I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

February 21, 2013 - 1:31 p.m.

Epistomology

I'm not feeling great. Is this another Crohn's attack? Could be. In any event I'm tired and should probably just take a nap. The fact that I'm writing shows how much I love My Gentle Readers.

I didn't do anything fun yesterday. I came to school to do work. Yes I came in on a day I wasn't teaching. I had to make up a test and a practice test and prepare lessons and figure out when to give the test in Finite Math. Im going to have to make that test up from scratch; I have no old ones around. I haven't taught it since 2002. I don't know what happened to my files from before 2003 but they aren't on this computer.

When I was done with my work I ate at Wendy's. When I eat there often I find it depressing but when I haven't eaten there in a long time I find it surprisingly tasty. I'm not sure what I'll do for dinner tonight. I'm not sure what I'm doing tonight or this afternoon.


Another teacher came in and left the door open to the office. Then a student came in and is using it as a place to study. This isn't a public space. I can't close the door now because the student walked out and left her stuff. OK she's back. I could ask her to leave but I don't have a good enough reason. Oh good, somebody else came in and asked if it was OK to sit here and I said "no." The other student heard that and left so now I have privacy. So another teacher came in, opened the door, and left. Was that just to annoy me?

Most of the things I've been thinking about are not things I can share here. I could talk about that but I won't.

I have learned to not get into arguments with my colleagues here. A math prof started talking to a physics prof about an article he read on white holes. The physics prof cut him off and said it wasn't science. I can sort of agree, it is speculation. It isn't a theory, but a hypothesis. That doesn't mean it can't be discussed but I can understand why he wouldn't want to. Fine But then he added. "It isn't science because it doesn't make predictions. You can't do experiments. The same goes for evolution." He then went on to disparage the theory of evolution and in the process showed his lack of understanding of evolution and the way historic sciences work. You can't do experiments in geology, astronomy, cosmology, and evolutionary biology. You can't rewind the tape and play it again. That doesn't mean it isn't science, It means you have to go about it differently. Evolution makes many predictions. When two related species are found at a great geographic separation and not in between either an ancestor once inhabited the region in between or the lands that are now not connected once were. Lemurs are only found in Madagascar but their ancestors were found in India. To explain this the lost continent of Lemuria was conjectured. That wasn't the right solution. The right one was that Madagascar and India were once connected but plate tectonics separated them. That was a prediction based on evolution.

There is a point my General Relativity professor, Banesh Hoffmann who worked with Einstein made. The precession of the perihelion of Mercury was known before Einstein came up with the theory but the theory still effectively predicted it as it wasn't used in developing the theory. It just comes out of the math. Many known facts came out of the theory of evolution. Those postdictions still carry weight when they aren't ones that Darwin used in formulating the theory. And of course the fact that it explains relationships between species unkown at the time are actual predictions.

I don't know if my colleague was speaking out of a religious prejudice against evolution or a physicist's prejudice against historical sciences. Did I lose everyone talking about science? I hope not. I'm not all about music and food. Science is a very big part of who I am.

Just as I was about to write about evolution I was asked to proctor that very same prof's test. I did of course but it interrupted my line of thought and means I can't take the nap I need. And argggh, once again someone left the door open. I didn't see him but there is no a student in here. When this office isn't being used as the tutoring center and the admin isn't here to do department business this is my office and I want some privacy. I should be able to listen to music without my earbuds. I will. I'm taking them out and listening through the speakers. If a colleague comes I'll put in the earbuds.

I can't think of the other things I wanted to write so I'll call it quits and eat lunch. Oh my tummy is feeling fine now so it wasn't a Crohn's attack, I was just tired and a bit bloated.

Wait! That reminded me of what I wanted to write about! I had a discussion with my shrink on how I can tell when I'm depressed as opposed to unhappy. Back in the 90s and early 2000 I was depressed. The thing is that it feels different than just being unhappy. How is it different? We don't have the language to describe it. How do you describe nausea? We just assume others will know what we mean because they feel it themselves and the circumstances let others know what we mean. But what if you've never been depressed? How would you know? Well if it doesn't feel different than simple unhappiness it isn't depression.

The other difference is that when I'm depressed it is far more difficult to enjoy pleasures. Things that should make me happy don't. Or at least not as much as they usually do and the effect doesn't last as long. The default state is unhappiness.

But is what I said there true? I don't know. I just know how it feels to me. This is part of what makes psychology difficult. It is inherently subjective. So I'll throw it open to My Gentle Readers who have suffered through depression. Does it feel different than unhappiness? Does what I said fit your experience?

There is an actual unity to this edition of Wise Madness. It is epistemology, how we known things. Now I know it's time to eat.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile February 21, 2013
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