October 18th, 2005

self portrait

Another boring night at work

But, hey, at least I'm at work! Got my time report today and discovered I'd been at work for a total of 5 hours last week. That's just ridiculous.

So the plan for the rest of the week includes: getting an appointment with my regular doctor to get referrals to an ear, nose and throat doc and a sleep specialist. The former because I seem to have some sort of chronic sinus thing: I regularly wake up with one side of my nose congested and I have to turn over to relieve the pressure so I can fall back asleep only to wake up a few hours later to repeat the process in reverse. The sleep specialist because it's been a few years since my narcolepsy was diagnosed and it'd be interesting to see how that's going and also because I'm tired all the time and it would be nice not to be. I can blame some of the tiredness on the wacky schedule I keep and the ease with which I can be awakened during the daylight, but there might be more to it.

Another thing I'm going to try to do this week is make sure I write something every day. Even if it's just passing on an interesting (to me) snippet of my daily life, I'm feeling it's important to get some little piece of writing done.

To that end, I have another post to write....
self portrait

Go philosophy

Recently, I've been playing more online go. Go is a board game of Chinese origin.

One of the things I'm remembering about go is the number of little proverbs that crop up to explain points of strategy. Go is sometimes used as a starting point for other endeavors, most notable in Japanese business. So I started thinking about what some of these proverbs might apply to in my life.

When faced with a cross-cut, extend.
This bit of advice applies to many situations in a game of go. Pieces in go (stones of black and white) are played on the intersections of lines. If stones occupy intersections in a straight line, they are said to be connected. If the stones occupy intersections on opposite corners of a square, they are not. A common attack, therefore is to break any possible connection by playing your pieces on the unoccupied corners of the square. Some ascii art to demonstrate:
   *-+
   | |
   +-*

Black stones (signified by *) are not connected.

   *-o
   | |
   o-*

White stones (signified by o) prevent black from forming a connection.

Such an attack is called a cross-cut. The proverb extols us to extend if faced with such an attack. That is, a player with less experience will often, when faced with such an attack, choose to return the attack by playing to threaten one of the opponent's stones, thusly:
   *-o
   | |
   o-*
   | |
   *-+

If a stone is surrounded on all four sides, it is captured, so white must play to avoid this if he wants to keep his pieces. The downside here, is that such an attack requires black to place another unconnected stone, opening himself up for additional attacks. If he follows the advice of the proverb, he might play thusly:
   *-o
   | |
   o-*
   | |
   +-*

Now black has extended his line of stones, removing one of them from the danger of immediate attack. There are some other advantages to this play that aren't immediatley obvious, but you aren't likely interested in esoteric go strategy and are wondering, "Why is he going through all this?"

Well, gentle reader, I think this little go proverb has something to say about life in general as well. It is very Christian, for example, to not retaliate when faced with an attack. "Turn the other cheek," I was taught, but didn't really internalize or understand. In this little proverb, however, I see practical advice for a similar situation. When under attack, returning the attack upon the one that attacked you only embroils you in a more complicated fight. Importantly, this is a fight of your enemy's choosing; it is fought reactively and reflexively. Rather, one can reach out to connect with others on your side. This serves to diffuse the immediate fight and puts you in a position to better return the attack if it serves your future purposes.

The attacks one endures and to which this proverb can apply are certainly more than just the physical. (Though it applies to those sorts of conflicts easily.) Political attacks, emotional stresses and economic hardships are just a few of the applications that spring to mind immediately.

I hope this little proverb proves worthwhile for you.
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