August 3rd, 2005


Random Thoughts of the Moment

This statement, which made *total* sense in context, is extremely funny out of it: "In many ways, Unix is like [a] teapot covered in needles."

I am *really* sick of EDLs about math. Most subjects are fact-based, and thus I can learn something from EDLs on other subjects. But math is procedural, and you either know a procedure, or not. I, as it happens, apparently remember math better than I thought, because I find myself already knowing *everything* discussed in the EDLs (they are K-12, which means they go to one step below calculus and stop).

I can't wait to get my laptop. Having my entire mp3 library at work, instead of just 384 MB that I'm too lazy to change very often, would be quite a boon. I don't want to record any mp3s of questionable legality on my work computer, and I'm including OCRemix under questionable. Under the law, remixing is entirely legal -- themes are not copyrightable, only the exploration and exposition thereof -- but in today's climate, I don't want to risk it.

My taste in books is very eclectic. I have a package supposedly arriving tomorrow which will contain (1) On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (influential 19th-century work on biology), (2) Demian by Herman Hesse (literary classic and inspiration for "Revolutionary Girl Utena"), and (3) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowlings (latest in a popular series of children's books of which some of you may have heard). I'm also still reading up on the Burgess Shale AND making my way through The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

On a side note, my habit of reading 4-5 books simultaneously is kind of weird.

One another side note, Tristan, remind me to give you back Investigations. I've absorbed as much of it as I am able to at this stage of my education.

I'm just starting to realize that, now that I'm out of college, my *real* education can begin. Data! DATA!! *makes input-orgy robot noises*

And if you don't know what a robot in an input-orgy sounds like, I feel very sorry for you. It's something like a Dalek doing an impression of Homer Simpson, only instead of drooling over doughnuts, it's data. "MMM.... DATA..." in a sort of mechanical shriek.

Best response to "intelligent design" EVAR: All Praise Be to His Noodly Appendage!

[Revenge of the Livejournal Spellcheck: It won't accept "doughnuts"!?]
  • Current Music
    Kirby mix. I need to make a CD of this.

Harry Potter Spoilers (through Year 5) Follow

Voldemort is Harry's father.

No, I don't mean in a ridiculous Darth Vader sense -- at least, I hope not. What I mean is this:

The path of the Hero, according to Campbell, is the idealized, generalized life-path of every person. So, one of the things the Hero must do is leave the protection of his parents and strike out alone. There is a great deal of ambivalence about this moment -- in the idealized life, the parents are protectors and guardians, but they are also -- as all protectors must ultimately be -- jailers. Thus (since most heroes are male) the Mother comes to be both the Goddess-Protectress and the Goddess-Temptress, and the father comes to be both the Mentor and the Dark Lord (not a term Campbell uses, but the most common form of the Rival in the last century).

So, how is Voldemort Harry's father? Well, first of all, he created Harry. Think about it -- Harry's mark comes from Voldemort. Harry's Parselmouth -- and possibly his gift for magic in general -- are a result of Voldemort passing power to him. Most important is the revelation from the end of Year 5 -- Voldemort unwittingly *chose* Harry (over Neville) as his destined rival.

Second, Voldemort is the reason Harry doesn't have his mother -- Freud would argue that, on that basis alone, he is representative of Harry's father, who competes with the baby for the mother's time and attention. I don't think Freud is usually very useful, but I think, in this case, he might have a point.

Third, Harry cannot have a complete life as long as Voldemort exists. This is a major part of Campbell's theory -- the Hero must defeat his father in order to escape the prison and reach his reward, the divine/creative power. Think of teenage rebellion -- you must defy your parents, defeat them, in order to reach adulthood.

Harry has achieved Atonement with the Father, an important preliminary stage. He has come to understand that in a sense, he *is* and *is not* James Potter (mastering the Patronus charm; learning what a jerk his father was) and that he *is* and *is not* Voldemort (too many similarities to count; the end of year 2). He has thus absorbed two of his fathers into himself, reincorporating them to become someone new. Once he's done that with his third father, Dumbledore, he'll be fully prepared for the final confrontation. Then comes the *really* hard part -- the return. This is where, if she appears at all (monotheistic societies are not fond of using her), the Goddess-Temptress will appear, offering Harry the world at the cost of the creative power he would otherwise achieve.