Friday, May 19, 2006
"P" is for Provocative
This how it works: Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.
Kat gave me the letter "P". Here are my words in no particular order:
Plants I love plants! I love to grow things. Plants are endlessly fascinating because they are so different from us, yet we coexist and we rely on them for survival, among other things. I've been studying herbal folklore for a while. ;-) Plants have been here longer than we have, and they would continue to live even if we all disappeared. Sometimes it seems as if plants and humans live in parallel universes or dimensions or something, well, maybe parallel isn't quite right because our existences intersect. My ten year old and I were talking about other universes/dimensions and thought that an hour-glass model was an interesting one. But anyway, although we differ in so many ways from plants we also share certain basic characteristics. I could go on but I have 9 more words to do!
Psyche The mind is probably the one thing I ponder most. I studied psychology in college. I think that despite its efforts to act like a hard science it really is more a system of philosophy. This doesn't necessarily make it less valid or less important or influential. Just different. Anyway, Psyche was loved by Cupid. You really can't separate love from the mind or soul, which I tend to think are the same thing. When I left school there was a 'new' trend of thought that implied that the psyche is purely biological, or the product of chemical and electrical processes inside our brains. I was somehow drawn to that model, but it also left many questions that I couldn't answer (partly because I ended my studies). I wondered, if it was purely biological then could it be reduced to a formula or pattern of some sort? Well, no one has succeeded in finding such a formula that I know of. In some ways it seems the study of the mind is analogous to theoretical physics, but I think it's a mistake to link the two too closely as some are prone to do.
Ponder I'm ALWAYS thinking. From an online dictionary: synonyms ponder, meditate, muse, ruminate mean to consider or examine attentively or deliberately. PONDER implies a careful weighing of a problem or, often, prolonged inconclusive thinking about a matter [pondered the course of action]. MEDITATE implies a definite focusing of one's thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply [meditated on the meaning of life]. MUSE suggests a more or less focused daydreaming as in remembrance [mused upon childhood joys]. RUMINATE implies going over the same matter in one's thoughts again and again but suggests little of either purposive thinking or rapt absorption [ruminated on past disappointments]. I do all of those different varieties of thinking, but I'm afraid that 'prolonged inconclusive thinking' might be the most common one. Not that this is always a bad thing! For many subjects require prolonged inconclusive thinking, just like in the paragraph above about the psyche. (and there are other activities that also benefit from some prolonging, ;-), though incompletion is unsatisfactory)
Philosophy Now, I can't tell you all the different types of philosophical thought even though I did take at least one course about it. But I've always been a philosopher of a sort, even as a child. That just goes along with all that pondering!
Phenomena There are a couple of meanings to this word that apply here. One is "objects or aspects known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition." Now all this thinking I do doesn't just spring from my mind uninspired by observations of the world around me. They all, well, almost all probably, are directly related to some physical/sensory observation. Even my 'imaginary' thoughts are usually based on some physical reality that I've noticed or sensed. The other meaning of "phenomena" that is important here is "rare or significant facts or events; exceptional, unusual, or abnormal persons, things, or occurrences." When you notice so much in your environment it's natural to note the unusual events and try to figure out how they fit into the grand scheme.
Pattern When thinking about the world and trying to construct meaning out of all of these observations certain patterns become apparent. In some areas of examination, like math and physics and chemistry, these patterns can be written out in formulae. We humans find some comfort in patterns and predictability (because they are a natural part of the environment in which we've evolved). This search for patterns seems to be the motivation for so many areas of study and pondering. I like thinking about archetypal symbols that represent various intrinsic patterns of our world. Ancient people noticed these patterns and expressed them in whatever limited ways they had, like petroglyphs, etc. Whether or not we'll ever be able to discern the ultimate patterns that seem to govern our existence is the great unknown. And we will always seek that.
Particular There are many meanings for this word. One is "singular," and another is "distinctive." But the ones I'm most fond of are "concerned over or attentive to details: METICULOUS [a very particular gardener]" and "hard to please: EXACTING." I recall my grandmother describing certain people as "particular." When I was a child I confused that with "peculiar" which is rather similar. I've always been a 'detail' person, a 'nit-picker', a 'stickler' (and sometimes a tickler), but let me tell you in case you didn't know, people just hate that! Why is it people always pick on those of us who are particular about things? We don't mean for it to make others uncomfortable, and certainly we don't usually mean for it to make others feel inferior if they aren't as meticulous. Nowadays some of us have even gotten a fancy label called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The Obsessive-Compulsive part isn't so offensive, but man, the "Disorder" part is way off the mark! We want order, not disorder! ;-) Anyway, I can and do coexist peacefully (usually) with people who are not so 'particular' because I'm aware that not everyone is like me. And thank God for that, right? LOL
Perception I'm a primarily visual person. By that I mean I think in images. I love that photography reflects the world the camera sees, and with some skill a photographer can work with the camera's abilities to more accurately capture his or her own vision. And now with digital photo manipulation it is even easier to bring those mental pictures out of the mind and into a form that others can see/perceive. I've always been interested in perceptive thresholds among various species of creatures, as well as differences between individual people. For instance, butterflies can see ultraviolet light. Wouldn't it be cool to see what they see? And I think that individual differences in people's perceptive thresholds are probably not adequately studied and understood. These differences might could help explain some particular phenomena.
Parent Since I'm a mother being a parent is the first and foremost identity I have. I'm many other things and fill many other roles, but I will always be a parent. Is my purpose in this existence to procreate? Yes and no. Certainly, a person can live a fulfilling, important, and influential life without having children. Growing my babies in my body and now watching them grow, develop, and learn has been the most amazing experience of my life, but I know that if I hadn't had children I would still exist and function and influence the world.
Penis Last but not least! I was going to make this first on the list because honestly, it was the first "p" word I thought, but I decided that it might distract so much that the other words wouldn't be noticed. I've made no secret that I'm a bit phallicly obsessed. I've heard some women talk about the penis and how ugly they think it is. No way! Not me! I think it's a beautiful biological sculpture. Well, except for this one I saw once, but I'll spare the details. But make no mistake. Being phallicly obsessed does not mean that I have penis envy! I don't want to be a man! I like being a woman. I don't want a penis attached to me. I just want, er, okay let's not 'go down' *snickers* that path. (Damn, sometimes I crack myself up!)
Okay, sorry that I sort of lost it here at the end. I hope this isn't an unsatisfactory conclusion! ;-) But I've been working on this phucking post all phreakin' day because I keep getting interrupted. And perhaps this is an example of when prolonging something isn't beneficial.
There are lots of other great "p" words, but if you want to participate in this word game/exercise leave a comment and I'll give you a different letter!