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February 6, 2005


Well I haven't blogged anything in a very long time, and since my 160 gig external hard drive is (hopefully) transforming itself from a really really fragged state to a not as fragged-up state, I figured I might as well do it right now.

Here's an update: Amnesty Letters played a battle of the bands at SIUE last night which was fun. The soundguy sucked terribly and the bands were WORSE, as a general rule. My friend Caleb Engstrom's band played and he is an amazing songwriter and all-around more-creative-than-I-am person. His band didn't have a drummer, BUT it had a tap-dancer. Yes you read that right. There was a girl keeping the beat with her feet in all sorts of sweet ways. She had only been rehearsing with the band for two days so I can't wait to see what sorts of awesomeness develops from this. He won first prize, and dang did he deserve it. I'm also pretty almost 100% sure i'm going to buy a lap steel slide guitar now. Oh man it does my soul good to hear really good songwriting these days, and lots of people doing a folk or folk-influenced sort of thing. It was a near spiritual experience to see him play last night. Awright moving on.... the 2nd place band i didn't see cuz i ducked out a bit for some steak and a shake, but the man in charge of the low end in AL said there were decent. Then the third place band is from Edwardsville, and went last, and were definitly not amazing, played TWO covers, that sort of thing, so we think that was a bit fixed. But only losers say that. But hey, we lost so I guess we can. Whatever.

Ok so i was not myself last night. I loved it. I hate being too much myself. Oh gosh life is so grey sometimes because nothing is hardly ever truly one thing. But comprimeses are boring. My life is a comprimise and it is restrained. It is a wonderful feeling to leave that personality that you usually wear in the closet for a night (or day or year) and be something else. It can't be disingenuous because you are what you are and you can't NOT be. When there is a conflict between an image of what I have been and what I currently am, the image must be changed. I must have been frustrated or something to feel the need to be crazaw. Awwright I think i've exhausted that topic. Somebody comment an AMEN on that or something.

Man my HD is only 3% defragged. Shoot dang i wanna go hang out at dubach. I don't think I have much more to say. Maybe i'll play some more Need for Speed Underground. I am SOO addicted.

OOOH I know what I can talk about. Two things.

First, I want things I don't need. This is a problem. I want. I mean, everybody wants stuff but i feel this sort of thing consuming me. I cannot concentrate on others when I want so badly for myself. I became aware of the severity of the problem this summer and decided not to buy anything big (and as a corallary not to desire anything big) for an undetermined amount of time. Up until recently I was doing pretty good. Maybe that's why I was feeling pretty good about life and that sort of thing. But anyway, my little tech21 amp is meeting its end, I think. I'm outgrowing it, its too quiet, soundguys laugh at it when they see it (no joke), the reverb knob isn't working anymore (which has half of what made that amp great), its not very expressive, and its not very expressive. And it doesn't sound all that great for me anymore. In short, my ears have moved on to bigger and better things. So I began to look at replacement amps. Because I want
I am broke. I am always broke. Correction, I am always in debt. There are things I need to be saving up for. Big things. Expensive things. Things I need soonish that are NOT guitar amps. Things that will probably involve selling a bunch of other gear to afford anyway... I'm not in a position to want things. In short, I want a Fender Prosonic 2x10 combo, which will run anywhere from $500 to $1000. The prices fluctuate wildly. That's not the point. The point is I am again going to spend money (when I can find on of these that isn't listing for $995) that I don't have. Here are some of the lyrics to a song that has stuck with me for a long while now, Derek Webb's "Beloved."

"Beloved these are dangerous times
Because you are weightless like a leaf from the vine
and the wind has blown you all over town
Because there is nothing holding you to the ground

So now you would rather be
A slave again than free from the law

Beloved listen to me
Don't believe all that you see
and don't you ever let anyone tell you
That there's anything that you need
But me

Beloved these are perilous days
When your culture is so set in it's ways
That you will listen to salesmen and thieves
Preaching other than the truth you've received."

Don't you ever let anyone tell you that there's anything that you need, but me. That one statement is probably the most poignant thing I have ever heard. Poignant because it cuts me to my marrow to hear it and know how true it is. Around the time I was listening to that cd a lot, I was working for Vector Marketing, selling people really sharp knives.

Allow me to indulge my guitly conscious and make a statement that maybe will help people out a bit:


I'm speaking from experience. Sorry if you didn't need to hear that, I'm saying it mostly to myself. I quit vector marketing after two days and no rest.

Second, (fulfilling the pop philosophy requirement of this blog) quantum mechanics makes free will possible. Kant was wrong about the division between science and religion, mostly because he didn't know anything about quantum mechanics. Ok allow me to summarize the problem here that led him to separate the worlds of science and religion. Science is based on determinism: i.e. one thing happens because another thing happens - causality. Your arm moves because there is a chemical/electrical impulse in your muscles that causes them to contract. That chemical/electrical impulse is there because it followed a trial of nerves from your brain. Your brain is a lot more complex and its hard to see what is causing what, precisely, but it appears to be quite safe to say that everything that happens was caused by something. These chemical reactions follow rather strict rules and are predictable. Thus you have no free will, even though you think you do, because your decision-making organ is subject to determinancy. Well that blows, huh? So Kant separated relition and science, because of the whole free-will thing... I think.
But here's where he fouled up, IMHO. He didn't know about things on the quantum level. Things are FREAKY on the quantum level. There is indeterminancy and true randomness existing all over the place!! You can't predict where an electron is around the nucleus of an atom. You can only predict the probability of where it is. in fact, in may not be in any one particular place at all! It may exist 75% here and 25% there, or in both places at once. Things get WIERD on a quantum level. This sort of randomness introduces the chaos into the system that will make it possible for small variations in the outcome of events up the chain. And consciousness comes from many many small parts becoming a whole (maybe i worded that badly and maybe that's just plain wrong) so your consciousness is then allowed some freedom because of the randomness in the unverse that it is both experiencing AND responding to.

HAAAWRIGHT that's all i got. Somebody PLEASE comment like your life depends on it. There's a lot of room for contention in there. Man my hard drive is only 18% defragged... It looks a little better already though... Leave comments, send me an email, post an etire reply blog using the anonymous login, do something. I'd like to talk about some of this some more. Thanks for reading.


Posted by pedalboy at February 6, 2005 2:28 PM | TrackBack

in blue like jazz, don miller refers to the idea behind the consumerism as "self-addiction" and i think there's a lot of truth in that description of it. i am a self addict along with millions of other people. i desire to be something other than a self-addict but it is a process that takes time and effort. intentionality.

also...quantum stuff. i dont' really know anything about it other than what you've told me though and i have to get back to reading about jews. and christians. and muslims.

matt, you move me


Posted by: john at February 6, 2005 2:46 PM

what's the freaking url?

Posted by: kate at February 6, 2005 5:09 PM

hmm, i guess it worked anyway.

the quarks in charge of the universe thing is my favorite idea of the moment. i'm not really clear on all the physics stuff, basically at all, mostly b/c i've never read a book on physics. *cough* but i like the thought that thousands of philosophers have spend thousands of years arguing about free will and all along they were really being influenced by the strictly random motion of electrons. talk about a sick joke. do you think God creates randomness? obviously i guess God created electrons. but it would be cool if God arranged the world by random conglomerations and interactions of microscopic particles. THAT would be very consistent with God's irony.

AMEN. i'm intrigued by your diatribe on how you hate being too much yourself. the conflict between your image and what you are. i understand what you are talking about. bekah and i had conversations about this before we left. how we can reinvent ourselves in a place no one knows us. you're right about how you can't be something that you are not, but your "image" is very limiting many times. which i realize even more about greenville since i am not there. a lot of times you change and your image takes about ten years to catch up. i hope this semester makes me more myself. you too. do you want it to?

i don't have a lot of comment on the materialism thing.
what are you giving up for lent?

matt's number two fan,

Posted by: kate at February 6, 2005 5:52 PM

what's really odd is when the self mixes with the image and everything goes CRAZY!!!


and quantum mechanics are my thing... well, they would be if i was a chem or physics major... i like them. they make little sense and remind me that all is cool.

oh yeah, i'm pretty sure it was C.S. Lewis who started talking about how science does not take into account some other force reaching in and messing with it. He kinda suggest that God is the so-called "chaos" in the system of science. That's either in Miracles or "Religion and Science" from God in the Dock. not too sure

Posted by: joel at February 6, 2005 9:23 PM

Well so here's something to think about. Genetics. They've actually determined that lmost everything has to due with your genes. Seriously, like the way you vote, if you're liberal or conservative has to do with your genetics. So stick that in your free will pipe and smoke it.

Posted by: Allison at February 6, 2005 10:18 PM

Allison, more info is needed. But i must initially disagree, of course. I think people are as surprising as the universe itself. And they make even less sense, if that's possible.

Also, yes, I do believe that you can find out a lot about the nature of God through the fabric of the universe, because it is His universe. The way he made it reflects a lot about him. To be fair to God, I must say that quantum mechanics has yet to be definitavely reconciled with relativity. That's why people like string theory. And that's all I gotta say about that.

And I'm still not myself.

Posted by: matty at February 6, 2005 10:52 PM


First, everyone in American finds themselves at some point to be a consumer whore. Don't worry too much about it. I have the same problem sometimes, trouble is, I can never act on it because the school takes all my money.

Second, I have to inherently disagree with the post from Allison. Science has not proved that genetics are responsible for human actions. Nurture also comes into account. I've studied them both. Correlation does not prove causation. Genetics play a major role in who we find ourselves to be, but are not the ultimate determinate factors.

Third, I'm intrigued by your idea of Chaos determining Free will. I love chaos theory. I love free will. It's all good! I will, however, have to learn more about quantum physics. You have peaked my curiosity!

Love ya,

Posted by: katie at February 7, 2005 5:16 PM

just a couple things about the quantum level. first, strictly determined or random, there isn't free will in either, right? and no one knows if it just seems random now because we don't get it yet, or if it actually doesn't follow any rules, teleports and does time travel and all of that like it seems to (one of the coolest things i've read is that some studies seem to show matter at that level doesn't exist until you observe it). anyway, free will is screwed in either situation. so to take down kant you'll need to go further or something, whatever.

also, if random electrons influence our thinking, we have no reason to believe anything, even our belief that things are random! ahhh, goodbye god!

Posted by: at February 11, 2005 7:33 PM

there isn't intrinsic free will in either. But one allows for nondeterminism and the other one doesn't. You're right that I haven't connected indeterminancy to free will in a very concrete way. Mostly because I don't know anything. And people don't seem to know anything much really about either the mind or quantum mechanics, and lord knows nobody knows nothing about the soul. So...

Random events influence your thinking all the time though, without you caring much. You can't control what other people do, the color of someone elses house, where you were born, who your parents are, if your teachers lied to you or not. These things all might as well be completely random to you. But this random stimulus is there and I don't think that's any reason to throw out God.

Plus there are lots of theists who believe that God doesn't give us free will, I'm sure.

The point is that the events on a quantum level are so small that they don't screw up the things on larger levels very much. So things like atoms bonding will usually happen, following rules, but sometimes, on an individual atomic level, I'm sure there are cases that will surprise you. People generally follow rules, too, but once in a while (more like every other minute) people will surprise you. The won't act or think the way tha sociology and psychology would predict. Once in a while.

So I think this whole thing is inconclusive. But fun.

Posted by: matty at February 12, 2005 1:45 PM

yeah man, i agree random stuff like outside events may influence your thinking all the time. but not being able to control other people doesn't mean what they do is random, it just means you don't know the reason they painted their house that color and you can't do anything to stop it (besides burn it, then they'll say it randomly burned down BUT YOU KNOW BETTER!). also, yeah, the quantum level averages out to predictable norms on the larger level while leaving a possibility for a freak thing to happen. but that doesn't help with free will anymore, does it? it just means you might accidentally do something instead of what you're doing, without choice involved in either.

all that is quite a bit different than if reason and the mind, which try to make a little sense of all these things, were random. it throws out god and everything you know or believe, because you have no more basis to believe anything. but you can't reach that point, it's self defeating. if you claim your mind is operated by random processes then your claim is already invalid because it's a random conclusion that has no more meaning than "red is bigger than blue".

sorry to be a pest, i'm interested though.

Posted by: at February 12, 2005 5:58 PM
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