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Semiformalishmaybe

Marching in the company of ghosts

I finished whipping another philosophical essay into being kind of presentable:Epistemology.

I'm not sure why I find it so emotionally involving to see people either really interested in something or really sad. Sometimes I feel a bit .. well, somewhere between guilty and weird about this - sadness or extreme interest can make an attractive face much more attractive, and I feel a bit voyeuristic when I see someone sad and am so drawn/attracted to it - it makes me want to hug them and tell them everything'll be alright.. although I pretty much never can do that because I'm not comfortable touching people I'm not involved with unless I'm willing to invest emotionally with them, and all that leads back into the mess that is me. Doing google image searches for sad people is thus a strange/guilty pleasure that ties into one of those weird parts of the jungle of human psychology with which I'm not entirely comfortable.

It's weird to find this so compelling given that my facial expressive diversity is so limited. I wonder nowadays if the abuse in youth led to this, or if it was more the later stoicisim I played with for a few years.

The choice of heroes in any philosophy and weighing of what they do by outsiders builds barriers in ways that are probably harder to heal than issues of doctrine. For me, the moral character of the (christian) Catholic church is a mixed scoresheet, with some striving towards virtues I recognise, some repugnant values, and a checkered history. However, every saint that they recognise that has done things that I consider to be an atrocity is another barrier preventing me from actually liking them - the many people recognised by the church as saints that have surpressed non-christians, philosophy, and science are each another source of intense dislike, and were I to ever be capable of actually liking Catholicism as an institution, it would need to strike them from their list of heroes (I don't know if there is even precedent for this) - when someone is held to be an exemplar as a human being (e.g. Saint Justinian) who is someone who I think should have been resisted to the point of having been assasinated, it's hard to ever consider more than temporary common ground with such institutions. Of course, given that I consider Yeshua ben Yosef, at least as depicted in Christianity, to have been similarly reprehensible, perhaps this is doomed from the start. Many people who are considered saints are people whose work I think the world would be better off without. The Sunni-Shia divide remains difficult for some of these same kinds of reasons.

I wonder, if we had a good way to ask, would most people find it harder to consider close relations with a philosophy that had some difficult beliefs or had reverence for someone that they found reprehensible? Likewise, I wonder how much the fact that historical figures for whom I have great respect and have drawn some inspiration (e.g. Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, Mao, Yat-Sen, Ataturk, Franklin, Jefferson, Rawls, Freud, Mozi, among others) are more or less difficult for others than my actual ideals?

Unrelated, I am presently in love with the idea of this:

  • How dare you sit with the master and so defy his teachings! Why are you here?
  • To seek enlightenment
  • From him?
  • Yes
  • And yet you disobey
  • The enlightenment I seek from him is not that which he knows himself to be teaching

Last night I was having a reasonably good hair day, and while heading back from Crazy Goat, the recent hockey game had just ended in Pittsburgh's team's favour so a lot of people were driving around celebrating with their horns and beer. Some party-jumped-up gals from their car called me a hottie and asked where I was going .. I felt like an alien - all I could really think is that they really wouldn't like me at all if they got to know me, and so their complements felt a bit like one of those famous bridge disasters. Meh. I don't really like compliments even at the best of times.

I often wish there were a part of the country that would be perfect - without the awfulness of DC, the conservativism of the south, the cold weather of the north, the poor public infrastructure of most of california, the dryness of the midwest, the overpopulation of so much of the country and the emptiness of the rest. I don't like that the comprimises are so ugly and are rooted in actuality rather than intrinsic to what I want - I know what a good community, by my standards, would look like... well, mostly.

I'd love a warm, rainy, oceanfront community with boats, great public transit, small enough that it doesn't have tall buildings but big enough that it has excellent infrastructure, dolphins, mountains, a university (or set of them) big enough to be culturally big without dominating the region, walking/biking/hiking friendly, lots of lightly jungly forests not far from where people live, ethnically and linguistically diverse, a nice even male-female ratio, crazy architecture, a big local music and art scene, farmer's markets, nice-smelling air..

And all that within an hour's ride on public transit to some megacity like NYC with the awesome things that big cities have that smaller cities don't do so well at (like having opera).

I don't think that place exists... and I don't think I could likely move given my mental state or without some distant hope of emotional support there... although now that I'm coming up on a year in my present job, my ethical obligation to stick around (by my standards) is less of a blocker.

Té Café's nicer teas are really fine. I also picked up some Paneer from Whole Foods that I am looking forward to using in cooking experiments.

I shall probably have a nice long evening walk once I get home from here.

Comments

A year or two ago I was actually trying to get a job in Eugene - that and Santa Barbara looked like potentially good matches, even if they're not perfect. Oregon isn't quite warm enough, but it's certainly better than here..

I don't have much here, but it's really hard to make a leap of faith to a new city where I have no real social ties whatsoever..

Portland is a really fun city to visit...