motto lotto

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marty is fed up.

Nice to see someone else holding the Mikearaguan party line.
I'm fed up with all this talk about candidates' religious beliefs. What do they actually tell us? We elected a president who prays and believes God has called him. And what did we get? A president who misled the country and took us to war, authorized torture and destroyed the Justice Department. If this is what a God-fearing Christian did, why should anyone care what our next president's religion is? Why keep talking about it?

Marty Klein
Palo Alto, Calif.

Newsweek Magazine Letters (August 4, 2008)

Monday, July 28, 2008


A friend of ours who has also gone carless passed along this video of a guy using his sport utility bike (SUB) to take care of some typical household errands. Sarah and I just use racks and saddlebags which take care of most of our needs but with kids and all that it would be much more complicated. We've had friends that do it with bike trailers but this hitchless trailer thing looks cool.

Full Salon article


Saturday, July 26, 2008

true or false

A living thing can indeed also be grasped as a spatiotemporal magnitude of motion, but then it is no longer apprehended as living. The inexactitude of the historical humanistic sciences is not a deficiency, but is only the fulfillment of a demand essential to this type of research. It is true, also that the projecting and securing of the object-sphere of the historical sciences is not only of another kind, but is much more difficult of execution than is the achieving of rigor in the exact sciences.

The Age of the World Picture - Heidegger

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Seneca on luxury, poverty

A couple more quotes before I banish Seneca back to the library.
As far as I am concerned I have lost not wealth but distractions. The body's needs are few: it wants to be free from cold, to banish hunger and thirst with nourishment; if we long for anything more we are exerting ourselves to serve our vices, not our needs. We do not need to scour every ocean, or to load our bellies with the slaughter of animals or to pluck shellfish from the unknown shores of the furthest sea. May gods and goddesses destroy those whose luxury passes the bounds of an empire that already awakens envy.

Consolation to Helvia

So the ideal amount of money is that which neither falls within the range of poverty nor far exceeds it.

On Tranquility of Mind

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

in praise of the 5th amendment

I told a friend of mine about the legal troubles our other friend is having and he passed along this video. The guy talks a little fast but makes some good points.

Part 2

Monday, July 21, 2008

morning at the courthouse

I spent the morning down at the courthouse. A friend of ours has been accused of a hit and run although she neither hit nor ran. Our friend is an Armenian immigrant with a work visa. Sarah was with her in the car when the supposed accident occurred. Today was the arraignment hearing.

When the case actually goes to trial or pre-trail I think it will be dismissed but there isn't much of a context to get that sort of dismissal at an arraignment hearing. The judge won't look specifically at evidence to keep himself from being influenced if he has to be the judge who presides over the case.

Anyhow, I've never been to an arraignment hearing. It's a pretty educational experience. Defendants plead guilty, not-guilty or no contest and are usually offered a plea bargain. Violations ranged from alcohol/drug violations to traffic violations (street racing in one case) to petty theft. There was a (much needed) Spanish/English translator but unfortunately for us, no Armenian/English translator.

The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August 19. Our friend makes too much money ($10/hr) to be provided a public defender so we walked over and asked for discovery from the prosecutor's office. She'll probably be defending herself but there are a number of places to get free legal advice we'll check out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Seneca advocates Nietzsche

Everlasting misfortune does have one blessing, that it ends up by toughening those whom it constantly afflicts.

Seneca - Consolation to Helvia
Referring to Nietzsche's constant illness as well as the eternal recurrence. What foresight!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Heidegger's complicity with the Nazis

I watched this BBC series episode on Heidegger. This part deals with his involvement with the Nazis.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

a question of personal progress

Do you think you are the way that you are because it's your nature (and environment) or is it because of the work you (or others) have done on yourself?

To put it another way--

When (if?) you see progress in yourself, do you have specific methods you used that you attribute that progress to? If so, what are they? and- do you think these methods are specific to you (your personality, genetics, etc.) or do you think they are principles or methods that could be used by others?

Update: if you answer this question, let me know in the comments and I'll link to your answer from this post.

Friday, July 11, 2008

strange bedfellows

Because it's ridiculous that I'm paying a company (who is supposed to be providing me a service) to help our government spy on its own citizens. When the outside voices on the left and the right agree, that should at least provoke a second look.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

the origin of hell

I finally figured out where hell came from.

You know when you're dealing with a problem, usually disagreement among persons and you know you can't resolve that problem but it is a problem that could theoretically be solved, and a disastrous end is in sight? It's that nervousness you get in that moment, that focused incapacitating moment.

Even before God created humans, his foresight, combined with the free will he gave to man, produced that moment in him. Hell was the (unforeseen?) byproduct.

So that's where it came from, I'm not sure why God decided to stick with it. Hell, maybe he didn't stick with it, I guess his decision on that is up to the theologians.

a note in the margin

I was flipping through my Portable Nietzsche this morning and noticed this quote along with a note in the margin.
It is a self-deception on the part of philosophers and moralists if they believe that they are extricating themselves from decadence when they merely wage war against it. Extrication lies beyond their strength: what they choose as a means, as salvation, is itself but another expression of decadence; they change its expression, but they do not get rid of decadence itself.

Nietzsche -> Twilight of the Idols "The Problem of Socrates" #11
My note was--

Similar to "Being free of possessions is not to be without them but to be free of their power over you. They may have power whether you own them or not."

I'm not sure who I was quoting there. Are these really similar?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wittgenstein and the inescapable

Can one negate a picture? No. And in this lies the difference between picture and proposition. The picture can serve as a proposition. But in that case something gets added to it which brings it about that now it says something. In short: I can only deny that the picture is right, but the picture I cannot deny.

Wittgenstein Notebooks 1914-1916 p. 33e
Even the inescapable shouldn't necessarily be called true, "truth" is something we add to the picture. We have to come to grips with those things we cannot escape (e.g. a most skeletal common-sense realism, life's perspective, etc.), that coming-to-grips-with is unavoidable but the associated value judgment is quite avoidable. Here I embrace Wittgenstein and pass over Heidegger (i think).

Update 7/9: This is better said by Nietzsche,
But Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction. The "apparent" world is the only one: the "true" world is merely added by a lie.

Twilight of the Idols "Reason in Philosophy" #2
My note following that passage was "->phenomenology". I wonder when I wrote that, it probably had something to do with Husserl.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Seneca on the divinity in change

I’ve come across people who say that there is a sort of inborn restlessness in the human spirit and an urge to change one’s abode; for man is endowed with a mind which is changeable and unsettled: nowhere at rest, it darts about and directs its thoughts to all places known and unknown, a wanderer which cannot endure repose and delights chiefly in novelty. This will not surprise you if you consider its original source. It was not made from heavy, earthly material, but came down from that heavenly spirit: but heavenly things are by nature always in motion, fleeing and driven on extremely fast. Look at the planets which light up the world: not one is at rest. The sun glides constantly, moving on from place to place, and although it revolves with the universe its motion is nevertheless opposite to that of the firmament itself: it races through all the signs of the zodiac and never stops; its motion is everlasting as it journeys from one point to another. All the planets forever move round and pass by: as the constraining law of nature has ordained they are borne from point of point. When through fixed periods of years they complete their courses they will start again upon their former circuits. How silly then to imagine that the human mind, which is formed of the same elements as divine beings, objects to movements and change of abode, while the divine nature finds delight and even self-preservation in continual and very rapid change.

"Consolation to Helvia" -Seneca

It's interesting how he comes to this from such a different view of the divine since he's associating it with the literal heavens. Who really cares though, if he can see the divine in continual transition, I can too. A bit more figuratively, of course. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

trolling and time

You'd think that the longer you'd been on the Internet, the easier it would be to spot a troll. The problem I run into is that a lot of clueless people sound like trolls. When I talk with people in the real world (tm) it's easier to tell when they're being genuine.

So, generally speaking a "win" for a troll is that they've successfully wasted time. Concern trolls have something quite different in mind but generally speaking if the troll can get you off topic and fighting with them instead of addressing the topic at hand, they've won.

As my time has been pretty limited recently, when I get in conversations where someone immediately goes off topic and doesn't understand what was said initially I recognize it as a troll. The irony here is that as I see the trolling type behavior I get irritated and that starts making me sound like a troll (especially if the initial troll was actually being genuine). Anyhow, recognizing this in myself I've decided just to let the trolls spew their nonsense and give them the down arrow (where available). It's unfortunate though because amidst the troll speak there are usually people trying to get somewhere. I actually like how reddit allows for different comment threads to take a life of their own in that regard (not that it hinders real trolls much). The tools have been making this sort of thing better but I think we still have a long way to go before the web is a nice space for conversation. Human nature being what it is, I'm not sure we'll get there.

Incidentally, it looks like Bush has managed to outlaw anonymous trolling (free speech be damned). I wonder if anyone will manage to overturn that once he leaves office or if we'll just be left with another bit of nonsense legislation. (Yes, it's good to outlaw online harassment, and no, this isn't so narrowly defined.)

Interesting psychological explanation for comment trolling ("deindividuation") on techcrunch.