Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bali and Folly

Here's the actual sunrise from Saturday morning, photographed just before I went to bed. I got a little over seven hours of sleep, though, so don't worry about me too much. Then again, tonight's sleep will be considerably less than that.

Once again I find that I've put off blogging until quite late, and now I haven't the mental energy to write a big, ambitious entry. There are two reasons for this:

1. I was distracted with other stuff, mostly researching swordplay for the new scene for Mages and Nelson Riddle for the Route 66 article.

2. The rant* I have in mind sounds like a lot of work! I tend to put those off.

Part of stuff swirling in my head involves the term wishy-washy, as applied to Charlie Brown and to me, and whether the vacillation it describes is a good thing, a bad thing, both or neither. Let me just give you the short version. I've noticed many times over the years that I'm easily influenced by the opinions of others. I don't mean on the big stuff, God, Democracy, kindness as a Good Thing, Us and Them as a bad thing, and other core values. But when I'm listening to someone, or reading their words, I tend to agree, at least partially, and adopt at least part of that attitude. If I then encounter someone else with a very different opinion and attitude, I tend to agree with them, too. Weird. It's not that I'm lying, just to get along. It's that I really do understand the other person's perspective in many of these situations, or else what they say resonates with something I believe too. Then someone else says a very different thing, and that resonates, too. So I end up responding positively to two incompatible opinions. Does this make me two-faced, or just wishy-washy? Am I unable to "stick to my guns," or am I just open minded--very open minded? Is it a good thing, or a bad thing?

I asked myself that last question a day or two ago, and came to the conclusion that it's mostly a good thing. If I understand the other person's point of view, I'm more likely to like and respect that person, and less likely to treat him or her as a Them. And if I give the words real consideration and find the value in them, and later do the same with some other person's words, I'm more likely to find the compromise or accomodation that resolves the conflict between the two. Meanhile, it's no betrayal of A to be nice to B as well.

This is all probably a bit esoteric. I don't really have a concrete example for you, either. But I was thinking about it in connection with this whole Wikipedia thing. It takes a lot for me to completely disagree with someone over there, despite substantive conflicts in fact, purpose, and personal style.

If I were doing this essay properly, I would also talk about how I never understood what the Peanuts characters meant in calling Charlie Brown wishy-washy. I still don't. Is it that he's basically kind and bland? Is there anything wrong with that?

Then I would try to work this indecision angle into a discussion of the scene I've been writing for Mages. But I think I'll save that for tomorrow.

Since I didn't illustrate the stripped down rant very much, here are a few photos, with explanations:

Here's a startling thing to come across in a bookstore! I saw this at Bookman's tonight, where John was examining their bookcases for ideas on how todo ours. This piece, and another like it, was labeled "Balinese temple guard." Okay, but why isn't it still guarding the temple?

The monsoon is here! It looks as though it was announced today, but actually started on June 27th. This shot is from Friday after work, right after I got drenched waiting for the Walk signal. This is so typical: rain in combination with a hot car. The temperature dropped rapidly once I turned the car on. I actually have a similar photo from earlier in June, with rain and 104 degrees!

Enough. Good night!

*You do know that I jokingly call most of my blog essays rants, don't you?

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Bea said...

No, I don't think it's being wishy washy to find yourself agreeing with opposite views. It is a way of considering other and differing viewpoints, especially when you are considering them for the first time. You need time to synthesize and analyze, and in the context of a conversation, unless you are a very quick thinker, it probably wouldn't be wise to spout off one's immediate response. A ponderous silence, a nod of the head, or other response to someone's opinion or view point is often enough to show you are listening, and that's all that most of us need anyway. Even when reading essays, I think the same consideration is given... it helps us to acquire the information, to compare it to what we already know and understand, and then, sometimes, to modify what we think about issues because of the new information or reasoning. No, it's not being wishy washy! I call it making sense.

Becky said...

Open minded, for sure. I am the same way. I never thought of it as wishy-washy...just as having the unique ability to appreciate both sides.

Sarah said...

I don't know why it's not still guarding the temple either, but I sure think that looks cool! I almost wish it were in my living room. :)

As for Charlie Brown, I think perhaps part of the artist's point was that he gets a lot of flak for exhibiting certain qualities that are actually very refreshing and desirable. He is slow-paced and calm and thoughtful in an increasingly frantic, dog-eat-dog world. Sometimes humans get so caught up in that world we may fool ourselves into thinking we can't survive being any other way. Charlie Brown doesn't catch himself in that kind of trap. And that makes others look upon him unkindly. Maybe they're even jealous, a little?

Just sort of rambling through my keyboard here. I may not agree with my own thoughts in the morning. . .(does that make me wishy-washy? :)