Way back in 1641, René Descartes dropped Meditations on First Philosophy, in which he famously claimed he was certain that he existed. But towards the end of his little book, he also made some pretty influential claims about the nature of the mind, saying it was totally separate from material substance. I think his arguments for this are bullshit, and I want to try to explain why.
Judgements of good and bad are always, as far as I can tell, made on the basis of aesthetics, which are subjective but have some universality rooted in biology. Living the best life therefore can be said to mean living the most aesthetically pleasing life. Thus, there are countless possible "best" lives and no objective comparisons, just some obviously better and worse lives, as there are better and worse songs.
This summer is an odd one. After returning from five months in the wilderness, away from technology, I have over two months with less responsibility and commitment than I've had in years. What am I doing with this gift of freedom? Not much, I'm ashamed to say.
Hi! Hello! Salutations! I'm back! I just returned from a five month long expedition. I skied and paddled, traveling almost every day, living outside and in community with twelve other students for a semester. I got back on June 12th, and since then I've been adjusting every day to being home and living in society. As I adjust and reflect, I realize I have a lot to say. A lot to say about my time at Kroka, about the world and the society I live in, and about the life I want to live.
Over the past year or so I've been using Pixelmator Pro, mostly for specific projects, but occasionally just for fun. Here are a few cool things I've made. They all started from photos of the real world, usually taken by me or my girlfriend.
A lot of people I barely know ask me questions about my life, and I guess I try to answer them, but it's always kinda awkward and confusing. A popular question, when they hear I'm applying to colleges right now, is "What schools are you applying to?" That one is easy enough to answer: I tell them I'm applying to MIT early action, followed by Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Williams, and Amherst, with UMass Amherst as a safety. But when they hear I want to go to MIT, they say, "Ah, he must be a STEM guy," and then make a bunch of assumptions about me. Or they know that I'm not the biggest lover of technology walking this earth and so they say - "wait - why do you want to go to MIT?
I've been thinking about movies that have really stuck with me, and I noticed that while the majority of them are well known, there are a few lesser known ones I thought I'd write about.
A quote from Howard University’s removal of classics is a spiritual catastrophe by Cornel West and Jeremy Tate. Published in full here by the Washington Post.
From The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende:
"His father... ordered Nicolás to take a bath and put on some normal clothes if he wanted to stay in the house, but Nicolás stared at him without seeing and did not reply. He had become a vegetarian. He did not eat milk, meat, or eggs. His diet was the same as a rabbit's, and his anxious face gradually came to resemble the face of that animal."
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
~ from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
This map is one of my biggest projects. Click on the full screen button for a better viewing interface in a new tab. I am still adding details and photos to this map - if you have something for me to add, let me know!
At my family’s small lowbush blueberry farm in late July and early August, the energy is festive. Over a thousand customers come from around the valley with their friends and small children each year to participate in harvesting the year’s blueberries, and most of them have a personal connection to the farm and the land, if not to my family directly. The blueberry sorting barn is filled with the roaring of fans and conveyor belts as the fruit is winnowed and packaged into boxes of five, ten, or twenty pounds and sold directly a few yards away; out in the picturesque fields, customers pick their own berries alongside local teenagers harvesting thousands of pounds of blueberries each day for what is often their very first job. The fruit is firm and sweet, easily surpassing in quality the conventionally grown lowbush blueberries, usually from Canada or Maine, found in the frozen section at supermarkets; and healthy-minded mothers excitedly discuss the antioxidant properties of the lowbush variety while tussling the blueberry-stained hair of their toddlers.
The loaf felt soft in his hand. Not soft and soggy like the stale bread crusts he had eaten all his life became when it rained—it was warm, and fresh. And the smell! It was the same smell that had made his stomach rumble every time he walked down the alley behind the tavern’s bakery—but now he experienced it a completely different way, knowing that the sweet smell was his, that he would sink his teeth into that warm, soft loaf. He looked behind him with a fearful grimace, but wild and delighted. No one in the busy street was looking at him. He reached up and over an edge in the wall, an edge he was too short to see but which his fingers knew perfectly—and he swung himself onto the tavern’s roof.
Lying in bed, imagining all the wonderful creations
To come, crying tears inside because they won’t, I can’t fight,
I am too weak even though I can be strong and eat the fruit
Of labour I won’t, I will not though I want, though I must walk,
But on the outside, where I can see, I don’t yet drink
Those tears, those bitter tears, not till I’ve pushed through the thick