Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ebey's Landing Adventure and Some Notes

Well today was a very nice day that had lots of interesting talks and experiences. Me and my aunt went to Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island. We took a ferry from the mainland out to this little island and went hiking up this big bluff, all along this wild coast line. Really nice skyline. I took some pictures. They will be up on facebook eventually.

Basically you park near this beach, and the first half of the walk is about 2 or so miles up hill. We walked up this hill all along this cliff side. Really interesting to be walking up a cliff. Farm land on one side of us, and Puget Sound all on the other side of us. Then the second half of the hike you go down hill and loop back around the shore.

But the real wild adventure had to do with my aunt's dog. We brought her dog, Flotsam, on this hike. He is thirteen years old, so is an old boy. 91 in human years! But anyways, about halfway through the uphill hike he starts getting noticeably exhausted. He often breathes hard, but he was breathing much harder than normal. You could see his sides moving really rapidly. Really rapid and hoarse breathing. So we sat down and rested with him a few times. But it got to the point where we were concerned that he wasn't gonna be able to make it the rest of the way. It was quite a wild few moments. Just really seemed like this dog was not gonna make it. But we waited for like 30 minutes and he was able to finish the uphill version of the hike.

Then we got to the descent down to the beach and he was booking it. I guess gravity helped this dog out a bit, and he was also pumped to get down to the beach. I was scampering behind him holding on to his leash. It was quite a site to see this dog running down this hill after he had been nearly passed out at the top of it. But we got down and he jumped into the water and cooled down. For the rest of the walk back he was totally fine. Then me and my aunt had a nice dinner together once we got back into a town. Then we took the ferry back and here we are.

Sometimes I feel like I am bad at narrating my daily life. Because that was a really long and really adventurous day, and I feel like I just gave it a short description and yup thats it. But whatever.

It makes me partially curious because I was talking to my aunt today about how I have an interest in writing fiction. That is something that makes me curious. Clearly, I want to be a dynamic thinker and writer. I want to be on all the frontiers. But yeah, I suspect/fear I won't be able to write fiction well. But I will start trying to do it. I'll just start writing single scenes, single moments, single fictional instances. See how that goes. I'll start imitating my favorite writers in the hopes of getting a sense of how they write, with the hopes of moving on from there.

But either way I am pleased with the amount of nonfiction that I produced last month. Quite a lot of it! And I think some of it was of a decent quality and so that is good.

The two most substantial things to reflect on were my Society's Implicit War essays and my most recent essay 'The Genealogy of the Modern Mind: History, Theory of Mind, and Self-Directed Neuroplasticity'.

WIth the SIW essays I feel like I have a lot of reflecting left to do on military history and its general applicability to life. I finished reading the Society Must Be Defended lectures and that definitely contributed to my understanding of what is going on in Discipline & Punish. But for me Foucault didn't really answer the questions he put forth. But I mean, he did. He definitely did. The question is: is war and military struggle an appropriate way to analyze power relations in general? do the notions of strategy and tactics apply to daily life? and can they offer me some kind of meaningful set of analytical tools? The answer he implicitly relies on in Discipline & Punish, as well as Volume I of the History of Sexuality seems to be yes. But I don't know if these notions of strategy and tactics are still present in his later ethical work. That is why I'll have to read all of Foucault's books and then return to the ethical period. Get a grip on this stuff. Foucault remains a work in progress for me (LOL OBVIOUSLY!).

But my Genealogy of the Modern Mind essay prompts a lot of questions that I think I can tackle pretty soon. With Foucault and military history I need to read more before I answer those above questions. But with the GMM essay I can ask the following questions: Can the humanities really be considered the study of human minds? (yes). What is the difference between thought and experience, and how does the notion of mind fit into these ideas? What is the relationship between the science and art of minds? Is it fair to talk about theory of mind as the science of minds? Is it fair to talk about life as the art of minds? How will my reading into zen (which I plan to undertake) influence, corroborate, or problematize these ideas?

Generally I think I am trying to explore how theory of mind needs to be used as a zen like set of principles that are loosely applied to creative living. My aunt brought up the good point that the humanities should rightly be considered the study of human experience. Minds, yes. But experience more so. And I think that in my essay on GMM I lost touch with this a little bit and wasn't able to articulate the pragmatics of synthetic experience enough. Perhaps I did. These ideas have just gained a new sort of critical mass. A new interwoven complexity. And I really want to tease out their connections and figure out how to articulate them more precisely. But I need to do a lot more reading.

I need to figure out what graduate program to go into. I am now thinking that I want to write my dissertation on Collingwood. I think there are a number of things that I could do with him, and I find him really compelling. I plan on reading The Principles of Art soon. That will be a great thing to read I think. But anyways, I am not sure how to articulate any of this stuff right now.

But I believe I'm working on an essay called "The Science and Art of Minds: Technical Knowledge and Experience." I say I believe because it is a tentative title, and I have yet to do any writing except outlining. But it will be an interesting sort of exploration. A good topic to essay on.

Essaying is a verb.

Over and out.

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