28 November 2008

The Conductor

Earlier I stated I would leave the compare-and-contrast of the Three Trains of Thought to the reader. I've changed my mind. Let's review. The Three Trains are:
  1. Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
  2. The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
  3. Run, Forrest! Run!
Let us begin with the Third Train: Run, Forrest! Run!

The Third Train comes from the movie Forrest Gump. The phrase is uttered when Forrest is being chased by a gang of hooligans (excuse my southern-diction). But that is not the only scene where Forrest runs. Near the end of the movie, Forrest decides to run across the nation from coast to coast. But why? Forrest explains:
That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go... you know... I went.
Forrest had no reason to run. He had no purpose. Instead, he made running his reason. He believed that existence preceded essence: that his essence was created-and-chosen for-and-by himself. Forrest is his own conductor. The Third Train is Existentialism.

Next is the Second Train: The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.

This phrase is derived from the idea that life is a rat race. From wikipedia:
A rat race is a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape whilst running around a maze or in a wheel. In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze run around making a lot of noise bumping into each other, but ultimately achieve nothing (meaningful) either collectively or individually.
The Second Train suggests that there is no reason. But unlike the Third, it concludes that we should not run. There is no meaning, and even the meaning derived from running itself is meaningless. So why run? Don't. It's a waste of time. There is no conductor. The Second Train is Nihilism.

Obligatory xkcd to sum up the First-Two-Trains:

Now the Last Train (that is, the First Train) pulls up to the station: Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

This phrase comes out the Bible from the book of Hebrews. What is the difference between This and the First-Two? Purpose. Running is neither purposeless, nor the purpose-itself. Running's purpose is God's purpose. His purpose: His glory. We neither create it nor choose it. But it is created-and-chosen for us. So we run, not for no-reason and not for running's sake, but we run for God. God is the conductor. The First Train is Christianity.

An analogy from my friend Isaiah
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
And His rebuttal of the First-Two-Trains:
You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
Who is your Conductor? Are you stationed? Or are you running?

25 November 2008

To coin a term

I am an idealist-realist. I believe that all things are possible. At the same time I understand that few things are probable. I am innocent bystander to the stand-off between possibilities vs. probabilities.

I'm sure I am not the first of my kind. I'm sure plenty of people in the past have entertained, harbored, and perhaps-even-given-asylum-to such seemingly contradictory ideas. But as far as I know, few dare to declare their apparently antithetical stance.

I do not believe idealist-realist is a contradiction of terms. They are not opposing ideas. But I do believe that optimism-and-pessimism, in nature and purpose, oppose idealism-and-realism. Both optimism-and-pessimism involve willful ignorance. Dr. Cornel West once said: "I am a man who possess a blues-inflicted hope, rather than a cheap and American optimism." I could write a paper on this quote alone, but I will spare you, the reader, for now.

I leave you with a conversation from my favorite TV show:

House: Cuddy, you see the world as it is. And you see the world as it could be. What you don’t see is what everybody else sees: the giant gaping chasm in between.
Cuddy: House, I’m not naive.
House: If you did: you would have never hired me. You’re not happy unless things are just right. Which means two things: you’re a good boss, and you’ll never be happy.

23 November 2008

Today I ran

Running is a metaphor for life.

There are three trains of thought:
  1. Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
  2. The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
  3. Run, Forrest! Run!
I'll leave the compare-and-contrast as an exercise to the reader.

In the movie Gattaca, there are two brothers. Vincent is the first-born and was conceived naturally. He is imperfect. In all ways he is inferior: dumber, slower, weaker.  Anton is the younger brother. He was genetically-engineered and nearly perfect by all human standards: brilliant, handsome, strong. As they grew up they competed for the love and affection of their parents. Always, Anton won.

Throughout their childhood they would always go to the ocean and swim. Their goal was to see who could swim out the furthest. Always, Anton won. Vincent, no matter how determined, would always find himself out of breathe and out of luck. And though Vincent had a physically weak heart: he had heart. 

Years later the brothers find themselves back at the beach. There they did what they always did: they swam. But unlike in the previous races, Vincent out-swims his once-superior brother and wins the race. 
Anton: Vincent! How are you doing this, Vincent? How have you done any of this? We have to go back!
Vincent: It's too late for that, we're closer to the other side.
Anton: What other side? Do you want to drown us both?
Vincent: You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back.
Vincent refused to save any strength for the swim back. He was willing to risk everything to succeed. But Anton worried about having enough energy for the return trip and he allowed his fears to hold him back from testing his true limits.

New rule: Save nothing for the swim back.

21 November 2008


I failed my math midterm today.

I have two blogs. This one and that one. I've decided to divide their content as follows. This blog will center on my thoughts and thought processes (trust: it will be a wild ride). That blog will focus on my feelings and thoughts that rise forth from feelings. The division is not intellect vs. heart. Rather, it is ego vs. soul. Or for the obscure: appendage vs. body, branch vs. trunk, and girl-friend vs. best-friend.

To put it simply, this blog is my Amos blog: my poor attempt at a flattering imitation of self-centered narcissism.


Hello, this is Cadengo.

Originally I wanted to make my blog cadengo.blogspot.com. Much to my surprise, someone had already taken it. This is my first encounter with another Cadengo claiming the same internet-real-estate. I am quite sad. Apparently his name is Roger? I am not sure. I've never met him.

Chances are we are related. Probably within second or third cousins. He speaks English (albeit rather crudely, though I will give him the benefit of the doubt: this is the internet). 

I have not much to say just yet. I will think later. As I was telling a friend of mine, I have two styles of writing: pretend-modest-humble and bursting-with-ego. I've long since abandoned stream-of-consciousness writing, but in light of blogspot I will try my hand out at speaking (so to speak) my mind. 

To my dear friend Mr. Salinger: this one's for you.