What We Are Not vs. Math, Art, Music, and Emails

My book club is going to wrap up  Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid in November. We're looking for something equally pithy on which to digress next. We enjoy our digressions so much that they leak over into email in the weeks between meetings. Barney Sperlin sent us this excerpt from a discussion on Quora: 
Math is not something boys are better at, it's not a spectator sport, it's not a system of arbitrary rules, it's not dependent on the laws of physics, it's not easier or better in base 12 or base π, it's not a young person's game, it's not useless in the real world, it's not beholden to the real world, it's not learnable in one year or from one book or one website, it is not particularly interested in the golden ratio or the digits of pi or trivial calculation tricks that aren't actually from the Vedas, it is not always explainable to a 6-year-old or in "layman's terms", it's not beyond your grasp if you recognize that it will take time and dedication and active effort, it is not dry, it is not cold, it is not boring, it is not the opposite of "human" or "people-oriented" or "spiritual" or "artistic", and for Pete's sake, it doesn't say that if you add 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 "and so on" you'll "in the end" get −1/12.
  The discussion has grown since Barney alerted us to its existence, and I found this gem from Keith Ramsay, Pee-Haich-Dee in mathematics 
Mathematics is not just the most stable part of our favorite theories of the world.
I hope you don't mind my sense of humour, Dr. Ramsay; to paraphrase a nice man who lives in a Laundry in England, "the world is made  up of 'aiches and Haiches."  You'd like our book club.

I like our book club because I like to further extrapolate concepts we discuss into the realm of psychology, and from there into interrelationship dynamics (surely you've noticed.) In that vein, go back to the math quote and replace the word "math" with the word "I."  You see anything useful in there? I do.

I also found an email in my box this morning from Margie Summers, continuing a discussion we had on another blog post:
A few days ago I saw a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that struck me as dead on:
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
That made me think of a truth I learned a long time ago: you can tell a lot of lies with your body. Women often tell such lies ("I really want/am enjoying this sex we're having") as currency to trade for short-lived pseudo-affection. Men often tell them ("This sex we're having means I love/value you") as currency to trade for sex. Porn and/or Alternative Appliances are appropriate outlets for scratching loveless itches. People are appropriate outlets for love and truth.
That is all.
Margie's dead on. I am of the opinion that both women and men fall prey to the same set of lies on either side of the deception. Our current American society puts inordinate pressure on male persons to fit the world into a predetermined Guy Box given to them at birth due to body parts. They have a hard time being honest with themselves, and so they put their side pieces, real or imagined, into compartments. They believe they are being faithful without understanding what they're being faithful to: not their mate but to a dead construct created to serve someone else several generations ago.  This theory does not explain all miserable relationships, but it does explain some.

In order to take advantage of everything you are, I think it's useful to mind the things you are not. 
  • You are not a box or compartment.
  • You are not learnable in one year, or even two. 
  • You are not a spectator sport.
  • You are not beyond  your grasp if you realise it's going to take time and dedication and active effort.
Margie and I plan on living life to its fullest every day from here since before yesterday, even if some of those days feel like downers.  They are part of the process of fully living, too.  I am not a thing with defined edges. I'm a freaking ampersand.

I am a process. So are you. Go do some processing. 

Further Reading: 

How To Choose A Lover - Finding a Soulful Connection
This article should be assigned reading in middle school. It might help to dissipate some of the false information about what a boyfriend or girlfriend, and eventually spouse, is supposed to be.

BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert
I haven't read it yet; this one's going to get past my "no more books" fatwa. I suspect it's brilliant.


  1. Women want affection that sometimes spills over into sex. Men, affection seems to always to spill over into sex, it just does. "Hug me, cuddle me -- then go away!" just isn't male. That is why women love courtship and men love escorts. Chase, then cut -- or Cut past the chase. ;-p It does not excuse pursuing sexual expression beyond the limit imposed by either partner. When it stops being fun, it's done.

    1. ...and this is now we know I'm a dood :D I'm on team Go Away Now but Maybe Bring Me Some Tea Later?

  2. Excellent blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?

    I'm hoping to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything.

    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like Wordpress
    or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I'm totally overwhelmed ..
    Any suggestions? Cheers!

    1. OH, please do it! I went with Blogger only because I wanted my own domain and it was cheaper. I've found the platform very easy to work with. I did work with WordPress in the past, and that was easy, too. Start with free, because you may scrap your first attempt (I did!) or your second (I think I did that, too.)

      Thank you for your questions and your very kind words! You are probably familiar with this sentiment, but I never really know whether I'm making sense at all. It is nice to be understood!


Post a Comment

Please comment. Just Don't be a dick. Please subscribe to this blog. Email confirmation will be sent - please verify your decision to receive my validations.

Popular posts from this blog

UPdate on Things: Coyote the Trickster, aka Remember That Time I said I wasn't gonna blog today?

I Can't Follow You

"Based on Actual Events" - Memory vs. Reality in Writing

Pragmatism vs. Obsession, aka Finding Ways to Better Self-serve

From the Temple Floor: How Art and Math Are the Same Thing

Don't Be That Guy at the Party - Mitigating Toxic Relationships

Clarity vs. The Ewing Way

We Are No Longer Other - Redefine America as a Teenage Girl

The Hole vs. Maybe a Gap in the Smoothie