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Meaning of 3 interests, 3 icons

queenlyzard passed to me a meme in which she picked three of my interests and icons and asked me to explain them.

Icons first:
Portrait. This is the first self-portrait I ever took with a web-cam. Date: October 1, 2003. Cam: the now defunct Orange iBOT USB2 camera. The setting is where I spend countless hours: my home office. My wall of books is in the background. Even though the resolution on the picture leaves much to be desired, I like this picture because it is prototypically me: I'm wearing a t-shirt and sitting at my computer in my office.

dziadzia. Dzia-Dzia is the Polish term for grandfather and is what I called my mother's father. I loved Dzia-Dzia deeply, even though I only saw him once or twice a year after we moved from Michigan to Pennsylvania. His day job was working a pharmaceutical factory in Detroit, but the arts were his true love. He was a professional photographer and had his own studio where he shot portraits and developed the photos in his darkroom. He organized a local theatre group when he was younger. He suffered a stroke in his 70s which left him bedridden. One of his lifelong regrets was being unable to return to his homeland in Poland. So what my mother did was to do a large oil portrait of him, filling in the background with landscape photos that had been taken near his village. That way, in a sense, he could see himself "in Poland." He cried when she presented the portrait to him. When my mother died in 2002, my brother and I divided all of her paintings, and I got Dzia-Dzia's portrait. I took photos of her collection and posted them a couple of years ago at: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/uraportfolio.html .

archetype. On April 30, 1974 I had a very intense dream which I recorded (I was keeping a dream diary at the time). The full dream is too personal (read: contains sex) to post on LJ, but I'll quote the following section: "At that exact moment, I heard my voice, as though I were split in two and talking to myself. My other self was narrating what was happening. My voice said, 'And as I thrust, I also felt a sharp pain and saw the symbol which I knew to be my Jungian archetype.' And crystal clear, I saw it." [I drew the symbol that appears on my icon.]

23. You'll have to read Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger to understand the full significance of this number. But, essentially, it is a number of synchronicity.

Global Brain. I discovered the global brain concept in the 1980s when I found a short film on the subject. The basic idea is that the earth resembles a super-organism in the sense that life forms are connected to each other in ecosystems, and that channels of communication within and across systems represent the nervous system or brain of the planet. Actually, I had read similar ideas in the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin; the newer global brain concept is just somewhat more quasi-scientific (which is to say, most scientists think it is a stupid idea). Despite being a skeptic, I can't help but be intrigued by the global brain hypothesis.

gratitude. This is one of the three attitudes (the other two being compassion and attention) that psychologist Timothy Miller recommends we cultivate as a means of overcoming psychological problems and developing a sense of well-being. I strongly recommend his books to people who want to work on their well-being. Sadly, they are out of print, but one can find used copies on the interwebs.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued by the Timothy Miller guy, so think I'll be checking him out.
May. 1st, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
I met Tim at a conference of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. His books are what enabled me to work out of a long-standing depression. I can't say enough good things about his books.

How to Want What You Have: Discovering the Magic and Grandeur of Ordinary Existence

Wanting What You Have: A Self-Discovery Workbook
May. 2nd, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
When was this long-standing depression of yours? How long did it last? How did you manage to teach while you were depressed? It must have been exhaustingly stressful being under the cloud of depression while you were working around people.

Thanks to you, Timothy Miller's books were a great help to me, too. That is wonderful that you got to meet him!
May. 2nd, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
1990-1996 or so. Teaching was very difficult. Everything was difficult. I'm glad I am past that period of my life.

Tim Miller made a huge impression on me when I heard his talk at the conference, and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him. I wish he would get his books back into print so that I could use them again in my well-being course.
May. 2nd, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
1990-1996 or so.

I was at the campus from 1994-1998. So, that was in the midst of some of your depression. You covered it well; although, you did seem down and sad some of the time. You were always pleasant and smiled when you were approached by the students, though. And, through your depression, you still somehow managed to be patient and make your classes interesting.

Now that I know about your depression during that time frame, I am even more grateful to you for taking the time to do independent study and honors courses with me. I truly admire your dedication. You have been awarded the Compassionate Virtuous Professor of a Lifetime Award. This CVP Award is a special award that has only one recipient. Congratulations!
May. 3rd, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
Even though teaching (and just about everything else) was exceptionally effortful during that period, I felt strongly responsibile to all of my students and obligated to do my job as well as I could.

Thanks for the CVP award! :-)
May. 3rd, 2007 01:35 am (UTC)
You are very deserving and most certainly welcome!:-)
May. 2nd, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Psy 243
What books are you using in your well-being course now?
May. 3rd, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
Re: Psy 243
Here's a copy of the email I sent to our bookstore manager:

Hi, Brenda,

I have FINALLY decided on the books I want to use for PSY 243 in the fall. Sorry about taking so long. I wanted to be very sure that the books I chose would be ones that I want to stay with for a while.

Required texts:

Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. NY: Oxford. ISBN-10: 0-19-518833-0 ISBN-13: 978-0-19-518833-2
McKay, M. Davis, M, & Fanning, P. (1997). Thoughts & feelings: Taking Control of your moods and your life. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger. ISBN-10: 1-57224-093-8 ISBN-13: 978-1-57224-093-3

Optional text:

McKay, M., & Fanning, P. (2000). Self Esteem (3rd. Ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger. ISBN-10: 1-57224-198-5 ISBN-13: 978-1-57224-198-5.


New Harbinger is the publisher for a book by Timothy Miller that I used to use for the course. They have information on purchasing books at their Web site, http://www.newharbinger.com/client/client_pages/faq.cfm .

I am also going to be asking my students to download a copy of Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, which had been out of print but is now available in PDF format at: http://trendsaction.com/category.php?category=Harry+Browne . The bookstore won't be involved in the sale of this book, but I wanted to let you know about this additional required reading.

Thanks for your patience,
May. 3rd, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Re: Psy 243
Thoughts and Feelings is a wonderful workbook. I used it with my therapist a few years ago. Just before posting this, I placed an order with Amazon for the other two books you are using in your course. I want to keep up with my psychological well-being. I was doing a little bit of work with positive psychology when I was working on my other PhD program. I like all this feel good stuff much better than abnormal psychology.
May. 2nd, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
I love the stories behind your icons. Dzia-dzia is especially touching. Your mother's paintings are great -- what a lovely collection to have.

Your archetype dream reminds me of some of my dreams and hallucinations. I find it fascinating.

I like this picture [self-portrait] because it is prototypically me: I'm wearing a t-shirt and sitting at my computer in my office. This sounds like me -- only I am wearing a cami. We are both at our computers and surrounded by our books. (My new notebook PC has a built-in webcam. But, I haven't been brave enough to take a picture of myself yet.)

Now, if you don't mind, I have a question for you. What is the significance or your LJ username? What is the story behind hostirad?
May. 2nd, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
I could tell you the full story, but then I would have to kill you. [smile]

This much I can say: I wanted a Slavic name that was not already frequently used on the Internet.
May. 4th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was hoping someone would have a story as interesting as your explanation for "dziadzia"... but I hardly expected it to be that one! The paintings, by the way, are phenomenal. I just spent ages looking at them. Oh, there are some technical weaknesses-- I'd guess he was mostly self-taught?-- but his feeling for texture is simply amazing, and the colors are perfect. I'm honestly very very impressed. Thank you for sharing them.

I'd love to hear more about your grandfather and his life-story some time. Mine, too, was from Poland, and I know almost nothing about it, or him.

Dreams have a powerful influence on me, too. I'm still vaguely considering getting a (tiny) tattoo of an image from a very intense dream I once had...

And yes, darn it, now I *will* have to read "Cosmic Trigger". Thanks a lot! :)

Seriously, though, very cool stuff, all of it. This entry could easily be the jumping-off point for so many conversations! But not the kind of ones that are easy to have in an LJ thread. ...I don't suppose you use instant messenger of some kind?
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )