September 2005 - Posts
Today I passed by a really foul smelling tree for the second time this week. It wasn't the tree itself, per se, but the fruit it produced that had dropped to the ground. Maybe it was because of people passing by it so much but a lot of it was crushed on the sidewalk. In any case, there was a nasty odor around the tree and I couldn't wait to get past it. Passing by this tree made me wonder about something a friend of mine promotes, and a philosophical idea: that of you creating your reality. Is it really the case that I'm creating this foul smelling tree that I want to avoid?
There are various interpretations of the statement, "you create your reality". On one hand you could quite literally state that you create your reality, since whatever you perceive is your reality, it is real to you. If you look at an apple and see it as green while everyone else sees it as red, it may be that you're colorblind; regardless, the apple is green to you, that is your reality. So in this sense you do create your reality, albeit perhaps in a more passive manner.
This passive reality creation I can agree with it, but proponents of reality creation take it further than sense perception. The tree that I perceived, foul as it may be, would be stated by reality creationists to be something I inserted into my reality. Yes I perceive the tree with my senses -- most especially with my nose -- but that the tree was there to be perceived at all is claimed by reality creationists to be something I actively put there. This is the key difference in the claim, activity as opposed to passivity. I actively chose to put the tree along the sidewalk, I actively chose for it to smell really bad to me. Intriguing that I would create this tree without knowing that I did, and furthermore create it as I did, as a foul smelling tree.
If this aspect of reality creation is true, that I did create this tree without conscious knowledge of it, then it would seem my definition of myself is lacking. The sense of self that I hold typically is always of myself as a singular human being. The things that I am aware of creating are limited to such things as writing, computer programs, blisters on my feet, things of that nature. But if it is the case, according to reality creationists, that I created this foul smelling tree then I would have to be more than I currently experience as myself. I have once experienced a state of union with my surroundings. It lasted but for a brief moment but while it lasted I truly felt the trees, the birds, even the air as if they all were me. My sense of self was temporarily altered, widened. I tasted the reality of the idea of a wider self.
This experience demonstrated how it could be possible that I could have created that tree. It was not simply I as a human being, but I as a wider being. But, a question. What is it that defines the self, what is it that defines me? If I can not simply rely on my own experience as to what is me, what am I to rely on? During the brief moment where I had an expanded sense of self I was quite literally aware of myself as a wider being, it was not an idea nor a concept. My perception of myself was as vivid then as my usual perception is as a human being. But I am not aware of having creating this foul smelling tree, this action is not vivid to me. Could you say I forgot I did it? Perhaps in a similar way how I can perceive of myself as a human being but in a brief moment experience myself as a wider being. Perhaps then my sense of self as a human is not normal, perhaps the perception of self as the wider being is. I created the tree and then altered my awareness of self to be just a human being.
But this is interesting. If the sense of self can be so fluid what is it that defines me as me, and not, say, you? All I can say is that I "know" that I am not you, similar to how I "knew" that I was everything around me during my mystical experience. But if I rely solely on this strong sense of knowing to determine who is me, then I can not state that I did create that foul smelling tree. I perceive it, yes, but I did not create it.
The idea of reality creation is a conundrum. If interpreted to be only passive sense perception then the idea is sound and holds up. But if expanded to a more active and literal creation of reality then the sense of self must necessarily change to accommodate this. The question then is not did I create this or that, but who am I, how do I know what is me and what is not me?
Are we there yet? That favorite refrain of children nationwide is going to be the tagline for this season of The Amazing Race. Unlike past editions of the show which featured teams of two people, now we have teams of families! Oh boy, if the bickering of two people weren't enough, now it's doubled.
This episode was 2 hours and served as the introduction to all the teams. I don't remember all the team names yet but I do remember one standout family. They're a family of four blond women who were all wearing pink shirts. This, strange as it may be, is not why I remember them, rather it's their incessant shouting and screaming. My ears, my ears, they're in so much pain! Please dear lord in heaven, if you love me, please plan to eliminate them soon, I don't know if I can stand them for the duration of this race. As an aside, did you notice how I brought in the lord's name? Heh, well I'm just joining in the crowd of Bible worshipers who were all praying to god for a victory. Some, apparently, got divine assistance; one team did not.
Anyway, the starting city is New York City. I've watched every season of The Amazing Race but I don't recall the teams ever staying in the U.S. throughout the entire first leg, but that's the case here. The first challenge is to navigate the streets of New York City to find a store and pick up supplies for the rest of the race. The pink blonds! So annoying. A group of hyperactive women is one thing, but you stick said hyperactive women in a SUV and all decibel meters break. I know it's exciting to be on a race around the world, but these girls are taking this excitement a tad bit too far if you ask me. Alright, so they get their stuff as well as every other family. One team is so excited they break a shelf at the store, oops.
Gear in tow, next stop is crossing the Delaware river; you know, where George Washington crossed a couple hundred years ago in defiance of the British. Crossing the river in rowboats is the task and everyone does it. The teams that have young kids with them suffered here since this was just a physically oriented task and some of them just couldn't muster as well as adults. The Black family actually goes downstream from the currents. I remember their name because a) I'm taking ginkgo biloba, good stuff, and b) they're Black and their family's last name is Black, how convenient. After this there's a race to a stopover where teams have to perch the tents they got from the store they previously all went to. There's an Italian family here and they argue so much they're bound to implode at some point; bank on it. Actually, the mom snaps later on in this leg, so I'm banked, haha!
The Italians get themselves lost at various points in this leg and thus come in last at the stopover. Oh, btw, the teams are now in Pennsylvania, I think...oh well, I don't care. Oh, I just forgot something. Earlier on after the teams got their stuff they had to get a clue from a hot dog stand manned by none other than Kevin & Drew from the first season of The Amazing Race! The show's so established it has stars from previous seasons making cameos :). Back to current events, the teams race to a farm for a detour. You either push / pull an Amish buggy or you build a house. The first few teams picked the muscle option, that is pulling the Amish buggies. In this challenge two people had to sit in it while the other two pulled it. The teams with little kiddies faired well here :). Teams with big ass grown men didn't. There are a couple of highlights here. One team loses control of their buggy and crash it into a bunch of bushes. No one is seriously hurt though but they have to resort to building the house since their buggy is wrecked. The other highlight is seeing a buggy with two kids passing a buggy being pulled by two strong guys, heh. Strangely enough, the team that crashes their buggy and does the house is then joined by every other approaching team. So weird, the first four teams pull the buggies, but the others, upon seeing a team building a house immediately think pulling the buggy is too much work and so they all proceed to build a house. Lemmings?
Nothing much of interest happens after this detour. You see the Italian family bicker, the pink blonds shout and scream, standard stuff. Guess who wins this leg of the race? The pink blonds, grrr. As if they weren't already screeching enough they have further reason to shrill after they win first place. And if that weren't enough, they won $20,000 for coming in first! The horror, the horror!!! Man, I was so close to thinking listening to fingernails grating on a chalkboard would sound better than listening to them celebrate. After them the other teams trickle in. The Italians get a respectable sixth place finish, respectable given their copious amounts of arguing. The Black family, sadly, is eliminated by coming in last. Their youngest son is visibly mad at losing, probably due to him thinking he contributed to their loss. It's hard to say why any team loses, but him being so young did hurt them at times, like when crossing the Delaware. Oh well, next week we have more Amazing Race.
If all of life were likened to a magnificent painting, there would likely be shadows. If every person were likened to a small portion of this painting some would be the shadows. Even in this magnificent painting the shadows are necessary, for they add something that would not be there with their absence.
I don't often post my dreams here -- I used to at one point -- but the dream I had today was so astonishing and detailed to me I want to post it for some reason. It is quite long and I haven't remembered a dream this detailed in some time. I often times have multiple dreams in a night, but this was one long dream.
I was working for a company but our office building was to be moved. Someone was using psychic powers to move the entire building at once to a new location. During the trip it became dark and there was little light in the two rooms I had access to. They were like conference rooms, very big with no walls to partition the room into smaller rooms, although each room did have partitions that made work areas; cubicles. There was a lot of horizontal air pressure while traveling because I remember having difficulty walking and many people had difficulty even sitting down with it. It was possible to travel without feeling this though; one had to walk around the perimeter of the room. While doing this I remember the edges of the room were narrow because of the partitions that came close to the wall making it difficult to slip through them. I also saw the picture of Kaysar from Big Brother 6 in a few places while traveling this perimeter.
When we touched down I thought we were in Toronto for some reason but we ended up in Houston, Texas. A lot of the partitions had been moved around from the trip and so they had to be repositioned to their original positions. It seemed some were just being rearranged though as I remember at least three new areas being created that didn't exist before. One was like an executive area where higher-ups discussed the company. At first their area extended straight to the wall, effectively forming a barrier and preventing traveling the perimeter of the room. As I was traveling this perimeter and was about to go back they apparently realized the impediment their arrangement caused and changed it to allow me, and anyone else, to pass. I also remember visiting other people, one person seemed to be a criminal whose area was semi-contained after the trip; there was only a small slit available to see him. He reminded me of Joseph but I think that was just the image my mind used.
As I was traveling the perimeter of the rooms I met up with a guy that was leaving for lunch so I joined him. He was in his 40s and had a wind-blown kind of raggedy hair style but with balding it wasn't an entirely thick scalp of hair, he was kind of built and stocky too. When we got out the sky sort of reminded me of a shower that had just passed, it wasn't raining then but it just felt like it had. Our "building" was on top of another building and we had to use ladders to climb down. We both had envelopes that we were carrying related to our work and I remember waiting by the ladder he was going down before realizing I could go to another nearby and get down myself. I was a bit apprehensive going down though because I worried about the safety of the ladders, but I didn't really have any other choice so I proceeded down it anyway. I left my envelope up top though. I was going to travel with him to lunch somewhere. He had a motorcycle and he told me to get on the back of it. He had a playfully friendly way of saying it, and even though I didn't really know him, I got on. At first I thought it would look kind of gay, me holding on to him, but I didn't really care that much. I was probably more concerned about my safety since my grip on him would've been the only thing attaching me to the bike.
When I got on we started off. It felt exhilarating to be on the bike, I could feel the wind against me. At one point he told me to get ready because he was going to jump high into the sky. He did jump really high, so high I didn't think we were going to come down. While we were rising he told me to notice the ground getting smaller and the tops of buildings; their ceilings. I felt simultaneously excited and scared since I was so high up I could've died easily if I fell so I had to just hold on tight and trust him. After a short while I felt some sense of vulnerability while being so high, symbolically this action was kind of like being freed.
We actually landed without any problem and continued to speed on our way. We were driving around Atlanta I remember even though our office had landed in Houston. Even though we were trying to find a place to eat for lunch we seemed to just be driving around for the fun of it. It was fun riding around, seeing things go by so fast and all I had to do was just trust and hang on to him, that way I could more enjoy what I was seeing. I remember passing by one area that reminded me of a Springs building, the company I used to work for in real life. We went through several areas that had train tracks. We were riding over them at times and on them at others. When we were riding on them we were riding on the wooden separators between the tracks. There were other bikers around too and there seemed to be a kind of competition between all the bikers, including the one I was with, as to who could ride the best even though no one actually said this. I should mention the ground often times had puddles of water, slicks of water were on the tracks, water was just everywhere and on everything; it really did look like a shower had just passed through. The sky was gray and I actually preferred it this way. There were also a lot of metal rectangular cargo bins, the kind you see being loaded onto barges at sea; they were very colorful.
The ground was kind of sandy in one area and he took us into a place, and even though there were no signs around he knew what it was; Six Flags. He told me to look up and notice the blue metal horizontal cylinder beams as the cue it was an unmarked entrance. We entered the entrance nearest the games. The ground was composed of wooden beams and there were a few people playing games. I think we both knew a motorcycle wasn't allowed in this area but we were riding around anyway. When one of the attendants shouted at us to leave we did. I remember he was Asian, I can't think of his nationality. When we approached the entrance / exit I looked up and noticed the horizontal metal beam was painted beige instead of blue; the inside of the beam was beige and the outside was blue.
When we got back out my driver had a hard time getting his bearings and I had to point to him where to go to get back to the road; it wasn't exactly a straight shot and I could see how someone could get lost. When we got back to the road we started to head back to work even though we had never found a place to eat. We somehow ended up in a kind of closed loop area which had a shack like building, sand all around it, and a railroad track leading out. The back of the shack was raised up so when riding you rode up and could jump down when you got around it. There were two people on one bike, like us, that we were riding with. The passenger on their bike was a teenager, maybe 14 or so. There was a bit of a rivalry between the drivers I noticed. Somehow when their bike was in front of the shack we managed to pin them down and this somehow caused their deaths. Around this time my driver reminded me of the guy from the movie The Wraith, he had a revenge killing in mind all along and had now achieved his task. His bike even revealed itself to have blue electricity flowing through it, like a supernatural modification. I could sense my time with him was up, even though he was always friendly to me.
I ended up at home somehow and ate lunch there. I wasn't quite sure how to get back to work, especially since it was around 1:40 or something like that and I was supposed to be back at 12 since we left at 11. Since I was so late I contemplated not even returning but I went on my computer to map how to get back.
When I woke up this dream kind of astonished me because it was so detailed, I really felt I was living it, waking up was strange. I woke up at 11.
I've just caught the DJing bug, I love it! I used to put together compilation CDs and now I've moved into creating seamless flows of music. Without really planning to I've assembled another set of songs for a mix. Really what happened is that I just had urges to listen to certain songs from my collection and after a while I realized that they had a certain feel and sound to them and I thought they would sound good together as a mix. From the songs I'm including I think it'll be a bit more trancey than housey this time around. It probably shouldn't take too long to mix them since I'm getting used to doing this after doing my first mix. But I have to contend with all the reading for my philosophy class as well, that and general laziness :P
I'm fascinated by the human body, just how it works, how complex it is, it really is a living machine. I cut myself not too long ago on my index finger. I've been fascinated by it, watching the healing process. It's so neat to see basically a bloody wound one day, see it kind of scab over, see the areas around the cut turn into skin, and eventually be healed such that you can't even see the wound anymore. My cut hasn't completely healed yet, it's still in the stage of the scab. Not really a large scab, it's just thick enough to prevent blood from getting out but not so thick it's really huge. I can see new skin forming on the outside of the cut working it's way in. The body truly is a remarkable thing.
I'm discovering some useful things in my attempts to see without prescription lenses. I can't really speak for everyone but maybe what I'm learning will be useful for other nearsighted people like me. I'm noticing that I see better the less I actively try to see. What I'm beginning to think what's happened to my eyes is that at some point I started focusing on things up-close for so long that my eyes started to conform to that position, in effect making me cross-eyed in a sense. You know how if you bend down, or just otherwise hold a position, for too long it feels tough to change out of that position? Well, I think something similar can happen with eyes. The eyes themselves look okay but the internals of them conform, the lenses are muscles and they conform. So, what does this mean in terms of seeing well again?
Well, basically doing the opposite of what I've been doing, not tensing my eyes but relaxing them. After, say, 14 years, my eyes have conformed to viewing things up-close so that the manner of seeing that I'm accustomed to seems normal to me. When I say manner of seeing I just mean how my eyes feel, the tenseness that I'm discovering that I have in my eyes feels normal to me because I've been living with it for so long, to not feel this tenseness then would feel abnormal. But that is exactly what I need to do, relax, not feel this tenseness. This is an important point! What I'm discovering is that I have to start being accustomed to feeling a different feeling in my eyes and accept that as normal.
But it's working though, seriously, relaxing my eyes is seriously bringing my vision back. That may sound simple but in reality it's somewhat tough since I'm so used to tensing my eyes it seems automatic and normal. Now when I relax my eyes it feels like my eyes, my left eye in particular, are drooping to the side. Sounds weird, feels weirder. But as weird as it may feel the times I let this feeling occur and don't try to "fix" it by tensing my eyes I notice images get a lot clearer and sharper; I can see better! This just tells me that I have to start getting used to this odd feeling in my eyes, because this odd feeling is in fact the way my eyes are supposed to feel. It's strange how light my eyes feel during these moments, how light and easy it feels to see. There is no straining to see well, there's relaxing to see well. You don't often see carefree people in glasses, but you do often see uptight and tense people in glasses; may be something to this.
Oh, and I should mention as a final note. This feeling of seeing better occurs almost exclusively when I'm outside on a sunny day. I'm just speculating again, but I think the distances required to see something clear outside are just so great it encourages your eyes to conform differently than when you look at things indoors. Inside a building you may look, say 30 feet, before seeing a wall, but outside it could be somewhere like 100 feet. Trying to focus over 100 feet is more challenging to your eyes than 30 feet, more stimulating. So if you want to try to see better as I'm doing anyway, go outside and start trying to focus on far away things. And not really trying to see, relax your eyes and literally let it happen.
Holden & Thompson - Nothing (93 Returning Mix)
I'm starting to have fun in my philosophy class. At first I was apprehensive about being in it because I wasn't sure if I would be intellectual or insightful enough to hang with the college crowd. And yeah, I know I've been a part of the true college crowd once, but still, the apprehension was there. But after having a few class sessions and hearing the views of other people in the class I don't think I'm so below par anymore. I think I'm as insightful as anyone else in the class. Maybe it was just the newness of it. In any case, I really feel I'm settling in to it, I think it will turn out to be a really fun class, with lots of spirited debate. It's kind of neat being in a class that operates on such a high mental and abstract level.
Oh, running barefoot continues to go well. My feet are getting tougher because I was able to run 3 laps today, 2.7 miles, on the asphalt and didn't get a blister! I even walked barefoot on the asphalt for a lap and I still feel fine. I'm telling ya', running barefoot is the best thing, way better than running with shoes. My feet used to hurt after running with shoes, they would feel stiff; painful. Not so after running barefoot though. And to top it off my leg and ankle muscles feel much stronger from running barefoot. Probably due to me using my entire foot when running and not just slamming my foot down on the shoe cushions; which is what happens when you run with shoes. I'm even getting fast running barefoot because I caught up to and could've passed two guys that were running. I stopped to talk with them though because I see them a lot but since I'm usually skating I always pass them by.
Oh, and I must say as a note of caution. If you are thinking of running barefoot and have never done so before, please please please please please pace yourself and take it slow. Walk, don't run, barefoot...on grass! Once you can go, say, a mile and you don't get a blister when you get back home then try stepping it up a notch, like walking barefoot on asphalt, running on grass, stuff like that. If you've never walked outside barefoot then your feet are most likely tender so they will really feel the pain if you try to just charge out there. Trust me on this, I had a bothersome 2 week blister once :P
Final bit. I'm befriending a neighborhood kitten. Now he rubs up against my leg without fear, cute kitty, hehe :)
I had a conversation with a friend today and it got me thinking. Without going into the actual conversation my friend offered suggestions for an issue. What really got me thinking though was the nature of the suggestions. I didn't have an inclination to follow them and so I started thinking on this inclination not to. I then realized that there are an infinite number of ways of dealing with an issue and the suggestions made are only some of that infinite. How did the people that advocate, teach, the suggestions come to know of them? I'm talking about the very first people that discerned the suggestions.
There are an infinite number of ways of dealing with an issue I realized again. My way, my path, whatever it may be, is one of those infinite ways. From it may come a path that may be advocated, taught, by others. But, whatever is advocated first has to be discerned in some way, and these ways are discerned by an individual proceeding along a path that has not been advocated, not been previously discerned.
Ultimately I realized that the manner in which I live my life, no matter the way I live it, is a path amongst the infinite paths that may be chosen; it is as important for me to live my life as I see fit as it is for others to. And if I choose to not follow offered suggestions then this is just my path; it is still important.