March 27th, 2002

pod

How does a duck know what direction south is?

Hmm. So yesterday right after I wrote that entry I crashed like a valuejet flight piloted by a muslim fanatic. Went to do the teaching and muddled through anyway, despite the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open or my head on my shoulders. I guess I could have cancelled but I don't view responsibility like that. I didn't do a great job but I did get through a chapter and although I felt bad that there were only 5 students I did notice that the class on monday only have 5 students too so I guess that's just the way things are going at this point. Oh well. The rest of the night was pretty much lost in a haze of exhaustion. I did get some sleep though and I feel bright tailed and bushy eyed today. Hey I didn't say I was feeling WONDERFUL ;-).

In stat class we had to get into groups and as soon as the professor announced we were making our own like 3 people called me to be a member. Yeah whatever guys, you don't want to even acknowledge my existance in any sort of social situation but when it comes to getting work done you're all over me like a cheap suit two sizes too small. It's just like back in highschool, people who HATED me would let me in their groups to work and then just lay back and let me do most of the labor. Occasionally the teacher had to come force other people to participate because I was willing to do all the work on my own. I ended up grouped with this interesting guy who sits near me, Adam (In absentia), Diana, and this other girl who doesn't seem to be overly annoying. Not a bad setup so I'm pleased about that. At least I don't have to work with anybody I know I loathe beforehand.


Anyway I promised my view on the focus on individuality and I actually got a comment from someone who said they were looking forward to it. Sure it was just Jing and anything that pleases him is probably a bad idea, but I'll take what I can get. It'll be up in about an hour if I guessed how much I have to say correctly.
  • Current Music
    Crash Test Dummies
pod

To him it was a joy, till he ran out to warm air. Falala his friends would come to see. Would they

These days it seems like when anyone wants to get anyone else to do anything they appeal to that person's individuality. It's all about what YOU want or what YOU'RE doing etc. The ideas of social connectiveness, duty to other people, and even community seems to have been chucked out the window in the endless appeal to "Me myself and I". Herpes medications advise you to take them because of what they'll do for YOUR symptoms, your partner's well being isn't even mentioned. The Recent advertisements against illegal drugs speak about individual responsibility for heinous acts rather than blaming a group. It's all "I did this" or "I did that". Feminist doctrine (One of my favorite whipping girls) is incredibly focused on individual fulfillment for individual women. That's a good idea I guess but where's the appeal to changes in family structures so as to allow women more freedom without damaging the strength of the family unit? You hear it occasionally in vague appeals to husbands to do more housework etc, but even in those it's "You should do more housework so your wife doesn't have two jobs inflicted upon her" not "As a member of the family unit you need to pitch in to increase general familial harmony." There seems to be very little in the way of appeals to community these days.

This struck me most powerfully during anthro class on Monday. We were talking about Japanese business men who basically sever all ties to their families in order to devote more time to their company. Even their need for females is met by these "Hostess" clubs that they go to with business associates. The class basically agreed that this was bad because it was unfair to the wives not becuase of any sort of shattering of the familial community. I think that this is just wrongheaded.

Even if we accept the claim that the goal of society is to please as many individuals as is possible I think it's pretty fair to say that going about doing this without the use of communities is incredibly wasteful. Think about it, all the prepackaged television music and virtual entertainment in the world can't really match the complexity and depth of a single human being. How much money and how many gadgets would it take to replicate the joy of watching a beautiful sunset with somebody you love? Somewhere along the line we started to seperate individual happiness from group harmony and I think it's destructive and stupid. Don't people realize how efficient and important social interactions are as a source of personal pleasure and happiness? Don't they recognize that just because old social orders were opressive doesn't mean that new, healthier ones cannot be constructed?

Here's what I think happened.

A) Community organizations and family bonds are good for general well being but they are restrictive to women and minorities as identification of an us leads to an identification of a them and discrimination against them.

B) The "Thems" decide they are tired of being opressed and through new ideologies and lots of work they manage to break out of the old rolls and enter mainstream society. In doing this they weaken the old "us" organizations because they were defined in a large part by the "thems."

C) The fight against opression has created a liberal infastructure. However there are now fewer things to fight against so the infastructure, which has become self generating and self protecting, tries to find new foes to battle. They pick many institutions that actually had a positive influence just because they now need something to smash. Meanwhile since a lot of the old norms and structures have been smashed and the pieces haven't been glued together into something new society starts to cater to the fragments. New structures that do sprout up are ignored because nobody quite knows how to deal with them and they are more complex than the individual. Because of this they fail to become standardized or used as new models of socialization. Instead the fragmented individualist perspective is embraced because it's easy to deal with. This reinforces the individualism and makes people see social groupings as things restricting them from their rights to be happy well adjusted individuals with no responsibilities to other people.

D) People eventually become isolated and angry, searching for individual fulfillment without realizing that in some ways that term is an oxymoron. Divorces continue to skyrocket as people continue to see marriage as a repression of their individuality without considering the benefits of compramise and mutual support. Neighborhoods fade away alongside marriages as too many people are coming and going for there to be a cohesive stable whole.

E) Children raised in this fragmented world don't even understand the old concept of unity and togetherness. Instead they also ignore human beings natural desire for social contact and engage in the same kind of individualistic faulty logic that their parents did. Things go wrong.

So what's my solution? Well I think that we need to rebuild the basic building blocks of community, the nuclear family, in a new and less restrictive way. We need to promote marriage, responsibility, compramise and all that stuff. We need to get men to do more by appealing to ideas of building something together rather than sacrificing for the other individual. We need to teach the health and psychological benefits of the family in our grade schools and our high schools. We need to bring back old stigmas against selfishness and ruthlessness. We need to cull the liberal establishment so it only fights against the truly harmful institutions (Some of which DO still exist.) We need to do a lot of stuff.

Anyway I know this post has been somewhat fractured but I think that the points still stand and the progression is sound. I just didn't have the time to write it up like I would have liked to. Anyway, any thoughts? That don't involve butter and waterbuffalo and...oh my...what's that? No don't...that won't...you can't put that there. You people are sick. Just plain sick.
  • Current Music
    Crash Test Dummies
pod

Measured with coffee spoons

Okay so I got a 43/40 on the Anthropology mid term. That's a little ludicrous. I did approximatly NONE of the reading for that class, took about half a page of notes, and pretty much zoned out assuming I'd just take it pass fail anyway. Instead I am on pace to an A and POSSIBLY an A+ if I play my cards right. That's just ludicrous. Okay it's an intro course, but this isn't pee-wee university. Columbia is ranked high. Not at the VERY top but generally in the top 10 and almost ALWAYS in the top 20. Is this just some sort of talent I have for constructing logical and convincing essays despite knowing very little about the subject? Is it just that everybody else is doing ABSOLUTELY no work whatsoever? Is it some sort of odd other factor? Jeff tells me to engage the work and get more satisfaction from it. But it's unsatisfying to know you can do absolutely nothing and still come away with a really high grade. It essentially tells me that all the extra labor I would put in would be worthless in terms of the teacher's point of view because I'm already doing enough (very little) to be quite competetitve. That's one of the attractive things about psychology, I CAN'T just dominate to this degree without sweating it out a little.

On the one hand I'm glad I aced the test (The only things I got wrong were 2 extra credit questions which were about details from the book) on the other I'm profoundly disapointed that it was SO easy. I don't understand it, I really don't. Is it something in my brain that lets me do it? Is it just a lack of standards? Is it that the other students are all fucking around doing nothing AT ALL? It's disturbing and profoundly disapointing, makes me feel like the work I'm doing is a shell of what it should be. I don't know...I'd really like some help with understanding this.

At some level I route for bad grades just so I can have something to work at (not that I'm HAPPY per se when they come.) Can I get some help here?

P.S. The zone diet is going quite well. I feel alert, energetic, and not at all hungry. I also have way reduced cravings for junk foods and when I want a candy style bar I can just grab a zoneperfect protein bar. Last night I really wanted a burger and I saved up my blocks for dinner so I could have a nice juicy cheeseburger (lean meat cooked on the george foreman grill) with a side of some salad. If I actually start losing weight on this diet I will be extremely pleased. I think I can actually stick to it.
  • Current Music
    Crash Test Dummies
pod

Unpredictable, it's my mistake to stay here

For those people who actually know me:

Am I really that different in real life versus online? I don't know, I just said something to a friend of mine online that I would never say in real life. Maybe I have a case of net rage. Here's two emails from two women I met at college, the only two who sent me anything which remarked on my character, as opposed to the one from my "critic" on sunday night. I really am not sure how they can be addressed to the same person.

From the hostess of the only party I've attended in the past 6 years.:

my dear benjamin-

your cleverness outmatches that of every brilliant new yorker i have met
this past year, and i have met quite a few. it's too bad we didn't meet
earlier because i appreciate your perspective on life and would have
preferred more time to discuss your views.

don't apologize for your bad jokes- the effort to communicate is far more
valuable than persistent isolationist silence. also, valerie actually did
want to talk to me about some personal issues and that's why she stayed
behind. we ended up talking for 20 minutes after you left.

and can you believe that the day after the party, both cd players starting
working just fine? so that should tell you a little something about my luck
at the moment.

oh yes- take care of your heart...no matter how mentally or physically
strong you are benjamin, it is always possible for someone to break your
heart. some poets say that this is a good thing, but being that my own is
broken, i just cannot agree. people say to love others like you've never
been hurt, but is that really possible? i tell you to take care because
when it comes to love i think you have to be very careful. what i learned
this year is that sometimes when you try to dive in head-first, you end up
doing a bellyflop. and that hurts.

i hope you had a safe and wonderful holiday yesterday. the fireworks made
me feel like a little girl again.

go outside and let the sun give you big hugs-

From someone who I tried to help after our music teacher over the summer informed her that she would be flunking the class (She was a senior and this would have prevented graduation and caused a host of problems):

Hi Ben,
well, Cynthia just emailed me saying that I passed. I guess she decided
to be fair in the last minute.
Well, thank you very much for listening to me and trying to help me find a
solution. I know I'll always remember this class and you too. Please,
let me know if you ever need a hand or anything.
Good luck and I'll see you,

From the angry person who hates me:

Please explain to me your logical thesis on how you expect women to be "nice" "sweet" or otherwise pleasing when you so clearly hate
them?

Are you interested in women who are submissive? Women who hate themselves?

I'm truly intrigued that one who considers himself to be so logical and intellectual could miss the point that if you hate something, it
probably won't like you back.
In fact, I thought you were intelligent - which is why I went to your diary in the first place.
Then I saw you women bashing - you even went as far as to say that you don't want females as lab partners at school.
Do you hate other races too? Are you gay?

Or do you think that men are allowed to be dominant and cruel and be nastily "verbose", but women should always be sweet and
compliant?

You have very strong opinions, and it seems to me that you hate women for being like you.

You hate women who are just as opinionated as you are.

Oh the irony....

Okay now maybe this is just making excuses or stroking my own ego, but I don't see how you can mesh the three views. I've been thinking about this somewhat and the best conclusion I can come to is that I'm just a completely different person online to who I am in real life. This is somewhat bothersome to me. So what do people think, do this journal and my online interactions with you represent who I actually am in person? Is there a significant and relevant difference? Am I just trying to excuse bad behavior through past good behavior? Should I just forget about the whole sunday incedent and go on as I was before figuring it was just an angry person taking out agression on me? Should I stop asking questions that nobody is going to answer?

I wonder wonder wonder.
  • Current Music
    Blink 182
pod

Been starved for attention before

Hmmm...okay well I think this zone diet thing has definitly given me a boost of energy. usually around this time I'm struggling to stay awake but right now I'm pretty unphased by the lateness. Plus I was finally able to pay attention during psych class. Way cool.

Other random shit:

In Justice class a chick borrowed my pen (I only had one but she asked for it so I gave it up because I'm chivalrous like that and I used a blunt pencil. Then she tried to walk off with my pen! Grr.

Also in justice I asked the professor whether he thought an Effort*contribution form of distribution would work as distributive justice. He just flat out said no. Ouch.

I'm definitly doing the EC for psych...that way I have a pretty good shot at an A-. That makes me pretty happy.

Tony Hawk 3 rules
  • Current Music
    Blink 182