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Friday, April 29, 2005

Leggo my Ego

It's pretty much been a running theme throughout my life that I've noticed a lot of people doing some very silly things because of their ego. They might want to get someone to do something, or communicate something to someone, but then they're frustrated by their own responses to the situation - responses that come from their own self pride. So, they say something insulting in response to having their ego hurt and it causes reactions that are unfortunate for them.

For some reason, I don't think I've ever had much of an ego in that sense. I have a good conception of myself so I don't mean I have low self esteem, but people saying things about me and to me never really rile me up. I don't feel a natural response to go into a huff if someone insults me. I just tend to think, "That's odd, I wonder why they said that? What effect did they intend it to have and what does that tell me about their feelings, motives, or intentions?" So, I've always been a proponent of the complete abandonment of egotism.

But one thing occurred to me yesterday that inspired me to write this entry. That is that, very often, a person with no ego can seem very similar to someone with an inflated ego. As you know, both this site and my philosophy site are filled with all sorts of my views on a number of things. I do this because I enjoy thinking about these things, and hearing what others think of these concepts. Furthermore, if someone might find enjoyment or come to think of something they hadn't from reading, then all the better.

But some people react to all of this as thinking that I'm full of myself or something. I can see how it may seem that way. After all, a guy who thinks he's the greatest in the world will go on all day about all sorts of things. Meanwhile, take a person with a moderate ego. They might say a little here and there, but not a huge amount perhaps (for some) because of concern about what people may think. If others were not to like what they wrote or said, then it would hurt their ego to hear a negative response, so some limit themselves.

However, a person with no ego whatsoever, has no fear of embarrassment and isn't hurt when others insult him. Therefore, if he happens to be interested in exploring ideas and learning what others think of ideas, he will throw out all sorts of things to see how they resonate with people, without restraint. It's all about the ideas being discussed and learning about other points in response.

So, both the inflated ego, and the ego-less will have a lot to say, and one may often be mistaken for the other. At least that's a crude concept I was thinking of recently. Like everything I write, it could be complete garbage. So, if you like, feel free to tear it apart and teach me something - I have no ego to bruise :)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The 20 Greatest Scenes in Star Trek

by DT Strain

20) After being convinced by Lwaxana Troi not to go forward with his planet's ritual of submitting ones self to be killed on the 60th birthday, Dr. Timicin tells his daughter, who reacts with shame and, turning the tables on our perception of the practice, scolds Lwaxana saying, "how dare you". The scene is highly emotional and philosophically charged, thanks in no small part to Michelle Forbes acting (no doubt contributing to her return as Ro Laren). [Half a Life, TNG]

19) After years of being a more stand-offish Captain, Picard finally feels close enough to his crew to join their poker game. The crew is impressed saying, "you were always welcome". As the camera pulls back on TNGs final scene from overhead, Picard deals saying, "the sky's the limit". [All Good Things, TNG]

18) In his first set of encounters with the nonlinear wormhole entities, Sisko is made to realize that he too is nonlinear. The entities refer to the moment where he was forced to leave his wife behind in a burning ship. They take him to that place in his mind, answering his explanation of linear time by telling him, "but you do not move on - you live here." [Emissary part 2, DS9]

17) Archer appears badly injured in what seems to be a World War II Nazi camp, when out of the shadows walks... [Zero Hour, ENT]

16) At the dinner table, Kirk and Kahn discuss Kahn's past. Kahn plays a keen verbal game of cat and mouse. When Kirk manipulates Kahn's sense of self pride by suggesting he cowardly left Earth, Kahn is riled into making the revealing statement, "We offered the world order!" Kahn, seeing that he has been bested in the game, recognizes the manipulation and gives Kirk a salutation by nodding and saying, "excellent". The tension could be cut with a knife. [Space Seed, TOS]

15) Spock's mother admonishes him for not leaving his post to save his father while Spock defends his Vulcan way of life. She says, "I'll hate you the rest of my life" and leaves. Spock places his hand upon the door. [Journey to Babel, TOS]

14) Having recently been bickering to the point of getting deeply personal and hateful in the event of their Captain's apparent death, Spock and McCoy watch Kirk's last orders to them both. What he says in his message to them humbles them and makes each realize what they've been doing. The scene is a touching capsule of the triad's relationship. [The Tholian Web, TOS]

13) Ridden with guild, the crushed Commodore Decker explains to Kirk, "They say there's no hell, but there is." After telling Decker that the planet he placed his crew on was gone, Decker responds in one of TOS' greatest acting moments, "Don't you think I know that?" [The Doomsday Machine, TOS]

12) The EMH Doctor, attempts to learn about family life by creating a simulated family but shuts the program down when his daughter is about to die. Convinced by Paris that he must face all life has to offer to understand it, he reactivates the program and goes to see his dieing daughter. [Real Life, VGR]

11) Science fiction author Benny Russell (Sisko) gives an impassioned monologue on his deeply personal relationship with his work (his acting in the "it's real to me" speech was truly one of the greatest moments on television). [Far Beyond the Stars, DS9]

10) Sisko must say goodbye to an alternate version of his grown son Jake, who has just failed to bring his father back after years of obsession. [The Visitor, DS9]

9) McCoy in a flashback, allowing his father to die, only to find out that a cure was to be developed soon after. [Star Trek V: The Final Frontier]

8) After the end of a long life, Picard discovers that his entire experience has been an implanted message from a people long since extinct. He sees the probe launch that will one day implant his experiences and he is left with the gift of knowledge of these people and the wisdom of a lifetime. [The Inner Light, TNG]

7) After Spock and Kirk's violent combat is over. Spock reports to T'Pau and she tells him, "Live long and prosper, Spock". He responds, "I shall do neither, I have killed my Captain." [Amok Time, TOS]

6) There are FOUR lights! [Chain of Command part 2, TNG]

5) An end of an era is marked as Kirk and crew stand on the cliffs of the planet Genesis, looking up at the legendary starship Enterprise burning as it descends across the sky. Kirk asks, "My God Bones, what have I done." to which he replies, "What you had to do, what you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live." McCoy's words invert and recall Kirks admonishment of himself to David after his loss of Spock. [Star Trek III: The Search for Spock]

4) Having developed the weapon that is to destroy the Borg cube, the crew discovers that their captain is now a Borg aboard that very cube. Riker commands, "Mr. Worf, fire." and the screen goes black for an entire summer. [The Best of Both Worlds part 1, TNG]

3) Kirk holds McCoy back from saving Edith Keeler from being hit by a car. His eyes shut, unable to watch the death he had to allow. McCoy asks, "Jim, do you know what you just did?" Spock replies, "He knows, Doctor. He knows." [City on the Edge of Forever, TOS]

2) Kirk, falling to the floor of the bridge in front of his captain's chair after hearing his son is dead. His friends and shipmates can only watch the breakdown speechless. [Star Trek III: The Search for Spock]

1) After heroically taking fatal doses of radiation to repair the ship's engines so his shipmates could escape death, Kirk and Spock, separated by the transparent barrier, have moments left to exchange words. Spock tells Kirk not to grieve because Spock's sacrifice was "logical". He says "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one". Then he says he "has been and always shall be" Kirk's friend. As he slides to the floor, up against the barrier, Kirk slides down with him. Spock dies and Kirk turns and sits on the floor in utter despair as the camera pulls back showing the two back to back on the floor. When considered in the context of its first showing, after a lifetime of watching Kirk and Spock as friends on the show, the scene was iconic and intense. [Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Now you must DIE!

I've been having a hair-pullingly maddening debate with someone on a message board about my paper on "Natural-Objective Ethics" (see my philosophy site). Normally, if someone is just too far out of whack, using completely nonsensical logic or using insulting tones, I simply ignore them. This guy started out fairly reasonable, but now it's getting to the point of repetition, and he just doesn't "get it". He keeps firing back instantly, restating things as if I haven't answered them, instead of addressing my answers to them. What's worse is that I think his emotional attachment to ethical relativism is clouding his ability to think logically. But he's staying just on the cusp of that borderline where I will or won't start to ignore someone!

I have been so temped to retort with smartass remarks or Ad Homonym, but I keep reminding myself to try and stay civil. Nothing will be accomplished by being aggressive or insulting. That will just raise his "defenses" and then no real communication will be possible. It's quite hard, but it's the right way to behave so I will continue trying.

Still, he's starting to get to a point where he's just trying to trap me into using phrases he can turn against me, rather than truly trying to communicate anything or reach mutual understanding, so I'm about ready to cut it off. When I do, though, I'll try to stay nice. Errrrrrr!

Edit: On a side note, I should probably mention that he may be pulling his hair with me too, and to his credit, he's been civil as well.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Matrix

I wrote my interpretation of the Matrix trilogy a while back, after the final film (Revolutions) came out in theaters. I decided today to add it to my philosophy site for those who have seen the films and who'd like to take a look (major spoilers). I haven't had a chance to read the line of philosophy books that focus on the Matrix yet, but I did read a little on the website back when the first film came out.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Star Wars and Philosophy

I'm reading this new book called, "Star Wars and Philosophy" and it is incredible. Not only is it bringing up whole new concepts I had never considered about the Star Wars films before, (connecting things in the saga which I never realized were connected) but it's also a wonderful collection of samples from among the greatest philosophers. A real eye-opener, it's already inspired me to break out some of my older philosophy books again, and learn more about a few philosophers I was sorely lacking knowledge in. I highly recommend this book, especially for Star Wars fans.

Friday, April 22, 2005

New Sites Up!

Well, it's been well over 2 months now, but finally my new and refurbished sites are up. I have now brought together a lot of various sites I had sprawling all over the place into two sister-sites.

The first is the DT Strain Philosophy site, which looks similar to this one, but has a lot of my philosophy essays in it. The second is this site, the DT Strain Philosophy Blog site. Here is where I'll make more blog-like day-to-day entries about all sorts of things. I probably won't be able to make entries EVERY day, but I'll try to at least make them once/week from this point on, so please bookmark me and pick a day of the week to check back!

Also, feel free to tell me what you think of the new sites and new layout :)