Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hate - Dislike

A few days ago I realized that I hate myself, well hate is a strong word but I dislike many things about myself, which is probably -not- big news to people who know me well.
Then, I realized that many people share this in different degrees, why? I recalled how people react to hearing their own voice unexpectedly: most people I know show a sense of revolt, or shock, in such cases. Most people even confess that they don't like to hear their own voice.

So what? Assuming that the observation has some general validity (for a non-zero-measure subset of population! :)
1) Why people tend to dislike themselves? Does it serve any purpose?
2) What can be done to subside the dislike?

I am surprised by how little I could find by searching "self-hatred".
Some interesting related concepts:
Here is an example/discussion of the extreme case, which is not really what I had in mind, I am thinking about a more general, less extreme, negative emotion that people display when confronted with certain aspects of themselves, maybe even some memories ...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Evil Angels?



Inspired by this [post], I started thinking about why we perceive children, or more generally, baby animals "innocent", "peaceful", etc. I think the answer is in our evolution: an animal with favorable feeling toward its babies has a better chance of living in larger groups and ultimately become a "social" animal. So we are wired to see youngsters as less of a threat, and this is ultimately translated in our culture into a "peaceful" and innocent vision of babies and kids.

I read "Lord of the Flies", a novel by Golding, when I was 12-13. It is a dark, depressing, classic, for a collection of nice reviews and links see http://www.rbhs.w-cook.k12.il.us/Mancoff/lofcrtwq.htm. Since then, I am less impressed by expressions about children innocence, etc. I like small children, and I typically form a bond with them, at least some of them, but I do not buy that their are any better than adults in a moral sense, more innocent, etc. Children can be as cruel, and more selfish, than grownups ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wonderful Interview

Here is a wonderful interview by "Terry Gross" of "Fresh Air" with Homman Majd:
Hooman Majd, Considering The Iranian 'Paradox' (You can also listen to the interview there, also there is an excerpt from his book, "The Ayatollah Begs To Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran")
I caught only the last 15-20 minutes, but I liked his description of the Iran's society and politics.

Paul Krugman: The Future of the Middle Class?

If you are not economist then either this talk is boring or dangerous!
If you are economist, I am very interested in your evaluation:









Point of view

Sima forwarded an email to me with the following passage, I tend to think the opposite (behaviors shape the view of the world) so this is going to force me to think more:


گاهی به نگاهت نگاه کن !

انیشتین می‌گفت : « آنچه در مغزتان می‌گذرد، جهانتان را می‌آفریند. »

استفان کاوی (از سرشناسترین چهره‌های علم موفقیت) احتمالاً با الهام از همین حرف انیشتین است که می‌گوید:« اگر می‌خواهید در زندگی و روابط شخصی‌تان تغییرات جزیی به وجود آورید به گرایش‌ها و رفتارتان توجه کنید؛ اما اگر دلتان می‌خواهد قدم‌های کوانتومی بردارید و تغییرات اساسی در زندگی‌تان ایجاد کنید باید نگرش‌ها و برداشت‌هایتان را عوض کنید .»

او حرفهایش را با یک مثال خوب و واقعی، ملموس‌تر می‌کند:« صبح یک روز تعطیل در نیویورک سوار اتوبوس شدم. تقریباً یک سوم اتوبوس پر شده بود. بیشتر مردم آرام نشسته بودند و یا سرشان به چیزی گرم بود و درمجموع فضایی سرشار از آرامش و سکوتی دلپذیر برقرار بود تا اینکه مرد میانسالی با بچه‌هایش سوار اتوبوس شد و بلافاصله فضای اتوبوس تغییر کرد. بچه‌هایش داد و بیداد راه انداختند و مدام به طرف همدیگر چیز پرتاب می‌کردند. یکی از بچه‌ها با صدای بلند گریه می‌کرد و یکی دیگر روزنامه را از دست این و آن می‌کشید و خلاصه اعصاب همه‌مان توی اتوبوس خرد شده بود. اما پدر آن بچه‌ها که دقیقاً در صندلی جلویی من نشسته بود، اصلاً به روی خودش نمی‌آورد و غرق در افکار خودش بود. بالاخره صبرم لبریز شد و زبان به اعتراض بازکردم که: «آقای محترم! بچه‌هایتان واقعاً دارند همه را آزار می‌دهند. شما نمی‌خواهید جلویشان را بگیرید؟» مرد که انگار تازه متوجه شده بود چه اتفاقی دارد می‌افتد، کمی خودش را روی صندلی جابجا کرد و گفت: بله، حق با شماست. واقعاً متاسفم. راستش ما داریم از بیمارستانی برمی‌گردیم که همسرم، مادر همین بچه‌ها٬ نیم ساعت پیش در آنجا مرده است. من واقعاً گیجم و نمی‌دانم باید به این بچه‌ها چه بگویم. نمی‌دانم که خودم باید چه کار کنم و ... و بغضش ترکید و اشکش سرازیر شد.»

استفان کاوی بلافاصله پس از نقل این خاطره می‌پرسد:« صادقانه بگویید آیا اکنون این وضعیت را به طور متفاوتی نمی‌بینید؟ چرا این طور است؟ آیا دلیلی به جز این دارد که نگرش شما نسبت به آن مرد عوض شده است؟ » و خودش ادامه می‌دهد که:« راستش من خودم هم بلافاصله نگرشم عوض شد و دلسوزانه به آن مرد گفتم: واقعاً مرا ببخشید. نمی‌دانستم. آیا کمکی از دست من ساخته است؟ و....

اگر چه تا همین چند لحظه پیش ناراحت بودم که این مرد چطور می‌تواند تا این اندازه بی‌ملاحظه باشد٬ اما ناگهان با تغییر نگرشم همه چیز عوض شد و من از صمیم قلب می‌خواستم که هر کمکی از دستم ساخته است انجام بدهم .»

« حقیقت این است که به محض تغییر برداشت٬ همه چیز ناگهان عوض می‌شود. کلید یا راه حل هر مسئله‌ای این است که به شیشه‌های عینکی که به چشم داریم بنگریم؛ شاید هرازگاه لازم باشد که رنگ آنها را عوض کنیم و در واقع برداشت یا نقش خودمان را تغییر بدهیم تا بتوانیم هر وضعیتی را از دیدگاه تازه‌ای ببینیم و تفسیر کنیم . آنچه اهمیت دارد خود واقعه نیست بلکه تعبیر و تفسیر ما از آن است .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Defeat

I was defeated by the bow today, a complete defeat, and I even left early (well, partly because I wanted to see "house"). I could not complete the form to pull the bow completely, and I throw a number of arrows around, very disappointing. Just because moving from 9kg to 12kg bow was too much too early ...

Brought back clear memories: After an excellent performance in the national entrance exam (KONKOOR) I chose my goals too high and got into a downward spiral that took me through a lot of troubles and depression. And the pattern happened before and after this, as though I was blind to what was happening or could not adjust ... 

Winter?


Isn't this a beautiful picture? The CD is a very good one as well!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spivey Hall

My new discovery, after a long time of looking for a place in Atlanta for chamber music, is the "Spivey Hall" at the Clayton State University.

Last Saturday, we went to an excellent cafe-bakery (Alon's) to enjoy the beautiful, mild weather. I was looking at the weekend events in a local paper (Creative Loafing) to find something that Sima would like when I saw that "Deadalus Quarter" would have a performance of "HAYDN String Quartet in G minor, Op. 20 No. 3; JANACEK String Quartet No. 2, "Intimate Letters"; SCHUBERT "Trout" Quintet in A major, D 667" that evening in Spivey Hall! Even though I felt guilty, but ultimately I convinced Sima to come to the concert with me, and so did we.
I was already familiar with Hayden's quartet's and specially Schubert Trout quintet. The performance was good, but more importantly I found out that Spivey Hall has a series of impressive performances lining up in Fall and Spring: "Bach Festival" , "Guitar Performances","Small Orchestra", just look at the list, it is beyond description, amazing!!!!
Well, if you are planning to be in Atlanta, and interested in such performances, make sure to check them out, hopefully I will be there for some of them :)

PS.
LAGQ performs this Friday, September 26 at 8 p.m. in Schwartz Center, Emerson Concert Hall (at Emory) They are very good!

Next Friday, the first part of Complete performance of Beethoven's cello sonata's, Friday Oct 3 at 8 pm in Schwartz Center. These pieces (for cello-piano) are excellent!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Recent Financial Turmoil

Here are a couple of links from more reliable sources:

- OPINION | September 18, 2008
Freakonomics: Diamond and Kashyap on the Recent Financial Upheavals
Steven D. Levitt
As an economist, I am supposed to have something intelligent to say about the current financial crisis. To be honest, however, I haven't got the foggiest idea what this all means. So I did what I always do when something related to banking arises: I knocked on the doors of my colleagues Doug Diamond and [...]
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/diamond-and-kashyap-on-the-recent-financial-upheavals/?ei=5070&emc=eta1

- Commentary: How to prevent the next Wall Street crisis - CNN.com:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/17/stiglitz.crisis/index.html

- A more serious academic research paper:
http://www.princeton.edu/~markus/research/papers/liquidity_crunch_2007_08.pdf

- Another serious paper:
http://www.nber.org/papers/w14358

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Resistance

In a previous post I mentioned that I had to upgrade to a heavier (12 kg) bow from a lighter (9 kg) bow, that as a result I am re-learning a lot of form and components, and finally that how important are the small details of the form. But why upgrading into heavier bow? (well, I forced to do so, but anyway) 
Heavier bow provides needed resistance that force archer to refine and develop, but there is a fine balance here: An archer should not overpower the bow and the bow should not overpower the shooter. An archer has to work with the bow, with its strength, to be a good archer.

There seems to be a parallel in life: Problems and difficulties in life resemble the bow's resistance. We need enough challenge to keep us improving but not too much to overpower us. More importantly, we need to work with challenges, use them as the strength of a bow, to our advantage and to achieve our goals. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ugly?

I hardly find animals ugly, even crocodiles, snakes, and such. I cannot stand some of them, like roaches, but that is another story.

I hate stories whose good and bad characters are animals. I can go so far to say that any story that makes some animals good and some bad indicate something fundamentally wrong about its writer view of the world ... :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Four violins

Driving under the concerete bridge
looking up at the stop light
wet pigeons sitting silently
an array of gray dots on a gray sky

Vivaldi's four violin concerto
playing on the radio
the joyfullness of an extraordinary performance
cannot survive the humidity
and greyness of everything around me

*************************************


The performance by "Europa_Galante" is amazing ... Highly recommended

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sin

In a practical view of the world, what does it mean when we feel we done something "wrong"? What is the sense of "shame", "remorse", etc. that we feel after it? Are these concepts solely based on a "romantic" view of the world?

Even more depressing is the concept of "will" power ...

When we feel conflicted over repeating a "bad" habit, a lot of times, the conflict is between our short-term and long-term desires and benefits.

I cannot think coherently!

A common theme seems to be (self-imposed) "boundaries".

There are useful habits, in the sense that they help us in dealing with difficult situations and decisions in life. Harmful habits, on the other hand, typically help us deal with some problems but potentially cause more serious problems. Labeling harmful behaviors as "sin" adds a layer of complexity to the issue. It motivates us to avoid them. In this sense "moral" values add a rigidity to the boundaries, that may be useful.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Story Telling



I can repeat a simple thought, an observation, over and over and it ultimately becomes a "cliche" (which I referred to as a mystery earlier). Story telling is a genius way of getting around this problem. In extreme, story telling is one of the most novel human creations, and among the most effective ways of communication!

Example: Life truly happens in small events, the bigger are events to our eyes the more hallow and superficial they are

This is a simple observation, I can
 repeat it many times but it does not mean more with repeating ...

Story: I broke the string of my 9 kg bow on Sunday. We were invited to the
 sensei's house far from the city in woods for fun and practice. (Sima took these pictures:) The environment was so peaceful that I got greedy and practiced too much and broke the string.
Anyway, today I had to practice with a heavier, 12 kg bow, and the result was a disaster. I dropped many arrows. I lost my form, and also the level of ease and confidence that I had gained with the 9kg bow. Small things would go wrong, and very delicate imbalance would interrupt my shooting.
Well, this is all good because it is part of the fun and challenge and students have to upgrade every once in a while. But the mechanism is important here. The vital role of small elements in the true balance of the shooting. This is how life is, small things make the balance of life!

Now, instead of repeating the same claim/observation, I need to find better stories that carry what I feel. That is how story telling improves our communication :)


Body Intelligence

As Lucy reflected on her outrageous behavior of the night before, the memory only served to draw her upward, like a flower toward the sun...