The eye sags, unaccustomed to the visual assault. The mind turns, theskin bristles. Painful stimuli, a feeling of horror, and guilt. Yes, otherparts of the mind, somewhat less ingrained, with less a raw tie to reactionsto physicality, and more of a tie to reflectivity, we might call them 'higher'parts, but this is romaticizing it -- they chastize us, tell us we're a badperson for having those gut reactions. We listen -- we're so accustomed tothinking of ourselves as a whole, and defining away parts of us our consensusdoes not include at the moment..."I didn't really mean that", "I'm addicted, it's wasn't me", all the time wework under a delusion, the delusion of a monolithic entity of the self, andwe wonder sometimes why things don't always make sense. The best way tounderstand ourselves is taboo -- we learn too much nonsense to ever see thetruth. We have many parts of ourselves we don't approve, some are horrific, someare disgusting, and some .. just don't fit into who we are. We're expected tomake promises and keep them, to be consistant, to talk about who we are, butwe're so wrapped in lies, and our expectations for sanity so high that we couldnever meet them. We need more than we ever could really be. We strive for simpleabsolutes, an infinite zero, but instead we're a matrix of irrational numbers.
I've continued to think about Islam, in particular the role of women in it.I may have written on this before in my BLOG, and if so, please forgive -- Iprobably repeat myself often enough that you should be used to it by now.In particular, there's a kind of cynic realism in Islam, contrasting to thewestern idealism. Let me explain -- Conservative Islam keeps women in theirown, cloistered society, away from men, greatly limiting contact with theopposite sex (for that matter, Conservative Islam isn't the only religion thatdoes this -- I'm not meaning to single out any religion in particular). Men areto escort women through public places, while limiting their visibility -- theseare to be the husband or another family member. The goal of this is, likely, toprotect against jealousy and trust issues that can be issues in a relationship.It is, of course, gender-biased -- women have no such guarantees that theirmale s.o. is not practicing infidelity. These are real emotions, ranging instrength by the individuals and the dynamics of the relationship. The emotionsrun real in schoolyard insults, where it's quite possible to induce a boy torage (not sure about girls) by suggesting sexual things about their mother orsisters. It's possible to understand why Islam and other societies that havethis kind of idea (some forms of Orthodox Judaism have a weaker variant), andwhy there's some resistance to the 'alternate' common arrangement of havingthe genders mix. The mixed arrangement does, more or less, work smoothly,although it is, na klar, a tradeoff, and one which, depending on comfort withthe inherent degrading sexism and the relative values of protecting againstthe social problems jealousy and the like cause versus the constraints placedon the victims of the system and the loss of roughly half of the greats ofhumanity to non-intellectual work, one can imagine going either way.
Ahh, I'm at Coffee Tree, enjoying the outdoors, playing on the internet,and reading. All that and a bit of Hausafgabe. Anyhow, I had anotherconversation with a stranger -- a mid-aged guy in a nascar outfit. Apparently,he works for a company that sells things at sporting events, and so is almostalways away from home, travelling all over the country. It was, for the mostpart, an interesting conversation -- he told me a bit about his life, hisphilosophy, and his thoughts on politics -- he's liberal, hates Bush, and thinksit's disappointing how little intellect he sees at most of the events he sellsthings. He thinks it's little wonder why America is becoming a backwater, andconsiders his job mostly work. He offered me some advice on what I should do,were I not already on a career path -- either move to DC and get a job there,where there are a number of high paying jobs, or go to the University ofNorth Texas, get a masters in nursing home administration (the only placein the country that offers that), get a Doctorate at someplace on the westcoast on elderly care, and then he says that I basically could pick where I'dwant to work. Interesting. It's always surprising to talk with people -- they'rea lot more varied than you might expect.
I'm trying to catch a quick movie of one of the crazy pittsburgh busses Ilove so much. From what I understand, they used to have advertisements on themlike a lot of busses in other cities, but when the market dried up, theydecided to go silly, and so to my recollection, they have a solid light bluecolour with one of the following things repeated all over them:UP DOWN UP DOWNAROUND ABOUT AROUND ABOUTRIDE RIDE RIDE RIDEGO GO GO GO(something in cyrillic)(something in chinese script)BIENVENIDOS
I'm sure there are other busses I haven't seen yet, and they're one of thelittle things I love about this town. I'm going to call them tomorrow to seeif they sell T-shirts. :) While googling for their contact info, I stumbledon this -- an effort by the Port Authority (which runs the busses)to put a MagLev between the airport and Greensburg (possibly later expanded toWheeling, WV). That's pretty cool -- good public transportation is a reallygood thing. I recall a conversation I had with someone recently about it --if public transport is so great, why don't I use it more? The problem withpublic transit is that often really disgusting people use it, with nasty bodyodors, strong cigarette smells, and the like. If they'd keep those peopleoff the bus, we'd probably both ride it more often. Heh. Personally, I'm patientenough for bus schedules -- with the right books on me, I'm very easy to amuse..