Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Love Philosophy

My entire life I have said I wanted to study Philosophy. And my entire life I have heard nothing but nay saying at why this a most nonsensical educational pursuit. But pursued it I have! It seems to have stumbled back into my life. I had to take Intro to Philosophy for my major. and I inexplicably loved it. Sure it makes you question, a lot, even your faith. But when I emerged from those questions, my faith was stronger and more resolute than ever before. Now I am taking Intro to Ethics with the rock star teacher of BYU-Idaho. Today he told us he treats our class like a graduate class, and he really does. We are respected as intellectuals. After every class I leave with a heightened concept of what ought we/I do. It lifts my spirits in such a way I can only describe as if I were a bird tied down (but ideas I have always taken for granted or I have conformed to) and being prevented to fly, and philosophy has cut me free! I feel like I am souring. Elation fills my soul as I contemplate new concepts. But this feeling is swiftly put out by a little class I like to call Writing. Its a fine class. The teacher is very sweet. Confusing with her assignments, but its not too bad. But it is so incredibly dull. Its literally like I was flying and this class pulls me back to earth; back to the old not well thought out ideas and formalities of essay writing that caring no consequence for my mind or soul.

To further explain my joy of studying philosophy I can only compare it to the Allegory of the Cave. One of my favorite stories. It basically is a story of a group of people who live their entire life tied to the wall of a cave, watching the shadows of animals on a wall. They never move. Time is spent naming the different shapes of the shadows. One day Socrates free's himself of the ties and ventures outside. He experiences more than he could have possibly imagined. The animals and shadows are now real. And there is light and nature. He is elated! When returns to the cave to explain to his peers what he has discovered, they get angry that he would propose such an idea! They deny his discovery. (also this is just from memory, I could be wrong about a few details, but thats the basic allegory)

Welcome to the story of my life. Every day I feel like I am getting closer and closer to the light, if not already there. And when I seek to tell my peers about it, they react with aggressive confidence that philosophy is bad. The "philosophies of man," and such. Now, granted, I have many benevolent friends who will submit to my wishes in explaining my new discoveries. And for them, I am extremely grateful. But it makes me terribly sad how rejected philosophy is by the general population. I do not think everyone ought to pursue Philosophy as I do, for fear that, for lack of a better word, their mind might explode. But I do wish people would stop taking what they know for granted. Sincerely look at both sides of the argument and determine a logical explanation for the way in which you act and think. People who sincerely and with an open mind studied philosophy would emerge with a much deeper sense and explanation for what they know.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Have I Been Watching?

The answer is too much. But its been pretty good though!

1. Supernatural (or SUPAH-NATCH). I have been loving starting this show episode 1, season 1. Even though I have already seen about half of the series, I thought what the heck! Its been terrific bonding time with my roommates to watch Sam and Dean fight evil demons. And I have come to the conclusion, I am team Sam.

2. Flight of the Conchords. Hello Jemaine and Britt...I mean Brett...This show is absolutely hilarious. Singing along to the songs has been a wonderful experience. And its just brilliant in every way. I keep quoting it when people don't know what I'm talking about; but they are missing out! Bonus, it is totally inspiring film wise!

3. Once. Finally! People have been telling me to see this movie for years now. And I have been listening to the soundtrack for years. It is an incredibly beautiful, humble, simple film. Seeing the story behind the songs makes me love them even more. I have a feeling there is going to be a serious Glen Hansard phase coming. Thank goodness my roommate is gone for the weekend because I am singing pretty passionately along with him right now....But I digress...Frankly, this film is perfect. There is hardly a plot, but there is hardly need for one. I feel for every character. One of the last scenes where she plays the piano kindles my heart. There is a connection between those two that is very tender. And SPOILER: They never even kiss. I think that is very impressive for how much they express in the film.

4. Sigur Ros Documentaries. This band is beautiful in every way. After a long world tour, they came home to Iceland and played free shows for the community. The result is a gorgeous view of Iceland. The band itself is fascinating. And the music is always piercing. I felt at home when I watched this with some new friends here. Nothing makes me more full of joy when I find a fellow Sigur Ros fan. We all have come to the conclusion we are moving to Iceland.  These documentaries are perfection to me. And it is plural because the lead singer did a solo project and filmed that as well in 2010. I have yet to finish that one though.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Language of Love is TIME

There are five languages of love according to some psychologist. They are touch, compliments, gifts, time...and one other thing I can not remember! (want to help me out) But despite all this, I have come to the solid conclusion my language of love is time. Without a doubt time. The key to my heart is spending a day with me, and then saying, ok what are we going to do tomorrow morning? Thank goodness not everyone is like me, or we would never get anything done. Often times I'll hang out with someone in the morning then ask what we are going to do that night, and I can tell they think its a little weird, but thats whats ideal to me! All the time hang outidge. I get so restless when I am alone on a weekend or any night. If I'm not studying, I have to ask, why am I not hanging out? Then I get super let down if I don't hang out with someone. And they don't have to do anything, but sit there and talk with me, and I am completely content.

Anyways, just a thought...and a good way to further procrastinate this environmental stewardship quiz I very much don't want to take...

Friday, January 21, 2011


Its no secret that I love philosophy. A lot. I think it makes you understand the world, yourself, God, other people in a way you never would have before. It makes you a true critical thinker more so than any book or class on critical thinking. But through my studies I have realized the crucial importance of humility. Sometimes I'll be sitting in a class and I'll get so frustrated with my peer's comments, thinking they are not thought out and one sided. I'll even get frustrated with my teachers wondering, who are you to tell me how to write an essay? What is an essay? Why do I need to write one? What does it matter? Is this even real!? (ok just kidding, I never ask that last question)

But I have come to the conclusion I seriously need more humility in my life. Socrates considered himself the wisest person because he recognized he did not know anything. He was always asking questions, keeping an open mind, and as far as I know, believed in objective truth. Thats what I need to be like, Socrates...

And Christ. I need to be more like Christ. He was completely humble in every way. He knew what he was doing and could explain everything he said eloquently. He said so much with so little words, which is incredibly impressive to me. His words pack a punch in just a few verses. Humility is key to learning. Humility is especially key when I am seriously studying philosophy as well as religion. It will keep me sane and know that no matter what earthly philosophy I ever come to, it will never surpass the logic, knowledge, and perfect arguments of God.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whats Up With That

Today at Devotional the speaker said about finding a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse "Seek ye diligently, and ye shall find." hahahhahahaha

But, despite how funny that is, I have been a little peeved lately. I tried so hard to never write a post about this, but I can not contain my frustration any longer. 

We hear lesson after lesson about dating and not hanging out and how to stay safe on dates. But heres the thing, I rarely go on dates. Well I should try harder, right? I should make an effort to meet new people and ask them to hang out and make the "first move." Well done and done. I basically only invite guys to hang out. I meet new people all the time. And still, no dates. I mean, what more can I do? Its frustrating because it is truly a feeling of helplessness, this dating game for girls. There honestly is nothing else I can do. Except for ask boys on dates...which has not been the best situation from my experience..

And the thing is, I would not even be that annoyed, except for there are all these incredible girls I am friends with who don't go on dates. What the heck boys! Seriously, some of these girls I know have it all, beautiful, super fun, active, smart, funny. Boys should be lining up around the block to ask them out. What is there deal?

All I'm saying is I wish I could go on a date. There I said it.

There is a time and a season for everything. I need to be patient, happy, and take it easy; that is the conclusion I have come to, despite my irritation...

Thank you for reading my most pathetic post of all time. 

Monday, January 17, 2011


OK Everybody! I have this paper due tomorrow and I am so way overthinking it. I seriously could use some feed back ASAP! If you could leave a comment with a thought or critique that would be amazing. Thank you all so much!

Taylor Jensen
HUM 250-02
Brother Jensen
What is beauty? Growing up in an active LDS family many Latter Day Saints come to know beauty as defined by the 13th Article of Faith: “…If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praise worthy, we seek after these things” Every Primary student is expected to memorize this declaration. But what does it mean? What is lovely or of good report or praise worthy? What constitutes this concept? Identifying beauty is an objective task. Yet, still it is diluted by a strictly “Mormon” mindset to think what is beautiful is always and only completely void of any hint of immorality, profanity, violence, and general sin. This focus on the bad is preventing many Latter Day Saints from discovering the good. The absence of bad does not automatically mean there is substance to the work.
            Objectively speaking, there are some art pieces that are beautiful, no matter anyone’s subjective opinion of the piece. Jeff Anderson is a Humanities Professor at BYU-Idaho. He clarifies the four requirements that make art good. First, the artist demonstrates extreme skill and excellence. Secondly, the work transcends both historical time periods and society, to reach out and effect future generations. Third, great art should provoke serious thought; thoughts that resonate with your mind and spirit for days and weeks to come. This feeling is described best by the Roman word gravitas. Jeff Anderson explains synonyms of this word: “weightiness, dignity, power, magnitude, and eminence.” This correlates with the final requirement for great art: that it provokes new thought and feelings to old ideas.
This list is a perfect means for identifying good works of art. When art achieves all these requirements, a powerful feeling is experienced. An overwhelming sense of home as Merrill Bradshaw describes it. I feel this powerful experience when I listen to Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody in the Theme of Paganini, see Michelangelo’s Pieta, or read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  Sadly though, many Latter Day Saints miss out on this feeling of home because of the “questionable” material in art.
            As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are marked in the world as being a close minded and peculiar people. It is a generalization that is not entirely undeserving. This judgmental relationship has left Latter Day Saints so skeptical of the world and what it has to offer, that they avoid everything that carries a scent of wrong. They look for the bad, and in so doing, they miss out on the great.
            What is so detrimental about focusing on an avoidance of the bad is Latter Day Saints tend to close their minds to many objectively great works of art. Violence, immorality, darkness, and general sin in art stop Saints from pursing it further. Though, the scriptures, the words of God, have abundant content that carry these themes.
The bad, so to speak, of literature, visual arts, and music point out social ills and are profoundly effective in pronouncing those ills when evil wins, rather than when evil loses. Thomas Jefferson describes this concept perfectly when he says “Bent stories portray evil as good, and good as evil. Broken stories portray evil as evil and good as good, but evil wins. Whole stories are where good is good and good wins. And finally, healing stories can be either whole or broken stories where the reader is profoundly moved, changed, and/or significantly improved by his reading experience.” Beauty is very often found where darkness, immorality, violence, and persecution occur. But it is through those powerful themes that progress is made.
            A lack of these themes tends to lean toward a lack of substance. The same way happiness cannot be experienced without pain. Good substance in art cannot be experienced without significant themes. Simple empty entertainment is not conducive to great art as it does not usually promote new weighty thoughts. This life is meant to prepare to meet and become like God. Weightless entertainment will do nothing for us in this pursuit.
            Plato held the belief that this earthly life is a less perfect copy of the perfection we had in the life before. Through art we try to achieve that perfect beauty we once had and that the Gods now experience. This concept works in harmony with Mormon doctrine of the preexistence. It is disheartening, that so many Saints would rather spend their time and money viewing or listening to works of art totally lacking in substance or meaning simply because those works are free of the bad. Coming home is how art should feel. What is lovely and of good report helps to enlighten our soul; it is an overwhelming sense of home that can only be experienced when we open our minds and hearts to true beauty.


For some reason no word is more odious to me when describing a home. This word is great when describing horrible acts of villains or malicious people, but never to describe my home. For some reason people I live with love to use this word when describing the state of the dishes or kitchen floor. I love the dishes and the kitchen floor. And just because the sink has a few dishes in no way makes it disgusting. My apartment is extremely clean and well kept compared to nearly every apartment I have ever seen. So when this word is thrown around, as it has in every home I have lived in I feel, it instantly brings down moral. It is is like they are personally attacking me because this is my home; the place in which I live, sleep, eat, and have fun. My home=me.

But seriously, no offense. If anyone I have lived with reads this, no offense. I know you don't mean harm.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello Bronchitis My Old Friend

So I did something today I don't usually do...ever...I went to the doctors! It was the sweetest cleanest most homey urgent care I have ever been to. I always feel like its a test when I'm at the doctors. As the doctor checked my breathing I was certain he would say, "no your totally fine, what are you even doing here you crazy!" But nope, he said "Wow you are very congested, you definitely have Bronchitis!" Swiftly I was given a prescription and off I went! Now I am on a prescription and loving it. I am fully on my way to recovery :)

Speaking of loving it. I love my cousin Brittany. She is the best. I love spending time with her. She has taken such good care of me forever. She honestly is like my sister. I wasn't sure how I was going to get to the doctor, and she was totally there to take me. The first day I was in Rexburg I felt absolutely horrible. She called me and invited me to dinner! It was perfect. I felt so crappy and did not want to unpack or see anyone. I went over and she got me a blanket, dinner, and gave me some shoes! I love Brittany.

Movie Review Time:

True Gritt: This is one manly movie that I adore. I watched it with my dad, brother, and uncle. Manly time to be sure. But I loved the protagonist. She is a tough no nonsense 14 year old girl. What a RELIEF to see a 14 year old girl in a movie who is not swooning over some boy or singing songs or gossiping or crying. Instead she is out to actually kill her fathers killer! Now I have not seen very many westerns...but this probably is my favorite western movie ever.

Social Network: Wow this movie was fascinating. I am so glad I caught it while it was still in the cheap seats! It truly captured the odd obsession college students have with exclusive clubs and impressing others. There is a lot of partying. But it is obvious that it is shallow and pointless. Life is about genuine sincere relationships, not money or grades or partying. Despite all of that, what life boils down to is your relationships, with others and yourself. The backdrop of the movie is two lawsuits Mark Z is experiencing from creating facebook. Through a series of flashbacks you learn how Facebook came to be...Its seriously fascinating. Warning though, there is a lot of partying, too much for little kids to be seeing for sure...Not that little kids would care to watch this movie anyways...

Pet Peeves:
Today in English we went through an extensive list of words to NEVER use in writing (like "you" or "I" or "lastly"). I would like to add some words to the list you should NEVER use in writing or vocally: "In our day and age" and "Back in the day." I cringe every time I here that most ugly string of words put together. For some reason in my Humanities class when referring to the past or present, those words are the only words that make sense to my peers!

Funny Story:
Walking to my new FHE brothers house I slipped in the snow...2 or 3 times..because I was wearing my super cool cowboy boots...that have no traction. My roommate is the witness.

I am joining ICOMM!!!! I will soon be a member of the Video Production team! But Taylor, you've never filmed anything of consequence before in your life! Well I say to all you doubters (including myself) bite me! I am doing this! I am joining IComm and figuring this all out! Its my dream to make films...Maybe this will be a serious step towards fulfilling this dream!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It was a Good Day!

So today I was blessed to have energy the entire day! (except for devotional in which I fell asleep for at least a quarter of it :/)

My coughing fits are getting to be less and less. I blame it less on the sickness and more on the extreme cold and high elevation. I sympathize with people with breathing conditions.

I talked to a few cute boys today!

I saw Social Network and it was great!

I got a 90% on my ethics quiz! And a 100% on the last quiz!

Soon I will write the greatest essay I have ever written. It will be on Aesthetics. And it will change the world.

I work with two of the funniest most interesting students on campus.

I got my homework all done by 8!

I had a delicious midnight dinner of wheat chex!

I paid my tuition and was able to afford it!

Got a W2 at work. That was weird.

Went in the new is so magnificent and extremely large that it literally does not seem real. Its like stepping into another world. I can't believe how huge it is. It doesn't make sense there would even be room for that thing on campus. Yet there it is...down the street from where I live...

I have to wake up in 7 hours, but because I just ate I don't want to brush my teeth because that grosses me out. And because I can't sleep without brushed teeth, I'm hosed.
I'll brake it down for you in an argument.

1. I can't brush my teeth if I just ate.
2. I can't go to sleep without brushing my teeth.
3. I just ate.
4. I need to brush my teeth.
5. I can't go to sleep.

There you go! That was probably the most invalid argument ever...but maybe its still sound?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Week in my Life!

I started school! And it is weird. Every semester has a different feel. And this semester is no exception. It is very different. I am in an apartment. I am taking MAJOR classes. I am working with a new old friend at work! I am definitely not a rookie any more. The honor code doesn't freak me out as much as it used to. And basically its awesome.

List time:

-I went to a show at Sammy's friday and saturday. The bands were terrible friday. But sat a band from Logan came that was super good. Like a combo of explosions in the sky and phoenix.

-My Ethic teacher tears people apart who say dumb things in class and I love it.

-I've been sick all week and its terrible.

-I am so grateful for nice people here who tolerate my disgusting sickness.

-There are cute boys in my ward!

-Yesterday I went to a friends apartment. His roommate is watching some interesting documentary and I recognize the song. Who is this? I inquire. He responds "You wouldn't know them." I then realize what it is and ask, Is this Sigur Ros!? Yes. Yes it is. I then experienced my brain exploding because between him and the other boys there they knew every obscure band I love and hold dear. It was amazing. And the absolute beauty of that documentary about Sigur Ros...mind blowing.

-I got to finally listen to my friend's mix. He is a DJ. And he is incredible.

-Its freaking cold here. I have very little tolerance of this weather right now. My first day it was -8.

-I still don't even feel like I'm in school. Homework is really hard to get to.

-New achievable dream:  Take a train to San Fran in the Spring.

Goal: Get my head on straight. Clean my room. Not procrastinate homework. Be genuine. Meet a new friend every day. Keep in touch with old friends I've met. Go to devo and sincerely seek to learn something. Go to the temple after devo and sincerely seek to learn something. Carry out my calling with as much devotion as I can.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm Sick

For the past two weeks or so I have been surrounded by sick people. My friends, family, and coworkers, all sick. I get sick this time of year literally every year. And since I had made it past New Years, for some reason I thought I was in the clear. But I was sadly mistaken. Now I have a fever of some sort...or maybe the chills...Either way. I am sick. And tomorrow morning I fly to Rexburg, Idaho. And two days after that I will begin my long anticipated semester. I have taken medicine, herbs, essential oils, drank lots of water, and got a Priesthood blessing. I really think shortly I will feel better...I really hope shortly I will feel better...

Packing has been some what of a nightmare. As if packing weren't bad enough, doing it while sick is almost unbearable. I still need to finish up and bring my stuff over to Ju's.

But here are some thoughts I've been having lately:

I think it is interesting how smoothly this chapter of my life is coming to a close. I feel like every other time I have moved or a friend goes on a mission or leaves for college, I make a huge deal. But all three of those things are happening and I don't feel that much different. That's my life now. Moving and placing myself in new and unfamiliar situations in order to grow. My friends doing the same I guess just is expected now.

I loved working at DSW. It was so sad saying goodbye to everyone. Some people I didn't think liked me very much were sweet and considerate. My manager told me I would always have a job there. I was taking some boxes to pack my stuff in and he had one of the employees help me carry it out. Teri is one of the sweetest kindest women I have ever met. She trained me on the register and on my last day we were on the register together. Like master and student working side by side. I loved it. The people I work with are seriously fascinating. Everyone has their own unique story and its interesting how even a short time with people can make such an impact.

At Singles Ward today I was sick. I didn't talk to very many people. But as I saw the priesthood pass the sacrament I thought how most of them are going to be in Las Vegas for a while. Continuing on with their life here. Its so odd to me. That this life I've had here isn't changing without me. At BYU-Idaho every semester is literally different. But in Vegas it is very constant. The singles ward will always be here.

These new friends I made here are pretty amazing. They are like my brothers. I am going to miss them sincerely. Its been the most interesting friendships I have ever had for sure. But I learned so much. I hope they did to. What I really hope is I was able to make them better people. Honestly thats all I want is to inspire people to be better after they know me. I have been so inspired by the people I've met. I feel blessed to have had such great friends while I'm home and I know we will be friends for a while.

I am so looking forward to going back to school. I will list some reasons I am excited:
Temple, every week
Devotional, every week
Church, every week
A New Calling!
New Friends!
A New Ward!
New Classes!
New Roommates!
Pretty much I am extremely excited. Unfortunately by body seems to lack the spare energy to portray this excitement. I can't believe its tomorrow. Literally. Its hard for me to even pack because I still don't feel the pressure.

Lastly, I love my family. Very much. If all I did this fall was hang out with my family, I would have been happy. It has been wonderful. First of all, we are a pretty funny bunch of people. Watching youtube videos and laughing till we cry will always be a cherished memory for me. Secondly, we were able to do baptisms as a family in the Las Vegas temple. What a tender experience. I loved that I was able to do family history while I was here and be baptized for some of my ancestors with my family. I loved just eating dinner with my family and talking to them. It started being weird for me to be alone in my room if my family was at home. I loved it. We went on some fun trips and it has been incredible.

Well that's it. My next post will be brought to you straight from BYU-Idaho. Crazy. Town.