August 11th, 2003

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Interest surfing

Like most people, my "interests" list ranges wide across the various lint-thick minor interests of my life. Some of my "interests" are things I am very active with, while other interests are very casual hobbies. I'm not unique in this, I know, because my LJ friends seem to follow in many instances similar interests list paths.

I enjoy clicking on the "interests" entries that I have to see who else lists each particular interest. I am a creature of simple amusements. I love the contrast between, say, the journals that list "autoharp" as an interest and the journals that list "Joy Division" as an interest.

A small part of me is tempted to list interests which will add to the contrast--let's say "elven magic" or "extreme sports". But I don't know any elven magic, and my most extreme sport is a quiet hike on a suburban sidewalk.

I do notice, though, that I'm drawn to my friends' eclecticism. I like the people who juxtapose interests which do not stereotypically fit together. I'll say it more simply--I like people who are mazes of contradiction. But I do prefer when they are mazes of kind contradictions, when possible.
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Active case, passive case

"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dream with open eyes and make it possible"--T.E Lawrence

I went to see a hypnotist once in California, in an effort to use trance to become a more organized person. The concept made sense when I attempted it, though it makes much less sense to me now. The hypnotist was a devotee of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a movement about which, despite being fairly well-read, I can say, in the immortal Potter Stewart phrase, that I cannot really define it, but I know it when I see it.

My prior experiences with hypnosis were with the meditation experiences loosely called in those days "self-hypnosis". I am not much for defining that set of experiences, either, as too many self-help books and skeptics spend far too much time debating what is really a fairly simple set of relaxation and visualization techniques.

I had seen a metaphysical hypnosis buff at work. During a summer science camp I attended during the Summer between my junior and senior years of high school, the camp "counselor", a nice fellow who proved to be a metaphysical physics teacher, hypnotized a few campers to help them with "past life regression". I chose not to undergo this form of hypnosis, but I enjoyed listening to tales of camp guards coincidentally reunited with camp prisoners, visits to the Great Library of Atlantis, and similar interesting storylines. I refrain here from expressing an opinion as to the literal validity of these metaphysical experiences. Instead, I use this discussion to describe a fantasy I had. It was a sort of metaphysical Walter Mittyism, which I'll share with you. I imagined that if I could only be hypnotized, I could "take over" my session, and travel the universe.

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