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January 2013

eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn

This started as a thought for an INTP community at Google+ and spilled out like coffee dribbling from a badly formed carafe. Self-indulgent. Indulge me. 

Something I was thinking about earlier got me to wondering why people assume everyone of my personality type is not creatively-minded. I think it's a misunderstanding of creativity, but also a need to shoe-horn people into little boxes. As you can easily guess, I'm against that. But another aspect might be that my type is so rare among females. It isn't the type to be giddy about being rare, either, for the most part. "Ooh, I'm an xxxx, and that's a rare type, you know!" I've seen that a few times. Grow up; we're all special. None of us is special. And it's as hapless as wearing a t-shirt that reads "Normal is overrated." And boring.

But as a female INTP I can tell you that this is an area not easily navigated or defined, I mean, really, understood. 

If you are, in fact, an electrical engineer, an architect, or someone who builds robots in his basement, you are probably a creative problem solver. Why should that ability not also lend itself to art or music, as well as literature? But we are sometimes instructed that only the touchy-feely types get to sit at that table, because they want to. 

I think I spent all those years being told I was Spock-like, etc., to my personal detriment. I mean, I believed those people. They were the ones who knew, weren't they? I was compelled to trust their expertise and experience, if not their nonsensical attempts at leadership. 

And sure, my creativity tends to take logical forms. When I compose a poem, I love forming interchangeable phrases and lines, and I'm pleased when I can give it an obvious meaning and a parallel unobvious one, and still make it trip interestingly over the tongue. I love the craft of language, and I love bending it to my will. I love the craft of cocktail-making, nearly as much. I love the math in music, and I can be aroused by the way a syllable takes shape at the end of a line in a song sung by a man who knows how to take hold of the thing. I love that all music is interwoven, nearly seamlessly, inside my head, like the view from the sky of a quilted landscape.

But when I paint? I am all vermilion, teal, gold, cream, using my hands, a chopstick, the end of a paintbrush, and it's messy and it's often not very good, but it is, actually, very very good. 

The other day my son and I were in a hobby shop, and we saw, I kid you not, a young man in a black leather duster and black broad-rimmed leather hat, anxiously lapping the aisles. Another man, a little older, was impatient because, as he explained on the phone to someone while standing near us holding a ziploc bag with a game in it, "No one is here. And I was late. Where is everybody?" This one was a large guy, overgrown curly blond hair, unshaven, t-shirt stretched over a sizeable belly and covered in what might have been pizza dust. And he was having a moment of crisis. His people, his peers, they weren't there, and let's face it, they sure as hell weren't anywhere else, except maybe at home playing Skyrim.

In that sense, though I was admittedly laughing to myself, he and I were on the same plane. Who are my peers? I'm constantly being told to go out and get 'em, you know. And metonymy is useless, and no, we are none of us unique, but sometimes even in a swiftly flowing river, the leaf gets caught in sand and it's a long, long way from any tree it could possibly have come from. (From which it could have possibly come.)

I think it's time to paint. 


intp alert

I ran across a couple comments on a CNN blog today that interested me. Here is part of one of them, which has me mulling over some stuff. 

"What kind of god makes himself invisible and undetectable by any verifiable method and then judges people based on their belief in him? And you expect me to believe this is the same guy who came up with math and chemistry?"

He used the word stupid but I redacted it.

At first I thought one answer by a religious person might be that this god made himself detectable by "coming up with" math and chemistry. But the logic for that is so poor, I don't think it would be used by any sensible person. (And honestly, if you are attempting to argue with anyone who isn't at least generally sensible, you're wasting your time even more than you already are.)

Because to say that is still to say this God can be and is defined by human calculation. And a god so all-knowing and all-powerful surely could not be defined by mere man and plotted out on a white board. Who'd want one like that, anyway? He wouldn't do anything for you that you couldn't do for yourself, in that case...

Back before people had science, they thought chemical reactions that they could see were magic, and therefore produced by a god. Now we can create life in a jar. That seems magical by my limited view of how the world operates, and my tenuous grasp of how vast and intricate it is. But mostly it's just math. Could you then say that God is math and therefore math is God? To some, the second phrase would be blasphemous, but after all, it's just a commutative statement; necessary for a range of mathematical proofs. 

You know how there are these math problems people have been trying to figure out for ages, but no one has, and now and then one is solved, and then everyone else has to decide if they, too, can arrive at the solution the same way? It's how we got important stuff we use, actually, like manned flight, the combustion engine, wave technology, vaccinations, etc. 

Recently I decided to take up Geometry because my son wasn't doing well in his class. The chapter on inductive and deductive reasoning is really quite arousing. I was so excited reading over page 57 of his textbook you'd have thought Bill Holden (circa 1950) just appeared at my door. At any rate, everyone should understand something about postulates and theorems, and the difference between general proof and a mathematical proof. I learned about these things without being able to apply them mathematically, and now my understanding is enhanced by the new knowledge I'm obtaining through this book. 

People I talk with online spend what appears to be a tremendous amount of time talking about what they believe or talking about how they don't have beliefs. It would rarely occur to me to take up the topic were I not to see it on a daily basis in what we now ineptly call "social media." In the natural world, I sometimes question how things work, but not particularly if someone decided to make them work that way. I had relationships with people who fervently believed that mattered and who asserted a certain amount of control over what I saw and understood about it all, but at some point I acknowledged the freedom to give away all the baggage they'd saddled on me, so I could get back to looking out at the sky past the blue, and holding my breath between the notes of a trumpet, for my own sake. 

Sometimes I talk with other people who allow themselves to be catalogued as "INTP." I think they suspect I'm a ringer, because there are a number of stones I'm willing to leave unturned in my study of Life, the Universe, and (nearly) Everything. Me, I think they haven't even noticed all the stones I'm collecting and enjoying, and I figure they should surely know better than to measure my examination and perception of the world against their own...

You know music is math, right? And what was I just saying about math up there? 

 


The Great Christie Read 2012: An Update

Yes, I'm aware it isn't 2012 anymore. Ask me if I care. The thing about these big reads I launch occasionally is that I usually do them after the beginning of a new year, not near the end of it. Near the end is not a good idea. Let's all remember that.

And I'm currently way into Anne Perry, PD James, and Julie Anne Long. Plus I got two recent (in the past 2-3 years, I think) best sellers in the clearance section of Joseph-Beth that I feel I should get to soon.

Plus the boys are behind in their math classes and need extra help until the end of the semester on the 15th. However. Pfft. Read Christie I will. 

Here's a pdf of the complete reading list, if you're interested. 

Next up:  The Mystery of the Blue Train