:: Tentativity ::

A Blog of Zealously Defended Tentative Ideas Offered in a Rambling, Unfocused and Non-Suitable-For-Publication Format
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:: Thursday, March 04, 2004 ::

I'M MOVED
http://tentativity.davidsj.com
:: Justin 10:14 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, March 02, 2004 ::
Psychology

I've decided that when I finally start college sometime next year, I'm going to study Psychology, inspired by a personal hero of mine, Nathaniel Branden. Since deciding that, I've become aware of a school of Psychology called Rational Emotive Based Therapy, which is fairly cool.
I've also been discussing with some people whether therapy could in and of itself have value for people, and have been encountering a lot of contrary opinion. I will share my thoughts when I'm less tired, but everyone just chime in on what they think now ^^
:: Justin 11:14 PM [+] ::
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I'M TENTATIVELY BACK

Hey everyone! I HAVE RETURNED.
I intend to try and resume writing semi-interesting things for the peoples who used to read my blog.
My first topic: this Wired article from a while back.
The implications of opening up the land underneath cities for development is vast, and could make city-dwelling much more affordable...but I've got to wonder how actually feasible it is, and whether government regulation and short-sighted real-estate owners might keep that from coming to fruition.
What does everyone else think?
:: Justin 11:11 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 ::
The Matrix Revolutions: An Unmitigated Piece of Tripe (Warning: the entire movie is about to be "spoiled" if you haven't seen it, though I'm wondering about the appropriateness of describing as "spoiled" something which arrived Rotten)

Wow. Just wow. A franchise that started out with a fascinating premise and ubercool visuals, winds down with more predictability then a form letter and more numbing special effects then Jerry Bruckhemier's entire cinematic portfolio. Nothing is answered by this movie; the killer twist at the end of Reloaded which sparked so much controversy (Neo being able to stop the machines in the Real World) is dismissed with the explanation that Neo "is connected to the Source". How? Why? The nature of this connection? Neo didn't feel the need to follow up, since he just nods his head as the conversation moves to ANOTHER TOPIC. Perhaps Neo needs some interpersonal communications skills coaching.

Well maybe that would be useful, if he wasn't DEAD. Yes, Neo dies, and pointlessly, after Trinity, kickass leather-clad bodacious uberbabe Trinity, dies by getting poked with a metal thingy in the real world. Before dying, she gives a death speech longer then SNL would even do as a parody of an overly long death speech, then Neo goes to negotiate with the Big Machine Head for peace for humanity in exchange for defeating the Smiths. Big overly warbled machine head agrees, and the final battle begins.

I did skip over the defense of Zion; some pointless characters we don't give a fuck about re-enacting the end of Aliens with CG for about 20 minutes; lets just say the machines break through and are about to kill all the humans when they're saved by Neo striking his deal up.

Then the final battle. Superman vs Superman, until Neo lets Smith "turn him" into another Smith, yet somehow corrupts him from within. All the Smiths die, Neo dies, pointless characters in Zion are saved. Hurrah! Erm...

Those killer twists you were expecting? Pfft, keep dreaming; Star Wars is a Twilight Zone-marathon of twists next to this predictable piece of crap. Emotional impact? Pfft. When Trinity dies, its hard to care. When Neo dies, its just kind of annoying. When pointless characters die, its vaugely satisfying. The only good performance in this entire movie is, of course, Hugo Weaving; but even he gets wasted since a large portion of his screen time is spent doing Superman stunts.

There is no doubt in my mind that all this talk of the Matrix being "originally conceived" as a Trilogy are total crap. The thing is, even if that's true, it could have ended so, so much better then this. I could jam out a script in a few hours that would be way more satisfying then what was actually filmed. In short, it sucks, wait for the video if you need to see it, and start making rationales for how "The Matrix was really over with the first one" ala fans of the original Star Wars trilogy; you'll need them as coping mechanisms.
:: Justin 11:14 AM [+] ::
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:: Sunday, September 14, 2003 ::
This post is to vote for Virtue Pure's On Roleplaying post in the Truth Laid Bear New Blog Showcase. I really liked it.
:: Justin 5:24 PM [+] ::
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:: Friday, September 05, 2003 ::
Minds and Meds

What constitutes personhood seems to me to be an eternally slippery concept. Especially slippery when forced mental alteration is brought into the picture.
A simple example involves a schizophrenic and the decision of whether or not to forcibly adminster drugs. Certainly, the old "personality" will be altered, but is that such an awful thing? And shouldn't a better-then-tenuous connection to reality be a requirement of assuming one has the moral agency to make such a decision for oneself? The fact that one is person-shaped does not grant individual sovereignty.

On a related note, we not-quite-schizophrenics need to confront the fragile notions of self that might prevent us from leading happier lives. Prescription mind-altering chemicals cannot fix an empty and unfulfilling life, but they can allows us to confront our problems better by tuning the biofeedback noise in our brains to a more agreeable volume. Such drugs are not "shortcuts" to happiness, nor circumventers of free will; agency must be excercised to choose to take them, and true happiness found while on them. "Hacking" the brain neurochemically towards the ends of improvement is no more a circumvention device, a 'cheat', or other negative euphemism connoting "destructive of one's basic personality", then meditation, listening to music, or reading Popper. So lets drop our pretensions and march bravely towards our drug-assisted future happiness.
:: Justin 11:05 PM [+] ::
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:: Saturday, July 26, 2003 ::
Stop this Process, Win a Prize*

A moral idea is born in the mind of a genius.
This idea contains much truth.
However, like the ideas before it, and after, having been born in the minds of fallible humans, it only contains an approximation of the truth.
The idea gains adherents.
The adherents collasce around the genius; its superiority to previous ideas creates a sense of superiority among the adherents. This sense of moral superiority makes interactions outside the circle of ideologues difficult; if one knows The Truth, interacting deeply with those who don't seems as plausible as discussing politics with a baby; the baby just doesn't have the prequisite knowledge to keep up.
An anti-critical culture develops; owing to many things: the sense of moral superiority fills the adherents with a sense of having found the Truth so profoundly that those who attack this Truth must be immoral idiots; a fear of going against the mainstream of the group and losing all of one's ideological friends; a fear of falling into a moral abyss if one rejects one's Truth and all the "Certainity" it brings; etc.
An ideology is born.

*That prize either being a million dollars or praise from me on this website.
:: Justin 5:04 PM [+] ::
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:: Monday, June 23, 2003 ::
People fall into dogmatic thinking in a quest for easy answers on life's difficult problems. This phenomenon can pervade cultures that have many true ideas (libertarianism, TCS) and corrupt and retard the further growth of knowledge within those cultures. The reason this problem arises seems to be a combination of our constant quest for answers, coupled with intellectual laziness. The fact that memes far less advanced then even say, a dogmatic faulty approach to TCS, still have sway with huge portions of the populace (i.e. religions) bears this out.

While truer theories correlate to reality better, it occurs to me that only a certain minimal level of correlation is necessary to function in society, and that the anti-knowledge-growth memes embedded within the prevailing worldview in a society may retard growth beyond this minimal level. Thus, religious people continue to believe in God because, well, how would morality exist otherwise and how scary is it to think that when you die, its final?

Thus, while theories more closely correlating what is True give those who adopt them an advantage in their daily lives, if a critical mass of people doesn't adopt them and demonstrate the competitive advantage of doing so en masse, most people will continue believing in their millenia-old dogma while adapting to the current context to the minimal degree necessary. Which sucks.
:: Justin 1:22 PM [+] ::
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