De Tocqueville continues in his brilliant prescience:

"War does not always give democratic societies over to military government, but it must invariabley and immeasurably increase the powers of civil government; it must almost automatically concentrate the direction of all men and the control of all things in the hands of the goverment. If that does not lead to despotism by sudden violence, it leads men gently in that direction by their habits.

All those who seek to destroy the freedom of the democratic nations must know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish this. This is the very first axiom of their science."


last night i became interested in the word "other". apparently, in Old English, Old Saxon, Old Frisian and Old High German, it meant both "second" and "other". The division of this word into two words, one for 'second' and one for 'other', didn't happen until the 10th century. i am interested in the fact that these two things used to be equivalent, such that an opposition and a sequence of similar items could be conveyed by one word. apologies for the lack of clarity; here is an example:

let me translate "self/other" into "self/not-self" -- this is an opposition

but then, let me translate "self/other" as "self/second", or "first/second", which indicates two items in the same sequence of possibly similar items. we know that "first" and "second" differ only in their sequence; we assume that "first" is more important than "second", but there could be other reasons for this sequencing.

thus, two things which can be opposite can also be similar/same. i like paradoxes like this.

should you be curious, my interest in this 'other' business came about last night when i called jasper, and his housemate said, "can you call back? i am talking to my other." by this i was intended to understand, 'significant other', or, 'person i'm hanging out with', which is our delightfully modern, horribly vague way of conveying physical and mental attachment to a particular person who may or may not be around in the morning. but that's another story.

so, in many contexts, "other" doesn't mean, "the only other", i.e., a binary opposition; it could be just one of many items that are not "self" or "this" or whatever we are comparing things with. but, when someone says, "my other", they clearly mean, "my one other person who i am in some kind of love type relationship with, etc." the field of possibilities has shrunk; we are left with two orbiting entities, to the exclusion of all others. (ha). i think it's interesting that all of this meaning is conveyed just by adding "my" to "other", especially since in many cases, "my" does not limit the number of items being talked about ("my shoe", etc.).

ok i feel like the pretension police are going to cart me away any second now. enough of that, so.


apologies for my neglectment of this location. neglectitude? yes, right. well, the computer lab is closing shortly, so this will be brief. things of note:

--few things are more endearing on a severe blizzard day than watching hasidic kids pour out of their houses in droves with tiny little snow shovels to make the streets safe for religiously mandated shoes.

--i seriously, For Real recommend that anyone who has any interest in the political 'landscape' of our country at present read De Tocqueville. he is so ridiculously insightful it kills me. yes the book is 700 pages long, but it's worth it.

--Jet Blue is my new best friend. $99 each way, direct, flying from new york to oakland. live it, love it.

--i find it humerous how humans need excuses to talk to each other, however arbitrary and flimsy. i.e., it's not cool to walk up to someone and say, you look interesting, let's be friends. but you can say, hey, where did you get that intriguing item?/what are you listening to?/can i borrow your pterodactyl? and, despite the fact that i find these excuses to be laughable, i too still make use of them. how it is that humans continue to function in ways that they themselves admit to be illogical? stupid humans.

--in case any of you were wondering, most people who take the lsats do not have dread locks. not at the brooklyn marriot, anyway. out of about 300 stressed out but mostly amiable 20 somethings, i was definitely the only dreaddy kid in the house. and by 'house' i mean, 'ballroom with vomitous carpet and no clocks'. who ever heard of a test taking place with no clocks??? so i kept my cell phone on during the test, an express violation of the rules, wagering my need to monitor the time against the likely hood that the extremely inept proctors would notice my infraction. as luck would have it, tree 1, proctors 0. and yes, jasper, i did just say Luck.

--speaking of which, my friend jasper thinks that there is no such thing as luck, because that would imply that the universe is a chaotic place, rather than an ordered one. i would argue that the difference is semantic. as a point of interest, luck come from the german word Glueck, meaning 'fortune' or 'happiness'. so, 'good luck' originally meant, 'good fortune'. as in, i hope that things turn out well for you. this does't imply that this process will be a random one, just that the person wishing the luck doesn't happen to be in the know as to how things will turn out. i also happen to think that there are various forces pulling things in various ways, and that things are not pre determined, meaning that perhaps one more human willing things to go in a certain way will have an effect. i would argue that wishing someone 'good luck' is a way of willing them to have good fortune, and thus to affect that process. like a little prayer (thanks to: madonna and sappho).

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