Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm still not quite sure why at first, I was so unenthusiastic about the Buddhism module I am studying. Perhaps it was due to a reluctance to accept something that did not superficially match the expectations I had of it - alls I know is that after the first weeks session I felt a violent opposition to continuing studies in this area. Thankfully I got over that rapidly, and it's now something I find incredibly interesting. The lecturer really knows his stuff as well which is always helpful, and I like his teaching style - lots of talking but in an animated, everyone-get-involved-in-discussion sort of way, and not too many pointless group activities which generally just give me cause for distraction.

I'm glad I made the spur of the moment decision to change from Philosophy of Language to Philosophy of Religion - I find the latter far more interesting, and of course it complements my Buddhism module quite nicely. These are areas I have always had an incomplete and vague interest in, and now my immaterial thoughts are being structured, drawn together and made coherent. I feel like I'm finally (after only a year and a half!) knuckling down and getting stuck into my uni work. I really sincerely hope I can keep this up - I feel like I'm on the verge of a personal breakthrough, both academically in terms of my approach to my work, physically in terms of building up my fitness levels and getting into shape, and finally emotionally, by sorting through and hopefully putting to rest thoughts and memories that have followed me round for years now. (The only thing that worries me is that I know I have felt this way in the past)

In my creative writing, I'm focusing a lot on fairy tales, and the idea of myth and stories embedded in the collective psyche - for me this is entwined with ideas of femininity, or perhaps more specifically my own femininity, something I have grappled with over the last few years. Being a girl - woman? - is one of the most essential and important characteristics I have; it is absolutely integral and important to how I perceive the world. But it is also something I take issue with in that I struggle, sometimes, to define what exactly femininity is. It seems wrong to me that it should be well applied make up, long and flowing or short and perky hair - doe eyed glances, beautiful clothes, even bouncy breasts. These things are all feminine, but they are hardly sufficient in themselves to constitute femininity. But what route do we go down otherwise? Simply experiencing the world as a woman, from the feminine? It is too simple to say that we are merely passive victims of a patriarchal society - we are not always passive in our own subjugation. These are complicated questions and ones which bother me, and are important to my own understanding of my gender and therefore myself.

Been looking into housing co ops as well - I find the idea of a deviation from the traditional nuclear family household intriguing, especially in a world where "marriage breakdowns" and "unconventional relationships" are rapidly becoming far more normal. Coupled with a way of living that challenges the existing, exploitative capitalist system of mortgage slavery and lonely, seperate existences and I become more and more inclined to think that perhaps there are viable alternatives to the majority status quo. I have come to the conclusion over the last few years that it is so very nearly impossible to change the direction of society as a whole that ones energy is better directed elsewhere - short of living in some kind of Hobbesian state of nature (which is logistically pretty much impossible anyway) it's not possible to escape the system. Living on the bottom rung does not constitute escaping. However, the only ethical way I can see to live in this society is to exist within it without supporting it or propogating it's values any more than is necessary, and using the resources gained from this to create a space within it in which one can live in harmony with ones values. How feasible this is, remains to be seen