Descartes Interrupted

Descartes Disrupted

That’s pretty much how it is for me when I pray, meditate, think, or study. I’d probably have had a PhD by now if it wasn’t for that stupid fly. Okay, I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for that stupid fly, the TV, raising a few kids, and having to keep my house clean. But other than this, I would probably have had a doctrate by now.

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19 Responses to “Descartes Interrupted”

  1. Roger Green  

    Every two or three years, when I was a kid, the presiding elder came by our church and gave a sermon. And by “a sermon”, I should really say “the sermon”. It was, as far as I recall, pretty much the same one. It involved going on the journey (towards the Christian life or whatever) but you have a pebble in your shoe. Pretty soon that tiny little pebble is all you can focus on. It has more import than the journey you’re on. And it’s not until…punchine…you take care of the little things in life that you can deal with the big stuff.

  2. K.L.B.  

    Well, if it weren’t for my dear friend Ernie dying (actually, I had TWO dear friends named Ernie – E1 died in a hiking fall, and E2 died from burns suffered in a church fire), I’d probably be graduated from OUCOM (Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine). You see, he (E1) and I were going to attend together.

    Say… if a frog had wings, would it bump its butt when it flew?

    Would’a, should’a, could’a…

    You have a loving wife, beautiful, intelligent children, a living mother, job, a Master’s, a good brain, a dog, a blog…

    Just move out of CA. Come to where the air is clean and the sky is blue, where we have genuine seasonal changes, friendly people, low crime, PLENTY of water, low taxes, low cost of living, low unemployment, high education, mountains with deciduous trees – that’d be Huntsville, AL.

    Then, you’ll be okay! *LMAO*

    Oh yeah… “Bitch” has a sister.

    Her name is “Moan.”

    You’re enjoying life.

    Get over it!

  3. Anthony Velez  

    Brother Kev – I can see why this post might be read as a complaint regarding what I don’t have, but it really wasn’t about that. Rather it is about the fact that I am a distraction waiting to happen, such that if I didn’t have such distractions I would probably have done a bit more by now, i.e. write a book, paint a gallery’s worth of paintings, get out at take pictures, get a doctorate degree, etc. But that stupid fly, and my own impulse to veg in front of the tube, as well as legit responsibilities like being a husband, dad, and homeowner kind of keep me distracted from personal interests, professional development, and hobbies. Of course, the legit responsibilities are not really distractions, but they are factors that have to be considered and negotiated in the overall picture of what I want to do and what I am called to.

  4. Simon  

    I’d be a fabulously wealthy and adept internet mogul now if it wasn’t for internet porn!

  5. Simon  

    You know when you make a joke and later have second thoughts about whether that was he right joke for the company you were in at the time, well I’m having one of those moments :-)

  6. Anthony Velez  

    Simon – I’ll just say that I did laugh, and your comment reminded me of line from House. Along with that, I certainly can identify with saying something (and doing something) and having second thoughts about the wisdom or fittingness of what I said (or did).

    With all that said, I feel the need to make a station announcement.

    This blog does not endorse the comments of the above commenter, and it certainly does not endorse pornography.

    Bad Simon, bad!

    *whack*

    (That was the sound of a ruler on your open palm)
    :-)

  7. K.L.B.  

    Anthony, you’re a bad influence!

    I write that in complete jest, for it was at your endorsement that I started watching “House.” Now, I also watch “Breaking Bad.” (Aren’t you glad for DVR?) OH! That’s some GOOD story telling! They should’a won the Golden Globe or Emmy – or whatever teevee award show was held recently – instead of “Mad Men.” That show SUCKS and BLOWS! Watching MM is like watching a soap opera – which I’ve only done on rare occasion. (Excuse me while I vomit.)

    I feel much better now. Thank you.

    Other’n that, however, I do watch an occasional episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Frasier,” “NCIS” or some other similarly benign show. (I wish “Gentle Ben,” “Flipper,” “Lassie,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Mayberry RFD” and other shows would air in re-runs.

    But my point here is corollary to one you made using an example from the TV drama “House.” Viewers may be aware of actor Hugh Laurie’s self-obsessed, selfish, inconsiderate, rude, self-loathing, narcotic-addicted, philandering, people-using, competent physician/diagnostician character on that Fox Network series.

    His acerbic, narcissistic personality traits have damaged his professional relationships, and he has no intimate personal relationships. Those with whom he interacts merely tolerate him – patients and professionals alike. He is a deeply lonely, emotionally isolated and bitter man, tormented not only by physical pain, but is unwittingly driven by his own denial of his emotional pain.

    In relatively recent episodes, apparently because his license to practice medicine was at risk, House was committed (voluntarily, yet initially against his own desire) to a psychiatric facility where he experienced a “coming to himself” moment. I recollect that in one scene, after sitting at a table with a total stranger, he confessed to that female that, “I’m a philanderer.”

    What made his confession interesting was not its truth, neither the characteristic blunt delivery for which his character is infamous, but that it was one part of that “coming to himself” moment, which for his character, is displayed as an inability or unwillingness to have or experience genuine, in-depth relationships with anyone.

    With House’s psychiatric physician, well aware of House’s manipulation, psychological game-playing, and diversionary tactics, it’s definitely “game over,” and he calls his hand on House’s own refusal to accept failure of whatever kind, and simply move on.

    Laurie’s character Dr. Greg House, MD, has phenomenal achievements, but for whatever reason, he has concentrated instead upon failures, thus beating himself over his own head (abusing himself psychologically) unnecessarily. There is no justification whatsoever for such actions.

    So, in a very real way, I see a correlation not only to your comments, “if it weren’t for ___ I’d have ___ by now,” but also to Simon’s similar remark, which, though given in jest, I perceive has an enormous kernel of truth.

    But then, we all want to place blame for our failures – perceived or real – outside ourselves rather than accepting responsibility for our own actions… don’t we?

    “The serpent deceived me…”

    It is the “human condition,” is it not?

  8. Roger Green  

    K.L.B. – But Bryan Cranston, star of Breaking Bad, DID win an Emmy for best actor in a drama for the 2nd year in a row.
    Mad Men is a show I’ve never watched, but I’ve read a lot about it in blogs such as Racialicious, which dissect the contextual sexism and the almost invisible characters of color.

  9. Anthony Velez  

    Hey Kevin – I have to disagree with you about Mad Men. Yes, it certainly has a soap opera element to it, but it is quite a smart show in its ability to recreate and express the attitudes, norms and mores of early 1960s America. When I watch the show I really get that sense of transition, where you can see the entrenched traditional values coming up against the first signs of the cultural revolution that was still a few years away. Moreover, there is something about the Madison Avenue climate, with its orientation on image that provides a great context for the protagonist, Don, who is himself a man made of image. He is quite literally a man who created his own identity, in a manner that suited his purposes, and in a manner that cut him off from his upbringing and roots. Hence he is a floating figure, who functions as a metaphor for the society that America was becoming. The show at once provides a critique of the traditional values of American society, while it also raises questions about the value of the benefits of the cultural shift that provides the setting for the show.

    Having said all this, I don’t expect you to agree with me, as I think you and I have a different aesthetic overall, which is A okay. I just felt the need to defend something I like.

  10. K.L.B.  

    Fine business! It’s very much like the “vanilla v chocolate” argument, which difference as you accurately note, “is A okay.”

    On the “…ability to recreate and express the attitudes, norms and mores of early 1960s America,” I would take some exception insofar as the writers I dare say, are very likely nowhere near the age to have experienced that era, and what is shown is their interpretation of the same. Granted, I would imagine that there is some effort to portray in some quasi-realistic fashion the socio-cultural norms of that era, but I’ve not yet spoken with anyone who was adult in that time and in those environs so portrayed whom could share such insight to (in)validate, verify or deny elements of the show for veracity’s sake.

    Having thus expressed, I suppose there should be some allowance made for creative license – wouldn’t you imagine? And so, I would imagine the end game is this: that show is merely entertainment – a pure exercise in the art and craft of story-telling – nothing more, nothing less.

    Agreed?

    However, regarding “the cultural revolution,” I would like to know your (and others’) opinion.

    The seeds of promiscuity and illicit drug use which were sown in that era have blossomed, and the fruit having been borne has become a very bitter and costly pill for us to swallow – collectively as a nation, and individually as families. Proverbially, we can’t put that genie back in the bottle.

    Other than equal rights, what good have you observed emerge from that era?

  11. Roger Green  

    K.L.B. – I will content that the illicit drug use existed long before most of America noticed it. The Pill was a great asset to the sexual revolution, and AIDS a great brake; I think there’s an ebb abnd flow to these things, niot unlike the Israelites dedication to God, or lack thereof. In any case, the pretext of religion, i.e., religiosity, that took place in America is no better than no religion at all. BTW, Americans claim to be less religious now, and I don’t put that in the sexual revolution/drug box. Why do you think Christianity is declining in America NOW? http://nysdca.blogspot.com/2009/10/american-religious-identification.html

  12. K.L.B.  

    Hi Roger!

    I did not imply that – as you wrote – “Christianity is declining in America.”

    And granted, there is “ebb abnd (sic) flow to these things,” those things being societal mores, behaviors and attitudes. For example, in support (I trust) of your comment, I would assert that our nation’s sexual proclivities are more spoken about openly, whereas in the Victorian era, as I’ve read, it had extraordinary libertine behaviors, albeit unpublished.

    And while the blog link you posted has some interesting fodder, no doubt, my question remains unanswered.

    My Q is succinct and straightforward: “Other than equal rights, what good have you observed emerge from that era?”

  13. Roger Green  

    Hi, K.L.B. –

    Sure- A greater concern for the environment (Earth Day, EPA, etc.). Medicare/Medicaid. The organic movement can be traced to that period. A certain (probably overstated) optimism that people in the society could change society, especially as the 18-year-old vote became available. Protesting war, which is usually a good idea anytime.

    And “other than equal rights”, of course, is huge! Women’s rights, black rights, gay rights. And those weren’t achieved by a switch being flicked, a law being passed, but by a process that I argiue is still going on.

    Oh, and personal bias, but I love the music of the era.

  14. K.L.B.  

    Descartesus Introitus… I doubt I’ll get in.

    Descartesus Interruptus… I doubt I want to go there.

    Descartesus Reservatus… I doubt you want me to go there, it may take longer.

    Descartesus Summa Cum Laude… Quiet down! The kids’ll hear us!

    Descartesus Fellatus… you’re going down, sucka’!

    Actually, he was a good Catholic Christian, and Blaised new trails in mathematics.

    However, Pascal doubted it.

    But I’m going on a tangent with this.

    Cogito ergo cesso

  15. K.L.B.  

    Gee… I was kinda’ hoping you and your readers would jump on the “if it weren’t for” aspect of your entry.

    While the ability to allow oneself to become distracted (self control, or lack thereof) has some bearing, I don’t think it is as important as what we allow the Almighty to do with, to, through or for us in the midst of the distraction we collectively call “life.”

    And yet, there is the “proving the negative” aspect of your entry by mentioning Descartes.

    Perhaps more curious yet is why you correlate doubting with what you share as your own sense of failure/inability to have obtained “by now,” and which you express as “if it weren’t for…”

    You, I or anyone can do whatever we please, and we do.

    Why do you doubt?

    “For what purpose does the gentleman from California rise?”

  16. Anthony Velez  

    Kevin – The spirit which prompted you to write the comment where you state things such as “Descartesus Introitus… I doubt I’ll get in. – Descartesus Interruptus… I doubt I want to go there,” is akin to the spirit that prompted me to post this entry on my blog. In short, I thought the cartoon was funny. I think you take me too seriously when I talk about stuff like coulda, woulda, shoulda, or “if it weren’t for.” Sure, I can be self effacing, but this post was not about my failures, but about my ability to get distracted. It may have been hyperbole to chalk that up to not having a PhD, but again, saying that was just funny to me. It was not an expression of real lament.

  17. K.L.B.  

    True, I thought a lighthearted repartee might provide some necessary levity and direction correction on an otherwise distracted subject.

    Humor must contain, or be based in truth, or it’s just not funny.

    So it is the truth which I have attempted to address by asking about the “if it weren’t for” aspect of your original entry.

    Of course, I understand as well the issue of distraction, having addressed it by writing, “While the ability to allow oneself to become distracted (self control, or lack thereof) has some bearing, I don’t think it is as important as what we allow the Almighty to do with, to, through or for us in the midst of the distraction we collectively call “life.””

    What are your thoughts about that?

  18. Anthony Velez  

    What comes to mind is John Lennon’s “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

  19. Roger Green  

    Which, I just discovered, is an anagram for: Neatly weighs up mawkish philosophy about unforseen reality.