Category Archives: philosophy

What I Am

My old friend Uthaclena (and by OLD, I mean more than a week older than I am) got all philosophically musing on us recently. Worker, son, husband, father, this-and-that. These are not just voices – these are personae and skill sets, some greater, some lesser, a psychic closet of costumes and masks from among which we may select.

I am a son, brother, husband, father. But I have, either by my own doing, or those imposed on me, been defined by other roles.

Bus guy – not only is CDTA a primary form of transportation for me, but I’m pretty good at answering questions about the best way to get from here to there by bus – or IF one can get there. Assuming I’ve ridden the route more than a couple times, I can pretty much suss out the system.

Bicycle guy – though I barely rode for a year for various reasons, there are folks who know me from one two-wheeler or another.

Cereal guy – I swear there are people in my building who don’t even know my name but could tell you what I have for breakfast (or occasionally lunch) each weeekday: Cheerios and/or Spoom-Size Shredded Wheat.

JEOPARDY! guy – it’s sorta like the Oscars. OK, more like the Golden Globes.

Luddite guy or alternatively, computer guy – the former is most definitely true. I remember someone who was talking about compression of my iTunes folder; I was just happy I could figue out how to download music at all. And don’t get me started about my cellphone. Yet some people who are even more inept technologically than I am keep asking questions that even I can answer.

Blog guy – less from this blog as from the other blog, even though I’ve been doing this one for over three years longer. It helps that occasionally, the text has appeared in the newspaper, providing a faux sense of authority.

Black guy – often I’m the only black male in a situation. So if someone who didn’t know me by name were to ask who I was in a group, he or she might ask: “Who is that balding guy?” Well, they could, but it’d probably be more efficient, and not at all racialist, to ask the more obvious question.

I took one of those personality tests a while back, and I’m an INFP:
Extraverted 16% Introverted 84%
Sensing 47% Intuition 53%
Thinking 32% Feeling 68%
Judging 16% Perceiving 84%
Some people are surprised that I am as introverted as I score; I am not.

So, to quote the musings of a fellow March Piscean, a Roger named Daltry, who are YOU?
Here’s something really silly:
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou – Free Dating Site

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

death (5x) breast (3x) dead (2x) vulva (1x)

My sister asked, and I don’t know. Does anyone know who produced “Daily Bread”, shown here?


Rousseau lost out

A couple months ago, I went to the Albany Public Library to listen to Dr. Ron Bassman, former psychiatric patient and current psychologist, talk about how the mental health profession tends to warehouse mental patients, giving them a “one size fits all” treatment. One of the things he mentioned was the societal pressure for conformity and an intolerance of much variation. That certainly seems true in terms of the uncivil discourse of politics in the United States. It seems even more true, as Dr. Bassman alluded, to the fact that there are more people imprisoned in this country than any other country that people would consider “civilized”. Are Americans more prone to criminal behavior? If not, why do we have so many locked up,when perhaps alternative sentencing may be a more viable option?

Ron told me to go to the Rousseau post in the Wikipedia and check out the highlighted quotation under the discussion of Theory of Natural Man:
“The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754

My first thought: I wonder if Woody Guthrie studied Rousseau. My second thought: I wish I knew philosophy better than whatever I studied in one freshman college course over 35 years ago.
There is a project aimed to collect limericks for every meaning of every word in the Oxford English Dictionary. There are over 49,000 approved limericks in the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form and they’re only up to Dd so far.

See, e.g., the 26 entries for aardvark, one of which is:
This really could be quite a lark,
Limericizing aardvark.
Though the rhyme is infernal,
The mammal’s nocturnal.
(It only comes out after dark.)

There are 17 limericks for the Beatles, most of them British album specific, though not this one:
A beetle’s a hardcover bug,
With an arthropod face for a mug,
While the Beatles were all
(John, George, Ringo, and Paul),
Liverpudlians I’d love to hug.


The Theological Implications of Doris Day QUESTION

My racquetball buddies and I were in the locker room, and someone said, innocently, “Que sera, sera.” Somehow, this led to some great theological/philosophical debate. One person suggested that the line of “whatever will be, will be” was a position of those Christians who believe that “everything is fixed, and you can’t change it”, while another opined that it was antithetical to the Christian tradition, because God is an active God. The fatalism of Nietzsche was invoked in the conversation, as were the impersonal gods of the ancient Greeks.

So, a simple question, and a more complex one. Please respond to either, or both:

1. What other purely popular songs suggest theological or philosophical meanings to you, and in what way?
Example: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin may evoke the “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin” of Matthew 6:28.
Example: “The Word” by the Beatles. John 1:1, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Lennon/McCartney, “Now I’ve got it, the word is good.” The song also notes “That the word is just the way”; John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Note also, John 1:1 and the first verse in the song start, “in the beginning.”

2. To what theology/philosophy do you think Que Sera, Sera belong? Does it belong to yours?
Anyone else, when they hear his name, sing “Dave Petraeus, Dave Petraus” to the tune of “Doctor Zaius” from the Simpsons? I thought not.
“The general came to shed some light
On why we needed to keep the fight.”
Of course, you can color the couplet to your personal political preferences.