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Monday

I just realized something useful.

My superego and id battle all the time. At one time of my life I was dominated by my id, at another by my superego–now I am more balanced. The superego still makes demands of me that I don’t fulfill, as does the id. The id desires instant gratification, among other things. I feel like that’s very important to understand.

I don’t use my phone much. I don’t take it to school. This makes it easy for me to do work when I should. If I had my phone and the option, in general, to do what my id desired to do, it would be more difficult for me to do my work. Because we’re just animals, and if we can get the same amount of happiness for less work, why not? Most of us would want this deal.

My upbringing has spoiled me. Even adults are spoiled in this way. Nowadays we get what we want faster than ever. Many of us are less patient as a result. This makes perfect sense. And yet it may mean that we don’t go as deep into things. And that’s a sad reality. My superego tells me to watch out for this. Despite the trouble it has caused me, I’m thankful for my superego because it thinks about my future, my impact, my potential, my happiness, and the like. My id is the more primitive part of me that has deep desires that can’t always be satiated.

(Neither the id or superego operate thinking about reality, according to Freudian theory. The ego thinks about reality, and acts like a mediator, balancing the id and superego’s opposing desires. The id desires pleasure, and the superego desires perfection.)

I’ve always wanted to write a story, a book. I’ve always stopped at one point. I think it’s because I give up, because of lack of faith in it yielding fruit sometimes. After all, writing sometimes gets dry and tedious. If I’m searching for beauty, friendship, meaning, deep relationships, and deeper love, though, I have to understand I’m not getting those things instantaneously. I have begun to discover this already as I have begun to work on relationships with family members. I realize the more I put in, the more I get out. And I am thinking about how this relates to other aspects of my life.

I think I will stick with writing fiction. I will also stick with this blog. Something else that ought to help me to keep writing even when the road gets bumpy and I get stuck is that this happens to me in real life–I fall down, I get dirty, I move backwards without meaning to, I head in the wrong direction. Sometimes I think I won’t get up again, but I know I will, because I always have before. I can’t escape my reality. I can’t just get a new reality like I can start a new story. This inability to escape my situation forces me to confront it. When writing, I have the option to escape (I can stop writing), and I have always done so before. This has not been satisfactory. What I must do to keep going is to work with what I have and work to fix my situations, work to fix my problems instead of avoid them, and this is useful for writing. When a story gets messy and it seems to be dry, or stuck, or whatever, instead of trashing it all and starting over like I have in the past, maybe I should work to fix it. And maybe the same thing applies to relationships. That’s what I’ve begun to realize.

Nothing in life is perfect. Not love, not relationships, not stories–nothing. It all has its ups and downs.

So I was doing my math studying for tomorrow’s math final, but I kept getting id urges to watch a video or do something that would give me instantaneous satisfaction. I wondered what the point was of doing math if I didn’t enjoy it. I wondered how I had once loved it so much, so deeply, so passionately. And then I realized that what I was doing was the right thing, that what I had to do was stick with it, understanding I wouldn’t get instant gratification, or bliss, or any of that. Whenever I loved math before, I hadn’t expected bliss from it, or an emotional high, or anything. And the gratification I got was much deeper.

Wednesday

Today was my last day of my junior year of high school. I’ll be a senior when summer vacation ends.

And after that year, I’ll go to college!

I’m not particularly eager. It is very exciting, but I’m perfectly happy where I am. I like to take things day by day and go where I want to go. It’s sort of… wandering through life without a map, but I don’t mind. This way of living has its disadvantages, sure, but it also has its advantages–and there are certainly disadvantages to planning it all out ahead.

For example, I’ve seen many students who seem to have it all planned out but who don’t seem particularly eager or happy about where they are or where they’ll be (if, for example, their parents are pushing them to pursue a certain career). And then there are, of course, people who are so focused on a goal that they don’t focus on the things that matter the most to them.

I guess I’m glad I fell out of that path. I didn’t even see I was heading the wrong way. My superego had dominated my life, and I desired achievement, worth, perfection, status, and so on so desperately that I completely used my person for my resources but didn’t attend to my needs. That is, I made my body work hard and focus on studying, but I was too harsh with myself. I didn’t love myself. I felt guilty all the time because (it’s obvious now) I couldn’t be perfect.

There was too much stress because of myself but I didn’t… notice there was something wrong with my way of living, because I had gradually gotten to this point.

That was when I seriously started to question things, to ask myself what it was all for.

When I realized that happiness was the only thing I really wanted, the thing that mattered the most to me, everything changed–because I lived my life for a new reason; because my entire existence had a new purpose. I sought joy, meaning, satisfaction and the like as opposed to perfection, achievement, ability…

I became so focused on my goal that I wasn’t living for the now. I was neglecting what truly mattered to me.

Chemistry

But I came to talk about chemistry. On the periodic table you see boxes with element symbols. Somewhere in each box lies a number which probably has a decimal point. That is the average atomic mass number (the other number is the atomic number). As a rapid refresher (I already explained this stuff in a previous post), the average atomic mass of an element is the average of all of the element’s isotopes’ atomic masses.

For example, chlorine’s (average) atomic mass is 35.453. But 35.453 what? (What are the units of measurement?) 35.453 amu.

atomic mass units

Most units of measurement are arbitrary. The foot, for example (12 inches) measures distance. But it’s not like the foot existed without humans. It exists within our culture, it’s a way for us to quantify the universe. But we made it up. As a kid, I used to be confused by that. Remember how I used to worry about objective truths, about things that were consistent across the universe–everywhere? Things indisputably true? I always wondered how the foot (and other units of measurement) was accepted across the universe. But it’s not, actually. I didn’t quite understand that then.

Each foot is the same, right? 12 inches here measures the same length as 12 inches on Mars. Why not? After all, 12 inches is a measure of a certain amount of distance. Humans wanted a way to divide up distance, to measure it. So they could compare the distance between areas, so they would understand the world better. So they needed to create units, and they created the foot (among other units) which would always mean 12 inches.

But it’s arbitrary. Created by humans to measure the world.

Anyway. What is 1 amu even equal to? 1 amu equals 1/12 of the mass of a carbon-12 atom.

Okay, so carbon is an element. There are 3 isotopes of carbon: 12C, 13C, and 14C. What these isotopes have different is the number of neutrons they have.

A carbon-12 atom will have 6 protons like all carbon atoms, but 6 neutrons (like all other atoms of the 12C isotope). This carbon-12 atom has a certain atomic mass (protons + neutrons). Divide that mass by 12, and you get another number–the mass of 1 amu.

Thursday

I should also note that elements’ isotopes appear in different amounts throughout the world. For the element carbon, for example, carbon-12 is much more abundant than carbon-13 and carbon-14 combined. Of all carbon, approximately 98.89% of it is carbon-12.

When calculating the average of an element’s isotopes’ masses, the relative abundance of each isotope is taken into consideration.

Now what are moles in chemistry? A mole is a unit of amount, telling how much you have of a substance. Here is a precise definition:

“A mole of a substance is defined as: The mass of substance containing the same number of fundamental units as there are atoms in exactly 12.000 g of 12C. Fundamental units may be atoms, molecules, or formula units, depending on the substance concerned.”

I would define a mole as the amount of a given substance that has 6.022 x 1023 fundamental units. My definition is compatible with the definition I found online–they both are correct.

* Like said in the quote, fundamental units are atoms in some cases, and molecules or formula units in others. Molecules consist of atoms. A single atom is but an atom. Molecules are covalently-bonded atoms. Formula units consist of ionically-bonded ions.

Covalent bonds are sharing bonds. The atoms involved in covalent bonds share electrons. Ionic bonds are not sharing bonds. Table salt, for example, is NaCl. Na is an ion, and so is Cl. They are oppositely charged–Na has a positive (+) charge whereas Cl has a negative (-) charge. Ionic bonds occur when one atom steals one or more electrons from another, resulting in both atoms becoming ions which then are attracted to each other because they have different charges.

I’ve talked about all this before, but in the case of NaCl, because Na has the + charge, it is a cation. Because Cl has the – charge, it is an anion. Anyway, how would you refer to a unit of NaCl? You know, a single compound consisting of one Na cation and one Cl anion–how would you refer to that? Would it be an NaCl molecule?

NO, because NaCl doesn’t consist of covalently-bonded atoms, remember? (If you go back up to the star, it has this information.) Remember that formula units consist of ionically-bonded ions?

You would call it an NaCl formula unit.

Anyway, I was talking about moles. 6.022 x 1023 is called Avogadro’s number.

When you say you have a mole of water (water is H2O, a covalent compound–a molecule), you mean you have 6.022 x 1023 water molecules.

When you say you have a mole of NaCl (an ionic compound), you have 6.022 x 1023 formula units.

Likewise, a mole of a substance can have 6.022 x 1023 atoms.

You may wonder where Avogadro’s number comes from. Just like the amu (atomic mass unit), the mole comes from the carbon-12 isotope. In 12 grams of carbon-12, there are 6.022 x 1023 atoms.

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Personal

This is uncomfortable for me. That’s not new.

Unless you’ve been with me before, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Sorry about that.

Anyway.

Being asexual appeals to my superego. But it may not be true. My trauma made sexuality seem negative, as I told you–sex especially. Thinking of myself as asexual is sort of a nice thought for me because I feel purer. But I’ve never been 100% convinced. It’s like I said: the matter is complicated, so much so that all my “conclusions” are subject to changes I don’t foresee.

Ever since I realized Nick loved Gatsby, I’ve felt differently about Nick. I dare say I’ve even been attracted to him. That’s not something totally new, or totally surprising. A bit disappointing, maybe. I’ve been healing from my trauma. I call it the same thing because I don’t want to talk about it much. Eh, I’ve helped myself. I’ve been changing my ideas. I’m a lot more accepting of myself. Yet it is somewhat hard to accept some truth like this. But I’ve got to.

I don’t want to think about this much. This is just me recording my goodbye, and hopefully recording my reasons for it. Attraction can be intense–too intense. It’s too overwhelming for me. It can even become one of the most important reasons for living, because I get so much pleasure out of it. All that pleasure I get makes many other things I used to love seem much duller. The sun doesn’t shine so brightly. I don’t want to live that way. I remember when my superego dominated me. I wanted to be asexual because my superego wouldn’t accept any other answer. So I had to love something. I wanted to love “what mattered,” which was the universe, the world. So I poured all my feelings into reality and it seemed beautiful. I loved my work and I loved my universe. And Carl Sagan taught me to look at the cosmos with a new awe. I was infatuated with Sagan for his ideas, for his hope, for his cosmos. And that feeling was… well, it seemed like the proper feeling.

On the other hand, attraction to people causes me a little bit of guilt, and a feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction. I desire to write fiction so that I can interact with characters that make me feel this way–and yet my id is interested in instant gratification and doesn’t want to write the story for the right reasons. It is almost like the person becomes the only source of pleasure.

I know what I must do to get off this train, to stop these feelings. Curiosity brought me here, but I can leave them again because they don’t feel right. I don’t like that feeling of sadness and desire, of melancholia, of regret, etc. Attraction is always accompanied with a strong feeling of sadness. I feel frustrated, helpless, and unsatisfied. I feel like a victim to my powerful feelings that I feel unable to overcome.

It kind of sucks. It feels good in a way, just like sadness does, but it also feels heavy, serious, and dreary…

And I know someone close to me who lives that way. I now understand so many things about him. I think I’m right–I think his constant brooding and sadness are a result of him being focused on the wrong things.

Maybe part of the reason I pushed romance and attraction away is that I didn’t want to feel so heavy. I wanted to feel lighter and less serious. I wanted to see the beauty in the world and feel optimism. I just forgot why I closed the box, and I opened it.

All I must do to close it is push it away for a while, until the strength of the feelings fades and I am capable of moving on without sadness and regret, without powerful feelings urging me to not love work and instead love a person romantically.

Phew. I’m actually very grateful for writing. It allows me to heal and deal with my feelings. I understand them better and I let them out, and I can return to a more stable, more enjoyable existence.

I suppose I don’t want to live too passionately… because I’m afraid of the long falls, and because I’m afraid of losing control. Those long falls are too desperate, too hopeless. Emotions can be very positive, but also very negative, and I don’t want to be in pain like that. I don’t like giving emotions free rein.

Eh… I was thinking about writing, but I think I’m a bit unstable now. I’m not sure of where I stand, and I don’t want my fictional writing to be an emotional whirlpool that will drain me, as has happened before.

I guess writing calms me. Makes me feel like I have more control. Thoughts I have can’t fly away and fade if I write them down. Then in the future I can learn from them.

Writing is a way of me analyzing myself and testing the ground beneath my feet. It allows me to draw a plan and feel I am in greater control of myself. I guess I take writing for granted because writing of this type comes so easily to me. But I know what it’s like to not really be able to write, or to at least require much more effort to write, because of my experience with fiction writing. It doesn’t come totally naturally. I have to make an effort.

When I was a kid, I was a fan of the Percy Jackson books.

I didn’t read ’em for romance. That wasn’t my reason. When I got the Star Wars game to play with my younger brother, I wasn’t thinking about romance. I feel like romance is just… too complicated, emotionally. It leads to too much emotional turmoil and I don’t want that kind of… suffering. But at the same time, it’s such a beautifully rich aspect of the human experience, and so it’s kind of wonderful.

Well, actually, romantic love doesn’t seem too bad. It felt only wonderful. For a short time, I felt romantically in love with Daisy, if I’m using the word ‘romance’ appropriately (still a source of confusion for me). Her personality wasn’t as great as I wanted, however, and personality matters a lot. But when I felt that way about Daisy, I wasn’t scared. I felt her warmth, her kindness, her sweetness, and I saw nothing but happiness and friendship for us both.

For me, romance is something a lot more bright and sunny, a lot more platonic and manageable. It’s attraction which is so much more disruptive, making me lose my head. And that’s why I’m somewhat afraid of it, like my dad is somewhat afraid of the ocean. He respects and is wary of its power.

It’s attraction which seems more like a dark night, like an emotional storm I can’t escape and which I am at the mercy of. I can’t be that emotional, I feel, otherwise I won’t be able to protect myself from negative emotions.

The people I love in this unique way are usually female, like I said. I think I may be biromantic. I think they are usually female because these personality traits are most common in women. These characteristics are attractive, but in a non-frightening way. I also agree with choosing a partner that I love for their personality, and not simply because of appearance.

The people that make me feel this way have a decent amount of the following traits:

Kind, sweet, caring/ loving, appreciative, genuine, honest, understanding, friendly, optimistic, light, playful, peaceful, delicate…

(That list lacks many other personality traits which I have found pleasant and attractive. It’s just to give you an idea.)

This love is much safer, much warmer, much more optimistic, much less wildly passionate, much more practical, and much more promising. It seems to be happier and more harmonious. I also feel compelled to give to this person.

Wild attraction doesn’t last, anyway.

Before I saw the movie, I formed my impression of the characters from pictures. I had read the book, but I wanted to imagine the movie character as different from the book character. Maybe in the movie, she would have the personality I was looking for. I wanted to start over with her and fall in love with her again.

But I was never loving her. Just who I thought she was.

I imagined she was what I was looking for, and I wanted to be with her as a person. It was platonic, but I call that kind of love romantic.

I want to be with someone I love as a person.

Attraction just gets in the way.

Mm, I was talking about the Percy Jackson books and the Star Wars video game to explain that… I have sought and continue to seek action, adventure, camaraderie/ friendship/ teamwork in fiction. And if that’s what motivates me to read, surely that can motivate me to write. Writing cannot be about romance if I want to finish a story.

Cosmos

Egypt is located in the northernmost part of Africa. Egypt’s coast meets the Mediterranean Sea (as do other territories, including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Syria).

Image result for egypt map

Within Egypt is the city Alexandria, which once was one of the world’s greatest cities.

Image result for egypt map

Within Alexandria lived a man named Eratosthenes who was many things, including a poet, a mathematician, a geographer, a philosopher, an astronomer, and the chief librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria.

Friday

In the Great Library, he found an interesting account in a papyrus book which said that in the city Syene (south of Alexandria), on June 21 at noon, vertical items (such as sticks in the ground or temple columns) cast no shadow. The sunlight fell from directly overhead, snaking its way into deep wells and illuminating the water at the bottom.

What was once the city of Syene is now Aswan.

Image result for syene egypt map

Alexandria wasn’t too far north of Syene. Eratosthenes wanted to experiment with this occurrence, and wanted to see whether or not vertical objects in Alexandria would also cast no shadow on June 21 at noon. He discovered something which had a deep significance. At the same time that a vertical stick in Syene cast no shadow, a vertical stick in Alexandria did cast a very definite shadow.

If the Earth had been flat, then it would make sense for, at the same time, a stick in Syene to cast a shadow of the same length as the shadow cast by a stick in Alexandria. Likewise, it would make sense for a stick in Syene and in Alexandria to cast no shadow at the same time.

What Eratosthenes had was evidence that the surface of the Earth was curved.

This is a really awesome demonstration that helped me understand this better. I don’t expect you to watch all 50 minutes. To see the demonstration, watch the video from 28:16 to 29:15.

Saturday

I didn’t get to write much yesterday because I left my house around 2:00 to take 3 consecutive planes to Colombia, South America. That’s where I am now, hello! I wanted to rant about everything that’s gone wrong (like the fact I got less than 4 hours of sleep last night), but the need has since passed.

Anyway. Sagan says Eratosthenes hired someone to measure the distance between Alexandria and Syene. He learned the distance was 800 kilometers.

The stick in Syene was sticking up in one direction, and the stick in Alexandria was sticking up in another direction, right? Because the Earth is curved.

“The Sun is so far away that its rays are parallel when they reach the Earth.”

Here is Sagan holding a map of Ancient Egypt in such a way so that the map is curved like the surface of the Earth is. The stick on the left is the stick in Alexandria; that on the right is the stick in Syene:

syenealexandria

If you imagine the Sun’s rays coming down parallel to each other, like rain falling straight down on a day without wind, you can see that the sticks are at different angles to the sun’s rays. These different angles are responsible for the different shadows–for the shadows’ different lengths.

So you know how a circle is 360 degrees? And if you slice up that circle into slices, each slice will have a degree measure of its own which is less than 360 degrees? Well, in math there’s an angle called a central angle. In a full circle, the central angle is 360°. If you cut a circle into 4 equal slices, then each slice will have a central angle of 90° (360 / 4). That’s how it works.

Well, imagine a circle. 360°, as expected. Imagine there are two points–point A and point S. They’re pretty close together on the circle. (This is not drawn to scale):

aands

If you draw an imaginary line from each point going down past the center of the circle, you’ll see the lines eventually intersect/ cross. When they cross, a central angle will be formed.

centralangle

The central angle is shown by the purple line. So, as I have told you all this, I have been talking about the Earth. Point A is the stick in Alexandria; point S is the stick in Syene. They form an angle, and that angle is about 7 degrees.

So, you have your Earth, a circle. 360 degrees. You cut it up into sufficient slices so that each slice is 7 degrees. 360 / 7 is around 50, so there are about 50 slices of 7 degrees in the Earth.

Heh, what can be done with this information? Well if you’ll remember, Eratosthenes figured out that there are 800 kilometers between A and S. If there are 800 kilometers for each slice, and there are about 50 slices in the circle/ world, then the world’s circumference is about 40,000 kilometers (800 * 50).

800km

I would stay and chat, but for one thing I’m sleepy as heck and can’t do this anymore, and for another, I lost my internet connection and don’t have access to the first episode of Cosmos anymore.

Of course, you won’t notice the time gap. 🙂

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So I threw on shorts and a t-shirt and took a “nap” for 5 hours. I feel alive again… not that I didn’t feel alive earlier… it just felt that earlier I was operating at an inappropriate time. It felt I had ruined things, not started the day properly. It felt like the day was not actually mine, but rather a part of the next day I shouldn’t see more of until I slept.

Yeah, I don’t know either. Point is, I feel in control of the day again. Though things were beautiful before, having energy makes the world seem brighter because then you actually have the means to do all these different activities. So the world seems more filled with opportunity.

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I realize that when I listen to people, I understand them better and care much more about them. In addition, it’s fun to read a book with a friend. My younger cousin and I are reading the first Harry Potter book together (in Spanish), to catch up to the bookmark that is placed where it is because of the reading that my other Colombian cousin and I did back in the U.S. when she came to visit my family of four. Once we’re all at the same point, we’ll read the new parts together.

To be exact, the Earth’s circumference is, according to Google, 40,075 kilometers. Not only did Eratosthenes figure out the world was round, but he also figured out the Earth’s circumference.

I’m fairly comfortable where I’m at… I notice that as I write this and delve deeply into this, I am happy and satisfied, but I once would have been extremely disappointed in myself–back when the superego dominated me. No matter what I did, I could not be the ideal person I wanted to be. And I didn’t do anything out of love. I didn’t learn subject material out of interest. I did it out of a crazed desire to have as much control as possible.

Since I can never completely start over with myself, just fix myself, there are elements in my life today that I have that period of time to thank for. Though I enjoy these activities now, they are the same ones that I engaged in when dominated by my superego. If not for that period in my life, I may never have explored these areas. I may have been afraid of challenging myself. During the superego period, life without challenges scared me. In my mind, challenges were mandatory. They would refine my abilities.

There are good and bad aspects to every experience.

This is getting long, so I’ll continue writing in another post. Thank you for understanding the material I presented. ^.^

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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