Friday, October 15, 2010

Study Summary 10/8/10 - 10/14/10

This week was generally unproductive as I predicted it would be, but not as badly as I thought. I did manage to complete a good amount of my weekly goals, so the major neglect went towards the lesser items on my to-do lists. Oddly enough I don't feel guilty or uncomfortable with my slothfulness, so perhaps I needed a bit of restoration or period of reflection, though I think I should be wary of that line of reasoning lest I use it as an excuse for the future.

I only managed to complete one chapter each of Good Calories, Bad Calories and The Logical Leap, completing three conceptual exercises for the former (I couldn't ground some concepts, so I didn't count them towards my total) and ten for the latter (!). I also managed to complete one pure reading of The Journals of Ayn Rand.

In addition to my conceptual exercises, I also did a little dabbling with the whole looking for percepts of concepts online thing. While it does make my conceptual exercise take a little longer to perform, I found that it did make it more enjoyable and easier to do. For instance, I tried doing a conceptual exercise on the concept "hormone," and through my search of images on the internet I managed to correct an error in my thinking: I thought it was a primary entity, but it turns out that it's a category that classifies a group of entities and that it requires an understanding of atomic and molecular theory, and, consequently, some concepts of chemistry. I don't think I would have been able to reach those conclusions as quickly as I did simply fiddling around with Google images. (However, since "atom" and "molecule" aren't fully grounded to me and since I don't know where they lie in the conceptual chain I could not ground the concept hormone.) I'm definitely going to continue this practice in the future. It's fun, it makes things easier, and it makes my thinking go faster.

I don't have much to say about GCBC this time around since this particular chapter appeared redundant given previous learning I have done, but man was TLL interesting! I filled up about three or five pages on the first chapter alone. It's an intensely interesting book that will require particularly intense reading on my part to understand it fully. While I was reading David Harriman's articles in order to judge whether or not this book was worth having I was having a hard time comprehending the information since I didn't intend to write at that time; now that's not the problem. I have a lot of thinking to do on this subject, and I think it will be a very enjoyable task.

As for Journals, I think my patience has been rewarded. I mentioned previously that I found this book to be of mixed value since it covers such a varied amount of subjects, thereby making me demote it from study subject to a book to purely read, but that I was going to stick with it in case of eventually coming upon valuable material. I found The Mind on Strike to be the chapter worth waiting for. It offered incredible insight on the nature of people, especially those in my life right now, and has given me great assistance in giving me the right words to perhaps identify the problem of my current unproductivity right now. Page 448 offers this Newton's apple of a sentence:

"So now he performs another reversal: instead of realizing that man's material activity and production is the result of his spiritual entity (his thinking, his desires, his purposes) and that the material is meaningless except as the form given to the satisfaction of a primarily spiritual need -- he decides that his spritual happiness will proceed from the material, that the material will give him a spritual entity." [My bold.]

For the past few days that's the wording I've been groping at to express the disconnect of my abstract life from my physical life: The root of my dissatisfaction could be that my spiritual work isn't resulting in material consequences. Without a material manifestation to serve as a result for my intellectual work, it could be the case that my spiritual needs are merely accumulating without my taking any effort to satisfy them materialistically, and my current temptation (and lack of guilt) to laziness could be me having burnt out a fuse. It could also be the case that, along with thoughts about the Circumstance, that these spiritual needs were among those things I was suppressing and were among the basketballs that rushed to the surface when I couldn't keep them submerged any longer. That's definitely a difficult aspect of suppression: when you try to suppress multiple things at once.

Recently I had buttermilk fried chicken (with coconut flour, lard, and full-fat buttermilk) along with vegetables and a can of coconut juice, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps such an enjoyment can be indicative of a inner need other than hunger being satisfied, given that my culinary aspirations pin a spiritual aspect to food. Essentially, maybe it's the case that I don't reward myself enough for my intellectual work that I had temporarily run out of fuel. It would not only explain my recent proneness to slacking off but also my disdain for continuing my efforts: My subconscious knows I'm not doing well to turn the products of my mind into physical consequences and that I won't be materialistically rewarded (the form undefined for now) and so evaluates the practice as empty strain. I don't blame my mind for such an evaluation.

This week I'm going to concentrate more on improving my emotional health and securing the sustainability of good habits rather than accomplishing study goals. For studying I will be modest: One chapter for every study subject. For my emotional health, I think I'll try to take a more serious approach to my rubberducking by constructing a list of topics to speak about and then talking about them whenever I can. I think I've been limiting myself to rubberducking in the car too much, as the amount I can speak is limited by the distance of my traveling and the concentration needed for, well, driving. In securing the sustainability of good habits, I think I'll work to learn how to establish better writing practices and to consider the ways in which I can make my abstract studies result in material consequences as soon as possible, like making new culinary knowledge immediately impact my cooking, and also contemplate what other spiritual needs I may have. I think I could also come up with a way to make more spending money, which would allow me to have more incentive for my general efforts, to enjoy my life more, and to save more money for my Project since I would be securing my necessities through my main income.

I'm not sure if I can figure out sure-fire solutions in such an amount of time, but I certainly think it's very worthwhile. Emotional health and the ability to sustain consistent efforts are the key concentrations this week, and if I'm successful I'll not only be making myself a better, more able person, but will also be able to deal with the Circumstance much better than I am right now. I'm confident.   

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