Arousing my sensations

with 2 comments

Battle of the texts(es)

The cold wind brush across my body. The weather here is cold, for the chill of the wind here grinds deeply into your spine. The moon, the feminine symbol of the sky, is shy tonight, probably proclaiming that it has nothing to do with such brutish weather.

I am sitting here in my room, alone, as always here, no out of pity but out of appreciation that I have so much time of my own here, to reflect and to see clearly why I am here for and hopefully, being able to find a meaning of my existence here.

It is Wednesday today, the last Monday marked the one month period that I am here. I have this theory that whenever you do a lot of things in a period of time, the time felt long, it felt long as your are passing it, but it felt short once it is over. The month felt short, but it is sure as hell felt long as I was going through it.

It was and still is, a period of discoveries for me here. Both discovering the wonders of this place call Sarawak and academic discoveries in the social sciences. I love such arousal to my senses and I crave for more. New places, new faces, new names, new frontiers and new challenges for me to take up and to immerse myself with.

It has been a very fulfilling month and it being a little, the first of many, milestones in my life. My exodus proved to be fruitful and words just can’t put together this smorgasbord of sensation overwhelming me. For I am sure that the reader of this blog, you, has well-informed of my travels around here in Sarawak, a place that was so alien to me a little bit more than a month ago, but one that I have came to accept as a part of me now.

The discoveries intellectually that I have not shared upon is as, if not more, exciting than my physical explorations.

I felt that I am finally being placed at a place where I belong. Having said that, I don’t mean it physically, in this place per se. I see it as a setting, the mise en scène, the placement of the people, the objects and the placements of both simultaneously as a pragmatic setting to what I am experiencing. The Gestalt effect of it; the summation of the parts as a whole, rather than the distinct affect of it’s individual parts. There are just simply too many miracles happening right in front of us, things that seemed ordinary that might have help us achieving what we achieve, without us realising.

My academia explorations is of course, propelled mainly by my readings on the subject matter. The discoveries of the names of the founding fathers, some familiar, others not, which range from St Thomas Aquinas, Emile Durkheim, Kurt Lewin, Karl Marx, Rene Descartes, Auguste Comte, Wilhelm Wundt, to name drop a few.

I went through the chronological ages of intelligentsia quest, dated as early as the Greek philosophers and fast forward to the Renaissance, flowed subsequently through both the Industrial and political revolutions in between the 19th and the 20th century. As I read and read, the sense of being home, finally, to the place where I belong crept in slowly but surely, entwined bit by bit into all my nerves and subsequently characterizing me as one of the members of the intellectuals club here.


The explorations continued.

Of course it will be plain mundane and boring having me staring at texts alone. I know there are many rare gems hidden here, many distinguished individuals who worked hard, crammed in their office producing vast amount of knowledge and possible breakthrough researches. I remembered one of my academia colleague telling me that there are many hidden academicians, whose cars sometimes visible in the parking lots late hours at night, who are producing wonders in their offices, at that very hour that we are passing by.

I made another appointment last week, to meet one other distinct character that the mentor from my previous meeting told me (refer to the posting here) that I should meet. I already have my mind gauging and guessed how the character of this guy would be. Let’s call him Dr. T.

True as I have guessed, Dr. T is yet another interesting character. Those character that I have such a weak knee for. The non-conformist, those who care less about norms and most of the time, going against the grain. These men (and women, not yet but soon) who has so much passion for what they do. (I have my share of women at my old institution- many, many of them who has already inspired me, first hand before any other men- I like to think of myself being shaped by this women first, before these lads here).

Now Dr. T is different even by the way he (choses as his) looks. He wear a very serious academia face, but I did not succumb to my assumption that he is unapproachable; I just think that many interesting people like himself takes a little effort to be close to- that you need to convince them that you are genuinely interested in knowledge and willing to work for it- that is the secret password.

Like a skillful snake-charmer, I start my conversation with him- Mind you, it wasn’t that easy, in fact this is the first time that I felt such tense amidst the air. I wear my friendly, eager young boy persona. I started with the common ground setting before slowly proceeding to his expertise.

Dr. T is a cognitive science guy. He teaches the Philosophy of Mind: things like dualism from forefathers such as René Descartes. It was obvious that we shared no common ground. While generally speaking, all knowledge and studies somehow relate to each other in some ways, the current development of both the field that we are in is just too distinct and there will be years, if not decades, that a narrower bridge, in an academia sense, might be established. I knew that he could not help me much.

So I shift to what he do and luckily that I always have this habit of doing homework before I meet any academician. Luckily I had Google-d him to see his past research and academic writings, and Wiki-ed on his field to see and know the who’s who in cognitive science and key experiments in their field.

The conversation later goes from qualia to Chinese Room, psychological functionalism and of course, heterophenomenolism. Thank God for the crash course reading that I have done. Thank you Wikipedia, you saved my life. Rest assured, if I hadn’t been doing what I have done prior to our appointment, there will bound to be many, many uncomfortable silence moments between two unrelated guys figuring out what to say.

It is almost like a detective story, where one name led to the other, testing the theory of the six degrees of separation. Dr. T gave me another name, of a retired Associate Professor who has retired but still very attached to the faculty, who he believe might do me good if I see her. This is my investigation, of very own academia investigation that my lead me to what I am searching for.

And the search will go on..

Written by yuenkokleong

September 21, 2007 at 4:50 am

Posted in Firing neurons

2 Responses

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  1. I knew you’d feel home there. Somehow I knew that, dearie sayangku ^_^ So happy for you…


    September 21, 2007 at 8:54 am

  2. bugger, had to wiki chinese room. which, actually, is rather interesting.

    as for “heterophenomenolism”, u know, this blog was the ONLY link that popped up after i googled the word! chun right!! yeah, that’s cos u MISSPELLED it. >=P

    anyway, i like how the journey is going for you. keep on exploring, and keep wow-ing everyone with ur amazing intellect =P


    September 21, 2007 at 5:09 pm

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