Ooops!
Saturday, April 19, 2008, 02:40 PM - Academics, Macintosh, Website
My Macintosh hard disk died. I've spend the past few days working on trying to recreate it. Sigh. My backup didn't work. :(

I can still get email on my phone at some of my email addresses, but if I don't get back to you, try phoning instead.

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Thoughts about archetypes this morning
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 11:50 AM - Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, Gender Politics
Archetypes - Anthropomorphisation of our aspirations.

There are different parts of our brain, or different ways of using them which we use in different situations. Sometimes, a particular situation can lend itself to more than one type of thinking.

How to live one's life is such a situation.

In particular, when making decisions about ethics or morals, we can choose to use rational thought or intuition (spirit?) or emotional empathy with another person, living or imaginary to decide how best to proceed.

I view archetypes as imaginary beings whose beliefs and 'ways of being' are so cool that I want to emulate them. Rather than deciding each individual choice in life based on rational analysis, which I sometimes am in the mood to do, I relax into an understanding, empathetic mimicking of the archetype and how he or she might behave in my situation.

This calls for archetypes who are actually *in* situations like those in which I find myself.

Most archetypes with which I'm familiar come from a time period in which the work of living required many different kinds of decisions than the time in which we are living now and so do not so easily lend themselves to addressing our problems.

For example, if I am trying to choose between multiple large conglomerate mega-corporations for, say, my internet access provision, it doesn't do much good to consider, "which internet service provider might Jesus or Zeus have chosen?".

So instead, I look for contemporary archetypes. Jimmy Carter, Emilia Earhart, Matthew Diaz , George Soros, Ehren Watada and those old men from the movie, "Secondhand Lions " all come to mind.

These are people living (mostly) in times more similar to mine than, say, Epocrates or Euripides.

But I initially looked for them based on my own choices about particular kinds of situations where the currently available archetypes didn't appear to serve me.

James Bond, for example, while a fine example of western thought in terms of his seeking after all knowledge and experience, is woefully inadequate for demonstrating how best to interact with women. At least, in my not-so-humble opinion. No doubt, there're plenty of men and women who might disagree with me. To each their own.

On the other hand, what kind of man shall I be towards women? This is a problem very well suited for an archetypal answer, but alas, I haven't found an acceptable one yet. Instead, sometimes I try to be the 17th century lord of the manor, entirely responsible for the welfare of those in my charge, while at other times, I try to be like my old friend Richard, a consummate listener, able to not just pay attention to the feelings of the women in my life, but to take the time and energy to -where possible- deeply understand where they're coming from, even in very complex emotional situations. {But without poor Richard's secret alcohol habit}.

Of course, this means that I spend my time listening instead of acting or pursuing my own joy sometimes. I admit that as an infant, I felt abandoned and to this day I still see very often remnants of my own need for attention (and so I pay attention to get attention more than most). I recognize that there are lots of disadvantages to being this way, but one can only choose some of what one is, ya know?

So when I'm thinking that I just did something I'm not proud of (like stare at the chest of the 20 year old girl I was dancing with in class the other day) I give myself a bit of a break and remind myself that I'm still a work in progress, that even as I would prefer to behave towards her as a friendly uncle (of the non-slimy variety, obviously) I still live in this body which hasn't had the opportunities to look at women up close very often and that part of me which is still a horny boy still exists and must be allowed to do his thing, preferably in ways that do not harm any actual people, like her. Then, after the feeling passes, I re-tell the story of what happened as I would like to have had it happen; not that I lie to myself about what I did- Goddess knows, that'd be worse -but I satisfy myself that I can be proud of my interactions the next time I'm with her and I'm not feeling those feelings and I can behave towards her the way I would like to see myself doing so. And it works - the next time I was with her, I was able to be more of a person and less of a dirty old man.

So in a sense, part of my need for archetypes has diminished since I've adopted that habit of retelling stories of my experiences in the ways I would like to have behaved. This way, I construct over time my own archetype. And on several memorable occasions, people have led me to think that I did such a good job that I served as the archetype for others. I am most proud of those moments, albeit unaware of them as they happened.

But maybe this is all just an excuse 'cause I can't really think of any archetypes that address the times in which we're currently living. I mean, we're experiencing the decline of the American empire and it is scary, confusing and even the most honorable person living in the USA these days has to admit that by participating in the economy (and how can we not do so?) we tacitly support the government that has been supporting the US Dollar and US Corporations for at least the last 50 years by killing and torturing civilians all over the world.

Even this morning, I was reading the fine print of Clinton and Obama's plans for Iraq, and they at least, to me, appear to be exactly like what the current crooks are doing, albeit with fewer troops. They don't want to remove entirely from there because that's where the oil is and they're either not strong enough to withstand pressure from the big oil companies, or -even more scary if they're right- believe that the long term survival of the United States if so precarious without steeling the oil of the Iraqi people that it is worth it to continue this butchery so we can keep living in the style to which we've as a country become accustomed.

Often times, I have considered the merits of going to live on a collective farm somewhere, but that seems like an abdication of my responsibility to fellow humans to do whatever I can to stop the war machine. In the USA, we are so naive that we think it is possible that our votes count; that we actually have some control -even collectively- over our government.

When I went around Europe in 2003 and apologized everywhere I went for my horrible government, they all sympathized and said that they understood that it wasn't my fault, but I still imagined a tiny underpinning of subconscious, "But you better vote the bastards out" in some of those discussions, for which I cannot blame them.

But when I got to Ukraine and apologized there, they laughed in my face and patted me on the head (metaphorically, that is) and shouted, "Look - how quaint! How cute -- he is actually so naive that he thinks he has control over his government!". Pretty funny, eh? Especially coming from a people who had their own electile dysfunction a few years ago, and what did they do? They set up a tent city in downtown Kiev through an entire winter until they got the candidate they wanted back in power, over the one who officially won the vote! Now, That's what I call democracy! (Of course, there are lots of indications that the guy they were voting for was the one western governments wanted in power and so that tent city was paid for by the CIA and so forth, but since I have no way of knowing the truth one way or the other about that at this time, I prefer to believe in the 'people standing up to authority' model instead. :o)


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The economy
Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 07:20 PM - Political Science, Philosophy, Politics
While it has been credibly suggested that all wars are really wars between men and women, I am more inclined to conclude that all wars are really between the rich and the rest of us.

300 to 400 years ago, the world was run by warlords. Words such as honor and fealty meant a lot back then. Then, a funny thing happened; the bankers figured out that armies need to eat and the Bankers stole the world from the warlords.

Bankers have ruled the world ever since. That's why such concepts as savings and investment and "free market economy" are so well respected, irrespective of their actual value to benefit human kind.

Now, the US economy is beginning the Second Great Depression. It will last for years and we will probably never again be the world's most powerful nation. In our lifetimes, we won't even have the buying power again we had 10 years ago. The crooks in the Whitehouse have indeed looted the entire nation and now -- even they're broke! What idiots!

But back to the rich vs. the rest of us.

Who wants to bet that just as Kennith Lay and his friends got off, so too will the crooks on Wall Street whose successful lobbying against strong banking regulations combined with the morons in the Whitehouse with their idiotic war for oil and protection of the government of Israel have plunged this country into economic collapse (within the next year, I think).

The real problem is, let's say for a moment that we all agreed that everyone worth over, say, one billion dollars needed to be hung. Well, the first thing they'd all do is hire a bunch of mercenaries to protect them and kill us, first. That's the truely difficult part of this mess. They've structured the world (bankers, that is) so that they can escape anonymously and -- even if they can't -- they still have power because we use money to trade.

<begin-off-the-deep-end-rant>

I propose that everyone in the world collectively take a holiday from money.

Let's figure out alternative systems for bartering goods and services within societies on a small scale so we all can be fed, then let's all (that is, everyone all over the world) refuse to offer goods and services in exchange for monetary compensation. That's really the problem. While money has value, the crooks can use it to escape. They have more of it than us. But we have the goods, services and resources.

Hmm. Maybe there are a few tiny holes in my otherwise brilliant plan. I guess this is a kinda half formed thought. I'll work on this some more and get back to you all.

</end-off-the-deep-end-rant>




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Breathing and Sleeping Simultaneously
Monday, March 10, 2008, 06:28 AM - Academics, Sleep Apnea
I have obstructive sleep apnea.

I had a new sleep study done last week. In the middle of the night, the tech complained that they couldn't get a good reading on my chin electrode; would I mind shaving just a tiny hole in my beard for it? So one thing lead to another and -here I am. :o)



I'm still having severe apnea but as soon as the doctor gets around to it, she'll write me a new prescription for adjusting either my CPAP machine or getting new a new and different mask and -hopefully- I'll be back to breathing and sleeping at the same time. It has been really bad lately. So much so, that a couple of times I've tried not using the machine at all; sadly, it did make a noticeable difference, but not as much as one might think.



In any case, I'm doing pretty poorly in school at the moment until this gets resolved.





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The Economy in 24 months from now
Sunday, March 9, 2008, 11:21 AM - Politics
So since key states such as Ohio and Florida are still using Diebold and ES&S voting machines and central tabulators, there is NO reason to believe that the 2008 presidential "election" will not once again result in a candidate winning who was not voted for by the people.

This time, it will be a democrat. The media is carefully monitoring public sentiment and always adjusting so that the "race" will be appear to be as close as possible so that when the fixed candidate (Hillary Clinton) "wins", there will appear to be less reason to dispute it.

Then, Saudi Arabia will relax their "investment" in US treasury bonds. Other systems currently employed to stave off the current dramatic recession will be retired and much of the nation will be plunged into 3rd world economic status. That is, inflation will go into double or triple digits. Gas will go to $10 or $25 per gallon by mid 2010.

The other thing I am monitoring is lots of speculation among the tinfoil hat crowd that another 9/11 will happen just prior to election day (perhaps this is their backup plan?) so that bush can declare a "national emergency" and suspend voting (and the constitution) "temporarily".

The thing is, this time, the so called, "tin foil hat crowd" has been joined by a number of top intelligence officials. I have even heard it speculated that such an attack will occur in Chicago, Houston or Portland.

I will not be surprised if any of this happens.
I will not be surprised if none of this happens. I am only an egg.



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