| Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Many of my recent posts have been the "stream of consciousness" variety. I found this really awesome writing tool called DarkRoom. When I saw the screenshots on the download page, I was highly skeptical. It looks like something out of the Matrix. But I sat down and started writing with this program and my thoughts just flowed. It was pretty close to magic. I don't know how it works, and I don't think I fully understand why it works (something to do with no distractions and better focus) but it does.

The one downfall that I did notice is that I write at a lower educational level. My writing is more how I think and talk, which is naturally not as academic as I'd like to pretend to be.

The point that I've been leading up to, is something that I've been thinking a lot about recently. I think this style of writing, exacerbates something that I've noticed recently. It started out when I started reading PoMo writings and Colonial Philosophy in general. The subject comes up again in some books that I've been reading on NLP, Magic and Mentalism, and other Psychology books. Let's put that aside for now though.

It's a constant source of surprise to me how people understand my writings and I wonder if others feel the same way about the way their readers understand their writings. The Rambam comes to mind. I can't think of the exact quote offhand but something about, "If God's writings can be misunderstood, then mine certainly can." I try to be clever in my writing, I try to make it an interesting reading experience. I make subtle hints, and inside jokes that only I could possibly get, wondering if anyone out there will pick up on them. There's generally a sense of playfulness and/or sarcasm behind the words of my blog posts.

As I've written before, I don't believe in the magic of a rational mind, wherein all rational people will surely understand things the same way, if they use the equally magical tools of reason and logic. Of course there can be consistency to a point, but life in general and it's specifics are far too complex, and our minds are far to complex and varied to think that we could possibly answer the worlds problems if we would all just think "rationally."

That said, there will naturally be variances of opinion when humans try to understand something, in our case, writing. NLP talks about maps and territories. It works under the premise that there is a something called a territory, what others might call reality but that we all have our own maps that we superimpose on the territory. These maps are shaped by our beliefs and values which have effects on how we view the territory. I find this to be a useful metaphor. The way we view the world is effected on so many levels by so many factors such as our psychological and philosophical dispositions.

I had more to say, but this has gone on too long already. In summary thus far, try DarkRoom, my writing has been easier but less sophisticated, and your readers will interpret your writings, these interpretations being effected by their beliefs, values, etc.

| Friday, June 5, 2009

Some people ask what the meaning of life is.

Some people ask how they are going to make it through the day and they are referring to different things when they ask that.

Some people ask how they can better themselves.

Some people ask how they can better treat their fellow humans.

Some people want a philosophical answer, others want practical advice and still others want to hear it straight from the mouth of God.

Some people say there are philosophical underpinnings to these questions, others say it has to do with our psychology which is a result of our genes or our culture and upbringinging or some combo of those ingredients, others still say this is our soul crying out for a connection with its source.

Just pointing that out.

| Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The latest outrage from a popular Habad Rabbi.

Here, and here, then condemned here, here, here, and here and probably a bunch of other places.

| Monday, June 1, 2009

Alot of people think about meaning, morality, and spirituality.

I used to think about spirituality. That was when I was a firm believer. I thought about being connected to God, doing actions and thinking thoughts that would increase that connection. This was not supported by most of my rebbeim who saw that connection to God comes through learning Gemara b'iyun. I tried to combine the two, but I still tried to take my time during Amidah and turn at least parts of it into a deep meditation. Sometimes I had very interesting experiences.

Then, as I started to become more skeptical, morality began to take over the background of my thoughts. I wrote about this recently.

But I've never had time to think about meaning or purpose. I just wrote about what I think the purpose of life was, but I've never put much thought into it. Meaning seems so silly to me. I suppose I believe in the Taoist or Zen understanding of Meaning, namely just experiencing the moment. Meaning is inherently retroactive. If you are just living in the moment, you have no time to search for meaning. The moment you look for meaning, you are reflecting on your past, something that I don't make any time to do. I don't enjoy reminiscing and I don't feel the need to give my past experiences meaning.

If someone came to me looking for meaning, I'd tell them to read Frankl's book. I've read it a couple times... mostly on Tisha B'Av. That's about the only time I think about meaning and that's only because Frankl's book is sufficiently depressing to be read on such a tragic day in Jewish history, albeit with a positive outlook.

To be perfectly honest, meaning has no meaning to me. At this stage of my life, I'm too busy working, learning about different stuff that interests me at this point in time, working out, finding a girl, reading blogs, keeping in touch with people via facebook, twitter, texts, etc. that I have no time to think, "What is the meaning of it all?" The question just seems so absurd to me. I'm not sure if this makes me partly socio-pathic or just really lucky. Is existential angst akin to a psychological disorder or a feeling that any thinking human being feels.

Thanks to Mark (aka AcherHaKoton) for inspiring this post. To read his great post click here.