Sunday, April 29, 2012

Plans for summer: some combination of the following

1.  Work on house.

2.  Read and re-read some program whatnot, especially the Bible, Aristotle's Physics, and various histories. . . possibly also some Plato and Euripides, and maybe the Anead.  We'll see.

3.  Get a bike and see what my first taste of living car-free off campus is like.

4.  Start writing a book about policy and practice in handling sexual and domestic violence within the Mormon church.  This is something I've been researching for a long time; I'm hoping to get 75 or 100 pages of rough draft out.

5.  Study Greek like a Mofo. . . a mofo who plans to support his or her family as a classicist, that is.

6.  Draw.  Also learn some calligraphy and start playing with homegrown comics.

7.  Fake RILA: doing the RILA readings, but also Rome-oriented food, movies, travel books, blogs, etc.

8.  Spend time with Heidegger, and my other Utah peoples.

9.  Love making food in my kitchen.

10.  Keep getting my five fruit & veg and exercising every day.

11.  Spend some serious time hiking, making music, and meditating in the wild.

12.  Do some prep work for next year's social justice corps.

13.  Go on a trip--maybe Seattle, Santa Fe, or the Grand Canyon.  Or maybe some combination of the above.

14.  Stay in touch with johnnies, play my piano, start practicing for the GRE, think about future summers, listen to the sophomore music compilation on repeat, read mass market urban fantasy novels about highly armed females, etc.

15.  Keep chewing on these questions:
-What ethical obligations does one have to follow rules an unjust system which one can not opt out of?
-What is the relationship between fantasy, representation, and reality?
-What is the best way to deal with possessions?
-What are the best ways to deal with groups, appearances, and relationships?
-What exactly are we doing at St. John's, and how can I make the most of it?


  1. 4 sounds really cool. Keep me(us) in the loop about that.

    5 is going to be difficult. Academia has a glut of liberal arts people. Some will get jobs, but a lot will be stuck as adjuncts. (Just thinking about the number of new minted PhDs vs positions at colleges opening up is likely a bit sobering)

    8? Heidegger is in Utah? And here I kept on thinking he was dead.

    On 15:

    a) Is an interesting question. I end up thinking that there isn't a determinate answer. I am not a moral realist, and honestly most societies are structured where power and legitimacy go hand in hand, and I get the feeling that the kind of situation you're talking about is mostly a result of the modern nation-state. This means that any answer I think you could come to would be a reconstruction from pre-existing mechanisms, but that there isn't a clear intuition. (There are a few traditions that have this relationship, but they are marginal and likely often fundamentally conflicting. Many of them are not likely helpful, as the anabaptists have had this relationship to all systems, BUT their religious answers are out of touch with secular needs.)

    b) I hear Kant is big on the relationship between representation and reality(as is German idealism in general). I haven't read it, but I hear that Struggle Against Subjectivity by Frederic Beiser is a good introduction to German idealism. I don't know if that direction is helpful. I know more about this in relationship to religion, instead of fantasy. So, Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained possibly has some overlap in that it talks extensively about religion, representation, and reality. Theological Incorrectness by D. Jason Sloane also goes off of the same themes as Religion Explained, but it talks about how people modify their religions based upon pre-existing cognitive mechanisms based upon how they represent reality. So, if a religion has an implausible model of the divine, people will usually modify it by some pre-existing rules into a model of the divine that goes along with their pre-existing representation tendencies.

  2. c) "Best" is tricky.(moral anti-realist here) It may be helpful to understand the relationship between property concepts and human cognition. I know one anthropologist has suggested that moral outrage actually relates to property conceptions: This is in many ways plausible given that higher-level representations likely had to evolve from adapting lower-level representations. (See embodied mind) I think another relevant issue will be the nature of attachments(which probably relates to both people and objects). So, the hedonic treadmill and happiness research may be a very interesting path for you.

    d) Very interesting. One path may be found in game theory, in that appearances basically are part of game-theoretic strategies for attaining goals. So, if I present myself as the "tough guy who you shouldn't cross", I am in some sense committing myself to punishing transgressions to keep up appearances, but I am also protecting myself from transgressions by promising they will be punished. This may seem like an alien mindset, but it could be interesting in conjunction with evolutionary psychology promoting a game-theory winning organism. This post could be conceptually interesting to you if you wanted to entertain this perspective a bit: (It's not an evolutionary psychologist, but it does give some of this kind of thinking) This post is also interesting to think on: (Also, I've been reading Kissinger, so my mind is tending towards game-theory/machiavellian thinking) Political maneuverings do give some insight to certain problems.

    Another way to look at this is organizational behavior, like with businesses and churches and things like that. What group norms and structures promote order, happiness, and productivity, and which ones hinder it. Organizational behavior does have a lot to say about optimal group size, power-structures and associated trade-offs, and how human beings approach activity.(but most of this is purely productivity oriented)

    And yeah, there is just quality of life and relationship happiness and all of that. There's probably some literature on this as well. I mean, I know there is love literature.

    e) I don't know, honestly. :P

    Also, I hope I wasn't just too pointlessly long.