Monday, June 24, 2002

I kept very busy today @ work. Only now @ the end of the day do I have the time to go to my Web class & type a little in here. Kinda funny how one project took up so much time, & it isn't totally done, either!

Must. . .Finish. . .Thesis

Got an e-mail from a friend who has recently finished their thesis & graduated. Suffice to say, it acts as another impetus to motivate me to work on my thesis.

I finally understand the difference b/w a formal utopia & an informal utopia! Or maybe I should say that I finally agree w/ the "definition" that someone has given to utopia. I got the really good explanation from the book by Krishan Kumar called Utopia & Anti-Utopia in Modern Times, wh/ so far proves an excellent book, even though I've only read 3/4 of the first chapter!

In this definition of Utopia, the differentiation b/w the concepts of informal & formal actually feels a bit counter intuitive. I'll start w/ the examples given by the book. Informal utopia: Plato's The Republic. Formal utopia: Thomas More's Utopia. Honestly, I might have chosen the wrong word when I used "informal," but it will do for now. Essentially the difference b/w a formal utopia & an infomal utopia lies in the fact that it gets practiced somehow, whether in reality or as a kind of literature or mind exercise. And I don't mean put into practice as in putting down on paper blueprints or coming up w/ some kind of model in the mind. When I say "put into practice," I mean making it concrete to a certain level, at least providing some kind of simulation in wh/ something as close to a living, sentient being as possible (including an imaginary one) actually experiences life in that model or blueprint. This experience happens, to some extent, in More's Utopia whereas in Plato's Republic, a model gets created from first principles w/o any sentient being experiencing it.

& for anyone who knows the etymological definition of utopia, the differentation provided above real becomes kinda funny. When Thomas More titled Utopia, he combined two latin words. I don't want to bother putting down the particular words. One of these words means "a good place," wh/ we all pretty much understand utopia to mean. The funny part comes in w/ the other word. It means "nowhere."

Aft a little bit of thought, though, it becomes more sad than funny, or maybe just an utter realization. I guess when I first think of "nowhere" in the context of utopia, I think that the utopia can't exist, but I do th/ by making the "nowhere" transcendent & eternal. If I use the definition in a more historical, temporal, however, it allows for some hope in the sense that if enough people want to do it, it can happen. Hope lives. At the same time, though, it all depends on people's willingness for it to happen. They must want the particular utopia to happen, & if it's a real good utopia & hasn't happened yet even if we have the technology & the means to make it happens, its lack of actuality feels a bit sad, as it destroys at least my own faith in human nature.

Later in the Night as I Work on the Thesis. . .

I want to come back to The Dispossessed. I left off on fear. I want to get away from the concrete for a bit here -- don't think about the discourse above abt the blueprint vs. the concrete/practice discourse up above. At the moment, I want to make the connection b/w the fears I've mentioned as I've addressed The Dispossessed

I've started to see th/ the masses on Anarres fear to grow, have individuality, & "actualize" themselves. They like their stability. They could even come up w/ the argument th/ if people individualized, they would suffer b/c they need cooperation to survive on Anarres. W/o at least some degree of cooperation, they won't get what they need to survive from the barren, desolateness of Anarres. Either die physically alone or live physically but sacrifice your soul to the social animal. The issue comes when Shevek & his friends say that another way can exist. They don't what shape in wh/ it will come, but it is possible. & near the end, Shevek believes that it can come in the form of both giving toil & work to society but also the people in the society have the ability to have projects of their own & to actualize themselves.

Then comes Sabul who acts as a sort of analgous individual of the populace of Anarres, arguing against a form of physics b/c it doesn't have a practicality to it. In the meanwhile, he also acts a propertarian somewhat by putting his name on the genius th/ Shevek. Even though Sabul believes in the practicality of things, he also has a sort of vanity & pride when it comes to competing against the scientists on Urras. Sabul fears breaking the mold, but he does desire praise.

Um. . .I've lost my track of thought. Something abt those in power on Urras losing themselves in power, pride, material things. They have so much, they drown & don't know what they have, but they want all the more for themselves even as they oppress the oppressed majority. The ol' contradiction of animals sharing when the commons don't provide but horde when the commons can provide for them all. It can easily get sd th/ all the "bad" characters get stuck in the patterns of their "social classes". And as such, they all fall into the trap of emphasizing too much of a part of society, wh/ pushes it to a new lvl perversion; the people of Anarres destroying the individual b/c they believe the struggle for survival supercedes everything else, even when they can survive just fine on what they have at the moment, & the powerful minority of Urras destroying the chances of much of the majority to actualize themselves so as to benefit from not having to toil, themselves. Both groups don't have much empathy for others, & even know what they do sometimes, esp. in the case of the powerful minority of Urras; yet they vie to become something even more powerful, thus not taking the time to appreciate the things and the people that they do have around them and losing out on all that these things can bring them.

Damn. . .I have no idea where I'm going here. . .. It just doesn't feel as if I've got a solid grounding in the themes th/ get touched upon. I feel the need to get deeper, but I don't know where to go. Crap.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Getting high and drunk doesn't appeal to me. Then how come I can't get the things I want to get done done?

Thesis Time. Break It Down

I've finally gotten my hands on some books th/ address lit crit/analysis/theory of utopian/dystopian literature. The books deal a little w/ utopian communities, too, but mostly w/ the literature side, wh/ fits my needs at the moment, since I've decided to do the literature papers for my thesis first rather than the directly historical/sociological aspect.

I really like a theme that one of the books (It has the title of something like From Utopia to Nightmare) addresses. It addresses the theme of focusing on one element of society as the element th/ will lead to the perfection of society whilst aft a good amount of time w/ the emphasis on th/ element, the element will act to push society to a new level of perversion. The book has a name for this idea, but I forget it. Paradoxically, I'll probably use this idea as a basis for my papers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Crap! I really miss a ton of people from my past. They helped me feel stable & happy. It makes me feel lacking th/ I've lost touch w/ them. So. . .if you have lost touch w/ me, please e-mail or call me.

Another Note

Lots of personal growth happening. Too bad the problems of confronting these issues gets in the way of accomplishing apparent things th/ everyone sees & that give me a sense of accomplishment. DOH!

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Wooh! What a bumpy yet fast ride the last 8 days has felt. I also haven't had the mood to write. Work has kept me busy, too. Then I've also done other things on the 'Net, like I want to do these days (aka search for an apartment!).

Monday, June 10, 2002

Another Nutrition Mystery Solved

I don't know how well I made it apparent that I've had trouble w/ energy levels & feeling grogginess over the past cpl wks to the past cpl months, the more recent, the more I've had the problems. Anyway, I think may have solved the problem in a more efficacious & efficient means than by taking a 2-hr aft/noon or evening nap. It all comes down to starch. I think this solution may also solve the near constant cravings I have for more & more food even as I have just eaten a whole ton, taking something like an hr or 2 to stomach it all.

I've actually got a small, unexciting story to address this issue. Last night I went out to a bar w/ a bunch of people. I got some water & a basket of fries -- John Harvards in Harvard Square makes some great fries, BTW. I had myself a great time w/ some of the most enjoyable people I know, & I could have probably picked up a woman as I made my way out of the place if I had wanted. I noticed a cpl things only aft I had said goodbye to everyone & left the bar, though: I had a good deal of energy & felt bttr than I had in at least a week, & I also didn't feel immensely hungry for the first for just abt the same amt of time. Lesson learned for me: eat starch.

Another Story to Show the Losses that We Can Avoid if We Strategically Eat Starchy Carbohydrates

The night b/f the John Harvard's epiphanic incident, I went to see the great ska band, Bim Skala Bim @ Johnny D's in Davis Sq. They put on a great 1st set. I skanked & smiled (I don't know anyone who can skank w/o smiling =) )& had myself a great old time. @ least I had great time until they took a break b/w their sets. I didn't feel completely zonked, but I felt all groggy & felt the creeping up of sleepiness. I knew that things would only go downhill from there, sending me into a foul mood. I don't like foul moods, especially @ clubs w/ very pretty young women -- th/ only puts me into a deeper, even more foul mood. So despite knowing th/ I could potentially skank & smile in a relatively short amount of time, I decided to forgo the chance of either turnout happening, allowing me to go home & ensure a good outcome of going to bed.

Lesson learned: Eat more starches, esp. w/ my frame.

As For Now,

The work has actually piled up here @ the insurance agency. I keep getting more responsiblities, abt wh/ I feel pretty good abt. Still I kind of dislike the fact th/ it encroaches on my goofing off time & BLOG time & keeping in touch w/ other people time. =( But I've got a bit of th/ work thing to keep me busy.

Also for now I have to deal w/ a bunch of old entries th/ I've just uploaded to the server. I have to update all the links for the month of May. The entries include anything aft May 5 & b/f May 9. I also daresay th/ I find the May 4 entry somewhat superb & affecting.

But I've got stuff to do now. When I get it done, I hope th/ I'll have some time to write more for this entry.

Taking Some Time for the Thesis

Now th/ I've discovered the wonders of digestible starches, I now feel prepared to take upon my duty of writing this damned thesis.

Looking @ the last entry re: the most recent paper, I notice th/ I've touched upon the idea of fear for the Odonians on Anarres, the desert planet. Urras, the planet wh/ Anarres orbits doesn't have an immunity against fear. It simply manifests itself differently. Also the fear on Urras doesn't get shown through the majority as it does on Anarres, thus making it a norm. Rather a powerful minority displays their fear in the form of pride.

Actually in one sense, one of their fears becomes completely apparent & not one that gets misdirected: they want to hide Shevek from the oppressed masses b/c he would represent hope to them, & w/ hope, the oppressed majority will find the inner strength to rise up & try to attain justice & equality.

This fear of the powerful minority, however, works into their fear manifested through pride. The minority

Friday, June 07, 2002

Motivation

OK. I napped on the train ride home & took a 2 hr nap once I got home. I stayed up a teeny bit later than usual but got more sleep than usual. So now I've got the energy & motivation to make an entry today. That is. . .aft I get some other things done.

A Guide to the Etiquette of Flirting

If you need some tips on flirting or need to learn how in the first place, you can find a link to an etiquette guide to flirting on the June 5th entry @ Kirk's BLOG.

Learning Abt this Phenomenon Called BLOG or Society Formulating the Definitions for BLOG

Find some links abt BLOGS on the June 6 17:25 entry @ "Arakasi's" BLOG.

The Wonders of the Workings of the Brain in Everyday Life, Psychological Health, & Just Plain Growth aka Time Heals All (Most) Wounds (does it count as irony th/ I've reached the plot/theme arc in Twin Peaks re: healing from loss & spiritual pain?)

My brain (& how brains work, in general) has filled me w/ wonder these days. Or more specifically, relating the workings of the brain to growth, dealing w/ loss & pain, & so on has filled me w/ wonder. Esp. when it comes to how dendrites keep growing & overlap each other, & work something like a computer except th/ we can't conveniently delete things th/ we need. It can only crash or just fail to get the information written onto the neural material in the first place.

I've taken th/ information to apply it to my life. Only aft having gotten this information abt the dendrite growth from a catalog of sermons written by a very insightful Unitarian Universalist minister have started to productively understand what my brain has done to deal w/ a personal loss from many years ago even as I feel harassed by feelings abt the loss & desires stemming from the loss th/ feel inappropriate. I have dreams abt the loss, wh/ provide both consciouss insight into the issue @ hand while also working to reorganize & redirect the pathways in my brain to take away the emphasis from loss so I don't feel so much pain normally from the loss. I guess I need to make a disclaimer th/ the 2nd link doesn't exactly make the claim th/ I did but combining th/ information w/ the information provided by the UU minister, I've come to a conclusion of my own. =) Possibly right, possibly wrong; but nonetheless I can utilize it on an everyday level to help out myself.

An Old Personality has a BLOG

Adam Curry, the once VJ from MTV back in the '80s, possibly early '90s, now has his own BLOG. Neat.

Maybe I Should Do Some Productive Work for This Company Today

So far today, I've posted some stuff for my online class and did some reading on the class's board, posted a ton for this BLOG, & did a ton of reading on other BLOGS & abt BLOGS. I can become such a slacker sometimes.

Then again. . .I've been working for my undergraduate degree for 6 yrs now & spent 1 1/2 years of th/ not going to campus or taking any classes, just thinking & writing & crumpling up paper & reading & thinking & writing & crumpling up paper & reading & thinking & repeated ad nauseum until I get the frigging thing done.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Note to Self

Prepare the day's food @ work the night b/f. If I do, I can have some quiet time in the morning to do some good work on the thesis

Moody

I went out last night for a b-day dinner. Tonight I'll hang out w/ another friend. Tomorrow night I go to a discussion group @ church.

I have an odd angsty anger. I think this irritation comes from a conflict b/w what I want & how things happen. I've yet to find a "solution" to this issue, obviously. I think the solution will come much easier once I finish the thesis, but I don't want to depend on such goal, as it will encourage me to procastinate on making life better for me in the moment.

Ugh. . .life can get hard b/c except for getting results, I deep down don't want to address constructively some of these issues. Good ol' maturity & growth. =)

Ergh. . .now I've just taken 5 - 10 min looking @ my school's listing of people who graduated this year, many of them who started 2 yrs aft me.
=( Now I feel like th/ kid in high school who finally dropped out @ age 24. I don't plan on dropping out, though, esp. aft all the work I've done on this thesis in the last cpl months. I will get it done, & I will graduate.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Yay! A new month. Not so much trouble to set up the day-to-day entry menu on the left for a long while. Yay!

How My Day Until 5 Should Go

Doing some data entry, seeing if people could get some improvements on their policies, occasionally checking my e-mail & seeing if I can find something interesting on the Web (as time moves on & on, I get more irritate abt the searching part), & really should in the odd moments read the past cpl entries to get back up to speed on my thesis & do a little bit more brainstorming on the topic to get ready for writing a formal paper on the topic.

The Next Logical Step

The next logical step doesn't make total sense to anyone who hasn't read The Dispossessed, but I think it lies in the proposition th/ individuals' fear of meeting their potential & becoming a whole person & having to exert the energy to lead such a meaningful existence hits the mark. The people on Anarres conform to an ideology & try coercing others to fit into th/ ideology or to disappear from society even though, at least to Shevek's mind, the ideology of Odo (wh/ the people of Anarres follow the calcified fundamental version of the ideology) depends on a constant critical eye to the self & society. This part will get elaborated later in the more formal paper as I don't have much more time @ work, & I need to get the ideas of Urras down somewhere b/f I forget them. Besides I should do some more work, so people don't have issues w/ their insurance b/c of my fault.