Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Multiple User Shutdown in Ubuntu

Coming to terms with shutting down the computer

Most of the time, my wife is the last person on the computer at the end of the day. Often, as we get ready for bed, I remind her to shut the computer down. If I am also logged on to the computer, it means she'll have to click a couple extra buttons to shut it down. She doesn't like that. So, I made some changes that make this unnecessary, and created this tutorial in case anyone else needs to do it too.

I have to admit that for the average Ubuntu user, following the advice of this tutorial I made is a bad idea. It might lead to unsaved work being lost.

One of the things I love about Linux, however, is that you can make changes to yours software, even if it is kind of dumb.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Archetype

Coming to terms with Archetypes:

The idea of an archetype began, as most of our ideas did in Western Philosophy, with Plato. Of course, his concept of an archetype varied pretty substantially from the concept that has developed from his work. To sum up Plato's ideas, the archetypes were absolute forms and all of experienced reality was a shadow of this truth. For instance, we could see something and know it was a chair despite being different in color and material than any other chair we had seen because our souls recognized the archetype of the chair.

Still, it was Carl Jung who picked up Plato's idea and developed the archetype as we understand it today, innate prototypes for concepts that appear as universals across cultures as interpretive templates for understanding reality and literature. Jung claimed that there were a large number of archetypes some those that are commonly sited are from his book Man and his Symbols (with Marvel Superheroes as examples):

  1. The self, the part of us that regulates (Dr. X, Mr. Fantastic, Captain America).
  2. The Shadow, the wild and untamed part of ourselves (Hulk, Deadpool, Phoenix).
  3. The Anima, the archetype of the feminine (Storm, The Invisible Girl, sometimes Shadowcat)
  4. The Animus, the archetype of the masculine (Wolverine, The Thing).
  5. The persona, the mask, the hypocrite, the part we show to the world (Spider Man, Johnny Storm, Iron Man).
This was never meant to be a comprehensive list and Jung as well as Jung's disciples, especially Joseph Campbell added to it. These others included: the child, the hero, the savior, the great mother, the wise old person, the trickster, the devil, the scarecrow, the teacher and rebirth. the list could go on indefinitely. People have found an understanding of these archetypes very useful in understanding them as part of themselves, or as reoccurring concepts of literature.

It has also become popular for many people to use these as an instrument for interpreting Old Testament scripture, using new testament scriptures like Hebrews 8:5 as a basis, and seeing New Testament examples, especially those dealing with Jesus as "true types" rather than archetypes. Of course, the writer of human writer of Hebrews could not have been aware of Jung's theories, but if we accept the concept of Divine Inspiration, we can accept that God was.

What has gotten really interesting to me has been the archetypes that Jung developed in his book Psychological Types. He really developed just a couple types there: the rational judge and the irrational perceiver. Each of these could be divided into three. The rational judge could either be a thinker or a feeler. The irrational perceiver could either be sensitive or intuitive. Some of you are probably already seeing something familiar developing here, The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to which Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Meyers added the archetypes of "the introvert" and "the extrovert."

I had taken MBTI tests before and never really worried about them until I was married. So, I fall into an archetype sort of, who cares? It wasn't until I was married to someone who lives in the world in a very different way than I do that I was concerned. Suddenly, I was required to explain my thoughts and actions, and I lacked the words to do it.

This blog is about "coming to terms" and for me the MBTI has really helped me come to terms. I learned more about my type and more about my wife's type and have been able to really improve our relationship through it. Learning about myself this way has also had some really fascinating side effects. I have been able to find out what my type should do to improve our work habits, something that has helped me at my job. I have become more aware of my personality weaknesses and have learned to put myself in situations where they don't matter or where they can be worked around. Finally, I have found groups on the internet that discuss my type, and we can all help us understand it. Here is a post I made in one such group based on the comment one group member made, recommending that we exclude those not of our type:
  • I joined the open group and then asked to join this one because it helps me think about myself in a more systematic way. Even those who are not INTP seem to be trying to come to terms with the archetype, which is what I am trying to do. I am trying to come to terms (defined: find language) for explaining myself, especially to my ENFJ wife. I really do think it has helped and should probably thank the active posters in this group for that, even those that are not INTP.

    It is true, that some people who post the most here are not INTP. I am far more likely to respond than post (I), but generally willing to give my thoughts on the subject. If we didn't have people here ENGAGING our archetype, we'd probably have a pretty empty board.

    I also get annoyed by people who seem more "J" than "P," especially those who take a particularly anti-religious bent, actively stereotyping and categorizing using categories that they don't seem to see bleed too much and are too anomaly pocked to be useful. Still, we get so much "J" from the religious point of view, that it is also interesting to hear the "J" arguments from secular perspectives.

    Finally, I am not sure what criteria we'd use if we wanted to exclude people. Even the best indicators misapply, and I am not sure that mathematical tests are the best for applying the concept of the archetype. I think there is a reason that Jung is considered fringe in the Social Sciences, but widely accepted in the Humanities. It is because a literary reading of oneself seems to indicate the validity of the existence of archetypes. Granted, in three out of the four types my scores are so strong that the mathematical tests always agree, but I do occasionally get "F". Where statistical significance fails, the best scenario is to read about the archetypes and see where best fit seems to be. It doesn't really make sense to exclude people based on this.

Studying archetypes is fun for looking at the Bible and literature, but it has recently also made a difference in my life. It has helped me to understand why I act the way I do, and either change it or explain it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

7 Epiphanies

Coming to terms with those enlightening moments

You know those moments where things just click and you suddenly realize
something life changing. I've been thinking about those times in my
life lately, and there are lots. Still, I think I can break it down
into seven really big epiphanies.

  1. 1984: I can choose to beleive
    what I want.

    I wasn't just raised in a Christian home, my Dad was a pastor. We had a
    great youth minister who did puppet shows. Still, I wasn't entirely
    convinced about the whole God thing. I had an active imagination, and
    the whole thing struck me as one of my little fantasies; what if you
    had an invisible friend who could do anything? It was fun to play, but
    was it real? I remember my church had a prayer meeting and everyone was
    real into it and I was just hanging out, as usual, trying to be good so
    I didn't get spanked. I looked at this one guy's eyes when he openned
    them at one point and they were different, glossy, I guess. I started
    looking at everyone's eyes and they were all doing the same thing. I
    asked my Dad on the way home what was up with everyone's eyes and I
    don't really think he understood what I was asking. I started watching
    eyes. I noticed this same thing happenning sometimes when people were
    taking communion or having a good prayer meeting. Finally, I made a
    connection. This is a real tangible thing that happens in the presense
    of God. Imaginary things don't make real changes.

    Still, I thought there might be more to it than that. I realized that I
    still didn't have
    to beleive in God, even with this "evidence." I found it pretty easy to
    move back and forth between believing and not. So, I realized then that
    a person can choose to believe things. While the choice to believe in
    God is a pretty big thing, realizing that beleifs in and of themselves
    were a choice was pretty big in and of itself. Since then, I have been
    able to "try on" beliefs about all kinds of theoretical or
    controversial things. Sometimes that's worked. Sometimes it hasn't.
    God, on the other hand, has shown me results again and
    again. I admit that miracles still wig me out, but I know that God is

  2. 1987: I am in control of what my
    mind does.

    When my parents moved to a place that was not in a town, they thought
    they were doing something good for me. They might have been, but I
    didn't see it at the time. Previously, we'd lived in a town with about
    2500 people and I had things I liked to do. I loved getting change
    together and going to the drug store to get a comic book or the
    convenience store to get a soft drink. I was an avid window-shopper and
    loved walking downtown and looking at stuff. It was a small enough town
    that I could go about unattended and it was safe. Moving to the farm
    was, to me, boring. I would often read fantasy novels to deal or just
    walk around and wish I could do something. One day, I was in one of my
    fantasies and I realized it had been fun. I realized that I never
    needed to be bored. I hurried in and told my mom that I never needed to
    be bored because if nothing interesting was happenning, I could always
    still think about interesting things. She thought it was so funny. She
    told my dad about it later and he laughed. She told my grandmother
    about it and they laughed together. I know they thought it was funny,
    but to me, it is still one of the defining moments in my life. You can
    choose to be bored. You can choose to be scared. You can choose to be
    angry. You can choose what your mind does because if you don't like
    what it's doing, you can just think about something else.

  3. 1991: I don't have to tell
    people everything.
    My cousin and I were into music and decided to go together on one of those
    CD of the month clubs. We'd divide up the CD's and the cost. It was a
    pretty good deal, but I wasn't sure what my parents would think. Would
    they be against spending the money, especially on secular music? That's
    when my cousin pointed out that I really didn't have to tell them.
    Honestly, this had never crossed my mind. Not only could I just not
    tell my parents things, there were all kinds of things I didn't need to
    tell. If I thought someone would disagree with my point of view on
    something, but I didn't want to fight, I just didn't have to tell them
    I dissagreed. Before this, I really kept myself apart from people
    because I was afraid they wouldn't like me if, say, I told them I
    didn't have a nintendo or something when they were discussing games.
    Now, I realized I could just not mention it. I wasn't lying or even
    letting someone believe a lie. I was just not talking about it. My
    parents wouldn't be actively believing I wasn't in a music club. They
    just wouldn't be thinking about it. In the end, it was my cousin who
    got in trouble for joining the club. My parents found out, but I don't
    think they cared.

  4. 1995: I can learn to like things.
    I really don't count most of my college epiphanies here. One should
    experience epiphanies in college. I had millions of minor epiphanies
    during that time, but a couple of big ones. One of these epiphanies
    came as a result of my Music Appreciation class. I always liked music.
    I sort of liked pop (of the early 90's), I liked "alternative" music
    and I liked quite a bit of rap. I didn't like classical. That changed
    in my classs. Not only did I learn to understand other genres, I
    learned to love them. As I found out more about differences in the eras
    of music and differences in the styles of the composers, I fell in love
    with classical music. This taught me that it was possible to learn to
    like things I didn't like. Sometimes, I still let myself dislike
    things, but if something seems to have stood the test of time and seems
    to be loved by the best and brightest, I find out why. Then, I learn to
    like it too.

  5. 1997: There is absolute truth.
    Realizing that I could choose to beleive things or not, and realizing
    that I could control what my mind does left me a bit of a relativist. I
    mean, I beleived what I did, and thought about what I thought about and
    if you wanted to beleive other things, go for it! One of the things I
    loved to do, however, was argue. Not in a mean way, just finding
    someone with an opinion and trying on the other side. We'd hash it out
    and have a good time. It was exactly one of these that pompted my
    fourth epiphany. A very good friend of mine said something that took a
    relativist position. So, I jumped on the other side. The fact that a
    lack of absolute truth is so obviously self contradictory not only
    convinced the other party in the argument, but it convinced me too. I
    can choose to beleive anything, but sometimes my choice is true,
    sometimes it isn't.

  6. 2005: I can learn anything
    anyone else can learn.

    I've never been all talented in math.This was a problem for me throughout grade school and high-school. When I got to college, some very patient teachers finally got the ideas into me. Continued patience in graduate school helped me even more. The fact that I could learn something I didn't think I could learn should have brought about this epiphany sooner. Still, I felt like I was dependent on these really caring people, and on my own I couldn't get it. I finished my dissertation and decided to reward myself by doing something I'd always wanted to do. I built my own computer. I had upgraded my computers several times, and thought I knew the ends and outs. When a box of parts came in a big brown box, and I began looking through them, I realized I was in over my head. I got online and started reading about different parts and procedures and before long, it all started to make sense. Not only did I build my own computer, I really taught myself how. Since then, I've taught myself all kinds of practical skills. academic skills and just fun things to learn. I now realize that I can learn anything anyone else can learn. It may be slower in an area where I am not talented, but that's all.

  7. 2009: I can do anything if I
    have to.

    In 2009 I lost what I thought was a secure, tenure
    track job at a small midwestern liberal arts university. I began
    immediately applying for new positions, but to no avail. Eventually, I
    had to pay my bills, so I found jobs. They were mostly horrible jobs,
    shovelling rotten beans, driving railroaders, cleaning up after old
    folks in rest homes. I hated them, but I did them. I learned something
    really important then. There is no job to hard, to gross or too
    demeaning that I will not do it if I have to. That also means that I
    could make myself do those things at other times. It didn't make me
    happy, but I did it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why it's not all over for America.

I was probably as shaken about the credit downgrade as anyone. It hits our national pride, our sense of self and our view of the world. That at least one of the three major indices sees the American economy as worse than that of France or England, makes us feel a little bad. Still, I wouldn't say that America is down for the count. We have a few things going for us.
  1. We don't have to be #1 to be pretty amazing. Maybe a hit to our national pride isn't such a bad thing. Honestly, do you have any fewer tangible assets since the downgrade? We don't have to be the biggest fish in the pond to be a fish too big for the other ones to eat. Maybe recognizing that there are other fish just as big will keep us from being jerks.
  2. We are a nation of immigrants. I think that this part of our national character is something that S&P forgot. This means a number of things. First of all, if the economy is bad in one area, we are willing to move. We have always been willing to move and have a system of laws that make it relatively easy. It is true that people became rather embedded for a few decades after World War II, but dying in the place you are born is not the American way and never has been. Our economy will be strong because where the economy is strong, people will go. This also means that we will continue to import the best and brightest from around the world and include them as full members of our society. This is not true of the other great economies.
  3. We are bound by a dream that makes us work hard. Americans are not a homogeneous group. We have differences in race, ethnicity and religion. We disagree over some really basic issues. Still, we all want something and it is that idea which is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. We are all out to get life, liberty and of happiness, and we will keep pushing for it. We want to live our lives outside the bounds of another's control. For many that means owning one's own home and business. For others, it just means being able to get a vacation in. In either case, we don't judge the other because we recognize that they have the right. We know that we don't have the right to happiness, but we definitely and defiantly have the right to pursue it. We will always work toward this end, and that is what will raise our economy out of any depression. This is not true of all the other great economies.
  4. We are a bunch of hackers. Come to any poor neighborhood in America, and you'll see cars on blocks. This is the result of trying to make one working car from a bunch of broken ones. When alcohol was outlawed in the US, people built stills. When sales of gun magazines over a certain size were outlawed for sale in the 1990's people made their own. Our national foods, the hamburger and hot-dog, are made out of the parts of the animal you'd otherwise not eat. The DMCA has just taught us how to break encryption quietly, and accept the downgraded product. Sure, we probably like quality as much as the Swiss do, but when we can't get access to it, we make something work rather than do without. We will always make it work. Even our own laws or our own economic problems cannot stop us. This is not true of all the great economies.
  5. We have many diverse natural resources. We actually have debates as to whether or not to import our oil, or just use our oil here. There is coal, iron and copper all over the place. We even have a lot of gold. Our farms feed the world and our forests replenish quickly. Our lakes are huge and our rivers, full of fish and hydroelectric energy. We have vast sunny planes for solar power and huge windy areas for windmills. Yes, we have to be careful with all this, but we haven't really touched our potential. I'd venture to say that none of the great economies are as well situated.
So, we might be okay. I am not saying that America will last forever, but I think we'll get through this.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Public Speaking Lecture Series

I may not have blogged for a couple weeks, but I have been very active in the digital world. I put together a lecture series about public speaking. I put together my Rhetorical Quest Public Speaking Lecture Series mostly for my own online public speaking class, but was careful about licensing to make sure it could benefit everyone. The production values I ended up with were not what I envisioned when I envisioned the course. Perhaps one day I can re-work the series using high-quality cameras. I also think it would be more fun with an audience. Still, it is out there and I really would love for you to take a look.