December 22, 2010

Walk on, walk on…

Posted in Life at 1:44 pm by changisme

Rattling Locks

— Josh Ritter

There was a time I had the right key,
Rolled the tumblers, threw the bolt
On every wandering eye I caught
But something has changed it’s all wrong
I’m out here in the cold with a wet face
A-rattling your locks
There ain’t nothin’ new about the world
That I ain’t learned from ‘a just standin’ here in this spot

Ain’t nothing new about the world
That I ain’t learned from just watching you go by
I tell myself people are cold and strangers pass
Separate themselves from love
By building walls a hundred thousand miles high
Frostbite and heartsickness
Ain’t neither one of them so bad
You can understand the reason why

Black hole, black hole
Are your eyes as empty as they look?
Black hole, black hole
How can your two eyes be as empty as they look?
All along I thought I was giving you my love
But you were just stealin’ it, now I want it back
Every single thing you took

Black hole, black hole

I had a dream where I was dyin’
But it wasn’t no nightmare
I was peaceful as I fell
And if I was fallin’ into heaven
Heaven must be hotter than the Bible tells
I woke up sorry I was living
Rather than rattling your locks
I’d rather spend the night in hell
In hell, in hell, in hell

Black hole, black hole

———————————–

Once again, I don’t get to graduate. Not only that, I’ll have to stay on as a full time student instead of part-time. For this minuscule master’s degree I have tried being all I can, I tried starting looking for thesis project early, I was denied; I tried taking charge of my project, I was denied; I tried just swallowing what I was offered, I choked on an advisor who I was later told the worst supervisor some have ever had; I tried doing whatever is asked of me, I kept on not being able to graduate.

People’s seemingly encouraging words like, you are working so hard, or you are producing so much have becoming so empty and useless.

I’ve never felt so useless academically in my life.

Mom keeps on wanting me to quit and put myself back in charge of my life. I feel I’ve given up too much for that already. We are always enslaved by our own history and choices. If I never came here, I probably would have just found a job in Ottawa. Otherwise, I probably could have gone on a worldwide adventure and fulfilled my dream to go to Cuba and France and the Philippines.

Then again, if I never came here, I probably would never have met some of the people I know now, so in away, I’m also nourished by my own choices.

Life is so confusing… I have to stop thinking about it, and just… walk on.

December 15, 2010

Faith

Posted in Life at 10:00 am by changisme

As Christmas draws near, the topics of faith and prayer creep back into daily conversations. I should probably be worried about my lack of progress or even regression, afterall 学如逆水行舟, 不进则退; 心似平原走马, 易放难收. If it’s really as C. S. Lewis says, faith could be based on logic and is a gift of God, then I retained little of either in my life’s pursuit.

Life is not logical itself, and love even less so. It could either that my basic assumption is faulty, or my logical process is faulty. The basic assumption is that life exists because of love, from God, from parents, from society, and love is exists because of life, that only living beings can appreciate nature, each other and mathematics.  The only basic assumption I can withhold in my limited intellect is that God entertained the concept of human existence merely because he wanted this interlocking relationship between love and life to propagate.

If my basic assumption is not wrong, then my logical process could be. A wise man once told me that I am of the modern world, and am incapable of teleological reasoning in my daily life. I, on the other hand, still can’t accept the fact that everything exists for a purpose, and I love the beauty and wonder if chance and randomness. it is perfectly reasonable that there is another way of logic that I can accept other than what I currently use, I just haven’t found it.

If I can neither correct my assumption nor change my logical thinking, then maybe it’s as Kierkegaard says, that faith betrays logic. We put God in a box of our own logic and in turn lock ourselves in that box with our little god. Logic and knowledge are such interlinked things. Knowledge of nature propagate and corrects assumptions which logic is based on. Further, logic hypothesize knowledge which in turn validate or invalidate accepted logic. If I abandon logic and knowledge in my pursuit of truth, how do I seek the face of God? How do I take the next step? Is that what a leap means? A leap so that I don’t have to go through the grilling process? It is then necessary, that I would leap towards a person or personss, who enpersonate God for me in some way, and that just sounds too much like any institution I have around me… where to leap? Maybe that’s why it is said that desolation is when growth sow its seed, because when I’m desperate, I’d probably just leap with my eyes closed.

December 12, 2010

Anthems

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:37 pm by changisme

While looking through my personal documents, I found an old slip of paper with the Canadian national anthem lyrics on it, one side English, one side French. It made me think of all the anthems around me.

I don’t know what I feel about anthems. They generally make me feel I belong to a larger entity, a feeling of security and motivation, but I don’t always want this feeling.

Sorry to say, but I feel there hasn’t been many versions of the Canadian anthem I really been impressed with. The current lyrics are very empty, the older lyrics are slightly better but not much. Anthem lyrics are probably hard to be good since it’s all about patriotism, which is a senseless and yet shared topic. The music is safe and dull. It’s not as courageous as the music from, say, the chinese anthem.

Jimi Hendrix version of the US anthem is probably the best anthem I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t have lyrics which might have helped, but mostly because the song is fully juiced up by the artist. It’s like a water balloon ready to burst any minute.

There has also been a few attempts to energize the Russian anthem. As far as the versions I’ve heard, it hasn’t been that successful.

I also really like 国队歌 by 唐朝乐队. It’s not as good as how Hendrix did it, as it feels more restrained, but you can definitely still feel the attempt. I especially feel sad when I hear their version because the lyrics are so much about the hope for equality and socialist democracy, but look at where communism got us so far? I can feel the frustration of the 80’s and 90’s radiating from the rock stars. 唐朝乐队 has been around for awhile, and so few other bands come out these days. I wonder if people have given up feeling frustrated by now…

I don’t really want to talk about God save the Queen, other than… God Save the Queen is just a weird song. It asks God to screw every other country in order for the Queen to live for a long long time. It also makes the Queen into a completely helpless figure. Sad…

December 11, 2010

Things are always this weird

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:09 pm by changisme

A couple of things happened. Assange was detained in the same jail as Oscar Wilde and Ted Chiang read a story about the invention of electronic nanny in the turn of the century.

The whole Assange thing is a bit confusing to me. Until now, I still don’t know which state is officially detaining him. If he’s not an American citizen, how long can the US detain him? He’s not in the US, so… is it international court? Is it the UK? Maybe the Queen will make Australia give Assange up as a royal wedding present?

Ted Chiang’s story on electric nanny is quite interesting. Not to give anything away, it raised kids with as much success or failure as most human nannies/parents. Furthermore, the kids also screw up the lives of the electric nannies, but then nannies are not real people, they can be screwed right? Ouch…

This made me think of the whole parenting debate about video games. Parents are worried about their kids being raised by video games. At first it’s the violence, and then it’s the anti-socialism. Little do they realize how violent and antisocial the people who don’t play video games are. There’s also the home schooling debate. Does exclusively interacting with a hundred other insecure teenagers really gives kids more opportunities to be social? Oh I forgot, public humiliation is definitely a form of social interaction. If you don’t go through high school, you probably won’t be able to get into politics.

 

December 2, 2010

After a freakish time glitch.

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:14 pm by changisme

I was walking home in a dazed state of sleep deprivation, as a yellow leaf fell. I walked on without it passing my mind, and then another leaf fell right in front of me in exactly the same pace and posture. I was suddenly alarmed. It felt like a discontinuity and repetition in time, a déjà vu which I know exactly where I have vu the first time.

I’m forced to review the past, either I’ve finally used up my luck in life, or I’m being punished for writing a bad Master’s thesis. what is the value of retrospection?

I saw a video of someone lamenting about his wasted youth on video games. In the middle of it, he said, with the amount of time he wasted playing video games he could have done a lot of more “worthy” things, such as drive from LA to NYC 3 times or make 48 turkeys. I thought… to be honest, I’d much rather play video games than driving from LA to NYC or making 48 turkeys. In any case, his value system obviously changed over the years, as is my own. Back in the days, I’d spent hundreds of hours watching the Lion King, or proving pointless geometry problems like arc AB is equal to arch AC in a circle, or reading twenty books written by 郑渊洁, who I now deem rather stupid. I certainly can’t really evaluate my choices in the past base on my current value system?

People say history repeats itself. It’s not exactly true, in that the circumstances and players change, and more importantly my value system changes. On the other hand it is interesting to discover more about human nature.

Does a piece of knowledge like that of human nature remain the same over time? That’s an interesting question, because the phrase implies a consistency over time and cross individuals. From one person’s point of view, the passage of time is confounded with the difference between individuals s/he meets. Once a guy and I fell in and out of love, I can’t always assume I will fall out of love with other guys I love later in life, because I’m dating a different person from before. Unless they fall from a tree with exactly the same posture twice of course (God, that was disturbing, I can’t rid my mind of it).

Then how do I understand history? One theory is that, the world is never certain, so we have to think of things in probabilities. (Now I sound like I can graduate in biostatistics right? i want my adviser to read this.) I used to rationalize it this way, but I changed my mind now, because when I make a decision, I’m either going to choose to do thing A or not to do thing A (noted that any other choice space with cardinality less or equal to infinitely countable can be reduced to a series of decisions such as this). So I have to reduce the probability space into a binary space. Usually, my rule would be choose A iff Pr(B|A)>Pr(B|!A), e.g. I’ll read this paper if and only if, the probability of my graduating after reading this paper is greater than if I don’t. This rule is such a waste! 51% and 99% should induce me to make the same decision, or otherwise I’m making the wrong decision.

Now I choose to view it another way. The reason I would learn about the past, is so that when the future comes out of the blue and I don’t like how I viewed things before anymore, I could say “Holy Crap!” Did you know there is a cereal in British Columbia, Canada called Holy Crap!? Its sales shot up from 10 packs per day to 10 packs per minute mostly because they changed its name from Hapifoods to Holy Crap. You have to admit, the former name sounded like frozen meals for seniors, and the latter sounded like glittering substance coming out of God’s behind, and people either worship God or like glitters, or both.

My point is, I like my second approach better now. Theories exist to point out the outliers and you slowly realize there are infinitely many outliers. Rather than turn around and say, God! How stupid I was to have liked that theory? Say, that was a theory in the past, now I’d better have a new one for this little baby.

Forget all I talked about if you are a physicist whose existence depends upon the consistency/symmetry of the universe. You’re an outlier and I’ll have another model for you: go away and find your unifying theory.