I sometimes wonder what it is that I feel is missing from my life. I have good friends at home and at work. My future looks promising (even if that future happens to include Purdue :-) ), I have essentially no physical wants (food, clothing, shelter); what is it I need? Well, in a very Craigian way (i.e. over dramatic and probably wrong but I'll run with it anyway...) I think I understand now. The hard part is finding the words to describe it.

The first word I tried was companionship. I will say this is close. The fellowship of a companion if you will. Yet, what I seek is something more then this. I have (almost by design) near constant fellowship of companions. What is missing is a contract of sorts...

Haveing so failed with my first try I think I will just attempt a short sentance.

What I seek is attention, love, and the knowlegdge that there is someone always there for me.

Funny, actually, that attention made it in there. I don't consider myself a showman, most of what I do and say has purposes other then to gain the attention of those around me. I think though that there is a fundimental human need for attention. I think the greatest evidence of this is the shear happieness one can give simply by paying attention to those around you. How many times have you just been there for someone one when they were upset. The physical pressence is not the factor though. Simply try playing a computer game while attempting to comfert that person. Most wouldn't even consider it.

So how is it that attention is so important to all of us? I would think it would stem from the cooperative nature of humanity. A way to ensure that those around you truely are invested in both the common good and more importantly your own well-being is if they invest attention in you.

If you have read Dune you might remember a scene where the main character fights one of the desert people and kills him. After winning he crys for the boy he had to kill. To the desert people it was amazing that he was wasting water (tears) for someone else. The magnitude of that gesture was based on the scarcity of the tool used to express it. Paying attention to someone is a similar gesture that has a definite cost to the payer (hence the term pay attention). That time could be spent focusing on the miriad of problems vital to survival. It is the inate knowledge of this cost that comferts the object of the attention.

The expenditure of the finite amount of attention reinforces the investment that the group members have in each other, strenghening the bond. This bond is vital if the members of the group can be trusted, a key step towards effective cooperation which is central to the success of humans. It might follow then that lack of attention could cause very real stress on an individual in the form of a low level anxiety. Something aint right here and your body is letting you know it. A lack of attention could signal that you are about to be screwed by those you are cooperating with. Hence, the best scam artests are generaly excelent at making a person feel special.

So, lessons to be learned:

Remember what a difference it can make for someone just to be payed attention to...
I need more re-assurance of my continued survival :-)

I didn't realize it when I started this but after writing about the stress that lack of attention causes stress I was reminded of a study on this. The conclusion is the same as the one I gave so lets give it up for lack of origionality!! Seriosly though, I have tried to find and I can't but I thought I would do what I could to give due credit.



Well, I am done TAing for some time now. It was an interesting year and one that for sure changed my life. I am positive I would be going to GE in two months if it weren't for this experiance. For the sake of posterity I thought I would write down some of the lessons I have learned.

Professorship=Hard decisions
More then I think other teaching disiplans college requires you to teach towards the top students. There is no true obligation to ensure that everyone is up to an acceptable level. In fact, some might say it is there duty to "seperate the wheat from the chaff". To force yourself to ignore the effect you are having on the bottom half of the class *shaking head* I don't know if I have the balls.

Caring=Half the battle
I am by no means a good teacher. I make mistakes, have to explain stuff three times, and quite often don't know what I am doing. But I have the feeling that just having someone "on their side" encourages them to meet me the rest of the way.

I am tearing up just thinking about it but I don't think there is anything I have done in my life that has made me as content as holding office hours. I couldn't wait to leave case last year. I liked it yes, but still could not wait to move on. Now, I don't want to leave. That says alot to me.

I don't think I will ever forget the people I have met and the times I have had. I don't know if the next stage will end in me being a professor but no matter what I will be better for the experiance. Awesome.


Walking to school today (one reason why I like walking... gives time to think) I thought of a definition of religion:

Placing trust for future events in an entity more powerful/competent then yourself.

I started out thinking that religion may be an inevitable consiquence of conciousness. The awareness of the complexity and vastness of the world would, I think, put strains on a mind capable of comprehending the whole thing. Instead of trying to fit one's mind around the problem that which is not imediatly important is placed in the hands of someone else. Originally it might have been a tribal chiefton, then kings, then god-like-kings, then gods themselves. At all stages a form of worship is necessary to ensure that this bond of trust is not broken.

If this is true then where do athiest fit in? Science, now, is fully capable of filling in the role of protector. The society built around scientific institutions and their ideas is so abstract and convoluted that it appears, even to those inside it, as a separate entity with a mind and will of its own. Sure, no personality is necessarily prescribed to it but how many times have you heard "give it twenty years and we will have _____ technology/cure/theory-that-solves-everything"?

What is my religion? Humanity. I place my trust in the overwhelming goodness of men/women as individuals and more importantly as large groups, i.e. humanity. Eventually we will find how to live well without the corrupting influence of men in power and the need to dominate all that we see. Not in my lifetime for sure but... that is out of my hands.

New Blog!!

Since being put on a list of unholy attraction, I have decided to switch to Blogger and so far I am quite impressed! My old site is here, I will slowly be transfering my old stuff over. Not that anyone reads this :-D