Ranbo Ramdom

I feel compelled to write. About what? God. Anything really. I’m drinking, surfing the net, wasting my life. I have a monumental exam on Friday that I have yet to begin studying for. Tomorrow’s a busy day too.

There’s nothing quite like being walked on. The feel of leather soles, pointy heels, and rubber tread running over you night and day. Sure it feels great after a long night stretching out under the steady draft of cold corridors. The initial pitter-patter on the back is a comforting reminder that I’m important, that I’m helping people along their way, easing their stride. But come noon the pitters and the patters begin to pound and pulsate, incessantly, with echoing reverberation that I just can’t ignore. But waxes are nice.  What is it… it is…

Stream of thought:
This world is mad, my friend.
People crying over stolen computers
missing cats
damaged mix tapes
poor grades
while we lose ourselves Continue reading “Ranbo Ramdom”

The Philosophy of Parmenides

          The fragments of Parmenides provide the earliest formulations of the laws of thought[1] that Aristotle later most famously formalized. (p. 58, 2.B2) His philosophy runs in direct contrast to that of Heraclitus who sought to create a philosophy that could accommodate the flux of the universe with the simultaneous paradoxes arising from change. Most likely influenced by the Pythagoreans and their conceptions of the capacity to reason, Parmenides sought to rely on understanding (capacity to reason) as a means of discerning the truth of what-is. This essay will begin by summarizing Parmenides’ account of what-is and what-is-not before exploring the question of why we cannot investigate what-is-not. It will conclude by discussing whether it is possible to learn about what doesn’t exist and delve into the potential implications of such a possibility. Continue reading “The Philosophy of Parmenides”

Clubbing to Death

Troves of two legged animals roamed the street, in all sorts of colors and shapes. We came into view of the bar and took our position among the other patrons patiently waiting for entry. Women waltzed through the corridors of open sidewalks and streets as if they were at a cattle drive. They wore their Saturday nights best, exposing as much of their bare bodies as their conscience would allow. Their heels offered them up like a stage, elevated as they walked, so onlookers could appraise their worth with sensually seasoned eyes. My thoughts muted as I observed the frenzy all around me.

We arrived at the front of the long line and the doorman did his usual inspection of fake ID’s. Our posse of girls passed the oral exam, where they were from, how old, height, weight, and we continued to the cash register where entry cover was collected. As it often happens, the girls didn’t bring cash. Convenient. Against my usual judgments, I decided to pay for them, whipping out some bills and motioning to the cashier that they were with me. They smiled for a moment, as if that was the appropriate response for such a favor, and ran inside. I got my hand stamped and followed their invisible trail.

The room was sultry and thick with moisture. The lights were pulsating, the music was heavy, pounding. I surveyed the crowd. The glistening corpus appeared soaking in sweat; their dermis drenched as their dithering bodies danced and gyrated. I felt an aversion, a maladjustment as my retina retained the wallowing waves of sybaritic splendor. I shouldered my way between the squirming masses of moist flesh. I observed females on all fours thrusting their asses into protruding pelvises. The men gripped these wantons at the waist and together they massaged their genitals back and forth, in rhythmic trance, with predictable pendulous motion. I felt hands grab my ass, women threw their arms around my neck and smiled salaciously, bearing their teeth in apelike submission, tugging for me to join in the contorted carousal. In the corner a midget stood slaking an over sized malt forty as he bobbed to the beat.

I felt removed. I couldn’t get into it. This ball of flesh. Soaking. Pure carnal desire, effete fantasies, reveling with a group of strangers, their soulless eyes emptied the room of any warmth.

Don’t think, I told myself. This is not the time to get cerebral, to make value judgments about the state of your fellow man. My thoughts traveled backward in time with celerity, recalling the events of the night, roaming over memories of weeks past and years beyond at light speed, until my perceptions unhinged from their consciousness, and that familiar nausea began bleeding into my awareness. That sickness, that strange friend, was freedom. And I asked myself how the culmination of my life’s choices led me to this moment. And suddenly I felt responsible. And the warmth returned.


Working Dreams

I’m looking forward to entering the workforce. Living by myself in a one bedroom apartment in some new city, working for a company who sets my goals and pays my bills, was exactly the dream I’ve been working so hard for. That’s a lie, actually. I haven’t actually been working that hard, and that was definitely never a dream of mine. Life’s easy when you believe in what you’re doing. What’s hard is doing what you don’t believe in. That’s the position I’m finding myself in now.

As a child I always wanted to be a ‘businessman’, the one with the sharp suit, slick tie, shiny shoes and silver watch.  I wanted to hold the leather briefcase, wear the million dollar smile, eyes gleaming with confidence, and walk into work knowing that my decisions that day would change the world. Of course, you don’t consider the years in between, the entry level positions, running yourself to the bone for someone else’s promotion. Nor do you imagine the lonesome tired nights spent standing at your apartment window, staring over the suburbs and city, searching memories for the last time you’ve shared an intimate experience outside the workplace. I didn’t exactly dream of the dinners by myself, the long commutes, the coworkers that I affectionately love and hate, because while I chose the job, I didn’t choose them. I didn’t think to conceive what it would be like starting over again in a new place, time and time again, and how it would feel to cultivate new friendships, new conversations and tastes, new social networks in alien cities with every new promotion and transfer. I didn’t choose them, and I didn’t choose my loneliness. I chose success, the harder work and longer hours, the lack of leisurely weekends.

So nice to see you! I pull my cheeks upwards and release a smile. We talk about their new job, about the company they’re so excited to work for, about their entry level position that they didn’t see themselves in, but now they love it. Now they love it, because the dreams they once had didn’t consider the dull reality that was waiting for them. Disappointment is hard to swallow.

We were told that our education, our hard work, makes us special, gives us a life of opportunity. Sometimes I believe it.

Existential Freedom: Simon de Beauvoir

Beauvoir presents an existential account of freedom by continuing with Sartre’s thinking of man as free, but emphasizing the ambiguity man faces by simultaneously existing in freedom and facticity, as a free being in a concrete world (7).  Man escapes from his natural condition, she says, through the freedom of rationality and the pure internality. Men have “striven to reduce mind to matter, or to reabsorb matter into mind, or to merge them within a single substance.” (7) What arises is the inherent paradox of man.

Beauvoir does not want to escape the ambiguity, like so many philosophers and thinkers have done in the past, but to accept the ambiguity and live within it, that is, “accept the task of realizing it” (13). She calls the tendency to deny, or negate, or escape the ambiguity of existence cowardice, saying that this method doesn’t pay. (8)

The existential conversion, Beauvoir says, “does not suppress my instincts, desires, plans, and passions, it merely prevents any possibility of failure by refusing to set up absolutes the ends toward which my transcendence thrusts itself, and by considering them in their connection with the freedom which projects them.” (14) This passage addresses the incarnation of subjective ends through subjective freedom. In this way she says that the world is a place willed by man which “expresses his genuine reality” (17). She emphasizes the “plurality of concrete, particular men projecting themselves toward their ends on the basis of situations whose particularity is as radical and as irreducible as subjectivity itself” (18).  This raises the question of how unique and separate men can live in ethical harmony. Her answer is that “an ethics of ambiguity will be one which will reduce to deny a priori that separate existents can, at the same time,  be bound to each other, that their individual freedoms can forge laws valid for all” (18).

To be free, then, requires the conscious spontaneous choice of projects undertaken moment by moment. These projects must be positively assumed, says Beauvoir, and the weight of the concrete consequences of these choices of the will must be accepted as a result of our fundamental freedom (24, 32). Meaning “surges up only by the disclosure which a free subject effects in his project.” (20) Thus, the principles of ethical action will be discovered as inextricable from choices and freedom (23). In the same way, the will to be moral and the will to be free are one in the same. (24) But a tension arises nonetheless from the disclosure of being. While the justification of life requires the realization of particular concrete ends, it also requires itself universally (24).  As a result, the relationship of a being with others is integral the Beauvoir’s existential thought.

Beauvoir emphasizes the failure of man as a central component to freedom, citing philosophers who wrestle with this failure as absurdity or anguish, the otherwise overall lack of answers. Beauvoir states that “nothing is decided in advance, and it is because man has something to lose and because he can lose that he can also win.” (34) In this way life is marked by activity and ambiguity enmeshed in the situated affairs of other men, all of which objectify the others.

Beauvoir describes the complex situation that free man finds himself in by illustrating the condition as men born into the world like children. A child comes into the world that is determined for them. They act according to the rules and structures pre-established. So long as a man continues acting according to this world, and never for himself, he is kept in a state of servitude and servile. (37) There is no exercise of freedom and the world is seen as a serious place. (38) Eventually the infantile world gives way to adolescence as questions are asked and discovery of subjectivity arises. (39) Not so with slaves. Even women, Beauvoir says, at least have a choice as to whether to choose or consent to the world imposed on them (38). The child is unique in that, whereas man draws upon the character of his past to make choices, the child has no character to draw from and must set it up “little by little” (40).

Beauvoir sets up several categories describing how humans seek to escape their responsibility and freedom by delineating the nature of the “sub-man”, the “serious man”, as well as the “nihilist” and the “adventurer”. The sub-man is a manifestation of bad faith and apathy by constraining activity through the denial of their freedom (44).  The sub-man is barely man at all, living in constant boredom and sloth. This sub-man is often manipulated by the serious man as an object. The serious man is an attitude that seeks freedom of objective standards and values which in turn denies freedom (47). The serious man does not act authentically because the action is not willed from freedom, its goals are not established with freedom as a goal, but rather as instruments revered in various ways as useful or right or good for some end (48-9). As soon as these objective external ends are removed from the serious man, his life loses all meaning (51).

The nihilist is a failed serious man, essentially “conscious of being unable to be anything, man then decided to be nothing” (52). The assertion of nothingness is not a result of freedom, but a result of denial found as a disappointed seriousness which “turns back upon itself”.  The nihilist is right in thinking that the world possesses no justification, but forgets that it is up to him to justify the world and instantiate himself (57).

The last is the adventurer who rejects the attitudes of the serious man and the nihilist (60). He accepts his freedom and projects, but he forgets the role of the others and thus exists in pure egoism and selfishness (61). He is therefore apt to treat others are mere instruments and sacrifice others for the attainment of personal power. In this way the adventurer is the ultimate tyrant, seeking independence and submitting to no other master but his own ends, no other master than the supreme master he makes himself (62). In this way the adventurer maintains a subjective positivity that is not extended toward others. Thus he exists in a false independence that falsely believes one can act for oneself without acting for all. (63)

Works Cited

de Beauvoir, Simone. The Ethics of Ambiguity. New York: Citadel Press, 1948.

Existential Freedom: Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre wrote Existentialism and the Human Emotions in response to the critics who viewed the corollary of his existential philosophy to be solipsism or quietism. Whether existentialists are religious or secular, Sartre states that it is impossible for man to transcend human subjectivity. Thus, subjectivity is the necessary starting point, for “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” (15)

Sartre says that man is conscious of imagining himself as being in the future and consequently is what he has planned himself to be.  Man is a plan which is aware of itself, where nothing exists prior to this plan. (16) This runs contrary to the Cartesian paradigm stemming from “I think, therefore I am” where essence precedes existence, where concepts are the genesis of operating processes (13). In this view man is dictated by and in bondage to a priori ideas and concepts as a way of existing. However, man’s existence precedes preexisting determinations. In this way existence precedes his very essence, rendering man totally free.

Freedom is the predetermined nature that establishes a commonality of human nature. Existence is a universal human predicament, a condition that precedes consciousness, a situation man finds himself in. (14) Man’s commodity is his necessity to determine, his freedom in choosing to be. With this freedom, Sartre says, comes a responsibility for determining what he is. Every act contributes to the creation of man’s image so that every choice establishes an essence of man. (17) Man is always responsible for his choice to choose what he is to be and how he is to live: he is always in the making, continually projecting himself into the world and materializing his freedom through action, through deciding. (50)

Sartre emphasizes the responsibility man has to this freedom. A dishonest man is one who believes in passion and other deterministic excuses. Man is responsible for his passions. There is no conception prior to what man has expressed through his actions. (23) Man fashions himself through his actions, by expressing himself through a series of undertakings, through an ensemble of choices, in which he is the sum of the organization and relationships contained therein. (33) This image of man forms a constitution that is continually manifested through his total involvement on the basis of the repeated acts he forms. (34) In this way, man is a destiny unto himself in which his actions enable him to live. (35)

This freedom extends not only to the individual, but to others. Because there is no a priori conception of man, what he is and should and can be, every choice and action contributes to what we believe the image of man ought to be. (17) By allowing for the understanding of self and others, intersubjectivity establishes a universality among men that is a comprehensible human condition. Sartre says his choices to pass beyond or recede from limits or deny or adapt, represent a configuration of man in a set of circumstances. (33) This configuration is perpetually made through choosing or building an understanding of other’s configuration. (39) Thus, since the creation and invention of man’s image occurs our freedom comes with a responsibility to all mankind.

Sartre says that the fundamental project of human reality is the desire to be God since God “represents the permanent limit in terms of which man makes known to himself what he is”. (63) Freedom is the choice to create itself its own possibilities. Consequently, freedom is a lack of being. By being something concrete, one is not free. Therefore, the annihilation of being is freedom. (65) Man’s project, Sartre says, is to manifest freedom through a lack of being by making itself the desire of being, that is, making “the project-for-itself of being in-itself-for-itself”. (66)

Works Cited

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. New York: Citadel Press, 1987.

Existential Freedom: Albert Camus

Camus wrote the Myth of Sisyphus as an essay on the relationship between individual thought and suicide as a solution to the absurd (6). Camus used the Greek myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor for life and the seeming absurdity of living. Understanding Camus conception of absurdity is necessary for grasping the role of freedom in human existence.

According to Camus, absurdity can be found to occur anywhere, on street corners or in revolving doors. (12) It strikes in moments throughout a man’s life when the uniformity and routine of existence—the habituations of thought and regularities of action—are broken and man seeks to reconnect and repair them again (12). Camus says that “before encountering the absurd, every man lives with aims, a concern for the future or for justification (with regard to whom or what is not the question).” (57)

Absurdity arises when the inference of reason reveals itself to be wholly dependent on cognitive activity alone, the sole work of consciousness. In this event inference ceases to follow from the nauseating compulsion of objective necessities and the world readjusts itself as a relative, subjective condition of man. Camus says that “A man’s failures imply judgment, not of circumstances, but of himself.” (69) Inference positions itself as alien to the world from which we attribute it (21). When man posits the question ‘why?’ and weariness sets it, he reveals the lack of inference in his mechanical routines, and elucidates an impulse of consciousness. (13) This consciousness either dissipates as man falls back into his life’s motifs, or he realizes, through an awakening, that inference is a device imparted to the mind, rather than a process inherent to the world. Camus says man comes to terms with this awakening by embracing suicide or recovery. (13)

Camus holds that life is indeed meaningless, full of contradictions and confusion, and has no inherent values other than those that we create. He entreats, however, asking “In the face of such contradictions and obscurities must we conclude that there is no relationship between the opinion one has about life and the act one commits to leave it?” (7,8) Certainly not. Rather accepting the futility of our world as an excuse for suicide, and rather than accepting the leap of faith that religion calls for, Camus proposes that we consciously accept the futility moment by moment by revolting with freedom and passion (64). In this way living is keeping the absurd alive, retaining the possibility of happiness and meaning in moments in between, whereas suicide would negate the very absurdity and possibility that established it. (6, 54) According to Camus, revolt as “the constant confrontation between man and his own obscurity” is one of the few acceptable philosophical positions. It means we must “challenge the world at every second” (54). This revolt is defiance, an exercise of freedom, which intensifies life’s value maximally in a way that no other ideological thinking can guarantee (55).

Camus paints three extreme portraits of absurd lifestyles given the form of the lover, the actors, and the conqueror (90). While there is nothing exclusive about these lifestyles they provide a caricature of the absurdity as a joy of living creatively. Inasmuch as life is absurd, life is creation (94). “To think is first of all to create a world” Camus says. Through creation man manifests ends and aims and realities so that just as an artist “commits himself and becomes himself in his work”, a creative being commits himself and becomes himself in the tasks he lovingly chooses for himself (97). Intelligence must refuse to reason the concrete, concluding that “expression begins where thought ends” (99).  According to Camus, gratuitousness is a hallmark of the absurd life and a life with hope: with no revolt or divorce from illusions, there is no gratuitousness. What is necessary then is this constant passionate detachment (102).

Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus. New York: Vintage International, 1991.

Existential Freedom: Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl’s conception of the freedom of human existence spawned from his trials and observations in WWII concentration camps. Throughout his duration in camps he identified certain attitudes and behaviors that his fellow inmates exhibited when faced with death and meaninglessness. These experiences would later form his logotherapy approach. For Frankl, man’s search for meaning is the primary driving force in life. (99) The search for meaning is uniquely fulfilled by the subjective interests and responsibilities of each individual. Frankl’s logotherapy revolves around the “will to meaning” as the driving force propelling man to achieve fulfillment.  Psychiatric problems arise out of an ‘existential frustration’ when the will to meaning is obstructed. According to Frankl, values and defense mechanisms are constructs fabricated by man as a result of his desire for a meaning. (100)

This search for meaning is fulfilled in three sources. These sources of meaning are love, work and suffering. Frankl describes love as the saving ‘why’ that facilitates the ‘how’ contained in work. The final source of meaning is contained in suffering. Frankl quotes Nietzsche and says that “He who has a why can bear most any how.” He cites two reasons for why suffering is good, namely that it creates inner freedom or spiritual freedom, and that man can choose to see suffering as a task in which he can suffer proudly. Again he quotes Nietzsche saying “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” In this way suffering becomes an achievement which ‘transforms a personal tragedy into a triumph.”

Frankl stresses the importance of attitude toward life. Taking responsibility for life meant seeing life as tasks to complete with right action and right conduct (77).  Man always has choice in his action. He is responsible for his life. This responsibility is an essential response to the will for meaning. Man desires a fulfilling life; he desires meaning and worthwhile achievement. It is important to note that Frankl isn’t concerned with what man wants out of life. He is concerned with what life wants out of man. The demands of life present tasks. Man undertakes these tasks by exercising the freedom of inner life and choosing his attitude and how he aims to respond to these tasks.

Works Cited

Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon, 2006.

City Specialization: The Growth of Nashville’s Health Care Industry

Economic Report on Nashville’s Health Care Industry

I. Introduction
What is this report about?
This report will summarize the growing importance of the health care industry at large as well as within the Davidson County- Nashville area. We will begin by providing an overview of the health care industry by examining broad cultural trends and detailing recent US political and economic events that have contributed to health care industry growth. We will then focus in on the health care industry specific to Nashville, discussing its current scope and trends, and highlighting its particular importance to the city. Continue reading “City Specialization: The Growth of Nashville’s Health Care Industry”

Living here

Yes, life. It’s curious really, that most people are not really living. What’s that suppose to mean, you ask. What makes you so sure and proud of yourself to make such a claim? Living begins with the now, not with some other time. It doesn’t matter where you start, so long as it’s the now, not the there or then or when.

Let your subconscious do the work. Your consciousness should direct your senses only to the topic on hand, it should will your senses so that they harmonize with fabulous congruency, grabbing and guiding the flow of information, the stream of sense data, the column of your awareness that occupies your task, your goal, your purpose.

Do not live in your head. Live outside your head. Do not interrupt your ability to feel with superfluous thoughts ruminating on the past or itching about the future. Your mind should be empty and clear.

Program your subconscious when you are alone, in solitude, with yourself. Reflect on those things of the utmost importance, assign priorities, goals. Once they have been identified, internalize them, meditate until they are one with your passions, so that the thought of any one purpose, task or goal causes a cascade of emotions, of whirling passions, that bring you nearly to the brink of joyful tears. Then go about your day. Pay no heed to loose wonderings of imagination, to the floating distractions that prick your attention. They are nothing more than holograms, misplaced illusions occupying your space as they bump along into oblivion. Do not chase them there. Do not invite them into your consciousness where they can corrupt your convictions and mislead the sacred desires that you’ve spent so much time cultivating. No, look past them, look through them as they are: empty hollow reflections, possessing no substance, that glisten momentarily on the mind .

Live outside your head. Live among nature, among people, among song and sweet surroundings. Let these things pass through you long enough to resonate, but briefly enough so they have no chance to take root and occupy your precocious passions , robbing you of your sacred self. Life is the moment, live there.

There it is: awareness: the ability to clear the mind, the consciousness, of all meandering musings.

Devote time to yourself, by yourself. Then, stay true to yourself. Do not try defining yourself in the company of others. Do not spend your solitude wishing you were in someone else’s company.  Possess yourself. Do not let yourself be possessed.



Lots of unrefined, undeveloped rambling:

I believe that oppression is man’s greatest asset. I believe that when man is not oppressed, he has no need to adapt, no need to grow and acheive and strive and thrive. I would say that oppression is the ultimate good. Since I can think of nothing pleasing about actively undergoing oppression, I would say that it is tantamount to suffering. But like suffering, oppression presents an opportunity to tap into previously unknown potentials in order to endure and survive.

What is oppression? More or less, it is “the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner”, or “the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.” If man is to live as a truly free and autonomous being, one can argue that there is no such thing as just authority and that all authority is a burden.

The etymology of oppression? Coined mid-14c., as “cruel or unjust use of power or authority,” from Fr. oppression (12c.), from L. oppressionem, noun of action from pp. stem of opprimere. Meaning “action of weighing on someone’s mind or spirits” is from late 14c.

Oppression is nothing more than demands. Demands are the effect of some initial cause. Demands instantiate voids to be filled, or requirements to be satisfied, with a response such as thought or action. Humans respond to these voids by exercising human ingenuity, innovation and invention. These responses exist as conceptualizations, systems, meanings, or structures where they inhabit the mind and manifest as through our action.

I believe that our efforts to escape from oppression, from physical or mental demands and the duress they may cause, provide us with the ultimate salvation by rescuing us from our previously cramped conceptions of human possibility and forcing us to expand our horizons of what it means to be fully human. When we commit to escaping oppression we commit to adapting, we commit to conceding outdated paradigms and belief systems for a novel, alternative perspective.

Where does oppression take place? It can occur to the mind and the body. I believe civilization has capitalized on the venture of oppressing the mind. Nature imposes its own form of oppression. Natural, or environmental, oppression, was much more of an issue in the past due to our failure to capture the nature of cause and effect as well as our frail ability to leverage physical laws to alter or overpower the course of physical phenomena. Throughout our evolution, however, we’ve managed to innovate and invent ways of overcoming the oppression of natural physical constraints.

Body and mind are inextricable, so that what oppresses the mind manifests simultaneously in the body, and what oppresses the body manifests simultanesouly in the mind. In this way, as man alleviates physical oppression, he simultaneously frees his mind. But where does that leave the mind?

All life wishes to not only survive, but thrive. Existence depends on ensuring a continuity. Life does not want equilibrium. Life wants the power to create its own equilibrium, to impose its own balance, its own demands, on the world.

The oppression that occurs in the mind originates from abstractions generated and perpetuated by culture, from power relations vying for authority and dominant influence.  What are these abstractions? They are belief systems, language, meaning, conceptions like truth and law, etc. What are these power relations? The forces generated by competition between opposing ideologies. These forces present themselves as the will, or the emotional driver reinforcing every form of action.

Culture is a conglomeration of these abstractions and power relations. Culture shapes and programs individuals with the systems of abstractions and relations necessary for navigating, acting and reacting, within the culture.

Culture produces individuals and these individuals produce new physical boundaries that expand or contract oppression.

Was man ever a blank slate? There was never a garden of eden. The first oppression was natural environmental oppression. Out of human’s adaptation arose social relations and ultimately oppression.

Does scarcity drive oppression? When there is plentitude, is man oppressed? Only when social oppression continues to persist.

Oppression forces you to make a choice between fighting to anhiliate and overpower the oppression or acquiescing the mind and body under its force. One is active, the other is passive.

Education is oppressive. This oppression, when actively overcome, is positive. When this oppression overcomes, it is negative.

What is value? What determines value? Does all value maintain an equivalent price? Is value determined by emotional attachment? Utility? One can say that anything that is useful possesses an emotional attachment, since our emotional reflexes arise from deep primal impulses to survive.

What is value? Clearly utility has something to do with it, but then again, hardly anything at all. One can agree that just about anything can be useful to someone at sometime, but not someone at just anytime or all the time. So value has something to do with utility. Is art valuable? It produces an emotional response that aids in your well being. Love is valuable because, in some other degree, it does the same.

Because we cannot use every useful thing all the time, we must consider how we use our time. In this way we establish a hierarchy of values that serve us according to the proportional time we spend in any given activity.

Some abstract, qualifiable values are information, experience, feelings, thoughts, and I’m sure the list goes on, but these seem to be the most basic.

Experiencing and Remembering

What is the difference between the experiencing self and the remembering self?

Would we choose different experiences if we could not remember? Would we choose fictious memories if we could not experience? Do each of these selves produce their own conceptions or standards of fulfillment?

Right mind is creative and free flowing. Left mind is analytic and structured.  By oppressing the creative mind the perception of possibilities is robbed. By oppressing the analytic mind the structuralization of substance is dissolved.

Losing Dissonance

Late last night while I was lying in bed losing myself to anxious reveries, I had an experience. It’s not the first time I’ve had this type of experience, but the first time in a long time.

My eyes were closed and my thoughts were bouncing back and forth in conflict regarding a certain event happening the next day. My mind shifted from imagining one course of action, then to another, then back again, as if role playing the scenarios to see which would yield the best outcome. As it was, none of my imaginings seemed to leave me feeling any more secure with what was going to happen; nor did they have me feeling any more satisfied with whether my conjectured courses of action was the most acceptable and appropriate. I continued laying there, absorbed in the tumultuous tension teetering back and forth in my mind, and I began to slowly drift, not from consciousness, but from my thoughts. They began falling away, growing distant and less forceful, until they were nothing but a mere hue at the periphery of my awareness. Now, I certainly didn’t forget they were there, but my heart seemed to claim less ownership over them.

As this silent drift slowly unfolded I began to wake up,  that is, my consciousness began to rise, and I don’t mean from sleep because I was wide awake. I found myself totally renewed, totally rebirthed, and my thoughts consisted of nothing more than a pacified blanket of awareness. I noticed my emotions were no longer bound to thoughts that, just moments ago, had consumed my being. Instead my mind was subsumed in profound cleanliness, a clarity, and my feelings were fluid and flexible, as if they were standing at attention ready to flow at my will.

I remembered having this experience before, many times before, and I became pregnant with nostalgia as I recounted the days when I would actively seek this comforting solace. Years ago, when I was bent on mastering my thoughts, I would practice holding a single ideal thought before my mind. As it often is with things that are necessary and good, these idealizations would appear totally alien to my being. The foreign intrusion would result in a cognitive dissonance that would swell within me and create a flurry of confusion and tension that threatened to cripple my capacity to assimilate and carry out the idea.

I poignantly remember grasping these ideas firmly between my adroit mental fingers so that all other thoughts could exuviate and slide into nothingness. The tension, the dissonance and disharmony, would slowly evaporate into a cool cerulean sublimity and all that was left was my idea, unimpeded my competing memories and conflicting convictions. I would meditate like this- supposing this is meditation- for hours at various times throughout the day until I had constructed myself a consummate, coherent belief system, untangled from contesting emotions, that remained utterly harmonious and synchronic.