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September 8th, 2004

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04:15 pm - And now for something completely different...
EDIT: Apologies. I screwed up my cut and no one told me! ; )

There are times when my journal and personality take on a serious, scientific, black and white perspective on the world. On things I know, this is often the way I am. It is perhaps an extension of a geek's ego or perhaps it is that I am as knowledgable as others claim that I am.

In these matters, I'm not a likeable person much of the time. I have a particular way of arguing with people which isn't very concilliatory and tends to constrict some people. I don't apologize for that. Most of the time, I operate on strict logic which makes it easy to point out the fallacies in the arguments of others. That others aren't logical at times in the way they communicate is something which I wish more humans were able to do. I treat it as a character flaw most of the time.

I just read an entry from a random person in los_angeles which reminded me of the not so very distant past where I was many things which I am no longer. I used to run with goth crowds. I used to act. I used to skate. I used to do drugs. I used to stay out late and go to school early the next morning. I used to street race when I was years too young to be behind the wheel. I used to mosh and wear tattered clothes and be angry. I used to contemplate suicide. I used to play soccer and hockey. I used to break into people's homes while they were away for the thrill of standing in the midst of someone else's sanctum sanctorum. I used to do it to understand who other people were and who I wasn't.

There was perhaps a non-zero part of it which hoped I'd get caught. In my mind it was no more criminal than games I played with friends' computers. And I made a point of not harming anyone.

I've held many beliefs that have come and gone. I used to study religions. I decided that I was an atheist the night I wrote a paper for school contemplating God's existence for a philosophy class.

I used to believe that being social was being a mistake. I used to have no interest in anyone's friendship. At one point, I purposely went to the farthest away junior high school I could manage to get away from people I already knew. This also kept school and friends as far away as possible from my parents which made most of my life's pursuits possible.

(It's amazing how credible high school friends can appear to parents with just the tiniest amount of facade. Then again, my parents have always been ones with an excellent capacity for self delusion.)

All of these things seem generations ago. Lifetimes ago. In my brain, there are boxes full of memories. Who I was. Who my friends were. What I learned. Why I did it. What I believed at the time.

I wonder occasionally if I'm the same person as I was. I wonder if my personality today was formed by who I was then. I wonder if this is another phase which will one day be boxed up and set aside in favor of something else.

I don't wonder that seriously. I have a fairly concrete concept of who I am now. I've even found a wonderful person who understands me as well as I understand her which is as well as I understand myself. That's such a truly special thing that it overrides all else.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2004 05:53 pm (UTC)

Off the top of my head. Sense not guaranteed.

If all those things aren't still you, they are at least invaluable to who you turned into. Everything you've tried is one more thing you understand in someone else, even if you shake your head at them for it.

Hell, I was shocked when I found out you'd tried to kill yourself, not because the idea was so foreign to me, but because it wasn't. Honestly, it was a weight off my shoulders that it wasn't something I'd ever have to explain to you.

Borrowing momentarily everyone's mom's definition of right and wrong:

Every once in a while, often when we're driving somewhere, I just find myself staring at you for a little while. The first time I remember doing it we were running an errand or otherwise doing something nice, and I remember thinking to myself, "Y'know, that's a really good guy there." Not like I had thought the reverse, but it just hadn't occured to me. You are a good guy.

And some people are just good guys. They're nice, they do things for other people, they're dependable. It doesn't necessarily mean clean and puritan--farvneho comes to mind. They're not even necessarily boring people, but "good guy" is who they are.

You're not like that. You could have ended up very, very far from where you are now. You could easily be dead by now (and a list of how comes to mind but it's uncalled for and unpleasant). Instead, you tried all that stuff you mentioned and some stuff you didn't mention. And you were one way and another way, and you remember it all and learn from it all. And you end up here with me.

That gives you a strength, I think, that I really admire. When I started the first sentence of this I didn't have anything to back it up, but I believe this is where I was going. You have all those pieces in you and you can adapt with them. Pull them out when you need to. Because no single one stayed, you're the master of all them.

I don't really have a conclusion from that and I'm running out of time anyway. But it was food for my thought and maybe it'll be the same for yours
[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2004 09:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Off the top of my head. Sense not guaranteed.

We were driving to Oakland to file papers for your mother. We were just a bit away from getting off the freeway at Hegenberger. When we drive down next, I can point out the exact spot.

You actually said it out loud. I don't recall what I answered, but it wasn't as important as what you said, I'm sure. I remember it clearly, in any case.

There are certainly people who disagree. You know some of them. It's for that reason that I only eighth jokingly say that I'm glad I've managed to fool you into thinking so.
[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings. Life is too short to waste being just one person.

Self is a very fragile idea indeed.
[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
It's a saying I never heard before. It's now one I'll never forget.

I could go on for hours about the definition of one's self from various philosophers (the analogy about the onion without a center, for example), but I find that the one question that I desperately wish I had an answer for is whether or not we're ghosts in a machine. Having come to a conclusion of atheism, I still find myself unable to answer that one properly. I suppose I'm in good company in any case.

On another note, it was a welcome surprise to see a comment from you in my journal. I wasn't sure if I'd scared you off with the political comments we threw back and forth a while ago. It's nice to see that I hadn't. 8)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2004 02:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Differant Road

I never actually drank back then, believe it or not. I'm not sure why. I tried cigarettes a couple of times, so it wasn't because it was legal. My parents are/were very much against both drinking and smoking, so it wasn't that.

So many drugs, so little time? ; )

Here's the thing about computing efficiency: Your CPU is a work of art. The peripherals are themselves little bits of engineering genius from one point or another. Using it poorly is like using the Mona Lisa as clip art. It is in some small way showing contempt for those who have spent at least part of their life making it possible for you to sit back in your comfy chair and grinning stupidly at menus that pop up and icons you can throw around the screen.

I'm used to people being frustrated and misdirecting it. I wouldn't really say it says anything about me aside from perhaps being able to deal with frustrated folks. ; )

If personality really is a core process affected by certain input data, then what's to say that our personality isn't entirely input data? Is there really a difference at that point? Nethack isn't a different version of nethack because the kernel's changed. On the other hand, it can make the difference between a blue screen every few seconds and traipsing uninterrupted to your certain doom Amulet of Yendor.
[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2004 11:22 pm (UTC)
I've been operating on mostly logic for a few years now, and I sometimes find it hard to understand people who aren't logical. It's odd. I'll go through a series of Q&A with the person, only to end up with an emotional statement, like "well, I like it that way." A logical dead end. You can't say anything to something like that.

I remember being somebody else. I remember that it had mostly to do with the people I was surrounded by. My Self is fragile in that it's a sort of amalgam of the personalities of my friends. Kinda. I remember liking different kinds of music that I can no longer stand to listen to.

Your current self is mostly the same self it always has been. To take it logically, your input has changed, and the functions you process stuff with have become more complex, based off of previous experience. You're Phil 24.0 or something. A more complex entity based off of a more simple past.

For whatever that's worth. That's how I think about it.

(oh, and rally racing (drifting) is teh awesome! i hella want to. If my dad had the kinds of cars your dad had, I probably would do it a lot. For the moment, need new tires!!)

I think at some point, I could have become religious. I used to eat meat. and it was all good. Damn. It's got me thinking.

[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2004 02:39 pm (UTC)
Street racing was indeed fun. I get a little taste of it every so often (like playing with the fishhook on highway 1).

Most of the time wasn't actually with either of my parents' cars. When I learned to drive, I used to take my mom's 1988 Accord out for a spin at night. I still remember pressing that thing to 160 on the 405 north heading out of Santa Monica like a bat out of hell.

It's a bit harder in a 1991 Aerostar. You learn to take turns a bit more on the conservative side. ; )
[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC)
I didn't get to know you until this last year, and it is hard to imagine you being the way you described when you were younger. Not that it seems unbelievable, just that my picture of you doesn't include it.

When I was in high school, on top of the usual anxt and depression, I was somewhat dillusional...

But right now, I'm happy, because I'm at Rachel's house in New Mexico, playing with Osa!

I'd probably have something profound to say if I didn't feel as though I were still in a state of rapid flux.
[User Picture]
Date:September 10th, 2004 03:02 pm (UTC)
Soon enough things'll settle down and you'll have a more consistent regimen of mind-numbing classes. ; )

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