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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The World is Deep

I finished reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche this morning on the way to work. At the end of the piece, Zarathustra comes to realize that there is too much in the world for daylight to properly express, and that in fact, the night is a more apt time in which to truly "see" the beauty of life, because one is not deceived by night, it will hide all things equally:

He says: "The World is deep, deeper than day can comprehend!" (330)

And we are presented with an amazing problem at the end of the book, when Zarathustra discourses on Woe and Joy, and explains that like a ripe vine, everything that is perfect wants to die, thus to recur as is and remain forever perfect. But everything that suffers wants to live, to ripen to perfection.

"I want heirs, thus speaks everything that suffers... I want children, I do not want myself." "Woe says: Fade! Go!"
"Joy, however, does not want heirs or children, joy wants itself, wants eternity, wants recurrence, wants everything eternally the same."
(331)

By saying Yes to one Joy, you must say Yes to all Woe. This is the problem of the eternal recurrence. If ever you wanted to re-live one moment of your life, some amazing instant, then you must want to re-live your entire life, because, like it or not, you will.
So the "super" man or happy man of this entire story is the one that can genuinely want to re-live each instant of his entire life again, by Willing it so. Quite the conundrum, and it was great to read a book of philosophy that for once chose an entertaining medium: poetry. Or, kind of a lilting half-song, half-prose approach. Free-verse.

I definitely recommend this one. Don't heed the whole "Nietzsche was used by Nazis!" thing either, that is stupid. The Bible was used by the Inquisition, right?
Zarathustra is most definitely not Jesus, and he and God are mutually exclusive, so the comparison ends superficially.

9/10
Lanky.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

So, yesterday we had a small team meeting, not really about anything important in particular. We were chit-chatting away about the benefits / drawbacks of co-op and history degrees and whatnot, when a co-worker mentioned business history.

She explained that high level CEOs are calling for courses dedicated to the history of important business transactions and precedents. I responded that those courses already exist, or that the material taught in those courses is actually commonly found in "survey" history courses of a particular time period and society(ies). She wanted to know about the Dutch Tulip craze, which apparently was only briefly mentioned in whatever she had been reading. This is where things get interesting from my perspective.

I know, in general, all about said Tulip Craze. I was only too happy (and apparently very verbose that day) to explain the nature of Dutch finances and trade in the 1600's in a general way. Apparently I told an interesting story. Another co-worker commented that she had been mentally picturing Power-point slides while I explained (Argh!). The entire episode made me grateful to be a history major, even if that is all that a history major is good for. I love Stories and I love Telling Stories.

Looks like I am in the Right Place.

Lanky.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Roll Up the Rim to Squabble?
A Tim Hortons Controversy

So this little girl finds a coffee cup un-rolled in a garbage can, gets a 12-year old friend to help her check it because she could not roll it up herself, and WTF? its a winner! The RAV-4 is apparently worth about $28,000 CDN.
Now the Mom of the 12-year old wants (at least) a slice of the pie apparently, as per this news article.

The details have not fully emerged yet, but personally, I find this entire episodesordid.Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In the News

- In the news Friday, General Rick Hiller, who leads the Canadian forces in Afghanistan, asked Tim Horton's to try to set up a franchise in Kandahar.
I thought that little bit of fluff was endearing, all said and done. I am almost positive a heart-warming commercial will ensue, if Tim Hortons knows what's good for it.


- In other news, Anglican Arch-Bishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has denounced the "Gatmo" (Guantanamo Bay) facilities of the U.S. government, explaining (again) that these facilities are not legal internationally, and of dubious standing domestically. Prisoners in Gatmo have literally no rights to speak of, and can be held indefinitely. The United States will take some serious flak over this one very very soon. I would love to see blanket sanctions, or revocation of UN privileges (ha! Irony!) but those are economically impossible, in reality.

Alas.

- The avian flu killed 2 more cats and an unemployed Chinese dude today. The chief WHO officer in charge of Avian flu stuff said that the flu was more of an economic strain than AIDS... and the recent deaths bring the total score to:

Avian flu:
- 174 humans infected, 94 dead.
- 3 Cats killed.
- and Alot of Birds. (11 billion dollars worth, apparently)

AIDS:
- An average of 3 million deaths per year.
- An average of 5 million new cases per year.
- 34 Million new walking dead people total, this year tallied.
- Ummm......Africa.

I think AIDS wins. The WHO official should re-check her numbers. Idiocy. The avian flu would be more of a strain because more economic production was lost from its effects in a burst, than from AIDS in the same time period. That is the single-worst method of comparing epidemics I have ever heard of.

Lanky.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Born and Bred

Perhaps it is an interesting comment on the nature (nurture! ha) of my youth, but there always comes a moment or two every once in a while where I realize how profoundly similar I am to my Dad, in all the ways that count. Now you, reader, may be thinking that this is another pitch for familial continuity, belatedly realizing the wisdom of your parents as evident in childhood and blah blah blah.

Not Quite.

The real commentary in today's update is on upbringing, youth, childhood. We form our core persona in early childhood, and do a ton of structural work on it through adolescence and young adulthood. No one (to my limited knowledge) capable of commenting knowledgably about the process of growing up has ever pegged a specific time in our lives where we finish doing it. I'd say that is a good thing. But what we do know, is that our parents (or whomever fills that role) are the single biggest influence on our growth and personality development. Duh.
So when push comes to shove, if you can look back on your childhood and say: "I think my parents did a great job, and I'm grateful for it," then in today's world you are probably a happy person.So I see nothing wrong with being happy that I am like my Dad; that through love, respect, curiosity, wonder, and a healthy urge to keep him and my Mum happy and proud of me, I have eventually come to understand him.

And therefore, possibly a lot about myself too.

Despite being a Police Officer, and really being involved with Humanity's 'darker side', my Dad is a genuinely positive person, and an inspiration in that way. He is a towering example (in my life) of someone who sought, found, and lived, exactly the life they wanted to. Most people who know him, like him. Those that don't like him probably still respect him in one way or another.

Is it wrong to be proud that your dad was a Cop? I don't really think so. I am happy to have had (and still have) a role-model like my dad in my life. I learned a lot of "life lessons" from my dad:

Self-confidence, Pride, but not Hubris.No one is perfect, and it probably isn't worth it to try to be.Count your blessings, everyday (And he isn't a religious man. Nor, really, am I, in a conventional sense).Listen ( I am still working hard on this one, above many others).Learn about what makes you interested and happy.Pursue what you love, not to own it, but to truly experience and appreciate it.Manners may not Maketh Man, but they sure help.Honesty and Openness; more than just the best policy.

I still have a long way to go, just like most people do, but the fact that I can actually write "Thank you Mom and Dad for bringing me up the way you have" and happily, truly mean it, feels like another blessing to me. FYI Mom, if you are reading this, your time will come soon!

Love;
Lanky

PS: Originally this was not supposed to be an oblique note to my parents, Father especially, and really, they may never read it. But if I had not written it that way, I do not think anything that I was trying to write would have translated correctly, and besides, I was essentially writing to myself anyways. Perhaps this can best be viewed (from a debate perspective) as a defence by personal experience of the Nurture argument.

Phi.

In philosophy, more specifically Metaphysics, there exists a sequence of numbers called the "Fibarelli" sequence. Popularized by the Da Vinci Code, this sequence is created by beginning the sequence at the integer 0, and proceeding to add a singular value to the original. The next number in the sequence is then the sum of the previous two. So for example, the first few fibarelli numbers are: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89... and so on.

This sequence is remarkable in several ways:

First and foremost, it only progresses past nil once two iterations of the singular have been entered, and the first result: one divided by zero, is discarded to continue the sequence.
My metaphysical guess? "Life is Motion: Forward." This sequence only applies directly and naturally to living things.

Secondly, once past the discarded nil return at the beginning, each number divided by the previous yields a progressively more specific, and similar ratio, and this result is called "Phi", and was discovered by the ancient Greeks, among others, no doubt.

So, for example:
3 / 2 = 1.5
5 / 3 = 1.666 (repeating.)
21 / 13 = 1.615 (repeating.)
89 / 55 = 1.618 (repeating.)

And from there it only becomes a more exact iteration of 1.618.
So Phi, found mathematically and metaphysically, means nothing alone. But! when you search for Phi empirically, you FIND it in every living thing.

Would you like to guess the ratio of the various main parts of the human body? Ding! 1.618!

Check out more places you can find Phi at these websites, should you wish:
http://www.summum.us/philosophy/phi.shtml
http://powerretouche.com/Divine_proportion_tutorial.htm
http://www.mcs.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/R.Knott/Fibonacci/phi.html

Now that I have given you all a little background on Phi, I'd like to know what you think about its implications. Consider, that there is a mathematically constant ratio found in every living thing.

Nature as we understand it is not sentient, nor a mathematician. So how to explain this number?

*NB:* I did not just finish reading the Da Vinci Code, FYI, so rule that out as motivation for this post.