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[personal profile] trivialbenj
As I was IMming at Robin, who was too busy doing her hum paper / avoiding her hum paper to notice, LJ is very much a different kind of Time Suck from the others out there: the Shmack, the video games, chasing each other with things made out of duct tape both large and small. Already, LJ seems to be a place where one can talk about feelings. This doesn't sound remarkable until you think about the day to day interactions of Easties. Feelings that I remember people sharing recently: good, bad, sleep-depped, glad that thesis is over, working, avoiding work. People constantly are concealing their anger, their annoyedness, their excitement, their sexuality, just everything. I don't think we're trying to be hyper-rational, but it certainly looks that way a lot of the time, and the emotions that people feel either internally or at each other get swept under the rug. How much of that is okay? It really depends on the person. But, something inside me is aching right now. I want to talk to people and listen to people. I want a conversation to go on for hours into the night talking about home or family or happiness or truth or religion without dissolving into something about definitions or maps from r-n to who gives a crap. This is a place of growth, but that growth shouldn't always have to be inward.

This all reminds me of a conversation that I had in the lounge this weekend. I was arguing with someone who said that there were no redeeming features of Microsoft Word. They said that after Mudders graduated, they would never have use for a program that couldn't edit equations and didn't have math character sets. They said that Mudders, when left up to their own devices, wouldn't read non-technical things. It bugged me at the time, but now I see it even more. There are places in every person for the math and the science, but if you let it rule your life, control who you are and what you are to become, you haven't learned anything from here. If you leave here unbalanced in your knowledge base, you haven't taken anything of value from this giant neo-Mayan school.

I may be off base. I may be ridiculous. I may be speaking for a minority of one, but tough. Right now, I feel starved for emotional connection, and that very much doesn't mean I need a relationship. We are all adrift here, alone but together, and sometimes, you just need to talk to a fellow traveller.

Date: 2003-04-27 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] willskyfall.livejournal.com
You are speaking from what sadly, on the surface, appears to be a minority--but certainly not a minority of one.

I know I came here because of the possiblity that I might balance CS with acting; I can't speak for other people, but I've seen several messages of this sort on LJ. The resistance speaks . . .

Date: 2003-04-27 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troglodyteking.livejournal.com
Congratulations - two days on LJ and three posts, and you have already made it into my memories file.

I very much agree. Thankfully, Stanford is an environment that fosters such sorts of conversations, or at least can, to a certain extent. At least, I suspect more than Harvey Mudd.

Date: 2003-04-28 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amoken.livejournal.com
It takes a little while to find the right people, but you can find people to have such conversations with at Mudd, even regularly. In fact, Mudd eventually abounded with such people for me, in comparison with other places (high school, UCLA, the Real World, ...). By "eventually" I mean that frosh year I had very few such people (handful by the end of the year, if that), and by senior year I'd accumulated many. Mudd has many bright, fast, interested, interesting, and diverse minds, and these minds all experience emotions and desires much like you. If you look, you'll eventually find folk who fit the bill.

Date: 2003-04-28 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snailprincess.livejournal.com
You comment reminded me of some stuff. I know real, meaningful conversations can happen at Mudd. The lounge used to be a haven for them. I can't tell you how many nights freshmen and sophomore year I stayed up late in the lounge discussing just about anything with John Walseth, Cube, Matt Brubeck and assorted others. They are probably some of the most intellectual stimulating conversations I've ever had, and I don't think they ever involved math or any such thing. And they were amazingly low on wanking.

Man, I miss those guys. They're gone know, but I'm sure there are others like them around.

Date: 2003-04-28 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snailprincess.livejournal.com
It sometimes impressive how alone you can feel surounded by people, even your friends. I think you'll find you're surounded by people who are looking for the same exact thing you are, but quite often we don't really know where to start. I think it's difficult for a lot of us to open up and wanking about classes or whatever is sort of an easy place to start. Unfortunately it's also an easy place to get trapped.

In anycase, figure this one out and you'll be doing better than I ever did.

Date: 2003-04-28 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ywalme.livejournal.com
Deepest apologies. I'm notorious for almost always being willing *to* listen, but being terrible *at* listening -- I'm working on this, but I probably wouldn't even have noticed that you wanted to talk even if I hadn't been writing my paper / playing games. In the future, if you want to talk, be blunt and beat me upside the head with it; that's usually what it takes to draw my attention to that sort of thing.

Date: 2003-04-28 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ziqueenmab.livejournal.com
I want to talk to people and listen to people. I want a conversation to go on for hours into the night talking about home or family or happiness or truth or religion without dissolving into something about definitions or maps from r-n to who gives a crap.

Hey, sign me up for one of those.

Date: 2003-04-28 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lucasmembrane.livejournal.com
You are not a minority of one. Sometime soon, like as soon as you're free and up for it, we oughta reschedule that Starbucks meeting I missed.

More to be said, but I should sleep. If I can't sleep, maybe I'll come back and say it.

Date: 2003-04-28 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lucasmembrane.livejournal.com
I agree that there isn't enough discussion of life and emotions and philosophy. Or rather, there is quite a bit, but it's all moved behind closed doors. There's this gung-ho science mentality, as you mentioned, and I think people start to think that others won't respect them, or even that they're bad people, if they have thoughts beyond their field. That's not true in every circle, and it hasn't always been true in the greater East community, but it seems to be now.

There's also the persistent cult of invincibility. Nobody here is willing to admit that they have problems, doubts, fears, emotions at all. It's a sign of weakness. We're supposed to be robots, right? Amazing science machines, able to balance reactions, analyze circuits, evaluate surface integrals, and code an OS, all over breakfast. It's bullshit, but the mentality is there.

Granted, it has its values. It usually helps people survive. But if I had one complaint about Mudd, it would be that this social structure is not supportive enough of the kind of people this school is purportedly training.

Enough of that rant. I wrote way too much on it last November, and I'm not gonna revisit it.

LiveJournal is an interesting beast. You are right that it is a place which allows for more openness and honesty. Part of this is the ability to carefully choose your audience, something that shmack and the dinnertable lack. I have found, however, that there is a price that comes with it. I sometimes find myself subconsciously tailoring my posts to my audience - I end up writing for the people who read my journal, rather than for myself. It's not always true, and in fact often I can keep my journal suitably self-centered :) But it also happens, on occasion, that I end up not writing the things I want to write because I am too aware of my audience. Granted, the same thing happens on shmack, but shmack is not intended to be personal writing.

I don't remember where else I was gonna go. I should shut up and do some work.

Date: 2003-04-28 11:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] istgut.livejournal.com
This doesn't sound remarkable until you think about the day to day interactions of Easties. Feelings that I remember people sharing recently: good, bad, sleep-depped, glad that thesis is over, working, avoiding work. People constantly are concealing their anger, their annoyedness, their excitement, their sexuality, just everything.

i think you'll find that this is more than a function of eastie-people, but of people in large groups in general. although we are here with many common purposes, there are lots of people with lots of different views. some people just arent comfertable with certain feelings, and sometimes just not comfertable when they come from any but a small group of people. do not dispair, there are lots of cool people around, and plenty to talk to. i hope my "mad rants" dont deter you from talking to me... i try to be as non-threatening as possible :)
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