Life


Strange title. I’m not sure it means what I was thinking. However, that is exactly the point was hoping to hit on. Language as an inprecise tool.

I’m taking part in a symposium at MALS that deals mostly with the concept of prison and incarceration within the larger system of democracy. However, that doesn’t matter very much right now. What I’m concerned with is a technical aspect of how this class runs. We have to respond to or create questions involving the weekly readings online. It’s an academic version of this thing with a whole bunch of users actually. Interesting. Anyway, when you’re writing these things, there isn’t a lot of emphasis on writing the way you would for an actual paper (though we all try to write properly). What sometimes (often) happens is that we use the wrong word. All the more so when we’re trying to describe obscure aspects of raw ideas without a lot of concrete references.

It is important to note that when I talk about anything, the words themselves (unfortunately) aren’t my top concern. Any given word I use isn’t chosen out of the technical definition. Rather, I’m passing through the cloud that is the idea of the word and taking with me some aspect of it. Maybe the whole thing, maybe just the feeling the word invokes, maybe some part of it. I don’t mean to be inprecise, but at the same time I’m not going to worry about the meaning of every word so that if you didn’t know English but had a dictionary you could get my exact meaning. I’m much more quantum mechanical than that.

Final words that might help anyone having to deal with me and my ideas. Quantum, rhizome, monad. Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and interdisciplinary thought. Gadfly.

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It seems my life is a never ending of chain of beginnings followed less by conclusions and more by more beginnings.

So from the first day in July I’ve moved from a third floor 2+ bedroom apartment in Manchester to a first floor one bedroom with a porch in Exeter. I love it, even though it’s so much smaller than my old place. I get to make all the rules and decide what gets dirty, what gets cleaned, and when. Well, Zero likes to make his own rules but for the most part it’s a sweet deal. The problems now are practical ones like not having a cutting board or enough bookcases and the like. All will come in time.

Dartmouth became another beginning (again) last month as well. I’m taking the symposium titled “Prisonhouses of Democracy” and reading some interesting but obscure stuff. We began with Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. That man was a bloody genius. Amazing stuff and I wish I had been into him earlier.

All is in flux. Hopefully this will settle down soon.

I’m wrapping up the second week of training for my new job. It’s not difficult, but it definitely is taxing. Beyond all the walking and lifting, the hardest part to get used to is waking up and leaving by 5:30am at the latest. At Margarita’s I didn’t have to be there until 9am at the earliest and I could walk. Now I’m driving down deep into Massachusetts every day and buying gas every other day. Breakfast is hard to come by so early in the morning, so I’m reduced to eating either whatever is in the bakery at Stop&Shop or DDs. I need to work on myself, but I get the impression that my youthful irresponsibility isn’t long lived at this point. While I still try to be invincible, my body doesn’t agree all the time.

On top of this, both for the better and for the worse, is Zero. He’s an adorable dog, and more so when he’s being lazy or sleeping (i.e. not often). His biting is getting worse and his house-training is far from going *well*. Alongside my failure to house-train him, he has taken to eating the compressed paper sticks that make up his litter-box. Not sure how to handle that one yet.

It’s sad, I have no more time for reading. I was cruising along through CS Lewis’s “Space Trilogy” but starting the last book “That Hideous Strength” coincided with starting my new job and I haven’t gone much further than 20 some odd pages in. And I was moving so well too. After that I’ve got Milorad Pavic’s “The Inner Side of the Wind” which should show some parallels to Mark Z Danielewski’s “Only Revolutions” in terms of structure and even content to some degree. We’ll see soon I hope and from there I’ll report back to any reader I might still have.

Oh, more on the play I wanted to go see… “The Outlier Effect”. It’s not amazing, but it is good and well worth my time. To be a high-school original play based on mirror neurons that also focuses on mimetic behavior and mob dynamics is quite interesting. It takes me back beyond Rene Girard to that book on crowd psychology. I’ll have to go find it and let you know what it was. Very interesting and written around 1900.  Good stuff.

PS. Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” is available in May!

There are so many surfaces on which to write. I’ve got a journal for my more intellectual ideas. I’ve got a half-hearted (but with some meaningful entries) diary for the more personal stuff no one wants to hear about.  And then there’s all the online spaces that range from email to Facebook/MySpace to this blog. All of which makes writing in any one place difficult or at least riddled with obstacles.

Living – Ben, brother of Aaron, moved out. Ryan, cousin, moved in. This should be a good change. I’m looking forward to having someone who is interested in cooking and having a clean apartment to live with. And he’s bringing the mother of tvs with him. A huge-ass flat screen tv with all the surround sound and other gizmos to make it all worth while.

Also, I now have a 3 month old Papillon puppy named Zero. He’s got all the common puppy problems but is wicked cute, affectionate, fearless (except when really big dogs run him over), and small.

School – Lastest update for Dartmouth is the summer. I was hoping for the spring term, but I’m trying to be realistic there. I don’t even know what classes are being offered at present. As soon as the old health-insurance deal is settled, I’m back.

Job – I just got hired for a new job involving non-food items and a couple grocery stores. Lots of work but good pay and room to grow. I want this.

Reading – Almost done with “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, finally. I finished Nabokov’s “The Gift” and CS Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet”… moving quickly into “Perelandra” and to finish the trilogy off with “That Hideous Strength”. Side readings are “In Search of the Miraculous”, Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”, and Girard’s “Oedipus Unbound”.

How do you create (because I’m pretty sure “emerge” isn’t the right word) a positive and harmonious living arrangement these days? I’m talking about my own apartment. I have one flatmate moving out (Ben), and a cousin who might be moving in (Ryan). Another flatmate (Aaron) who has a lot going on right now, making the future quite unpredictable.

I’m not really going to go into details, but the over all question is how can one organize the compromises that must happen in order to make for a happy cohabitation among friends? And how does one do this without losing the friends or one’s own sanity? I’ll be struggling with this one.

I can’t deny it. Money is an issue right now. I’m paying for a car, education, and life in general. Basic storyline… I’m very contientious about my finances right now.

So here’s what the issue is: I was in a wedding party early on in the summer. I forget when exactly, when I was even more poor than I am now. Doing so required that I rent a tux, an expense of $120 I think. Fortunately for me (because I don’t have the money) my housemate Aaron picks up the tab. He can be good like that (for reference, we probably both owe each other money but haven’t been overly concerned about keeping tabs). So I owe Aaron $120. Unfortunately for me, Aaron owes his brother more. So as the debt market seems to be an active one, my debt is sold to Aaron’s brother. This is bad.

I’ve slowly gotten this tab down to $30. But that little brother has been a terrible nag about it. Every other day it seems, “got my thirty bucks?” And it’s always no. Until I have a more stable financial situation, I’m the furthest thing from worried about a $30 tab to my housemate’s little brother. And besides, “having” $30 to give him is quite different than having a bank balance of $30. Money had does not mean money available. But now he’s threatening to charge interest.

But here’s where I sort of surprised myself with a cohesive argument against his ongoing threat of interest.  Flat out I told him tonight that if he attempts to raise the tab by charging interest I will deny owing him a cent. I explained that he had absolutely no right to charge any interest. Owing an individual (or any group for that matter) an amount of money does not automatically entitle one to exact fees and/or interest when that money does not get repaid on that person/group’s timetable. Unless before the money was loaned there was an explicit agreement of time to repay and interest/fee schedule, no right can be claimed for that purpose. No right exists. And to that end, I will hold my ground… owing Aaron’s little brother $30 and knowing that I have to repay him. But without rise in balance for any reason (not even inflation) or any timetable whatsoever.

Interesting position.

ps. In case he’s reading it, the only cards left are Friendship, Future Lending, and Dishes… with the last card in my favor.

Edit Sept 15, 2009. I see the shallowness of my behavior, despite being wrapped up in ideas worth pursuing.

So how do you psychoanalyze someone who isn’t there? If all you’ve got is a bad taste in your mouth from years past, a resistance to deal, and two books? And what if those two books are “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and “Old Man and the Sea”? What conclusions could you draw?

I’m thinking we’ve got to dig into these books.

Consider the first. Zen tells me that we’re dealing with severe repression. The fact that the main character suffers from split personality and that the good half might in fact be the repressed half. Hard to say exactly, but it seems then that the psychoanalyst would say that my subject is suggesting from the subconcious level the actual condition. The guise would be the surface level distractors: zen, motorcycles, the question of quality, good literature, etc. What seems to be lacking is the 50k volt destruction of the condition.

Moving on to Hemingway. It seems to be rather vague. Even if I consider it within the context of the first book, all I can come up with (and this is very loose) that the subconcious repressed good personality has tried to emerge, but no longer has the capactity to do so. Seems to make sense.

And when I said psychoanalyst I don’t mean to suggest I’m going to get into the whole castration issue. It seems pointless and I already think that Freud is nuts enough, stuck on the issue of sexuality when raw human desire is much more at the forefront (just not as immediately appealing).

From here, I don’t know where I will go. But I think it was good for me to get it down, regardless of who actually understands what I’m doing. This is important, and it has to be done eventually.

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