An Accumulation of Random Thoughts #7

Last edited April 05, 2023: I didn’t make any changes. I just wanted to tell all of you that I am really busy with work and my butt hurts. Good night.

I always try to post once a month. But I want to devote more time on important writing projects and other things in life which means I might not post as frequent as I used to. To make up for it, this post is slightly longer than usual. It includes a section on clinical psychoanalysis, the symptoms of hysteria, art, and a story about Bobby’s lung collapse experience. 💀

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“The measure of a person’s disposition is this: how far is he from what he understands to what he does, how great is the distance between his understanding and his actions.”

—Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love


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What Pokémon would Bobby be?

One of my friends once said if I was a Pokémon, I would be Zapdos, the legendary lightning bird. You know what? I can see that LOL. Disrespect Bobby? Be prepared to get zapped!

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Cognitive functions around the house (hyperlinked and timestamped here)

Recently, I watched a YouTube video on what each MBTI cognitive function are like around the house and the one on Ni was hilariously accurate. I almost spat out my water on the part where she went “you’re not going to know what I’m working on until it’s too late” HAHA. It’s so true.  And the staring at wall thing is also very accurate. 😎

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Daylight Saving Time (DST)

Messes up me up so bad every year. It’s like getting jet lag out of no where. I told my friend about it the other day and he sent me a bunch of scholarly articles on daylight savings and how mortality rate goes up by 3% in the weeks after DST, especially in Fall where you lose sunlight. It’s a very interesting pattern that I am not even surprised (it fuels depression). DST always makes me lose sleep which weakens my immune system and gets me sick all the time. DST also happens around flu seasons as well which might be another explanation why it appears like mortality rate goes up around DST. ☠

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On Friendship

Most of my inner circle friends are from elementary and highschool. We are a loyal bunch. I think when it comes to friends, I am not someone who actively goes out looking for them (though I used to when I was 20, but often failed to find people who really understood me except for a few). It’s likely because sometimes, I notice people are only nice to you because they want something from you.

I am also not always the one who plans and invites people to do random things unless you are in my inner circle. This is why it is often the confident people who takes initiative to talk to me that befriends me. It is not that I don’t put in the work to befriend others, it’s the fact that I am often preoccupied with stuff in my mind which makes me forgetful and absent minded. So if others show interest, then I will too. In fact, I will often put as much effort into knowing someone as the other person will.

If you are someone I care about, then I will be the person who will listen when you have something to say. If you need help, I will help you out. I will go to places with you when you invite me (it also depends on where). I also won’t judge you. I’m a pretty loyal person once you befriend me. I’m not much of a gossip girl which means you can count on me to not talk behind your back (gossip is junk food for the mind).

It’s strange to say, but I am not someone who keeps friends. It’s usually people who decides to keep me where I keep them in return. Most people achieves this by taking the initiative via talking or messaging me randomly, or sending me random links to things they find funny, invites me to do things, or tells me stories (I will often do the same in return if they do this enough times). Basically, they are usually the people who constantly bothers me and genuinely opens up to me before I open up to them. Coming to think about it, I am basically a human cat who gets adopted by all sorts of different people.

I am friendly if you talk to me. I can also be a bit soft spoken. I am definitely not someone who would change myself to make others want to be my friend or like me. If someone wants to be my friend or something more, they will make an effort. If not, then so be it. I don’t force myself onto others or try to manipulate or control them into liking me. I also don’t compete with other people for individuals that I am interested in platonically or romantically. It’s not how I do things. If I like you romantically, I will eventually tell you and let you make the choice. I often try to be as straight forward and honest as I can be. It’s more about timing if anything.

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Greatest living photographer

I spoke about this to a friend the other week. It is a difficult one and it depends on the category. I think great photography is like a great piece of writing—it provokes culture, depth, and thought. I would say either Andreas Gursky, Juergen Teller, Annie Leibovitz, or Nan Goldin. Cindy Sherman is up there as well.

I never learned to appreciate Gursky’s works until I got older. His mesmerizing large format photographs of supermarkets, factories and buildings really shows you the repetitiveness of contemporary society. Actually, I think Gursky is likely one of the greatest photographers of our time. If you look at his work called “Amazon”, it really shows his critique on contemporary capitalism and the problems with mass production and fetish commodity. I think a lot of Gursky’s work showcases consumerism and how the production of consumer products resembles to the production of human beings in society. Apartments, institutions, social media platforms, and schools becomes factories that mass produces certain types of people. I think Gurksy’s works is a good example of bringing up the problems of globalization.

I also like Rhein II, which sold for something stupid like 4.3 million USD. One of the things that stands out to me is how geometric and plain the photograph is where the Rhine river flows horizontally almost like the flow of water is opposing the laws of nature. The way the photograph is positioned makes the river, green field and grey sky almost geometric like. For the most part, nature does not produce straight lines, especially the type of lines and shapes you see in Euclidean geometry (though the edge of a crystal is a straight line; the next closest thing is likely a ray of light, but it is affected by gravity; spider web is another one). I suppose in this case, it is a matter of perspective where human invention and perspectives (photography) intervenes nature which turns the natural into something abstract, cultural, and human. Very clever.

I wouldn’t always say that those who doesn’t understand contemporary art photography lack culture and intelligence (though I’m not ruling out its possibility LOL). They just haven’t been exposed enough to contemporary intellectual dialogues to understand them. I think most professional photographers who looks at the works by Nan Goldin would be like, “she needs to learn her camera settings and how to take a nice picture”, even when they don’t realize it is the intimacy, authenticity, and rawness of her works that makes it so great. Nan Goldin actually captured a lot of different sub-cultures back in 20th century where some of them became quite prominent, such as the LGBT community.

I should write about art again. Great photography that makes you ask difficult questions are hard to come by these days. Art is not your popular cliché of pictures with your sock stuck to it. Great art provokes and challenges human knowledge about the world. In fact, looking at art and trying to figure out what it is saying is one of the best ways to learn how to think critically!

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On grad school funding

Since someone asked. My opinion is that if you don’t get full funding for grad school, it might not be worth doing because it can get expensive. In Canada, universities will often offer at least partial funding for graduate studies. It really depends on your major and what you are studying along with how good you are; and the type of resources and funding available for that particular department. It is always preferred to have full funding that covers not just your tuition and books, but also your living expenses.

Often times, funding won’t come from a single source unless you land a big grant. For example, a chunk of my funding was from my supervisor’s SSHRC grant (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, a Canadian federal research funding agency). Another chunk came from my department, and another chunk came from the provincial government. I would like to thank the tax payers of Canada for funding my degree and contributing to sustaining Bobby’s junk food addiction for the duration. 😛

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What types of books does Bobby like to read?

I am mostly a non-fiction reader. My interest in certain books stems from my on going inquiries about various worldly topics. When it comes to authors, I often try to read those who left a profound influence in modern history. I like original, impactful authors whose ideas changed the world or influenced a lot of people. I don’t always like to read commentaries (people who talk about these influential figures), I like to directly read their work and make my own discoveries. Other times, I enjoy reading banned books or books that are written by marginalized writers (i.e. people of color), but they must also be influential that brings new critical perspectives to contemporary thought; and not just some random person who aren’t even all that good (sorry lol).

I often enjoy books that demands high cognitive abilities because I like solving intellectual challenges and puzzles. Sometimes, people likes to blame their incompetence on the writer. Yes, some authors are horrible writers who also happens to be a really cryptic (kind of like me lol), but it’s not much of an excuse if you want to understand them.

Bobby likes to learn from people who are significantly smarter and more influential than everyone else. It doesn’t matter what race or sexual orientation they are (these are the last things I care about; it’s not about the person, it’s about their ideas). But it also has to play a role in my interest too.

Learn from the best. Push your mind to the limits. Go big or go home!

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I am self taught

A lot of people think I gained my knowledge in deconstruction and psychoanalysis through school which is only partly true. Most of my experience in these disciplines came from personal interest and studies. I am mostly self-taught. It definitely takes a lot of will power and discipline. It is very different when compared to going to school, having assignments and a teacher who makes you do things.

For me, going to grad school was more of a proof to myself of my years of hard work. It also marked a significant turning point on my personal and intellectual maturity. If anything, getting my MA was more of a formality. It was easier than I thought. Getting in was the hard part because I didn’t have an academic research background for my undergraduate degree. I still remember when my supervisor read my sample essay and told me how not very many people at a masters level understands deconstruction the way I did. A great compliment for sure! He was an elusive man who often gave me the psychoanalyst vibes.

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Buying a new car

My current 2010 Toyota Venza that I drive is 13 years old and there are lots of things that I don’t want to fix (new tires, spark plugs, new wheel, and a few other things). All the maintenance adds up to $2k+ and its current 2nd hand value is around 9-13k. I am thinking of buying a newish used car because new cars are never worth it due to depreciation.

Overall, the Venza is a great car and I managed to keep it in pretty good condition, partly because I don’t drive it too much. The interior looks spanking new with leather heated seats, panoramic sunroof, upgraded stereo, automatic hatch back, and everything. People who sits in my car often tells me how new it feels. The only downside is that this car is not very fuel efficient; mostly because it is a V6.

If I get a new car, I want to get an AWD because I don’t want to buy winter tires. I also prefer a car with a sunroof because I like it for summer drives (I sometimes like to go for late night drives because it is peaceful). Currently, I am looking at Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW. It depends on what I end up with and if I am actually going to get a new car. If I do, I will likely put a big down payment and take a small loan to avoid paying too much interest. But I also don’t want to ding my savings too hard. Honestly, I can probably pay off the car early within a year or two if I end up getting one.

Japanese cars are reliable, economical and cheap to maintain. German cars are fancy, over-engineered (but well built), expensive to buy and maintain. Not to mention that my insurance will also go up. Some of them also needs premium gas. The German cars that I am looking at right now are at around the same price as the Japanese, I can’t say the same for maintenance though. Logic dictates that I should get a Japanese car. But I also want something that is a bit nicer because who doesn’t like to own nice things? My mom was like, “If you buy a Mercedes, you will get paranoid when you park because you don’t want other people to scratch it”. She is 100% correct LOL.

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Clinical Psychoanalysis

In my last post, I spoke of how psychoanalysis is not always about giving up on the desires and symptoms that the subject enjoys in their everyday life. The keyword we should note here is “not always”. It is situational in that, while a lot of people today would only seek psychoanalysis when their life is in crisis, some would seek for it during times where they might not always need it. The reason why I said this is due to the fact that in North America, psychoanalysis is often seen as a last resort for many people—especially when medications and other forms of therapy had failed (from a psychoanalytic perspective; medication had always in some ways, failed). Thus, most people who sees a psychoanalyst likely already have severe symptoms who are on medications.

Psychoanalysis attempts to help people find new or different ways to desire (it is about difference, just like love). It attempts to interrupt their symptoms by clearing the obstacles that obstructs their desire and/or substitute them for something new that is healthier and better. While some symptoms won’t pose much problems for some individuals, others will. And thus, the exchange of one desire over another is situational, but is often required for those with severe symptoms.

While most popular forms of therapy involves the assumption that the subject who seeks for help are willing to make changes in their lives (which they do, to be fair), psychoanalysis assumes that most people who goes to therapy actually (unconsciously) don’t want to change their lives. Instead, most people sees a therapist or analyst so they can help make them enjoy the things that they used to enjoy. In other words, people sees a therapist so they can repeat their old symptoms where they regress back towards their narcissisms and old symptomatic projections and transferences. This is somewhat reminiscent to people who goes to see a doctor because their life is in crisis since they are no longer satisfied by the things that they do in life. Then the doctor prescribes them some anti-depressants, or recommends therapy, tells them to go to the gym to produce more serotonin, so they can enjoy the things that they used to with zero changes and true understandings as to where their symptoms and desires come from.

Sometimes, studying psychoanalysis can make you start to wonder if medication is the solution and if people truly want to change. A lot of people gives up half way through analysis due to all the frustrations, irritations, projections, and resistances that they encounter during their sessions with the analyst, where they end up regressing back towards their old symptoms.

The psychoanalytic experience is not fun and games. It often involves patients who must, at some point, re-experience their most painful memories and sufferings from their childhood where they repeat all of their transferences, traumas, and symptoms that they project onto the people in their lives back onto the analyst. They must do so in order to potentially discover the truth behind them (the truth of their unconscious desires which drives their everyday behaviors, projections, and frustrations). Essentially, psychoanalysis makes you think about the things that your conscious mind avoids thinking about in your everyday life. People avoid them because it “triggers” them, causes trauma, gives them anxiety; and because their ego resists unconscious thoughts. As Freud might say, being entirely honest with yourself can be a really good exercise.

This is why I never use the word “client” in any of my psychoanalytic writings (though some Freudians uses this term). The term “client” involves some form of consumerist contract where the subject visits the therapist, pays them, and requests them to help find the satisfaction in the things that they used to enjoy, like how they go see a doctor who prescribes them meds. The “client” is not there with the intentions to produce new knowledge and discoveries about themselves on why they have X and Y symptoms, but are simply seeking for band-aid solutions that won’t solve their symptoms. They seek to repeat their old symptoms (I am generalizing here).

In short, the client does not want real changes on how their symptoms are shaped and formed in their unconscious mind. They don’t want to discover what unconsciously drives their everyday behaviors and transferences because it causes too much anxiety and frustrations. Psychoanalysis is not a consumer contract where the patient buys enjoyment like how they buy a pair of shoes. In fact, psychoanalysis often involves a lot of unconscious conflicts between the analyst and analysand via transference and countertransference. The analyst and analysand actually speaks two different languages (discourses) during the clinical session, and must remain so in order for psychoanalysis to take place.

P.S. I just gave you a really big hint on what one of my new writing project is about. 😮

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The Symptoms of Hysteria

I will give you a quick explanation.

Hysteria is most commonly diagnosed in women and sometimes in men, the latter who are often diagnosed as obsessive neurotics. Hysteria is a really popular area of study in psychoanalysis. It is also a common ground for debates among scholars and feminists. There are variations to hysteria depending on the school of psychoanalytic thought and how you approach it.

In modern psychology, hysteria is often translated as histrionic personality disorder. But since psychoanalytic diagnosis is more broad, it is safe to say that everyone consists of hysterical and obsessive traits which are considered as a form of neuroticism (because we are all neurotics; what people see as “normal” is actually a symptom in psychoanalysis). It comes down to which one predominates that particular person. While neuroticism is the everyday norm, some will have more severe symptoms than others.

The fundamental structure of a hysteric consists of the question: “Am I a man or a woman?”, or “What is a woman?” (a good way to think of this is contemporary identity and gender politics; though I’m not trying to throw shade). Moreover, we can think of the hysteric through the relationship between a child and their parents where the child may ask, “What does my parents want me to do?”, “Who do they want me to become?”, “Where do I fit in the family?”.

A hysteric’s desire is the Other’s desire until it is directed at them (keyword is “directed”). We can think of this as how some women may feel pressured when the man suddenly expresses their desires for them, where the woman may feel like the Other’s desire is pointed directly at them which leads them to reject the man, or to run away. The woman may unconsciously feel like if they submit to the Other’s desire (the man’s), they will lose their subjectivity or free-will. A hysteric does not want to be reduced to whatever it is that the Other desires for them, such as the man’s desires of who he wants her to be in his life (for example). We can think of modern society’s desires on what a “real woman” should be like and how a hysteric might reject how society defines a woman. In other words, a hysteric avoids being pinned down by the Other’s desire, where they may transgress such desire by rejecting it altogether (sometimes in unhealthy ways). Yet at the same time, it is only through the Other’s desire where they experience free-will—even if such will (desire) is never entirely their own.

As a result, this springs up a series of unique symptoms. A hysteric is someone who represses painful memories, experiences, and unconscious desires that are manifested through their physical bodies that appears to have no organic cause. They may for example, lose weight without any physical cause; or display certain physical symptoms without actually being sick. The most common symptom is found through the hysteric’s feelings and emotions. They may have rapidly shifting emotions where they feel like X then Y moments later. These repressive symptoms may also appear as regressions, self-sexualization, or self-objectification. Hysterics tend to be energetic who are attracted to attention, drama, social games, power, and risks. On certain occasions, hysterics can be unintentionally seductive, where they will be shocked when the other party interprets their behaviors as sexual invitation, where they may outright deny and does not enjoy erotically (this is due to effects of the Other).

Finally, hysterics sometimes appear as controlling through performativity, manipulation, and social games, even when they are trying to seek for safety and acceptance. This latter idea is often categorized by their unconscious fear of being thrown into a world that they have little control over, as they encounter people who they perceive to have more power than them, namely, the big Other (i.e. the hysteric wants to have control over the Other; such as to have power over society, other people, or their partner in a relationship; obsessives also displays these symptoms in a different way). In truth, this type of behavioral symptom actually stems from their coping methods that originates from the relationship with their parents in childhood, particularly the father (by “father”, I don’t always mean the hysteric’s actual father, though it can be; what I am also implying here is the “Law”; such as social laws and the laws of society). These types of games so to not submit to the Other and to overcome it can sometimes appear as insecurities to most people where the hysteric needs a lot of validation given by others and have control over them (insecurity is derived from the experience of “shame”).

Generally speaking, when accompanied by a quality analyst, the hysteric will have an easier time to enter clinical psychoanalysis than an obsessive neurotic. This is due to how the hysteric’s discourse associates much closer to the unconscious mind than the obsessive who represses it. In fact, hysteria can sometimes resemble like an analyst’s discourse, the latter whose sole job is to function as the enigma of desire (object a). This is one of the reasons why Lacan had once expressed his admiration for hysterics.

I will talk about the symptoms of an obsessive neurotic next time. If I remember.

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Some time ago, I asked my friend if he thinks I am too blunt and honest. He was like, “Fuck yes, but I need someone who tells me I smell like shit when I actually do and not lie to me for the sake of being polite”. I guess that is why we are friends LOL.

There were instances where I would tell people the truth because I don’t have patience to play social games. Sometimes, the more honest I am, the more they won’t believe me. They would think I am manipulating them like most people would, even when I’m not. And if I tell them the truth and they still don’t believe me? Well, that’s not on me. It’s on them.

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Clarity and Focus

I am someone who likes to maintain a clarity of mind. I think most people can tell that I am a really introspective person who constantly questions everything, including my own thoughts. I also meditate, but not in a religious sense. My meditation is just me staring at a wall for 2 hours (ok maybe not a wall, but you get the point). I also have laser sharp focus when I write—especially when I write late at night. And when I am in “the zone”, I get irritated if someone interrupts me. I may also ignore you by accident without meaning to be rude. Sometimes, I will be talking to someone and ignore someone else by accident due to my laser beam focus. Not because I don’t want to talk to the other person.

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Bobby’s Lung Collapse Experience

When I was 18, my lung randomly started to give me this sharp stabbing pain every time I inhaled. At first, I thought it was a small deal. so I just took a hot shower and laid in my bed for a bit. Pretty soon, I became immobile and couldn’t move due to all the stabbing pain that I had every time I breathed. My parents didn’t know what was going on and drove me to the emergency. During triage, the nurse measured around 60% oxygen in my body and didn’t know what was wrong, but they knew it was serious because that was not a normal oxygen level. I budged everyone in the emergency and was admitted within 5 minutes of waiting. I took an x-ray and the doctors told me that I lost around half of my left lung capacity due to a condition called spontaneous hemopneumothorax, where blood and air got trapped outside my lung which pressured it and caused breathing problems. They told me that if I didn’t go to the emergency, the pressure would continue to build up where my lung would pressure and shift my heart and kill me.

So they put me to sleep and stuck a small tube in my lung between my rib cage to let the air and blood out. Few hours later in the ER, the doctor said that the tube is not working and they have to put me asleep again and take it back out to get another x-ray + CT scan. This time, they got a respirologist to see what went wrong where they ended up putting me to sleep again to stick an even bigger chest tube in my lung (I was in the emergency room for 6 hours). When I woke up, I saw a pool of blood on the floor and a big ass tube around the size of a water hose stuck between my rib cage and into my left lung (I’d say it was around half inch in diameter—not sure how big the tube was inside my body though). The tube was connected to a container with a handle on it that was designed to drain out all the fluid, air and blood that pressured my lung. I ended up getting admitted into the hospital for a week. Since I was 18, they managed to give me a private room in the children section. I remember they also used one of the biggest needle I had ever seen in my life and extracted so much blood from me in the emergency. The nurse saw my reaction and was like “Don’t worry, you won’t run out of blood” LOL. I also had a very fast heart rate because my body couldn’t get enough oxygen to circulate my body.

It didn’t hurt that much while the tube was in my chest as long as I remained immobile in bed. But the nurse and doctor told me to get up and walk around to get some exercise and blood moving in my body. So I went on short walks while carrying a container of my own lung juice (it was mostly puss and blood). But every time I got up and walked, I could feel the tube wiggle between my rib bones where it would cause so much pain that the nurse had to give me morphine through my IV. The nurse was like “Some people got high on morphine and told me they saw pink elephants”. I was like “Huh? Really?” which made me curious as to what would happen to me. But I just passed out LOL  I ended up getting morphine quite a few times during that week due to the pain the tube caused. I also remember my room was located across from the refrigerator where I often got up and stole a lot of juice boxes from at night. I had to get blood tests once or twice a day along with a blood thinner shot. Due to how many needles that I had to get, they ran out of spots to poke me. The nurse told me it was either my stomach or my butt. I was like, “Don’t touch my butt you pervert”. So I got shots on my stomach which felt really weird. Painful even.

When I got better where they had to remove the tube, they undid the stitches around the tube and pulled it out of my chest. It was scary, but they told me it’s not supposed to hurt, and they were right. After they removed the tube, I saw a hole on the side of my left lung right under my armpit area where I could feel cold air going into my rib cage. After that, they just closed the hole with the stitches that was already there where I was released from the hospital.

They told me I can’t go scuba diving for the rest of my life due to the water pressure (I can’t swim worth shit anyway; throw me in the water and I will die LOL). I also can’t lift anything over 15 pounds with my left arm for a month, which sucked because I am left handed. They told me I have to go back to the hospital in a month for a check up and meet with the doctor. I had a lot of pain recovering where I couldn’t lay in my bed to sleep due to the pain of my wound. So I slept in a chair every night for two weeks. It took around 10 months to a year for me to fully recover from the pain. I would freak out whenever my left lung gave me a small stabbing pain (I still get scared when I get stabbing pains). When I met with the doctor, she showed me an x-ray of what happened and told me that there is a 50% chance it would happen again. She said if I smoked, the chance of it happening again is around 70% (I don’t smoke). I now have a scar right under my left armpit where they put the tube into my lung.

Ever since this incident, I refused to put anything in my lungs other than air. It has been 10+ years and I never got it again. Strange enough, I used to have quite a few smoker friends who I hung out with as I inhaled second hand smoke (they were mindful to where they blew the smoke). I remember I knew a Korean friend who got pneumothorax (this happens to smokers and vapers quite a bit). He told me he got traumatized of having a tube stuck in his chest and will never smoking again LOL.

I mean, it’s actually not that funny because my uncle was a heavy smoker who died from cancer a few years ago. My dad also used to smoke, but quit after my mom had my sister. One of my friend who I used to talk to quit smoking because I told her it makes her look like a grandma faster lmfao. It’s true.

The end.