A Reverse Exorcism of Humility


humility

This is the time of year when the chill seeps into my skin and caresses my soul with icy, lingering fingers, almost as if it’s been waiting all year for this.  And so it takes it’s time now, savoring the moment.  I can walk outside at night and feel how cold the black of the sky is; drink in this rigid dark ice.

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I’m going to make a conscious effort to love other humans, to cease this constant hate towards them… stop my self-pitying.  I’ve  always considered others to have some value inherent in them, but only a very small value when compared to myself and those I consider friends and family.

As if a conscious awakening occurred only slightly, just enough to be aware of the filth of the world, but not enough to love it regardless.  A fracturing of the shell of ignorance, not a hole carved out to actually see something.

I have the intellect to hide behind my words; to distract people from my true self, and to delay the truth by piecing together lies to create a very artful, convincing obscurity.

I don’t believe I can attain the next level of consciousness except by through a convergence of both emotion and thought – a dialectical approach seems the only way.

It appears to me I’ve covered a vast distance, but when I look back, I see no footprints to mark my path.  I can only hope the arrow of time is splintering, or else I’m a very light-footed traveler.

My Blog Site Goes ‘Ka-Ching’ for WordPress.com


I’m simultaneously watching the State of the Nation Address and surfing the net.  Here’s a juicy bit of information I found via Freewebsitereport.org:

 “The estimated website net worth based on it’s traffic value and online website advertisement revenue alone is around $110. Aquashift.wordpress.com receives 50 page views per day and generates nearly $0.15 in daily ad revenue.”

 

When I read this I was first a little jealous that I wasn’t getting a cut, and then I wondered about how many wordpress.com users there are.  While I couldn’t find an exact number, I did get some information on just how large WordPress.com is:

http://en.wordpress.com/stats/  says that “Over 401 million people view more than 4.1 billion pages each month.”

Also: “WordPress.com users produce about 39.3 million new posts and 42.7 million new comments each month.”

 

Then on the site http://www.easystaffhawaii.com/how-big-is-wordpress/

I read that 32 million active websites were run on the Multisite version installation of WordPress in 2012.

 

I’m too lazy to whip out my excel program and crunch the numbers, but in this case I don’t think I have to.  WordPress.com is banking it.  

So, like I said, I was a little jealous.  Then, I thought about how much joy WordPress gives me, and I say they deserve the money they make, even if a tiny part of it is off of advertisements on my blog.

 

– The Philosopher


 

Imitation of a 19th Century Philosopher


This is an imaginary essay that a philosopher of the 19th century would write.

Enjoy.

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The man of low, or what we shall call here not only to preserve the conventions of propriety and formality, but as a well-meaning gesture of understanding for him, normal, intelligence, has much difficulty engaging some of the more rarified mental faculties that are necessary precursors to singular thought and idea.  To this man, then, engagement defines itself as the primary function that precipitates deep thinking.

The genius, on the other hand, is forever in the predicament of attempting to disengage various problematic faculties of the mind that deluge him and thus render focused attention unattainable.  Once disengagement has occurred, the genius is granted a respite from the blur of thoughts and is able to focus the power of his intellect on save one or two.

And while the man of normal capacity of intellect takes a simple pleasure from overt display of a self-formulated answer to a problem that, more often than not is of a practical nature, the genius is distinguished by finding much joy in the process itself of unraveling and dissecting a conundrum, even if, it is emphasized, the end result is not an answer readily perceived as concrete, reasonable, and exclusive.

     These two, then, are the main, but sometimes innocuous differences between the ordinary thinker and the savant.  But what of the similarities? What traits of mental and emotional character instance themselves in these two ostensibly different men?  This question requires a detailed look into the lives of each.

     Certainly, the genius would argue in unequivocal terms that he is an island, would try to isolate himself as much as possible not just from the average man, but from all other evidenced genius.  Not only does he despise the mundane and, what he perceives to be, the superficial, it is justifiable to say that he resents the presence of novelty not directly evinced by himself.  He seeks the state of “Nietche’s Ubermann” – the elusive transcendental qualities of perfect self-sufficiency and self-mastery.

And indeed, it is a fact that he will usually lead a life of social reclusion, quitting much of the possibility for friendship so as to better align himself with the arts and sciences, and with his work.  This foregoing of potential happiness derived from social contact is a solid testimony to his will and constitution, for no one can deny the suffering and confusion that must necessarily accompany a life of solitude.  Even the aforementioned joy the genius partakes of by virtue of his intellectual pursuits cannot provide him refuge from the inevitable tides of Loneliness and Depression that rise ever higher as he progresses in his craft.

All his works are tragic labors of love, to the discerning observer.  They represent the horrendous agony, the sea of tears, the incalcuble number of hours in which he has spent starving himself emotionally and physically to create the sublime.

     That he is consumed utterly by the demands of his vocation should go without saying, yet is not widely understood, I think, how this almost preternatural consuming nature of his work transforms him, bit by bit, into a human of extreme depravity and madness.

He sacrifices all, and in the end, himself, on the altar of his ideals.  To see an example of this we must hardly look further than the most obvious and well-known of painters, Van Gogh, who in his unbowed earnestness for the absolute, relinquished his ear fearlessly, cutting it eagerly from his body.  There is no forfeiture too great, no task he is unwilling to do in the name of the enlightenment of the mind.

     In his final stage, the genius is by most accounts no longer human.  His work has so obscured any other interest or habit of mind that it is impossible for him to act in anyway unnatural to it.  Misery, happiness, ennui, all no longer hold meaning for him as relative contextual entities, and thus only affect him in the form of an impetus to work longer hours, to eat and sleep less, etc.  He will feed off these emotions in the same manner that a sportsman will harness nervous pressure to excel at his game.

     Now that we have acquainted ourselves lightly with the life of a genius, such as it is, we will move on swiftly to bring the life of an ordinary man under scrutiny, and so have a better framework of knowledge in our employ to correctly identify the similarities between them.

     Unlike the obsessive and self-destructive nature peculiar to the man possessed of much intellectual wealth, the ordinary man embodies a rational and cautious temperament.

He settles comfortably enough among life’s quaint trivialities, and as a consequence of his simplicity, allows himself to be blown freely by fate, passion, and circumstance. His worries are practical, and his ethos unremarkable in style.  Yet if he were to struggle determinedly against instances of willful malfeasance, resolving to abide by the universal laws of kindness, how can we say that his time on earth was any less beautiful than the tragic days spent by the genius?  For the average man has more space around him to move gracefully and effortlessly, if he so chooses.

     The subtle scent of a rose many not invoke awe or sense of mystery; the unseen pattern an ant makes with its movements on the earth beneath his feet may escape attention; he will certainly never know the rapture and intensity of solving a differential equation of Calculus.  Yet because he is so empty, his body can more easily be filled like a vessel with the ineffable understanding of God.

Ephemeral Discontent


She sits by the moonlit water, facing the ancient waves.

A look of fragile temerity is on her face. Her beauty at once encompasses me; somewhere from the depths of the sea she hides her secret.
Her essence, illuminated by the moon, derived from the ocean, hungrily devoured by my soul.
One cannot tell where she begins, and the great expanse of sea ends. The water and she are like two snakes, coiled up together in a slow mating dance.

I walk up to a nearby tree, muted and silenced; befuddled at her ecstatic nature. Somehow I manage to negotiate my limbs, and sit down. My back is against the tree, and my eyes never leave her.
I attempt articulation of thought, but find I have none to express. All I see now are splashes of moonlight on seaweed-tangled hair.
Another moment, and her vision leaves me; she is gone.

My hand brushes lightly through the sand until it encounters a stone. Fingers trace the smoothness of it. The coolness reaches my senses.
Where has she gone? Was she nothing more than a phantom, a reflection, a lonely ghost of the sea? I sigh a sigh of despondency, and throw the stone, watching it skip and jump against the waves.

It is always this way with me. I am unable to catch the pearls that present themselves to me from time to time. Maybe I need to quit desiring them.
An hour passes, the moon is now half-hidden behind the water.
My mind a bit clearer, and my legs a bit stronger, I get up from my seat next to the tree, and resume a course that takes me along the bank of the liquid mass.
The idea slowly surfaces from somewhere that I am Alone. Not temporarily; not just in the present moment, but in a permenant, timeless fashion as well.
Ah well, I think. Better to be swathed tightly in the cloak of loneliness than to keep company with illusions of beauty and love.

I walk until the moon has completely disappeared from the sky. Its absence has darkened the waters and allowed the less luminous objects in the sky to present themselves.
I sleep that night, curled up in the sand, dreaming silently below the stars.

Another Year


Well, fellow bloggers and readers everywhere, another year of American football has come and gone again.  Every season is like a beautifully crafted story of honor, courage, strength, and …well, let’s face it, cheating.  I can’t think of one nationally-recognized sport that doesn’t involve itself in some form of shystering.  Even Lance Armstrong needs drugs to ride his bike up and down the grassy hills of France.

Here’s the deal.  I just spent 4 hours straight trying to find a correlation between Super Bowl attendance and football game trends. Why?  I don’t know.  Perhaps I’m bitter my team didn’t win the Super Bowl… didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, heck, has never won a Super Bowl ring.   Perhaps I really like making graphs on Microsoft Office’s Excel (ooh, more on graphs and football in another post!).  Either way, I may or may not have some evidence for the NFL and/or other affiliates rigging Super Bowl games.

So read on.   There’s already no way to refute the the truth that football athletes take illegal ‘performance enhancing drugs,’ and there are many people and organizations who believe, but can’t prove, that games in the NFL are thrown.  This is just one more attempt to hack away at their facade of credibility.  I mean seriously, even if the NFL doesn’t orchestrate and plan their games ahead, it’s already such a corrupt organization in so many other ways that it doesn’t really matter.

People often forget that the NFL is an umbrella company, and the teams are franchises, just like we have a corporate McDonald’s corporation, with franchise restaurants that make money under its name and protocols.

The NFL is corporate headquarters Mickey D’s, the Broncos are the McDonald’s restaurant down the block, Peyton Manning is the Big Mac, and every 50 yard completion or hand-off to Moreno or McGahee for a touchdown is the beef.

And hey, please don’t misunderstand, I love McDonald’s.  I also just know it’s a company, and companies only have one goal: make money.  They don’t want to find a cure for cancer, or have empathy for suffering, or spend money on sheltering the homeless… well unless those activities happen to make them money, that is.  And I think that’s just fine, but let’s call a spade a spade and not kid ourselves…. They’re certainly not.

I really don’t care that the games are likely thrown, I will still love football until I die.  The athleticism and mathematics that run it are mind-blowing and will keep me occupied and diverted forever.

So here’s to truth and the eternal search for it:

After the Raven’s beat the 49ers to win the 2013 Super Bowl, I looked up the list of Super Bowl contenders and stats since 1967 on Wikipedia.  I played around with the numbers, trying to find a correlation between ‘exciting’ games and Super Bowl attendance.

Here’s some of the graphs I compiled with the data:

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The Blue line is the attendance at the Super  Bowl over the years, and the Red line represents the total points scored per game.  The correlation on this is 0.027581.  For those of you who aren’t math geeks we’re looking for a .5 correlation at the very least to signal a strong enough correlation to consider using it as a predictive tool for future games.

I also drew up graphs for other correlations I thought might exist, but nothing with a correlation coefficient  higher than .003.   I also found out, just for fun that the average combined score for all Super Bowls is 46.98, with a standard deviation of 13.1545, a minimum total score of 21, and a max of 75.  But plugging those numbers into algorithms to try to find a pattern ended up nowhere.  Then I found this:

Capture1

The blue line is attendance again, but the red line represents how close the game was, i.e. how many points the winning team won by.  It looked visually like a good correlation, but when I did the math it was only a -0.014 (negative and positive coefficients can have the same strength, they’re just moving in opposite directions.  A positive correlation means that the more of x, the more of y.. and negative is the more of x, the less of y.  They’re just different correlations).

But then I thought about it, and it didn’t make sense that the attendance THAT YEAR would reflect or be reflected by the outcome of the game.  The fans wouldn’t know ahead of time how awesome the game would be.. but if there were to be an awesome game, they would sure as hell come next year.  And if there was a crappy game, that wouldn’t be reflected in attendance until the year after as well.  So, after I stopped assuming that fans are mind readers and psychics, I figured in a one year delay in correlation, and this is what I got:

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This is the same graph, only the attendance by the fans of the Super Bowl game is delayed by one year.

I found this extremely high correlation with a cheap old version of excel and 4 hours.  I’m pretty sure a huge corporation is going to notice pretty quick.. and not only this correlation, but dozens of others I haven’t found.  And what do you think an entity whose only existence is to make money will do once it finds something like this?  Not take advantage of this almost guaranteed way to raise their cash-flow?  No, I’m afraid not.  It’s impossible to think of them not exploiting this, and anything else.

Anyway, let me reiterate how much I love football, because I think despite my varied protestations to the contrary, some of you may take this in the wrong way.  I don’t care that football games are rigged, I just want people to wake up about it.  Don’t be like the pro-wrestling fans that still think it’s real.  🙂

The Super Bowl 2013 Event!


Ravens vs. 49ers!

Unfortunately, neither team deserves the Ring this year, in my biased opinion.  Nevertheless, if one has to go home with a Victory, Flacco and the Ravens are the most worthy.  Their quarterback has excelled all my expectations; his accuracy is dead-on, and he can throw bullets 50 yards out no problem.  This will be the biggest game of his life, and I hope he’s up to the challenge of trouncing the 49ers.

MY PREDICTION:
RAVENS 34, 49er, 21

Take that to the bank.


Since I, and vicariously, my family, are Vikings and bleed purple for life, we are attired appropriately for today’s game:

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Note my son’s face of disgust  at the Vikings absence in this game. He knows.

Vikings 2014!!!!!

Skol!