Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Lives of Great Minds

Philosophers Behaving Badly, Rodgers and Thompson 2005
I was reading the book When Philosophers Behave Badly by Nigel Rodgers and Mel Thompson, chronicling the scandals of great thinkers from Rousseau to Foucault. The point is that while Great Minds think great, their great thought may not lead to great lives. The tendency for ad hominem attacks in this work notwithstanding, I think it is ultimately important that we do not read the works of great philosophers with undue credulity, saying yes to them just because they are intellectual giants so far above our heads. Instead, we pit their ideas against our own lives to test their relevance. This tip should be good for starting readers of this austere discipline, coming from someone who stays perpetually at the starting line.

On the other hand, neither should we regard works of philosophers with undue incredulity, for whatever reasons. E.g. the fact that Nietzsche was Atheist and wrote like some heartless bastard isn't a good enough reason for a kind-spirited Christian to totally disregard his thoughts, and one can still find specific ideas, if not snippets of ideas, that we can agree to if we reflect upon our own lives. Here's coming from a Christian who has just read a very short and biased summary of Nietzsche's ideas and screwed-up life.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July Update II

1. It's like around BMT level now (though slightly lower), and here a pattern emerges that whenever training level goes up, my writing capacity goes down. There was a good idea swimming around in my head; a song about the shapeshifter I met in this dream. It only got written halfway, which is like damrn. If only I have the patience to rhyme!

2. I used to feel somewhat superior to some friends of mine who were shirkers in the face of training or just didn't enjoy as much as they should have if they just put down some mental baggage. It's wrong to feel that, I know, because as my friends from OBS Pulau Ubin or elsewhere may recall, I was a shirker once as well.

On an unrelated note, I'd still prefer outdoor activities in slacks, like what we have in here, than in civilian like say in OBS Pulau Ubin. Yes. You could be covered in mud over your slacks and still be putting on a huge grin, whereas in civilian you turned into some cleanliness freak.

3. Mum's birthday was this week, the day I was at range. I sent her a message in the morning to wish her happy birthday, which didn't so much gave her a pleasant surprise as woke her up too early.

4. As of Saturday 19 July, I am 6 months 1 week into army life, three weeks into Battalion training. A newcomer to our company was dubbed Mystery Man because he came in quietly and only announced his presence one day later, and set off a chain of insider jokes.

I am Mystery Man, just standing all around
I am Mystery Man, just sneaking down the line
So you better get out of my way now
Before I'm standing next to you

5. Some time ago on a Saturday, a conversation ensued between Ainan and I about the ideas of Nietzsche, army life, and plenty other unrelated stuff. The conversations are always interesting, even if we don't share the same opinions.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dansons la Listériole

Song by TRI YANN

Au marché de Libourne, il y a un onglet fou
Bourré de drôles de gènes, tout en nerfs et tout sans goût.
Dansons la listériole, tant qu’on tient le coup,
Si la panse chatouille, les boyaux seront gratoux.

Au marché de Marmande, il y a un chèvre fou,
Je vous dis qu’il est space, aussi glauque qu’un égout.
Dansons la listériole, tant qu’on tient le coup,
Si la panse chatouille, les boyaux seront gratoux.

Au marché de Saint-Pierre, il y a un confit fou,
Il fait maigre en carême, et Slim-fast au mois d’Août.
Dansons la listériole, tant qu’on tient le coup,
Si la panse chatouille, les boyaux seront gratoux.

Sur la route de Bayonne, il y a un pommier fou,
Shooté au diphényle et à l’EPO itou.
Si la panse dérouille, les boyaux sont claquoux,
Rendez-vous chez Borgnolles, si on n’a pas tenu le coup.

July Update

All I can bring myself to say now is that the food here is good, I'm okay throughout stay-in during weekdays and that I find it slightly more enjoyable looking forward to weekends than actually living them. My forearms ache so it's harder to do simple stuff like opening canned drink, opening cupboards etc. There is also this inability to complete a long essay, one which is now in draft form.

It's not considered training time yet, and the wait is maddening.