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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

March 5th, 2007

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02:36 pm - On passing when you're worried you can't. . .
My Bro passed his CPA exam, and yours truly pulled a 97% in American Sign Language.

Most of my grade (indeed, 300 full points) I owe to tesinth. He sat around and recorded 26 takes, straight through, of me signing ten sentences for my first assessment.

Then he sat through 75 takes of me signing 10 sentences one at a time for the second one (stupid me, I thought it'd go faster if I did them like that).

I honestly didn't feel I could pass this class for a long time. After the second day, when our interpreters left us alone with our deaf teacher and a half-day of signing instruction under our belts, I felt certain I would fail this shindig.

I got a lot of amusingly "kick in the ass" sort of encouragement, some of which bordered on the line of "if you can't do this, you obviously suck at this Chaos Magic thing and don't deserve to call yourself one anymore."

Well, here's news: I didn't think about it like Chaos Magic at all. It was, unfortunately, not good advice for me, I found.

I thought about it like fencing.

You see, I realized on about the fourth day of class that there was a strong correlation between the methods I used to learn how to fence and the methods I could (potentially) use to learn how to sign. This wasn't about "faking it till I made it", or about "shifting my paradigm to make it possible." It came down to correlating action, reaction, and thought as one thing.

When I was fencing, I spent my practices learning motions and reactions: opponent attacks "five", you parry "five" and riposte to "four", or possibly disengage and riposte to "three". The thought behind the motions is what made them either work or not work, but the thought also left most of the work to muscle memory and general intuition. The trick became this: plan out your strategy, focus on that, and let your body fight the tactical stuff.

Rather than try and string sentences together, then, I worked hard at training my muscles to react to conceptual ideas rather than create a 1-to-1 ratio of "sign = word", which you can't do anyway.

Then, once I got the grammar down, I could pull sentences together pretty easily. (Of course, remembering sentences was more difficult, as tesinth can testify. I found myself constantly forgetting things and refocusing on the signs.)

What I learned was, when I didn't have to say something specific, but rather could focus on the general meaning of a phrase or sentence (or even paragraph), I could work out conversations very well. My mind doesn't worry about the tactical stuff: the individual signs, the facial expressions, the movement. Instead, my mind focuses on strategy, on what I want to say, and my body chooses how to say it, along the guidelines the mind sets forth.

This, then, creates a pretty good flow.

And that's mostly what I used to pass this class: my fencing skills. It was odd to revive old athletic skills and put them to hard use in a course, but I'm amazed at how well the theory worked out.

Of course, I realize that I now have things like "My name is Michael" ingrained in muscle memory, and I'll end up signing and fingerspelling phrases like that for the rest of my life (much as I'll be walking down the hallway and parry "five" for no good reason), but I think it was well worth the time and effort spent on it.

I just wish I could take ASL 2 next quarter. Getting the crap beat out of you in a class like this one and coming out doing so well can really boost your self-esteem. Then again, I'm very, very relieved it's all over.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: thankfulthankful
Current Music: "No Woman No Cry", -JB

(11 comments Leave a comment)


Date:March 6th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
Congratulations to both you and your brother!

Please tell me the if you cannot do this you suck as a chaos magician was not actually spoken/written by someone.

I have all but forgotten most of my ASL (my parents are fluent).
[User Picture]
Date:March 6th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Um, yep. Sure did. Then again, I get that a lot. It's like people hold me up to some standard, like my idea of what CM might be effective for is inconsequential. Which is really funny, since I, of course, am the final authority in my paradigms.

Chaos Magic is a way to change reality. It is not, necessarily, the best way. Reliance on CM doesn't make you a Chaote, it cripples you. Moderation and balance are not bad things: sometimes, even a Chaote will find that the easiest and most efficient method of achieving his goals is not through magic.

Besides, switching paradigms to make ASL easy would have made me far more disappointed with my grade. Who, really, wants the payoff when you didn't produce it with work?

Some things work best without CM. Some work best with a little thrown in for flavouring. And some things work best by relying heavily on CM.

It is important to learn the difference, to know it. CM complicates the life of the practitioner. It doesn't simplify it.

Of course, it seems that the most obvious way that it complicates my life is by causing folks to say, "Well, if you can't just change your paradigm and fix problem X, then you're obviously not the Chaote you say you are." And I get that more often than you'd think.
Date:March 6th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
Holy crap (which is, what I believe they are-- how judgmental I am!). I don't think it is really a standard they're holding you up to (insert snarky comment about it here). But we both know what I think about people and you: they yap too much when they'd be better off talking to the mirror.

Do people not understand physics and chaos? I hear an earful about it and chaos magic constantly-- I live with a black hole magician. ;)
[User Picture]
Date:March 6th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
I still want to see that black hole magic article for O←. I think it'd be great :) (speaking of, we really need to do that. . .)

I'm not sure that I understand physics and chaos, but I've a least read a bit about the topics. I actually find the misapplication of the sciences to magic to be marvelously interesting and amazingly effective (because quantum theory and magic don't actually match up at all. . . magicians just think that they do, special thanks to RAW, may his soul smoke weed in peace up in the bar in Key West).

As for what folk think about me? Eh, I've been dealing with it. And I'll keep dealing with it.

Hey, did you know that I only own seven mirrors? Three of them are in my car, two came with the house, one was bought for Tina, and one is 3x1.5 inches in size and used on the trail to put in contacts? I don't have a mirror in my room.

And yet I still think of myself as having the necessary narcissism for the priesthood. :)
Date:March 6th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
I want to see it too, but unfortunately time being different for black hole magicians than it is for us, well, it could already be done or we could be waiting a long time!

Blasphemer! All science can be explained with magic and vice-versa! Wait, let's throw in some string theory and we'll look all smart too. ;D

I know you'll deal with it, but it doesn't have to make me happy or incapable of grouching about it (someone has to, right?).

You actually own mirrors? I don't own any. There are the two that are built into my apartment but that is it. I suppose I could count the ones in my car, but she's good as sold and since I haven't driven in five years and she just sits there I kind of forget about her.

Your mention of narcissism is an omen. I will explain it in Greece though. And I will, unrelated, use it to my advantage when making you pose for my lens and asking for the "sexy pout".
[User Picture]
Date:March 6th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
*snickers* I have no idea how to do a sexy pout, but I promise to see what I can come up with in my spare time.

My mirrors are all attached to walls: two are on medicine cabinets, and one is nailed to a door. I pretty much own them by default.

I have, though, thought of using them in the attic to make the upstairs look larger.

And as an FYI, I appreciate your grouching and being unhappy with it. Most people don't, it seems, but ya know, I don't really care. Most people also don't understand the relationship you and I have, either, and that relationship is pretty darn central to our rapport.
Date:March 6th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
Shhhhh! Don't tell people we have a relationship! Then they may have to admit I'm a human being capable of having feelings and attachments to other human beings. It's far better for them if I'm Just Evil (TM).

Owning things by default is one of the best ways of owning something. Mirrors would help (cannot say 100%, I've only been in your basement, not the attic), as does light.

I will demand the pout with the look at me I'm meat stare!
[User Picture]
Date:March 6th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
It says something about me that I'm already trying to figure out what that stare might look like. . .
Date:March 6th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Like this:

[User Picture]
Date:March 6th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
It shall be done.
[User Picture]
Date:March 6th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
This strikes me as very interesting. I contacted a Pope @ the MIT Aikido Studio for the possibility of tie-ing some of these ideas down. Still haven't worked out the details of what I'm going to ask Re. MC 900ft Escher, KSC, 2nd Dan Black Belt, Dancing WuDo Master, :. :., etc, etc.

Trying to find more Discordians (because this means a multitide of Opinions) that integrate such inherent first circuit re-training methods into other aspects of their life.

Thanks for the ideas!

-Telarus, KSC

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