Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Time To Answer The Mail And The Rest Of You!!

"How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it, why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought by a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn't it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager—I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint?"


This beautiful quote was at the end of a wonderful e mail that I got last night. I'm just taking the other path. Take as much freedom as you like. Write any form that you like. Make it short, make it long. Make it a poem. Make it yours. Does that mean it's your own personal story? Not necessarily, you just have to write it. And, it needs to be about a woman or women, because that's the restriction I put on this.

Some questions have been:

Why did you bring up this guy's Kennedy's research....?

Fair enough. Existentialism, briefly is about the human struggle to find meaning in people's lives. Anxiety or angst arises in people as we're the only animal that knows that we will die, we just don't know when. So why put up with this crap we all do? What moves us along all these years? You can start by looking at the people that wrote the existential literature to begin with. Sartre wrote "No Exit" and then decided to write the ever-popular "Nausea". Why bother with the second book? Why not just kill himself and save himself the taxes and the grief with the government. I mean, he did live in France, and that meant bureaucracy. The existentialists look like the worst pessimists on Earth. But if you scratch a pessimist, you find an optimist, because there's no other reason to get that involved in something and to try to keep looking for a way out. Really. Gives a little more meaning to the thought "Never Surrender".

In Psychology, Kennedy provides us with the same motive for movement, namely humans need to affiliate, hang out with others, exercise power, get others to do things; and achieve, technically this is taking on risk and reducing it within the organism. You can think of it as risking failure to achieve, like, going to school to learn, writing a story for publication, finding a way out of your comfort zone or setting goals that stretch you.

I hope you can see the relationship now.

What possessed you to do this?

A couple of things and people did. One is Misanthropster. She is a much better writer than me. She ought to be writing more. She started a blog about things she wanted to complain about, and you know there's plenty that needs attention drawn to it, but she has talent vastly beyond that. So I filed that away in the back of my mind. I didn't put up her blog because she isn't writing much anymore. A real shame.

And then there is my bloggy sister Alison, who like Misanthropster is also smarter than I am. She graduated from college and should have gone into TV, but went to France instead where there this dude, and she had kids and ended up teaching English. She passed some government test that had nothing to do with anything, and became a civil servant. If you know that I am into Friedman as an economist and that I hold Republicans and Democrats in equal disdain, then please don't expect to warmly embrace the French bureaucracy. Skipping unless details TV work was not available in France, and now that she is here, there has not yet been an opportunity for any TV work here. We all are constrained by the opportunities available, it's not like you can always make something happen.

There is something terribly wrong with that dialog that you wrote yesterday, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Can you tell me what's wrong, please? And why?

When I was in grad school, the head of the doctoral program was also my statistics professor. The first day of the semester was a Thursday, and our course met Tuesdays and Thursdays. The course was Baysian Statistics and he thought we should do a general calc review. So he gave us one problem to do. Solve for the integral of 1 over the formula for the normal curve. Looked like it could be done, just sit down and do it. Maybe take an hour. I want you to know that he and I sat on a committee to pick a new minicomputer for the School of Business for two hours after class, in fact, we were the committee, just he and I. He kept a straight face all the way through as we chatted and talked about alternatives. We were on a first name basis, even in class. Never let being on a first name basis go to your head when you are working with people with International reputations. When they are that good, they don't care what you call them.

I got home and decided to knock out the home work that night and get my own course work going for my students. So, I broke out the parts, and, wooops, that won't work, so then I tried......and this went on all night. And I broke and went to school and taught class, and answered questions from the undergrads as I tried to cut my class size down from 135 to under 50. Rule 1: No smiling. Yes, there is a paper in this class. How long? As long as it takes to cover the subject. How many pages is that? I don't know, what's the topic you're writing on? (I am creating panic to get them to go to other people's courses, or to drop out of mine. I had the reputation of hard but fair. Those majoring in the subject wanted me because IBM would hire out of the second class up the line of they could earn a "B" or better. I also had to turn to the board a lot because there was no door at the back of the room for them to sneak out. On the other hand, for being such a nasty bastard, I did cancel class one day because it was the first day of Spring, and another year, we had class outside. I'm just vicious, making them think and all that).

I spent the entire weekend and tried everything I could think of to solve a problem in calculus that it turns out can't be solved. A perfect problem to review calculus. So if you think that the dialog with the 'goddess' is wrong, then by all means, re-write it. You'll get the idea that I'm not a writer. You all are writers. Life makes us all thinkers.

Why are you so late today?

The Center for Disease Control called after I got home from physical therapy and wanted to talk about doing some statistical work for them. I have been having trouble sleeping, I keep waking up in the middle of the night sweating bullets. I think I'm having an achievement deficiency.

Let's see what comments we have now.


Crankster said...

I like the notion of using an unsolvable problem to clean the circuits. The way you're talking to a religious structure as an in for discussing existentialism seems similarly perverse.


By the way, I read an article on Friedman today. It was interesting that he referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme. It was the perfect way to explain what's always bugged me about Social Security.

The CEO said...

Sir- I am a product of my environment and my genes, plain and simple.

I trust you will let the Miss-Ann-Thropster know there's a challenge out there for her, please.

Friedman also laid the groundwork for the all-volunteer Army, pay them what it takes to get the people you need to do the job. They will be motivated rather then the draftees who get dragged into it against their will. Stated another way, how many people do you think needed to be drafted into the service for World War 2?

And last, I haven't even rung the Zen bell yet......

The CEO said...

I am hiding in plain sight Crankster, just to be clear about it. Why not re-write my little dialog, after school, naturally.

Echo Mouse said...

First off, that quote is what I ask myself everyday. I wish I was a well-read person and knew about it before. Glad to know smarter minds have been all over this thing called life.

As for the rest, holy crap you're a genius eh?! lol I had no idea. I should have I suppose. Way cool :)
Yea, I don't really get it and have to read back to see what it's all about. But so far, I like it :)

mist1 said...

I take anti-existentialism meds to keep the anxiety and angst down.

Allan said...

I gave up on philosophy after college when I realized the futility of pondering the unanswerable.

Once I decided to just get on with living, I was much happier.

I'm thinking of getting a sweatshirt bearing the words, "Don't bother me. I'm living happily ever after."

Glamourpuss said...

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true." James Branch Cabell


Claudia said...

I live in my own little world and find myself quite happy most of the time....
are you trying to give us homework?

The CEO said...

If I gave homework, I'd have to grade it? I was just thinking of a writing contest, Claudia, after the dust clears, and after you're out of school. For those that can write. Or want to try.

My t-shirt's simple: Women wanted! I suppose that makes me an optimist, or I'm living happily ever after. Of course, my wife has the t shirt that says: Be the Woman!

Claudia said...

I can't really speak for anyone but myself, but even I can't understand myself at's like trying to control the tides. I've gotten to the point that I just go with the flow.

misanthropster said...

Misanthropster will be back to her regularly scheduled bitching in January, I suppose.

I just don't have no time right now. Ugh. I need a desk job. This working all hours of the day stuff has GOT to end.

The CEO said...

Claudia- I don't understand myself any better than you understand yourself. The big difference is that I can say that like Freud would have said it. "Am I not a psychological person too?" Actually, I also heard it from my friend Marvin.

Misanthropster- How nice to see you out and about. Please never work retail again. it's so douchitudinousnessless. Really.

Alison said...

I don't know where my brain is. Even if I did, I don't think I'd be able to wrap it around these last two posts of yours.


The CEO said...

Relax Ali, this is supposed to be fun. Let me try one more post today, then I'll try writing a few little things. But, please remember, I'm not a writer.