Sunday, May 26, 2013
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Sunday, May 10, 2009
then there are relationships. the inner dialogue we all experience. the fact that our own reactions to a given situation are not always easily understood, even by ourselves. in fact, the very question "why?" doesn't always even seem relevant. sometimes, things just "are."
It seems like some people are more "complex" than others. i recall a high school lit teacher stating "when you describe a character as 'complex' you are basically saying they are self-contradictory." sometimes i think that describes us all to some degree, but some quite a bit more than others. i think it stems mostly from the multiple different desires, which we hold as singuarities, but which, in the course of actual circumstance, end up at odds. if we could always have everything we want, there would be no complexity. if we each only wanted one thing, then the strongest would get it, and again there would be no complexity. but that is not the case. instead, we all want a very wide range of different things, and the nature of reality makes different combinations possible to get. to make it even more complex, there is a constant tug-of-war, a set of potential tradeoffs to give us a range of different combinations of some of our desires, each set coming with a different set of costs.
and most of these desires that fit into these complex internal emotional equations are not conciously held. often, when the turmoil rises within, we have a hard time placing why we feel so strongly about what has happened, or what we think may happen. communication is helpful in relationship, but only insofar as we actually understand what the issues are. communication of ignorance, or worse yet a misinterpretation is hardly helpful for the future.
Monday, May 4, 2009
i'm always limited by time in most everything i do, and these blog posts are certainly no exception. there's only enough time to tap out a smidge of what's running through your head about an idea, and then there's real life to take care of. the unexaminded life is not worth living, but examining life takes more time than living it, so the math really doesn't work out very well. we end up examining a sample of our lives, not the whole thing. we just differ person to person on our sampling rates. some of us reach some threshold to be considered "introspective"
he points out that americans, among "developed" nations, actually are somewhat above average in our desire to talk about politics, according to studies. we are quite reticent, however, to talk about our political views with people who disagree with us. we only want to talk politics with "us" rather than them.
this is reflective of everything, not just politics. we are a people who avoid not only conflict, but difference. there are, of course, prominent examples, like our very diverse workplaces, where economic incentive drives us to leave that behind, so if you wish to argue the point, you can find plenty of ammunition. but the statistics of how we vote, what we buy, where we go (or don't go) to church, and where we live, speak pretty loudly. you can argue some about the why, about the interpretation, but not the what.
it's actually very reminiscent of the reformation. there is a shift in identity from an inclusive ("catholic" pretty much means "universal"), to the particular. once the identity shifts, the "other" becomes the enemy.
i think that's why we are becoming increasingly polarized. we have, as a nation, ceased to identify first as americans, but rather have redefined real americans as people like us.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
i still don't even have real clear thoughts on it. it strikes me though how social most of us are, how much of a difference crowd support makes, how strikingly individual the competition is, and yet, the people in it who are agressive are not competing against a clock, but against each other.
it's interesting. i signed up almost entirely for social reasons. a couple guys at work signed up, and i decided to join them, then somebodies wife joined, and a couple more from work. one dropped back out, and i can count on one hand the number of times i actually trained with any of them, but it made for a lot of good conversations, and was a shared experience in an odd way, a sort of adult parallel play. i spent countless hours alone on my bike or in a pool for social reasons.
And out on the course it was the same way. i went in not sure i could do it, and that plauged me the entire way. i was pushing to finish, not to beat a specific person. i wasn't competing against anyone but myself, and that really hurt me, actually, even though it sounds nice. the wind was awful during the bike, and you've already been going for an hour before you ever get there, and for me it was just the numbers on my bike computer, pain, and the internal dialogue of "you just have to keep this up for ... three more hours, and then you can change to runnning...." not very encouraging. as i listen post race to the people who enjoyed it the most, i hear things like, "yeah, when i came out of transition, soandso yelled from the tent that my friend was only 2 minutes ahead, and then on the turn around on the run i could see him coming back, so i knew i was less than a minute behind, and he saw me coming. then when i was a hundred yards back he was shaking his head, because he knew i was going to take him..." these guys are friends, they train together all the time, and this sort of interaction is what makes a 6 to 8 hour individual event social like a tennis match. somebody wins, but even the loser enjoys the match, and both get pushed to their max by the competition. who really gets the same effort into their serve when they are practicing by themselves.
i'm not sure why don miller comes to mind except that i feel almost like i can hear him narrating as this intensely physical event gets turned into a people watching excercise. i sit here with my skin peeling off my shoulders (i reapplied 'sweatproof' spf 50 at least 3 times, and still got fried... you can only ask so much of a sunscreen, it was like putting it on in a shower i was sweating so much), the wetsuit rubbed the skin off the back of my neck, and of course i'm really pretty sore, but all in all i feel good from it. i don't feel like i damaged myself by this, like i wondered after running the great wall marathon. that was hard, this was difficult. this was a psychological battle as much as anything, that was simply strenuous. With the constant stream of obstacles, though, it kept the mind focussed on the task at hand.
in the bike segment, you have an interesting view of your competitors, and if you are as slow as me, a good 4 hours to contemplate them. you know everyones age and gender because it's written on their calf in permanent marker, and you get a nice view of the back of their legs. i learned definitively that there are a lot of 40+ year old women out there with significant cellulite, who can bring it on a bike! my hat is off you, wherever you are.