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January 17th, 2006


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11:45 am - The Light Brigade's orders, a crazy weekend, my biography, and Buffett as an Oracular source. . .
Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop Horse Artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate. -R. Airey
I admit to a fascination with military blunders. They are ever more interesting than the actual successes; while war can show humans at their best, it is far more likely to show them at their worst.

I spent my weekend working on this Nine Virtues book for ADF. I was thinking about how I work for ADF and what I do, and I have learned that I work best when I'm allowed to take my own initiative and run with it. One day, I expect to get burned doing this ("Why'd you do that? We don't need it and we don't want it, either"), but here's hoping today is not that day. *grins*

If today is that day, though. . . Well, I've got some other projects to work through, and it doesn't diminish the pride I feel in this particular book, which I have to say is pretty darn good, personally.

I'm looking at writing about a particular experience in my magical training, as well. I imagine some of you will have heard it before, but I want to make sure that I recount the experience correctly, so I'm still studying it and remembering it. It is, I admit, an interesting exercise.

And for those of you who have been waiting patiently, the Jimmy Buffett Oracle has been finished. It led to some interesting and deep realizations, in particular that the knowledge of the source text is vital to understanding the Oracle in question. I know I get more out of this Oracle than most people ever could, and by extension, I know that a poet would get more out of the Homeric Oracle than I ever possibly could. An intimate knowledge of the text is so important, I might argue, that the Oracles could be useless without that knowledge.

But then, I'm a stickler for source material :)

So kick back, come up with a question, and Ask Jimmy. It is, perhaps, better used like a horoscope (as the other Oracles are), but I originally set it to also answer (vaguely) yes/no questions, as it was going to be a Buffett~ish Magic 8 Ball. But, what with Buffett being so amazingly oracular, it became an Oracle, ya know?

(28 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:ariansdreams
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
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I got "come christmas winds, and blow all my worries away." It was quite appropriate, as it's nicely windy here. Although it's not christmas. But still, you did a good job! :)
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. It was fun to put together. :) Glad you got at least a semi-appropriate quote :)
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
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Aw. Well, in that case, I suspect it's not a reflection on the actual day, but rather a reflection on the fact that things might just be tolerably better on Monday, even if it is a Monday.
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From:fionnomurchu
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
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The Buffet Oracle would probably come up "Fruitcakes" for me lol. Do you ever watch "Battlefield Detectives" on the History Channel? They had a fascinating show on the infamous "Charge (massacre) of the Light Brigade".
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
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There are some lyrics from that, yes :)

As for the History Channel, I don't have cable, so I can't watch anything like that. But I was reading last night about it, and I have a super book called The Reason Why that talks a lot about it.
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From:hearthstone
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
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One day, I expect to get burned doing this ("Why'd you do that? We don't need it and we don't want it, either"), but here's hoping today is not that day. *grins*

Oh, I don't know, ADF is pretty open-ended in terms of not having strictly-defined ideas of what's good/needed/useful.
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
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I figure I'm likely to eventually step on someone's toes and they won't be so kind about it. It's a possibility, given the way I work, so I may as well expect it (but not let it stop me).

I have offered to do things and been met with an amazing amount of indifference (which amuses me more than anything), and occassionally dropped projects because, even if it needs to be done, no one was interested enough to encourage it. I figure someone might get interested in the future, and I can do it with some backing.

These books though. . . They're so out of the blue it's just kinda funny. And I made a CD last night that ADF might distibute to help with the Two Powers. And I'm working on a companion book to the GOH. Sometimes you start to wonder how the stuff'll get received, especially since I generally see a lackluster response among the leadership of ADF, though I get a good response from the people actually working the program, and they're the ones that matter, you know :) They're the ones I do it for.
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From:hearthstone
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Well, perhaps they're just happy that anyone is doing anything :).
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
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That is entirely possible :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 17th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
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especially since I generally see a lackluster response among the leadership of ADF

I suppose it depends upon which leaders. I doubt if many of my responses have been lackluster. I truly appreciate the stuff you do!
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From:qorinda
Date:January 17th, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Um, that was supposed to be from me. But now, for some reason, I can't delete it *sigh*

For some reason, lj unlogged me. Strange.
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 18th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
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No worries.

I usually get a response from the same three people. It's kinda amusing. But yeah, it's either that no one else reads it, or they figure they only ought to reply if they get a direct email :)

What I get is often good (and, thankfully, helpfully critique~ish). . . it's just funny to me that it always comes from the same three people.
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From:hearthstone
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
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An intimate knowledge of the text is so important, I might argue, that the Oracles could be useless without that knowledge.

You know, I would question this. If an oracle is based on bits taken from the whole, is knowledge of context really necessary? Shouldn't it be able to stand alone? (Actually I can see arguments on either side here. :))
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, I thought that this was the case. I really thought that you could just roll the dice, look up your oracle saying, and viola! You have an oracle that means something.

But then I made one, and I started looking at it, and I realized that I know so much about the songs and the meaning of the words that, while they do indeed make sense when they stand alone (well, as much sense as any oracle might), they make more sense when you have the context to back it up.

Consider that I know the tune that goes along with the words, I know who "Young Mr. Moon" is, and what "Once around Venus, twice around Mars" means. If I didn't know those things, I might have a totally different view of the lyric.

The intimacy I have with these lyrics makes things very different, I think.

Of course, I don't at all want to invalidate the idea that the oracular saying might be in the personal interpretation, too. . . But then we come down to an argument over whether the original mysticism of the text is retained if new intrepretations are placed onto them, which isn't an argument any two people might agree on :)
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From:hearthstone
Date:January 17th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
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But don't you think that personal interpretation plays a part in understanding and interpreting the original text as well? We all bring our own experiences to everything we take in, and even two rabid Buffett fans might interpret the oracle quite differently if their understanding of the lyrics is different. (Unless there's an "Idiot's Guide to the True Meaning of Buffett" out there? :)) There may be an additional richness based on familiarity and fondness, of course.

Not to get all relativistic on you or anything :).
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 18th, 2006 01:30 pm (UTC)
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Oh, no worries. Like I siad, I don't want to say that there's no meaning in the interpretation, because there obviously is (obviously, I'm interpreting one way, and you'll interpret another, no matter what the lyric is). But the readings can become readically different without that knowledge.

It's just that the experience of creating led me to the conclusion that there's so much more involved than just words on a page (or scribbled with electrons, in this case). Perhaps I'm most worried that, if we use the oracle without a good knowledge of the subject matter (indeed, without intimate connection to it), we're somehow "misusing" it, or "disrespecting it's tradition" or something similar (and abstract).

Of course, if we're going to go that far, we might as well say that by translating it out of the original Greek, you're probably losing something there.

There are good arguments on both sides, I think. But it just. . . really struck me as I was working on this project how it felt like things were going to be lost in interpretation, rather than how things would be gained. And I wondered if maybe the guy who put together the Homeric Oracle felt the same way about it. . . There's a sense of ownership that comes with creating something like this, I think, and I'm not sure that we think about that when we use these divination systems. It's an interesting perspective.
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From:rfunk
Date:January 18th, 2006 01:48 am (UTC)

Contextualizing and interpretation

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Reminds me of those I Ching books that have the original I Ching text, followed by an interpretation by somebody from a few centuries later. Sometimes followed by an interpretation of the interpretation, from a few more centuries later.
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 18th, 2006 01:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Contextualizing and interpretation

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*nods*

Each one brings new meaning to the oracle, but you'll see how each one also changes it a bit. Sometimes, you can end up with whole new vistas to view the world from, or you might end up with something that's darn near the opposite of what the original writer put down.

I'd argue that while the layers of interpretation don't remove validity from the system (the only test of validity, of course, is that it works), they might remove some of the authenticity and, possibly, some of the honesty of the work. But that's a tricky subject to get into :)

Sun Tzu's Art of War is another example of a similar text that usually comes with interpretations. You can definitely see how often, the commentators add good information, but sometimes that information is nothing like what Sun Tzu originally said. It might get too deep or maybe it just adds a veneer to it that makes it shiny but doesn't really add to it. Maybe the commentator tries to hard and misses the point.

An interesting line of thought, for sure: who owns the original text, and who has rights to interpret? Does the interpretation add or take away from the text?

It's the central problem of historians, interestingly enough.
From:shizukagozen
Date:January 17th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
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Honey, why don't we get drunk and screw

If only I drank.... or screwed men.
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
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Well, it is phrased in the form of a question. Perhaps it is asking you to re-evaluate something?

Of course, you'll probably come to the exact same conclusions :)
From:shizukagozen
Date:January 17th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
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I do strive to be predictable. :)
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From:edelweiss68
Date:January 17th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
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Ooo, nice work on the Buffett Oracle!! :D Very impressive!

I love military boo-boos too; the one I can talk for hours on is Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. When I was Civil War reenacting, that was a good one to "What if.." and "What an idiot!" around the campfire...
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 17th, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, glad you like it.

Ah, Pickett. Yeah, that was dumb :) But, honestly, not all that bad in the world of military blunders.

I admit that I always found the Civil War and WWII to be rather dull topics, myself, which sometimes makes me look like an idiot around my military historian peers (and especially amature historians who think they know it all about certain wars).
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From:edelweiss68
Date:January 17th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
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LOL!! Actually, I prefer Napoleonic and Medieval/Renaissance war blunders, myself. :)
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From:telarus
Date:January 17th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
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I freakin love this. Good job man. Gonna link to this in a few places if'n you don't mind.
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 18th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
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Feel free :) It's certainly fun to play with :)
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From:erienc
Date:January 17th, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
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I got:
"We smiled at the secret we shared, and I hid it like contraband"
This is fun, by the way
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From:chronarchy
Date:January 18th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
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*smiles*

I can't possibly imagine what that might reference.

*hides something*

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