03 November 2012

More random thoughts

1.  I've been feeling kind of vocation-puzzled lately.  Not sure what use I am, what I want to do, whether what I want to do will ultimately prove relevant when held up against the world.

2.  I've resumed use of my Kindle.  I like that it's small enough to fit in my coat pocket.  At the same time, I'd rather it were large enough to display a full page of a normal pdf document without all the awkwardness of zooming and shifting.

3.  Lately my reading has been chaotic.  A few hundred pages of Grant's biography, a few dozen pages of the History of Madness, now a little bit of Philosophical Investigations.  None of this is related to my coursework.  My interests almost never align with what I'm studying in school.  Then again, my time at DHS has been very fruitful.

4.  Jiro says that the key to living well is to do the same thing every day.  This semester I have tried, very roughly, to do that by reading Chuang Zu every morning on the train.  I do not read him every morning.  I have not found him as uniformly interesting or fruitful as I'd hoped.  Always what one discovers seems to be echoes of what was already somewhere else: in Heraclitus or Nietzsche or in the ideas sparked by them, in Aquinas or Augustine or Aristotle, in Kant.  What I want out of Chuang Zu are peaceful thoughts and fine, illuminating parables.

5.  Oddly enough, this is what I get from the sayings of the desert fathers.

6.  The question "what should I live for" crops up more and more in practical considerations.  One can have a transcendental answer without seeing how the practicalities of choice and profession make contact with that answer.

7.  To be unemployed is to suffer a kind of exile. The craftsman experiences the consumption and use of his produce as a kind of love: by loving what he has made, people indirectly love him (since his likeness is in the works of his art, however indirectly). Thus commerce can be a kind of friendship. To be excluded from commerce is to be excluded in a way from the life of the community.  No longer to be of use, to have something to offer, is to lose the ability to love and be loved in general among the community.

8.  Mastering an art is a great pleasure.  But we do it for the sake of the virtue, not for the sake of the pleasure.  The pleasure is in the virtue, not apart from it.

9.  Scientific reductionism tends toward Plato, in a way.  Even more it tends toward Pythagoras.

10.  The complaint of having one's philosophical ideas "stolen" is absurd, and rooted implicitly in an epistemology divorced from reality.