Musings on Mormonism

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Uncategorized category.

Projects on the horizon

Hello all,

After a long hiatus, I am on the verge of beginning to write again. Naturally, a lot has happened in my life since I stopped blogging, most of it revolving around school, learning new things, and thinking critically about phenomena in our lives and society. Currently, I’m looking for work, which of course makes me wary of committing myself to yet another potential distraction from what is often an unfulfilling, demoralizing pursuit. On the other hand, meh, I’ve got time (at least right now this very moment).

I’ve thought about spinning off from this blog to start a new, more focused, and, I hope, more respectable-looking website. Perhaps I will do this at some point. In the mean time, below are some things I have thought a lot about discussing, and which I might actually discuss here or at another place. Timing is, of course, TBD.

  • policy things, mostly revolving around economics and the federal budget. My graduate studies’ emphasis dealt with these matters, and I think they are fairly interesting and quite pertinent for everyone in the labor force and/or receiving any benefits from government spending (this should cover just about everyone, even isolated survivalists who breathe air affected by government policy or occasionally travel by road).
  • social things, mostly dealing with things like this, which is to say, critical thinking on the health and sustainability of our society and its current trajectory. As far as my overall argument, I’ll give you a preview: it’s not looking great, and like so many of our problems, it is primarily caused by “we the people”; the corollary is, of course, that it can be turned around by people thinking and behaving differently individually and in the aggregate.
  • science stuff, mostly dealing with epistemology and the methods and logic behind big, sometimes controversial findings and interpretations. I have observed that most people who aren’t actual scientific practitioners don’t understand science very well. For many, probably the vast majority, of the products of the application of the scientific method, the disconnect between user understanding and methods is inconsequential – for instance, the fact that I barely understand anything about computers does not meaningfully diminish my utility derived from using them. For other products of science, I would argue, the underlying methods and what we understand about them affects, respectively, their likely veracity and how productively they can be employed by us. Whatever writing I do on this will mostly favor thought experiment over prescription, with perhaps some important exceptions.
  • things religious and spiritual. I probably will not go too deeply into these, ironically because they are so personal and important to me. Nevertheless, they are fundamental to a theme I will be returning to again and again, namely that our internal matters are closely related to our external matters.
  • I have actually thought a great deal about writing a book which somehow synthesizes the separate strands above into one great whole, which communicates the responsibility for and, if you follow the causal chain far enough ahead, the great practical significance of the things we think and consequently do. This is to say that the things we think have real, and in some cases potentially destructive (0r, happily, constructive) consequences in the long term. Just writing that makes me realize what a tall order this book idea is. Maybe I will end up doing it, and maybe I will not. At any rate, I think it will be worthwhile to discuss the above portions at some length in electronic form.

Things occupying my attention lately

My life is full of distractions, and to some degree this is healthy for me. If I get fixated on things, it can lead to an imbalance which ultimately makes me less happy. This is part of why I have been only partial committed to my grad program so far; I frankly don’t want it to dominate my life -something that could easily happen if I allowed it- when there are other aspects of life important to my overall well-being. Some of these aspects include:

1) TV. Yes, you read that right. Some may disparage TV, and I do think most of its bad reputation for corrupting and mushifying minds is wholly deserved. Nevertheless, TV serves an important function for me. It keeps me informed via cable news (imperfect and distorted by profit incentives, as critics love to point out, but still valuable), and, importantly for my emotional health, it keeps me entertained!ย  I’ll be the first to admit I probably watch too much TV, and I’ll also be the first to admit that I could benefit from having a wife/manager to help me stay on task, but there are certain shows I just love. A former roommate and I began watching Lost online some months ago, and I’ve been working my way through the seasons since then. Such a great show! I’m typically resistant to jumping on bandwagons, and tend to be wary of things that are generally well-liked (a seemingly elitist mindset, but not without some merit for one attemping to be an informed consumer), but I have been impressed with that show. The themes are interesting, the storytelling is good, and the characters have a fair amount of depth. Is it perfect? Of course not, but it’s pretty good for spending alone time to recharge, as introverts are wont to do. For other reasons, namely to laugh and to have a more socially-oriented viewing experience, I am a follower of The Office and 30 Rock. Both are also excellent shows, and to the extent that their humor doesn’t get too low-brow, I find them oh-so enjoyable! Good humor definitely has value in the marketplace, and I’m glad to live in a country where people can make a living writing funny things ๐Ÿ™‚

2) Poverty policy. I don’t want to talk too much about this, because, despite being a public policy student, talking about policy is not that exciting to me. Not a good sign, I know, but I am still optimistic that there is a niche for me somewhere in my program. Anyway, I’ve been working on a paper about policy alternatives to address the problem of poverty. Among the options I’m discussing are subsidizing the employment of low-skilled workers, offering financial incentives to firms to relocate to central cities where the poor are concentrated, and, my favorite, reloacting the poor to suburbs where jobs tend to be concentrated. All of those sound pretty expensive, huh? I know, and that’s a big reason why a fiscal conservative like me has a hard time feeling excited about crafting policy. Designing sweeping policy seems like playing God on other people’s dime to me. Don’t tell Barack I said that, or he’ll have me boycotted. Or worse – he’ll publicly accuse me of not having enough hope! (which reminds me of this clip from Futurama)

3) Looking for work. My current job is adequate, and in many ways actually a great fit for me right now. However, I really could use some more substantive work experience, not to mention income. There’s not too much to say about this, especially with our job market the way it is.

4) My basement room. There’s a big crack in my wall which likes to leak water when it rains. My room got pretty swampy this past week, and now, with my carpets still drying, it’s getting pretty moldy :-/ Tomorrow, I’m gonna disinfectant-spray the crap out of them. Hopefully I won’t have to buy new carpets because hey, I’m poor!

5) New calling as the LDS Institute president. This one is a little daunting and even, dare I say it, inconvenient. I’m about to officially take the reigns this week. I believe that leading is teaching, and I would like to make that a big part of my philosophy with this calling, as I feel my strengths are not in event planning, typically the most salient and time-intensive part of what Institute leadership does. I’m really grateful I’ll have a council with whom I can share the burden of planning activities and such.

6) As always, the ladies. Currently, it seems like I have a lot of options, but not a lot of focus. Of course, there are certain ladies I am leaning towards, but it’s hard to make decisions about this kind of thing with all these distractions -which I suppose brings this whole post full circle ๐Ÿ˜‰

Still alive…and now in DC!

To my dear, faithful readers,

Don’t worry, I’m still alive! I recently moved out to the DC area, but, sadly, have been without computer as I wait for it to arrive in the mail. But fear not! Lots of deep thoughts and cool posts are forthcoming on topics such as why I don’t like Barack Obama, philosophical musings about the job market, and my initial impressions of the LDS singles scene here ( hint: it’s a bit of a meat market). How fun!

Emerging admiration for Glen Beck

Just a quick blurb right now. I currently have cable in my house, which allows me to be connected to all the great newsy shows out there, and one of those shows I often stumble across in my channel flipping is Glen Beck’s program on CNN Headline News. I was looking up some info on him at Wikipedia, the authoritative source of everything informational, andย  frankly find the guy a little intriguing. Having dealt with family tragedies and his own substance abuse to get where he is now speaks a lot for the man. I also like these quotes:

“God stalked me like he had a giant baptismal rifle,” Beck said. “I thwarted him. I led people astray as much I could but he kept putting Mormons in my way.”

(Haha, baptismal rifle!)

“I am a conservative who doesn’t happen to be a Republican”

(I can respect that)