Friday, April 30, 2004

I dont know if you knew it or not, but today was a free poetry day. This is what Free Poetry Days creator, Matt, sent me........

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

There had been some question about whether or not I was going to get a paycheck anymore since next week is the last week of classes and I wont actually have to teach during that time. Still, I asked the secretary in the office, who called the lady in the bus. office, who said that grad students get a full check in May, and I think also get a half check in June. Oh happy days!
Its not that I've been worried about money. I promised myself not too long ago (maybe a year, maybe a little more or a little less, who knows really) that I would never worry about money again in my life. And to be honest I have not been worrying about the money, I've been worrying about EVERYTHING else while living in a state of absolute abject poverty for the last month or two. Now I find out that at least poverty will end for a week or so, and the physics department is going to help me with the financial aid for this summer.
Even though I still have no new news on the graduation front today has been a fairly decent day. However, that is subject to change at a moments notice.

Last night I had the most interesting, if not terribly cliched conversation with a group of art majors which I am lucky enough to call my friends. I had made a flippant comment (which I admit is poorly worded for what I meant, but it made my point) about, "It's art if I say it's art." This was the comment that woke the sleeping giant in Joe who set up his I-Pod and asked the room what they thought about this. Thus the conversation began.
Now, having been to a gallery opening or two and having always been at least a friend and admirer of the "art chic" crowd, I realize that this conversation is a bit of a cliche. Actually, I think that there is a class for undergrads somewhere entitled, "Yes, but is it ART?" Still, the cliched conversations do have a tendency to be about the really hard core questions, and I do think this is one of them. Anyway, I digress.
Joe pointed out that surely something is not Art simply because someone chooses to call it art. With that I think I can agree, if we put some stipulations on it. If I put my pen down on this desk and call it art simply because that is the word that I chose to call it or because I want, in some way, to try to jump into the art community or make a criticism or some other such thing, then no it surely is not art. At least, not art in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, I think art does indeed require some deliberate intent. I think that in order for me to truly and justly call it art requires that I, in some way, had to instill in it either some message or emotion or an attempt at either one.
The point is that art does have a sort of extra personal meaning because art is something that humanity does, and indeed always will. However, art does not exist exterior to humanity. Human art is a human thing, there is no way around that.
Still, the point was made last night that not all of the Art which is made by this requirement actually fits into the category of being real Art. I just don't see how this can be so. Art is made by humanity. It stands to reason, and indeed I think stands to argument, that as such if there is no single person who has the power to deem a thing Art then everyone must be capable of making that decision. So yes, it's art if I say it's art......but only if I really mean it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I need to learn to pay more attention to the moment. I've always been much more aware of even the most subtle of changes in my mood than I ever was of the mood itself. How appropriate though, that a physicist would be more attuned to the variation in his emotional state than in the state.
Any of my friends out there who are reading this might have cause to argue that this isnt true. My reputation as a free spirit, after all, seems to point to a need to live in the moment. Still, I argue that this isn't so. My need for living in the moment, I think, derives itself from my need to keep my emotions in a constant state of motion, and thus to learn the means of its change. Sort of an emotional calculus, if you will.
I have to admit that this is a stolen idea. It was my brother, Isaac, who first pointed out to me the need to pay more attention to changes in your mood than it ever is to focus too much on the mood itself. I think that this is my natural way of interacting with my own emotional state, but only now, after having milled this thought over for several years do I really think that I understand the mechanisms for it, at least when applied to myself. Such does it always seem to go with the long path to self discovery, to reach some new plateau to find Isaac already there making a wine from the native berries.
So here is a thought. Linear language is restrictive in its capacity to convey information in the sense that its continuity takes precedence over its content. The House of Leaves is a great example where this is broken, at least partially, but it speaks to the core of what I wish to convey. Often in writing there is an aside I wish to make, or even possibly a whole different array of things that I wish to convey, and yet I still want continuity of flow preserved. I'll think a bit about how The House of Leaves was able to get past this and try to find some other examples in literature. I wonder if this is something that linguistic theory has ever delved into. Thought is not linear, not in its most basic, its trained to be that way through the overlay of a linear language on though......not to mention, of course, the grand linearity that is time and human perception of it.

Speaking of time, Ive been dabbling with a question about it lately and I think that I might have begun to see the briefest sketch of a solution to it. I don't quite feel comfortable either formulating the question of my sketch of an answer just yet, but I hope to be able to present something here later.

And to you, gentle traveler, either of chance or through goodwill, I offer my apologies today for the ramble. Stress man, it'll get ya!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

I was just working on my thesis and suddenly a thing occurred to me. What God makes are degrees of freedom. From all the infinite abstractions that are a space of infinite dimension, God pulls back the veil and says, "Let there be foward, let there be up, let there be side, and let light travel always OUT." And to us, mere matter, OUT is called Time. We marvel at the beauty of it and think it cold and dead, that we suppose things like rest and motion. BUt I think more and more these days that it is not matter which can speak of such things, its only light. I'm talking jargon right now, I know. Some of it is alchohol and some of it is what I have been working on in my thesis the last few days.
Graduation is in 2 weeks. This shall be some sort of countdown, I know it already. Perhaps things are too late and I do not even know it yet. Doom moves on silent wings and I have always had all the vision necessary to miss her approach. I think things end here and I just do not know it yet. As a man who studies relativity I am well aware of silent boundaries which can be crossed that are irrevocible and indescrimenant. No matter what I learn it tells me more and more that time moves only forward, and what free will I think I have must reap what I create of it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The void is the worst kind of labarynth.
So Im sitting here meditating on a cigarette and listening to Snow Patrol. The music is great and all but its really the cigarette that's on my mind at the moment. My pure and abject poverty has driven me to quit smoking. This is not a thing done out of choice, I caution you to understand, its a thing done out of necessity. I cannot be subject to the mere whims of things like fate and poverty, so I have taken the other option, to quit smoking not because I simply cannot anymore, but to quit smoking because I've chosen not to anymore.
It's a semantic difference, I know, but it's one that I choose to give importance. Such is the power of my will, after all. Still, I can sit here and I can stare at this cigarette and my glass of "Orange Go-Juice" (1 part orange juice, 3 parts any cheap wine available, c'est magnifique) and think that I am accomplishing so much. It's certainly an improvement over sitting here staring at my thesis. Milling over these thoughts, yet again. Making the same errors, yet again. Trudging on through this new unexplored ground, yet again. Wanting ang waiting, but knowing that this is not the time for ending, just a time for pause.
Life has been complicated lately. Not complicated in the sense that it would make the next movie of the week. It's actually been rather boring in the drama department, though this is hardly difficult to accomplish with the meager circumstances of my life. Complicated in the way that truth is complicated. It's simple and profound, but subtle and easy to miss.
My life is coming full circle this year. I know this to be true. My friends that were gone and lost to the wind are coming back, though I don't know where the relationships will go from here. Sally, Kat, Moose, Marv, TJ, Lenny, Don, Larry, Kelsel, and now even Jeremy C. These are the names I use to describe my past, and for years I lost them. What does it mean when the winds take things to the corners of the world, and then the wind brings them back again? Are they rewards to me for finding again what I was, or are they just more tests?
Still, no matter what they end in being I know what they are now. They are remedy and hope; salve for a cold and battered soul. These were those who made me most what I am today, and these were those who were my strength when things first began to buckle.

Pause to notice that Run by Snow Patrol has just begun to play.

I don't know about the future these days. I question it in every moment and I despise that I worry over such trivial things. The future will be the consequence of what I do this moment, not what I worry about. It's a hard thing to keep, certainly. Still, penance cannot last for all time, then it would not be forgiveness. Neither though can will without becoming law.