Member Questionnaire 1 (Kenthalas)What is beauty? What is love?
Beauty is a subjective measure, but is ultimately an appreciation for the aesthetic nature of an object, person, place, situation, or condition. That is to say, beauty is a recognition of the unique nature of every moment, and the sensory data that can be garnered from such moments.What are your most important values?
Love is a complicated mix of emotional responses to particular stimuli combined with a particular brain chemistry. All emotions are effectively chemical or electrical state responses to stimuli anyway, love is just a particularly strong and (usually) highly valued response that has had a particularly relevant importance (in my opinion) during the course of human social evolution. As humans evolved ever more socially cohesive units, we tended to acquire a greater and greater emphasis on certain emotional bonding rituals and this was emphasized and encouraged by brain chemicals to ensure a greater and greater K-selection in our species. We are, in effect, a perfect example of K-selection run amok as a species. There are, of course, aberrant members of the species who do not display these characteristics, and instead tend towards r-selection, as well as having certain dysfunctions of the key behaviors that would encourage maximal success in a K-selected population, but these are, definitionally, aberrant members of the population.
Creativity and originality. Novelty, but novelty of thought and idea, not necessarily of art or expression. Originality in problem-solving. The ability to invent, rather than imitate. While the traditional or "tried and true" methods have their place, the ability to invent a new solution to any given problem and make that solution your own, stamping your mark upon it, are far more admirable capabilities.Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I have been careful to purge any spiritual or religious beliefs. I was, as many of us were, born into a highly conservative Christian family in rural West Virginia. However, as a scientist, I have had to recognize the bias of those types of beliefs and demand evidentiary justification for any beliefs or claims. Claims of "magic", even if renamed "miracles" are not supported by evidence, rather by definition, and so cannot be considered as rational.Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
War is sometimes necessary, and a military force is necessary to fight this war. The wealthy country without a strong defensive military gets conquered, as history has shown. Idealism about peace does not stop an invading army. Ultimately, all authority is derived only through force or cooperation. Where cooperation fails, force is often employed, and the ability to use these two tools to accomplish a goal must always be taken into consideration, even where one opposes the use of force on principle, simply because others will not avoid using force on you simply because you are a pacifist.What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
I have had long conversations about many topics. I feel that almost any topic is worthy of discussion, and any topic worthy of discussion is worthy of lengthy, careful discussion. That said, my interests pertain to science, biology in particular, but also to human interests such as politics, psychology (why I'm here after all), and everything in between. As far as why I am interested in these topics, I am a very curious person, and there is no limit to what I *want* to know, even if there may someday be a limit to what I *can* know.Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
I am interested in health and medicine, being a biologist who actually considered medical school at one point. However, like most lower SES types, I tend to ignore problems with my own health and body until I absolutely have to pay attention. This is a problem I've been trying to work on lately.What do you think of daily chores?
Necessary annoyances. If it must be done, it should be done properly, but there's no sense in doing something like, say... making a bed that you're just going to mess up again in <24 hours anyway.Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
All kinds of shit, not really worth discussing in detail.What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
Stuff, that's something we can discuss in more detail later.Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
In a forest. In my own lair.What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
People have commented that I come across as cold and unemotional, but other people have commented that I am too emotional. Some have called me too vulnerable, some have said that I have a tendency to let people take advantage of me and my generosity, especially in relationships. I dislike my own neediness. I wish I could be independent and live completely without the need of other people, but, having done that rather extensively, I also know that I can't survive being alone. It's just not within me to be without a significant person in my life.What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
Creativity and intelligence. Most everyone who meets me thinks I'm intelligent, and they're pretty well correct. My ability to memorize, categorize, and recall vast stores of knowledge pushes that perception even further for most people. I like that I am intelligent. I live mostly inside my own head, so most of the things I like about myself have to do with my thoughts.In what areas of your life would you like help?
Feeling secure is very difficult for me. I have serious issues with abandonment and neglect due to previous life experiences, and one of the most important things for me is to feel as if someone really and truly wants to be with me above anyone else. I have a hard time with the idea that no one will ever love me the way I can love them.Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Yes, I got stuck in a rut when I wasn't moving forward to improve myself or my situation in life. I became too contented with a bad relationship that did not encourage my own growth or ambition because it was frightening to admit that I should end the relationship because it was unhealthy for me. My own sense of loyalty and determination won't allow me to abandon a relationship under any but the most directly damaging circumstances, such as extreme emotional abuse.What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I like people who are energetic, but allow me to be myself. I prefer to remain quiet and reserved and observe others more than actually participating in most activities. I like people who are expressive and willing to tell me how and what they feel. I like when a person I'm in a relationship with are willing to express their emotional states to me. I enjoy being given attention, perhaps more than I should. I get along with people who are honest and willing to consider alternative points of view, even educate me when I'm missing an important piece of evidence, but importantly to do so in a way that is educational, rather than argumentative.How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
I'm a die-hard romantic, but I mostly hide it except from my partner (or even sometimes from them when they don't like it), when I'm not anonymous. I love to give gifts to my partner, I love to give attention and to be a very generous lover. I also love small gestures of affection, and especially spontaneous and intense actions, such as suddenly kissing me passionate for no reason other than passion. I very very much enjoy sex. I can have sex multiple times per day with my partner when I'm really attracted to her, and when there's a strong passion between us. I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for in a partner, I'm still sorting through that one.If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
To encourage them to be curious, to never be satisfied with not knowing when they could work hard, think hard, and find the answers to things. To never be satisfied with knowledge not earned through evidence. To believe in themselves and their own intrinsic worth and value. I would take any measures necessary to impart these traits, these are some of the most important ideals I believe a child can gain from their parents. I have not, however, had the practical opportunity to try them.A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
Interest in their reasoning. Too often peoples' beliefs are not validated through evidence, but if someone actually has evidence to present that contradicts a belief of my own, I'm extremely curious to gain that new information. I do require evidence, rather than just a good argument or their insistence and assertions, but if they can present good evidence to support a claim that runs counter to my own beliefs and biases or prior knowledge, I would happily change my beliefs to be in line with these new data.Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
I mostly observe society, rather than become a part of it. I don't fit in well with many people, and feel like there's always something I'm missing out on when in a large group. I often feel a bit paranoid in large groups, as if everyone else is aware of something I'm doing that makes me different or causes me to stand out as weird that I'm not even aware of. A major social problem that I see is a lack of curiosity, an undervaluing of education, accomplishment, and intellectualism, and a disinterest in things like the historical and cultural perspectives which influence society. For example, my family and the people I grew up around would find an opera a silly thing not worthy of consideration as a form of entertainment or aesthetic pleasure. They simply wouldn't understand it, why anyone would be interested in it, nor would they consider it as an activity to engage in when planning their time.How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
Mostly based on how they act, their beliefs, their willingness to use reason, logic, and evidence to make decisions, rather than assertion or bias. I give them the benefit of trying to always explain with evidence my own beliefs or ideas, whenever I can, time permitting. I also, when I have a close friend, essentially think of them like family, or even closer than I am to my family. I would consider a close friend someone worth fighting for.How do you behave around strangers?
Usually reserved and quiet, more interested in observing and learning about them than interacting with them. I also highly value self-control, so I don't do well with emotional outbursts in large groups of strangers typically.