It is a rough thing being there for someone who wants to kill themselves. I feel lost, like I am trying to be the lawyer to their prosecuting attack, offering up the excuses for why a life should live, and which ever side has the most rational argument it will sway the judge and jury. But there is a flaw in this, and that is that the thinking that is involved in suicidal thoughts are not a rational lawyers thoughts. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that, for I don’t know any lawyers and why should I ascribe superhuman rationality to a group while the rest of us struggle with our human nature? Still, I am impressed by the thinking that goes on in Supreme Court hot seats. I LOVE listening to that stuff on the radio, with the thoughts and arguments and counter arguments. But back to my earlier thought. I am a thinker and I love to connect ideas, find those hidden trails between thoughts. To one thinker I am mad for trying to connect Spinoza with Aristotle. They say that if I try to do this then I am an idiot and do not understand either. Very good point. And were I to seek to claim that they share something in common, perhaps I would be, or not, depending on what I sought to prove and my evidence for/against it. However I am not so much concerned with that. I do not really wish to be a Spinoza or Aristotle scholar, able to tell every nuance of those great thinker’s thoughts and ideas. While it may be true that a thinker outlines a system via a series of definitions and conditions and so forth, much like a cooking recipe, and one can spend much time learning that recipe, I am interested in the cluster of… what is the word… its quality… its general feel. My mind is not allowing the appropriate word to surface from the murky depths. But in a recipe a person of skill adds various things to achieve effects, and ze is mindful of the way that they all work together, like cinnamon and ginger, and so forth. It might be said that one should only use a 1/2 cup of sugar on something, but perhaps another person like sugar more/less. There are things you can change that will change the item’s tastes, just as there are thing you can change that will change its alchemy, how the pieces fit together or not, where a subtle change in one of those items will change the recipe all together. A bread will not rise, a crust will not bind, and so forth. They are the building blocks of the recipe and have different rules for change than one’s for taste. That is how I view philosophers. Perhaps a philosopher might like to view zer system as a recipe for reality or truth or Truth or whatever, where every piece is a finely tuned support beam in the whole. Yet I’ve not found it as such. My problem has been, in the past and still today, in treating everything within a system as a structural component, when it isn’t. What is more is that if one were to read Aristotle and think of everything as a support system to zis argument as the whole, then one mistake or falsehood could bring the entire thing down. And we’d lose out on so much by doing so. It is like finding out that mint causes acne (it doesn’t to my knowledge) and so we toss out the Mojito drink recipe without looking at the 2 parts strong, 1 part sweet, 1 part sour ratio to classic cocktails. Ah… there is the hummingbird now. Ruby-Throated hummingbird male. So in philosophy I look for the structural parts and do they work with other system structures. For example, three philosophers that I admire do not seem to work together at all, and yet I keep them in my heart. They are Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Spinoza. They don’t seem to fit together at all, are at times used as polar opposites of each other, and so on. On disciple of Kant called me nuts in a discussion board because I cited that I liked those three. But I’ll explain it this way… I love music. Many days I am of such a monkey brain that my attention is in a variety of places, my mood has been shifted by the dominating thoughts of the day, usually of a pessimistic nature, and my automatic reflexes have kept me on the edge of the whirlwind, for example there has been a recent study that shows that checking one’s Facebook brings out reward responce in the brain. I’ve not read the study, but reading the headline alone got enough questions going into my mind and shifted the spotlight internally for a bit. I’ve monitored myself when I check facebook or some other thing. Last night I watched myself with amusement and wonder while I pulled out my phone as I was walking between the refridgerator and the computer and checked facebook. It was easy to rationalize, the Mississippi State game was nearly over and I wanted to see what sort of trash talk the Bulldog fans were talking. The program has been lousy for a while and I liked seeing them make improvements in recent years. If I had stayed in Mississippi after high school I would have wanted to go to Mississippi State. I almost moved back to Mississippi ten years ago as I missed my nephews very much and I was looking at Ole Miss as a college to finish up at. Its proximity to Memphis and some more woodsy outdoors was a draw to me. I prefer North Mississippi to Southern portion, geologically speaking. I noted, as I pulled out the phone and checked on the status, what I was feeling and so on. It was a small twinge of pleasure, just enough. it doesn’t take much to reward. This is something that is much overlooked by many, and I often forget, the importance of rewards. I knew a person who gave herself rewards for doing things. At the time I scoffed, a warning sign, for whenver I scoff it us usually because of some ignorance on my part or a failure at thinking with as clear a mind as I could. But I told her that it seemed a matter of… ding… email went off again… it seemed a matter of discipline. If you need to do it, just do it. If you want to buy that book, just buy it. If you need to control something in your life, then do it. I see now how grossly wrong I was at the time and in my training for three marathons in the past I noticed how sometimes it was the little things that got my unmotivated butt out the door on a run. I used all manner of tricks before and during a run to make it happen. But back to my thought, I like music and on those rare times when my brain is able to listen I can do so. I can listen to opera, bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, new age, funk, metal, and others and find something appealing in it. There are people who look down on a genre of music, hyping there own as the best genre, and they make passionate defense of their position. Yet in looking at the basic building blocks of music, of what connects the different genres together, for there are far more in common than there is not in common, I can appreciate them. This is no special gift that I have, millions of people do this. And classifying certain types of music, the difficulty of doing so, is a testiment to this other approach. Wanting my music organized on iTunes I’ve created groupings and genres and subsets, and this, for the most part, allows me to narrow in on a group of music that might not be normally classified together but for which fit a certain mood I want to listen to in the moment. Some music is more difficult than others to classify and I’ve read internet debates on where Enigma, for example, goes. Are they new age? World Beat? What? The interesting things happen on the fringes, on the borders, where two genres come into contact. Example, AfroCelt Soundsystem, a blend of African and Celtic music. Miles Davis might be Bebop Jazz, until you listen to some of his other recordings and then you hear Acid Jazz and so on. Yet Miles was looking for ‘truth in one note’ and that truth is a matter of the note’s context, of the notes around it, before it, after it. Whether it is bebop or acid, it is Miles.
Published by Eddie
I was born in Arkansas and graduated high school in Mississippi. I joined the Marine Corps in 1989 and travelled the world for the next five years. From 1994 until 2004 I lived in California, Arkansas, Texas, and Oregon, going to different colleges (UAM, UH, UO, PSU) trying to 'follow my bliss' and live a life. In 2004 I joined the Oregon National Guard and deployed to Iraq. I recently completed two degrees (psychology and philosophy) at Portland State. I currently work as an infantry instructor, a cofacilitator with a domestic violence group, and a military culture consultant with a psychology research department. I intend to go to grad school and further my psychology training. My interests are of what makes a life worth living, what makes people flourish, what gives us hope after trauma, how do we continue to go on instead of giving up, how do we build good relationships, how do we 'live'? These have been central questions of my own for decades. My interests are what seem to be as diverse as ecology and environmentalism (politics, ethics, biology) to gender studies (masculinity, gender roles, schemas and scripts) to trauma and resilience (PTSD, depression, anxiety, anger issues, domestic violence). Yet I would argue that they are not diverse but really interconnected, related and influential to each other. My writings here are usually as it comes to me. Here and there are a paper that I turned in to a class or the like. But for the most part these are my wrestling with ideas and emotions. As such there are contradictions and changes and failings as well as insights and triumphs. View all posts by Eddie