Thursday, February 11, 2010

Incidental Thought Experiment of An English Paper

In my English class, we were given the assignment of making an argument about Rousseau's "Emile" (italicized!). Unfortunately it was due on Vincent's birthday. This is the unfortunate, but very entertaining result (actually, i think it's one of the best things I've ever written):

This Is Where The Title Goes

It is 8:26 AM on a Wednesday and I am supposed to be writing a narrative which reflects my beliefs on a certain topic. Here I sit facing my computer screen, still drunk from the night before. How then is it possible for me to transfer my knowledge from the confines of my head to the complexity of the pixels arranged on my computer screen? I am unsure but continue to try. My party hat is on and I have already finished writing my philosophy paper. Somehow I have managed to make my thoughts so clear that my most intelligent friend, who is awake only because he lives three hours in the future, is able to understand them well enough to refine them into an intelligible utterance. In this paper, however, I have decided to construe my thoughts through a sort of metacognition.
As I sit here writing, I am learning about myself and the way that I learn. I am learning about the way that I express myself and thus the way that I express what I have learned. What have I learned? What am I expressing? Is it syntax and grammar and the frivolous usage of words? Is it the clever irony of writing only truth in the hope that that somewhere within that which is truth lies intelligence? Or is it simply a throwaway effort which leaves me missing five percent of my English grade? One can only live and discover. I also find in this almost existential of a quandary that each experience is entirely unique. Learning can guide and inform our decisions- but only probabilistically.
It is 8:36 AM on a Wednesday and I have spent ten minutes writing a paper for English. I have abided by its confines and still found a method of narrative that in fact breaks the rules- a paradox of sorts. I sit here and reflect upon my career choice. I wish to be a lawyer, a litigator to be precise. I chose this path not because of the money it makes or because I love reason. I did not choose it because it would make me happy or because I value what makes me happy above all else. I did not choose it because I love justice or the law. I did not choose it because I love language and its ability to retain whatever meaning I chose it to convey. I chose this path because all of these reasons are true and coexist as truths. I chose the path of the litigator because it is my passion in all aspects and passion itself is in a way my true passion. I love to love and live to live.
Recalling the words of one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite shows, a nearly androgynous female known as Radical Edward in the show called Cowboy Bebop, I consider the formula to happiness. Radical Edward says in a philosophical examination of the series that she only does things which seem fun. If she is forced to do something which is not fun, she tries to find some sort of fun within the task as to always stay happy. If she can't find something fun to do, she goes to sleep. This is truly all one needs to live, this is what it means to be strong.
It is 8:46 AM on a Wednesday and I have linked happiness, intelligence, and strength in my paper. Still hoping that my cop-out of a narrative is acceptable I decide to write for its defense and explanation, further diving into the rabbit hole of a paradox that I have constructed. I have written a narrative about the thoughts of an author of a narrative. This is a very real experience, as real as I can make it. Perhaps it is too true, perhaps it is all fiction. Either way I have accomplished the goal within its means. This is innovation and intelligence. This is enlightenment. This is only made possible through the observation of that which is clever and through the experience of doing clever things. Observation and experience is what makes us capable of all that we can accomplish. It is our humanity. That's what I learned from this experience and this consideration of learning. Learning from learning about learning. AHHHH! Onomatopoeia is an author's friend.
It is 8:56AM on a Wednesday. I think I am sober, but I can never be too sure.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thoughts on Freedom

This post needs editing.

I started reading Rousseau's "Emile"(pretend it's underlined) recently for my English class. I now find him even more of an amusing spectacle than a philosopher. His points are not derived through logic nor do they build on one another. He merely rambles about various topics incessantly. He contradicts himself often and really only has a few decent ideas total. One thing that I find interesting is that when he describes education from a broader standpoint, it reminds me of the education of Arthur by Merlin in T.H. White's "The Once And Future King" (I realize that that should be underlined, but fuck html).

He wants a natural education so that when the boy grows into a man he will be free. This freedom, Rousseau describes is when a man only wants what he is capable of having and does what he pleases. Another thing that Rousseau stated was that children cannot learn about property and its value until he has invested himself into it through his labor. This point reminded me of Little Prince, which was cool. Everything else I have read has been a contradictory mess.

What is more interesting is the concept of freedom itself. My entire Political Theory class is centered upon this topic. Positive versus negative freedom and collective versus individual freedom. Positive freedom pertaining to the ability to act and negative pertaining to the lack of restriction. Collective freedom refers to political rights and individual freedom more refers to capitalist freedom of exercising ones own freedom.

When reading Dostoevsky's "The Grand Inquisitor" (actually in quotes this time, yes!), the question of freedom being good or bad was proposed. The answer of the Inquisitor is that it was bad, because people would not be able to handle the "great weight" of it. Upon further examination of the three trials which Jesus went through in the desert, the burdens become apparent. The temptation of bread, the temptation of miracle, and the temptation of authority. God could enslave people through giving them bread and ensuring them life, through performing miracle and ensuring them of their purpose, or through an authority ensuring them unity.

Though there was more to it, essentially it came down to: People give up their freedom because they fear death or lack of purpose.

But can people even give up their freedom? Because to choose to give up their freedom to a higher authority, they are essentially choosing. And in this choice, they bear no greater consequence than that of any other choice: the loss of the options which they have forsaken to make their choice.

Then why is it considered slavery when we worship these things? Because the beauty in freedom is that we are free to determine our own morality and see the beauty inherent to life itself. Freedom enables to experience good through determining what is good. It also determines what is bad- but what is bad but a negation of good? To exist with good and bad is indeed perfection. Once we understand the beauty of both, we understand the necessity and sublime grace of freedom.

Plus, this one time- I saw a cab with a ramming cage (like the kind on the front of police cars) and it had "Adventure Cab" painted on the side. So yeah, berkeley is pretty neat.