pictures from Sept. and Oct.

These are a few pictures I took in the last couple months; I’ll try to supplement them with words

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There was some sort of luck to this shot, but each time I see this I ask myself how the hell I took such a nice shot. I sat on a field at the park next to the state capitol and saw the dandelion, decided why not and half-assed the shot. Turned out to be one of my favorites I’ve taken this year. It looks so warm and fluffy..

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I brought my little panda to Grand Park in front of the LA city hall. One of my favorite shots of the panda so far.

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A shot towards Sacramento. Haven’t taken one like this in a while.

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The Broad. wanted to wait for someone to pass by for the shot but it felt wrong to do that to a stranger.

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California Plaza one, looking up.

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a proposal in front of the Griffith Observatory, blurred

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thought experiment: best friend’s funeral

I have a problem of being too quiet during class discussions. I can’t ever find my break into one, though I’m aware all I need to do is raise my hand. A year ago in community college I told myself to not be so quiet during discussions, because I know I always have something to say, but I’ve convinced myself by now it’s all the cause of thinking I’ve had no worth in my opinion, or wanting to be too much of a sponge absorbing what all my peers want to say, thinking of myself as being in some sort of outside perspective, simply watching, and not being a quick enough thinker. I’ve been having some ideas as to what I can do about this, but those ideas I still need to flesh out internally.

In my ethics class there was a thought experiment that came up, in a lecture promoting virtue ethics, that went something like this:

  • Imagine your best friend has just died, you’re at their  funeral with two friends, a utilitarian and a kantian. You’re grief stricken, crying, inconsolable.
  • Utilitarian friend offers a pill that promises to wipe out the grief. You’ll still remember the friend, but you won’t feel any pain at their death ever again.
  • Kantian friend considers the categorical imperative and gives a thumbs up. Taking the pill doesn’t use anyone as a mere means and can be universalized.
  • Would you take the pill?

I know this would require a lot of supplementary info for one who doesn’t know much about these ideas, but cutting that out would still show the basic problem, and I’m not  knowledgeable in all this to try, so on to the question..

There were a lot of people in the discussion that brought up interesting points to the question, like they’d be considerate of their friend in various ways, like maybe they had a feeling their friend would or would not have wanted people to grieve for them at their funeral, maybe there was some kind of will they wanted respected, maybe the manner in which they died would point to the appropriateness of their death.

People were looking for external factors to base their grief upon, but after thinking it through I’ve found out my response, much thanks to the discussion. The focus on whether we grieve or not is not dependent on the outside factors, but rather on the inside factors.

I don’t think any of those things matter, in whether or not I should grieve for my best friend at their funeral. We have to consider what kind of person we would be to our best friend if we did grieve for them, if we didn’t grieve for them. A  person would grieve as much as they need to for their best friend; to erase the grief would erase a part of what the best friend meant to us. That reflection would show to those other two friends at the funeral, though I know their interpretation of the grief would be different. I think of how this could build us as a character to mourn for our best friends. Hopefully it wouldn’t need to last long once we’re allowed to let the rest of the factors, the external ones, come into play.

So I wouldn’t take the pill. I’d want myself and the world to know how much it meant to me to lose someone I love as much as the grief can show.

One of my core beliefs is the idea that the love we are willing to share with the world can be a direct reflection of the pain we went through. The pain could be devastating experiences, and/or simply the realization that at face value there’s a lot of shitty things going on in the world, and those shitty things want precedence. An openly loving person knows what is at stake, puts much of their love on the line, knowing it can all go to waste. The risk is worth it, more than keeping what love one has to themselves, hiding it, reserving it for a limited amount of people. As valuable as that love can be, it can be more easily robbed. It would serve them well for it to be robbed, to feel that pain, and then we would notice how much love they really had. I think my flowery language might seem too flowery for people, and I notice that, but oh well it’s just my belief.

Love reflects inner pain, pain reflects inner love. It’s equally reciprocal. That’s the point I’m trying to make.. sheesh that did a better job than the previous paragraph hah..

deep in my convictions

I’ve finally been accumulating ideas for this blog. It’s more of what I’ve already been posting, like philosophy/religion/ethics.. just a little more of it. But as we know, half the battle is simply showing up, thus the lack of consistent posting. I’ve been adamant before on not wanting to post too often: my argument for it a half-assed quality over quantity, so this will always be a struggle, and I invite that over the comfort of letting my mind out more often. Being comfortable of what I have to say and being able to say it often, that sounds like I have an ideology that I am applying to whatever comes my way; interpreting a thing as such. There isn’t much to learn from that, not for the self.

Right now I’m taking an Ethics course. Not my first. It’s a constant breaking of my moral core that I love. It reaffirms my belief that I’m a sponge: I’ll soak up anybody’s viewpoint/idea wholeheartedly, never ready to judge for myself. That leaves me in a fuzzy uncomfortable area. A valid point against this line of thought is “but when will you have you’re own moral code to stick by; you can’t stay studying forever.” It reminds me of when we are asked at such a young age what we want to be when we grow up, what we will be majoring in college before we’ve been given our high school diplomas.

My response/conclusion always seems to be the same these days: why should I know exactly what I want to be before I’m there. Why do I need a plan more than five years ahead of me when I can’t get there without steady focus on this year. It’s like climbing a staircase while only looking at the tip top step; you’re bound to trip up more often that way, you’ll risk hitting your shin. If you just keep your gaze within the next five, seven steps, you’ll fall less risk of getting hurt.

This doesn’t mean I have no plan beyond five years, or that one shouldn’t have goals that require to think ahead five or ten or twenty years. I just don’t want to trip up hard enough to give in to major failures. I definitely have a “general direction,” and I know I’m heading that way, but there’s no need to rush it. Plan B is never as great as plan A, but I’d rather that than nothing. The biggest concern I notice in my peers, whether they say it explicitly or I sense it as part of their subconscious framework, is what we need to get the college degree as soon as possible, to get ahead of the game and do the whole “career and family thing.” Of course this doesn’t apply to a large swath of people already. Some already gave in to the basic goals of this society. A lot skip the school thing, do their best to get by, and still want to rush to the family step.

I never understood, not just rushing it to the family step, but the CONCEPT of rushing a thing ahead, rushing a project that can definitely use the time. I tackled with this less and less the last five or so years, and it seems all there is to me is time. Taking things slow, having the patience for things, is a huge relief. I understand though that responsibilities build, and it becomes time consuming to take one’s time to get to the secondary things when the primary thing is still “semesters” away, one family away.

I’m reminded of the idea “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I understand the idea behind it, but I don’t think it’s a good suggestion. My response is the same as before, it’s too uncertain that we become what we want to. It’s known that people change careers, that they change majors in college often, that they aspire many different things. Wanting a job isn’t good enough motivation to dress well when most jobs don’t have uniforms, and to wear the uniform before you’re there will do injustice to those who have been in the job. I’m getting carried away, because as we know most uniforms aren’t part of greater things to aspire too; they are great identifiers though. Also, it’s not like we can tell an accomplished person by their attire alone. Sure there’s great variation, and we might tell a politician from a homeless person, but the clothing speaks nothing to the character it decorates.

My method is patience. Just stepping back, relaxing, letting the world fall into place around me, or as I tend to say “letting the grand scheme of things do its thing.” and doing what I need to when I need to do it. Finding what I am afraid to do, and doing it, assuming it’s not dangerous and more likely something new I just haven’t tried. I can talk a whole post on that, but know it’s essential to push your fears because to me the fear is the limit. Having a morning routine, a breakfast. A good “you’re wasting your time” detector. A job to give me a sense of responsibility and effort spent. Not well spent, just spent, for the experience. I can talk more broadly but I’ll end up writing too much more. I’ll expand on these ideas later.

I know my morality has been shaken a lot. I’m realizing the virtue ethicist that was I was all along: I was one before I knew it, I’ve said that before on Utilitarianism, but this has happened only because I didn’t know there were more accurate descriptors of how I lived my life. I’d rather the journey of finding my own moral code by the guidance of philosophers and day to day life rather than the adherence to religious doctrine and its application to day to day life I was initially raised with. Anyways, my newfound views on virture ethics is better suited for a separate post.


general direction: goal. pathway. plan A.. I also call life the “grand scheme of things” pretty often, when it comes up.

basic: in this case it’s my own belief that a college degree is basic necessity. High school is below basic. And not having that is yet below basic. There’s an asterisk though, that I apply this to my peers, not the parental folk. Education is necessary, and of course I think it is, right? It’s all I know, so I apply my standard to the rest. And there lies my arrogance, that you’re either below me or not, depending on amount of education maybe? My real standard is not such, it’s the pursuit of education. If you stop trying to get that diploma, that associates degree, then I don’t want to help you. Once you get there I won’t see you below me. There’s the belief that “every one is equal.” That only applies when arguing on the federal level. I am no federalist. I apply this standard of mine to people because as time goes by it does seem the least we can expect of one to at least get the diploma, and aim for the associates. Otherwise you better be happy with the living you’re making, which I am sure a few are, and that can be fine with me too.

time: it’s real whether it exists either outside of us or within us. Both ideas are fine enough. the philosophy of time isn’t something I’ve ever focused on, but science in philosophy is still so interesting to learn about. I’ll dismiss it real quick for this post by saying I don’t have time for that… hah

apologies for any typos, I’ll fx thm as I fine tem.

2017 marathon

This was my seventh marathon, third time running Canyon City.

turned out to be my 6th “best” marathon out of the seven. One thing I could have improved upon was the amount of lone runs I did leading up. I never even hit 18 miles yet. I was doing shorter distances like 9 to 12 miles at higher frequencies than before. During the race, the complications didn’t come in until mile 18. From 18 to the end I was cramping up, had to keep my pace steady. At times I could barely walk, I really wanted to sit down and rest, but by mile 20 my body was on auto pilot going forward, and my thoughts kept trying to bring me down. It was the first time I had given up on myself before mile 22. When I’m at 23 onward, there’s no point in thinking, or giving in to the pleas.

Been a couple days and the soreness has gone down. I still can’t walk at full speed, but I can still take on a bunch of students on my way to class.

So now I’ve run 3 CanyonCity and 4 LA marathons. My next race planned is this same one next year, followed by LA and CC again. That’ll be 10 marathons in 10 years. Others have done more, many others less. Let’s see if this all happens.

philosophy in high school

I noticed that several times throughout my life when conversations turn to complaining about things, that the topic of the uselessness of grade school comes up as an argument against what is expected of us from the “real world.” When we observe the daily life at face value, one might seriously question what the point was to learn seemingly useless things. I’m not sure if anyone making that claim realizes that one doesn’t have to go too deep to realize the use in language skills or arithmetic or basic history or basic economics. Grade school is a bare necessity. I wonder what would happen if I pressed the issue to someone making the claim. What quickly comes to mind is the argument of governments reliance on an ignorant constituency, that without our basic knowledge in grades school we’d be sold short of the campaign promises, but that’s selling “the constituency” short by grouping all of us and betting against ourselves. Hoping that the worst is true. I’m not of that bias, but rather the opposite. I digress.

I’m a huge fan of philosophy; I’m studying it for my minor. When I think of the material I did in grade school, I don’t find many traces of philosophical practice. That may be why I got so much into it, that it just wasn’t available the way it is in college. But thinking about it I can recall that proofs in geometry are like proving syllogisms in deductive logic.

When I consider what grade school may have skipped in getting the basics, I feel like there were missed opportunities of philosophy classes. Now, I’m not sure if philosophy is offered in any high school, I can’t imagine it’s not somewhere, but it would have been one of the most useful classes to have something like basic intro to philosophy, or critical thinking classes that focused on our biases, that brought light to fallacies, that fun stuff. It’s sort of psychological as well. But I guess if the argument to add basic philosophical groundwork in grade school begets the questions of why not also bring in some basic psychology and some basic sociology and basic anthropology, and by then we’d have too much to really consider adding. And so it gets pushed for later. But it does make sense that we first need a more basic understanding of the world to even try to comprehend the next level stuff. Oh well. I’ll still hold that a class that focused on cognitive biases would be really interesting to take for junior-senior level grade school. It would definitely leave fewer offhanded arguments that school was useless.

 

Elmo Radio: October 2017

Since 2013 I’ve been wild with looking for and listening to new music. I made playlists every month of the music I was listening to, and every six months released a compilation favorites. I stopped making the monthly lists but I never stopped looking for music. I tend to enjoy indie pop/rock or many incarnations of rock, particularly arena rock or progressive rock. I love finding music akin to disco (wish it could be revived somehow, but within the indiepop/rock area that’s the closest I’ll get). Very little super-electronic music, as long as there’s too much creativity going on, like with Caravan Palace, or it’s super mello.

I’ve never been able to maintain an all-time list of music, like one that just includes the top of the top of the top for me, but I’ve always wanted to. I can think of at least 8 songs that I have ever considered the number one favorite song that I enjoyed at the time. I’ll be working on that list.

But  for now these are songs I’ve gotten into in October. The last lists I made were a 2015, 2016, and First half of 2017 list. Idk if I’ll make it, I mean maybe it can easily be trailed on Spotify by looking at my profile, but anyways that’s for another post.

The first four are songs I sing to on a daily basis, sort of like an exercise for my vocals. The next songs I simply enjoy. More female vocalists than normal, but all so great. Summertime by MCR has been a previous all time fave.

I’ll call the future monthly lists Elmo Radio from now on. :E Here it is on both YT and Spotify.

 

social media concern

I attended a discussion on social media given from the perspective of the FBI. It raised awareness of the information we might give that could have big consequences. The three questions we revolved around were “What info are you giving, who are you giving it to, and is that a good idea?”

This led me to a few actions, first deleting my Snapchat account, which had already been dormant for about three years, and removing information from Facebook. The only other sites I have are Instagram, Twitter, and this blog site. Twitter has also been dormant, that one for six years, though I’m not compelled to delete it yet. I never post, never snoop, never care enough for it, but I acknowledge there is a force telling me not to delete it. I’ve indulged in myself too much at this point.

I’ve been too conscious of the information I post, and in this blog site I open myself a lot about what I’m thinking, so this is technically a risk, but my own reply to this is the fact that at the moment I’m still a nobody. I’m fine with that. I maintain that a bit more by never advertising this blog on my social media; I’m being silent on purpose.

And yet I’m still a little paranoid about the info I post online.. Dx

I’m doing the least I can to keep this site alive. Alive doesn’t mean I get anybody viewing my stuff. It would be nice to have a reader, but I’m still enjoying the absence of that.