On primary function & feeling-good.

If I think of any activity I carry on, there is always a (single) primary function why I conduct this activity. Even if I carry on an activity without being fully aware of that primary function – there is, nevertheless, objectively speaking, always a single most fundamental reason for carrying it out. The complexity of the modern world, self-love and egotism often hides this primary function.

The same activity might be perceived to fulfill various, sometimes contradicting primary functions for different people and in different circumstances. E.g. driving a car may satisfy a desire to get from A to B for one person, may satisfy desire to own and display a material wealth or may satisfy a (seemingly aimless) pastime for a teenage boy driving round and round in a city streets (going nowhere). Some activities are easy to decipher – e.g. eating, supplies nutrients for our body and fuels our metabolism. Drinking water supplies necessary fluids. Clothing and the house around us provides us with shelter and barrier from elements. These are the primary functions. Often, a given activity is (ab)used and acquires a new “primary function” – e.g. people eat not necesserily to satisfy their body needs for nutrients, but their psychological needs for comfort or feeling-good. Many activities therefore seemingly lose their primary function, and are (ab)used to serve auxiliary purpose as if it was a primary one. Eg. clothing, car and house are often used to display the social status, or we cook food and eat for reasons different than being hungry, etc.  There is a wide range of pastimes that are conducted for a sole purpose of “feeling good” (while being stripped off from their primary function). One cannot however lose sight of the primary function of a given activity – even if we do not see it, it is still there. People who eat for psychological reasons often become obese as a side-effect. Eating food, even though designed to make us feel better, is not designed with a primary function to make us feel better. It is a useful side-effect to the primary function of providing us with nutrients. And so on. One of the resolutions for 2010 is to stay true to the primary function of activities I do.

“Every moment think steadily as a Roman and a man to do what thou hast in hand with perfect and simple dignity, and feeling of affection, and freedom, and justice; and to give thyself relief from all other thoughts. And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last, laying aside all carelessness and passionate aversion from the commands of reason, and all hypocrisy, and self-love, and discontent with the portion which has been given to thee. Thou seest how few the things are, the which if a man lays hold of, he is able to live a life which flows in quiet, and is like the existence of the gods; for the gods on their part will require nothing more from him who observes these things.”

Book 2, The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius  (see online)

On running: meditation in motion

One of the resolutions for 2010 for me is to try stay true to what I really know, and what I only imagine I know. Know in a sense of deep, real, true, intimate and personal experience. There is a lot of things I have not experienced, but have opinion on. I shouldn’t.

People who do not run often say they that do not like running hence they do not run. The thing is that I do not like running neither. I think there is nothing like-able in the process of running itself. I do not run because I like running – I run because I like what running does to me: to my body, and to my mind. I do not think that running is something pleasurable that people like. Running a marathon was the hardest thing I ever did – it is extremely physically and emotionally draining. I hated myself for putting my body and mind through it, and every step after I hit the wall I wanted to quit, and I struggle to convince myself to carry on. Every step. There is NOTHING one can like about running a marathon. However, the glorious feel and elevation one feels when one DOES NOT RUN, is worth the effort of running. This is what running does, and this is what I love about running: the non-running time.  I know that through running I appreciate all my non-running time much more than when I do not run. I can experience something that non-runners cannot possibly imagine. And this is the same with everything else: only motorcyclist really know what motobiking is about, only divers really know what diving is about, only pilots really know what gliding is about, etc. The funny thing is, that I always have opinions on things I have never experienced. It is my mind interpolating all my past experiences and making up a story that sounds plausible to me – a best possible “projection” of certain activity or situation that I play in my head without truly, intimately knowing or experiencing before. Funny I am afraid to admit: “I do not know”.

I do run. Just run. To clear my head. To relax. To lose myself.

I will run in March the Motatapu off-road marathon: … “numerous river crossings, hills to climb, challenges to overcome all taking in spectacular views of the Southern high country” sounds an awesome event and a nice challenge.

Otago Campus, people, twitter and lost photos

It’s a true [feel good] story. Last Sunday was the last day of Mariana and Ruman’s stay in Dunedin. The weather was pretty gloomy, so we went for a splash at Moana Pool in the morning. Mariana was not swimming, so she could take lots of great photos in the pool of us playing with the kids. After that, we went for a scenic drive through North Road, Dr.Point and Port Chalmers to show some of the best sceneries and viewpoints around North of Dunedin. Just on the first stop, at Baldwin street, Mariana swapped the filled up memory card with a new one. We carried out the trip, having pretty much an awesome day.
At the last stop, on Otago Campus, where Rumen opted for some compulsory Clock Tower shots to be taken by his brand new Nikon D700, Mariana’s mood deteriorated quickly as she realised she has lost her memory stick with all the photos from the pool (the one swapped in the first stop)! She frantically looked for it on the campus. To no avail. It was really painful to see her despair. I jumped on the motorbike, and retraced our route, stopping in few places and trying to find the lost photos. Nothing.

In the meantime, @classyadele found the card on campus, and she tweeted this:

classyadele@19:32: http://twitpic.com/wm2fg – Found a memory stick on Otago uni grounds. Trying to reach owner – anybody recognize these faces?

kittenypentland@19:32: RT @classyadele: http://twitpic.com/wm2fg – Found a memory stick on Otago uni grounds. Trying to reach owner – anybody recognize these faces? Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/kittenypentland/statuses/7358931076

kittenypentland@19:32: @classyadele It is: @Praeteritio

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/kittenypentland/statuses/7359023760

kittenypentland@19:36: @classyadele It is: @Praeteritio

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/kittenypentland/statuses/7359023760

classyadele@19:46: @kittenypentland Thanks 🙂 He looked pretty familiar, from Infoscience, I think?

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/classyadele/statuses/7359211777

classyadele@19:46: @Praeteritio I found your memory stick – please DM me 🙂 Cheers

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/classyadele/statuses/7359220722

classyadele@19:48: @kittenypentland Good thing about DUD (or Otago Uni) being small. I actually found it right on the Clocktower grounds…

Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/classyadele/statuses/7359264592

So, later, on Monday evening Ula got a phonecall from Adele, a person she never met, never knew, telling her that the forever lost photos has been found. How amazing is that?! Thanks!

A good reason to use twitter, to live in Dunedin, and to be around great folks! Thanks to all involved. You guys rock!