Same Shit, Different Day

The Linda Richman “talk amongst among yourselves – I’ll give you a topic” – talking point: Why is my generation’s view of productivity so lamentable?

I thought I could go over a couple of things I have learned in my life.   These are personal objections to reoccuring social dogma, that were not only taught to me, but I have heard over the past few years from, you know, the kids.

1.Do or do not – there is no “try”. -Master Yoda

        In high school i was enrolled in a Theory of knowledge class.  You are to smart to sit through an explanation of what the rubric for the class entailed because the name of it, afterall, is seemingly self-explanitory.  One of the lessons of a particular day revolved around this phrase popularized by the little green guy from the Star Wars franchise.  The exercise involved a volunteer, and a stapler sitting on a table.  The voluntere was then asked to “try and pick up the stapler”.  The volunteer would reach down (or up, i suppose, but I do not specifically recall anyone in the class that could be legally classified as a midget), grab the stapler, and lift it off of the table.  Simple.  No.  “Sorry, I didn’t ask you to actually pick it up, I asked you to try to pick it up.”  Ok… The next volunteer, in an attempt not to make the same mistake, stood awkwardly and just starred at the object.  Better.  No.  “I didn’t ask you to stare at it, or to not pick it up, I asked you to try to pick it up.”  And I’m sure you get the idea. 

The issue with the exercise, and the logic behind the quoptation in general, is that it assumes that trying or to try is based on the result of the action, or that it is a result in itself.  In my opinion (which is pretty much as good as someone’s who actually defines and characterizes these things), to try or to attempt is not something that is manifested or witnessed physically, but is an action that preceeds all other actions.  It is the adjective of a Charlotte Bronte novel.  You could not say “oh, that is a beautiful,”  because the adjective describes nothing.  And because every noun must be preceeded by an adjective (as far as Mrs. Bronte is concerened), you could not have one independent of the other.  The only situations that yeilds results are those that are tried.  In fact, the only situations that exist are those that are tried.  And so, where this fails in practicality is that one can not simply try, one must try something.  And a result must, by definition, be reached – whether positive or negative.  You failed, you succeeded, but you would not have accomplished anything at all had you not tried.

2. Q:What is the opposite of love?   (Typical response: Hate)  No.  The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy.

This was proposed by another teacher that I had in high school.  It is the kind of thing that you think is geius at the time.  Or you get the idea that you have been brought up a pansy, educated from youth into believing the childish idea that love and hate are opposites of each other.  You silly fool.  Apathy – apathy is the opposite of love.  It makes sense.  Apathy is the utter absence of emotion.  And love, after all is the most profound emotion one can feel (aside from that feeling you get when you are walking in mud and it squishes up between your toes).  It all makes sense.

No.  Apathy is not the opposite of love.  Apathy is the opposite of the presence of emotion.  Once that emotion is quantified, it’s meaning changes, and therefore, it’s opposite changes as well.  Imagine ane of those complicated lines you had to draw in trigonometry where somewhere along the line there was a hole.  It looked something like this:


on the far left we have hate.  and on the far right, love.  The hole in the middle (where the variable has no value, or is undefined) – that is apathy.

I have also taken a lot of interest in the Mayan calendar.  Not so much in what it symbolizes or represents in any way, but that it ends December 21, 2012 according to some experts.  Of course that is refuted and disregarded by others, but I’m assuming that those are the same people said that the world would come to an end in the year 2000.  That, plus I think that the idea that the world will come to an end in three years kind of gives you an excuse to want to live your life in the time you have left because, really, when you wake up on December 22nd, what will you have to motivate you then?


3 thoughts on “Same Shit, Different Day

  1. Gee, I miss your writing.

    There was a time a couple of years ago when we were taking one of our late-night walks (we should resume those, by the by) and you told me that you were thinking about majoring in Philosophy. I remember thinking, “Well, duh.” I stand by that. You’ve always been a philosophy kind of guy…

    I also remember both of those teachers and both of those teachings. You’re so right about the Love/Hate thing. Definitely profound when first heard, and definitely debunked at a deep glance.

    Miss you!

  2. I’ve heard it said that fear is the opposite of love. Love overcomes all things. Fear submits to all things. Hate is a shady idea…it’s a weird amalgamation of pride and fear…i don’t think it should even be on the spectrum. Just a thought.

  3. I also thought about that “hate isn’t the opposite of love” thing. And I also had that immediate “This is profound!” reaction, and then realized the hate-apathy-love line.

    That said, I miss Theory of Knowledge. I wish I could have been in yours and Erin’s class, because while mine was definitely enlightening and incredibly interesting, there weren’t too many of us who actually participated in the discussions in any meaningful way. Sad. Every time I’ve had epistemology come up in a college course (it’s happened more often than you would think) I think fondly on ToK.

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