June 29, 2020 Teaching Stick Shift and On Love

It\’s around 2:30 pm. I’ve only had one cup of coffee, but I feel wired. I went to the barber for the first time since February. And I picked up my pants from Blue Owl in Fremont; they did a nice job of darning my most worn pair of jeans.

Yesterday I made a big deal about teaching Caitlin how to drive manual transmission. We were both frustrated and angry by the end of it. She had promised to practice for one-hour and twenty minutes, and we did it. It was a very long hour and twenty minutes. By the end of it we were totally burned out. I’m disappointed at my own lack of patience because in my fantasies I am perfectly patient and understanding.
I also treated the lesson as if it were a metaphor or representation of our relationship, which I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do or not. I think it is like a metaphor or close to a metaphor because at the root of the issue, we were working together doing something stressful, and we both came away angry. But it could also be just a one time occurrence, and it was also one-sided with me playing teacher; we were not problem solving an issue together.
She\’s better at driving manual than she realizes, and it’s frustrating to see her unwillingness to take to the road because she’s scared. Maybe that’s the issue I have; I want to force her to overcome her self doubt, but I can’t.
I am forceful. That is one of my issues.
I yell at the garden, telling it to grow faster.
If I am lucky, my spit will wet the ground and my breath will feed the leaves.
Reading Plato’s Symposium has made me think about love. I’m not finished reading it. But I have some thoughts already.
In the work there are a few different theories on what love is. One says that love is among the oldest primordial gods, having come into existence shortly after Earth (Gaia). Then there is another theory that says that love comes in two forms, the higher form and the lower form.
The higher/heavenly form of love is Urania (Heavenly Aphrodite); this type of love makes the world a better place, and it has integrity.
The lower/vulgar form of love is Pandemos (Common Aphrodite); this type of love is selfish and fleeting.
This is making me realize that I have been placing love on too high of a pedestal, or I’ve only been using love merely ironically like when I refer to an excellent slice of pizza.
In hindsight, I have loved more women—and men, pets, places, art, etc—than I have realized.
I am realizing that when I see a beautiful woman walking down the street and her beauty touches me deeply, that is love; and the same is true for many of my fond-friends in the military and college. Much of that love might have been the vulgar form of love, but it was love. And the thing about that is that it takes much time, effort, and risk to determine what love is higher and what is lower.
I feel the need to say the following:
It has taken me far too long to realize how much love I have in my life. There were too many times where I spent much time and energy to tell myself that I was not in love, when I really was.
My god, how easy it was easy to let love go unrecognized.
What I have said so far is not related to Socrates’ part of the dialogue…. Anyway, this is not where I thought reading Plato would take me… How strange.
The above part about there being two loves, one higher and one lower was by someone named Agathon. However, Socrates gives a different account that was told to him by Diotima that\’s called the Ladder of Love. (My translation says staircase.)
It goes something like this: A man falls in love with a beautiful body. Then he falls in love with another beautiful body. Then he eventually may become a lover of all beautiful bodies. Then he learns that the soul is more beautiful than the body.
Here is a slightly different take from a few paragraphs later:
  1. To love a body
  2. To love two bodies
  3. To love all beautiful bodies
  4. To love beautiful customs
  5. To love beautiful things
  6. To know what it is to be beautiful
I think Jung copied Socrates’/Diotima’s idea in his idea of Anima Development (Eve > Helen > Mary > Sophia) or (Sex > Power-and-Wealth > Morality > Wisdom)
And I also see this develop in my life in regards to intellectual pursuits. I think this description of the soul’s growth: it is a movement from the particular towards the universal.
  1. I was obsessed with psychedelic mushrooms
  2. I became interested in psychedelics in general
  3. I became interested in the ideas surrounding psychedelics
  4. I became interested in ideas, namely philosophy and political theory.
Now, I am feeling the reverse process.
  1. I was interested in philosophy
  2. I became interested in applying philosophy to the everyday world
  3. I read All Things Shining, Shop Class as Soulcraft, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  4. I am now going to buy a motorcycle because I have seen how something material (a motorcycle) connects to something higher (philosophy: poeisis, excellence, quality)
Universal to Singular
Singular to Universal
Universal to Singular
Singular to Universal
Universal to Singular
Singular to Universal
Ad Infinitum

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