Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Philosophy of Depth

Several threads of conversations with my coworkers have my mind spinning around trying to make sense of different theories about human behavior. I am testing out some ideas they have introduced, trying to apply them to my experience to see if they are true.
Last night, the doctor was testing an animal for propreoception. It happened that the receptionist walked by during the testing and was asking what the difference was between the two different tests the doctor had performed. Dr McFadden explained that one test was for superficial pain and one was for deep pain. The receptionist, who is a very sweet, younger girl whom I do enjoy the company of, but who has some limited knowledge, did not understand the difference between the two types of pain. I was trying to explain it to her and realized the problem was she did not understand the vocabulary.
This really didn't surprise me as much as it should. One would think that someone who made it all the way out of high school would understand these terms. However, I have spent time with this girl outside of work, and our conversation had turned to the things we enjoy, and when I talked about how I liked to study and discuss literature, philosophy, and creative pursuits (I would say "art", but I mean that loosely, since I really don't know much about what most people consider 'art' but I am interested in the imaginative creative process that urges people to produce works), she told me that did not interest her at all. She had also told me she hates to read and really doesn't like to think that much, and is mostly only concerned with appearance and attraction when it comes to the opposite sex. This is who she is, and it seemed foreign to me, but I am fairly open minded and don't really think that someone has to think like me or be interested in everything I am in order to be friends with them. We have enough in common between being mothers, wives, coworkers, and anxious types who are concerned about others perception of us to form enough common ground to have a friendship.
At the end of the explanation to her of the difference between the two types of pain, I was trying to link it to what those terms mean in relation to people, and another one of my coworkers jumped in to the conversation and said something to this effect;
That the terms "superficial" and "deep" are relative to the perception of the subject, and due to this, are subjective terms.
I don't think I agree. Her argument that she used to validate this was that that there are different types of intelligence: common sense, book smarts, street smarts, logic skills, etc. I told her I agreed with that but I didn't see how it related to what we were talking about. She tried again, and this time she told me basically that when a person says another person is superficial, it is only a value judgement and could be based on fallacy. For instance, she says, a person might be concerned with making sure their appearance is top-notch, but it might not have to do with the fact that they believe that appearance is all that matters, but might be in fact that they feel that they do their best work and make the best impression when they feel good about how much work they put into their appearance. I could almost see where she was going with that, and couldn't really come up with a rebuttal, and then the conversation digressed into what she hated about philosophy. I went home thinking about it and researched the terms to see if I could find that those terms are indeed relative. This is what I found on Webster's.

Main Entry: su·per·fi·cial
(1) : of, relating to, or located near a surface (2) : lying on, not penetrating below, or affecting only the surface b British, of a unit of measure : SQUARE 2 a : concerned only with the obvious or apparent : SHALLOW b : seen on the surface : EXTERNAL c : presenting only an appearance without substance or significance - su·per·fi·cial·ly /-'fi-sh(&-)lE/ adverbsynonyms SUPERFICIAL, SHALLOW, CURSORY mean lacking in depth or solidity. SUPERFICIAL implies a concern only with surface aspects or obvious features . SHALLOW is more generally derogatory in implying lack of depth in knowledge, reasoning, emotions, or character .
Main Entry: deep

(1) : extending well inward from an outer surface (2) : not located superficially within the body c : extending well back from a surface accepted as front d : extending far laterally from the center e : occurring or located near the outer limits of the playing area f : thrown deep 2 : having a specified extension in an implied direction usually downward or backward 3 a : difficult to penetrate or comprehend : RECONDITE b : MYSTERIOUS, OBSCURE c : grave in nature or effect d : of penetrating intellect : WISE e : intensely engrossed or immersed f : characterized by profundity of feeling or quality ; also : DEEP-SEATED 4 a of color : high in saturation and low in lightness b : having a low musical pitch or pitch range 5 a : situated well within the boundaries b : remote in time or space c : being below the level of consciousness d : covered, enclosed, or filled to a specified degree -- usually used in combination 6 :

I am not sure that I see anything in these definitions that indicate relativity.
More on this subject and others like it shortly.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2006 Jeep 4x4 Geocaching Challenge

The past few months, I have been searching for Green Jeep Travel Bugs in order to participate in the Challenge. I have enjoyed taking photos of travel bugs over the past year that I have been participating in my new hobby, geocaching, and I wanted the chance to compete through photographs for the chance at a new Garmin GPS and/or a new 2007 Jeep Compass. I would really like to have a Garmin GPS instead of the crappy old Magellan that I use, and I would love to upgrade Jeeps as well.
I had some rotten luck initially. Everytime I did a search for the Green Jeeps in my area, by the time I got to the cache, they would have just been taken out or were not actually there. There was one time that I made it through a difficult puzzle cache, which took me all day to solve, and then got out to the coordinates and could not even find the cache. When I got home, I saw that some Beaumont cachers had just beaten me to it anyways that day. After a month or so of this rotten luck, my friends "The Popeteers" (on the geocaching website, people go by handles, or team names) gave me one of the Jeeps they had picked up, since they knew I was interested in competing in the contest and they weren't.
In fact, most of my geocaching friends could care less about the contest, and only wanted the Jeeps for their icons. Because of this trend, I really didn't expect many people to enter the contest. I mean, first you had to find a cache with a Jeep in it, then take the photo with the monthly theme, then submit it online. How many other people were into the same things I was?
Turns out, quite a lot. The first month I entered the contest, I scanned the other entries, and was surprised at how many there were. I think my total count was around 750 entries. In just one month! Granted, there were 5600 Jeeps released for the contest, and the same Jeep could be entered more than once by other cachers, but each team or person could only enter one time per month. There are that many other Jeep crazed cachers who like to take theme photos out there? Apparently so.
I was quite disappointed about not winning the contest in September or October, especially when I compared my photos to the winning photo. I had a lot of fun taking the pictures, though.
Here is the winning photos versus my entries.
Winning Entry on left--
September -- Monthly Theme "Freedom"--
My Entry on right--Symbols of Freedom
One of the rules was you could not alter or doctor the photos in any way, even in terms of cropping. Otherwise I would have had fun playing around with them a little.
I am going to place my October entry and the winning entry on here, but for some reason it is not working well in this post.
I was very disappointed with my entry for December. Without having a digital camera, it becomes very difficult to judge if you are getting the photo just right, without it needing any cropping and conveying the exact image you want to convey. I waited until the very last day to enter the contest to begin taking the shot, because of a lot of reasons really. Here is the photo I ended up with.

The Theme was "Heritage", and my idea was to make a postcard collage of our family's heritage. In this photo, we have a Green Jeep moving from both my husband and I's hometowns to the mountains of Bend, OR, where we plan on moving this summer. The top of the photo shows places important in my family heritage, like where my parents grew up, where they met, where they had their honeymoon, and then on the left in the middle row we have the place where my husband and I met, where we initially lived together (Colorado Springs, CO). In the middle is Houston, where we live now, and on the right is Tulelake, CA, his hometown, where we lived together when we were first married. On the bottom row on the left is where my family lives, the middle where we want to live, and on the right where his family lives. I couldn't explain all that to the judges though!

They were supposed to announce December's winner today, but I don't see it posted. I will post the winning entry when it is announced. Wish me luck! (Haha!)