April 11, 2008

weird thoughts after the last class

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:00 pm by changisme

One of the things that was mentioned in passing by during my last lecture is that binary data don’t give as much information for modeling. That made me think of the widely used survival analysis, which I work with also. That’s basically binary, alive or dead. I think maybe we shouldn’t dwell so much on binary data like this, maybe we should use a variable called something like "aliveness". In fact, people do have variable like this, which are called morbidity, I think it sounds too freaky… Let’s euphanize it a bit.
I gather people would have concerns over variables like this because people don’t want to think that they are half dead when they are sick or old. We put so much emphasis on the exact moment the heart stops beating and the brain stops functioning, but it’s really a gradual process. Some may say taht we start dying as soon as we are born, I think that’s a little too extreme, because then dying has no real meaning anymore. I prefer to think that we start dying in parts. Our body probably starts dying as soon as we give birth to children, (or giving birth to could-have-been-children) . We transfer our matter and liveliness into another entity. We don’t notice it as much simply because we are one of those who have a rather long child bearing period. 
I don’t really know when our brain starts to die. It’s complicated because even though at any given time we are still learning new things building new neuro paths, taking advantages of our plasticity, the net growth of our brain could be negative. It might fluctuates like the paths of a stock, or a population curve. It’s really hard to say if there even exists a point where it’s the "start of death".
I have to say, I do have a problem thinking about these things in a personal level, like I would rather not thinking of my mother more dead than 20 odd years ago when a cuddled up baby girl was squeezed out of her belly slimy and noisy. The reason I don’t like it is probably that I put too much connection between "existence" and "living". People exists, as long as they have not stopped breathing, and that’s enough. I definitely don’t mean that we should just think that all the dead people are still with us in heaven so don’t grief. Rather, I think that many people who are living worth the attention and grief also, because they are just as disconnected from my world (so small) as a dead person.
ON the other hand, it is not to say that whether or not somebody’s existence is good totally depend on his or her connection with mine. They could well be living a wonderful life in parauniverse as a little … left-m (pardon me the reference). So I guess living and dying should be in relative terms. Person A is degree 5 dead from my point of reference, but degree 2 dead in his wife poitn of reference. There could we be a gold stand that determine whether someone is absolutely degree 5 dead. Maybe God could be that standard.
Okay, this was not supposed to be funny, but it’s getting stranger and more morbid. I’ll stop now. Goign to have dinner with the girls tonight, so excited, last day of class.  Oh forgot to mention, I had my last class in UBC, it felt so normal that I was a little disappointed. The prof even had the same messy hair. It’s probably becaus eit’s a theory course, so the general concensus is that we are the academics, just like we are the presbyterians, therefore we don’t get excited. >_<

1 Comment »

  1. olee said,


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