I’ve been going back and reading some of the old thought pages out there and I realized that mine is without question way less funnier then Dave and Henry’s. So I’m just not gonna try to be funny because if I ever did in the past, it didn’t work. However, mine still remain the most interesting thoughts on the web, as it has by far the most insight and profundity.
So Hong wrote how he’s not as “charismatic” as me. It’s interesting that he writes this, because my claim is that David is one of the most charismatic people I know, far more than me. In the past year I have come to realize that certain people, more than a few, absolutely adore Dave, nearly to the point of worship. I mean just absolutely love the guy. I won’t be too specific, but think his small group and fellow officers. It’s really amazing/frightening.
Anyway, I know for a fact that I don’t have that kind of effect on people. Mostly because I am evil. I am easily one of the most evil people I know. Honestly, of all my friends at Stanford, I was probably the most evil. Evil meaning hypocritical, wicked and dishonest. At any rate, with Dave it’s not just charisma it’s charismania.
Another way we can see Dave’s charismania is how people pick up his mannerisms. Or more his expressions. Several are famous. But it’s all over the web pages also. On their most recent web pages, Henry says that he made it up, and George says that he doesn’t care because it’s his web page. Didn’t Dave start those things? Oh wait, maybe I did the second. At any rate, a lot of things Dave says/writes gets picked up. It’s charismania, I tell you. And if you can’t recognize that Dave you’re a fool.
Yeah, me and Henry have different ideas of love. I think my love most closely matches his love for his laptop. I’m not kidding. Go back and read how he describes his laptop and then how I describe Jieun. Remarkably similar. Here’s a sample: “I love my laptop. Seriously, it is my first love. Second is God. Third is Lorraine. The screen is beautiful and the keyboard is soooo comfortable. I love it! Love! Love! Love!”
Time for another life influence.
Freshman year, I took Philosophy CIV. Despite the fact that I attended nearly no lectures, I really enjoyed this class. I learned some cool stuff, although I got very little out of the Politically Correct parts of the course. When we stuck with just the normal philosophy parts, it was really good.
Among the insights – It was previously thought by I believe people like Bacon, that scientific discovery is like a steady progress towards some truth or something or other. Kuhn (I think) made this great observation that science really isn’t like that. What really happens is that there are a series of jumps; someone makes a revolutionary discovery, one that kind of puts all previous understanding on its head, and that results in a huge jump.
Even in American society that’s evident, how there was an agricultural revolution, then an industrial revolution, now a technological revolution, and many say the next (or current one even) will be the information revolution. The thing is, it’s not steady progress but a series of revolutionary advances. That was a keen insight to me. I think those revolutions of insight are necessary, as progress based on previous understanding will plateau, because it’s incomplete and inaccurate.
Anyway, this insight to me also indicates why it’s foolish (in my opinion) to put your faith when it comes to fundamental things to science. When I mean fundamental things I’m talking about stuff like what’s the meaning of life, why are we here, what are we supposed to do, and what happens to us. These are really the most important issues we’ll face as humans (unless we choose to ignore them and live day to day, like I talked about last time). The reason it’s foolish for people to answer fundamental questions with science is because you know with science that you’re wrong. I’ve written about this before, but scientists know that their understanding is incomplete and wrong, and that eventually later understanding will surpass it. Like with Newtonian physics. It was assumed to be true and worked well enough, but it was found to be inaccurate and wrong, with the advent of Einsteinian physics.
Anyway, science is wrong, and will be replaced by something different, something more “accurate,” and real scientists know this. People who insist that something in science is “true” and will stand forever are like those people who every generation say that scientific progress is about to come to an end and nearly everything that can be discovered and learned has been. In other words, they’re totally wrong.
I mean, how foolish is it to answer fundamental questions about the human existence on science? It’s so inherently tenuous. Do that and you really are building your house on shifting sand. I personally would be scared to put my faith (because that’s what it really is, faith) on something so flimsy when it comes to important things. People often make fun of Christians as having our heads in the sand, but I tell ya, it’s way more foolish to answer the fundamental questions with science. It’s even more foolish, in my view, to answer questions with humanistic philosophy, but that’s a topic for next time.
Anyway, I liked Philosophy CIV a lot. I’ve always been a philosopher, I think, but I never before knew philosophy. Which basically means I was a dangerous thinker. At any rate, I really liked this class. It turned me on to Philosophy in general, which has been one of the biggest things in my life, in particular Philosophy 80 and Philosophy 200-something, (Theory of Knowledge aka Epistemology), both fantastic classes. Especially with Bratman and Stevens. Seek these. Avoid Taylor at all costs.
Two of the philosophies we encountered in Philosophy CIV were those of Chuang Tzu and some Greek guy who for the life of me I cannot remember his name. I think it’s Epictetus. But their philosophies are remarkably similar.
Chaung Tzu was this weirdo philosopher who wrote some pretty kooky stuff. He’s the guy (if I recall correctly, but I may be wrong) who mentioned that he once had a dream that he was a butterfly, and after he woke up, he could never again be sure whether he was Chuang Tzu who dreamt he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Tzu. I’m not sure what the point is. Probably that our hold on reality is tenuous so you just gotta take what you can get.
Anyway, his basic philosophy, in my own words, is just take whatever life gives you. For example, there was one story where someone comes in while he’s drumming or something, something bizarre, and he finds out that something has happened to his wife, like she’s turned into a tree or something. not exactly that, but similarly absurd. And he just keeps playing his drum.
And his neighbors think how inappropriate, he should be mourning. But his thinking is, what really is appropriate? To mourn endlessly over something that can’t be changed? Put simply, she turned into a tree, so let’s just move on. his philosophy was essentially like that. You should just always act well, and not get down, because being down won’t help or change anything. The most practical thing to do, and thus the most appropriate, is to always just deal with the present situation.
Epictetus was a Greek philosopher, but his philosophies were remarkably similar (in my view) to that of Chuang Tzu. So much so that I can’t remember exactly the differences. But if I remembered right and the guy’s name really is Epictetus, he was big in the Stoicism school of philosophy. Stoicism not meaning you never feel anything, but more like I kind of wrote about Chuang Tzu. You don’t let the past get you down. It’s a really superficial way of putting it, but that’s basically the take home message.
Anyway, this has really been an influential philosophy in my life, one that kind of goes along with another idea I’ll talk about some other time. But the idea that moaning and groaning about something that happened in the past is just kind of lame, and more importantly, pointless. It’s a very practical philosophy, meaning, how you feel and how you act should depend on what’s useful and helpful.
And to me it’s great because it causes you to really embrace or face whatever you’re really going through and tackle it head on. So first of all, you get through whatever you have to do instead of dwelling on something else, denying it, or wallowing in it. It’s just practical.
For me personally, it’s also made me a happier person, I think. I have found, I don’t know if it’s because of this philosophy but I strongly suspect so, but I have found that things don’t bother me as much and in general, since I don’t get as down about things, I’m more happy. For example – when my car window got broken. Yeah, it happened, and stuff got stolen, but what could I do about it? Not much besides clean up, drive home cold, and get it fixed. And that’s what I did, and I didn’t get down about it much at all. That’s pretty much how I react to most things, it might get me a bit down, but never hugely, as it might have in the past.
One other thing I have found is that it has made me less attached to material things. Again, it’s just the idea that what happens, happens, and if you get, lose, whatever, no biggie. I also think it’s made me detach myself from people to a certain extent as well, which probably isn’t so good. I’ve found that I do this to make the potential loss easier to handle. If that makes any sense. Anyway, I’m much less willing to leave myself vulnerable enough to a person where I could be hurt by them. I don’t know whether that is good or bad. It just is.
Anyway, I’m a very big fan of practical living, and Stoicism. I’m really really down on that. So it’s been a big influence in my life.
There’s a well known poem that kind of expresses what this influence means to me on a spiritual level. I’ll leave you with that:
The Serenity Prayer
to accept the things
I cannot change
to change the
things I can
to know the difference.
Living ONE DAY AT A TIME;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
By Reinhold Neibuhr