Archive for October, 2008

Because I will be at the AAR Conference this year, there won’t be any new posts until November 5th.


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Snow? In October?

My class, I felt, didn’t go too well. I really didn’t get to express the teaching behind the different philosophical schools, only aspects of how they go about the philosophical discussion. Even that, I don’t think, was clear to everyone. But I think I will have a second chance, and later this semester I will be able to focus on Vedanta. And then I will be able to put more detail to what it is, which, of the schools, is the most important one to focus on.

In the morning, one person I talked to, while waiting for the CUA library to open, said he had heard that we might get snow. While I didn’t think it is likely, it was too warm for snow, throughout the day it seemed more and more plausible — the temperature dropped, and brought in strong winds, winds which have been with us overnight. I know, to the West of us, near the mountains, there are now snow alerts: but that relates to the mountains, which always get snow before everyone else.  I don’t know how cold it is outright now, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if we started getting some precipitation, it would be snow not rain. Nonetheless, it’s not happening.

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Yesterday went from a nice, sunny morning, to a dreary, rainy evening. I had to prepare my thoughts for teaching today — there are so many ways one could go about discussing the different schools of Hindu philosophy, but I think I might have a way to go about it now. One hour, obviously, is not enough time. I will also have to make sure I give some of the basic examples employed by Hindu philosophy, especially the question involved in the misperception of a rope for a snake. From that one question, one can see the different ways the different schools of thought deal with epistemology and ontology. I am glad I don’t have to teach for the next two sessions; the hour limitation really is hard to deal with, and I think, more wearying because of how fast I have to go through the material.

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Rough Roads

Every day I am on the road, it seems the traffic is getting worse, and the people are getting ruder and ruder. I was trying to get on a busy road from a side road after church, and there were several cars which just ran on by not letting me on. Once it was free, the cars behind me just started going around and not letting me on. I just don’t get why they don’t allow people ahead of them on first since they should be doing that. Let everyone on that way instead of rudely cutting people off like that.

Patrick called me, asking if we can switch some classes around — he is working on a couple papers, and wouldn’t have time to prepare for Tuesday. So we will, though it means he will be teaching two times in a row. I will have to talk over with him what he plans to do for next week, and see if he wants me to find something or if he will (the topic next week is the Kamasutra).

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We were expecting rain for sometime, but it didn’t come as early as it was expected. But once it did, it didn’t let up; it remained with us, sometimes becoming fast and furious, until evening, making it a good day to stay indoors. I watched tv, cleaned up around my apartment, and read — only going out in the morning briefly, before the rain, to get some coffee.

The book I read was The World Jones Made by PKD. It was one of his earlier novels, but I thought it was also one of his more original ones — about a man (Jones) who mentally existed in two time zones, seeing and living in both, a year apart from each other. It, of course, made him unbalanced; he used it to rise to power as a religious figure turned world ruler. Since he knew what anyone was going to do, he would always act accordingly and overcome all opposition. This made him too sure of himself. He wasn’t perfect, even if he came to believe in himself too much. What lay beyond that year of knowledge he didn’t know, and would only have to guess — and so the consequences of his long term plans were, in the end, were what eventually did him in. And yet, he tried to even take control of that — to make himself seen as a martyr, to validate himself in the minds of his followers, and to perpetuate himself and his ideals even if he, in reality, made mistakes; and in this way, PKD made, what I thought, a very interesting representation of a kind of anti-Christ (whether or not that was his intention).

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Thursday was an easier teaching day for me — I showed a video to the class; it wasn’t the best, nor the worst, but it showed a side of the Hindu culture and tradition which, even if exaggerated, I think is good to show and make known. After class, I stayed on campus to eat with many of my fellow graduate students — I felt the need for socialization, and I think it went well. I saw many I’ve not seen for sometime from my classes, and met a few more of newer students, mostly those entering the Religion and Culture program. It seems to be a good crew.

In the evening, I went once again to St Matthews to hear the discussion on forming one’s conscience. I thought the speaker did quite well, especially during the Question and Answer section, where I thought the questions were not fair, and required sophisticated responses which were not always desired by the one asking the question. One person basically suggested it was too heady, get to something practical (i.e., think like me). But the presenter handled it well. I probably would have said something about the need for the heady material to figure out practical actions and left it at that.

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Thank you, St Christopher!

My right eye continues to be irritated; to help deal with it, I decided to go and get some new eye drops. Since it had been sometime since I last went there, I decided to go to Target to buy them. My drive to and from Target yesterday was horrible. At one point, I wa was in the right most lane of a three-lane road, and an unmarked truck with bad lights was ahead of me. I needed to get over to the left-most lane, and kept looking out for an opening to do so. When it looked like I was free to move left, I sped up to make sure I can go with the flow in that lane; suddenly the car behind me cuts me off so I can’t go, and the truck ahead of me stops dead in front of me. I hit the breaks real hard, and thankfully, didn’t get in an accident. It did, however, cause me to pause (the truck was not moving) as I regained my composure. Afterwards, I had to face more bad drivers. There were many cars suddenly changing lanes, back and forth, right in front of me. There were other cars turning improperly: for example, some in a left lane turning right — right in front of me, some in the right lane, turning left, right in front of me. What’s with drivers these days?  I have to be ever-vigilant to make sure I don’t get hit.

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