I didn’t get up until 7 pm yesterday because of the job’s hours. I thought I’d be awake forever. Around midnight I turned off Monty Python and the Holy Grail and sat in bed with a book. It is a really neat book called “The Good Society” and is a collection of essays and parts of essays from all manner of people on what the best society would be. From John Locke to Shelley to Yeats to Eliot to Orwell to Mill to Marx to Mussolini. Last night’s quick thought on the peasant in The Grail got me interested again. Yet I wasn’t quite finished with the piece from Henri, Comte de Sait-Simon when I got the notion to go to sleep. I never really felt great during the day and so I turned off the light, thinking that at the most I’d sleep an hour but to chance it.
12 hours later I am up. I feel TONS better now. I wonder now, about my odd sleeping and feelings since that job. I was fine all night until that last 1/4 of the job, after the part when I got the big whiff of amonia. From that part on I was sick. Then last night I got a nosebleed. What in the hell is this? It should be noted, however, that of the crew of five people with 1,750 bores to clean, only one had finished his section and started work on another section before time was up. That was me. It is a trait of mine that nobody will outwork me at a job. I swear, if I were a hitman I’d probably try for a higher body count than the other hitmen. But like I told the kid who raced with me down the bikepath to the mall… competition is good because it helps bring out your best.
And because I have a friend who is skeptical of psychology, I shall include this little tid-bit. Keys to getting maximum performance from people are 1) individual responsibility of a task, and 2) clearly defined goals of performance. But couldn’t one philosophize about the nature of work and come up with a different solution? Truly. There is a unique trait in the human character, and that is that we are incredibly adept at rationalizing our own behaviors. Whether we sleep late, cut off an old lady in traffic, vote for a politician, mix chocolate with our coffee (oh the wonderful sin), we can rationalize anything. Is philosophy so immune to such rationalizations? It is a product of the mind and subject to its shortcomings. (quick note… it is impossible to feel anything but hap hap happy when Louis Armstrong plays “Skokian”). Back to my thought… it is an old hat saying of mine to friends about comparison between two groups of workers, but I’ll add it yet again. Studies show continually that as you add more people to a task (and increasing the anonymity of each worker) the effort of each worker decreases. Studies also show that between two groups performing a task, one group told to do their best and the other group given a specific goal, the goal-oriented group outperforms each time. I’ve used this knowledge constantly in my bouts of leadership and management. Psychology helps us discern which rationalization is most correct. But psychology without philosophy is impotent and philosophy of the mind without psychology is shortcomming and potentially wrong.
It is a beautiful day today. I vaguely recall a free lecture at the UO today, some tie-in between Kant and music. But I cannot remember if it was at noon or at four. I’ll have to visit the Eugene Weekly website to find out. There is an eco-conference in Portland on Saturday. I am quite tempted to go, the only problem being transportation. I’m not keen to buy a bus or train ticket, especially since I’m between jobs right now, to go to a conference which wouldn’t turn out to be all that big and is really nothing but a glorified bitch session.
I did enjoy Nader’s super-rally last year and some of the workshops before were interesting. At that time I was going through the process of applying for the Eugene Police Department. I remember going to a table that was anti-police. Some of the aspects of it were okay and I agree with completely, especially the accountability part, but the attitude and feeling were that of hate. But I kept it to myself and went to the table anyway. I told myself that I imagined it and that I did agree to the principles shown. I was having a wonderful little talk with the people behind the table until it came out that I was in the process of applying for the police in Eugene. That changed everything. They closed up and wouldn’t talk to me as friendly as they were. Why? After some awkard comments I realized that I wasn’t imagining it and I said “who better to enlist to these ideas than the police departmtent?” No dice. I am convinced that the same rationalizing power of the mind to make excuses for anything (bad relationships, forgetting to get the cat food on the way home, watching football all day long) can not only do so for philosophy (Plato’s shadows, Descartes little demon) but also for social movements (movements used in broad term here but applicable to more than one person in action, such as nazi Germany, and environmentalists). What I felt was that this table needed someone to hate, an enemy and the police were it. It was a social psychology textbook with behavioral feedback as to what was accepted and not accepted. Nobody is truly immune to this and it is more complex than simply being accepted by other people. There are also elements of self image and esteem as well. My interest in ecopsychology has one part trying to develop a philosophy of our place in nature and the other part trying to understand the forces moving some of the martyrs around me. When a person talks about a subject (particularly when he/she is on a stage before an audience) that person’s message as well as that person’s motives (the really deep ones) are connected. What frustrates me is that no attention is given to the motives and the message is accepted, when it seems painfully obvious to me that the message is often half-truths and sometimes outright lies and that the ignored motives are a poisoned or sickly self (personality, heart, mind, soul… whatever you wish)
Well, that was a rant that came out of the depths. Ah well… I am off to a coffee shop. Perhaps, if the lecture starts at 4 I shall go to the Starbucks near the UO campus. If not, then I’ll end up where my feet take me.