April 8th, 2002


Which me?

I have a theory about how personalities work. It's fairly high level. I think that our personality traits are a coalition of several different desires we have, with other desires subsumed (but still present), giving rise to thoughts that we might not approve of or disagree with. Occasionally, some areas of the coalition shift, but overall the pattern remains the same. Sometimes, when experience shows us the result of some decisions we make, and we dislike them, or if our values change between decision and reflection we might feel guilt. And so on. That's not the topic of this.

What I'm instead wondering, is what dreams mean.. in particular, dreams where one's 'operating mode' is significantly different, with different ends, different methods, and the like. Could some areas of the coalition require a grounding in reality to exert control? Could we be less inhibited when we're asleep, and could inhibition temporarily change the coalition? Or is my model totally bunk... I don't know.

In particular, I've occasionally had dreams like this. I'm thinking in particular of the dream I mentioned in my journal a bit over a week ago. It just seems inconcievable to me that I could actually accept a relationship with her .. it's so at odds with what I need in an acceptable companion. I wonder.. could it be my biology kicking in? Perhaps somewhere, deep in my brain, there's a gland or something that thinks I'm not having enough sex. Or any sex, for that matter. Or, perhaps it's my desire for companionship acting up. Or both.. or perhaps something else.

That reminds me... I had an interesting conversation with Jeff today about how conversation seems to work. I've observed that people often, in a conversation, store up some amount of internal state needed to progress through a discussion or statement, and this 'block' tends to fit well into a 'period of control', where they need domination of the conversation to get it out. It might be a story, an argument, or a point. The interesting observation is that people tend to get frustrated when interrupted partway through, and use a variety of lingual cues to maintain such a grip. I've seen people battle for control of a conversation when they both have something of this kind to say. It might sound circular, but I think there's some real substance to this -- the characteristics of what someone is preparing to say tend to have some substance to them.. it's not just a normal back-and-forth, but rather something the brain has invested in. When investments compete...

I resurrected my laptop yesterday/today. It lacks its cdrom, modem, and now has a dead mouse, but it now has a functional install of Debian on it. When I feel like it, I'll figure out how to get something better on it... I bid on EBay on a replacement CDROM, and if that comes in, I'll order a copy of the new version of YellowDog Linux (2.2) for it. I'm feeling better now that I have a portable unix system again.. although my intense dislike of Debian is somewhat dampening that feeling.. Some unix/linux vendors really do their best to screw up an operating system. I've learned at work that SCO does a good job at it. I'm again learning that Debian is quite screwed up too. Surprisingly, and unlike SCO, Debian actually does have some rather nice features that make it almost tempting to keep it for longer... but the irritants are far too severe for me to actually think about settling down with it.

The EBay community is kind of strange. Fraud there seems to be rather common. I'm too cheap to actually win an auction (except maybe for that CDROM), but I often at least take a shot at getting a newer laptop for very cheap prices. So far, though, EBay has cancelled many of the auctions because the seller got an account suspention. How can a community survive with such a level of mistrust? Or is EBay really a 'keeper of the trust'? If so, it's a job I respect. It's hard to act as an enforcer of the community -- it's easy to make enemies. And of course, some communities and practices don't deserve protection. But for those that do, it's great when people are able to fill that role. With my Usenet newsgroups and my moderator status, I serve Usenet in a volunteer capacity. I satisfy my desire to return some help to the Internet and its community in the way it has helped me. I wish more people would do this kind of thing. I serve philosophy, I serve the internet. If only more people would toss a little bit into the .. darn.. ruined metaphor. That kind of soup where everyone brings part of it. It's actually kind of funny. I am easily amused by people trying to be profound, and instead making fools of themselves. It's important to keep the ability to laugh at oneself.

Time to head up those stairs -- I have work tomorrow.


Getting thin

Recently in my life, I've had a desire to toss away my possessions, and live with less stuff. This isn't likely to happen in the full way that I might want (I have other wants too), but I'm now in the mood to get rid of unneeded stuff, and free up cash. Enter EBay and Half.com. I'm going to be selling a lot of the books I have that I don't like, and the electronic gizmos I have that are not generally useful nor useful to me. Somehow, I feel relieved at this. Goodbye stuff. Eventually, I will have left only books that I actually like, and the computer stuff I want, and the furniture and other accessories I need for a happy life. Lots of books arn't inherently bad, but lots of books one doesn't like is irritating.