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[ Death ] Sep. 18th, 2007 @ 05:35 pm
Will you remember me when I'm gone? Will you picture in your mind my goofy smile and jumpy, overly excited demeanor? Will you think of the good times we had? Will you remember my good points, will you recall my strengths and successes? Will you forget my faults? Will you forgive my mistakes?

Will you know with no spec of a doubt that I was true to you and, for whatever long or however little length of time we shared, I loved you as a human being? Even if things might have later changed?

Did I live an imprint on your life?

You touched my life. When I'm gone, if you remember me at all, know that no matter whether good or bad you left a mark. Remember me and smile. You mattered.

+R
Current Location: North Ryde
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: A matter of trust - Billy Joel
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[ Vengeance ] Sep. 7th, 2007 @ 04:28 pm
Justice is the most important value to me, closely followed by Respect. Or was it the other way around? Assigning weight to ideas is hard. Some times in the struggle to pursue the former the latter suffers, and other times the tables turn. Most often than not it's a tricky business to juggle them and get the best possible balance.

There can be no trust if there is no respect. There can't be a social contract without justice.

I'm having quite a hard time at the moment coming to terms with the circumstances that have violated both. Betrayal desecrates the very foundation of pacific human coexistence. Yet, betrayal is deeply human.

Today it suddenly struck me that not only the damage is done but that enough damage has already been done. It must stop. This overpowering wrath only ties me to that betrayal, like a millstone weighting me down. I don't want ever to be part of that person's life again, so I must drop the hate and sever the fetters with which I continue to chain myself to this person. The beautiful and wise words of my friends slowly bore through. Like the Fatboy Slim song, drop the hate, forgive each other.

We are only human. Flawed. Its not my place to seek justice in this particular matter. The only thing I can get is respect. Respect from my self to myself first, and then from me to others. Oh, yes, I could do something truly evil (yes, worse) everybody knows it. But I don't want to become that which they think I am. I have so few lines left to cross yet. And enough damage has already been done. I will still seethe with rage for a while but I won't wallow in it. This is a turning point, an epoch.

What was done is done. It will never mend. It was willful, malicious deceit. It is betrayal. It will never be unmade. But I am only human too, flawed, and I too make mistakes. I would like to be forgiven for them. I can't do it now, but in time I will assimilate these events. Right now I will use this fury to fuel my own growth; I will become more than I was. I will use this and turn it into a good thing.

And in due time I will forgive and leave it behind.

+R
Current Location: North Ryde
Current Mood: infuriatedinfuriated
Current Music: Perra Arrabalera - Molotov

[ Games people play ] Aug. 14th, 2007 @ 02:09 pm
In fact, I have a tiny surprise for you, but it will take a couple of weeks to finish.

I wonder whether you'll find it before you read this. Most likely not =)

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Current Location: Sydney
Current Mood: mischievousmischievous
Current Music: Watching me Fall - The Cure

[ On science, religion and free will ] May. 20th, 2007 @ 10:55 pm
I'm sure I didn't come up with some earth-shattering insight, but I like the way this discussion turned out. I admit I derailed the original discussion a bit, but it was an interesting aside. Some other guy was making an interesting reply to some other dude that summarily dismissed the notion of free will arguing a purely deterministic point of view. I transcribe it here slightly edited but the original whole discussion can be found here.

More significantly: if everything is deterministic based on "physics", could you please tell us where the rules of physics come from, and why they are as they are and not some other way? For instance, why do massive bodies attract and not repel? Why does light travel at the speed it does? At some point there is an arbitrary "decision" as to how things work which cannot be explained by pre-determined rules - unless it's just elephants all the way down...

You were on a roll up to this point. But here you seem to be falling for a different brand of question begging: you are tacitly assuming that there is "a reason" for things to be the way they are. So far the best explanation IMHO is another tautology... Things are the way they are, because that's the way they are.

That's the gripe with science that rational religious people have (and yes, they do exist), science can conceivably tell you how the universe works but can't tell you WHY it works that way. To speculate on the motivation for things to be the way they are is outside of the realm of science. Some people dislike this and they look for explanations in meta(beyond) physics. So basically you have two big trends, either the universe "just happened" or it was somehow made. Science could tell you down to the very last quark how the universe works in either case, it doesn't matter to it whether something "put it together like this" or it was just a Big Freak Accident as long as there are strings of cause and effect leading from "A" to "B" to "C" and so forth.

Conceivably if the universe was made, and The Maker tweaked it at random here and there —i.e. by performing miracles— that would thwart science's efforts to explain things because it relies on repeatability and pattern-finding. But experience so far tell us that our reality has stable behavior that doesn't change in unpredictable ways. That doesn't rule out the possibility of a maker behind curtains, for all we know s/he/it may be tweaking the world and still staying within its rules. But science won't be able to distinguish intent from random accident because it operates from inside the environment and whether the "rules" were placed or they just sprung from nowhere, they still bind it.

My point is that science can't speculate on any motivation behind observed phenomena, including whether motive exists at all or not. That's the reason I brought up my hypothetical Maker, to put forth a little mental experiment; is it conceivable that It may have made the rules so that It can tamper with them? Yes, it is. Not very logical, and it doesn't pass Occam's razor, but why would our hypothetical entity —capable of creating the rules— be bound by those rules? Please note that here I'm not advocating for nor against, merely presenting scenarios.I was trying to point out that science can explain how the universe "is", but not "why". "Why" demands intention otherwise it would be randomness, and devoid of intentionality asking "why" is meaningless. But intentionality (even of things human) is a very tricky business for science to disprove, and by my logic, not being able to explain intentions precludes you to give value judgments over the moral characteristics of the universe. Or in English: science can tell you the mechanics of some phenomenon but it is neutral to it and won't help you decide if it is "good", "bad" or "uncaring". That's the realm of Ethics, a discipline of Philosophy.

Then somebody took disagreed with my tautological explanation and ventured a weaker one, IMHO:

Things are the way they are because that's how we label them.

Ah, semantics yes. My girlfriend always complains that we are arguing about what the words mean rather than the core issue so that in truth we are speaking of two or more different things. All I can say is that better-trained minds than mine have been arguing about the subject for centuries. Just for the fun of it think about this: What if language doesn't define the world but the other way around and we label things the way we do because that's the way they are?

I can be wrong, but it's my understanding that generally we observe Phenomenon A1, and either consciously or as a result of a prehistoric grunt, then we give it a name whereby Phenomenon A1 then becomes "rain". We shape the words around the world, because the world is out there a-priori. Which is another statement that has been hotly debated, but whether that world is a shadow of Platonic Ideas, an objective reality or other, we still perceive something on average, and we develop our language around that perception. It may seem otherwise because of the way language is taught to us ("Look! this is An Apple"), but you were referring to the actual existence of things ("Oh, I have observed that Phenomenon A1 takes place. I shall name Phenomenon A1 'rain'"...then to another... "Look! this is Rain"). Words don't have meaning in and of themselves, they are labels we hang onto things. If we change the labels, things remain unchanged.

Come to think of it, he may have been referring to an idea that I've commented on before (probably elsewhere, I couldn't find the post) which is that our vocabulary shapes and sometimes limits our knowledge of the world. I was going to rephrase it but I found it, dated December eighteen, two thousand three =)

[ Banality stole my dictionary ]

Thanks to the media, to the habit some of us have to bloat out speech and exaggerate, to those who would see all icons destroyed, language appears to be eroding. Words are beginning to lose their meaning to render instead but pale reflections of what they used to describe. Everything we say, it seems, has to be inflated and decorated with numerous adjectives to make any impact at all. It's the language light, two to go please.

Hell is but an empty crutch without that ominous and dreadful imagery that powered it. Hell, it even sounds funny! And Heaven is but a dull place full of silly-looking fat babies in wings and little fluffy clouds. The word mother has become an insult. To be gay is no longer to be happy but rather to be part of a mistreated, outspoken and belligerent minority that would have us think there are much more of them than there really are. To be nice parallels being stupid, and sin is anything that makes you daring and cool instead of being that boring slob without 'attitude'.

Bleh. I must be bitter because it's still two long days to Lord of the Rings, Return of the King =)


Wow, that's four years of blogging. Reading back I'm enormously relieved to find that I have matured to some extent =)

Update: Nope, that wasn't it. THIS is the one.

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Current Location: The Rocks
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: www.di.fm/progressive

[ Pick up a fight ] May. 2nd, 2007 @ 11:31 pm
I was going to say that I'm very surprised but thinking it through I'm not. But I am amused at the reaction. I think its sad that people can be so blinded by their own vision that they not only can't be bothered to place themselves on another person's shoes, but that they will demand that said person folds to their ideas and will even attack them for not doing so.
The rest of this rant here...Collapse )

[ Apropos ]

I'm not alone

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Current Location: The Rocks
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: NIN - Capital G
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Other entries
» [ Ready are you? What know you of ready? ]
Some people fear. They fear happiness, for it may end and bring about the pain. Some people are driven by fear; of loss, of ridicule, of what others will think. Many studies point out that we are more concerned with avoiding hurt than seeking out happiness. I don't know about the rest of the people, but to me knowing this is a good stepping stone towards a life with more emphasis in being happy rather than sidestepping being hurt.

Happiness, it seems, is a very individualized concept. There are as many forms of well-being as humans, and while we all share common traits in sufficiently broad groups the small nuances that make us individuals also mark our tastes and preferences. The biggest boon to my life that 2006 and the people in it brought to my life was learning to be happy with what I do, what I have, who I am.

Research on happiness points out that people adapt. We get used to most given situations, and they lose novelty and that "oh, shiny!" quality to them after a time. Life is by definition dynamic, and by clinging to a fixed set of conditions we seem to have a recipee for misery. My guess is that by learning to use our adaptive capabilities to our advantage we can experience many more moments of "newness" and learn to enjoy more things, cherish change itself. My main gripe with self-help books used to be that they give you these grandiose instructions on how to be happy in overly broad terms like: find out what motivates you and seize it. Uh, yeah, and how do I do that exactly? Well, I found out how entirely by accident. Like in the Nike commercial, you just do it. You go out and try to live. Try out new stuff. Pay attention to people. Pay attention to life, to what we are doing right now.

Another pop-culture quote. There is a scene in Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back when the old jedi master Yoda is scolding the protagonist Luke for not paying attention. "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing." I used to look down on people that extracted meaning from seemingly mundane sources as this until it happened to me too. This bit of dialog struck a chord somewhere deep. The future is useful and must be taken into account, planned for; but it doesn't exist. Its an illusion, a hope, an idea. The past is gone, and while its history and made us what we are, its no more than another idea as well. All there is to life is the moment in which we live, and by extracting the most out of that moment is that we can be happy. The mean to do so is left as an exercise to the reader.

Go on, BE happy!

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» [ Optional ]
The law should be upheld, respected and obeyed at all times, under any circumstances. If there are inappropiate laws, they should be fought and revised from within the legal frame, not simply overlooked at first instance.

Once a friend told me that there are some laws that must be fought even before they are promulgated, and even if they do get passed they must never be obeyed as fighting them from within the legal system would legitimate them and make them equal with the rest of the body of the law. I agree. There can be very damaging laws that some groups push to pass and their very spirit is so twisted that they can't ever be allowed the smallest spec of respectability. Laws that establish racism, slavery, etc. are easy to identify as repugnant, immoral and therefore subject to be violated and disavowed even if they get published.

But for each of those blatantly "evil" laws that must never be allowed to operate, there is a host of other laws that might be controversial, or simply uncomfortable. Some of them may seem unreasonable to one, but if people simply start choosing wich laws seem correct to them and breaking those that don't, most likely they would tend to obey only those laws that do not impose any obligation or discomfort upon them. The state is given the power to prosecute people that violate the law because law is the social net that binds us and its main purpose is to mediate between those with any kind of power and those with any kind of weakness.

This last days a lot of people in Mexico seemed to think that there are some unreasonable laws that were making the election process difficult, and their simple solution was to ask authority to ignore those laws and follow 'the will of the people'. As romantic as it may be, that is a very stupid thing to ask. People should in fact demand that the government follow the will of the people, but by applying the law. And they should be demanding the congressmen that make said laws to write in them what the people wants. Not simply to ignore it when it seems to get in the way of what they want.

How can they not see that asking the government to ignore the law is opening the door to all kinds of abuses? Are they truly so naive as to think that the govt. would limit itself to break only those laws that 'the people' dislike? Government is made out of that same people, they have the same culture. If given the opportunity, there is nothing to stop them from skipping proper procedure before arrestign somebody. Why shouldn't they even bother about people's rights when prosecuting alleged tax-evasion? Things are never so clear-cut.

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» [ You don;t understand ]
My empirical observation is that many people have a hard time grasping ideas that differ from their own. I will venture the theory that this is partially due to the fact that many of the ideas that we have include a clause of exclusivity.

But the farther away one moves from hard scientific fact, the harder it gets to ascertain whether the idea is True. One believes on the idea, but belief is not knowledge; at best it's a suspicion. It then becomes less of an intellectual matter and more of an emotional attachment to said idea.

read onCollapse )

Its true what many have pointed out, that it's illogical and therefore most likely wrong that any conceivable idea can be correct no matter how stupid it may be. But it still hasn't been found one single model that can provide all the answers to all the questions, so I think that while not everybody can be correct at the same time its quite possible that we all hold a piece of The Truth. Many of us will share one common piece and lack another that a second group has and clinging to the notion that ours is the one and only possible correct way of thinking will hardly benefit us. In order to be able to understand the situations where someone holds an idea that is wildly different from one's own, one has to break free of the preconceptions that restrain the mind.
» [ Indulgencia plenaria ]
"An idea agrees with reality, and is therefore true, if and only if it is 
successfully employed in human action in pursuit of human goals and interests" 
   - Dewey


I think that the reason for a moral behavior should be sought and understood as a result of human interaction, and not as something imposed from outside by a foreign intelligence. Furthermore, I think that the pursuit of moral rules and the identification (or design,depending on your point of view) of its ideals should be a process that incorporated many fields, thus making it next to impossible for one single person to come up with a single philosophycal or moral system that can be called complete.

From my limited knowledge on the subjects I gather that the practice is to apply the scientific method to social sciences, which is not bad per se but lends itself to a tendency to dissect everything to it's minimal possible components. Its a process analogous to finding the atom in physics, and then finding the neutrons and electrons on the atom, and then finding the quarks, and so on. In social science this is useful to clean up the body of definitions, so a lexicon akin in principle to the mathematical language can be established and used as a foundation. But then the social sciences (and I am grouping together here disciplines like psychology, sociology and philosphy) sometimes become so narrowly specialized that they lose contact with the rest of the phenomenons that affect the human psique.

The mind adds a layer of complexity unique to the investigation of human endeavors. It is a daunting task to investigate the fringes of the relativist physics for instance and I am not about to substract any merit from it, but I'll try to draw a distinction between so called 'hard' science and the humanist studies. And that is that hard sciences deal with unchanging sets of conditions, while the mind is a dynamic subject. Even if the principle of uncertainty of Heisenberg tells us that we can't know a particle's exact position in a determined given instant, the behavior of the particle is consistently explained by elaborated sets of theories.


I've stated before that I'm different from everybody elseCollapse )

And that We are what the words say we areCollapse )

That the mind modifies itself even to the point when it can change its own running program is a hard scientific fact. The actual physiology of the brain shifts. The trick is to learn in response to what. Psychology, Neuroscience, even chemistry should be taken in consideration when determining why a person behaves the way s/he does, and whether that behavior is moral. There are hints that point to the existence of a minimun common ground. Nobody want's to be killed by another, for example. From there it follows that to kill another too would be bad, as we can be that other. This idea ties to the previous post.

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» [ Yeah, Rights ]
Protagoras said that "man is the measure of all things". Many have disagreed, mainly because this relativist point of view presents several dilemmas. If taken into the individual level, it means that whatever I think its true is true, regardless of what others think. What is cold to me is cold, wheter you think otherwise. It makes it very hard to establish a very much sought-after universal truth that holds true for everyone under every circumstance.

You have no rightsCollapse )
We have rights only if we know them, believe in them, abide by them and can enforce them as a people; as a race. What good is it to a hypothetical's child it's right to live if it dies of hunger on a war-ravaged city? Our rights do not come to us from the natural world, they are born and exist only in human relationships and if we want to excercise them we must oppose those that breach the contract, if nothing more at least out of an egoistical desire of self-preservation. If enough people stop believing in the existance of your rights, they will effectively cease to exist and you will lose all claim to them and to the benefits they procure to you.
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