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Julia Set 


12/12/2007--Final Project (final thoughts)

Note: I know that this is rather concise for a final project, but I have spent a tremendous amount of time reflecting on the text and the subject matter that it entails. After reading over it with initial intentions to add more, I feel that it articulates my complete thoughts about Atlantis. I hope that this is alright. My final project is ready to be graded--I would prefer that mobius do so.


After reading Plato's Critias and considering the concept of Atlantis, I do believe that the lost continent existed. It's difficult for me to think that Atlantis didn't exist--how could Plato have gone into so much detail if Atlantis didn't exist? Actually, Critias makes a lot of sense to me. I tried to base my decision on the work solely on Plato's words, hoping to leave out any potential bias, which I would recommend for any reader of the text. I also tried to have an open mind while reading the work as well. If there wasn't at least a little bit of truth to the story, then why has it prompted so much scientific research over thousands of years? I also think that the theory regarding the continent's demise, an earthquake, is probably pretty accurate as well. What's perhaps the most interesting aspect of the whole tale is that the people that lived on Atlantis were a thriving civilization. Come to think of it, why does it seem like it's always the thriving civilizations that disappear? At some point during our formal education we probably all learned about Roanoke, as in the colonists who inhabited Roanoke, Virginia for a period of time before they all disappeared. Hmm...


I wonder if entire civilizations disappear the same way that individual people do. I think that there's still much we don't know about the world and its beginnings. I must admit that the island that Plato depicts in Critias is quite perplexing. The idea of two "ring" islands is very different. Plato's testimony that the earthquake that sunk Atlantis also moved the Acropolis to its present location makes sense to me because you would think that an earthquake powerful enough to sink an entire island would also have an impact on nearby structures as well. If the Richter Scale had been around then, I wonder what the magnitude of the quake would have been. I don't think that the entire story is really that hard to grasp. I don't think that this text should be looked at as a sort of fairy tale--I think that it should be taken seriously. How appropriate to be talking about the sacred island in a class that's centrated around composing the sacred.




After talking with mobius, I have decided to express my thoughts about Critias on the wiki instead of submitting a formal final paper. Another English professor of mine said in class today that this semester which will commence at the end of next week is the longest in Penn State's history. I must say that it felt a bit strange not to have that "study day" in the middle of October and then to have a full week off for Thanksgiving. I think that Penn State made the right decision in this reformulation of the academic calendar. The Thanksgiving holiday these days is more than a two or three day affair--the events of the holiday as well as the travel time needed to get to one's destination really does require a full week recess from academia.


Two additional positive aspects of this new format are that both fall and spring semesters are now about equal in length, and the elongation of fall semester gives all of us more time to tackle the concentration of homework at the end of the semester. I always wondered why we weren't given a full week off for Thanksgiving in the firstplace. I find the academic calendars of universities very interesting--for example, the students at Ohio State don't begin fall semester until the final week or two of September. If my memory serves me correctly, Michigan State's academic calendar is very similar to ours. I remember looking at Florida State's academic calendar a few years ago and it was completely different from Penn State's. I wonder if these differences in university academic calendars are partially due to geographic location, or if there are other reasons for this discrepancy of time...perhaps mobius knows.




On a bit of a lighter note from my previous post...walking around campus today I think that I noticed something rather interesting. I was bundled up just like everyone else, complete with a hat and gloves. The fact that the precipitation descending from the sky was frozen and not liquid some how made me subconciously think that carrying an umbrella wasn't an option. When I first saw someone carrying an umbrella, it looked so strange. I just think that it's kind of weird that using an umbrella in the snow never even crossed my mind. The more I think about it, however, using an umbrella in the snow seems to be a good idea.


When I was walking toward the east side of campus, I came upon two of those little snow plows with the bristles on the end. I don't know what it is, but the snow plows with bristles instead of an actual plow are a little frightening. I wonder what mobius would have to say about all this.




My new proposal--I have decided to write a formal final paper on Critias because I would really like to voice my opinion on this controversial work. In regards to the "who cares?" part, I care and I know that mobius cares. This paper will not be based on any secondary information as I will craft my thesis based solely on Plato's writings.


Now to other matters--if you've heard the news today, chances are that you heard about the mall shooting in Omaha. As shootings such as these seem to be on the rise during the past decade, I guess I've sort of come up with an idea as to why they happen. I think that I first devised these thoughts shortly after the shootings at Virginia Tech. I don't believe that anyone is born as a mean spirited person. I think that situations and often traumatic situations develop over the course of our lives that influence us in different ways. I'm not arguing for the shooters, I'm trying to comprehend why events such as these happen.

Even though there's no scientific explanation as to why people become afflicted with depression, I'm convinced that a very traumatizing situation or a series of them are the cause.


I think that what happened in the case of the Virginia Tech shooter was that he must have gone through some pretty horrible things in his life. These circumstances probably then led to the development of several psychological disorders that manifested themselves over time--without medical treatment. This young man must have bottled up a nexus of psychological disorders until he couldn't take it anymore, and had to find some sort of outlet. Unfortunately, the world was made aware of his outlet last April...so how do we stop this from happening?


September 2, 2007


I totally agree with you and Mobius and your art professor. I write and read a lot of poetry, and i am struggling with the same thing within the realm of being an "academic poet" which may actually be an oxy-moron (?). The hard question is where to go? Universities, from what I understand, used to be a haven for writers, where you could meet other writers who are interested in the same things you are, become inspired, etc. But now you can go to a university and become like all the other academic poets who are all writing the same things in the same ways. --Echan



Echan, I can see where you are coming from with the idea that an "academic poet" is an oxymoron because it combines a very structured entity like academia to an otherwise creative outlet like poetry. Another aspect of universities that has crossed my mind the past few months is that these institutions are big promoters of various schools of thought. I have learned in a few of the geography courses that I have taken that universities have a tremendous influence on society. I suppose that it would also be an accurate assessment to conclude that the larger the university, the larger the impact that it will have on society. One of the main reasons that universities have such a profound impact on human existence is because they possess a lot of monetary power. The tuition that college students pay is only a small portion of the money that universities handle on a regular basis.


Additionally, universities for the most part hire white English speaking elites to educate their students. By using the word "elite" here, I am talking about people who are college educated and beyond, a characteristic that many people do not have in other parts of the world. Since universities are staffed by educational elites, even more of them are produced at every commencement exercise. I would also have to argue that universities are a breeding ground for social class. First, students have to be of a certain social class to even attend a university--in most cases, the minimum is to be a member of the middle class. What do you think? Universities are major manufacturers of social class...PONDER THIS FOR A WHILE!


Bloodlines are Thicker than Blue Lines





September 5, 2007


It's finally starting to hit me that this is my last year in college. I guess that the biggest change will be my removal from academia into my own life. My best friend who graduated from Penn State last year said that it sure felt strange when she didn't have to go back to school this fall. I'm pretty much expecting the same for myself--it'll feel very strange when I don't have to pack boxes this coming August for another year of college. I have begun to look at graduate school a little, but I just don't know if I want to feel like a college kid again. At this point, I'd like to live in a perminent residence for a while. I guess you could say that I desire a normal life where I would go to work each day and carry on as usual.


"You've gone a million miles, how far'd you get?...That place where you can't remember and you can't forget."-Bruce Springsteen


I'm glad that I decided to go to a university that is fairly far away from my home because it has given me a chance to develop without much parental influence. If I had commuted to a school near my home, it probably would have felt like high school all over again and who needs that? One of the aspects that I like about Penn State is that there are so many people on this campus that it's probably a pretty good representation of the people you'd meet all over the world. In regards to what I think I'll miss about going to college--I'll likely miss the atmosphere the most. A lot of people told me when I was getting ready to go here that college is a very special time in life. At first I didn't believe them, but now I do.



October 22, 2007


Our discussion of dreams the other day in class really got me thinking. I think that Mobius' idea that dreams are basically a remix of our current state of conciousness is only partially correct. For one, our discussion can't even begin to scratch the surface of this psychological phenomenon. In addition, I don't really think that the content of all dreams can be generalized by saying that all dreams are only remixes. I some how think that some of the dreams that humans experience may stem from thoughts and ideas that are not articulated through language to another person--speaking, writing, etc.. I don't, however, believe that we dream about all of our thoughts that go uncommunicated, but rather, only the most extreme thoughts journey into our minds when fast asleep.


You might find it interesting that I do not dream nearly as much as when I was a child. In fact, I probably have about five dreams per year. (This could be due to the college schedule--not much sleep, not allowing me to progress into a deep sleep that's often needed for dreams to come about.) The analysis of dreams is a science all its own, but now that I think about it, could there be a religious influence on our cognitive state at night? I'm sure that it's been argued.

Photo illustration of ghost in window (© Elisa Lazo de Valdez/Corbis; Kendall McMinimy/Getty Images)




September 10, 2007



I have chosen to write about discourse #6 in the Discourses of Rumi because I found the opening paragraph very intriguing. I think the notion that a wide range of communication takes place both verbally and by other means (body language, sign language,etc.) is an important concept when talking about a discourse of any kind. The statement "But as for those who understand without words, what use have they for speech?" is precisely the sentence that drew my attention to this particular passage. Does the world really need forms of verbal communication in order to survive on a daily basis? While I think that verbal communication is certainly useful, I also think that to some extent, the world would survive without a structured means of verbal communication. I should think that any kind of discourse is communicated perhaps 50% verbally and the other 50% by means of human perception. Rumi's later statement that "Whoever hears a whisper, what need have they for shouting and screaming?" is also a query worth examining. If you read further into discourse #6, you will find the story of the poem written in Arabic for a Turkish king. When the poet rises to recite the poem and begins speaking in Arabic, the courtiers are amazed because the king appears to be acknowledging every line that the poet is saying. Why are the courtiers amazed you ask? They don't believe that the king knows Arabic, but if he does, they never knew he did. One day, the king's favorite slave asks him if he knows Arabic, and the king replies that he does not and bursts out laughing. When asked how he was able to understand the poem, the king pretty much replies by saying that even though he doesn't understand Arabic, he knew full well what the purpose of the composition was--to honor him.


The Original What s for Lunch





September 12, 2007


I think our discussion in class the past few days about Genesis and John 1.1 is very attention getting because it forces us to examine the prose of religious statements. After discussing these works in class, it became apparent that most if not all contain preconceived notions about the beginning of the universe. The statement in Genesis 1 that reads "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" is so replete with preconceived notions that it would likely take hours to extract and synthesize each one. For starters, just as we discussed in class, the assumption of a beginning is evident here. Why does everything have to have a beginning? I suppose it's because our culture is fascinated with beginnings...we just have to know the origin of everything. The statement also assumes that God is the figure who created heaven and earth. The phrase also implies that heaven and earth are two different entities. It would probably be pretty accurate to say that most religions around the world preach that heaven is within earth and that it is the desirable resting place after death. Yet another assumption comes to light when the capitalization of the word "God" is taken into account. The capitalization of God gives one the feeling that God is held in higher regard than the average individual, and therefore, is viewed as a very influential figure in the universe. After looking at several wiki posts, I found "London Bridge's" writings exceptionally interesting and I have provided a link to that page: http://biotelemetrica.pbwiki.com/London+Bridge.">http://biotelemetrica.pbwiki.com/London%20Bridge. I like this wiki because it raises questions about all that we have ever known about language. Note: If this link does not work for you, just search for the page entitled "London Bridge."





September 17, 2007


In attempts to wikify and remix a section of Genesis, I have decided to alter the first three statements in Genesis 1, the King James Bible translation.


1. god created heaven and earth.


2. earth was without form and darkness was upon the face of the deep. the spirit of god moved upon the face of the waters.


3. and there was light.


I specifically decided to remix only these first three statements because since they open the piece, they initiate the reader's interpretations. What I tried to do here was make each statement more concise and remove the hierarchical prose and grammatical structure of the original phrases. We talked about in class that our culture is fascinated with beginnings, so I decided to remove this notion from the first statement.

I also decided not to capitalize the "g" in god because the word's capitalization initiates the idea that god is better than the common man. I removed part of the prose in the second statement because the earth couldn't have been all bad without the presence of god; furthermore, I think that the statement makes more sense this way anyway. For the third proclimation the reader does not need to know about god's declarative statement commanding that there be light--a more concise form will do. According to my notes from last class, I believe that mobius wanted us to put a rather interesting word on here--escatalogical (concerned with ends). I suppose that I was thinking escatalogically when I composed this remix because I tried to analyze the reader's ultimate interpretation of each phrase.





September 24, 2007


I believe that mobius asked the class to post on "ruminating," and since I vaguely remember what he meant by that, I'll do my best with this entry. I also have no idea what to expect for this "quiz" tomorrow. I read Rumi a while ago now, but I do remember that I focused on discourse #6 because its prose and ideas fascinated me. I think it's interesting how Rumi, a 13th Century poet, asks the reader to compare vague statements in order to ultimately examine interaction with the world. The Discourses of Rumi question every facet of human nature that our civilization has taken for granted. Perhaps the reason that I became so intrigued by discourse #6 was because it seeks to examine the fundamentals of human existence--the art of communication and comprehension of individuals. Not to change the subject, but two points that mobius raised in class this past week that are worth discussing are the ideas of internal maps of the world and how society does not embrace solitude. When mobius started talking about internal maps of the world, I pretty much knew right away what he was getting at. The slightest change in my every day surroundings tends to throw my world almost entirely upside down. It is obvious that society does not embrace solitude because very independent people are seen as "loaners," etc.. Why society tends to look down on independent people, arguably some of the strongest people on this earth, I don't know. Hmm...





October 1, 2007


In response to today's wiki prompt, I have several ideas about the literal truth of a parable. According to the dictionary, a parable is a short, simple tale based on familiar things, meant to convey a moral or religious lesson. Before I apply this literary element to Matthew 13, I would like to discuss the general use of the parable first. I believe that a moral or lesson is best articulated in a context to which it can be applied, rather than just making a simple statement about how people should act. Putting a moral in a story causes people to think more about what is being conveyed to them--much more effective than being told how to behave. The imagery generated in the mind by telling a story is very important to the parable's interpretation and translates what is often a powerful message in a unique way that is difficult to match. It could probably be argued that the bible is a series of hundreds of parables, all composed to teach a moral or religious lesson. As for Matthew 13, the King James bible translation, I think that the parable about seeds is parallel to human nature. Just like the seeds that "fell by the way side," some individuals will be better prepared to live productive lives based on the environment that they happen to live in. The seeds that are scorched by the sun are like people's spirits under the reign of a ruthless dictator. The bible...the greatest text ever written.





October 2, 2007


Before it escapes my mind, I would like to announce the topic I chose from sacredtexts.com. I will be investigating the lost continent of Atlantis, and more specifically, Critias by Plato. I chose this topic because I saw a documentary on PBS several years ago about the lost continent of Atlantis, and the idea of another continent "lost at sea" is very intriguing. Of the many works that discuss this geographical phenomenon, I chose to examine Plato's Critias because I thought that a philosophical standpoint on the matter would be interesting to consider, and his work contains the only known ancient account of Atlantis. In attempts to remix a chunk of the Heart Sutra, I will try to cleverly alter the fourth paragraph on the hand out that mobius gave us in class.


Because everything is gained, the Bodhisattva, through defiance on Prajna Paramita, is able to produce writings comparable to Shakespeare and paintings that rival Michael Angelo's. The fusion of these new talents with those that the Bodhisattva already has, makes him king of the wiki universe. He is not restrained by his dream thinking and composes plays that reinact his nocturnal psychological activities. Mobius provides the sound effects for these productions while floating in a flotation tank suspended above the stage.


The Bodhisattva draws quite a crowd with these presentations and the audience pleads for more sound effects that originate from the flotation tank. But suddenly...the tank becomes contaminated.


mobius sumbitted a sample of the contamination to his friends living icwe the PCR lab in Carpenter. The phone rang


"Yer knot gonna believe it."


"I don't believe anything. What, friend, do you have to say?"


"The Contamination. It's duckweed. But not just any duckweed. It's all involuted and such. First person. Awareness. And's its got some new dna in there. Transduces tryptamines on the fly, based on how you tune the hologram. Try inserting shakespeare, you'll see."


mobius wondered how he answered the phone in the tank. Oh yeah, it's skyped through that server in Atlantis.




October 3, 2007


I guess that you could say that I have been re-examining my life the past few days. Since I am a senior like most of us in 421, I have been trying to imagine what my life will be like without school next year. To some extent, I feel like I am on the brink of liberation--a promising piece of paper with no writing prompt. My old roommate and I had a discussion once that college dormitories are similar to a panopticon (prison). I am not really trying to be negative here, but I articulate this comparison in more of an operational sense. Everyone has an ID card, room key, and most of the dormitories on this campus are rather drab looking outside of individual student rooms.


College has sure been an experience so far.





October 8, 2007


I don't really know what to expect for this wiki quiz tomorrow, but I suppose I'll do my best. Like all of the texts that we have read so far this semester, I find the Siva Sutras particularly interesting. The fact that the Sutras discuss mainly conciousness makes the text even more fascinating to fathom. In addition, law and freedom are also discussed. I will try to remix a section of the SS below--I have chosen to focus on only a few statements so that I can deeply think about each of them.


The Siva Sutras


1. Society forces conciousness.


1.9 Dreaming is creativity of thoughts within societal boundaries.


2. The inception of biased thinking


2.10 Without knowledge there is freedom.


3. The metamorphosis of the mind through experience


3.6 Perfection is defined by the individual and achieved through hard work and attainment.


What I attempted to craft in the above statements was to in some cases, negate what the SS was saying. I also inserted my own ideas.





October 10, 2007


I must begin this entry by expressing absolute disgust over what someone (I don't remember their handle) said in class on Tuesday about Penn State Football. To suggest that all Penn State Football fans are 18 years old or older is nothing but a statement of complete inaccuracy. I don't recall all of the statements that this person made, but I remember thinking that to make such inaccurate statements about perhaps the most storied college football program in the country that they must be living under a rock.


In my four years of attending Penn State I have only been to two football games, but I am still aware of the hype that surrounds this team. I became so offended by what this person was saying that I had a hard time sitting in the same room with them. Anyway, enough of a rage spill for today as I now turn to the related discussion of Penn State Football as a religious practice. It is conceivable to think that the gathering of 108,000 people (roughly the capacity of Beaver Stadium) is parallel to the Islamic tradition of the pilgrimage to Mecca. In addition, it would probably be pretty accurate to say that Joe Paterno has god like status.

As talked about in class, the repetitive chanting of "We Are...PENN STATE!" is certainly a unifying experience, but there are also other stadium traditions that unite us all on game day. I must continue further by saying that when I attended the Notre Dame game a few weeks ago that I had never heard thousands of people simultaneously yell

"Fk the Irish!" If that's not a unifying experience, then I don't know what is.





October 11, 2007


I thought that today's class was one of the most thought provoking that I have had in my four years here, so kudos to mobius and London Bridge. I will post on Yogananda in the coming days.





October 15, 2007


What immediately comes to my mind after reading Autobiography of a Yogi is that I believe that this is the first text that I have read in my academic career that was not written by an American, European, or another country that is considered a world power. It was certainly different reading an entire autobiography not written about the oppressed by the dominant regimes of the time, but from the view point of an Indian citizen. One of the elements that I would like to explore in this entry is the idea of a guru.


Most people have probably heard this term before, but when I heard it a few years ago I think that it was the first time that I really questioned its definition. The term "guru" according to the autobiography is a spiritual teacher that essentially uplifts their disciple. I guess that the more contemporary terms for guru would be either a role model or mentor. What do you think? Is the connection that I am making correct, or are there aspects lost in translation?





October 17, 2007 49012967


For my post this evening, I would actually like to write about a concept that I became aware of in one of my other classes, but nevertheless, it has a uniform application. I suppose that over our undergraduate and in some cases graduate careers that we have all heard of John Nash--the professor portrayed by Russel Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. As you may recall, Nash was principally a mathematician, but he also applied some of his theories to social phenomena. Nash devised a mind boggling concept called the "prisoner's dilemma," which states that any one person cannot predict the behavior of another. This concept was illustrated by a situation in which a person agrees to sell a rare jewel to a criminal. Suppose you agree to leave the jewel in a specified place in a field for the criminal, and the criminal agrees to leave one million dollars in a pouch in a specified place in a different field. Yes, you have both agreed to this arrangement, but it does not guarantee that it is what will actually happen. What if you keep the jewel and go searching for the money and end up with both? You would be better off, right? Now suppose that the criminal had a selfish idea as well--he/she kept the money for themselves and went looking for the jewel and found it. Now the criminal is better off.


Believe it or not, I learned about this concept in a geography class. The movie in which it was depicted was trying to convey that in the end, everyone is out for themselves, or secretly strategizes so that situations like the one described above will turn out in their favor. Does this make sense? I tried not to get too complicated with my articulation of the prime example. John Nash truly has a beautiful mind.







October 24, 2007


I hope that Mobius' trip to Paris was an interesting one--I'd like to hear about it next class. I have been thinking about a few possible proposals for my final project, which consist of continuing my study of the lost continent of Atlantis or carefully examining one of my favorite songs. I remember a girl in one of my other English classes last semester say that she provided an in-depth description and interpretation of her favorite song for her final project in this class. My thoughts on my final project will continue...


I happened to see an article in today's Collegian that said that Penn State now has the highest tuition rates of the BigTen universities. I didn't get a chance to actually read the article, but I did get a good look at a bar graph that I suppose illustrated the main point of the article. I would have to say that Penn State being the most expensive didn't really suprise me, but the fact that Illinois came in second did. I think the reason that I was so suprised by this was because when I think about it, I don't really see the University of Illinois as a very famous university with storied programs of any type, academic or athletic. I guess I made the association here that more prestigious universities have higher tuition rates. Do you think that this was a correct assumption to make? Why do you think that Penn State is so expensive?




October 25, 2007


A topic of interest that was discussed on CNN a few days ago in conjunction with the reports of the California wildfires, was the urgent response by FEMA to southern California. Many people find it a bit puzzling that FEMA responded much quicker to the disaster victims in southern California versus those that lived through Hurricane Katrina. One CNN viewer felt that FEMA's response had everything to do with the race and social class of the victims. Just in case you don't know by now, most of Hurricane Katrina's victims were African Americans of fairly low social class, in stark contrast to the mainly white, affluent population of southern California.


I personally do not think that the human composition of both disasters had much to do with FEMA's response in the past few days, but I'm not ruling out the idea that there was a kind of incentive for FEMA to hasten its response to a rich population. I think that the difference in FEMA's response time as well as the quality of its response is largely due to the organization being under new management since Katrina and hopefully the government learned a little after what happened in New Orleans. No matter how plausible this criticism of FEMA is, I just don't believe that it's as "cut and dry" as race and social class.


Not to change the subject completely, but from the English major platform, race and social class often have an influence on all forms of literature and other expressionist outlets. In other words, it's there whether we like it or not and whether we know it or not. In English 200, which I took a few semesters ago, we studied how many of the characters in Walt Disney films imply certain race and social classes. I think that racism will always be an issue throughout the world because as Mobius said a few classes ago, our perception is based on difference. I'm certainly not promoting racism, but I think that to a certain extent, part of it (seeing the difference) is only human nature. Racism becomes immoral when individuals are treated differently just because of their skin color. Oh, and by the way, it's been scientifically proven that race is NOT biological.






November 3, 2007


In regards to this flotation experiment that Mobius is conducting, the more I think about it, such an experience probably does induce more creativity. I have come to this conclusion because I think that if a person is removed from all external stimuli for a long enough period of time that it will cause reflection. This type of isolation forces the individual to be at one with themselves--an avenue that generates a lot of reflection. Not to change the subject, but I have picked up a copy of Valis, and from what I can tell, it looks to be an interesting read.


I can't believe that it's November already, the semester is really flying by. One topic that I've thought about today is spatial thought. One of the windows in my apartment overlooks a courtyard with all kinds of plants and trees. I live a few stories up, so I have a good vantage point. In terms of spatial construction, it's interesting to look at which plants have been planted where. I don't know the name of the species, but there's a plant on a hill that has very long strands that blow in the wind. I guess it seemed improper to plant it on flat terrain. To the right of this plant are circular organisms that have been placed next to each other in three rows. I guess that they would look out of place if they were scattered about, or would they?





November 4, 2007


For this post, I'd like to return to the idea of spatial thought. I may have mentioned this in an earlier wiki post, but I would like to relate Mobius' idea of internal maps of the world to this concept of spatial thought. One example of internal maps of the world that may have been mentioned in class that I'd like to revisit involves a blind man and a set of furniture. This set of furniture had been in a particular place for a number of years, and another person decided one day to rearrange this furniture. When the blind man entered the room some time later, he was constantly running into things and falling down.

It seems to me that this man had created a mental map of this room over time because he had become so used to it. He became used to its contents and where particular objects were placed in relation to others.


I suppose that it's only natural for human beings to do this--we all like some level of predictability. If our surroundings were to drastically change on a frequent basis, I get the feeling that chaos would ensue. Perhaps this is why people fight change. Change requires us to alter our own mental maps, a task that most people find unpleasant. These changes, no matter how subtle they may be, can even alter our perception of the world. When I think about it, every aspect of our lives can be reduced to a spatial decision, which in turn forms a nexus of who we perceive ourselves to be and how we fit into society. Another way to think about mental maps would be to compare them to jigsaw puzzles.


Our mental puzzle is complete when our surroundings have not changed substantially for a fairly long period of time, but turbulence occurs when there is a catastrophic change--the end result is the loss of a puzzle piece. Spatial thought and its role in our everyday lives was recently discussed in the geography course that I am taking. The professor in this class said that when all of the students move in at the beginning of the academic year, our rationale behind the placement of every object in our living quarters is a spatial decision. I found her point to be very interesting, but I began to wonder at that very moment what constitutes the differences in spatial thought processes. For example, I wonder why my best friend puts posters all over her walls and mine are confined to a certain area in my living space. A query to think about...




Mobius--what's duckweed? I've been dying to know.





I sometimes get the feeling that my wiki posts are an outlet for what I am learning in this geography class of mine, and in many ways, I guess it is my outlet to much of the discussion in this class. We've been discussing the globalization phenomena the past few classes--a topic that the entire class seems to be intrigued by. Of late, we've been examining how globalization causes conflict. There is a proposed argument that globalization causes conflict because the erosion of physical boundaries (caused by globalization) has made the world's cultures more aware of their differences. I don't think that it's worth pursuing a counter argument here because there's overwhelming evidence to suggest that this theory is correct.


We also talked about how economic differences have been basically exacerbated by globalization as well. It never fails--the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. In the United States and other developed countries, we're talking on our iPhones while many people all over the world are starving and without clean water. ...what a paradox! One idea that caused a lot of debate was the introduction of these very technologically advanced devices to third world countries. What I questioned in class was how the people in these nations would even know how to use laptops, etc., and my professor responded by saying that even though much of the population is in poverty, there are elites that are technologically literate in these countries.


It was also brought up that technology in the home is against the religion of several cultures. The professor's response here was that there has to be a way to get around this cultural limitation. All I could keep thinking after class was that I can't see how the introduction of technology would ever be successful in third world countries...there's way too much of an economic paradox.








November 6, 2007


I recall that at the end of class today there was a brief mention of Edward Said's theory called Orientalism. If you don't already know this, Said's theory has to do with the eastern and western hemispheres, and how each defines the other by what each is not. Anyway, in conjunction with this theory and that geography course that I'm taking, I think that I may have come to an interesting conclusion the other day. Right now in geography class, we've begun to examine the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. It dawned on me that in terms of thinking spatially about the matter that if you think of the entire globe and the continents that it encompasses, the Middle East is roughly in the center of the world.


Much of the conflict in today's world has been categorized as east vs. west, and if you think about it, the Middle East is basically in the middle of these both areas--a sort of fault line where there is often constant pressure from both sides of the world on the people who reside here. The trouble is that when the pressure from both sides gets to be too much, an earthquake occurs, and in the case of the Middle East, there is an earthquake everyday.





November 7, 2007


At the rate that I'm talking about my geography class, you could probably get credit for taking the course by simply reading what I write! As you can likely gather, we have begun to discuss the war on terror. Before I get into a particular theory regarding terrorism, I'd like to present my own opinion on the war on terror. I think that the United States has to stop policing the world--one of the main reasons that we are hated around the world is that we kill or seriously injure thousands of innocent civillians in the process. The cause of this is an incompetent United States military. We also have the idea that democracy is a superior regime, when in fact, it's not fit for certain parts of the world. Our government makes me want to move to Canada--they're smarter because they rarely get involved in the business of other countries.


The theory that we've been discussing in class refers to the American view of terrorism as being polymorphous. This means that we associate many of the figures and nations in the Middle East with terrorism, and some of these associations are incorrect. We tend to group together Saddam Hussein, Al Quaeda, the Islamic Jihad, and Hamas along with various other groups, when there is no relation between some of them at all. It's arguable that our own government made this very mistake because the American people were told that we entered Iraq to stop Hussein from stockpiling WMD. Since the war began, the criticisms of this motive have been countless.


I don't get a chance to watch much television, but I saw a documentary a few weeks ago that argued that the motivation behind the war in Iraq is to have a military presence near Iran. Something that I just thought of: If many nations have nuclear capabilities, why have many of them refrained from using them? I wonder if we think that other countries have nuclear weapons because we're paranoid--god forbid that someone else is more powerful than the United States. I'm not as proud to be an American as I used to be.






November 11, 2007


I'd like to turn my attention now to college athletics. A topic of debate that has sort of resurfaced in my mind throughout the semester is the idea of very good college sports teams playing against those who don't have a chance of winning. To better grasp what I'm talking about, consider yesterday's match-up (if you can call it that) between Temple and Penn State. The Temple football team hasn't beaten us since 1941, and when we played them at home last year, we won 47-0. I listened to a sports radio conversation this past summer where the commentators were trying to figure out why these seemingly paradoxical match-ups in college football are scheduled. One said that pairings like this are made because the event provides a lot of revenue for the team that is expected to lose--the losing team sells an extensive number of tickets because spectators want to see the better team in action.


While I agree with this rationale, I really don't think that we should play Temple anymore, after all they have certainly had their chances, 66 years to be exact. If they haven't beaten us all this time, why would a game like this even be scheduled as if Temple actually had a chance to win? Believe it or not, I actually did watch the game for about 10 minutes, and what I saw was pretty pitiful. Every single time that a flag was thrown it was Temple's mistake. The one aspect that surprised me a little was how many Temple fans showed up to support their team--there looked to be hundreds in the stadium. I would like to see Temple removed from our schedule.


This game slot could be filled by a revival of the old Penn State vs. University of Pittsburgh rivalry. Now that would be a game worth watching.





November 12, 2007 93 86 18



I can't believe that the semester is almost over--it has gone by very quickly. I also can't believe that in just a few weeks I'll be embarking on my final semester of college. My college experience so far has been nothing like what I envisioned it to be. I knew that when I applied to three good universities that I was going to be challenged like never before, but I never dreamed that I would be pushed as hard as I have these past four years. I think that the high school and college years are among the most pivotal times in a person's life because it's arguable that these years are when the most individual growth takes place. The college years are more important than those of high school for students that are free from a parental presence.


The areas where I have been pushed the most are probably academics and personally. These past few years of instruction have stimulated my mind in ways that I never thought were possible--I have come to conclusions that I never thought of before. With the amount of homework that I've done, I've likely demolished an entire forest with the amount of paper that I've used. I have also met the athletic goals that I set for myself. HOCKEY! One development that I didn't anticipate was meeting my best friend in college--our relationship has really enriched my years here at State. I'm glad that college is nothing like what I expected it to be because that's what has made this experience unforgettable.


Regardless of my expectations and the final outcome, I will leave Penn State in May a completely different person than when I first arrived on campus. 1216 84





November 13, 2007


In regards to my proposal for my final project in this class, I'm still thinking about it. You guessed it--I'm going to write about my geography class again. In talking about the war on terror, we have now begun to examine the Palestinian conflict. As you may already know, much of the fighting in the Middle East is over territory. I didn't really know up until now that most of the fighting is taking place as a result of a decision made during World War II. The creation of the state of Israel has to do with Hitler's "final solution" and Sir Winston Churchill's sympathy for Jewish people after the Holocaust. What I find so fascinating about this is that after all these years, World War II and Hitler's regime still have an everyday influence on the world.


I'm sure that we've all been thoroughly educated on Hitler and the Nazi regime, but I think that it would be interesting to investigate Hitler's background and psychological state. Unless there have been new developments, the last I heard there are conflicting reports on how exactly Hitler died--another intriguing facet in this investigation. Hitler was obviously a very disturbed individual, but I wonder which specific psychological illnesses he suffered from and the severity of them...a possible topic for my final project.





November 14, 2007


-Yeah, the more I think about it, it would be really interesting to plunge into the mind of a mass murderer-. I'm sure that there is a wealth of information on Hitler's state of mind. I think that I'll leave my writing to this for this evening as I continue to brainstorm...stay tuned...







November 26, 2007


I did some additional thinking on a possible final project topic over the break. I think that I'm going to abandon my initial idea of examining Hitler's psyche--it's too "dark" of a topic for my liking. I'm now thinking of examining the war in Iraq and the various political and economic reasons that the United States invaded this country--a topic that has been discussed at length in my geography class. I'm electing to do my final project on this topic because the involvement of the United States in Iraq influences the daily lives of most Americans. Moreover, several reasons for the invasion of Iraq from the "eastern" point of view must be articulated to fully understand our presence in Iraq.


It's rather obvious that many people all over the world care about what's going on in Iraq. Throughout history warfare is one of the most passionate subjects for people to consider because of the basically unavoidable loss of human life. Citizens of the planet voice their opinions about Iraq on a regular basis--through protests, polls, and just by talking. ...It's probably safe to say that everyone cares. In this final project, I will not really be voicing my own opinion on the war, but rather, try to view the war from the much disregarded eastern perspective. I will compose these ideas in the form of a paper along with another component...perhaps a collage of sorts.


Emulsion Colors

Emulsion Colors "Emulsions are thin, gelatinous, light-sensitive coatings on film that react chemically to capture the color and shadings of a scene." --MSN Encarta Premium





November 27, 2007


Despite Mobius' absence from class today, Gonzo's presentation was very thought provoking. While I don't necessarily agree with the new thought movement and the idea of accepting our feelings, the discussion about psychology kept me interested. I strongly believe that psychology is the driving force in the world and that it's the basis of all science because it examines the most fundamental facet of human existence--thought. I remember Gonzo saying that Mobius stated in class once that 1/3 of all students at Penn State are on some type of ADHD or depression medication. The number of people being treated for mental illness these days is absolutely shocking.


I watched a documentary a few months ago that stated that when the symptoms of different kinds of mental illness and their varying degrees of severity were revised decades ago, that these new guidelines failed to consider that certain responses to life situations were perfectly normal. I think that this day and age there is a rush to diagnose, particularly in the area of mental illness. I believe that considering the life happenings of an individual before they are diagnosed with a mental illness is very important. In fact, I think that given the proper situation, if an individual didn't have mental difficulties as a result, only then would I wonder about their mental state. Too quick to diagnose and too quick to medicate...**






November 28, 2007


I don't know what it is, but the past couple of days have had me thinking more and more about my departure from Penn State in May. Maybe it's because my senior year is almost half over...I don't know. Maybe it's because this internal map of formal education that has been such a large part of my life for so long will virtually disappear in a few months. I guess it's because all that I've ever known will be no more. No longer will I wake in the morning to go to class or school, no longer will I be attending other school related activities, and no longer will my evenings be dictated by doing homework. ...What a change it will be!

Coat of Arms





December 3, 2007


After reading Plato's Critias, I have decided to change my final project topic from the war in Iraq (eastern perspective) to a critical analysis of Critias. I must say that I found Plato's writings to be more than just a testimonial about the lost continent--I came across several striking statements that apply to many aspects of life. One statement in particular that I thought mobius might like is as follows: "All that is said by any of us can only be imitation and representation." As for my opinion as to whether Atlantis actually existed or it's just an allegory, I'll save my ideas for tomorrow's class discussion and my final project. ...I can't give away my thoughts now!


Although it's been tempting to look at secondary research, I'm trying to base my opinion solely on Plato's work. Back to my final project--I'll have to talk with mobius, but I'm thinking about writing a formal paper, on Critias of course, and composing some additional wiki posts. I look forward to tomorrow's class discussion on Atlantis and Plato's writings...


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