Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Pleiades

I went for a run tonight and the sky was spectacular. The air was clear as was the sky. I scanned the sky and saw three stars of Orion's sword. That's as clear as it gets in this valley. The Pleiades always makes me happy....they are named for 9 sisters in Greek mythology. I don't remember the story so I will have to research it, but I bet it is something like a God (maybe Zues) who casts them into the heavens to protect them from something, or perhaps to keep something in jealousy.

I am writing a paper today(and tomorow...but hopefully no later than Monday evening). I have chosen Michel Foucault, my postmodern philosopher of choice. I like his thinking. I don't always agree with it, but I think he and I have some similar interests (and no, I'm not gay.) I have come to realize that a huge majority of these postmodern philosophers are French. Maybe I've missed something but why is this true? this just what I perceive to be true because of the literature I have read so far?

I'm fighting a demon tonight so I best wrap up this post and get back to work. I am leaving for Hawaii in 2 days and I am NOT READY. Tomorrow I will do laundry and get "stuff" for traveling. I'm still trying to confirm our housesitting arrangements for our animals. For now, it's back to Dr. Foucault and all about his ideas on the relationship of knowledge and power....not so much how knowledge gives one power, but how knowledge takes away power.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Joy of Philosophy

If anyone can find any joy in that stuff (the 'P' word), please tell me how you found it. I could tell you all about postmodernism now though. I beat it to death all weekend. I turned a paper in tonight and I was none too pleased. I couldn't think of a reasonable way to organize it, which was the primary problem. I kept thinking of things I wanted to include but I couldn't find a place to fit them in, and then I'd get off onto some other part and forget what I was thinking. The whole creation process was much too disorganized. The paper kind of jumped around until I got to the last page and a half. Then it felt like it came together because by that point I was able to draw all the fragments together.

I need to learn to outline. In fact, that is our week 6 TEAM project. Scary thought.

This class reminds me of the leadership theory class. All these researchers and writers feed off each other's work. It all happens over time and I just can't maintain a sense of history in my feeble brain. I think I would do better if I associated them with dates rather than eras or movements.

I must get back to work. I'M GOING TO HAWAII!!!!! I can't hardly believe it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

takin' a breather

It's Sunday night and I made my post and read some more. I need to read MUCH more. I hope I will find more time to read tomorrow. I finished my post today and Erin finished practice early. We walked down to Hard Rock for dinner, came back, and she went to the party. A sea of middle and high school kids, singing karaoke and it was as bad as you can imagine. Erin competes one more time tomorrow morning at 10:00, and I will work to move us out of this room and check out while she's doing morning practice and the competition.

This is one of my favorite statues; it's just up the street from the Galt House. There are two of these statues, just alike, on both sides of the stairs. I would love to have these sitting on both sides of my driveway!

What else? We visited Kiko and Ron today.It was nice to see them again. They went to Hawaii last month and told me what a great time we were going to have there. I am looking forward to it. We are planning to go to Myrtle Beach but this will be the last big vacation for awhile, unless our finances change dramatically. We can't really be affording this trip but we started paying on it a year ago. I hadn't even thought of starting school and we had no idea what Emily's braces were going to cost at that time. I'm just going to go and have a good time and not worry about the cost. It's almost all paid for already.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seeing some light

I read 1.5 (I hope) chapters of Sarap's book. I can understand this author - thank you Jesus!!! I am having to look up a fair number of words and phrases, but at least it makes sense. Today is about postmodernism and post-structuralism. There is a French philosopher, Lyotard, who says that post-structuralism is the same thing as postmodernism. I found his ideas about language and knowledge interesting. He predicts that the direction of all new research will be dictated by the parameter that the research results must be capable of being stored electronically. Aren't we like this already? What exists that can't be stored electronically that somebody would find need to research?

Lyotard predicts that knowledge will be the major component in the global competition for power. I've always thought knowledge is power. How many times have I said "If I only knew then what I know now..." But, Lyotard doesn't stop there. He also says that knowledge is not so much an end to itself anymore. Increasingly, it is being produced so that it can be sold. What things exist that could be studied/researched but never sold?

Chapter 4 of Sarrup's book was about post-structuralism. It discussed theories of Nietzsche, Hegel, and a pair Deleuze & Guattari. There was enough mention of Marzism that I ended up researching that a bit. We're not reading the book in order by chapter. First part is chapts 4&6, then 1&2, then one chapter, then another chapter. I am behind on the reading.

So, to switch the subject, the Galt House is really a nice place. Our room is so nice - really big suite, nicely furnished, and I love the crown moldings and high ceilings.

I have to go to bed soon. I need to wrap it up. Words for today:

Subversive - intended to undermine
pastiche - hodgepodge; Imitate another artist's work with satirical intent
allegory - (I should have remembered this one) - symbolic representation; such as the blindfolded lady holding up scales who represents justice.
performative - something that's said that causes something to happen, such as speaking a vow or promise.
incommensurable - impossible to compare or measure
didactic - morally instructing
dialectic - practice of determining truth by exchange or arguments...this must be the kind of thing that happens in court.
sublate - deny; contradict
polemic - controversial argument
leitmotiv - melodic passge; dominant theme
Goethean man - a man who agrees with Goeth, a scientist/writer who thinks man can divorce
himself from participating in nature.
deprecate - belittle
teleology - study of the design or purpose in natural phenomena.

Whew! Second wind. Marx believes that class struggle causes social change. He puts emphasis on the material conditions of peoples' lives. His ideas display sympathy for the working class (proletariat). Dang - that's one of those apomorphisms. Ideas can't disply anything. His ideas...they portray? Emphasize? Demonstrate? I'm at a loss for the correct verb. His assumption is that workers' interests match those of "humanity".

Postmodernism is the impulse to deconstruct totalizing systems of knowledge or belief. Three important postmodernists/post structuralists: Lyotard, Derrida, Jameson.

Post structuralism is the idea that language is subjective to culture and is not a solid medium for basing knowledge and power on. Derrida says there's no "text" outside of "context". the roots of post-structuralism cane from Nietzcheanism. But I really am too tired to go into him.

Sarah is leaving for Ireland Sunday. I must call her tomorrow. I talked to Emily and she seemed to be rather disappointed. None of the younger girls got above second place. Everything Emily did today took second place. Second place is like the middle 2/3 of entrants in their category. They sometimes give a 1st place to the really good acts in each category (if any acts warrant a first place...sometimes there are no first place winners). Most acts are rated 2, and then you get a handful of 3's. I hope she and Jerry find something fun to do tomorrow.

To all a good night!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reading ad Infinitum

I have been reading all evening. I finally took a break and ran a mile and practiced a little karate...just a little something so I feel human again. Karate is good stuff. I went for a short run, ran harder which I should make more time for. Running fast requires more concentration, and I would much rather plod along in the "dead zone" then have to watch for footing and branches at face level, dogs, night creatures, etc. I have to watch for night creatures (raccoons and possums) because they aren't quick to get out of the way. I'm no stealth runner either so either the critters are deaf or they don't care (or they're really dumb). I almost tripped over a skunk last summer. I half stumbled and jumped over him but I remember seeing the glowing eyes and initially thought it was a funny fat cat behaving out of character and then realized it was a skunk. The moon was full tonight...I like. Interesting shadows from the trees and rooflines, and I play shadow games while I run.

Reading tonight...some parts were OK, some parts were interesting, some parts made no sense to me. I am worried about the parts that mean nothing at all to me. I think I've come to realize that Galen Strawson is somebody all these philosophy-devoted authors write about. I have yet to see anything profound from Strawson that warrants such interest. Tonight, I learned that Strawson is credited with this "idea" or "theory" or whatever the hell...that priori justification makes no reference to experience, meaning priori knowledge is independent of experience (not contingent upon experience).

As an aside to that, and as a result of stuff in the paragraph above, I learned that posteriori knowledge is derived from experience or imperical evidence. Empirical evidence is that which is verifiable from observation or experiment.

Other readings today related to organizations and their values. How their mission and values statements that they push out to the global world and to their stockholders, employees, customers, and partners do not mesh with their behavior. The writings pick apart the wording bit by agonizing bit to show how what it's really about is the bottom line, making money for the stakeholders, and not about the benefit of such an organization to the communities it is a part of. However, if you analyze the business statements of Japanese and German businesses, you find that the wording is different in such that the wording indicates society will benefit more than the stakeholders. American businesses are structured and managers are taught to think in terms of how to control employees and force them through punishment to achieve the specified mission statement. Japanese and German businesses are much more democratic. Structure is less hierarchical, job duties for positions are less defined, and employees are more likely to find a niche where they can feel useful.

So much for that stuff. Some vocabulary today:

ephemeral - lasting a brief time
coterie - small group of people who associate together frequently
panoptic - everything visible in a view
positivism - knowledge is based on natural phenomena and properties are verified by empirical evidence.
archetype - model; prototype...from this I learned that Jung says an archetype is an inherited pattern of thought is present in a person's unconscious.
hermeneutics - theory and methodology of interpretation
discursive - covering a wide field of subjects; rambling

I could go on by I need to go to bed! It's a late night.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Head Smash

I was practicing karate tonight. I was doing San Ju Wazza (not spelled right. It is Japanese for "30 movements.") The head smash is a horrible move to contemplate. You pull the victim's head into your elbow. In a sense, you use one arm as a knobby club. I don't think I want to get that close to somebody I have to defend myself from. I would rather kick the snot out of them than pull them into me. I hope I never have to use it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dephlogisticated air; perks

I am posting tonight, treating myself to a bit of esoteric soliloquy. Just that I can even think to use those two words pleases me immensely. I do believe the more reading I do, the more my vacabulary increases. When you see the word used time and again and you look it up a couple of times and FINALLY write it sticks! Actually, that doesn't seem to be always true for me. Some of the words and phrases I have been reading don't mean anything to me much. I read the entire book by Kuhn using my very OLD's the one I used in my Freshman year of college. (Please forgive my excursis.) Kuhn kept using the word "dephlogisticate" and it wasn't in my dictionary. For two days of reading (very long days I might add...I think it took me nearly 18 hours to read the book) I kept reading that word over and over. Tonight, I totally finished the book and looked up the word. I had to actually check a couple of places to find it...obscure word. The best definition I could find said it means "fireproof." I puzzled over that and then it was like a lightbulb over my head. It's from an old theory of gasses where somebody figured out there was oxygen in the air that fires need so they can burn. Actually it's the reverse of that which inspires the term. If air is fireproof, it has no oxygen in it. And that can lead to REALLY fireproofing means that whatever chemicals are used, they can't change to create oxygen (maybe none of those gasses that can burn.)

Enough of that stuff though. Let's see. Today I heard my sweet Sarah on MSPR Public Radio. She was playing that banjo (Jesse called it a banjer a couple of times) and singing; she sounded like a fine Kentucky woman. I do love this music myself but I find the singing a bit harsh. I guess it's because I know what a sweet voice Sarah has and I miss hearing it. I guess I'll have to pull out an old CD of her Irish ballads, and that Russian song (Millions of Roses) she used to do. The banjo, and especially the guitar, I love. The fiddle is fun but my ears don't like the pitch for long - it bites. If I could play anything in a band, I think it would be bass. I realize that vocalists have to sing like that to be heard at all. A banjo is LOUD and so is a fiddle. Using a mic is just not done so much with that Old loses the Old Time sound somewhat with amplification.

Words for today?? Some of them are:

seriatim - serially
perquisite - gratuity; privilege (Do you suppose this is where we get "perks"???) >:-( That word is not in my dictionary EITHER!! I need a new one!
salient - noticeable
approbation- praise
heterodox - heretical (like from a heretic)
elucidate - explain
tout court - simply; quite short (pronounced too 'coor)
excursis - digression; lengthy point

So I must fold laundry now and practice some KARATE. I must practice the first two parts of (I can't spell it but it sounds like) Pin Yon Yee Don. Also, I will practice (sounds like) Pin Yon Show Don. I need to practice some new combinations as well...3rd set. There are three new ones and I have learned (hopefully) two of them. To all a good night.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Two Days Straight?

I'm a blog addict now. Two days in a row!

I'm excited about what I read tonight. I quit reading the book I was reading last night because one of the books I have to use as a source for my first paper arrived today. It is Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I read the first 34 pages tonight. Actually, it held my interest but like last night's book, I found myself using the dictionary all too frequently.

Tonight's vocabulary:

recondite - concealed, obscure
esoteric - private
morass - swamp
inchoate - imperfectly formed

Maybe I like this author (Kuhn) better because I don't have to use the dictionary as much. What I read last night, I ended up with like 40 words or phrases necessitating a dictionary for interpretation. My favorite phrase from last night was "social veritistic epistemology." My interpretation of what that is: knowledge that a group of people believes is true.

Tonight's reading was about...what? How do scientific paradigms (theories and models) affect scientists in that field of study? The main example I remember was the science of physics and electricity, compared to mathematics. Study of mathematics has been around much longer than the study of electricity. Back hundreds of years ago, Kuhn says the scientists who studied electricity were called electricians. I love it! Anyway, once basic paradigms are established, researchers build verification knowledge (prove the paradigm in depth and scope, or find flaws). I think the whole purpose of this class is to help me find HOW to look for a researchable topic. I think this book is going to help. Another reason I like this book is because I like science. :-)

OK, tonight is karate....I had fun in class. I didn't really want to spar tonight. Sparring is kind of disturbing to me. When I lived on 20th street, growing up, my bedroom was on the front of the house, overlooking the street. Across the street was an apartment building with a busy carry-out liquor store. It was called Gimperline's, and I remember the old man Gimperline who ran it. I remember watching drunk men fighting in the street. We didn't have air-conditioning so in the summers, I always had my windows open. I could hear men fighting in the street and see them beating the shit out of each other. Sometimes the police would come. Women and men would fight too. I never heard gun shots, but sometimes knives and "brass knuckles" or ball bats were involved. I could go outside the day after and find teeth and blood and hair. It was gross. I would sometimes watch from my window. Who couldn't watch that. Like a movie when you don't want to look but you do anyway.

But I'm off topic. Sparring was actually kind of fun tonight. It's so tiring though. I'm pretty good at it, I think I'm the best woman at it there (other than Mrs. Clark...she's GOOD!) I have fun with everyone but Lee (the others refer to him as Moose.) He is a 16 year old 6'something football player. He has hair down to his shoulders and it's curly blond - if I were just 16 again!! No thanks..just kidding. I never want to be 16 again. He kicks and hits too hard. I should wear my mouth guard when I spar him because he isn't careful enough. The time before last, I was wearing my mouthguard and he kicked me in the mouth HARD. My lip swelled and it cut the inside of my lip somehow. My teeth were fine though, thank heavens. Jerry gets mad when he hits me or kicks me so hard. I'm pretty tough though. I'm usually ready for it when he makes contact. When I'm sparring, I usually beat the other women. I can beat a couple of the men. I like sparring Jason. He has a lot of control and he's good. I defeated him tonight but he had already gone like 15 rounds. I gave him a quick back fist tap to the head and he thanked me - he was beat!

I must get myself to bed. I have a hard day tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Starting Anew

Here we are again. I will blog tonight. I should be reading, but instead..this.

A new class starts today and I hedged on starting, debated about taking a break and waiting until after the Hawaii trip. I think it's going to work out OK, I'm betting I'll get my big paper done the week before I go to Hawaii. But now that I've made a decision, I'm having doubts. This is a philosophy class and I know VERY LITTLE about philosophy. In fact, I just forced myself to read 18 pages (chapter 1) of the first of 8 books (8 BOOKS???) This stuff is UGH! Dreadful! I'm highlighting text as I read and then jotting notes on words (and phrases) I have to look up because if the author uses them once, I'm going to see it again. The words I looked up today are:

veritistic epistemology
social vertitistic epistemology

So that's 8 things I'm trying to learn tonight. The reading tonight really didn't mean much to me. It was about...what....what is truth? Is truth something more than what we believe to be true? Just because everyone believes something is true this does not make it true. I think that was the gist of what I read...but I'm really not sure what I read. Studying philosphy is sort of mind-bending. With computers, things are zero and one, black and white. The beauty of a system like that is that when you arrange the zeros and ones in the right "patterns" (I'm using that term loosely), things work miraculously well (or some sad cases). Philosophy is like disassembling all the structure of what you think. Or, maybe not disassembling, but looking at each step of a process. I should be good at this. So why is it so hard for me???