love so much, and I would love to see you win a championship...but with the Lakers? I know you're on your last legs, but this just looks plain desparate. Breaks my heart.). And the Pistons are so old school. Just like the badboys of old...with Laimbeer and Isaiah and the Worm. Thugged out. Do not tell me Ben Wallace isn't a straight up thug (yes, I realize I'm white, but still...I can recognize). And 'Sheed has finally found teammates and a coach who allow him to be emotional...they even feed off it. Then there's Rip Hamilton. He has arrived. He is the new Reggie, except better...you could see the changing of the guard when they embraced after Game 6 of the Conference Finals. You could even tell that Reggie was a little excited about the continuation of his legacy. And don't think that he hasn't jumped on the Pistons Finals bandwagan, cause he has. Now, my theory (although painfully optimistic) is that if Tayshaun (he of two of the most incredible blocks I've ever seen from a guy his size and skinnyness) can pump of the scoring a little, and if Billups can get back to draining threes, these guys could take it to Shaqfu and his lackies (yes, Kobe is a lackie...Oh, and on the subject of Kobe: Does anybody else think the whole "Court to Court" campaign is ridiculous? Hey Kobe: You cheated on your wife.) The true sports fan (who doesn't live in LA) is rooting for the Pistons, and the true sports fan believes they can win.