Jos minut valitaan luottamustehtävään, lupaan, että:
- pidättäydyn esittämästä stereotypioivia, mukahauskoja kommentteja toisiin puolueisiin kuuluvista kollegoista tai kyseisten puolueiden kannattajista
- vetoan siihen, että ihmiset tai instituutiot nykyään tekevät sitä ja tätä huonommin kuin ennen vain jos minulla oikeasti on esittää todisteita siitä, että se on totta
- en ryhdy hankkeisiin tai kannattamaan asioita vain siksi, että se on puolueelle tai omalle "uralleni" edullista
- pyytää todisteita, muitakin kuin "isot pojat kertoi", ennen kuin uskon väitteitä siitä, että joku toimenpide johtaa johonkin tulokseen.
Pidätän kuitenkin oikeuden:
- olettaa, että jos ihminen on tietyn puolueen jäsen tai äänestäjä, hän kannattaa puolueen ideologiaa, sekä paperille kirjattua että puheissa muuten esiintyvää
- ottaa esiin asioita, joissa nähdäkseni on tapahtunut aitoa huonontumista
- olla ryhtymättä sinänsä hyödyllisiin hankkeisiin jos katson siitä olevan haittaa (esimerkiksi jos se vie aikaa tai huomiota joltain muulta, johon haluan panostaa)
- uskoa mielestäni luotettavaa asiantuntijaa, jos tutkimustuloksia jotka itse pystyn ymmärtämään ei ole saatavilla.
Ihan ehkä noin arviolta tuhat vuotta sitten sain tämmösen meemin. Koska olen otettu palkinnosta, lupaan kertoa seitsemän asiaa, mutta eteenpäin en jaksa välittää. Koska olen laiska.
- Minun on helpohkoa rajoittaa syömäni ruuan määrää, mutta laadun muuttaminen millään lailla terveellisemmäksi ei tosiaankaan toimi. Syön sitä mistä tykkään. Onneksi satun pitämään mm. tuoremehusta ja monista hedelmistä, muuten menisi vähän ankeaksi. Osa erilaisten ruuan koostumuksesta kauhiasti vouhkaavien ruokavalioiden vastustuksestani voinee johtua siitä, että kovasti ainakin toivon, että ei sillä nyt niin väliä ole, jos vaan joskus syö oikeatakin ruokaa...
- Olen lapsesta asti nähnyt ja näen edelleen usein painajaisia, joista herään irrationaalisiin kauhukohtauksiin. Koska olen iso ja rationaalinen aikuinen, en enää sytytä kaikkia valoja ja ryhdy valvomaan kummitusten varalta ja pystyn jopa käymään vessassa ihan yksin yöllä, mutta se vaatii melkoista yrittämistä. Näissä painajaisissa on aina joku yliluonnollinen elementti ja kummitus on pahin. Näen myös pahoja unia ihan oikeasti realistisista peloista, mutta ne eivät jätä samanlaista herätessäkin pysyvää kauhua, jonka yleensä vie lopullisesti pois vasta päivänvalo. Olen hyvin iloinen siitä, että kanssani samassa makuuhuoneessa nukkuu joku muu ihminen.
- En ole kovin hyvä laittamaan ruokaa enkä leipomaan. Suoriudun kyllä arkisista ruuista, mutta yleensä kärsivällisyyteni ei riitä reseptin tarkkaan seuraamiseen eivätkä taitoni soveltamiseen, mikä on huono kombinaatio. Jostain syystä osaan kuitenkin tehdä hilloja niin, että makuyhdistelmät menevät pääsääntöisesti aina kohdalleen ja suunnilleen niin kuin ajattelin niiden toimivan.
- Virkkaan mielelläni pitsiliinoja mutta en ymmärrä missä ihmeessä niitä käyttäisin.
- Olen huomattavasti parempi nukkumaan kuin heräämään. Tällä hetkellä tulevaisuuden työpaikan valitsemisessa yksi suurimpia kriteerejäni on "ei tartte yleensä mennä kahdeksaksi töihin, eikä mielellään vielä yhdeksäksikään".
- Olen erittäin huono maksamaan laskuja ajoissa ja siksi laitan yleensä kaikki laskut mahdollisimman pian suoraveloitukseen. Koska tämä ei onnistu kaikkien laskujen kanssa, saan säännöllisesti postia perintäyhtiöiltä. Toistaiseksi mitään velkojani ei kuitenkaan ole tarvinnut periä oikeusteitse.
- En ymmärrä, mistä ihmiset puhuvat kun sanovat, että raskaana tulee ärtyisäksi ja tunteelliseksi. Minulla on päinvastoin ollut seesteinen ja rauhallinen olo. Jopa väsymystä ja liitoskipuja ja niistä seuraavia liikkumisen rajoituksia siedän ihan hyvin, mitä normaalitilassa en todellakaan sietäisi menemättä seinille. Raskaushormonit on parasta huumetta.
If I could get one of those change one thing in your body whishes that sometimes feature ladies' and teens' magazines, I would not change my physical appearance, but I would change my need for sleep.
I always joke that I am better at sleeping than waking up. People have told me that being good at sleeping, as in, mostly being able to sleep at nights, is a blessing and complaining about it is distasteful. I agree it is a blessing, and I actually like sleeping a lot. However, it would be nice if I did not have to do quite so damn lot of it.
I need something like 9.5 to 10 hours of sleep every night, or I will start accumulating a sleep debt. It is actually hard to know what the exact amount I need is, because there rarely are more than two nights in a row when I am not sleeping off a debt, but it seems to have stabilized to at about 9 hours 40 minutes with extensive testing over December and January, from lights out to ready to get up. And there's not much there in either end to get rid off, either; I fall asleep in about 15 minutes and it takes about the same from first becoming aware of it being morning to being wide awake.
Anyway, nine and a half hours every frigging night means everyone who is at the average 7 or 8 has 2-4 hours more in their every day than I do. I can tell you that I could really, really use those hours. I think it should be made a law that every adult's need for sleep be scientifically determined every five years, and those needing more will be allowed to work less for the same pay.
This is not made easier by the fact that I am also insanely sensitive to lack of sleep. Most people I know happily take away an hour from every night during weekdays, and catch up on weekends. If I did that, by Wednesday I would have (I have) ceased to accomplish a thing, and by Friday I would probably murder somebody.
In addition, I am terribly bad at sleeping during the day. No matter how tired I am, if I try to nap, I simply don't fall asleep. My mother says I've been this way since a very small child, which apparently was a pain; I sympathize but I think having to suffer about it in my adulthood is still a cruel and unusual punishment.
Whine ends here. Now, for more coffee.
Some time ago, I volunteered to participate in a QN Podcast's "Voices" episode. These episodes consist of the awesome Sage asking questions about a particular topic from 4-6 people, and then combining the answers (either recorded by the participant themself or read by someone else) to an interesting, beautiful, inspiring glimpse into various human lives.
The below is a modified version of my answers to her questions concerning career choices. If you want to hear what she did with these, see QN: When I grow up (4 Voices). I was absolutely delighted about the reader who did my part; I feel she managed to portray my feelings despite being a complete stranger to me.
This is highly personal and publishing it is pushing my confort limits for this blog. Which is partly why I do it. Enjoy.
What did you want to be when you were twelve? Why?
Sometime between ages 10 and 12 I became aware of the fact that the world in general is a nasty place. Like, I suspect, many idealistic children grown up in relatively safe environments, I was shocked hearing about such things as wars and famines, and quite unable to believe that adults could not stop those things if they wanted to.
I decided to become a doctor, so that I can travel to the places with these problems and help the people. Being a naive and idealistic child, I was convinced that human suffering can and will be solved in my lifetime. I never doubted that. After all, it is just a question of the rich giving food to the hungry, and all the people deciding together that they will not fight the wars anymore. That's all it takes, and since people are inherently good and sensible, we just need to organize things a bit, and it'll be alright.
Part of me still believes that. But like the child, I have no idea where to start from. (Unfortunately, they did not teach that in medical school, after all.)
What did you want to be when you were eighteen? Why?
At 18, I was still planning to become a doctor. To be honest, that was probably more because I had spend the last six years telling everyone that's what I will become, and it would have been to embarrassing (I felt) to change my mind. Appearances were very important to me at that time of my life, though you might not have figured that out if you saw me, as my chosen appearance was to be more than a bit peculiar.
Now that I think about it, so was propably everyone else's at the time - we all wanted to be unique, just like everyone else.
I suppose I was still five years old in one sense: I was still unable to envision myself as an adult with a job, and I picked a career that sounded fancy, without really understanding what it means. Very rarely during my studies did the thought enter my mind that I had better learn the stuff, because I will need it when I am a doctor. When I went to see a doctor myself, I did not really imagine myself on the other side of the desk.
For someone having entered medical school out of the wish to help people I was paying very little attention to the tools that could help me do so. I still had a genuine belief that doctors help people, and I still had the genuine wish that someone would do something. I just could not imagine myself as that someone.
What's your career now?
Telling you about my current career (if you can all it that) would require a longer answer than a podcast episode. I went on to finish medical school, then (partly because I did not find I was ready to be a doctor - unsurprising after not spending all the years preparing that I should have) went on to get another degree in computer science.
Currently, I am doing my PhD on the applications of a certain computational method on certain type of medical research. It is highly specialized and about as far as you can get from concrete helping of people without actually leaving the field of medicine altogether or using your MD title to cheat money out of patients or the public.
I have also recently gotten back to actual work at a clinic, in child psychiatry, but after 1.5 years of working half time in both I decided I need to actually concentrate on one thing at a time, and I decided to try and finish the PhD first. I have now given it a mental deadline, and then I'll be out, one way or another. (I am not sure if I have said this with quite these words to my supervisor, so, if you heart the episode or are reading this: yes, I seriously mean it.)
How do you feel about your current career?
Sometimes I hate it, and sometimes I love it.
There is a lot in science I detest. Or, rather, not in the science itself, but in the culture of science. For one who was very concerned with appearances in her youth, I have come a suprising way and started to feel terrible about the necessity and pressure to keep them up. And there is a lot of that in science. There are days - one day every week, probably - when I think I just cannot take it anymore.
Many things in the culture of science need to change, and will change in the coming decades - but I am not sure if I have enough in me to be part of that revolution, either.
But of course, it is not only that. It is also exciting to be part of the community that spends their time discovering new things and disproving old truths. It is a fairly free job, too, most of the time: I can decide when to come to work, when to leave, I can work late if I want to and no one thinks me weird, I can take a day off to just read at home if I am trying to learn something new... That kind of things.
The practical side of my work, with actual patients... well, I love it and I hate it, too. And for much of the same reasons: I love the work itself, I like patients - yes, in the end, I do like helping people, and I am told I am and I feel reasonably competent at psychiatry for one without that much experience. But I hate and detest the public health care bureaucracy, especially with the panicky reorganizations that the supposed global economical depression causes just when we would need more time to work in peace and more resources because of it.
I suppose there's the 12-year-old me speaking here: I like the work, I want to do it, I see what should be done, and I cannot understand why we cannot just do it the sensible way.
What do you plan to change in the next five years?
During the next two years or so, I want to get my PhD (or quit trying), and I want to get my full lisencing as a physician so that I can do private practice, which requires about a year's worth of full-time work in health care still.
I mostly want those, and especially the lisence, because I think they are my current best option to freeing myself to pick and choose my own work.
I still want to change the world, even if I now think that my 10-year-old self's idea that we will see the end of wars and famines in our lifetime simply because people are good and don't want those things was, uh, slightly exaggerated. That if it was likely to work that way, it would have happened already.
I am at a point where predicting where I'll be in five years is pretty much impossible. And I am excited about that: an adventure is starting. Closing 40 years, I've finally realized that I can become an adult, and that it sounds like a lot of fun.
I seem to be able to separate four distinct parts to my thought processes. In all seriousness they are probably neither distinct from each other nor undivisable into further subclassifications, but it would be interesting to know if these divisions make sense to other people.
So, four parts or maybe rather four types of thought processes. The order I present them in is not consciously significant.
Firstly, there is what I call "the perceiving mind" or sometimes "the impulse generator". Other people have called it "the monkey mind, constantly jumping from thought to thought like a monkey jumps from branch to branch". It is the part that sees, hears, reacts; it presents random concepts, ideas, impulses, desires, memories, judgments to the other parts. "Oh, the sun's out", "what time does the the Monday meeting start again", "need to remember to read that private message", "I'm hungry", "let's check Facebook", just to give examples of what it came up with while I was typing the previous sentence. In addition to outside perceptions, it seems to bring up internal impulses, negative and positive: such as "I feel cranky/content", "I am a useless/clever person", memories both when prompted by something and at seemingly random. It has no conception of time or place or continuity, really; each impulse surfaces and immediately dies, to be replaced by the next.
Secondly, there's "meta mind": the observer/commentator/decider that I think most people think when they think about "I". This is the meta-process that can think about thinking and about doing. It seems to constantly talk to or about the impulse generator, occasionally commenting on the flow mind (see below). "Glad the sun is so down that I don't need to close the curtain. Hey, I'm not concentrating again. I don't need to check the meeting time now, really. It was really a good idea to make that dish, it smells very good and I did not have to go do groceries. Then again, groceries would mean I would go for a walk... I didn't do any exercise yesterday. I really need to concentrate now, and not check facebook. --- See, that was a nice stretch of flow" - it is the "internal voice" in your head, constantly talking with itself, talking to the rest of you.
Thirdly, there is a "flow mind" that can think or do without thinking about the thinking or doing. I think the flow mind is active all the time, but it is easiest to introduce to the meta-process after you have been very "concentrated". During periods of "full flow" the observer/commentator dies down, and there are no "metathoughts" either about what you are doing or about whatever the impulse generator comes up with. The impulses sort of still are there, but they are not picked up, and the metaprocess sort of still is there (because it is part of you you), and it can recall the flow afterwards. Flow is usually thought about in the context of creative work, where it is a desirable thing: the state of thinking/doing/creating where nothing else exist to the creator. It is not only good or good in itself, though; it is also possible to be in a flow that is harmful, for example when some worry or anxiousness or the desire to be more drunk is all that is in your mind, and the metaprocess does not manage to intervene.
Fourth, there is my "tao mind", which is hard to describe because it is not verbal or an impulse that I can talk about verbally - and this is where it gets its name from too, the essence of the concept of "tao" being that it cannot be named or described. It is what is there when all the other three manage to be quiet at the same time. It does not mean there is a blank, or that observations stop; it is just that they are not picked up by the other processes. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I am told, describes it as "the mind in between of two thoughts", and various meditation traditions exist that attempt to invoke it - though most seem to be designed to invoke it in a particular state of peacefulness, instead of just what is. It is the "core self", while not really even being much concerned in the distinction between "self" and "world".
These are, naturally, parts of my conscious mind. There are other parts of "me" - my personality traits, my body, probably something like my internalized moral code, as some examples.
It has made my life better when I have started to think that neither of these alone is "me". When I am in an anxiousness flow, it is not "me" that is there, it is a runaway process that does not listen to the other parts, but which the metaprocess can interfere with as soon as it manages to wake up. "I" am not the one that has all sorts of silly impulses when she should be concentrated; it is a part of me that offers these impulses and I can take them or leave them. "Flow" is separate from the "meta" process, not directed meta thoughts. And so forth. I am more complex than any of the "I" I perceive, and it's fun to be consciously aware of this.
Based on exactly nothing but observation and speculation, I claim that a lot of the problems that Western-world relatively well-to-do adults experience in their lives are about vicious-circle-like downward spirals.
As an example there definitely is a subtype of burnout/depression that goes like this: you set expectations for yourself, you fail to meet them, the failure cause guilt and anxiety, you set up more expectations of the I-really-need-to-get-this-done type, the anxiousness and guilt make you perform worse, and you fail again. As another example, one of my own goes like this: I sleep too little, so I need to drink caffeine to keep my work going, lack of sleep and caffeine make my performance drop below levels I feel I am committed to, performance dropping causes stress, stress causes an evening drink and computer games, the stress, alcohol and excitement combined cause bad and diminished sleeping. I am sure you can invent your own examples – not getting physical exercise because of not being fit enough to feel comfortable at places where you could get it sounds common enough, at least.
Now the thing with such vicious cycles is that there is practically always some component in them that is not your fault. The society sets expectations on us that are hard to resist. Anxiousness causing bad sleep is a given, there’s not much anyone with a normal mind can do about it. You might not be fit because you have been lazy, but because there has been some circumstance preventing you from staying fit. The circle feeds itself: it is not a simple thing you do or do not do, it is a complex mess of variables where even if you fix one, the others keep on dragging you down. No step on the circle might seem like a major thing: your expectations are not that high, you are not that anxious; it’s just two cups of coffee and one gin and tonic a day, for gods’ sake! It is easy to start feeling like a victim, to feel like this stuff just happens to you, to feel that you are caught in a spiral not of your own making.
Yet the spiral is there, and it really is a spiral that also includes steps that are your own actions or attitudes. And the spiral is going to stay there until you do something about it. Other people can help or hinder, but unless you recognize your spirals and break them, your recurring problems are going to, well, recur. This has nothing to do with fair, and nothing to do with whose fault. It has to do with realism, and responsibility: if you do not fix it, no one else can.
When did we start thinking that you can only be responsible for something, if either it is your fault, or someone pays you to?
Joskus tulee hyviä päiviä. (Yleensä silloin, kun univelka alkaa vähentyä.) Sellaisia päiviä, jolloin viisaat sanat menevät suoraan sydämeen, ja on helppo tunnistaa omat arvonsa ja ymmäryksensä. Niinä päivinä hyvyys, totuus ja kauneus tuntuvat arvoina kirkkailta ja lähestyttäviltä, eivätkä huku epämääräiseen hymistelyyn kulttuurisidonnaisista harmaansävyistä. "Kutsumus" ei tunnu toivottoman vanhanaikaiselta ajatukselta, ja on helppo hyväksyä omien keinojensa ja ymmärryksensä rajallisuus ilman, että tarvitsee luopua toivosta ja tarmosta. Näinä päivinä on helppo tehdä töitä. Jopa illalla virka-ajan päätettyä, ja ruokatunnilla, ja luentosalin takarivistä kun oikeastaan haluaisi kuunnella.
"Onneksi" sairaanhoitopiiri tekee parhaansa vieroittaakseen minut uskomasta lääkärintyöhön ja pitääkseni minut tukevasti maanpinnalla. Maailmojasyleilevässä tyytyväisyydessäni työhöni ryhdyin nimittäin vielä illan päätteeksi tarmonpuuskassa tekemään potilaskirjanpitoa - siis en sairaskertomusmerkintöjä, ne olin jo tehnyt, vaan sellaista omituista puuhaa missä jokaisen työntekijän kirurgista psykiatriseen sairaanhoitajaan pitää itse merkitä omituiseen järjestelmään paitsi potilaan saapumis- ja poistumisajat ja diagnoosi myös kolme (kyllä, kolme) atk-sivullista koodeja, lyhenteitä, ja yhdistelmiä, joita todellakaan ei voi osata laittaa oikein. Jos nyt kukaan edes tietää, mitä "oikein" on, kun sitä ei kerran pystytä selvästi kertomaan.
Näihin koodeihin kuuluvat esimerkiksi erikoisalan, sairaalan ja poliklinikan sisäinen koodi (järjestelmä ei tietenkään voi muistaa näitä valmiiksi), käyntityyppi (joista tavallisimpia tapauksiamme ei oikein vastaa mikään), "resurssien" (suomeksi työntekijöiden) käyttö, maksuluokka, asiakasmaksaja, varsinainen maksaja (älkää kysykö mitä eroa, en minä tiedä). Kahdessa tapauksessa kolmesta normaaliälyinen lääkäri ei saa käyntiä kirjatuksi hyvästä yrityksestä huolimatta, esimerkiksi siksi, että ihan tavallista diagnoosinumeroa tai jotain suomalaista kuntaa ei nyt yhtäkkiä olekaan olemassa.
Kello 17:40, työajan päätyttyä klo 16 ja oikeiden töiden noin 17:15 havahduin ja aikaisemman päivän hyvien fiiliksien kantamana totesin, että nyt riittää. En ryhdy kyseenalaistamaan tässä hallinnon käsitystä siitä, että kaikki yllämainitut ovat hallinnolle tarpeellisia tietoja - ehkä ne ovatkin, ehkä ne ovat se mistä tarvittava raha oikeiden töiden tekemiseen tulee - mutta niiden kirjaaminen ei ole minun työtäni. Minun työhöni kuuluu pitää kirjaa siitä kuka kävi, kenen kanssa, mitä tehtiin, keitä oli läsnä, mikä oli johtopäätös ja mikä on jatkosuunnitelma. Tarvittavien käyntityyppi/maksuluokka/resurssi/mikälie-koodien päättely näistä tiedoista on sihteerin tai kirjanpitäjän hommaa. (Kompromissina voin suostua asettamaan diagnoosin tietyn sovitun luokituksen mukaan ja jopa itse etsimään sen pahuksen numeron.)
Huolimatta siitä, että toisinkin voisi työsopimuksen kirjaimeen tuijottamalla kuvitella, minä en ole sairaanhoitopiirin hallinnon palveluksessa. Minä en ole "HUS:n lääkäri". Julkisella sektorilla olen kutsumuksestakin enkä vain pakosta, mutta minun oikea työnantajani on yhteiskunta ja minun asiakkaitani apua hakevat ihmiset. Ja hallinnon tehtävä on palvella meitä.
This is probably the hardest of the parts of this series to write. And in addition, it goes out in English, because it has a target audience of two (hi guys!) who do not speak Finnish. Not that the hardest part is the language.
Rant about basic and profound philosophical concepts by someone with very little training in philosophy follows. You have been warned.
The one, and only, universal truth is that we cannot know anything. In the end, everything we know is filtered through our senses and our internal representations and interpretations of those sensations. There is no way whatsoever to prove that anything outside my mind exists. In fact, even "I think, therefore I am" is not true — my current feeling of continuity of "my" self could be an illusion, and I would have no way to know. So, the best we can do is "I think, therefore something exists".
While blaming your favourite argument opponent for not realizing the above, in my experience what separates worldviews is not disagreements on it. I do not think I have raised this point with anyone above age 15 who would not have agreed with it, at least in principle. Most fervently religious people I know agree with it as well as do most jealously scientifically-minded atheists. What separates worldviews is what you do with it.
On the very basic level, there is two ways to treat this problem of not knowing. (Well, in addition to totally ignoring it and making a choice without being conscious about it, and then changing your mind as it suits your purposes.)
Either, you can say that since we cannot know, the question of real truth values of beliefs is not meaningful. You can still discuss how useful beliefs seem to be for some specific purpose such as a person’s happiness or his/her experience of being able to predict what happens, but "truth" becomes totally subjective, a question of whether something is true for a particular person. Belief or "inner certainty" constitute proof as good as any — for the person with the certainty, though not necessarily for others.
Or, you can say that while our senses are not reliable, they still "very likely" correspond at least partly to some real, external reality, and then start figuring out what we can (and cannot) guess about that reality given that this basic assumption of it existing and interacting at least with some predictability with our internal realities holds. Of course, if you are honest, the answer boils down to "not a whole lot", but you can still argue it is better than nothing. The concept of "truth" becomes external to the concept of an observer, and at least somewhat testable even if in the end unknowable. Of course, truth-values of a lot of things we experience are still irrelevant (to us, or in general).
This is, naturally, a simplification. But the major point I am trying to make that this is a choice. There is nothing you can experience to say which stance is the true one. The first one has the advantage that it can "explain" the latter — my taking the latter stance is simply my subjective truth, the absolute truth value of which is irrelevant. The second one has the advantage that it actually fits to how we experience the world — it is very hard for a human being to really to work from the assumption that there are no "facts". But it is, in the end, an arbitrary choice.
People have told me that since there is this underlying arbitrary choice, a scientific worldview — which the latter, in my opinion, leads to — is nothing but another religion. I do not think that this is true. It could be true if religions honestly admitted that they take the first choice, but in my experience they rarely do. I suppose most religions developed in conditions where the "what can we really know" was not a relevant question, and so the conscious choice was never made. In addition, I also feel that statement belittles religions. Religions have social, mystical, and historical dimensions that you cannot simply reduce to a "worldview that includes some irrational elements". "A worldview that includes some irrational elements" is simply that — a worldview.
Like you probably have guessed, I have chosen to assume — assume, not believe — that our senses give us very distorted but still somewhat predictable information of a very real external reality, and that the concept of "truth" is not completely subjective. That assumption is arbitrary and I make it partly for simply esthetic preferences. But since I have chosen to make it, I do my best to stick to it.
The only day I could make the salle this week was Tuesday. Which is the beginner’s day, which I thought would not be a problem, as my longsword is very well terrible enough to benefit from basic footwork and cuts. Only, when I arrived to the salle, Guy and Ilkka told me I likely cannot take the class, because it is full. I admit here and now that in the privacy of my head I called them nazis and muttered about there always being a room for one more, even if they have sixteen or whatever already.
Only as people came in, it turned out they did not have sixteen, they had twenty-bloody-seven.
So I sat the class out reading the Duelist’s Companion (and found out I have been thinking of the extension in a suboptimal way, even while doing it right-ish). Afterwards, we did some rapier with Orava (who also had hoped for a longsword refresher) and Guy gave me a private lesson on the parry-riposte stuff, which I did not consider a bad exchange for the lost beginner longsword class at all.
Having established that I can do a parry starting from a not-extended position, he had me do parries from contexts where I already was extended, which to me, frankly, still feels like a totally silly thing to do instead of just closing the damned line while ramming the point through the other guy. Good work, though.(Note to self: Elbow softens, it does not pull back. Also, terza hides behind the cup.) I learn more in five minutes of a private session than I do in a full hour of regular class… the downside is I always feel guilty of taking the teacher’s time for just poor old me, with so many so much more dedicated people at the salle.
Also, and possibly worse than any technical mistake, turns out I have a problem with hitting people. I soften my wrist to soften the blow when I hit a person, even Guy in full kit after he has told me not to, while I do not do the same when I hit the wall. Guy tried to make me feel better of it by saying “of course it hurts, now do it to me!” which did not help at all, while the “I am the wall” quote helped some, which probably means I have a basically sane attitude about hurting other people, which attitude I’d rather not lose… so I need to figure out some way to deal with it.
It is said by many wise people, among them Yoda the little green guy who teaches warriors (*), that in training one should not try, but simply do, or do not. It is fine to test something or to experiment with something, but there too, do not try, just do the experiment.
In every day life, I think there is an even worse enemy to doing than “try”, and that is “should”. It seems to me that whenever we say to ourselves “I should really get that done” we in practice already mean that we haven’t, and probably won’t. Planning to do something should (ha) be an empowering experience, not one that makes us feel inadequate and insecure.
So, here’s one thing to experiment with: do, or do not - there is no should. I am trying to teach myself to say * instead of “I should really get my arse to swordsclass”, “I will go to class on Thursday, and not worry about it any other day, because my goal is to be there once a week and that’s enough” * instead of “I should really do some laundry”, “I will do some laundry now” * instead of “I should really mail to X about Y”, “When I am next at the department, I will mail to X about Y” * instead of “I should get something done about Z at work”, “on Monday, after I’ve sent that mail to X about Y, I’ll spend some time seeing what can be done about Z” * instead of “I should probably arrange the junk that’s accumulated to the bookshelf in our bedroom”, “I will arrange that junk, but not this week” * instead of “I should finish that book”, “I will finish that book when I feel like it, and if I never will, I won’t, so what”
And so forth, you get the point.
Doing push-ups for wrong thinking has occurred to me but currently I am not in that habit.
(*) yes, I’ve been watching too much Farscape lately)