Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waxing and waning before an upcoming storm

That phrase means absolutely nothing.

No, don't try to figure it out, I know you are, but stop.

That phrase, really, really meant nothing. Well, maybe there's some subconscious... no I'm not going to entertain any speculation here.

But if I were, I would say it has to do with the off-feeling I'm having thinking about my upcoming move. After delaying even looking for quite a while, suddenly everything's come together and... well, and now things are happening.

That's a bit different than how things have been for the last say 5-6 months, where my life was dominated by my job but otherwise didn't really change. And now it is.

Which raises many questions about to what degree I ought weight my job in my life now, and what of the people at my job, and what of the people outside of my job, and what of all the thoughts and plans I had based on skirting the weight of my job + commute now that the latter is gone...

Yet while previously, the impact of my wondering, to prompt the start of my motions toward actions, which might fizzle out before anything solid materialized, was rather large compared to the average eventful-ness of me just living my life, now compared to the almost auto-unfolding events, my wonderings seem almost idle.

I suppose there's a little fright here. And then there are matters unsettled from the last few months. And then there's a little sadness.

Leaving home, where everyone knew my name and I was always needed, to go to...

Jersey City...

but then again, Jersey City does seem to rule.

And so, despite pings of nostalgia I now move forward and face my ch-ch-changes (and here are the lyrics for that song as well)

And just so you don't suspect that I've become any less awesome... let's dance!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I think there is a point here that you are missing

In my humble opinion it is this:

I'm not listening!

Many may at first suspect me the anti-punk. I am generally respectful others, highly religious, have a good relationship with my various family members, observant of many traditions, politically eclectic but with a tendency toward what could be said to be conservatism.

But hell, when you say "I'm not going to fall in line/become another casualty of comformity", damn it, then I got to jump in the mosh pit (metaphorically, since I don't get out to concerts that often and usually get enough unnecessary touchy-feely time with strangers from the PATH trains).

On the other hand maybe I'm just in love with that sense of power of being able to say the hell with it all... though I suppose I don't, but that sense...

But then again maybe it's just the music, because music is awesome, musically speaking.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Friday, July 24, 2009

To Africa, I think

There was once a great book I read, that I think may have been called The Well of Worlds. I checked it out from the Princeton Public Library once a long time ago, but it doesn't seem to be on amazon or heard of anywhere. Nor can I locate it on the PPL catalog. One afternoon I will have to make a dedicated search for it, but the book was quite impressive in several regards. Most obviously it had a complex and fascinating alternate history scenario which posited a continuing Aztec Empire, and rising powers in Africa in the 19th century. (that summary does ill-service to the ideas, however, describing them more precisely would require the book itself or at least a good deal more time to search my memory)

But the book was also outstanding on a character level, and the main character was a bit of a rake, who fell in love, pursued his love, but his rakish-ness got in the way again and then... and then his love, as filled with ambition as he was, decided to head to Africa to see the new kingdoms modernizing and advancing, and he decides to head that way as well, the book ending on a chapter called "To Africa, I think" or something of the like.

I mention that because today was completed SEACOM, the beginning of cheap high-speed internet access in Africa. Given that cell-phone technology has already been utilized successfully, to an extend beyond many areas of the Western World, in Africa to enhance communications, this is an immense potential boon to the continent and opens all sorts of opportunities for productive innovation that could help millions in the long run and...

Maybe a little bit of a hyperbole, but this forces me to ask myself... why am I here?

Of course, I have answers, family, friends, danger enhanced by mental illness, danger posed by mental illness, the financial cost of mental illness, etc., and when I'm rational about it, I know that if I wanted to plop myself down in the middle of nowhere and start improving things, well, it would require immense sacrifice, immense risk, immense distress to my loved ones, and carry a very low chance of success.

So I'm not going to run out to Africa anytime soon. But I do believe we'll see some rising innovations there and some amazing progress in the next few decades, if God wills it (please Lord help the people of Africa, and help us all, your weak and sinful servants). And so I still look wistfully at times to the East, and there are times when I wonder if when my circumstances are different (for they have been and continue to be dynamic, though in ways sometimes hard to tell), will I pick up a suitcase and say...

"To Africa, I think."

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A meditation on Archimedes to satisfy the needy

Why Archimedes is Awesome

  • Started calculus
  • Made the best estimate of pi up to that time
  • Was completely in love with math

Archimedes has always been a figure who impressed and intrigued me. I got an opportunity in 11th grade to really explore him and that led me to writing an essay on him and the depth of his love of math. His life is a model of beautiful passion, something we are all capable of but which many of us are afraid to explore.

An essay for American Literature class

Written 1/1/02

Few men have understood the glory of living. Thorton Wilder calls those few “poets and saints.” While not all poets and not all great men truly understand this glory, some understand and that is what compels them to do great things. They understand that every moment is worthwhile, that the grimmest part of life is still life and is still beautiful. Most will never have that understanding, most understand only after they can look back on their entire life, and that can only happen at death. “It takes life to love Life,” Edgar Lee Masters once wrote. And for most that is true, but for a very few, understanding comes naturally and it makes them glorious. One of these great men was Archimedes1 of Syracuse. He was an ancient Greek mathematician, considered to be one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time2 (Golba, online). He revolutionized math in the ancient world and his contributions directly inspired new discoveries more than a 1000 years after his death. The elegance and beauty of math and pure logic amazed him. He was always contemplating the magnifigance of the universe in his symbols and numbers. He loved truth, understanding, and figuring out things. Math was his passion and he served his passion well (O’Connor and Robertson, online). Archimedes will always be remembered, because he could connect a grain of sand with the universe, and figure the mind of God plus or minus a sin function. Archimedes understood the beauty of life and that made him a very great man.

Archimedes was born around the year 287 BC. His father, Phidias, was a Greek astronomer, and he raised him in a house of math (Bendick 1). His city was Syracuse, a major city on Sicily, and a bustling seaport. He was likely related to the king of Syracuse, King Hiero II (Rorres, online). This suggests that he was moderately wealthy and so it’s not surprising he had enough to travel to Alexandria to study math in all its shapes and forms (Bendick 24). Math as a science was just beginning (Benedick 16). However, it was growing and mathematicians were gathering their information together in Alexandria; thus started for the first time a mathematical community (Bendick 26). Archimedes joined this community and dug in to every field he could. This was the beginning of Archimedes’ long and amazing career in math. He began sending out work to his colleages and gained a reputation for being top-notch. He eventually left Alexandria, leaving behind a considerable legacy including the Archimedes screw, an irrigation device (O’Connor and Robertson, online). He returned to Syracuse, but his math work did not stop. He became an expert engineer, revolutionizing the field of the lever, creating pulleys upon pulleys upon pulleys, and building some of the largest catapults the world had ever seen. He even once created, some say, a reflective mirror that burned enemy ships (Rorres, online). Most of his inventions went straight to the war room where King Hiero and his successors used them in Syracuse’s ongoing wars with Rome, a power just beginning to bloom (Golba, online). Archimedes’ inventions3 saved Syracuse the initially from a powerful seige, but Syracuse was taken by a suprise attack by Rome and was conquered (Rorres, online). Archimedes died when Rome took over Syracuse, killed by a soldier, despite orders that said to spare the mathematician’s life (Bendick 128).

While Archimedes was known for his inventions, that wasn’t his field of choice (Golba, online). His greatest works were in the fields of arithmetic, geometry, and physics. Nine of his works have survived, On plane equilibriums (two books), Quadrature of the parabola, On the sphere and cylinder4 (two books), On spirals, On conoids and spheroids, On floating bodies (two books), Measurement of a circle5, The Method, and The Sandreckoner. It is known that he did much more; his name is used in many, many works of his contemporaries and his successors. He developed the basis of integral calculus, he examined every geometric shape from the spiral to the circle. And yet Archimedes also treasured the ideas of others, using some of the newest of the time, like the sun-centered universe6 (O’Connor and Robertson, online). He loved ideas and the truth. Archimedes went far beyond just proving new math to be true, he wrote his methods down for the ages, and he also invented a new numeral system to express numbers that Greek numerals couldn’t. This number system came in handy when Archimedes calculated the number of sands of grain needed to fill the universe7, or at least the concept of the universe at the time (O’Connor and Benedict, online). This was not practical but it was a work of love, for Archimedes truly treasured the order and logic of the universe through math.

Archimedes’ art was math and he loved his art. Yet math is not an art of creation, it is an art of discovery. The laws of math have been true since the beginning of existence and Archimedes reveled in them. He would go without eating, start scribbling while bathing, writing down math as fast as he could. If he could ever find a surface to draw upon, even if it was simply the dirt with a twig he would start drawing figures (Golba, online). In the end these figures led to his death. Accounts of his death8 claim that he was scribbling math in the dust during the invasion of Syracuse when he was confronted by a Roman soldier, he told the soldier “don’t disturb my figures” and the enraged soldier killed him (Rorres, online). Archimedes was in such rapture about the joys of discovering new truth that he did not noticed the burning of his city around him. He did love his city and gave it some of his finest inventions, but math was his true love and so he could not waste time fretting over a city when the secrets of the universe were at stake. It was through this love that he loved life. He found that the universe had in it unlimited wonder and was continuously trying to find that wonder through math. His love of math was his love of life, his math was but an expression of life’s logic. Archimedes worked to his last moment, savoring every second, and then died forever a mathematician in love with the order of the universe.

Archimedes lived a life of math. Being a mathematician was nothing special especially with an astronomer for a father. Yet he is the greatest of all the mathematicians of antiquity, perhaps of all time. He figured out the relationship between the volumes of a sphere and a cylinder, he figured out the workings of water displacement, he understood the secrets of conics and a great deal more (Rorres, online). He was great, but what drove him was a love of math. This love of math was a forever wonder about the mysteries of life, and in this way Archimedes understood life.

1-Archimedes was his full name, most Greeks only had one name (Bendick 1)

2- The other two are Newton and Gauss (Golba online)

3-In addition to the inventions already mentioned Archimedes employed a large metal contraption that would rake ships at sea, he also booby traped the walls of Syracuse (Rorres, online)

4-This work concerned the ratio between the two and Archimedes requested that ratio be engraved on the door of his tomb (Golba, online)

5-In this book he calculated the most accurate pi at the time (Bendick 91)

6-Archimedes used the universe constructed by his father, Eudoxus, and Aristarchus, (O’Connor and Robertson, online). He later made a mechanical model of this universe that lasted 200 yr.s (Benedict 78)

7-the number of grains needed to fill the universe is approximately 8*10^16 (O’Connor and Robertson, online)

8-One account says he was carrying mathematical equiment that looked like gold and that is why he was killed (Rorres, online)

Works Cited

Bendick, Jeanne. Archimedes and the Door of Science. Warsaw, North Dakota: Bethlehem Books. 1995.

O’Connor, J. J., Robertson, E. F. “Archimedes of Syracuse.” January, 1999. University of St.Andrews. Online. Internet. Dec 21, 2001.

Golba, Paula. “Archimedes.” 1994. Interactive Real Analysis, ver. 1.9.3. Online. Internet. Dec 21, 2001.

Rorres, Chris. “Archimedes Home Page.” 1995. Drexel University. Online. Internet. Dec 21, 2001.

Good Archimedes links

Good overview

Lots of info

A Good starter

Archimedes writings

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Live and let doom

I must say Twitter has treated me very well. Although I still have questions about the format and about the ultimate viability of the business, it has been good to me, regularly bringing in far more readers than my actual blog.

But that fills me with a twinge of regret.

Originally the Twitter feed was a way to build views + get out my scattered thoughts, to build views and allow me to concentrate the most of my energies to big power-posts + crazy-zany posts + just general Rand-ish awesomeness.

Yet the oft-expected Second Renaissance did not arrive. Well, actually by now I'm on my third or forth Renaissance or so (though to be fair, may consider there to be several Renaissances, usually linked with the different streams of Classical knowledge coming in, ie, Irish monks 9th c., Sicilian/Spanish Muslims 11/12th c., Greek refugees + Italian loot 14th c., and so on.).

Perhaps, this goes back to an old lesson, taught to me time and time again, though most grossly during a period of stomach virus where I could not drink a full glass of water without throwing up.

When in a situation of where your opportunities are scarce, do as much as you can, whenever you can.

Big plans of an integrated social media strategy don't really fit into that space, as it refuses to realize the scarcity of time.

And while I RAND THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS! do refuse reality's dictates, I must on occasion play by its rules to subvert it, and time is often a rule I must bend to... so then...

So then as much as I can whenever I can. Thus Twittering, thus posting up sessions that might just be a paragraph or two. Thus trying to find time to write and draw and submit work to publication, even though I can't make a regular schedule of things just yet.

But one fine day...

Well, no, that isn't the proper sentiment. What I'm speaking of is not an acceptance of a life far less than what I want, and just trying to deal with it. If that were the case, wouldn't altering the life to be more like I want fit into the equation? No, this is an understanding that I am not where I want, but I have found a path that I think will get me there, but in the meantime I'm not inclined to play dead, nor to simply roar in frustration at the lack of steady order to my gains and losses. Rather, if I cannot yet conquer the world, I will conquer this and that, a country or two, and perhaps the city of Worms. And I will do good work while I'm at it, and I will put myself in a better position for grander dreams, or so I hope.

But in the end, all of that is still a bit of a means to an end, the happy note is that in the pursuit of that means, or rather in doing so in the correct way, I am in achievement of that end:

That is striving to be a servant of God, as best I can, whenever I can.

After all, that is the course of a holy fool.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And when I am freedom will I be a waving flag?

Once again, I am referencing K'naan's superb song, Wavin' Flag. Sometime I'll break down the lyrics and point out possible references to K'naan's native Somalia and the awful situation there, but I would probably need to do a little prep work before that. One must not claim historical authority when writing on a topic without some backing.

Yet I often find myself drawn to that song because it speaks to freedom, something dear to my heart. Of course, freedom is hard to define, and one definition, which I reject as illusionary is that freedom can only be achieved through the loosening of bonds and obligations. I find that a perverse philosophy that leads only to self-nullification.

However, I find myself dangerously close to that place.

Out of college, secure job-wise, more money than I really know what to do with, and with most of my siblings established in independent lives, most of the old obligations that once bound me are fading. Those that remain, to my Church Youth Group, to my parents' vision for my life, to tradition, etc. are actually somewhat loose, though at times they seem to snap tight at me, and I, on occasion, find that to follow them too strictly or too fully would be diluting of who I am or simply unnecessarily painful. Still I make an effort, though probably I ought to make more, but if those are the only obligating forces in my life, well, I'm likely to find my life rather shallow and unhappy.

And then what of Rand, the great and glorious? What of that greatness and glory? Well I am a student of False Bravado and do believe in great and grand dreams. I am also ever the fan of the fairer gender. And while both these topics seem out of reach at times, they are something to aim for, and that aiming does bring some obligating force, some urgency to life.


Except, all that urgency centers around me. Yes, it centers around me doing good stuff and being good to people, but the central notion is that I have some gift to share with the world, or at least some specialness to share with a wife, and sometimes it's hard to maintain that. Consciously, I can tell myself that, but in the chemical roots of my emotion, boiling through my subconscious into my doubts and self-hatred, I don't instinctively believe in myself. Heck, I don't instinctively believe I deserve to live, but I think I've pushed that pretty far down (though the meds help, but always, all good things flow from God (but more on that below).

So I'm left with a struggle with my subconscious, which undermines my efforts and makes it far more difficult to cite some proof against my doubts.

But all of that... that's crap...

Let me make something clear. We are not dictated our natures by our emotions. My chemical imbalances do not have a right to grant or deny my future. They effect things certainly, but the fundamental decisions of life are made by ourselves. And by God, who then gives us a choice to follow Him. The choice isn't always spelled out in directly religious terms, after all, you can have the faith to move mountains, but if you do not have Love, you have nothing. Love, I believe a choice to follow Love, not as a particular relationship or circumstance, not as a simple emotion or need, but as an ideal, as a cause, as a force, as beyond description... that is the path of God.

That's my urgency. And from that flows my ambitions (though focused by what I believe God wants for me) and from that flows my belief in romance (for if nothing else, romance is a beautiful work of God's great art) and from that flows my love for people (in God's image, what else do I need to say?) and from that flows a belief in myself...

I feel tempted to hate myself at times, at times to be apathetic and uncaring toward myself, but while I try to steer away from self-centerness and arrogance, I can confidently say that I am loved by God. Personally, passionately, infinitely. God even sent his Son to die for me. Yes, this is the Love offered to all mankind, but God has no limit and neither has His Love. And if God deems me worthy of love, who am I to disagree?

This is my belief, and this is a religious one, but to those of different religions or the non-religious let me point this out. If you are capable of love, you are capable of something immensely, infinitely beautiful. Don't doubt your self-worth, don't even consider throwing it away. Even if it doesn't seem that way at times, everyone has a capability for love, even if they choose not to use it, or choose not to see it. And that makes us worthy, beautiful, and gives us an obligation to spread love.

After all, if Love is to conquer all, why not we do the conquering for it?

Perhaps I do not fully mean this, but here's a statement capturing the ideal to which I aim.

I love you all, take care of yourselves and each other.
(not that I won't be doing that myself, lest you mistake me for someone using that classic goodbye, I am not going anywhere, at least I don't think so, at least not profoundly, at least not yet)

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Because Doom don't go away

So I suppose I ought to announce a grand re-entrance to the world of ambition and worries. That is I have faced the life in the moment and decided to exist outside of time. And so on...

Essentially, I've re-embraced my philosophy of false bravado and fool-dom.

But the danger, which I find myself bouncing back and forth from, is that it is not enough to want to be the fool, one must believe one can want to be the fool.

This was essentially my difficulty with living in the moment.

By instinct I believe not in my self, and even with my conscious determined false bravado...
And thus just in the moment I can't remind myself to believe it and...

But in the end, it's alright and it's okay and I'm awesome... RAND RULES!!!

It's not just a crappy new Korn song

Once again: delays of matters has caused me to not-post but rather post the old draft of something most likely unpublished (or maybe published and forgotten)

Let me start out by saying I think evolution is the general cause of species differenciation, etc., etc. I like evolution, it's got a nice logic to it, it's a neat idea that might not appear naturally but once you understand it you're like duh! People inherit traits from their parents. Some traits are more likely to get people laid than others. Those traits are passed on in a larger number. Over time those traits become dominant among the species. Given long enough time and enough traits, you have a completely new species. Now beyond that basic theory of evolution there's a lot of fine tuning. One of the main complaints of the creationist crowd is that there is too much diversity to be explained by slow evolution. But on that matter, Stephen Jay Gould, gives some good explanation with his refinements of the theory and there are plenty of other refinements which while not completing a perfect account of everything in the world gives a pretty reasonable account of much of biological history. Sure there are questions still to be resolved, but they aren't ones that are that beyond our capacity. Well, that is excluding the really big questions like the ultimate why, and some of the most deep hows. But evolution works pretty good.

Creationism actually is pretty dangerous to religion as it fulfills all the criticism of the anti-religious that religion is just for filling up the blank spaces in science. That is not the case, but Creationists play into the stereotypes. Religion actually has several important purposes, greatest of which, is offering the ultimate whys for doing things, or at least some of the penaultimate whys (that depends on what you define as religion and if you put as a why the reason for choosing a particular religion and your reasons for choosing, of course with perhaps the ultimate ulimate why, reason is perhaps unable to suffice). One of the alleged replacements for this however, is the idea of evolutionary morality, that evolution has given us enough morality. I have some serious flaws with this. First of all, I'm a little skeptical about some of morality preached by religion. But more importantly, evolution offers no real reason to follow it. Evolution offers a course of action, but we can always refuse it, afterall some specimens have to fail the evolutionary test for there to be any change in the species.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

So what do you want?

While as noted in my twitter my mojo is working (though not necessarily working on you), I am still very much the sick. So I'm digging out an old session that was in drafts and throwing it out there because it good stuff and I good stuff and etc.

I'm kind of tired of the long titles I've been doing for a couple sessions now. I did them for two reasons, first was because it was fun and second was because I wanted to increase views. It isn't really fun anymore and doesn't really seem to be increasing views. I'm somewhat unabashed about my desire to increase views makes sense from my perspective. I think I can produce something quality, and while that in itself is an accomplishment, it is better if I expose the world to my quality goods. In addition, I'm ambitious by nature, which means that this role of the writer who actually gets read suits me well. I think that's important, that it suits me. Yes I want to do good, but I want to do good my way, and my way is writing and being heard.

There are a lot of ways to do good really. You can be an artist (like I fancy myself, although I try to avoid the word artist, because it does have a pretentious reputation (although the sound of the word isn't too bad), I tend to use the word writer even though I wouldn't mine working in mediums other than the written word) or similiarly a builder or creator of some sort. You can be a discoverer, someone who studies things, makes analyses or just reveals things unknown or underlooked. You can be a helper, you can be a teacher, or you can just be a good friend, spouse, or parent. There is a school of thought which feels that a person should do whatever will benefit the most people. I don't really think that. I think that yes, you should do good with your life, but you should do good in a way that you want. There are so many ways to do good, so many needed ways, and are some needed more than others yes, but... but to completely sublimate your will to what others need I think is to destroy a part of yourself, and if humans really are beautiful and worth helping then it seems obscene to destroy such an essential part of one.

So what if you don't know what you want? What then? Or what if you can't get what you want? Then deal with what you have. We all have ways to help open to us, and almost always there are ways to help out there, available to us immediately, even if it is only our personal relationships. Or maybe, and this is a maybe, even if it is just preparing to help. But you need to watch out for that one, some people end up preparing for their lives doing things (that's actually one of my greatest worries). Hopefully you can do some good along the way and/or you can make some definite plans.

Then there's always helping yourself. There's nothing wrong with that. I always believe in self-worth and I dislike the villianization of selfishness (in some forms), but even if you're more severing people-centered you can remembered that you yourself is a person. Still, concentrating on just yourself is pretty hollow. Even for yourself. I mean if all your work is on yourself you're restricting your soul by cutting off its ties to the world. It's not good for you just to follow your pleasures, at least that's how I figure it.

So that's how I think about that. Whatever. So I'm still going to try to get an audience, and even if I don't I think I'm ok with it as long as I keep trying (well, no, but I wouldn't be ok with it even if I was accomplishing stuff since I'm just a little bit crazy (but despite my craziness, or perhaps because of it I am still Rand, the great and glorious!)). I've always believed that you can live a good life even if you just live trying to do good. But if you're not even trying to do good, no matter what you accomplish, no matter who likes you, no matter how much fun you have, you still have a bad life. True worth belongs to truth, and truth isn't what people think, it's what is, and if you're religous, it is the mind of God.

So that's really what I think about that. Probably that's enough for now. So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

God Bless.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Unfortunately we need to sleep before Brooklyn

Le sigh. I wanted this to be a post on my triumphant return to the active and ambitious life of a fool aspiring toward holiness, but I am sleepy, verrry sleepy.

So here's the BEASTY BOYS!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Now to get a glimpse of pure-Randness witness this conversation between Rand and Dav

Rand (7:43:48 PM): Hey Dav, check out

Dav (7:51:15 PM): hey Rand

Dav (7:51:19 PM): 1sec reading

Rand (7:51:26 PM): reading like a fox

Rand (7:51:32 PM): Which would be pretty cool

Rand (7:51:45 PM): Dav, get me a READING FOX!

Rand (7:52:14 PM): I just wanted to point out the whole domain name thing, Jy actually bought me a domain name for my birthday

Dav (7:53:56 PM): sweet!

Dav (7:54:02 PM): thats cool

Rand (7:54:07 PM): yeah, I know

Dav (7:54:45 PM): and yeah, i read the post...latest 2

Rand (7:54:59 PM): oh thanks

Rand (7:55:20 PM): I'm actually preparing a post I should finish by tonight about the Simpsons

Dav (7:55:28 PM): haha awesome

Dav (7:55:35 PM): but idk what i think about seeing so far into the future

Rand (7:55:54 PM): yeah, I do worry about the future too much

Dav (7:55:55 PM): idk, i like to take things as they come i guess, and id like to think i might shift my paradigm in life one or 2 times

Dav (7:56:04 PM): yeah, idk,

Rand (7:56:41 PM): The thing is though, the current point in my life is really sort of future-focused since a big shift in my lifestyle is just about to happen

Rand (7:56:52 PM): Like just about to happen

Dav (7:57:13 PM): yeah

Dav (7:57:28 PM): but idk

Dav (7:57:37 PM): having goals like that are great for the long term

Dav (7:57:50 PM): but like, planning your immediate life wrt those goals can mess you up

Rand (7:58:15 PM): wrt?

Dav (7:58:38 PM): with respect to

Dav (7:58:40 PM): *

Rand (7:59:56 PM): True, but when it comes to job choice, location choosing, etc., these are things that are going to have to be choosen within 2 or 3 months and that are going to be important in determining my medium-term life

Dav (8:01:00 PM): yeah but

Dav (8:01:15 PM): you shouldnt necessarily look at all that with respect to your longlong term goals

Dav (8:01:16 PM): idk

Dav (8:01:22 PM): speaking of which

Dav (8:01:28 PM): have you ever considered getting a phd?

Rand (8:01:34 PM): I have

Dav (8:01:45 PM): like, i heard some of your sentiment re: free time and meaningful outsideofwork applications

Rand (8:01:55 PM): And Achacha's been pushing me in that way

Dav (8:02:02 PM): and ambar was talking about stuff like that the other day wrt his phd and leaving princeton high school

Dav (8:02:07 PM): oh yeah?

Dav (8:02:24 PM): idk, sounds like the free time and getting ta's to do all your stuff is up your alley

Rand (8:03:14 PM): yeah, and some of my professors have told me that professoring is a good day job for writing, but I'm kind of tired of college right now, and the academic world seems a bit too static and servile

Dav (8:04:06 PM): idk, in the long term it becomes pretty dynamic and...(bossy? haha)

Dav (8:04:26 PM): because if you become a professor, you can get your opinions respected in general community, etcetc

Dav (8:04:44 PM): but i mean, tbh i think anything you take relatively soon will be pretty static and servile

Dav (8:04:57 PM): like, youre just at a pt in life where you need to accept some of that shit

Rand (8:05:32 PM): perhaps, although getting respected in the general community is pretty rare due to some of the walls between acadamia and the general world

Rand (8:06:11 PM): Well many other jobs would also seem somewhat static and servile, but in college I'd have to invest a lot more of my effort and worth into the work

Rand (8:06:53 PM): And I feel like this is a time in my life, perhaps the best time in my life, to experiment with dynamic opportunities

Dav (8:07:06 PM): dynamic opportunities like?

Rand (8:08:21 PM): Well, spending a good deal of side time working on projects, et al., but also seeing if I can find a job where I feel really like part of a team and like the company and its products are a real product of my work

Dav (8:09:35 PM): yeah idk, i just feel like that's really rare

Dav (8:09:44 PM): the confluence of all that at least

Rand (8:10:05 PM): Maybe, but like I said, this might be the best time in my life to do some trying different stuff

Dav (8:10:05 PM): i think most of the work you take now that can really take you someplace is gonna be rel. lower tier

Rand (8:10:52 PM): Eh, in the end if things don't work out, I can always go back to college in 2 yr.s or so

Dav (8:11:23 PM): i guess, but idk, in the final analysis youre gonna have to make some big decisions, so idk shifting too much might hurt you

Rand (8:11:48 PM): meh, they say most people don't end up in the career that matches their major

Dav (8:11:49 PM): just in the sense of starting the progression later

Rand (8:12:18 PM): And I've got some decent job prospects and a lot of routes I can take up later if I want to

Dav (8:12:56 PM): i guess, but i think the whole free time and meaningfulness is pretty unrealistic

Rand (8:14:20 PM): I dunno, people manage it, and I'm risking very little since I'm still aiming for a job that can build more work-centric skills and some nice pay

Rand (8:14:48 PM): Sometimes you gotta take a little risk, especially when the risk is little and the potential is good

Dav (8:15:24 PM): yeah praps

Rand (8:15:47 PM): alright I need to go and get meself some eats and such

Dav (8:16:02 PM): k, gluck w jobs

Rand (8:16:07 PM): thanks

Rand (8:16:21 PM): good luck with the hw and all, and tell Jz to beat you up

Dav (8:16:56 PM): haha ok

Auto Response from Rand (8:16:56 PM): I've decided to uncharacteristically eat in at a time that is semi-appropriate and hopefully not incredibly unhealthy. My fingers are crossed that this experiment succeeds.

Leave a message if you so desire

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Let me sing these songs of freedom... but not right now

Determined far past a fault into a virtue and past that into... something, something, obscure pop-culture reference... I continue my experiment with living in the moment.

But to be truthful, this has to do with more than living in the moment. Intertwined with an out-of-moment perspective has always been me looking forward and back with my hopes and ambitions. Just as important an element of this experiment has been living without my usual grand ambitions. Essentially, for the moment I've tried to scale down my thoughts and maybe consider normal ambitions, and a normal life, and in particular the path that was set out for me at birth.

Get a good paying job
Get a wife
Have kids
Do family stuff

It's not a bad life by any means, and it is certainly one I'd recommend for many people and even many of my friends. It certainly beats drinking till your liver explodes and you're too much of a drunken slob to be any sort of husband/wife or father/mother. Sadly I worry about some of my friends on that path.

But the perhaps advantage of living in the moment and without grand ambitions, is that you just accept those sort of sad things. They are out of your control, yes, but more importantly they are outside your sphere of activity, maybe (although with helping friends kick a bad habit... but then that depends how strong and close the friendships are (I'm not sure I have that many friends that are that close)).

So that is the experiment. There were elements of weariness, and even spite that compelled me to try living this way, but I find that is far too little justification for turning my entire life upside down like this (in terms of activity my life has changed very little, but this has in fact turned my life upside down because one's experience of life is determined by one's perspective and that perspective has been heavily inverted). And if I am doing this just to avoid the costs of my grand ambitions, the recurring failures, despite the fact that most of the grandness of the ambition is internal, and the worry, and the anxiety and the obligations... well, that's a bit of a burden, but not so much as losing your parents, or taking care of a child, or any number of other experiences other people go through, and it is certainly less of an obligation than a cross. So essentially I would be sinning then.

But the core reason (at least this is what I'm telling myself, hopefully truthfully) for this experiment is to see if the ambitious path is right for me. Or perhaps a more humble one, or rather since part of my ambition is too be more humble, a more simple one. That is to say, ought I live in the moment, or live with the future often on my mind? Should I concentrate and find joy in the small things, or should I connect even the small things with the big picture and find joy and direction through that? I have often grappled with this choice, and dabbled with both sides, but largely chose the path of larger ambitions than smaller ones. However, there is something to be said that you can't judge a life until you've lived it, and the life of smaller ambitions I admit is not without merits... and my life of larger ambition is not without faults, many of which have been very clear of late.

In the end though, this is not about which path I find more happy moments on, but rather which path is the one God wants for me. Or in more secular terms, which path is my real purpose on. Perhaps the answer to that question will not come within the next 3 days (I was going to have this for another week but I realized that certain problems would arise if I decided to go back to larger ambitions and then dived straight into a rather busy weekend), but I think overall this experiment has given me some valuable food for thought so far, and probably the next few days will as well. Even if I do go back to living ambitiously, I think I've learned at least some useful techniques. And if it turns out my life is more correct in smaller terms, well...

In the end, one must do what is right, or at least try to, the best he can.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Because I'm easy, easy like Sunday morning

Least this week.

So I've decided to summarize my experiment in perspective (detailed two days ago) as an experiment in "living in the moment." That doesn't quite explain it, as it also has an element of minimizing worry, and other details, but that phrase sums it up decently. And by my pre-decided and a little arbitrary timeline, I got another week in this.

So far it's been interesting, from a human nature study point of view (less so from a living point of view), but my new attitude has been hard to hold for a while, and is only now starting to sink in.

I find myself with less highs, fewer lows, less ambitious, more calm, a little blander overall. Perhaps. But I'm also starting to be a little more comfortable with doing some of the things I want to do that I used to worry about (like these sessions actually), and while I'm a bit reluctant to admit it, perhaps there's something to all this.

On the other hand, I'm getting less of that sense of that good struggle to do right, but...

I dunno, worrying too much about that kind of stuff (though I'm still maintaining my faith and my desire to do God's will and be a good person as a whole) is what I'm trying to avoid so...

Anywho, I'm still rocking, just in another way, at least I think so. I guess I'll figure it out in a week (though I may need 1-2 wks in my old attitude to fairly evaluate things).

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.