My one professor who was on my wavelength — every time she addressed me, it was by my full name. Until then I tended to omit the Rössel, and generally avoided my name when I could. Early on she mused over the class register. “Ba-da-dum, ba-da-dah. You’ve got two dactyls,” she said. “One more,” I said, “and I’ll be a pterodactyl.” She took about five minutes to recover.
I have been having the most bizarre dreams as of late.
The “Toybox” piece is coming along rather closely, at this point; there’s only a smidge of decoration and polish before I deign it complete. I’m not altogether thrilled with it, but it’s my first experiment in this particular style of assembly. It’s more of a learning exercize than a heartfelt ode. So.
And then: Yes.
I still taste the bread from a submarine sandwich that I ate over twelve hours ago. Talk about value for your dollar!
My toy symphony, as it were, is beginning to find some kind of direction for itself. I’ve come to the conclusion, however, that I need a good sample or two which comfortably sit in the bass range. As one might anticipate, were one to pay attention to such spectral issues, all of these dinky instruments and knicknacks tend to be pretty strong on the high end, but they generally cut off somewhere within the midrange.
Maybe I can fudge a bit by introducing a couple of pure waves; square and triangle, say. They’ll sound cheesy, and yet honest and warm enough that they might not clash as an overly synthetic addition.
Plus, they can be cleanly downsampled as much as I care to do so.
I really am not fond of square waves when used in the mid-range; I’ve known this for a long while. They just sound hollow. But my word, do they make good bass patches. They even have some neat uses in the higher registers, as a chirpy kind of seasoning.
Wind Waker is sitting in my Gamecube, very close to completion (as it has been for a few days) — but I return to it joylessly at this point. I suppose I might as well just get the darned thing over with. If I didn’t have a review to write, I don’t think I’d have the motivation to finish.
Today has been a day of crankiness. Perhaps repeating another three or four boss battles is just the cap that I need.
I had just finished eating a rather usually awful meal from the food court, and was (as I have been wont to do for a while) sitting and musing in its aftermath. While staring into space and dodging particular thoughts, I returned to the subject of my paper that I wrote for Prof. Gosetti the other day. I scrounged around in my bag for a pencil stub and a pad, and this is what I wrote before the thought escaped me:
Could it be that what we call time is not one dimension, bur rather two?
The linear realm of cause-and-effect which we generally associate with time would be one axis, accounting for the passing of existence. Anything which has a before and an after — and everything that we perceive does — lies within this dimension. As we exist, and as we travel time by nature of that consciousness, we organize what is passed into a chronology. Things happen before others because this is the order (necessarily so in some cases) in which they are encountered.
Yet, how would one account for choice? It would seem that in order to be conscious agents, we would need not only to be traveling through time, but within it.
If one can imagine time as a two-dimensional plane, chronology would lie along the x axis. As we live, as we become aware of our movement, as we organize our experiences into a linear path of travel, we place these along the x axis. What, however, happens when a determination must be made? Every time we make a decision, we take a step to the left or to the right — while still progressing along the x axis. Our lives are not mere lines, but a series of vector paths, zig-zagging through the landscape of time.
What I wonder, now (and this is the part which I had begun to add in my last attempt to type this up) is whether this is a situation which is uniquely ours. (I mean “ours” in the most general and vague sense, to refer to all conscious life.) If Being is time, as Heidegger insists — and which I do quite well believe is the case, increasingly with each bit of thought which I devote to the topic — then would any other life, which did not take advantage of this extra plane in the same manner as us, Be in the same sense as us? Does life, or conscious life, depend on a certain narrowing of focus such as that which we have? As I said in the paper, it would appear at least superficially that it does not so much matter which extra dimensions are used in order to sort out one’s life, so long as something is left for organizational space — sort of the cache file of existence, in a sense. But what of life which only takes one dimension or the other for this purpose?
Perhaps free will, as such, does exist after all in at least some sense. I’ve not put much thought into this yet, and I’d really like not to have to use such a term if I can avoid it — but if it did, perhaps it would have something to do with this fifth dimension.
And if this is, in fact, the way we organize things — then might these upper dimensions past the fifth one be vitally necessary to our existence, as we are, in the same sort of a manner? Could it be that there is a reason that we only are able to perceive three dimensions — that any more or less would be impossible, in order for us to be conscious in the way that we are?
I’ll have to dwell on it a bit more, when I’ve the energy. This is just a game, for the moment. While it may be that I’m probably only chasing wild herrings in my boredom, this is a kind of entertaining experiment.
UPDATE (9:08 PM):
Actually, this makes a lot of sense.
All objects have definite physical properties and limits. We measure a rock. It’s so-and-so long by so-and-so wide, by so-and-so deep. It’s also so-and-so extant. That is, it has a beginning and an end in time, just as it does in any other sense. We, as living beings, have a much shorter t axis (I suppose we shall say) than other objects, but it’s there all the same. Taking a step outside of time and life and simply looking at what we are, we have a beginning and an end, chronologically, just as we do in terms of width and length and depth.
It is a pretty acceptable concept that what we are, as Beings, are assemblies of all of our conscious experiences. Since it’s an easier sketch than others, Sartre comes in handy here. Our Selves are nothing except insomuch as they are generalizations of all of our past experiences and past moments.
If we take a step outside of time and everything else, however, this freedom no longer exists. There is no more travel; we are objects once more, just as a rock is to us within three dimensions. We have a beginning and an end, and we can be inspected as such objects. There is no determination, there is no consciousness, there is no Being.
Now take a look at our determinations and choices — our movements perpendicular to existence, which appear to make up what we call conscious life. From an objective standpoint, these have every bit as much a dimensional character as width or depth. They simply are, as much as my height is a little under six and a half feet and my lifespan is such-and-such a number of years. We are five-dimensional objects, essentially. And freedom of will doesn’t even enter into it.
There was something else I was going to say, but I’ll blame it on my roommate that I can’t remember what that was, now.
UPDATE (9:09 PM):
I wonder whether rocks are conscious and alive as well, but only fully aware of one dimension?
Another side effect of Sartre and his great Husserlian scab known as existentialism: lack of culpability of the ego. It’s supposed to be a great and frightening prospect that there is no “I” behind the consciousness which I find to be mine, and that this “I” I perceive is merely a construct generalized out of all aspects of my consciousness at any given moment I choose to take a tally. We supposedly, intuitively, need something to cause our consciousness, rather than it existing as mere process. It’s too frightening for us, according to common opinion, to consider otherwise.
Of course, phenomenology is circumspect enough to entirely allow a deterministic latticework to be slung through its center — all it does is deal with the subjective end of things. This is its power, I think. So there can be reason or cause for consciousness — but simply not within the phenomenological framework. But it’s just this weird desire which leads us to all of the awkward and somewhat contrived problems Husserl faced with the transcendental ego, and it’s what gives us Freud and his weirdness. And it’s what gives us all of this awful analytical psychology we’ve devised over the last century or so.
And beyond this, I must say that it seems the opposite with at least me. Beyond a bevy of other problems which are fixed for me by removing any original concept of “I”, this whole removal of liability could be a lifesaver — even if on the surface it sounds a bit suspicious.
If I don’t have an “I” to blame for my thoughts and my actions, and only my consciousness — which always only exists in the present and by its nature as an action has, itself, no past — then I don’t have an “I” to label. Or, rather, I don’t have any reason to color and judge this self when I constitute it. It’s only a reflection of all states which consciousness is creating right now. It’s not anything in its own accord, and it certainly isn’t to blame for anything that I do — except insofar as I choose to objectify it and fail to recognize it for what it is. To take it for a static object.
If I see my self as an object unto itself, I can analyze it and judge it and pick it apart. I can call it whatever my analysis leads me to conclude, and then I will have that label stuck within me. I can call myself a jerk, or stupid, or irresponsible, or lazy, or impatient — and these all become matters of fact. Then comes the trap. So I’m impatient — well, I just am that way. I’m lazy. It’s not like I can help it. It’s what I am.
But no — no, it’s not. At least, it is only so much as I choose it to be. What are lazy or irresponsible or impatient or mean are the actions conducted by this consciousness I call mine, at a point in the past. This consciousness which is only ever extant in the present; which is continually refreshed every moment. If I don’t like the things I’ve done, and I don’t like the way things are averaging out when I take a tally of myself, then I simply try to act differently in the future.
What all of this does is give room to breathe. Room to do better. Freedom to change, and freedom from some extent of pain. It’s a lot harder to hate something which doesn’t exist, after all. Every time I might want to slap some awful conclusion on myself, the swing would go nowhere. Rather that ruthlessly demonizing my self until such point as I am no longer able to operate, I’m left to face my behaviour for what it is. I have no option but to endeavour to change if I’m not thrilled with what my actions have been before.
I don’t see what’s so awful about this. Of course, phenomenology did lead directly to national socialism… ur. But we can ignore that for the time being.