from my friend alyssa’s blog!! guess which one I am!!
from my friend alyssa’s blog!! guess which one I am!!
The Dual Natures of Henri: A Portrait
Lucrezia Borgia. Wikipedia really waters down the account of her life! I am reading about her in either the most melodramatic or passionately written book I’ve ever read— A World Lit Only By Fire by William Manchester.
In London for business
The head of the aclu gets married under the statue of liberty. Very fitting and moving.
Images from a dream I had of summertime.
Will I ever have a summer like this?
I’m in Colorado for my sister’s graduation. I heard church bells playing a song that I only caught a tiny familiar piece of. I think it was this song. It was like being unable to place someone’s face, but I placed it as the song they were singing in Titanic in the chapel. I googled the song they sang in titanic in the chapel and found it. I love that feeling of finding something impossible on google. It’s called “for those in peril on the sea” and it’s also known as the navy hymn. It’s really beautiful.
Here are some things I have been thinking about lately:
Being more honest.
Sharing more of my feelings with others.
Being more brave.
Being more weird, and more natural.
This book Half the Sky I am reading about the treatment of women in other parts of the world. Raping and killing women is pretty much a sport in some parts of Africa. Stonings. How often women are beaten by their husbands. How having sex means getting aids. How very young girls are literally enslaved as prostitutes. How sad it is that so many lives are wasted in small villages. How scary it is to be sick. How rude men are. How I have secret knowledge of what it is like to be a women that men will never understand. How I wish I could do something to help but that would mean loneliness again and upheaval, living in some rural part of the world, and having to eat meat and see cruelty to animals.
How words are often meaningless. How you should be very specific about what you mean by general words at all times. For example, if I think to myself
“i’m dumb” I tell myself instead what I mean by dumb is I feel embarrassed by what I just said. Dumb is a meaningless generality. The words of wisdom I posted by Burns have really inspired me.
How I’m addicted to the internet, and whether I should take a break, like Tim Ferriss suggests, though it would mean withdrawal pains and possibly falling behind in keeping up with the times, and denying myself the ability to learn and to educate myself.
Whether I should be more disciplined or continue to accept myself no matter what I achieve.
Whether people like to read stream of consciousness style thoughts, whether it’s too public to post on a blog, or whether it makes me seem dumb or vain, or whether it makes people feel closer to me, understand me more, and connect with me, like the way I felt when I read the blog 65 Red Roses, where Eva wrote to share her innermost thoughts and feelings, no holds barred. I love reading about others insecurities, but am too scared to share mine most of the time.
I also think about true love, and whether I had it or whether I didn’t, and if I’ll get it. And whether it will magically solve all of my problems or whether it will just be a pleasant person to keep me company.
Playing the heroine in a wes anderson movie
Lodovico Capponi by Bronzino in the Frick
As she slept the vines grew up around her…
I had the most delicious buttery pasta tonight. White sauce with peas and this green leafy vegetable with miniature fingerling potatoes and tiny little dumplings of pasta. I need to eat that again.
I biked cross town with no helmet on with my dad. Zipping down the streets of new York during Rush hour is a bit of a rush. It makes you feel alive because its dangerous.
I played Tennis at an underground tennis club that was very beautiful. I enjoyed playing tennis very much. It’s addicting in a way when you hear the ball hitting the sweet spot of the racket.
I talked to Tashi, a girl who works here, effectively ending my fear of her.
On my bike ride back, I looked at the golden statues against the green leafy trees of central park. It is one of the most beautiful sights to me. Classical looking angel statues.
I wore some high heels to dinner. So I wouldn’t be afraid of wearing them.
This is what i think about, people.
Justin and Kestrin of Vows fame. (the ones who met at burning man)
All of a sudden a miracle has occurred in my life.
I have a new friend who appeared out of the sea of people in the city. A gift from the sea.
He helped me when I lost my wallet and keys and phone and checkbook yesterday. He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with the hood up so he looked noble and holy, like a knight or a monk.
It’s nice to have somebody to help you out and comfort you. That’s the thing that feels the best I think. Having someone say “There, There” who soothes you in the way you were soothed when you were a little kid.
“Recently an author wrote me a question I will post in April. She has just published her first novel and is starting on a second one and is asking about the meaning of life and what her greater role and purpose is. Let’s focus on the first question, what is the meaning of life?
Can you answer this question using cognitive therapy? How might Wittgenstein answer it?
Here’s what I would say: “I will be very glad to tell you what the meaning of life is. Tell me, what specific time of day did you have in mind? The meaning when you woke up? The meaning when you were jogging? The meaning as we talk?”
Life has no single “meaning,” but many meanings that vary throughout every day. And many things we do have no particular meaning, they are just fun and interesting. What is the “meaning” of going to your favorite Italian restaurant you described in Seattle?
Suppose you were eating and laughing there with friends, and some heavy philosopher came up to your table and said, “I wish to inform you that your life has no particular meaning at this time.”
What would you say? “You are so right. It is fine with us, by the way! We’re having a ball. Would you care to join us for a glass of wine? You seem a little bit serious or up-tight! Perhaps your life has a little too much meaning tonight.”
“Does man have free will? This is a classic problem in philosophy. It rests on the notion that there is something called free will that we could have or not have, as if words that are nouns refer to things. This was Plato’s error, that there was some kind of reality behind our notion of reality, or behind our language, and that our words only imperfectly described this reality. So when we hear words, especially nouns, we think they refer to something and have meaning. Often they do not, according to Wittgenstein.
The free will problem stems from the idea that if God exists, s/he/it knows the future. Therefore, we must do we will are fore-ordained to do. We cannot not do things, because God knows ahead of time what we will do.
Scientifically, the free will problem can be expressed as the idea that if the universe is lawful, we have to obey the laws of science, so again we have to do what we do.
Philosophers accept these are real problems and try to find solutions.
Now think about the word gobbledeegazoonka. Do humans have gobbledeegazoonka? Well, that is just a sound that comes out of my mouth. I could use that words in several ways if I wanted to. I could say this word whenever I got in the car, and it might mean, “we have enough gas in the tank.” It could take on other meanings as well, if people started using it in other ways. But it would refer to some thing or essence, as Plato thought, and would have no single pure meaning.
Now think about free will. What does the words “free” mean? Well, it has fifteen or twenty meanings. They are just the ways we use this sound, “free.” We can say, “are you free for dinner on Saturday?” This means, I’d like to eat dinner with you. Would you like to also?
Or we could say, “if you buy six bars of soap, the seventh is free.” This means that you can get seven bars of soap for the price of six.
We could list many other meanings, based on how we use the word.
There isn’t any other “meaning” to the word. There isn’t any “free will” to have or not have. The question has no meaning. Questions that have no meaning do not exist, although the seem to exist, because they sound like real sentences. This is what he means by language out of gear. You rev the engine but the car won’t move—because the transmission is in neutral. No matter how hard you press on the gas, the car simply will not move.
As I see it, that was his only idea. Once you see it, all the problems of philosophy seem to more or less dissolve. You don’t solve them, because the don’t really exist.
Now cognitive therapy has this same aspect. The depressed patient says, “I am a failure,” or “I am defective,” as two patients expressed in yesterday’s inpatient group.
Well they have the idea that such a thing as “a failure” can exist, and that they might be such a person.
One high-level solution is not to become worthwhile, but to reject the categories entirely since they have no meaning. And if even if you could develop self-esteem, one would want to get rid of it as soon as possible. I lost mine years ago while jogging and things have been much easier ever since.
Do you see what I mean? It is kind of obvious, and yet most people cannot understand it. Well, they are right in their confusion in a way because really, there isn’t anything to understand. Yet they are convinced there is something deep and important and mysterious about life or the universe or spirituality that one can know, or not know.
Here is another philosophical/spiritual question, though not one that Wittgenstein addressed directly that I am aware of: Do you believe that God exists? Many people think this is a question, and they believe that the question can be answered as “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.” All three answers are based on the assumption that the question has meaning. It appears to be a real question, so people fall for it.
But if you asked, “Do you believe that gobbledeegazoonka exists?” they would know right away that you were being silly or would ask what you were talking about.
Well, that is my read on it. So in response to the question, “does an external reality exist,” Wittgenstein would say, as I mentioned in Washington: “I know what the statement, “the coffee cup is on the table,” means. When you say, “the coffee cup is on the table, and it is real,” I don’t know what the tag, “and it is real” actually means. Real as opposed to what? Are some people drinking out of coffee cups that are not real? Is the coffee real? Does it have caffeine? That would be the important thing.
In other words, there is a kind of a joke about it all. That’s why he wanted to write a philosophy book that would consist only of jokes. But since he struggle with severe depression, he had little sense of humor. On the inpatient unit, we spend a good bit of time giggling toward the end of the each group, because the joke often comes out in that context as well. The philosophical aspects of depression and self-esteem come out in Acceptance Paradox role plays, and everyone starts giggling when the suddenly see the absurdity of negative, self-critical thoughts.
Example. The Negative Thought says: “Burns, you are a worthless loser. Admit it!”
Positive Thought replies: “Oh, absolutely. When you get to know me better, you will see that is actually the least of my deficiencies! I have so many more flaws than just that one!”
This is done in a role play, with two people playing the two parts of someone’s mind. It is the same thing Wittgenstein was getting at, but in a different context.”
Read the rest of this highly illuminating and fascinating convo about Wittgenstein between Burns and a pretentious philosopher here, from the ask the guru archives.
“I had to do it — suddenly, I had to sing./ I had no idea why,” Else Lasker-Schüler cries out in her poem “In the Evening”: “But when the evening came I wept. I wept bitterly.”
I found this blog 65 Red Roses from my friend Alyssa’s blog. It was written by this 25 year old girl who had Cystic Fibrosis and blogged about her life in the hospital and her thoughts about life. She recently died.
The blog is very moving. She is so honest with her feelings about dying. It is very interesting. I think people should be honest about everything. I think everyone should make their diaries public in a blog. We could learn so much from those blogs. So many important things about life are kept secret. I am one of the worst offenders—I rarely ever share my true thoughts. I have diaries for that. I always admire my brother Aubrey for being so honest about what he feels.
It made me feel lucky to be alive. I took many deep breaths and thought about how lucky I am to be free and healthy and able to move about freely, and to live outside a hospital. One of the things she said she missed the most was walking into a building from outside and feeling the air pressure change. She inspired me. There is a documentary about her called 65 Red Roses about her waiting for a lung transplant, which she eventually received and rejected and then died before she could receive another one. It made me think about being an organ donor. And that even if i were to die in a car crash, I would feel more ok about it, however much sense that makes, knowing that my organs would save someone else’s life.
Here is a post she wrote that is so profound:
there are moments when i can step back from myself
and realize that i am so blissfully happy
so full of love and sheer goodness
the good times far outweighing the bad these days
days filled with family and friends
with true love
laughter, tons of people, exclamations
tender looks and physical closeness
but then i remember
what is happening
what could happen at any moment
and i am blinded by terror
of losing it all
the more i have
the more i have to lose
this morning i sat across from my boy
tucking into my vision of the perfect meal
waffles and maple bacon
raspberries and a milky latte
and i could feel how happy i was
oozing out of my pores
having spent the morning all cuddled up
learning and sharing and general loving
knowing the day was to be spent with my girls quinn and ming
visiting our good friend ethan
feeling safe my parents on their way to pick me up
having plans with rachel the next day
so content that i felt like i radiated warmth
out of nowhere
that at that moment the very thing i have spent so long wishing for
could go off
and all this
its so strange to feel so opposed about one single thing
this one thing
that could be
that will be
the beginning of my life
the third chance
a deep breath
the real hope that i live off of
somewhere deep down
is the knowledge
that i might not make it through surgery
and it could all end there
and i can be brave and say i’m not afraid
that death doesn’t scare me
that i am firm in my belief
that i am and will always be a part of life
that this body doesn’t contain the love i am apart of
but thats not the whole truth
truth is more than that
i can believe in love
and know that this will work for me
and that i will make it and live
and also acknowledge that i get scared
just a little bit
every once in awhile
there is more than 100%
i can believe i will 100%
and still be afraid on top of that
mathematicians may disagree with me
but i don’t believe in the finite
infinity interests me more
and sometimes when i am highest
on the top of the mountain
feeling the wind rushing through my hair
the sun on my face
is when i open my eyes and realize
i am standing on the edge of a cliff
the jagged points far below
barely keeping balance
the higher i am
the greater there is to fall
sometimes i question
what is better?
to live down there in the dark among the shadows?
never exposing myself to light and bright happy days?
i remember then
to just be where i am
this is my reality
the present is what is real
and to exist in these moments
allow myself to get scared
let it out
then step forward and continue on
so this morning
this perfect morning
i let the tears fall down my cheeks
i tried to fight them back
but he knew better
without saying anything he got out of his seat
held my face against his chest
let me cry and share my thoughts
“sometimes when i’m happiest, is when i feel like i have the most to lose….and….right now? this feels like a lot to lose”
“well that just means we have a lot to fight for. and we will. and when we have this for good? think how amazing that will be.”
then he kissed my tear stained cheeks
i wiped my eyes
and we finished breakfast.