Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Philosophy Class

So this post is only tangential to Philosophy, it's mostly about the classes I've been taking the last two semesters.  The previous class I took concerned subjectivity and objectivity, and was a crash course in various schools of philosophical thought.  The current one is on ethics.  Ever since I found friesian.com/, I've been fairly interested in philosophy.  Despite having read hours upon hours about different philosophical schools, I'd never really settled on one.  There's something about being in a physical classroom, being held up to close scrutiny and held accountable for ones answers that really gives you a need to pin it down.  The other thing I hadn't realized before, is how much theology requires a good background in philosophy.  I grew up in a Christian home, and learned all the facts, but not the theory.  I learned the whats, but not the hows and whys.  Learning what I've learned has encouraged me to seek God in whole new ways.

There's something about being in a classroom, and opening up a dialogue.  The instructor not caring so much what you think, but that you have good reasons for why you think them.  Both instructors I've had are almost polar opposites in their viewpoints as compared to me, but were completely ok with what I believe because I could justify it according to my belief system.

to be continued/updated... duty calls

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Authority, Submission and Rebellion

The excellent Dalrock in his latest post discusses wives in rebellion.

Christian men and women are taught that husbands are responsible for making their wives want to follow the biblical command to submit.
If he doesn’t do what the wife thinks he should do (follow her leadership), he accuses the husband of not loving his wife sufficiently.
A few weeks back at Bible study we discussed authority and what it entails.  From Luke 7:8 (Emphasis mine):
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
He's comparing himself directly to Jesus, as He is under the authority of God, so is the Centurion to his commander.  Our society doesn't give us the framework to understand this properly.  Urban Dictionary refers to "the Authorities" as an "Ambiguous group with unknown special powers or knowledge that someone refers to for the purpose of intimidation.", read: the police.  How apt.  Nobody in our culture has any real authority, there's merely various groups of coercers that we have to occasionally deal with, but to be avoided as much as possible.  I didn't even experience real authority in the military.  Real authority pushes decision-making down to the lowest empowered entity possible.  No decision that a grunt can make, should be made by his lead petty officer (LPO); no decision that can be made by an LPO should be made by his Chief; no decision that the Chief can make should be made by the Department Master Chief, and on and on.  Naturally, this wasn't my observation; for fear of anyone making the wrong choice, decision after decision was always pushed up and up the Chain of Command (CoC).  Nobody was empowered, nobody had authority. 

I didn't truly get how a functional authoritarial relationship was supposed to work until I reached my current position.  My current job role is essentially to make decisions on the night shift so that the engineers that are ultimately responsible can sleep.  This is all premised on teh notion that I am capable and willing to act in accordance with their wishes in their absence.  I act in good faith that it is the correct course of action.  Otherwise I am no longer acting in accordance with their wishes, I am in active rebellion.

In a functional society, everyone is under authority.  Everyone in the military's CoC answers to the person above them, a Captain answers to an Admiral, he answers to the Secretary of the Navy, and him to the Commander in Chief, and the CiC to the People (in theory, at least).  In a monarchy, the guy at the top, the King answers to God.  In a dysfunctional society (e.g. ours), everyone is in rebellion to authority, the CiC falls apart, citizens don't feel as part of a nation, and the President/King answers only to himself or his puppetmasters, not the People/God.

In a functional family, the children submit to the parents, the wife submits to the husband, and the husband to God.  In a dysfunctional family, the husband appeases the wife; the wife domineers the children, until they are in their teens and they tell both parents to "eff off".  When my kids are outside playing, out of earshot and line of sight, I expect them to behave the same as if I was right there watching.  Assuming God isn't watching 24/7, we have the Bible and our conscience to let us know what His will is; and He expects us to behave accordingly.  In my absence, I expect my wife to use her best judgement to not act contrary to my will.  That is what submission to authority is.

And of course, men are commanded to love our wives.  We do, often too much and not in the right way.  Now obviously a love for a wife is different than love for a child, but in this context they are similar enough for this comparison to hold up.  In Proverbs 13:24, we have the oft misquoted verse:
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
and 3:12:
because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Love is a subjective feeling, but an objective action; in the moment the difference between love and hate of the object may seem indistinguishable.  A butt-hurt wife with her tail between her legs isn't necessarily in the position to be arbiter.  By no means is this meant to excuse any sort of abuse or encourage use of an actual rod.  The husband is still under authority to God, and fully responsible for his actions.  The moment he stops loving her, he is in rebellion to God as well.  Just as as soon as she no longer submits to her husband, she is in rebellion to both him and to God.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My wife (from here on out known as Miss Piggy) and I were talking the other day.  I can't remember exactly what she said, so I'll make up the words, but here's about how the conversation started:
Miss Piggy: Women can't simultaneously expect more privileges without also having more responsibilities.
Me: That's funny you think that.
MP: How's that funny?
M: Ok, not funny, surprising.

Her Grandfather was a good man, who had lots of kids with a beast of a woman, who left him many, many years ago.  That woman never really wanted kids, but she took them anyways, and remarried with a despicable man.  Somewhere along the way she turned into a raging alcoholic.  My wife's mother was one of those children, who had an excellent positive male example early in life, and a negative male and female example on how to raise children later in life.  She grew up, became a major slut, espoused many feminist ideals, eventually settled down with a timid (and divorced and broken) man, and had a few kids.  Somewhere along the way she became a raging alcoholic, brutally beating some of her kids along the way.  Many of her own siblings became alcoholics.  One of her daughters grew up, became an alcholic, then cleaned up, then became a lesbian.  One of her sons grew up timid and anti-social, married an absolute beast of a woman.  And the other one grew up and met me.
Notice any patterns? 

So I married the decent one.  Good decision on my part? Undecided, but probably yes.  She decided long ago that she wasn't going to play the victim card.  But growing up with nothing but negative examples, getting beaten on a regular basis, doesn't lend well to forging healthy relationships in your adult life.  She is an abberration, in that she is self-aware enough to have recognized the un-healthy relationships of her past.  Grew up in a liberal bastion on the left-coast but somehow has very Conservative ideals.  Grew up in a mostly agnostic household, but held herself to Christian ideals from a young age, and became a Christian in her teens. 

In my teens I had very mature (IMO) opinions on dating.  One of them was to never date someone I wouldn't marry.  The other was to always look at the condition of your girl's mom, because that's how your girl will look in 25 years.  My first serious girlfriend's mom was a shrew, she swore up and down she'd never turn out like her.  We reconnected years later, turns out she was wrong.  Glad I dodged that bullet.

MP is not without her faults.  We've certainly had rough spots, and not all of those are entirely her fault.  Especially considering that I've failed my fair share of fitness tests*, which I consider to be my fault (failure at being Alpha).  But I like to think that she's becoming a better person all the time.  And as I improve my Game, I become a better husband, and she becomes a better wife.

MP doesn't browse the internet too often.  I know she has read some of the manosphere sites if I haven't closed them out, but she doesn't go seeking them.  This is why I found what she said at the top of the page so surprising.  She came from an extended family of failures, but somehow she managed to be aware enough of all the crap happening all around her, pulled herself out of it, and turned out to be a decent person.

*I actually prefer the term "$#!t test", but I'm trying to keep this family friendly.

Traffic, etc

I've been posting slightly more than usual on others' blogs, and I've noticed my site count has gotten a few hits.  No comments, but hits will eventually lead to comments.  I am well aware that I currently have no real content, but I don't want to drive away potential future readers, so I'm going to have to find something to post about.  There have been a few topics that I thought were great, but then I actually started writing and ended up scrapping it all.

A few weeks back, I stumbled upon this post.

Writing forces you to organize your thoughts
If you think you really understand something, if you think you really get it, try writing a 1000 word blog post explaining it to an audience. I get about ten ideas per day for blog posts that feel fully-formed in my head, just waiting to be spat out in a 90-wpm blur. But I don’t update 10x per day.
Writing Freedom Twenty-Five has forced me to confront the reality that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Writing about something exposes gaps in your knowledge. More importantly, it forces you to address those gaps before you write something that makes you look like an idiot.
Writing forces you to live consciously
Writing a blog forces you to try interesting things, read new books, and think about the world in new ways. Otherwise, what the hell are you going to write about?
And you have to do more than just write to reap this benefit – you have to actually submit your work to forums of smart, critical readers, who will tear you a new one if you try to pass some bullshit onto them. If no one but your mom reads your blog, you’ll wind up like one among the jillions of 20-something-bloggers, yammering on about pets and recipes, with zero readers to tell you what a self-absorbed twit you are.

Writing keeps you accountable to yourself

When I set a goal and accomplish it, I can click “New Post” and brag about it. When I set a goal and fail, (temporarily) I feel ashamed and obligated to pick myself up and get back to it.
Whatever content your blog usually features, if you have a personal goal that you’re working on, put it out there for your audience. It would be much easier for me to give up on optimizing my life and settle into comfortable high-mediocrity, if doing so didn’t entail losing face in the eyes of the world.
The first point is one of the main reasons I started this blog.  His words perfectly summarize my thought process, nothing more to add.

The second one: to be honest, I am not the most interesting person in the world.  In the past I have blamed me not doing many new experiences on being tied down by my family.  I realize this is somewhat of a cop-out.  While it is somewhat true, there has to be a balance of doing what I want, whenever I want, and doing nothing exciting, ever.  I did go out and do a lot of new things when I was single, including going on submarine rides halfway around the world, and taking road trips halfway across the US.  That's probably a large part of what attracted my wife to me. 

On a related note, for the first time in a while, I took my wife out last week.  Game has steadily been improving my marriage, but it's always interesting to see what she responds to.  This was one of the few times that I really took the lead, and it showed.  I informed my wife when she got home from work that we were going out.  I prepared everything in advance, and we went out and had a blast.  Then came home and continued to have a blast.  This one action, more than anything else I've done in the last year, has improved our relationship.  I'll post more in the future on how we got into such a slump.

On the third point: I've got several things going on towards a unified goal, but I'm not sure I can break it down by listing each activity as a goal in and of itself. 

My three main goals, the first leading up to the second, and the second to the third:  Number 1 is to become debt free.  A few years back, my wife opened up a bunch of credit cards behind my back.  Needless to say, I was pissed.  We've been steadily paying them off, but we've also added 2 more kids since then and upgraded houses three times since then.  Our income has been increasing, but our monthly expenses seem to go up right along with them.  We've made a conscious effort to trim back, but it's much easier said than done.

My second goal, is to own the property I live on.  I'm sick of paying rent each month and it seemingly going into a black hole, never to be seen again.  Obviously there's lots of expenses that come along with owning, and I intend to make an informed decision and not buy a place that's going to end up underwater. 

My third goal is to own a farm.  Hopefully goal 2 and 3 occur at the same time.  My wife was raised on a farm, I was raised in the suburbs.  I've spent my fair share of time on my in-laws farm, and I know it's what I want.  We want (my wife and I) to move out of the city, and live on a more or less self-sustaining farm where we can provide our daily needs all on our own.  I intend to start small, and to continue working at my real job.  Go as far off the grid as we can.  Raise our own beef, chickens, eggs, milk, pump our own water (electric pump), create our own electricity (the one good use for solar/wind).

Anyone is free to tell me any of this is a bad idea.  Comments welcome.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I've got several posts in the works, but nothing has kept my interest long enough to complete.  A recent blog about someone hiring a Navy Nuke started me thinking about my time in (and not in a good way).  Up until a few years ago, I was also in the Navy as an Electrician on a nuclear submarine.  I did my minimum required 6 years, then got out.  IMO, anyone who does more than 8 is a fool. 

I did a search and found this: Navy Increases Bonuses for Nuke Sailors"
the re-enlistment bonus for a four-year contract has increased from $59,600 to $63,000, he said.
That's good right?  No, not really.  The problem (for the Navy) is that it does a really good job of teaching young men a skillset, work ethic, and providing plenty of experience using that skillset (read: overworked).  They're also payed fairly decently, a 20 yo E-4 straight out of high-school with 2 years of Navy schooling, with sea/sub/proficiency pays and food and housing pay on top of his normal salary will be making at least $40k/yr.  Probably better.  After a few more years and one or two promotions the pay gets a lot better, and the grunt work isn't quite so bad.  All else being equal, good pay for an ok job. 

What's my point in all this?   It's not the job of being a nuke that's bad, it's being a nuke in a boat full of coners that's bad.  A coner is any submariner who's not a nuke, they work in the cone, nukes work in the back.  While they get along for the most part, no matter where you go, there's always an undercurrent, a subtle tension.  Selection criteria for nukes is much more stringent, they must test high enough not only on the ASVAB, but also must pass an advanced placement test.  After that they must go through almost 2 years of rigorous schooling, with high dropout rates.  Also many of the Coners are nuke dropouts.  Coners all have exceptionally cushy jobs (except for A-Gangers, they work hard, I've got a lot of respect for them) while receiving about the same pay.  All this tends to foster an atmosphere where nukes believe they are better/smarter than coners, and coners hold nukes in contempt for it.  We'd never never talk about it openly to their face, but behind closed doors if one of them had done something recently to offend us, all bets were off. 

"But Hermit, that doesn't sound so bad", you say?  If that were the extent of it, it would still be manageable.  In fact, I got along with most of them quite well, I hung out with a few of them as much as some of my other nuke friends.  Petty differences in things like intelligence or class or what have you don't bother me much, as long as I get along with them well.  It's not really the coners, it's the coner chiefs.  Well, all chiefs really, but mainly the coner ones.  You see, there are about 16 Chief Petty Officers on the boat, and only 4 of them are nukes.  Between day to day stuff, to when it comes time for advancement, the coner chiefs are always trying to screw over the nukes.  For every slight a coner ever recieved from a nuke, real or imagined, they've no power to do anything as a mere petty officer.  But once they've made chief, they now hold the power.  They might not be your direct supervisor, but there's still plenty of ways for them to make your life miserable.

"Hermit, you sound bitter", you say?  No, it might sound like that, but I'm just stating how things are.  I did my time, got my experience, and GTFO.  I did my best to excel and have fun, and collected some good paychecks along the way.  Towards the end of my term, I briefly entertained the idea of reenlisting.  Back then it was about $48K for 4 more years, and then $65k for a second reenlistment.  That's some serious money, and it was easy to turn down.  It would have only been worth it if I could have gone directly to shore duty.  My detailer (the guy who doles out jobs) wouldn't get me a new job unless I spent another year at sea.  On a Trident, that would have meant only one more run, 3 months out, then a cushy job putting in a few easy hours a day for the next 3 years.  Still not worth it.

Apparently I'm not the only one either.  Else why would the bonuses have gone up by so much since then (inflation can only account for so much).  This isn't just a nuke phenomenom, although it's felt hardest there, and I have more first hand experience with it there.  It's Navy wide at least, that more and more people are opting out.  Albeit for varying reasons, but mostly due to unnecessarily politically charged working environment.  

*Posting as-is, I may update later*

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I've been told by people in the past that I write well.  Generally, when one hears this sort of thing they either go one of two ways:
1) Accept the praise, continue writing and assume that because you are an excellent writer (you've got proof!), and believe that every word you put down on paper is pure gold.  There's no shortage of writers like this, a quick google search is all you need to find plety of sub-par bloggers filled with page after page of poor writing with zero-substance.
2) Minimize the praise, continue writing and continue making an honest effort to make your work better.  That is my intention at least in part with this blog.  I've got lots of thoughts, some original, some completely asinine, some are just internal commentaries on other's work.  Most won't see the light of day.  But hopefully for the ones that do, I am hoping it is interesting to at least a few people, and that my quality will increase as time goes on.

Oftentimes I have several lines of thought on one subject, all of equal importance, but all seem to need to come first.  I will often spend a great amount of time attempting to put it in an order that makes sense to the reader and ensuring all the necessary points are made, while simultaneously ensuring that it isn't too drawn out and I exclude anything unnecessary.  I often fail and end up deleting the whole thing.  It happens a lot.

Another thing I often do is to pose hypotheticals, that I have thought on, but haven't fully grokked the full consequences of completing the theoretical line of action.  Seeing it on paper helps show me the weak spots in my argument, and further discussion will fill in any blind spots I may have.  There are many things in life I am quite sure of, and a few things I am still trying to work out.  I may play devil's advocate in my work and it may not be obvious unless it is in direct opposition to previously held sentiments.  In short: nothing can prevent me from contradicting myself in this blog.  I will attempt to abstain from doing so within individual posts.  Feel free to call me on it, just be polite.

Eating and Exercise

I just got done doing something I haven't done in a long time.  I ran 1.5 miles [Edit: 1.73 miles on the Garmin, I just learned].  I've always hated running.  I'm not all that athletic to begin with.  I'm tall and thin, but my legs are kind of short for my height.  Not freakishly short, but short enough that my height doesn't really give me an advantage for speed.  My lung capacity isn't all that great either, despite relatively good health, I have a hard time breathing while running, or swimming, or any other high intensity activity.  So last night when a coworker asked me if I wanted to go running with him today I surprised myself when I agreed to go. 

Why did I agree?  Because I've been itching to go for the last year, I just didn't realize it.  A year and a half ago I started eating Paleo, and it seems every day I have increased vitality, and my body wants to do more and more.  I've slowly built up more and more free weights.  I put in a make-shift pull up bar in the garage.  When I take my son to school and pick him up, we run most of the way.  We chase each other in the park.  The list goes on.  I've more or less unconsciously increased my activity by orders of magnitude since I've started eating better.  I've never said "I'm going to go out and run", it just happens when I'm already out.  Naturally, it's a positive feedback cycle.  Better diet => more vitality => I have more energy to go out and do more => I get the exercise I need => more vitality.