Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Being (Your)self

So there's this thing called twitter. Yes, I'm aware that twitter has been around for a while now, but I'm thinking about the 140 character limit thing that forces you to be succinct and post in only tiny snippets.

This whole twitter/blog thing brings up an interesting question about self-expression. We all hear about "online identities" and such, but I wonder about this idea of the character limit with relation to self identity. In a country that holds free speech sacred, and in which people flaunt and (in my opinion) often take that right for granted, it seems odd that people would flock to a service that limits the amount of expressing that you can do. I suppose you could make more than one post at a time, but that seems to defeat the point of the character limit.

I started thinking about what it might be like if this character limit got extended to the rest of our speech. For example, the population got to be so big that each person only gets a limited amount of expression. As if data was a limited resource or something like that. Seems like an interesting thing to think about.

Partly, I wonder about the twitter thing. It seems like you could share some really interesting and thoughtful snippets. On the other hand though, there's a lot of self-important idiots out there tweeting their way through life (check out tweetingtoohard.com which is the best thing to come out of twitter). Put those posts up next to the kinds of "tweets" that would be coming out of places like Iran and Pakistan and it's clear how much we can take for granted.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Interal Monologue Externalized

Trying to organize some different thoughts and such that I've been having so this seems like the right place to put them down to work through. Maybe if you're extremely unlucky I'll actually follow through with working on some of this stuff on here. Anyhow, here's the stuff I've been thinking about.

1) Variant Realities/The Nature of the Real

One of the big projects that I've been expertly putting off is starting work on a novel. I've been putting a lot of thought into what sort of themes I'd want to work through and what kind of story I'd want to tell for quite a long time. The concept has gone through a number of different iterations based on the nature of what I'm interested in and what I've been thinking about. There are a few things that have remained constant about the project though, which I think will actually make it into the final cut. Whatever I write will explore the nature of the real, of the "experience of living", and of ways in which human experience and human thought connect directly to our perceptions (and the actual nature) of whatever reality is.

Needless to say I'm planning to write science fiction, but hopefully in a way that allows it to be considered serious literature. Any good story is about relationships, not only of the characters with one another, but with themselves and with their world. Truly brilliant writers can make the story about its relationship to the reader. I believe that this is accomplished through clever use of archetypal and mythological context (the "monomyth" or "metastory" concept if you will). The use of the comic also seems especially good for this purpose.

2) Light and Color

My continuing mission carries on. Currently I have taken two small side endeavors with respect to light and color. First, I'm reading Einstein's Relativity, because it's both readily available and generally related. While relativity is not specifically about light, it's clearly related and seems like a good way to slowly move toward quantum theories of light. Secondly, I'm reading Goethe's Metamorphosis of Plants. Plants are heavily nourished by sunlight, which I find to be fascinating. It seems valuable to investigate them further in that regard.

I'm thinking of starting a terrarium. Oooh.

3) Society, Ethics, and Education

I don't think I'm going far afield when I say that Americans are at best cynical of and at worst untrusting of the government. I think we all expect government officials to be corrupt, greedy, cheaters; that we are unfazed when they turn out to be such. When a politician or public figure does something good, we are surprised, but unmoved because it seems like so little when we consider the extent of the negative in our society. I can't understand why we are accepting of this and why there seems to be so little movement against it.

Greed and selfishness are becoming major problems in our society. The current economic crisis is the result of greed, along with a lack of knowledge on the part of investors and home-buyers. The whole Madoff thing comes from greed. The companies that were bailed out and used that money to pay bonuses and retreats for exectutives (23k in taxpayer spa treatments anyone?) are guilty of it too. What happens in democracy that it stops being about "us" and starts being about "me"? We all do it to some extent, but most people would say that they are not greedy and selfish. My dad looks to the good in people and tells me I'm too cynical about this sort of thing. Is he right? Is it just a few bad apples at the top that cause these problems?

Tell me this: why are we accepting our country's failing morality? I heard a bit ago that an alarming percentage of high school students admitted to cheating on a test at school. An even more alarming percentage of those students said that they felt their personal ethics we acceptable!

Deep in my heart I believe that education has to be the solution to these kinds of problems. I'm not talking about just moral education, but education on the whole. A better system of education could help kids to fulfill their potential, become better citizens, and find more satisfying lives. It has to start with how we teach our kids. Right?

4) Caboose

A while back I made a post about the "Caboose's Mindscape" gag from Red Vs. Blue. I have continued thinking about that and about the relationship between self-perception and the real world. A few weeks ago a buddy said to me that "perception is reality". While I know it's a common idiom, I've been wondering about how true it is, and especially about how it related to the RvB bit. I'm very tempted to hit Burnie up with the idea of doing some "Philosophy of RvB" segments. Not that I think a lot of people would be interested. Anyhow, it'd be a good investigation I think. I'd almost be interested in doing like a recorded roundtable group on it.

5) Growing Up

It's beginning to become troubling how I'm drifting apart from some of be closest friends. I don't really want that to happen. I've been considering the idea that a project of sorts (like what I mentioned above perhaps?) would be just the thing to give us a united purpose. We'll see.

Until All Are One.