Saturday, January 9, 2010

So, how many months later...

Well, its been months since I've posted (sorry to you 3 readers lol) but now is a time in my life where I must let my ideas flow and take hold. I'll be working (hopefully) diligently on my undergraduate thesis this semester. So far it has been a real bitch because I don't have a concrete idea of what I want to work on. Additionally, I think I've over worked myself up to this thesis; I keep having this feeling that this thesis will define me as a thinker. It's not that I have a deep issue with defining myself as a thinker through writing, I believe that is fair, but I don't know if I am ready. The prospect of the manifestation of my 4 years of learning, inquiry, and passion above all else is not an easy pill to swallow. I know the author I am going to center my study around, and for anyone who knows me could easily guess Karl Marx; however, being somewhat dogmatic about Marx's philosophy, it makes it difficult to critically analyze his work or find something that needs interpretation. An idea I've had, not to mention a very preoccupying idea, has cautioned against by my thesis supervisor. On the bright side I have rethought the idea a bit and will present it again soon in hopefully a more informed light. In Marx there is what's called a historical minimum, basically what the working class needs above their wages. Consider beer for the English and wine for the French. I would like to argue that today's historical minimal content is individualism. To me, the soft relativism known as individualism is something the worker needs above his wages. The feeling that one's locus of moral standards is good enough for them self is a dominant attitude in the world today. To me, this is a mistake; centering on the individual dampens the social impact of the (social) world. The individual takes over and leaves the social aspects of life on the wayside. I see a fueling of capitalist society as people use their instrumental reason to justify stepping on everyone to get to the top. "As long as they are happy" makes this type of action all right to the world. To me, our lives are shaped and defined by social relations, so by forsaking the social for the individual people are only taking further steps to alienate themselves. Man is social, so why is it that the dominant moral stand is the preference of the individual.
I've been preoccupied with this idea as my thesis, and its either going to be my subject or it will have to be wretched from my mind in an almost offensive way. We'll see on Monday when I go to restate my thesis proposal.

On a completely unrelated note, I should update my readers from a post or two ago about looking at dogs. I am now officially a dad, or dog owner, whatever you want to call it. My dog, majestically named Troy is a very sweet male German Shepard cross; crossed with something large we are not exactly sure of.
have a look:

Well, that's about all I have time to say for now - it's back to the manifesto of the Communist party for me!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

a certain, je ne sais quoi

Lately I've been at a real loss of things to say, muse, or create complete thoughts on. It's getting to the point of frustrating, and laughably my submission here lol
I've had a few ideas on things to write about but they all became fleeting thoughts, or not important enough to complete them. I'm mostly worried that this will not become a trend. I'm going into my final year of undergrad with what will be my most challenging year yet. I have another language to learn and an undergrad thesis paper to write. Ideas and inspiration are going to be necessary, and I can't afford to lose them. I think I'm going to renew my aspiration of getting on this blog more often and getting out some cogent arguments. Maybe all that habitual actions those psychology professors have been telling me about could finally pay off.
Well, of course I've left this to the night time to begin my musing - conveniently I'll be heading off to bed to probably forget my commitment to this endeavor soon enough. Someone needs to be grading this or something. i think that would change my attitude to pumping out ideas...any takers?!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

old habits

So, I've fallen back into some old habits. None of which I would say are too bad. Reading fiction and loving technology.
Working at an electronics retail store has its disadvantages and its advantages. Seeing people represented as numbers achieved is disheartening, but the discount is great! So I've been racking up a few gadgets and gizmos here and there to say, 'yeah, I can do that.' Of note, I have a cell phone. A real cell phone that does cell-phonish things. I've joined the 21st century 9 years later. It's an LG shine if anyone cares.
On another quick note, I've been reading fiction again. It's been a real long time since I sat down and read something that wasn't mind blowing or perception altering in philosophy. I'm reading Troy: Shield of Thunder, and I like it. Its simple and a good pace. I have a love for historical fiction and this book is right up my alley.
Oh last but not least, I'm going to be looking at dogs today. Me and Ashleigh have always liked dogs, and I think we're ready to have one in our family. Apparently its not a good idea to get a dog until the fall, so we probably won't have one for a while, but I will keep you posted.
Until then, have a good weekend and take care!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What is it about really old photos that gives people a sense of yearning?
What I think may be the cause is the sense of 'hard times' we feel past generations went through. 'Back then' people had to work, they kept themselves busy with daily tasks, they had to work in order to survive - they did not spend time relaxing in front of the television, on the internet, or hanging out at a mall. Something about old photos reminds us about the ambitious, the attitude that didn't say they'll get it done tomorrow, or they need to sit down and relax before and after a chore gets done.
Philosophically, this seems like a yearning to be in touch with our naturally creative side - creative in the sense of creating, not necessarily artistic. We necessarily must labour with nature as the means of life; not only as a the means of life such as subsistence but as the life of labour itself. The labour itself affords man subsistence, as such we naturally must labour - we are a slave to labour.
What I hope this yearning entails is a yearning for a closer connection with the objects of our labour, as opposed to the alienated objects we create in assembly lines, for people all over the world. The more we produce for someone else, the more detached we are from the product of our labour - we become slaves to the appropriation of another being. They control the demand for our labour that provides an object shipped to someone else, and provides the worker with very little in return. What I hope is entailed in these photos is a yearning for a connection to a non-existent place where the connection between labour and object is not lost.

some folow up

Well, if my post on friendship was at all convincing (more at that aspect in a second), I have further proof.
I am glad I am not a jock.
Let me put it in even simpler terms, I am glad my sentences do not always end with 'man.' As in, 'If I saw *insert hockey player that is comparatively bad to my imagination of the best player ever* I would punch him, man.'
These, thankfully are not the thoughts that run through my head, and I have you to thank for that. You, being my my friends past and present. My friends kept me out of the mindset of a jock, as it was something I could have easily been. In spite of my rotund shape I was always involved in sports, and I think nearly became encapsulated by all things sports. It could very easily have been the case that all my friendships were based on sports. Luckily, they were not, and I think I am better off for it.

One last thing, I have to note that I'm working on presenting arguments here in ways that encourage me to have less grandiose ideas. I have a habit of only trying to say something argumentatively if was utterly profound, and in doing so I have a tendency to either leave it unfulfilled, give up entirely, or for the most part be disappointed in the arguments that turn out (usually by a due date). So, basically I've made it a point to try and develop thoughts that are less profound and within my scope to research without draining my resources, and lets be honest, my ambition.
So, if you would like to raise a challenge to my thoughts, please do so. It would be fruitful for me to provide evidence for these thoughts, and not just assume my first impressions are correct.
take care!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

on the nature of friendship

Friendship is an interesting thing - a phenomena if you will.
If we believe the arguments from philosophers such as Hobbes or Freud, we are naturally at odds with one another, due to our individual interest in happiness that can and will come into conflict with others' interests.
Where, in this conflictual nature, is room for friends?
I would like to offer a parallel between politics and friendship that allows for the co-possibility of individual interests and the instance of cooperation.
Politics is the system that brings together the individuals, it takes away some natural freedom for the enjoyment of securing those pleasures we seek. In exchange for the securing of our pleasures we are forced to live among some rules created by institutions. These institutions change what we are afforded, what we can seek and be interested in, and essentially who we actually are. We are informed by the very restrictions on who we naturally want to be: self appropriating egoists.
Why is friendship like politics then?
Friendship also allows for the co-possibility of individualism and cooperation. Friendships inform you of who you are and what you are like. They enforce a type of institution that creates borders around the possibility of your self-identity. You lose your freedom of expression for the security of avoiding conflicts with others. It is safe to say that friendships much like politics enforce a self-realization, and form who we are.
It is important, therefore, to seek out friendships that encourage quality rather than quantity. You risk conflict in a larger group as your individuality is at a greater risk to clash with another individual. Furthermore, it is important that you ensure the stability of your friendships at all costs. Losing your friendships has the biggest impact on who you are as a social being. So it is important to maintain friendships to the best of your ability. When friendships are based on quality, there is a certain elasticity of the creation of yourself, and allows for your excellence as an individual to expand, just as the quality of a political system would allow for the influence of the creation of a person in the state.
Friendship is as important as the world you live in, so secure it as best you can.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is empathy the right word?

At my college there is a professor. This professor, while I'll admit not a very successful teacher, pulls my heart strings. I have this deep fear that I could be in their shoes when I try to pursue a career in philosophy, of not portraying confidence in the material I'm in charge of teaching. I fear that the word 'um' will take up a great deal of my lectures. For these fears, I have a lot of respect for this professor where my colleagues do not. "I don't like that professor" a lot of them say, and follow up by admitting that if nothing, this professor is at least nice. I don't want to be known as the 'nice' professor. I have fear enough to not want to become this professor that I respect them that much more. So, I ask, is empathy the right word? Is pity the word I am looking for? I don't know, but it's moved me in a way that is opposite of what I thought would be the reaction to having a teacher of this un-confident demeanor.
Perhaps I see in this professor a source of inspiration, ambition, to be the successful teacher, who may be a jerk, but is too smart to be hated.