Wednesday, 30 April, 2008

When (and how) to argue

Filed under: Tagged — Pixel @ 19:03

65. After my brother joined the military, my mother began forcing my father and I to go to church as part of a ‘family activity.’ They bribed, lied, and cheated to get me to go. So I went, reluctantly. It’s funny, because at the time, I hadn’t been a Catholic in 6 years, so my going there only served to drive us further apart as I reacted like a teenager and sulked.

I get into arguments on a fairly regular basis. I suspect the reason for this is that I like to make grandiose claims and Nobody catches on to my tongue-in-cheek, finger-wagging spectacles. EVER.

But as often as I argue, I used to argue much more regularly. In my youth, I used to really like arguments. Sometimes I would argue positions I didn’t support just because I liked seeing people fluster as they tried to explain to me why slavery was wrong or why clothing was not optional. I’m actually a bit ashamed of that now.

But as I grew and matured (read: grew tired of bickering), I stopped seeking out arguments. Then I stopped continuing arguments even when they came to me. This went on to such a point that now I only ever argue for two reasons:

  1. To disavow someone of their ignorance. [1]I only do this if their ignorance is particularly damaging to themselves or others. It’s not my duty to make sure nobody has a false belief, but it is my duty if that false belief will soon have some sort of disastrous consequence.
  2. To get to the truth of the matter.

The second reason is the reason I prefer. There’s nothing worse than arguing with a smug-faced bastard who’s just humoring you by pretending to listen to your point with no intention of even analyzing his own. Believe me, I’ve seen that from every angle: it happens a lot when dealing with smart people.

But arguing [2]Perhaps the word ‘debate’ would be more apt than ‘argue,’ but I’m using ‘argue’ in the technical sense. An argument is a series of sentences which lead to a certain conclusion. So arguing, in this case would be attempting to test the soundness of these sentences, so ‘argue’ is more appropriate than ‘debate.’ … man, I should have just said I didn’t feel like it. shouldn’t be that way. A true argument should be between people that have opposing beliefs, or rather, one person that believes something and another that does not (yet) buy into it.

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Notes   [ + ]

1. I only do this if their ignorance is particularly damaging to themselves or others. It’s not my duty to make sure nobody has a false belief, but it is my duty if that false belief will soon have some sort of disastrous consequence.
2. Perhaps the word ‘debate’ would be more apt than ‘argue,’ but I’m using ‘argue’ in the technical sense. An argument is a series of sentences which lead to a certain conclusion. So arguing, in this case would be attempting to test the soundness of these sentences, so ‘argue’ is more appropriate than ‘debate.’ … man, I should have just said I didn’t feel like it.

Monday, 28 April, 2008

Wow, that took a dark turn at the end…

Filed under: Tagged — Pixel @ 20:03

63. For years my favorite number was 35. That just seems silly to me now, because it’s 100011 in binary.

Dear World,

I’ve decided to start treating you all as a single person, much like Anne Frank did to “Kitty.” (Her dog.) Presumably this will make it easier to dump you later on in the year when I stop blogging. Or maybe it’ll make it harder.

Actually, I’m seriously beginning to fear the summer. I’ve sort of mentioned my plans on leaving the country and touring the world (here), but I haven’t updated you in almost four weeks, so here goes.

Originally, I was going to go see my little cousin graduate in July.  After that, I wanted to take advantage of the trip to see the home country. Then I decided I should, while I’m in the area, go around the planet and visit my friends in Australia. A quick e-mail survey suggested that I should arrive in Australia (pronounced “Oz”) right after my cousin’s graduation July 11.

… THEN I called another cousin for her birthday and found out that she graduates May 30. This put me in an odd bind, because I was born May 29, and I didn’t know if I wanted to be gone for my birthday. But, after a protracted internal monologue, I realized I wasn’t planning on having a birthday this year anyway. In case you missed my tweet: I’ll be 25 until further notice. This means that I was now born in 1982 until May 29, after which I will have been born in 1983. Besides: my birthdays have been lame for a while now. I think a grand total of three people remembered me when I turned 22 (and one of them was me).

SO, the final plan is thus: Leave May 20 for Mexico, see a graduation, tour three or four states and visit family, see another graduation, return to New Mexico July 14. Then, July 15, I leave for Australia and spend time with friends over there and return August 7 in time for my friend Jcak’s [1]Name scrambled for his protection wedding. I’ll have a week’s vacation then to pack up all my stuff, move across the country to North Carolina, and find an apartment in time for the August 19 orientation.

*PHEW!* I’m not sure where I’ll fit blogging in that schedule, but I’m sure I’ll have a few minutes to spare between exhaustion and unconsciousness. Some people think I cut it too close: I say they’re lucky I give them air holes at all.

How do I get the money, you ask?

Simple: I sell drugs to children.

(My streams of consciousness are like white-water rapids, but this is what happens when the Internet goes down and I lose valuable hours of browsing and blogging.)

Notes   [ + ]

1. Name scrambled for his protection

Sunday, 27 April, 2008

Ghost in the Machine

Filed under: Tagged — Pixel @ 12:57

62. Every time I go somewhere, I have to carry books, a laptop, a notebook, or anything else. I have to. It’s my way to never forget stuff: I just make sure there’s always something to remember.

It's actually a Descartes reference.. sort of

This is supposed to illustrate the philosophical problem of the ‘ghost in the machine,’ which basically says that, if natural explanations can be given for everything, then the supernatural explanation for agency is superfluous. So, basically, I used the word ‘soul’ because it meant more people would understand it… sort of. Anyway, sorry, I posted this at 11:58:39 last night from my laptop in my car off borrowed Internet. I was in a bit of a hurry. 🙂

Saturday, 26 April, 2008

A Photo Project

Filed under: Tagged — Pixel @ 12:03

61. When I was in high school, I always had to have four pockets for my four objects of necessity: my wallet, my keys, my cell phone, and my camera. Then I upgraded cameras in 2003 to a camera that couldn’t fit in my pocket and I stopped taking pictures. Also, it broke and I didn’t have the $400 to buy another one.

I have several brilliant ideas on what to write about today, but I’m sort of saving them for Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, because the Google says that those are the days most people read the blog.

So what does one write about when they fully expect only 70 percent of their usual freaders to see it?

That’s the question.

And here’s the answer: I have a new project. For those of you not in the know, last year I calculated hugs. (I hugged 163 people by the end of the year). Last birthday I started counting who hugged me when. (Results here.) Before that, I’ve done far less ambitious and scientific projects.

This year, starting on my birthday, May 29th, I will take ONE (1) photograph every day for one full year. This photograph can be a picture of myself, of my desk, of other people, an illustrative photo of what went on in the day, or a photo of a drawing or of something else. I’ll save them all in my computer and eventually upload them all into a special section of this site. The idea is that this will remind me of what I did at various times in my life and serve as a sort of lame-o diary.

But first! I must buy a camera from the “e” bay.

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Friday, 25 April, 2008

Can you think of any movie that takes place in Arizona besides Tombstone? Yeah, think about it…

Filed under: Tagged — Pixel @ 0:01

60. When I was in middle school, I was part of the science club. We would go to different sciency places in New Mexico every Saturday of the semester. I still think about those trips every time I go anywhere with people, or buy cheap orange juice, or eat Wal-Mart donuts. In fact, two of my current best friends were people I got to know on those trips.

Here is the secret to a long and fruitful life:

  1. Have lots of friends.
  2. Eat an apple a day for 200 years.

Today, I will be going to Tucson with the photojournalism club. Now, I haven’t owned a camera in five years and have been out of any sort of journalism since 2006 and possibly earlier. I have no skill with a camera. I have not donated any money to the school or shown up to any of the club meetings. I haven’t paid dues and haven’t helped out with any money, assistance, or creativity.

But I’m still going to take up a seat in their van as they go to the hottest town in the world (sorry, but it’s true) and look at some W. Eugene Smith [1]I think he’s a photographer. It seems like it would follow from the context. photographs.

Why, you ask?

Is it just because I’m super cool and have nothing to do?

Is it because I hang out with the organizers sometimes and pose unflinchingly for all of their images?

Is it because they can’t get anybody else to go because the club and department are falling apart due to constant attacks from the administration and lackluster support from the students and faculty?

Or is it magic?

…?

Yes. Yes it is. I think it’s all of the above.

So, if I don’t return to blogging, take a titanium umbrella to Tucson and see if you can find where my shadow was baked into the pavement.

Notes   [ + ]

1. I think he’s a photographer. It seems like it would follow from the context.
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