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Showing posts from September, 2012

Stereotypeville

Picture the scene, if you will: a nuclear family such as you rarely see these days. (I won't get into the morality or otherwise of that, because for the moment it's not what I want to talk about and because I think that the near obsession with the nuclear family as the only good type of family structure is a load of damaging bollocks.) They're probably perfectly nice middle-class cis people - by nice, of course, I mean boring, tedious and vaguely homophobic, ableist, transphobic, xenophobic and racist. They're a married couple with two children, a boy and a girl. The man is a logically-minded strong, silent type; in his youth, stereotyped women used to swoon over him for his physical prowess and his readiness to go out and do tasks. He personally doesn't like women doing what he calls "a man's job" - actually going out and being a breadwinner - and he's always chivalrous towards women, though he has problems communicating and showing emotion.

Mean…

Doing What's Right

What is right?

It's a question I seem to be asking myself more and more in these days of confusion. Me, I think I know the answer: working towards the eudaimonia of all living beings is what's right. At least, I think that's the right thing to do.

The problem comes when I look at other people. I'm...well, I personally don't know who or what I am any more (to be perfectly frank), and due to my youth and inexperience I tend to look up to people, even though I'm not one for idols. But youth fades, time passes and twats with nothing better to do (like me! Should have been partying and being sociable, but instead I wonder how the world works!) start to question things.

You see, I doubt I could have ever considered myself a proper leftist, a proper liberal, a proper anything. I'm a nothing, drifting from group to group, desperately seeking like-minded people...seeking less than that, actually. Seeking to belong. Because I don't belong, not to this world wher…

On being at peace with the world

I am sometimes told by people who are older than me (if not necessarily wiser, if I may be so bold) that I should be more at peace with myself and the world. Now, I don't doubt that I should be more at peace with myself - I know first-hand the consequences of being otherwise, and they are not pretty. I venture so far as to say that they are perhaps less pretty than the consequences of other people, more normal, less isolated, a little more pliable and a little less vulnerable than I am, not being at peace with themselves - for few of us are, I think, it's just that most of us are very good at hiding it.

Anyway, enough of the regurgitated, exaggerated pseudo-wisdom of a sixteen-year-old who frankly hasn't got a fucking clue what she's talking about half the time...I do think that being more at peace with oneself is a good thing, but being at peace with the world is quite a different matter. You see, this world is a shitty place - don't believe the people who tell yo…

Growing Old

I'm not going to lie: the idea of growing old scares me. You're allowed to laugh and call me vain, and I wouldn't hold it against you if you did: a lot of people I used to know (and thankfully lost contact with) used to fear growing old because it meant losing their looks. If it means anything to you, I have no looks so I'm not too fussed about losing them - but I'm desperately worried about losing other things.

It may not seem much like it, since I'm a saint in the worst sense of the word (there is nothing interesting in my life, and it's all my fault for being a boring, shit, shy, reticent, introverted piece of scum), but I seek the fire and the passion of life. I read a lot of books, so I'm probably looking in the wrong place, but still. I seek excitement, something to make life worth striving for, something to agitate me and stir me up. I don't like to be soothed, and I don't want to be at peace with the world until it gets sorted out. I wan…

The Innocence of Song

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Have I mentioned that I really don't like children's choirs? Probably not, but here's an entire blog post dedicated to griping about them!

It's odd, because from what I can gather quite a lot of people do like children's choirs; they like to hear the little angels singing, to be a bit patronising and snarky about it. They like to hear the sound of innocence, I think - at least, that's what I would say if I wanted to sound pseudointellectual. You know what? I'll be perfectly honest: I don't know how people can stand children singing, let alone listen to them for fun! Does anyone mind enlightening me on this? I don't think it's necessarily technical proficiency, since some children aren't that good.

I'm getting off the subject here, though...I've never really liked to hear children sing, as their voices are still immature; even the best child singers have a thinner tone compared with mature adult singers. (Incidentally, that's one …

Work and Leisure

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As a sixth former now, I don't have much time to myself. I'm forever working at school, and then I have work to do when I get home so I don't get nearly as much time to talk to friends and loved ones. I have work on the weekends, too, so I stay in the house and don't see people or do things. On top of that, I'm supposed to be doing extra independent work (5-10 hours a week, combined) and then reading around my subject - such as reading New Scientist, or Scientific American, or American Scientist, or French media, or books about mathematics and physics, or books about Latin literature (or indeed Latin literature itself, but it's sometimes very difficult to translate depending on the writing style; Tacitus is a case in point). Moreover, I recently went to an open day at Cambridge (purely to learn about the Oxbridge process) and was told that they're quite neutral about extracurricular subjects; they just want people who are good at whatever they want to stud…

The Quest for Happiness

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We Westerners seem to be on a quest for happiness. It's a quest as old as dirt, and in the thousands of years we've been on it we appear to have made no progress.

And we call ourselves smart. I think that might need a little more consideration...

...Right, that's the obligatory misanthropy over with, so let's get back on track! Anyway, we're still on this quest today and still just as clueless. At this point, I'd love to turn to positive thinking (I reserve judgement on positive psychology in academia, as opposed to positive psychology in the media, due to not knowing enough about it) and absolutely fucking rip into it - and, for those of you who like some invective mixed in with a good dose of cynicism, disillusionment and disgust with the status quo, and maybe, hopefully, even a glimpse of some logic, I shall not disappoint you! (Well, I shall, but at least I'll be disappointing you with my bad writing about this subject rather than my lack of writing ab…

Let's Talk About Feminism

Those of you who know me will know that I'm a feminist. A pretty crappy, isolated one, to be sure, but a feminist nonetheless and therefore one of those hairy, ugly, man-hating destroyers of the family.

Okay, let's get the stereotypes over with: feminists come in all shapes and sizes and their looks (gasp!) don't actually have any bearing on the validity of their points - which vary wildly, sometimes to the point of contradicting each other. And, well...I got thinking about this because of a post by a fellow feminist, talking about how she initially thought that she could talk about feminism to people and have a logical conversation.

As anyone who's ever tried to have a logical conversation about their pet cause will know, it really doesn't work that way. Whether that's because we're all biased or because other people are too set in their ways to have rational discussions about things, most of the time it ends up with people yelling and thinking their oppon…

On Classical Music

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Firstly, sorry for sporadic posting: school's started, I'm in sixth form now and therefore I'm back to long days and working my fat arse off during breaks, which I didn't do before, but AS levels (and a stray A level) are a fuckload of work and thus in order to not totally fail my subjects I do need to put more work in.

I wasn't going to talk about that, though; I was going to talk about what I actually said I was going to talk about - namely, classical music. For the pedants here, I don't mean the Classical period of roughly 1750-1820, but Western art music (whether liturgical or secular) from about the 11th century onwards and continuing into the present time.

The older I grow, the more disillusioned I become. I was raised in a tradition of classical music; my mother would pretty much always listen to Classic FM, a station I later grew old enough to detest, and then I started going to secondary school and joining a choir that basically chucked us into four-p…

On Constancy and Change

I like it when things stay the same.

That's what some people say to me. Now, if I'm perfectly honest I understand why they're saying that: constancy, or more precisely the appearance of constancy, is comforting. It means you can cling onto something in a world where clinging onto something, no matter how appealing, is difficult and possibly dangerous - and besides, it hurts like hell to stop clinging.

That doesn't mean that it doesn't fuck me off. And why? For a start, I'm no fan of change for change's sake, though I agree we need a lot of it - but that's not my reason. If I'm entirely honest, my real reason is that I think they're trying to fight nature; they're trying to fight natural forces and the mathematics modelling them. And, of course, they won't win against the laws of nature and mathematics. It's like me trying to stop the tide by yelling at it not to come in: gravity and the mathematics modelling it are stronger than my w…

On Platitudes

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I am sick to shitting death of platitudes, you know that?

Well, if you read this post you might have (sorry about the shameless self-promotion), but it's something that I want to expand on.

Excuse me for sounding very self-pitying and possibly a bit unstable, but I spend quite a lot of time curled up in a ball of worsening psychogenic pain or wanting to die so much it hurts. I am also less and less able to control this (possibly due to the increasing severity of my condition, yes, it is a condition and no, it's not called being a whiny teenager), so people have seen me whimpering or doubled up in pain. I find it quite humiliating that they see me so ground down, and they in turn are dismissive or bewildered. Being dismissed hurts, but I've come to expect it; when people are bewildered, I don't much like talking about how I feel because I've long been ashamed of myself for being this way, because my experiences are very far removed from what most people are familia…

On Working Together

I no longer check anything much to do with Atheism Plus; the hashtag appears to have been taken over by detractors (there's also some much-needed common sense, though I disagree with the argument that anything logically follows from atheism given that it is a lack of belief) and while I think I've seen Jen McCreight and Greta Christina make some defences (incidentally, I'm very much a fence-sitter who stays away from FTB because while there might be a lot of interesting thought going on there - I don't know, I don't check the blogs - I've only got so much time in my life and I'd rather spend it reading Pushkin and Tolstoy than following internet atheist drama). Still, people do complain from time to time about what one of the A+ers has done now and how horrible it is and then someone posts a link and basically the whole atheism/A+ schism is very much full of stupid, for which I blame the people who reacted to it negatively more than I blame the people who s…