Well, I wasn’t planning on putting more than a week between blog posts, but I’ve realized it takes a whole lot of discipline to blog regularly. Sitting down and finding time to document life and riff on it is actually kind of hard, even for a shut in like myself. I suppose being in the middle of New York isn’t helping (moving to Iowa might…).
Social skills have gotten better, although they’re below par. I still can’t figure out what normal people talk about: usually, I rely on the ‘year/major/dorm’ question list, and after that it’s hard to figure out where to go from there. Note that sometimes I pick up on things like musicality, but many times I don’t have too many threads to pick up and run with. An obvious first effort would be to try to talk about music with everyone, but that doesn’t quite work: for instance, trying to talk about classical music with most people is somewhat painful. Additionally, you have to stick with semi-universal subjects. I have a feeling trying to get people to talk about what they love is a good approach (Feynman once commented that you have to have asymmetrical information for a discussion. Or, well, he said something like that. I suppose he would say something more like “you can only talk when someone knows something and someone else doesn’t”. I’ll have to find that quote… and I have to work on being clear in communication. Drat!), but I have no idea how to draw people out and get them to talk about their passions. I tried it with an English major during orientation, which led to quite the failure in interesting communication. Ah well, I’ll get it one day.
On a tangent, church went okay, big take away thought is that I need to get back into debates. I’ve forgotten how fun they can be, and I have more ammunition than ever! Granted, I had no idea what I was doing with it, so it didn’t actually help. One very, very bad thing that I found when debating, though, is the fact that I am scared of losing. Honestly, it took me about a week to realize this, and another 5 minutes to get myself to stop rationalizing. If Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has taught me anything, it’s taught me that honest self-examination is progress: you have to train yourself to stare at the pain instead of flinching away. So, I’ll say it again: I am afraid that Christianity is right, and I am wrong.
So why is this bad? It means that I’m not internally balanced, rationally off-kilter, basically unable to examine evidence without bias. I undermine my own basis for debate, undermine my own credulity. Now, I’m not saying that there’s a bunch of evidence that Christianity is right, and I’m afraid to acknowledge it because it’ll undermine my atheistic position and I can’t go on sinning, but rather that I’m afraid of being wrong, especially after I switched sides already. Hogwash! you may be thinking. Evidence has compelled you in one direction, and more evidence may compel you in another: there’s nothing wrong with going where the evidence leads you. True, but I never said the basis for this fear is rational. I feel I must point out that the fact that I’ve singled out Christianity is not rational either: there’s a whole pantheon of pantheons to choose from, and I’m still fixating on the religion I’ve been brought up with. Ah well.
Moving away from abstract topics, classes seem not-too-hard, the city has cooled down considerably, and I’m starting to really get the hang of walking across the street. Attended the New York Tech Meetup, which was enlightening: I feel it lends credence to Paul Graham’s musings on city environments.
On a completely unrelated note, I hope this program I’ve been working on for the last week or so will get finished soon, so I can show all of you and… uh, be done with it! Whoooooooooo.
Anyways, it’s time to find some food.