Sprang Brayke

•March 11, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Sprang Break

Something really caught my attention this spring break, and it was the statement, “you’re young, you’ve got no baggage,” and in some ways that statement has to be true, and in other ways, it’s absolutely false. This claim was made by someone who deoesn’t truly know me, so if you, dear reader, are that person that said this statement, know that I am not calling you out. I am, however, reflecting on the different ways that this claim could be true and not true.

The target reflection for this blog post is “what is baggage, and is it the kind of thing that someone carries” in the colloquial context.

A quick google search shows that the term ‘baggage’ is defined as “past experiences or long-held ideas regarded as burdens and impediments.”

The first question is resolved. Baggage is a past experience that someone carries with them independently or within. For example, I have heard someone saying that single parents have baggage. This case seems to suggest that baggage can be something independent of the person, but somewhat related. Another way that baggage is used could be in the form of trauma that still affects an individual. Consider an individual that goes through a traumatic experience. Certain events or people can trigger the individual, and this triggering can manifest in different ways such as extreme discomfort or anxiety. These side effects can be considered a burden or an impediment.

The second question I ask is whether baggage is some past experience or long-held belief one regarded as a burden or impediment. So, take the same person that goes through the traumatic experience, and the person survives the traumatic event without viewing the situation as either a burden or an impediment. Rather, the person doesn’t have the same effects as in the previous case. That is not to say that the person never has feelings about things or goes through normal life situations, but I am thinking of a person that can go through such a hard situation and coming out of the end of it without crippling depression or anxiety. If this is possible, then another component of baggage is whether the individual recognizes the traumatic experience as a burden or an impediment. If the person sees the traumatic experience as necessary for personal growth, then it seems as if the term doesn’t apply, but it cannot be the case that the past experience does not affect them. The past experiences do not seem like a burden in the relevant way as the definition above implies. “Baggage” is a strange term. The experiences that we all have, however similar, can be seen as either baggage or not depending on the type of disposition you have toward said past experience. Something about the term baggage doesn’t seem right. I wonder what other people think about this.

Some people have said that I have baggage, but if I don’t recognize the past traumas that have happened as burdensome, then it cannot be the case that I have “baggage” in the relevant sense, but I wouldn’t want to say that the traumatic things that have happened in my past hasn’t influenced some of the decisions I have made. Maybe this thought space can be developed into something later.

“There are three parts of excellence: intelligence, strength, and good fortune.”

᾿Αρετὴ τριὰς, σύνεσις καὶ κράτος καὶ τύχη


Apologies, Dominus

•December 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Why is reason a slave to the passions? Is it the case that reason is at the mercy of the emotions? (Thanks David Hume for this wonderful statement and question)

I often find myself in situations where a feeling washes over me, and I am attempting to justify whether my feelings should be acknowledged. The other day I called a good friend, and I felt really upset that someone I knew was being human, and I needed to know if how I was feeling was justified.

It made me think about how I come to justify a feeling. I assess an action, and I ask myself exactly what I feel.

For example, it was brought to my attention that I can be perceived in many ways.

Should I let other people’s perceptions affect the way I feel? Do I have a choice in the matter?

We can set determinism aside and grander metaphysical questions for another time.

In one sense, I should care about how the people I care about perceive me because I would not want to purposely offend or degrade anyone I love. In another sense, it depends on the people who I am around and whether the people are upset at who I am as a person or a specific action that I committed. I think the difference between particular actions and who I am is what makes how I come to justify a feeling make a little more sense.

If there is a group of people that I am associated with and I have some shared goal, there is clearly a time and a place for talking about certain things such as my work or my eyebrows.

But, if there are people that I give title “friend” to, then I do not want to have to keep apologizing for who I am as a person. I know who I am. I have always known that I am someone that needs some kind of attention to a certain extent. I don’t find that problematic, and I don’t understand why it would be the case that it is. I want to see comfort with the people that I know and trust. Being vulnerable is often scoffed at, but it’s something that makes us all a little human. I have been through a lot, and I am just so excited to share the things that I have learned with people that I thought were rooting for me. I don’t see myself changing the enthusiasm I have for life, nor do I see myself being any less passionate about philosophy. I am an easy person to talk to, and I would hope that if I am being confusing, the people that know me can ask me what I mean when I say something that seems off. Often, I find myself thinking through thoughts too quickly, and I know that not every one can keep up with my pace. I don’t think I should feel upset about how people perceive me because “objectively” it does seem strange that the topics of conversations went from light topics to really dense ones. I never felt the need to talk about school work that I was not confident about. Through reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that even if I tweak certain parts of my delivery, there will be people that do not like how I talk about things or the topics that I talk about.

If I am drama, too loud, too extra, too flighty, too much, then get a bigger cup.

How does this all tie in with how I feel and justifying how I feel?

I feel like I have reason to believe that people who know me would have no problem asking me what I mean when I say something, and I feel like that those who do not know me should get to know me. And, I feel like that people that would rather not are entitled to that choice as well.

I find that in 2018, I will try and apologize less for who I am, and I will try more to expect less from those that need to be left alone. Further, I will try to be a little more concise and clear with the points I am trying to make in conversation.

“To perceive is to suffer.”
― Aristotle


Eros and Lies

•December 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Every one that knows me, knows that I am absolutely obsessed with Fleetwood Mac. In my hometown, I bought tickets to see a cover band that I was apprehensive about because who can really emulate the angst, cocaine, alcohol, and devastation in the voices of Christine Mcvie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham?


I sat in the bar next door as the band did their sound check. The familiar melody of “little lies” started playing, and I sat up in my seat. There’s a difference between live and recorded music, obviously. But, the difference is that live shows sound so much more painful and real. The music carries the authors and musician’s soul to you. The cover-band did a good enough job; Good enough to where I was thinking deeply about the song that was used for their sound check. The song “Little Lies” begins with this riff that you think is the piano, but it’s really Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar. Christine Mcvie’s piano in the background, Lindsey’s touch with the electric guitar, and Stevie’s voice haunting you.


It’s a familiar sadness, but an understanding that the person who this song is dedicated to will never tell you the truth, but at least you know that they won’t. Just, come on, and tell me the lies that I want to hear, but not what I need to hear.


The whiskey, at this point, warmed my body as if a lover was embracing me. Holding me close and not wanting me to let go.


Later, when the show was in full swing, and the crowd was singing along, I swayed along to the music because I know this song will play for all those past and in the future that will tell me lies that are just too sweet to give up. The difference between then and now is that I know these are lies. I am not as gullible as I was once, but maybe that’s something that everyone says once they are no longer under lust’s influence. I was with some good friends, and it was great because you can see the power of Fleetwood Mac’s music. The way that Stevie’s lyrics and Christine’s piano can unite all of us who have been told the littlest of lies. Singing together and re-living the heart break and memory of each person the song reminds you of.


Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.


Please tell me the stories that I know are not true but sound oh so sweet.


You can’t disguise.


I know that you’re telling me stories, but I know that I still want to hear them because it sounds nice coming from your lips that makes my legs weak.



“You” is Eros. The love that doesn’t last, but the love that drags you into the passions. The kind of love that makes you lose your mind; the love that tells your stories about how everything will work out on its own.


The type lie that you would find comfort in because that’s all you really know.


The type of love that has you thinking about what it is to be a thing of its kind as you are walking up the steps to your friend’s house with black high heels instead of the gold ones you went out with.

“If I could turn the page
In time then I’d rearrange
Just a day or two
(Close my, close my, close my eyes)
But I couldn’t find a way
So I’ll settle for one day
To believe in you
(Tell me, tell me, tell me lies)” – Christine Mcvie



•December 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

            The target for Metaphysics Zeta is to investigate substance. While investigating substance, Aristotle attempts to resolve questions that come from the implications of certain conclusions he draws at the end of each chapter. In zeta six, he concludes that a particular thing and its essence are identical in some sense, and in Z7-9 he states that explanations should reflect the causal order, and substance is the starting point of all production. When he reaches Z10, he is then faced with a problem. If substance is the starting point of all production, and a ‘part’ is prior to the whole in some sense that can also be identical to the particular thing that it points out, then Aristotle must reconcile how a ‘part’ is prior to the whole at the level of explanation and the level of observation. Matter is unknowable in virtue of itself, and if the formula references the matter, then the definition cannot be known especially at the level of universal. The hylomorphic compound that references matter will not be a part of the definition at the universal, but it can be a part of an account at the level of particular.

In this chapter, he explains that if the whole makes reference to its part such as the semi-circle, then the whole is posterior to its part. The semi-circle can never be a self-contained definition because it refers to a whole that is self-contained. In the event the circle is realized in matter, then the parts are prior to the whole. The parts are the capacities in which the whole will be actualized in matter. The relationship between the part and whole with respect to priority and posteriority are, I argue, as follows, the part is prior with respect to matter. When the whole is realized in matter, then the whole is posterior to the parts because to know the whole, one must know its parts. After demonstrating or deriving a definition from the particular (or group of particulars) then the whole will be prior to the particular because one will be in the best position to make reference to the universal. To determine whether a particular is of the universal, one must know what the universal is. Aristotle has not answered the question completely. He has shown that some things will be prior to the whole. With respect to the hylomorphic compound, Aristotle will address this question in surrounding chapters, but I do not conclude what Bostock does in regard to his argument about Aristotle ignoring the universal compound. He shows that the matter is incapable of definition, and Aristotle alludes to the idea that matter in some sense can be a part in so far as we remain at the level of observable for the purposes of understanding, but will not reach the level of universal as shown in other chapters.[1]

[1] In a later paper, I aim to explore how this particular relationship (part and whole) affects the way in which the universal can be understood with respect to metaphysics, epistemology, and natural philosophy. Moreover, I would like to explore the notion of matter and how matter would affect the virtuous person since matter degenerates, and this would play, I argue, an important role with how we define the virtuous man.Aristotle

High Heels and B-‘s

•December 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Walking down the streets of your home town is like walking to your car after a long night of dancing with high heels on. Your feet, like your soul, feel really numb, and you are in pain, but you looked damn good doing so. The Christmas lights would have been beautiful if the low hanging fog didn’t encompass the merry downtowners, making us feel as if the sirens from Silent Hill might play any moment. The dimensions would change, and the monsters would all come out to haunt us. Ghosts from our pasts sitting high in the oaks, wondering if we would ever look up at them. Often, we ignore the ghosts of our pasts just like we ignore the pain in our feet from wearing shoes that make our legs look great. Even if it hurts, we still look good. I think that’s the feeling I get when I come back home. The success of my achievements realized by the people that I know, but inwardly, they are unaware that a B- is crushing my soul. Though, the pain may one day go away such as the pain from the shoes I wear once I take them off. I hear that working out helps wearing high heels in a significant way. Whatever significant may be. I wonder if it could just be the case that my lived experience is over shadowed by the chemical make-up of my physiology, or whether it could be the case that I have some choice in the matter when I have feelings of great remorse or frustration. Though I cannot change the past, I can remain happy that at the very least I can view all of the choices that I have made and attempt to reconcile those choices with future responses. I sometimes wonder if the ghosts of the past are pieces of yourself that want to forewarn me, or that want forgiveness. At any rate, the Christmas lights downtown are beautiful, and high heels will always hurt. I will triumph and prevail over this B-.


•December 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The first semester of graduate school has been slightly tucked under my belt. I found that I am unable to quite figure out the emotions as it dominates a lot of my life. I often find myself thinking about why I feel the way that I do, and I wonder whether I should feel that way. Is the specific action that someone committed worth the forty-five minutes of turmoil? I imagine it is not, but I do want to understand why it is the case I behave the way that I do. Why do I get upset when certain people say something strange about me. Why do I even bother and care? Am I justified in this feeling? Should I hold people I call “friend” to a specific standard, and at what point, can I be said to have been a bad friend? In this past semester, I did learn to take some time to myself. I think back to the days of my child hood in which I was taught to stop being so emotional. To stop crying because nothing was wrong. To stop being passionate because it will and it did get me into trouble. At what point is someone called a friend? Is it the point wherein one can be unabashedly myself? The most cliché existential problems are being experience by me on this break.


I went to my mom’s house today, and she has her home filled with pictures of me and my son. I sat in the room that had his photo albums in it, and I flipped through the pages. I saw the happy boy, and then I saw the sick boy, and now I have no boy. When someone becomes ill, you grieve about them while they are alive, and when they are dead, you grieve about them being dead and feel entirely so guilty. I cried in that bed room. I flipped through those photos and his cute smile haunted me. Why didn’t I spend enough time with him? (Because I was a single mom working and trying to survive.) I couldn’t stop the tears, and I didn’t want to stop the tears.

I want so desperately sometimes to have my son here with me on this earth, but I wouldn’t be where I am if he were here. I think of the ridiculous mistakes I have made after he has died, and I think that I was a coward for not facing on grief. Instead, I threw myself into my work, and I threw myself into other people’s problems.


The feelings, and the feelings that I had during graduate school we very strange. Imagine sitting on a beach, and the sun is warm on your cheeks. Kissing them every so slowly, and with each kiss, a new freckle appears.


The water is cool and feels wonderful, but when you go to stand up all of a sudden your legs are incapable of moving from their spot. So, now, the waves come crashing onto you, and there is nothing you can do but sit. The waves crash, and the waves retract, but you still remain on the beach. Stuck in this paradise un able to move. I didn’t feel like I belonged there for a while, and  I find that’s how I felt inwardly until one day, I told myself to get up. It worked. I got up, and I held my head up high. I continued with my work. I managed to write decent papers. I met new people.


One thing that I did lose is the ability to always help everyone in need. And, I don’t know if that will persist or not. I am tired, everyone. I am so tired of helping everyone. I need to help myself. The new goal for the new year is to find out how to be a better friend, and I need to learn how to be a better friend with respect to my expectations.


More importantly, I feel a sense of belonging. I have a solid core friend group that I can count on. The amount of people that want to see me makes me feel a bit better because I was feeling down for a moment. This break should be fantastic, and I imagine I will make mistakes, but I won’t stop talking about my son. At least, not yet.


The question I will return to each time in this blog is my lived experience, and what it is to be a thing of this kind.


“Bad people…are in conflict with themselves; they desire one thing and will another, like the incontinent who choose harmful pleasures instead of what they themselves believe to be good.”
― AristotleNicomachean Ethics

What is even a poem anymore

•June 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Love, they say (whoever they are)

Is a feeling (or so they say)

A yearning (for the gods only know what)

With another (just the loneliest)

That could be taken

By the gods.


But which god of love

Do we mumble prayers for


Eros, easy enough to grasp in the construct of this time, or so they say.

Platonic, eternal love, a concept that is contradictory. Time before time, bothers the logicians.


The sweet whisper of a lover telling you, “open me.”


The knowledge from forbidden tree, worth the bite.


The promise of a goodbye, a selfless love.


Despite the type of god

that we offer fruits for wisps of a promise kept

using words and rhyme to commemorate

a loss and a gain

of a soul that belonged to this earth

for a lapse of time

too short to ever comprehend


sometimes, just sometimes

we encounter those

for what seems like

pained breathes


upon reflecting, we know

not if the memory were a false ideal

or if the memory were real in all

the ways in which reality plays out


Depth isn’t about how much one can recite the Timeous

Depth is a sticky note to a friend, reminding them

That a smile and laugh is all one needs


A whisper in the dark in hopes the messaged will find the ear of a benevolent spirit.

A sweet poem left, or a letter because your memory was on the mind.


When happiness dances in your life, dance.


When pain occurs, endure.

Because happiness is understanding that the pain will soon subside.

At least, that’s what they say.

The old philosophers; those guys love providing unsolicited advice


This blog post is inspired by my exhaustion, by my feelings, and by the part of me that misses poetry. I have done some writing lately, but my philosophical work has not been up to snuff. I need to start working on the various item on the to-do list.

I have some new poetry if anyone is interested. For now, you get my ramblings from the bathroom. The shower was running, and I needed some time to think about all that happened. The earth lost a soul that genuinely looked for wisdom, and that soul is experiencing ultimate consciousness.


Photo on 6-2-17 at 2.45 PM


“To be friends therefore, men must (1) feel goodwill for each other, that is, wish each other’s good, and (2) be aware of each other’s goodwill, and (3) the cause of their goodwill must be one of the lovable qualities mentioned above.” -Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics