Archives for the month of: July, 2010

I believe that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. I really believe that: I would rather die than live my life as a cog in my culture, merely going through the motions and doing what is expected of me because someone said so.

I believe that for those people who are inclined to make art, the inclination is a direct order from God/the Universe/the Creative Urge/Bob. I believe that the Universe and God in essence want to see us do something creative with all this stuff they have lying around. They are creators and they want us to join the party. I believe that they understand when someone can’t or won’t or just isn’t interested but that for those people who are interested…we having an invitation to join the gods. I can’t imagine that it would be wise to refuse that invitation.

I believe in doing my homework, and I know that I am blessed because I generally enjoy it.

I believe that for as little as I tend to stand up for myself, my Mom, my Dad, my friends and lots of other people who love me think I should. I have a good head on my shoulders, and lots of people have helped put good ideas into it and I am very capable of making good, if unconventional, decisions. And I believe that doing your homework is essential to any decision-making.

I believe that I am too attached to homework to be a good Taoist.

I believe that adhering to convention is deadly poison for the life of the mind and of the soul, which is to say, for life. One cannot adhere to convention for reasons of one’s own, after all: if you have reasons of your own, it isn’t convention anymore.

I believe that I am to spend my life in another way than most people do–getting a house, having kids in a couple years. I believe that I am to travel and experiment and above all write. Always write.

I believe that my destiny is not written by God’s hand in the stars or anywhere else; I believe that I create my destiny every day that I wake to greet the sun, with every decision that I make. I choose it and shape it and carefully, gently nurture it like the delicate, tender seedling it is.

I believe that the easy way is almost always, almost inherently bad. And that in most cases, easy and conventional are synonymous.

I believe that most people these days need reminded that being tolerant does not mean liking or approving of another way of life. It means being freaked out or disgusted by it but not stopping others from living that way in spite of how you feel.

I believe that world really can get much, much better, and I refuse to settle for anything else.

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listen to the mustnts, child,
listen to the donts
listen to the shouldnts,
the impossibles,
the wonts
listen to the never haves,
then listen close to me…
anything can happen, child,
anything can be.

— Shel Silverstein.

Over at The Goat Rope, a friend of mine regularly gets his bloggy inspiration from literature and philosophy. His last round on the Analects of Kong Fu Tzu got me really excited, so I’ve decided to cherry-pick from some of my own favorites. Please ruminate, and possibly also enjoy.

“The little prince was now white with rage. ‘The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years. For millions of years the sheep have eating them just the same. And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them? Is the warfare between the sheep and the flowers not important? Is this not of more consequence than some fat red-faced gentleman’s sums? And if I know–I, myself–one flower which is unique in the world, which grows nowhere but on my planet, but which one little sheep can destroy in a single bite some morning, without even noticing what he is doing–Oh! You think that is not important!’ His face turned from white to red as he continued: ‘If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself: ‘Somewhere, my flower is there…’ But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened…And you think that is not important!'”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, from The Little Prince

“Mistaking the false for the true
And the true for the false,
You overlook the heart
And fill yourself with desire.

See the false as false,
The true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.

An unreflecting mind is a poor roof.
Passion, like the rain, floods the house.
But if the roof is strong, there is shelter.”
-The Buddha, from the Dhammapada

“If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.”
-The Tao Te Ching

“From the point of view of time, we say ‘impermanence,’ and from the point of view of space, we say ‘nonself.'”
-Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’ ‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’ ‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said”
-A. A. Milne, from Winnie-the-Pooh

“Life is…perplexity, continual and essential perplexity.”
Jose Ortega y Gasset, from Some Lessons in Metaphysics

“The Zen assignment is to be human [natural, spontaneous, mindful, nonsuffering]. Sitting is the homework.”
-Jeff Ruff, Buddhism class

I posted a ton of fantastic links last night on Facebook and found another small ton today, and realized that I should blog these!

This is a burstingly lovely start to the day. The bit about the monks, especially, is true and far too easy for me to forget.

I have read so, so many essays on why Twilight is bad for girls that I find it hard to believe that anyone does other than scoff at it, but sadly I know many otherwise kind, intelligent, considerate women and men who thinks it’s great.

On that note see here why thinking about even crappy pop culture is not only good, it’s almost intrinsic to the fact that it is art.

But, when you’re having that terribly deep argument about the Platonic underpinnings of Batman Begins, make sure you don’t make this mistake.

In other entertainment news, I am very excited for this movie. As a private-beyond-all-bounds-of-normalcy person, the popularity of Facebook scares the bejeezus out of me (yes, even though I use it myself. My family will literally not allow me to leave). I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of Diaspora, which will be privacy aware and completely within the user’s control, and will interact with every other social network, so that everyone can pick Twitter or Facebook or Orkut as they please, and not have to convince all their friends to join them.

When I went to the Sen. Byrd memorial two weeks ago, it was cool and cloudy in the morning, and I was sleepy and so I wore a camisole under a sweater and neither wore nor brought my 100 SPF Goth-Approved sunscreen. Of course it cleared up and I got a horrible sunburn.  Then it was really hot, so I took off my sweater and burned some more. After a week or so most of it turned to tan and I finished peeling, and I lamented my newly less-pale skin to a friend. He blinked and said, “This is you dark?” And by my standards, yes, and I am unhappy about it. This article on not tanning helps to explain why.

Here’s Ian McKellen giving me another reason to love him by letting you know that some people are gay, and what you can do about it.

And finally, the absolutely sweetest XKCD comic in a long time. Have tissues ready.

Until Tuesday at the earliest.  I miss my second brain.

I am currently sitting on the couch with my head and hair covered in herbal mud which is covered in plastic wrap with a heating pad on top and a towel over that.

I’m feeling more girly than usual tonight.  I got some great family news today, which I mustn’t share until I can.  I finished my class today and should, inshallah, be more or less a college graduate now.  Feeling like celebrating, I mixed up some of my utterly beloved Lush Caca Rouge Henna Hair Dye.  It’s been on for about 2 hours, and I’ll probably leave it on until I get ready for bed.  If you don’t know about henna hair dyes, definitely click on the link and read up!  I’ve dyed my hair since I was in the 8th grade and I wish I’d know about henna years ago.  It’s easy and fun and makes my hair feel like adamantium, and it makes me smell like incense!

I’ve been reading Gala Darling a lot lately. She is an amazing creature made up of pure delight and magic, as far as I can tell, and she always makes me happier and more interested in my life. Tonight I re-read her about me section, and discovered this site , took a test and found out that I’m a Five. It was really interesting and fit me better than any other personality test has.  I also just retook an online Myers-Briggs test, and had forgotten that I’m an INFP, not an INFJ.  I love personality tests!

I will go paint my fingernails and toes some garish color now.  but before I go, do me a favor: paint some color into your life.  Pretend you’re a Libra, if you’re not, and seek out some tactile and visual pleasure.  Remember that your senses are alive and that they need fed, too.  I believe that our senses are similar to muscles in that the more we use them the better they get at their jobs, and like our brains in that exposing them to new experiences makes them work better.

Have a fantastic night!

Prof. Terry Shank of Marshall University has put on a video and slept another couple times.  I have learned one new thing so far:  commensalism is the term for the type of symbiosis that neither helps nor harms the host.

Today was very difficult.  He had thrown his back out and stood for the whole class anyway, and had a confrontation with one of the African-American students who sits at the front.  He’s so uneven in his treatment of people.  For instance, as I’ve mentioned the only students that he makes noises at, the kinds of noises you use to get your dog to leave something alone, are the African-American students, and the only African-American students he yells at for doing anything he doesn’t like are the ones at the very front of the room–these are also the only students besides me who’ve said a thing or asked a question all session.

It’s really hard to take, and yet it’s crystal clear that this is one of those “college” classes that are actually high school classes–and a horrible high school, at that.  One cannot point out these things in a respectful manner and hope to receive anything like a considered, sane response.  I have a friend who tried.  He said she was being too sensitive.

The only thing to do is survive the next two days, graduate, and move the hell to another continent.

I just wrote a 3 page essay for class in which I was supposed to take a claim from the film Coal Country and examine if it was science or non-science. Instead I attacked the whole film as non-science because it used anecdotal evidence and emotional manipulation as it’s primary tools. It was much more fun, interesting, and engaging this way.