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Memores acti prudentes futuri

You're unsure if I am a loose end or a strand
that waits for you to mend or understand
A few words
"When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."
~ D.H. Lawrence

"Is the meaning of life defined by its duration? Or does life have a purpose so large that it doesn't have to be prolonged at any cost to preserve its meaning?"

"Living is not good, but living well. The wise man, therefore, lives as well as he should, not as long as he can... He will always think of life in terms of quality not quantity... Dying early or late is of no relevance, dying well or ill is... even if it is true that while there is life there is hope, life is not to be bought at any cost."
~ Seneca

"People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world's about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don't need to last forever to be perfect."
~ Daydream Nation

"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realized the real problem with stories-- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death."
~ The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

"The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me - not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience - that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good. It was a pleasant diaphragmal melting, with elements of diffused tactility, all this enhanced by the thought that nothing could be nearer to the elimination of basic physical laws than deliberately driving on the wrong site of the road."
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend."
~ William Blake
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Weekstart [3P]
Monday, December 1, 2014
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(Pretending it's still Saturday) [3P]
Sunday, November 30, 2014
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Thursday, Friday, today
Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stay a while
We don't have long
We could talk for hours
Till my strength is gone
Though I get so tired
I still get wired

I've heard this song a couple times on the radio in the past few days. Guess I must have missed it in my Junior Boys phase. It's pretty good though. I think they generally have decent lyrics, and not all just about the same generic stuff, which is nice.

Thanksgiving was much more relaxed than I expected, which was a relief. The last couple years it was kind of overwhelming. This year we didn't have as many people, and we had no small children, so it was much quieter. I also didn't make as much food (only made mashed potatoes and mac and cheese), so I ended up napping for a bit before dinner. Browned butter mashed potatoes were a good idea, though I'm not sure if anybody else noticed how much more savory the browned butter made them. In any case I'm definitely going to do this again.

I was going to make spinach ricotta pie but it's kind of a lot of work and I didn't feel up to it. I'm planning to do it today though... It's 1 AM right now so I guess I should get to bed soon if I want to get up at a reasonable time and make it.

So far this break has been nice. Once it's over though, I've got a ton of stuff to do for school, agh. >_< It'll be time for finals soon enough, and while I don't have a lot of finals, I have several papers to write. :(

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Half formed thoughts on agency and right
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I'm not sure I think there are truly evil people in the world. I think that everyone, given the ability to make a true choice, does what they think is right. At first I was debating whether I should use that word (as opposed to "good") because of complications that could arise from trying to define the concept of "right" but I'm going to assume that people will generally understand what I'm saying without me having to spell it out.

So yeah, I think people do what they think is right, and "evil" just stems from differences in perceptions/understandings of what right is.

I was thinking about this in the context of people who have "wronged" me. I mentioned to my friend Alex at school that I was worried for the well-being of someone whom he knows treated me badly in the past, and he just paused and said "You're a good person." On my way home I thought about what that meant and why he said it. I don't hate the person I was talking about for what they did. I think that they were doing what they thought was "right" for the situation. If they had had a conception of how it would really affect me and the consequences branching from that, I don't think they would have done it. I guess some people would see my view on this as forgiveness.

Intent is important, I think, when considering mistakes. I mentioned in a previous post (The road to Hell is paved with good intentions) that I felt like intent wasn't enough by itself to justify recognition or praise, and I'm standing by that. Still, when someone does something "bad" I feel like it's important to consider why they thought what they did was right within their worldview. That's not to say that everything anybody does is hunky dory and we should just try to understand people and never condemn their actions, but I guess I just think that knowing what went into a particular action helps... settle your mind? I can't think of a good way to phrase that right now.

Even in instances where people do something they later regret, I think that in order to complete the action they do have to truly believe for a moment that it's the right thing to do, unless they're forced to do it, of course (but again, with true choice there should be no forcing). And with serial killers and people like that, I feel like they think what they're doing is "right" given the information and capacities they have. Maybe they have a stunted sense of empathy and can't actually conceptualize the pain/suffering they're causing, or they feel like the benefits of their behavior outweigh the costs, I don't know. In any case I do feel like we're not all operating with the same sense of right or wrong, and that seems like an obvious thing to say but I get the impression that a lot of people just don't internalize what a range of understanding of those concepts there can be.

I don't know if I really have a concluding point to this. Regardless of whether everyone is doing what they think is right, I do think some actions should be penalized. I also think there's a lot of room for forgiveness though and that the process of forgiving is aided by recognizing intent and the many facets of worldview that build a person's sense of right and wrong.

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Freezing conversations
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I went to a friend's birthday party last night. We had dinner at a pizza place and then went to a bar. Since I don't drink, that pretty much meant that I got to stand around and try to yell over the music and noise while the people I was with got intoxicated. It was crowded and smelled kinda weird and the music was too loud and it wasn't music I liked. For awhile I contemplated telling my friend that I was tired and was going to go home, but I ended up waiting it out, and I'm glad I did.

After the bar we went to a more nightclub-ish place and danced a bit, and then my friend Ben and I went outside and talked for a good while. Just talked about life, our parents, being a good person vs. being a good parent, fast food, his brother... Eventually we went back inside, but couldn't find the birthday girl or the other people in our party, and so assumed they left without us. Turned out they were still around though (luckily, since she left her stuff in his car), so we all hung out a little more on the sidewalk. After they left he walked me back to my car (that is to say, my parents' van) and we stood there and talked more. They turned off all the lights in the area where I parked, so it was pretty dark, but the streetlights away from the parking structure sort of dimly illuminated where we were.

It was very cold and late but the conversation was good and I think if it hadn't been so cold it would have gone on longer. Again, we mostly talked about life. The difficulty of finding a good friend, social troubles that characterize our generation, views on relationships with people, the absurdity and beauty of everything. We agreed that life is absurd and meaningless but good. I was worried about some things and he told me to remember that I'm a good person and that people think I'm nice to be around and enjoy my company.

We really don't talk that often, and especially not in any deep way, but I valued that conversation and, as always, feel extremely grateful to have friends in my life whom I can talk to in that way, even if it's only occasionally. We don't see eye to eye on everything and aren't that similar in many ways, but they're supportive and they listen and sometimes that matters more than a lot of the other stuff.

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Domino effect
Saturday, November 22, 2014

Feels like the first one fell when I started college and they've been falling ever since.

And even though I know there's not a single path and things aren't linear like that, that sense is still there.

I could try to go back and pick some of them up, but there are too many down and I can't stop the chain. And anyway, they've already fallen.

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Friday, November 21, 2014
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Nice things!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
It rained today! When I left after my shift tonight I walked out of the building and the air smelled amazing. Like birch beer in a rain forest. The scent changed as I focused on it. At first it was sweet and woody and earthy in equal measures but then the woodiness became more prominent, so it smelled more deep and sawdusty.

Then when I was driving home there were songs I knew the words to on the radio and I sang along with them and I could sing as loudly as I wanted because I was in the car by myself. (The one real perk of driving, I think)

And I got home and decided to go outside and jump rope a bit since I haven't used my jump rope much, and I did that and it got tiring very quickly because I never really jump rope or uh really work out or anything, but it felt nice. And when I paused I looked around me and the plants had little tiny droplets of rain hanging off them that made it look like diamonds were growing all over my yard.

AND I got to have Ethiopian food today twice because we had leftovers from last night.

AND this morning I found out that my waist was 1.5 inches smaller than the last time I measured.

AND I had a short but pleasant videochat before my shift.

Many nice things indeed.

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