[journals] 22 October 2016
[journals] 22 October 2016
We bought a new hookah last night for one hundred dollars. There was a moment of hesitation considering the price tag, but we thought about the many nights spent merrily talking and blowing clouds of smoke in the pauses, and realized that a hundred dollars was not much. I suppose you could justify any purchase under this sort of calculus. Divide the cost of the item by 365 and most things stop seeing expensive. This is a potentially very dangerous way of thinking.
Earlier in the morning, I woke and while in the warm embrace of a steamy shower, observed through the small window light pink and orange streaks of color peeking over the Berkeley Hills. It has been a long time since I’ve woken up early enough to greet the morning.
I then walked over to Sproul in the morning, feeling slightly anxious as I’m unaccustomed to large crowds at such an early hour. I met up with some KASA folks and we spent the morning landscaping at a public pool in Northside Berkeley. We cleared a large planter of excessive mulch, dead leaves, and pine needles, while also pulling stray ivies and weeds. There was the same satisfaction you feel after cleaning a messy room. Older folks walking by would sometimes stop and a brief exchange would ensue. They smiled and thanked us for our work.
I got back from volunteering and after a quick nap, I thought about the people I’d be meeting the next day and that wonderful 'settledness' you feel while you fellowship after having done a good amount of work prior- and so I eagerly tacked Carbon Democracy by Timothy Mitchell.
I was so excited to read it because professor joked in class earlier in the week that he knew that we probably weren’t keeping up with the readings, and then suddenly in all seriousness, urged us to read Mitchell because it was probably the most important text of the course. What secrets could this book hold?
The argument is fascinating. He attempts to clearly locate social and political change within the material. The rise of coal led to the first democracy, and the transition to oil based capitalism- oil requiring labor, less third parties, only the receiving corporation and sending party- lends to the crisis of democracy. That’s all very vague I know, but the larger idea is that the social sciences cannot be separated from the material world. The distinction between nature and society, nature being something that society exists outside of, or alternatively, nature being wholly deterministic- is abandoned for a more complex, techno social perspective which acknowledges the dialectic.
I hookah’d with my roommate sipping on a Sonoma County wine. I thought to myself how wonderful it was to have things, the present future and past, make a bit more sense. I know why i am studying andwhich questions to pursue. What the immediate years after college will bring is clearer- working with my father, perhaps law school, and definitely media and culture throughout.
Yesterday, H and I went for a hike. I was hesitant about the exercise, but I thought about how good it feels to hang in the evening, knowing that you’ve had a solid workout earlier that day, and decided to go.
We hiked, not talking too much at first. We or should I say I, heaved loudly up the steep incline of the hills. We arrived at a beautiful knoll and sat under the shade of a tree. We sat for awhile, hearing the crickets chirp around us. After several minutes, we abandoned conversation infavor of a cricket hunt. We yelled with glee when we were finally were able to catch a few in our hands. The trick is to slam your hand down from directly above the cricket. This is the only gap in its optical field. The crickets and the fun that they brought was most unexpected.
We sprinted down from the mountain because H had a meeting in ten minutes.
October has been full of wonderful days. And on all the the tougher days I simply push through- still savoring that JS Mill quote which says “happiness is something you find along the way”, and recognizing that having less of a hyper focus on moment to moment feelings is maturity. Both of these feelings are synthesized neatly in my friends title to a piece she wrote, “The Happiness of Pursuit”, which is in my opinion a very clever inversion of the more commonly expressed, “The Pursuit of Happiness.”