Out of the books and into the bender

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School is behind me, summer is upon me, and I'm heading for Vegas first thing in the morning.

I'm not much of gambler, truth be told, but I've got some friends and family to see, a wedding to attend, and a plan to consume my own weight in Bombay Sapphire over the next three days.

Amusing Vegas stories hopefully soon to follow...


Caving to post-modernism?

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So after arguing with Jishnu for 3+ hours regarding the virtues of modernist philosophy and the dangers of post-modernism, at least when taken to the extremes, I have been unmasked by an internet quiz as predominantly embracing the post-modern ideal myself. Jishnu, feel free to gloat.

I do maintain my modernism, with contextual limitations (rejecting, for instance Kant's deluded moral imperitive), in the ethical arena. For instance, I do believe that it is always wrong for an innocent person to be convicted of a crime he or she did not commit. This is not to say that I might not find some joy in it, if such a person were otherwise deserving of punishment or social stigma in my judgmental eyes, but mine would be a vengeant joy as opposed to one based in justice or moral certitude. Wrongful conviction might be karmically deserved, but it is always ethically wrong.

This sort of moral absolute conflicts head on with post-modern ethics, but I confess there are very few situations where I am comfortable making this sort of blanket assertion of right and wrong (senseless violence, subjugation based on race or gender, and the sexual exploitation of children for example). There are times and contexts, however, in which I believe it is not only not wrong, but in fact morally right, for an individual to lie, cheat, steal, or even kill. This is where my post-modern understanding kicks in.

To a great degree, our morals are shaped (and sometimes dictated) by regional culture and society. Where modern thought failed to demonstrate even causal certainty in the validity of our own senses (see David Hume and Thomas Reid), post modern logic within philosophies language have managed to disprove global doubt based on the need for shared meaning. These beliefs, as well as my sympathies for religious pluralism, have resulted in the following breakdown:

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Postmodernist

69%

Cultural Creative

69%

Existentialist

63%

Romanticist

50%

Idealist

44%

Modernist

38%

Materialist

19%

Fundamentalist

19%

What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com


Bush Whacking

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The rumors have been verified, and President Bush is indeed scheduled to speak for this year's commencement at my old alma mater, Calvin College /sigh. (read more on this)

Apparently, Calvin did not initiate the invitation (allegedly reported in the GR Press - they already had another speaker lined up). Rather, Bush has a practice of scheduling commencement speeches as means to joint ends of laying out new policy and currying favor in key states. Calvin's religious affiliation (though politically mixed) combined with its location in the midwest has seemingly put it on Rove's short list of low hanging fruit for the picking.

The liberal portion of Calvin's student body has not given up hope though. During my Calvin days, they successfully petitioned to reverse the decision allowing Strom Thurman to serve as a major event speaker (based on his early position against racial equality). In opposition to Bush, the following is now being undertaken: assuming the successful fundraising of $10,000, one quarter of which was met in the first two days after Bush was announced, the following letter will be published in a full page ad in the GR press with as many signatures as possible, the day before commencement.

A LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH

Dear President Bush:

We are students, alumni and friends of Calvin College who are deeply troubled that you will be the commencement speaker at Calvin on May 21st. In our view, the policies and actions of your
administration, both domestically and internationally over the past four years, violate many deeply held principles of Calvin College.

Calvin is a rigorous intellectual institution, and a truly Christian one. Since its inception in 1876, Calvin has educated its students to use their minds and hearts to transform the world into
a "beloved community" where no one is an outcast and all of God's children are cared for. Calvin teaches its students to work for peace and justice, and to be good stewards of God's creation.

By their deeds ye shall know them, says the Bible. Your deeds, Mr. President--neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment, and misleading the country into war--do
not exemplify the faith we live by.

Moreover, many of your supporters are using religion as a weapon to divide our nation and advance a narrow partisan agenda. We are deeply disappointed in your failure to renounce their
inflammatory rhetoric.

We urge you not to use Calvin College as a platform to advance policies that violate the school's religious principles. Furthermore, we urge you to repudiate the false claims of supporters who say that those who oppose your policies are the enemies of religion.

To sign onto the letter it: email nobushatcalvin@yahoo.com and give your name and the year you graduated (if you're an alum). Also include your phone number for verification purposes.

Well said. My electronic signature email is already on the way.


4 comments

My closed book exam double header is behind me. Phew.

4 gin and tonics and 3 hours of tivo later I am feelin fine. Too many gin and tonics, in fact, for me to write much of a coherent post.

Remaining goal for the day: convince Chante to play some frisbee, maybe at night, with our Flashflight. Yeah, this thing is dope. It's straight out of Tron.

(Not my photo - Chante adds, "dirty hippie not included." Ha!)

Flash Flight


update:

I too have taken the republican quiz now, and I am proud to announce:

I am:
9%
Republican.
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?


Put to Work

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Good news! I landed a summer research position with one of my favorite professors from last semester to complement my part time work with the general counsels of CalEPA and the California Resources Agency.

The topic: assisting in research to critically undermine the economic incentive rationale for granting limited monopolies through intellectual property protections. I am strongly in favor of dashing this ficticious justification against the rocks and adopting a natural rights approach. Give some credit (in the form of protection/rights) where credit is due, to the author or the innovator. I just don't want to hear fanciful fables of "economic incentives for innovation" when the effect is a bottle neck on technological progression, seriously impeding the potential for derivative works.

I'm feelin real good about this (and I don't think its just the St. John's Wort).



Thoughts inspired by Kevin's post on Cosmological Constance or Quessiance:

With regard to coming to some confortable understanding of our own finite place within an ever expanding universe, or perhaps within but one of a million such universes, I still find myself attracted to the Kantian view that space and time are, within the human mind, modes of understanding. Relative to our ability to perceive of things in terms of spacial location and chronology, these the axis in our system of mental sorting, and joined by causal assumptions, the mechanism through which we interpret and evaluate the sense data.

When science causes us to question our fundemental assumptions about space and time, our heads tend to spin. In other words, mixing physics and philosophy can be like mixing beer and hard liquor. But I don't know how much any of this should really impact our major questions about human purpose and origin (at the heart of Kevin's post.)

What is relevant remains the world around us. If you follow Wittgenstein's philosophy of language at all, it is community and shared meaning that give not only our words, but also our thoughts, intelligible meaning. This social web creates its own meaning and logically precludes global doubt.

So even if it is true that we live in nothing more than a tiny disposable pocket of the ever expanding quilt of space/time - our meaning is assured by what is all around us. It is in living, loving, thinking, creating, surviving...

I have sorely missed thinking in this way - thanks to Kevin for giving me the inspiration to uncork the bottle for a brief sip of thought.


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In order to get the suggested 8 hours of sleep for maximum mental alacrity the night before an exam, I should have been in bed drooling on my pillow 23 minutes ago.

But that would have interfered with watching my netflix of season 1 of the OC earlier tonight. Talk about a conflict of interests...and it felt sooo damn good to see Ryan sock that Oliver kid right in the mouth.

Now if only I could sock professional responsibility in the mouth. Please do not confuse this with a desire to sock my professor, ex-CA Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, in the mouth. He's a sweet old guy, and I wish him nothing but the best in his continued efforts to ignore the model rules, and in their place, instill virtue, or at least some inclination towards ethics, into the hearts of a room full of would be litigators.

I think I've got the material under control - I suppose we shall see. Time to get to that drooling.


Inspired by Xanga

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After a year of suffering the abuses of xanga.com - namely the prohibition on adding external links to my blog without succumbing to montly fees - I am making a happy and long overdue move to blogger.

Welcome to the light room, my virtual dark room, my fresh start, the new home of my rants, photographic indulgences, and other unjusitified opinions.

I first created, and subsequently completely forgot about this site, while playing on the wireless network during my professional responsibility class. Not so responsible. Now, instead of studying for my Friday final in that very class, I am turning the switch back on in the light room and wasting my afternoon away on the internet, doing what I do best.

This should provide some insight into my recent approach to surviving the mundane chore that is life in law school: working for moderate success with minimal effort. This may suggest that my true passion in life lies elsewhere, but I haven't given up all of my hope in a happy ending in the legal world, just all of my faith in the value of the process.

A warm summer rain is falling in Davis. It reminds me of carefree time spent on Kauai with my family - time that my parents are actually enjoying this very instant as I prepare for my exams. Truly, if life was at all fair, I too would be sitting in the in the sun, feeling that sweet pacific breeze, pounding a Mai Tai, and soaking in this view off our condo's balcony right now.

Cliffs View

Accounts of my prior adventures, tales of woe, and tedious ramblings should remain available at my old blog.


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