Friday, October 23, 2009

What makes sense

I can't control what I believe is true. If you walked up to me and paid me a large sum of money to believe that the sky is red, I might say "Okay, the sky is red", but inside I would be believing the sky is blue and lying to you for the money. Now, perhaps you have lots of photographs showing the sky to be red, and some sort of spectroscopy device or whatever scientific instrument you want to use (I am not a real scientist, just a computer one) saying that the sky is red. These would be some fascinating things to show me, I assure you, but then I would look up at the sky and see the color blue and I would go on believing that the sky is blue. I would also believe that you have rudimentary photo-editing skills, and your scientific instruments need recalibration.

The problem with all this is that the same story is applicable to my saying the sky is red and you saying the sky is blue. None of this has really helped us agree on the truth about the color of the sky. Additionally, if someone thinks the sky is red, I might suggest they also think that water and the two Gs in the Google logo are red. So it is really not the best example. One thing, though, that I get out of the little story I just made up, is that I am probably going to believe what I think is true, regardless of what you say is true. Could you convince me that I'm wrong? I wonder, sometimes. If everyone told me the sky was red, would I decide my eyeballs were broken? But if a doctor said my eyeballs were broken, I bet I'd believe him. But I still don't think I'd be choosing to believe something, I would be choosing to trust someone who I trust to know what they're talking about, and that choice would change my beliefs. Maybe you could give me a very convincing argument that the sky was red. You could say that the argument changed my beliefs, because it made so much sense to my mind, but I still don't think there's a lot of choice involved in that. If you claim to be actively choosing to believe something, that sounds like you're choosing that which doesn't make as much sense to you as some alternative. Maybe this is what my friend Alex calls "Intellectual Dishonesty".

At the same time, however, I can choose how much of what voices I listen to, and maybe that's related to what influences my beliefs. I think I already know this, though. Unsurprisingly, I tend to choose things which reinforce some of my views, but I also make an effort to hear the opposition too, albeit in a lesser amount. I think this is a good plan. Of course I do; it makes sense to me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doing Nothing

For the past two months, I have had the opportunity to do absolutely nothing. I came into this experience after being a Summer Camp Counselor for two and a half months, so I certainly needed rest. Secondly, I needed a space in which to live. As I have not yet started my post-college, "real" job, I am still residing in my parents' house. After four years of moving in and out of college dorms, two of those without any real residency in this house, my room had become a complete mess of boxes, clothes and other unsorted items. This was more than just a cleaning effort; I had to reorganize and reevaluate my possessions, throwing some away. I did this at what can probably be best described as a snail's pace, my unfortunately natural laziness no longer motivated by any known timetable. After I finally put everything in its proper place and vacuumed the long-unseen floor, I began to move into other parts of the house.

My family is just as naturally lazy as I am, my family falls into the terrible pit of the internet just as easily as I do, my grandmother died, my sister started college and my other sister started High School. So I began to move through the house, cleaning and reorganizing various areas as the impulses took me. I believed I was doing a good thing, and I still do, but I am also an arrogant jerk. Can you tell someone they need to be more conscious of how they take care of their living space, when you suck at it too? Can you tell someone that you "fixed" a mess without believing terrible things about yourself? Probably not. The garage is still a mess, but I am not sure I have the power and authority to fix that.

There are many, many ways a man can distract himself. I feel like the internet has increased these ways tenfold. I have played with Desktop Tower Defense Pro more times than I know, but I still can't beat the last two Scenarios nor most of the Sprint Modes. Thankfully, eventually the vast void of entertainment and idle distraction proves fruitless, its pleasures and flashing lights no longer enjoyable but instead feeling hollow, the truth. I'm not saying that recreation doesn't have its place in life, but such things should serve as an enjoyable rest from work, and I have not been doing a whole lot of work.

When I was at Camp this summer, Allan, the Men's Director, sometimes talked about how we're meant to work six days a week and rest on a seventh, the model outlined in the very beginning of Genesis. Camp works you hard, for the most part, because kids are a handful, loving them can be very tiring, and Camp is designed to challenge the Staff as well as the kids. When your day off comes around each week (whatever day that turns out to be), you love it, you enjoy it, because you need it. You don't do nothing, either, because there are things you want to do that you haven't had time to do the rest of the week. You rest by doing things, just not the same things, not the work things. Rest is good, so good, when it is preceded by work.

There's been some progress on the whole "starting that real job" thing, lately, although I still don't actually know when that's all doing down. Until then, though, I need to work. I tried to get hired as a substitute teacher, but it seems like the nearby school districts are pretty full up on those, probably thanks to the recent events in our economy. My recently deceased grandmother's house needs a lot of work done to it, but I don't know what to do and I get a crazy headache when I go there because she smoked like crazy and it reeks. The garage isn't finished, but I already mentioned how I may be at impasse there. I don't know what to do. But I sure can't do nothing; it's neither right nor healthy.