By: Adam Alexander I've filled out a profile here. I think it's okay.
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Hello, and Welcome!
Feel free to stay a while, read some entries, make some comments, or do whatever else it is that you feel like.

"Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
~ Mary Schmich
From Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

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Thursday, November 01, 2012
What's in a Theme? What's in this one?

All right. Here's where I try to explain what I'm doing with this "entrapment" business. Not in really clear terms; I'm not sure of it yet and don't want to solidify anything that might still be improved, but clear enough that myself or a curious person might look here to find out or remember what's being attempted. An experiment to answer questions: How is it that people get comfortable with each other? How is it that someone's role in our life changes a distant one to a close one? Is there some general process at work here? What thinking happens between the moments where someone is a stranger and someone to whom we'd be comfortable dropping in on unexpectedly? Can this process be brought into light, made more intentional, altered, or operated on?

Posted at 02:05 pm by arvencheese
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Monday, October 29, 2012
Change of Space

I'm going to try and make this site over today. There was a time "Intellectual Space" was what was lacking in my life. Now it isn't. Something else must be found.

Posted at 09:46 am by arvencheese
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Monday, February 20, 2012
An Analysis of a Type of Experience: Beginning-of-Game Mind–Finger –KerPlunk-Stick Interactions

There’s strangeness to writing here now. Whereas I once used this place to visibly ignore the questions of real people, exercising a freedom to do my own thing out of spite, and thereby gaining a sense of joviality, I cower now from the potential echoes of projections into the excuseless void.

I hear, in interweb whispers, banter before games, and strange conversations too late to recall well, that there’s a veritable field of study related to the beginning of strategy games. People in the know, I guess, categorize different possible runs of a game according to the ways in which people begin them. I don’t know about such things. What I suspect is that the rest of us, those folks for whom the beginning of a thing is quite unclearly connected in the mind to a field of possibilities it enables or rules out, we have a different experience. I want to say something about this experience, as it’s one I find myself working through lately, but also because it seems to describe well a kind of strange shared moment many of us may be having.

The KerPlunk game is a nice image. The pulling of sticks and dropping of things which are so full of potential for allusion, the way the game’s dependence on the uncertainty of the physical world resists the above studies, and the wonderfully trans-verbal, intuitive clarity of the game’s rules—all these lend themselves to what I’m trying to imagine.

Conceding that the image may not be universally attractive and that the fun of playing with it may be its own problem, I confess that the analogous experiences in my life are the games of involvement in:

University departments and disciplinary life
The political project of philosophy in the schools
South America
The pen and page
An imaginary collective
Land to farm and build on
So many times, another person
The countryside
A classroom

Analyses of experiences generate possibilities for discourse; they generate frameworks from which to understand—to be aware of the things that otherwise remain incoherent. Maybe.

I’ll speak of the experience at the sticks in terms of a tension between anxiety and ecstasy. This opposition likely leads us away from the experience a bit. What are we to do with these words? I’ll try to return afterwards.

Whether by disposition or training, suspicion tends to be one of the stronger shades of the screen through which I perceive, and so I start with anxieties, which, at least as concerns the experience at hand, are primary for me.

Before sticks and marbles are made to fall, I have anxieties about: what might go wrong, what I might be blamed for, what misguided love I might be the object of or inspire, what time I might waste, what bad habits of experiencing I might pick up, what I might miss, or be stuck doing.

Nevertheless, certain ecstatic flirtings with potentialities blossom between my fingers and the things I might touch; no rules or seriousness of an individual game can fully destroy the fun of seeing that I can, after all, effect.

I toy with one stick or another. Someone says (if not, my conscience supplies still more loudly): “You manipulator!” We mustn’t break the rules (or more importantly, the classificatory analyzers’ structure), but if we don’t …


Posted at 03:06 pm by arvencheese
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Sunday, June 12, 2011
Thoughts about later

What was I trying to do with this place again?

Who is it that's going to show up here next?

Maybe let me know.

Suddenly I'm done with undergraduate schooling. Said to someone a few days ago I that I guess I'm supposed to be done with the part of school that's a process of discovery; supposed to move on to school as skill-acquisition. Some thoughts about that follow.

Somewhere in that undergraduate process I remember reading an essay about how my generation is characterized by its being "post-everything". That is, what makes us a generation is our refusal to take a stand on anything; if we stand on anything, its that we stand on not being anything. That did and does seem a decent way of putting things. However, now I think there's a bit more to be said.

We were post-everything when it became more fashionable to level criticisms of positions at everything than to gallantly defend anything, but "positions" were fairly transient things. Positions on fashion, religion, politics, tastes in film, theater, television - one could be post all these things and still have a sense of meaning, because one could still gain a skill-set, a job, a relationship. Five or ten years ago (in my circles at least), having a girlfriend, a certain degree, a certain job didn't represent any sort of position on anything.

Why do these things represent positions now? Because suddenly, society looks so much more broken. The institutions that looked at least a bit solid before now provide a map of corruption that leads down from vile, confused people at the top to all the particular ways of living that we can suddenly see as supporting the confusion, the vileness.

Is it really possible that monogamy, specialization, and production are all devices of alienation, tranquilization, separation - devices that support a broken status quo? It certainly didn't seem so a few years back. Less clear now. How can I keep up with geopolitics, the new analyses of the history I thought I understood, revolutions around the world, and the thousand new developments in the art world in a dozen different languages and cultures if I spend any amount of time learning about some specific field? How can I find time to acquire skills in these multiple languages, arts, and the electronic apparatus required to keep track of their developments if I'm working any job in particular? How can I keep my emotions and projects grounded in any kind of rationality (though I'm made to be suspicious of this word) if I buy into either the giant bag of emotional expectations that comes with typical monogamous relating or the huge emotional tax of trying to make something more nuanced work? Won't any relationship just make me so vulnerable that I'll fall prey to the veritable industry of emotive-projects-as-consumption-as-insecurity-as-more-consumption?

A solution seems to present itself. One just needs to dabble in these things enough to avoid the depression of not having projects while simultaneously directing ones dabbling well enough to acquire a skill-set and emotional intelligence suited to navigating the foreseeable future.

Except... What's that future again?

What is it exactly that people are going to be using their minds to do? What won't we pawn off to computers? Do I need to speak French? Do I need to be able to do math? Should I be able to teach it, or will I just get a computer to do that? What resources are going to be scarce in a decade? What are schools going to look like? How many medical workers will there be, and how many medical robots? What kind of initial investment of (probably stolen) capital is it going to take to enter an eventual virtual world? Are people going to read? Are they going to watch films? What can I expect the teenagers of the next decade to know?

The most serious problem of my generation seems, in my mind, to have shifted. Some smallish number of years ago, we were post-everything because it was stylish. Now, I think we're also pre-nothing. It makes even less sense to take up the typical projects, and we can't see what atypical ones will be of any use because we can't see past the end of the year. Hell, we can't see past the end of the month.

Who's got a project that makes sense? I want to steal their idea.

Posted at 10:59 pm by arvencheese
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Monday, January 12, 2009
Energy and Meaning Making

Feel like doing things today. Really just filled with a kind of energy I'm not sure what to do with. You know, its the new semester, classes look good and such, but also, feel like I've left home differently. Said I've left this time with a unfamiliar desire for a backward glance. Perhaps leaving home this time without so many things I wish I had said or done differently. That's very new. Hard to even fall asleap the last few nights; just felt like I wanted to make things, make meaning.

I was troubled for a long time when I lost my ability to feel like I was living in created fantasy worlds in my head. Feel now like I've at last created a way of fully living in a world I don't want to leave.

Posted at 02:05 pm by arvencheese
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sitting taller all the time. Thought for so long I couldn't. Guess it was the other way around. Someone told me the other day I was walking on water. Feel more like its water between where we're walking. Each inefficiency, each maladaptive habit I dig out of my mind and body I dig out now to better understand the world, to better understand my connection to it. Seems a good portion of the world feels my will is only separating me from everyone else. Don't know what to say to that.

All this stuff I think I know tells me being clear on how and why things are happening is so important, but it seems for too many this clarity feels like an inconvenience, a disservice, or an unwanted authority. Hard to know what to do. Listening more, talking less all the time to some. Feel like they need to hear different things, but my voice won't help until I learn how to speak with them rather than at them. More of a task than I'd thought, and I've realized in too many presents that I've not even been working at it in the past, though I certainly thought I was. Like I'm digging for something, but all I find is letters telling me I'm digging in the wrong direction. I look at my map and it seems clearer every time, feel I'm getting better at digging all the time, but the letters all look the same. Guess I'm spending more time digging though, probably worth something.

Feel more awake. I look around and see so many just moving boxes back and forth, talking about each thing they're moving, but they all look the same to me. Just gotten rid of enough things that I have time to stop moving them around I suppose. Feel like saying something, tell people there are better things to talk about than boxes, but they make so much noise, and the things is, its not that I'm really any good at talking about other things myself, just that I've gotten good at watching, listening, to things beyond my boxes. I feel good at answering questions, but not so good at asking them. Always felt better at doing things for the world than asking the world anything. They're probably not really so separate though. What the world really needs done is a lot of question asking anyway. A good part of the work I ought to be doing for the world is working at better making others feel like they're contributing something to my being. I see that the work the world needs is collaborative work, and I feel like I don't do it as well as I'd like. Need to learn how to ask you for help constructing our understanding.

In Shawano for the break if anyone's looking. Back to Viterbo within a week.

Posted at 11:02 pm by arvencheese
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Downsides Upendend

Several books and a few classes ago, I thought I had some idea where this was going, some sense of what I wanted it to be. Wisdom replaces knowledge with questions, things that are regarded as truth with things that are important.

This seems relevant to what I want to say, if nothing else, read the book and tell me not so, because this is a book that simply demands to be discussed.

“Mmm, one does have to learn to look at art. But it's up to the artist to use language that can be understood. Most of these jokers don't want to use language you and I con learn; they would rather sneer because we 'fail' to see what they are driving at. If anything. Obscurity is the refuge of incompetence. Ben, would you call me an artist?” ~ Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

People have said this before to me; it wasn't so much a new idea as a restatement that gave cause for reassessment. Its a question I don't have a good answer to, and one that I think like a wide majority of people in my world, I've tabled for later. We either tell ourselves: 1, never mind whether what we are creating is a system closed to meaningful effects on others, that can be decided after the system is complete, or 2, we move the question down a bit without answering it by noting the observable effects of our systems on the larger world, but never assessing whether these effects are meaningful. This becomes, of course, much more complicated (and frightening) when one system appeals to another for meaning, which in turn appeals to another ad infinitum, with the structure of appeals itself said to be unassailable due to all the time it saves us (and everyone clearly likes to save time).

Perhaps all this is all sidestepped if we create all meaning, but I think not. It seems meaning can only exist in the context of connection, that is, there are, yes, an infinite number of things that can be created and meaningful, but that does not mean anything created is meaningful, or that there can be no categories containing that which could have meaning. Seems that anything that is going to have meaning has to tell people (or be a kind of tool for learning) something about the nature of their connections to things that they believe able to also understand this something. I'll grant that I'm not sure I like all the implications of this, but it seems better to have flawed criteria for meaning than to have none or appeal to one backed by gold backed by rainbows.

Here's a thought: Specialized skills and knowledge is something we probably have to entertain in order to survive, but specialized interests, or confusing identity with any kind of specialization makes for a lot of trouble. Maybe more on this later.

Posted at 08:50 am by arvencheese
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Monday, April 07, 2008
Swinging Things

So here at last. Never seems like I get lucky enough to remember to write when I've got the chance to. Guess I'll have to reroll my luck; probably just come up cloudy; I'll throw those stones again next time I get around to writing.

That paper was accepted at an undergraduate philosophy conference in Oregon. Plane leaves April 18th. Supposed to do a commentary piece on someone else's paper by the 10th. Frankly, the paper I'm commenting on is worrying me about the quality of the rest of the conference in a bad way. Hope's on the paper being a fluke. I guess I shouldn't complain though, I'm fairly certain I can help the guy improve it, and that's probably what this sort of thing should be about.

Damn, meant to be in bed by now. This is important though. Started journaling again. Can't remember why I stopped. Seems like it must have been a bad idea.

In other news, I've become convinced an ethics of care will save the planet, and moreover, any progress we can make without one functioning will simply have to be reexamined after one is in place, so its really quite unproductive for much more to be done until we get it figured out. Someone get back to me on this, yea? Pseudo-irony: mentioned in passing: feminism.

I'd mention some sort of significant value that's remained static in the last few months, but I'm busy figuring out how to redraw blanks.

If you want to kick the crap out of the planet, I'm not sure how long the fight is going to take, but I'm sure you'll win. Bits of justified indoctrination: Ask Google to invest in pB11 fusion, stop eating meat, buying things you don't need is not justified, even if we can burn enough carbon to recycle them. Consider what makes you you. Throw every answer on the table of love for a plurality of other-selves. If its love, it'll come back, for what it's worth, you've got the writings of this other.

The here and there are back again. Lets us dance again sometime: Goodnight.

Posted at 10:08 pm by arvencheese
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Sunday, December 09, 2007
Paper Writing

So I'm thinking that if the site I blog on updates itself more than my page does, that's probably bad.

At any rate, I'm trying to write a paper right now, probably the most significant thing I'll write for a while. I'd say its also the most significant thing I've written so far, but I've written so little in the last few years (relatively) that that statement simply wouldn't mean much.

Wow! spell check (novel glee ensues); I guess I do need to update more.

So I'm writing on the nature of aggressiveness as understood by Jacques Lacan. I'd post the paper here when I finish it, but somehow I think that will make it less likely to be accepted to any sort of undergraduate journal I try to submit it to.

To him who it may or may not still concern, the five year investment audit is halfway complete; so far it looks something like this:

March 2, 2007 bought approx 20% FTO, 60% GOOG, 15% T, 5% AXCA.
August 7, 2007 bought additional FTO and AXCA, resulting in approx 35% GOOG, 28% AXCA, 28% FTO, 9% T.
Currently holding approx 35% GOOG, 35% AXCA, 23% FTO, 6% T, $ 1%,
for total gains before tax and commission at approx 35% over 8 months (equivalent to 53% annual over period)

In other news, I'm on my third roommate since my last post. Things are looking much better with the current one, I can count the number of actual conversations I've had with him on no fingers whatsoever. Also minus one girlfriend in the last month; thinking somewhat clearer already. A relationship from which I learned enough and the concept thereof "enough", either I didn't have enough emotion or she didn't have enough reasoning, at any rate, we didn't make enough concessions and enough became as they say... enough (probably enough said about this, although I can't stress enough how excited I am to begin starting new relationships that have nothing to do with the old one, love, or emotion, but rather the importance of reason).

Looking forward to next semester, should have me across the board from auditing the second semester of university physics, to sadly finishing out my study of the piano, resuming my studies of French (language as well as their wonderful foil fencing), conducting some psychological research about I don't know what, going though the process of lining up some schooling in Europe, and most excitingly of all, role playing (yes like D&D) with middle school kids in an attempt to improve their reasoning skills.

Really have to get back to that paper now, I think my site needs a symbolic makeover, but that will have to wait until finals are over.

Posted at 01:48 pm by arvencheese
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Monday, November 13, 2006
Making the Cut

In light of recent events, I feel it necessary to state the following:

In as few words as possible, if everyone in the world wake decided by tomorrow that the possession, creation, use, or practice of certain things was strictly serious taboo, I would be most happy if these things were:

(in order of significance)

1. The hatred (lack of love) of any life by another life
(also possibly contianing the following nine)
2. The usage of fossil fuels to transport people on the ground
3. Marriage before the later of both members being over 18 and both members consenting to engagment for 3 years
4. Abortion when the mother's life is not predicted to end due to birthing
5. Intentionally imparing human ability to reason or motorfunction beyond the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of .1
6. The use of fossil fuels other than uranium to generate electricity
7. Pornography (in the nonartistic sense)
8. The "Standard" system of measurment
9. The use of cosmetics
10. Political campaigning in any from other than live debate

Though I am thouroughly aware of the incomplete and hopefully ever-changing nature of the preceeding, I do feel that having completed over eighteen years of an extensive process involving (arguably) logic, experience, and debate, also called (with a rough void of modesty) my life to this point, I am at least entitled to the communication of my Utopean Ideals to my future self.

On a side note, the resurfacing of my writing in tiny journals has occoured, and for better or worse, I find myself again scribbling madly from time to time in a fassion that is quite reminiscent of an earlier chapter in my life. At any rate, this resurfacing possibly resembles the important return of something else, but alas, that remains to be seen.


Posted at 06:21 pm by arvencheese
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