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I am so very tired I think I could all asleep right here on the couch, sitting up. Unfortunately I still have work to get done. It's a good kind of tired, though, the tired of a long day where things went ... not smoothly, always, but also nothing major wrong, and where at the end of the day I wasn't totally drained. So there's that.

Yesterday I had therapy of my own, not physical but mental, and talked about some things with work. That seems to be what we talk about, but it also seems to be what's going on in my life. At least it's not like anything is ever really separate from anything else. I feel the need to have nothing be my fault more than is helpful because of times when it was really very important to feel safe and be able to defend yself, which goes back to yucky childhood. I get fixated on small details of work because my brain works too fast and when a close friend died years go the only way I could avoid "feedback loops" was to overthink minutia, consciously. It's kind of interesting seeing that kind of thing play out in this other context, and nice not to have urgent things to deal with.

One good thing: before therapy I ducked into a used record store in SoHo and found an Oscar Peterson record (yes, a record; I have an LP player because I like old music and the really quirky stuff isn't on Spotify or the like. Which may explainthe sleepiness and worn-outedness;"Georgia on MyMind" certainly isn't helping me wake up. But a slightly different version of all that is actually making me feel really, really nice. And somehow the fact that I "found" it, cheap and tucked away in an actual store, makes it even nicer. The thrill of the chase, you know.

I am tempted in the worst way to propose a paper for the conference dawn_felagund is presenting at. It's in my city, it looks like fun, and I do miss the fun of putting together an academic paper. On the other hand... I'm tired, I'm so worn out with academia and everything that reminds me of it, and I'm more than a bit shaken so I don't really feel like my opinion is interesting. But I've always wanted to talk about the parallels between the fall of Melkor and Augustine on the fall of Lucifer, namely why someone who was the most powerful of the Ainur and closest to Iluvatar's own mind would make choices that would ultimately make him lesser. Basically, whywould anything that is created so good and complete in itself choose to become bad, which is in medieval philosophy a step toward incompleteness, basically breaking themselves in the process. What is the temptation?

(Augustine's answer, and I think it applies to Melkor/Morgoth: utter independence and a desire for a dominion of his own, not just good work granted by Iluvatar. Melkor/Lucifer is so great, he wants to be his own boss because he genuinely does not see why he should be subservient to anyone. I think it would be interesting to walk through this, but I'm honestly not sure if it would be interesting to non-philosophers. Or if I want to put myself through that. It might be really fun though. I have a major case of the wibbles, here.)

I'm working on a piece built around John's blog for a remix exchange and while I think it will be decent, it's also feeling distinctly like a J-O-B. I think because I'm working within someone else's universe, but also because I seem to have lost my ability to write. I think it's tied in to the whole grad school and philosophy thing, because I seem much more deconstructive (i.e. analytic) than constructive. I miss it, and feeling like I have to write is not exactly fun at the moment. Though it also is because I am actually writing. The weird thing is I have so many ideas and really, really really want to write. I've heard people say that going into analytic disciplines destroyed their ability to be creative, and I wish I knew how to come back from that, as I'm not really using the analytic skillset I developed all that much either.

Ah, well. Back to work so then I can sleep. :-)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2015 11:57 pm (UTC)
I am not a philosopher, and I think the idea sounds fascinating. I'd look forward to that paper, even if it wasn't given by a friend.

If I can offer something in the way of reassurance, it seems that the conference is fairly laid-back; they welcome new presenters, for instance. And talking back and forth with one of the organizers, he seems very nice and wanting everyone to have a good time, not necessarily to create anything high-pressure. (One of the things he asked me about was hosting an open mic for reading fanfic, for instance!) All that said, I so absolutely understand if you're not up for it. :)

I am off with creative writing too at the moment. I claimed a few prompts for B2MeM and then did nothing much with them, although I still want to write them. This is just a very busy time, and it is hard to become immersed in a creative universe right now.

It's not even 8 o'clock yet, and I could pretty much go to bed right now too!
Apr. 1st, 2015 12:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for that bit of encouragement, Dawn. I'll admit that's one of the big things holding me back: I find myself wondering who would care about this who didn't already love philosophy and know a bit of it. I mean, I taught intro philosophy for years, I'm probably better at making my interests accessible than a lot of folks, but still I wonder.

It's actually a fascinating question. If you're dealing with a world where people are created, how much do the baddies deserve to be blamed for their badness, and how much do we blame people who designed the whole system? Put it this way, if Iluvatar either designed Melkor's character so he'd fall (because even Melkor's song increased the majesty and grandness of Iluvatar's) or even if it was just shoddy design work and Iluvatar created a Melkor who could fall when he could have created him without giving him those weaknesses, how much do we blame Melkor for all of that? Or if you prefer, how could a good God create this kind of pinnacle of creation that still managed to give up his goodness? What is it in this good nature that made Melkor even think that rebelling against Iluvatar was in his self interest, which (on Tolkien's and the Catholic worldview at least) it obviously wasn't, and a pre-fall Lucifer/Melkor would have had to have known this.

Obviously I have Thoughts with a capital T. I'm still wavering a bit, but definitely tempted. This is all your fault, you know :-)
Apr. 1st, 2015 12:55 am (UTC)
I'll take the blame. ;)

I agree that it's a fascinating question. This ...

if Iluvatar either designed Melkor's character so he'd fall (because even Melkor's song increased the majesty and grandness of Iluvatar's)

... was a premise I used in a Silm/Lovecraft crossover that I wrote once, where conflict and chaos is basically introduced into the world because Iluvatar believes it and the suffering it engenders makes the world more beautiful. The line in the Ainulindale about everything awful Melkor does only serving to increase the splendor of Eru's creation has always felt a little sinister to me in this regard, as though the suffering Melkor creates in its way is possessed of its own beauty (or worthwhile if it leads to something greater than might have occurred otherwise, kind of how the argument can be made that Sauron would never have been defeated if Feanor didn't kill the Teleri).

From my own standpoint as someone interested in cosmogony, the fact that Tolkien made Iluvatar a creator in the sense that artistic (sub)creation derived from this likeness to God (the deus faber creation myth motif), and especially through the means of song, has always made me think that a taste for conflict must also be inherent in Eru as well: After all, much of art depends on conflict, contrast, and tension.

Your Thoughts and making me have some too (and this is a good thing since I'm working on a paper on Tolkien's cosmogony right now! :)
Apr. 1st, 2015 12:31 am (UTC)
*gentle hugs*
Apr. 1st, 2015 03:33 am (UTC)
I can tell you now I'd be interested in something like that!

(((hugs))) I hope you get your creative muse back, but I do like your analytic one as well! Thinky-thoughts are always a Good Thing!

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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