Thoughts about archetypes this morning
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 11:50 AM - Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, Gender Politics
Archetypes - Anthropomorphisation of our aspirations.

There are different parts of our brain, or different ways of using them which we use in different situations. Sometimes, a particular situation can lend itself to more than one type of thinking.

How to live one's life is such a situation.

In particular, when making decisions about ethics or morals, we can choose to use rational thought or intuition (spirit?) or emotional empathy with another person, living or imaginary to decide how best to proceed.

I view archetypes as imaginary beings whose beliefs and 'ways of being' are so cool that I want to emulate them. Rather than deciding each individual choice in life based on rational analysis, which I sometimes am in the mood to do, I relax into an understanding, empathetic mimicking of the archetype and how he or she might behave in my situation.

This calls for archetypes who are actually *in* situations like those in which I find myself.

Most archetypes with which I'm familiar come from a time period in which the work of living required many different kinds of decisions than the time in which we are living now and so do not so easily lend themselves to addressing our problems.

For example, if I am trying to choose between multiple large conglomerate mega-corporations for, say, my internet access provision, it doesn't do much good to consider, "which internet service provider might Jesus or Zeus have chosen?".

So instead, I look for contemporary archetypes. Jimmy Carter, Emilia Earhart, Matthew Diaz , George Soros, Ehren Watada and those old men from the movie, "Secondhand Lions " all come to mind.

These are people living (mostly) in times more similar to mine than, say, Epocrates or Euripides.

But I initially looked for them based on my own choices about particular kinds of situations where the currently available archetypes didn't appear to serve me.

James Bond, for example, while a fine example of western thought in terms of his seeking after all knowledge and experience, is woefully inadequate for demonstrating how best to interact with women. At least, in my not-so-humble opinion. No doubt, there're plenty of men and women who might disagree with me. To each their own.

On the other hand, what kind of man shall I be towards women? This is a problem very well suited for an archetypal answer, but alas, I haven't found an acceptable one yet. Instead, sometimes I try to be the 17th century lord of the manor, entirely responsible for the welfare of those in my charge, while at other times, I try to be like my old friend Richard, a consummate listener, able to not just pay attention to the feelings of the women in my life, but to take the time and energy to -where possible- deeply understand where they're coming from, even in very complex emotional situations. {But without poor Richard's secret alcohol habit}.

Of course, this means that I spend my time listening instead of acting or pursuing my own joy sometimes. I admit that as an infant, I felt abandoned and to this day I still see very often remnants of my own need for attention (and so I pay attention to get attention more than most). I recognize that there are lots of disadvantages to being this way, but one can only choose some of what one is, ya know?

So when I'm thinking that I just did something I'm not proud of (like stare at the chest of the 20 year old girl I was dancing with in class the other day) I give myself a bit of a break and remind myself that I'm still a work in progress, that even as I would prefer to behave towards her as a friendly uncle (of the non-slimy variety, obviously) I still live in this body which hasn't had the opportunities to look at women up close very often and that part of me which is still a horny boy still exists and must be allowed to do his thing, preferably in ways that do not harm any actual people, like her. Then, after the feeling passes, I re-tell the story of what happened as I would like to have had it happen; not that I lie to myself about what I did- Goddess knows, that'd be worse -but I satisfy myself that I can be proud of my interactions the next time I'm with her and I'm not feeling those feelings and I can behave towards her the way I would like to see myself doing so. And it works - the next time I was with her, I was able to be more of a person and less of a dirty old man.

So in a sense, part of my need for archetypes has diminished since I've adopted that habit of retelling stories of my experiences in the ways I would like to have behaved. This way, I construct over time my own archetype. And on several memorable occasions, people have led me to think that I did such a good job that I served as the archetype for others. I am most proud of those moments, albeit unaware of them as they happened.

But maybe this is all just an excuse 'cause I can't really think of any archetypes that address the times in which we're currently living. I mean, we're experiencing the decline of the American empire and it is scary, confusing and even the most honorable person living in the USA these days has to admit that by participating in the economy (and how can we not do so?) we tacitly support the government that has been supporting the US Dollar and US Corporations for at least the last 50 years by killing and torturing civilians all over the world.

Even this morning, I was reading the fine print of Clinton and Obama's plans for Iraq, and they at least, to me, appear to be exactly like what the current crooks are doing, albeit with fewer troops. They don't want to remove entirely from there because that's where the oil is and they're either not strong enough to withstand pressure from the big oil companies, or -even more scary if they're right- believe that the long term survival of the United States if so precarious without steeling the oil of the Iraqi people that it is worth it to continue this butchery so we can keep living in the style to which we've as a country become accustomed.

Often times, I have considered the merits of going to live on a collective farm somewhere, but that seems like an abdication of my responsibility to fellow humans to do whatever I can to stop the war machine. In the USA, we are so naive that we think it is possible that our votes count; that we actually have some control -even collectively- over our government.

When I went around Europe in 2003 and apologized everywhere I went for my horrible government, they all sympathized and said that they understood that it wasn't my fault, but I still imagined a tiny underpinning of subconscious, "But you better vote the bastards out" in some of those discussions, for which I cannot blame them.

But when I got to Ukraine and apologized there, they laughed in my face and patted me on the head (metaphorically, that is) and shouted, "Look - how quaint! How cute -- he is actually so naive that he thinks he has control over his government!". Pretty funny, eh? Especially coming from a people who had their own electile dysfunction a few years ago, and what did they do? They set up a tent city in downtown Kiev through an entire winter until they got the candidate they wanted back in power, over the one who officially won the vote! Now, That's what I call democracy! (Of course, there are lots of indications that the guy they were voting for was the one western governments wanted in power and so that tent city was paid for by the CIA and so forth, but since I have no way of knowing the truth one way or the other about that at this time, I prefer to believe in the 'people standing up to authority' model instead. :o)

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An Unfortunate Adventure
Sunday, March 4, 2007, 06:46 AM - Sociology, Politics, Friends
In the late afternoon of Wednesday, 28 February 2007, my housekeeper Rochelle and I had decided to play musical furnishings; she knew of a guy with a truck who, for the better part of a tankful of gas would help us move the table in my apartment (which I'd purchased for $25) into her place and then go to my storage to get me one of my desks to replace it and bring it back to my apartment.

Ernie Montoya, Thief of Albuquerque

She introduced me to Ernie Montoya. He was a fit young articulate sweet sounding 29 year old guy. He said his birthday was today (28 Feb) or maybe tomorrow (1-March) and we conversed in the truck on the way. He had a White 2001 F-150 Ford pickup truck. When we were finished with the trip (he also helped me load a couple of additional pieces of furniture for the apartment in addition to the desk) he dropped me back off at home and left and I realized that my recently purchased $3,000. MacBook Pro laptop computer was missing. Since it was sitting on the very table which we had moved at the beginning of the trip, I knew I had personally moved it immediately prior to Rochelle and Ernie's visit. Since Rochelle had been cleaning for me for over a year without incident, I suspected Ernie of taking the computer.

But when questioned on Thursday, Ernie was well spoken and polite and easily told me he knew nothing about it but he'd happily help me search for it on Saturday.

More of Ernie Montoya, the thief

In further discussions with Rochelle and her sister, Rishanna, it came out that Rochelle had been missing a credit card. Since we now had someone to suspect, further investigation showed that the phone call to her bank to change the PIN number of her credit card had come from his mobile phone, number 505-319-9507. But he still denied everything. He didn't get angry, he just couldn't understand why we could come to such conclusions.

Since I have a camera outside my apartment door (although lack of disk space prevented me from having it on that week) I decided on a bluff. I told Ernie on Thursday that police forensics persons would examine the recording on Monday to see if the black blob he was seen carrying in the pictures would be acceptable identification of the theft in progress. (The computer was in a black bag)

I figured that would give us a weekend to come to an understanding without him losing face. He dissembled. He suggested that he has a black bag of his own and he would discuss with his lawyer whether or not I had the right to film him (using a camera in plain view) on the threshold of my apartment door. He still denied everything. By this time however, I was confident from his lack of anger at my accusations that he was lying.

The police were polite and kind but admitted that it was unlikely in their opinion that I would be able to get my computer back, even though I had lots of circumstantial evidence of the perpetrator, his name, mailing address (4400 San Pedro Drive NE), birthdate and vehicle description.

At first, my reaction was to place myself in his position. This motivated me to offer him $200. cash to get my computer back. But being a $3,000. laptop, he would have no motivation to accept my money as opposed to that from his fence or pawnbroker.

So -on advice from a friend who knows such people- I left messages on his voice mail to the effect that I had $200 to get my computer back, and I didn't care if I gave it to him directly or -if that didn't happen by Saturday night at 9 pm- I would give it instead to a couple of ex-marines who would gladly take it in exchange for breaking his arms to get it back- the choice was his. To cover my own previous lie, I said that I had already spoken with the police forensics people on Friday and they verified that the video wouldn't be good enough.

He called Saturday afternoon at 3 pm. Unlike his usual calm and gentle demeanor, he sounded angry and scared and terse. He would meet me and exchange the computer for the money as quickly as possible with no possibility of witnesses.

I invited over Rishanna (whom he knows) and called him back saying she was there to use my internet connection (a legitimate reason for her presence) but he was adamant; he would not come over until even she left. This frightened me. I figured since he knew her, there would be no reason for him to not feel comfortable with her company. I thought perhaps he wanted no witnesses because he meant to do me violence. I was scared too. The thought of actually being responsible for breaking the arms of another person was upsetting to me and I finally decided that my threat -although thankfully successful- had no teeth; I just couldn't do it.

Although I was glad to feel free of the burden this decision removed, I was at the same time filled with the kind of fear it caused so I made some more phone calls and finally decided, after further advice, to meet him at the Frontier Restaurant which was close by and always populated.

So as I waited there, I explained to another police officer what was happening. He made it very clear that it was his job to strongly advise me against these actions. I believe he was being guided by management decisions that prioritized actually helping the public as less important than preventing the possibility for lawsuits against the city. I could hardly blame him for doing what he was instructed. He left. I waited for Ernie to call.

Ernie the liar and Meth addict

Ernie called; I told him where I was and he said to meet him out the back door. The parking lot of the Frontier is very well lit and probably video surveilled, so I agreed. He drove up in a white 4-door hatchback jeep like vehicle (License beginning with "HP") with another guy. They showed me that the computer worked (I used my telescope to see it in the hands of the person in the passenger's seat from my position at the driver's window) and I showed them the money. We exchanged possessions. They drove off. This freaky subplot had -for the most part- ended.

But only for me. Rochelle is still missing her good pants and credit card. Who knows how many other innocent people have had possessions or identities ripped off? I feel good that I got my computer back, but I feel bad that -although at every step of the way I kept the police informed {Except for the part about the threat} no harm came to him as a result of these experiences.

If I were truly being a socially responsible creature, it would have been incumbent upon me to see to it that some kind of justice be done. Either having him caught by the police and sent to jail for -oh, say- 3 months to 2 years or have both his arms broken. Arms heal (mostly). So I was assuming that two broken arms would significantly change his lifestyle for at least 2 months. To have both broken instead of just one would mean he would need help to take care of himself and this would -I would hope- require that he trust someone absolutely. I thought perhaps this kind of trust would improve his ability and willingness to participate in society more in accordance with its rules, but we'll never know. Perhaps the next person from whom he steels will do this. I understand that if I had done this, there is a chance that I could have been sent to jail for it myself (for causing violence to another person) along with whoever I hired to do it. This would have been a just jail sentence and it would have been appropriate -as long as I didn't have my life ruined in the process, a distinct possibility).

Alas, I was just too chicken. Perhaps if I had not already been feeling bad about other aspects of my life, I might have had the courage to do that. And who knows, maybe he might've fallen in love with his caregiver and it could've been the best thing that ever happened to him. We'll never know.

Update: It appears that Ernie spent the $200 he extorted from me on Methamphedimines. The women he paid for them still might have the bills I gave him. I have their serial numbers on file.

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Some of the Sociology lectures can't be downloaded
Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 12:57 PM - Sociology, Website
I've just learned that Some of the Sociology lectures can't be downloaded. I'll fix it tonight. Sorry about that.

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Lectures online
Wednesday, February 1, 2006, 07:57 AM - School, Political Science, Philosophy, Sociology, Politics, Website
Lectures in my Political Science 101 class are now available online for your listening pleasure. Furthermore, I wrote notes on them and posted those as well.

I have also posted the lectures from Philosophy 156 Reasoning and Critical Thinking as well as Philosophy 101 Political Philosophy and Sociology 101.

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A new semester
Wednesday, January 18, 2006, 05:30 PM - Russian, Math, Dancing, Academics, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science
Okay. Now we are in the Spring 2006 semester. I am taking the following classes: Math, Dance (this time, it's more ballroom), Philosophy 101, Philosophy 156 (Reasoning), Sociology 101, Political Science 200. I have decided (for the moment, at least) that Russian has too much emphasis on writing and reading so I am dropping it. While I am still very interested in it, the truth is that I have do be more careful about only taking classes and engaging in activities at which I can do at least decently, if not well and reading and writing is not among them.

The Political Science course has me excited. It is taught by former Senator Fred Harris (OK). It is a big class (70ish people) but he's a great lecturer.

Sociology is being taught by a different TA than was originally planned and we haven't met her yet. That's tomorrow.

Philosophy 156 looks interesting, but I'm a bit worried about getting the materials copied to the computer in time; already we're to read chapter 1 by Monday, and I don't know if I can get it all scanned in time.

Philosophy 101 starts in 30 minutes, so I guess I'd better finish this later. :o)

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