Late School Nights

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I’m sitting on my meditation pillows trying to read the Odyssey (a little over 300 pages in this version) before midnight Wednesday. I’m not even on page 30. Ugh how I wish I could keep my attention on the task at hand. Instead I eat to barely stay awake to read 3 pages before I pass out. I’m struggling.

1 year and that masters in done…. I’ve officially been a student for 25 years when I exclude the 2 years I took breaks. A quarter century learning, another using that knowledge, and another to forget it all. Might even get a bonus round at the end, but who knows. Right now, I’m trying to pronounce Greek names (mans struggling even though I took a years work of Greek before!

No Way I’d Have Ever Believed – My Apologies

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(Photo Credit: Idan Arad)

I’m having to read through Genesis-Leviticus in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) for my current graduate course. Some of the things I used to try and make excuses for are even worse now: Abraham’s near murder of Isaac, God making Pharaoh’s heart so He can kill all of the firstborns in Egypt (from tiny babies to the elderly), etc.

If I hadn’t have been brought up in church and taught to believe in the Bible, I never would have. It’s brutal and unjust and if there is to be any theology that unites the whole, it has to dismiss God’s “schizophrenia” to exalt one personality over another. I don’t say any of this to bash believers of Christianity or Judaism (or even Islam for that matter). But if I hadn’t have been brought up religious, I never would have believed that this is a God worth following.

But then again, very few people bother reading the books they claim to believe. Forgive me if I offend You or you. Know that I have no joy writing this. Just honesty.

Just a note…..

My breaking point was when I applied the interpretative method (hermeneutics) of evangelical fundamentalism to the New Testament’s interpretation of the Old Testament. I found that it didn’t work. Fundamentalists would argue with the apostles if they were side by side. Test it and see.

Chasing Cars

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Life is never like the songs you used to sing.

Sometimes chasing cars means not wanting to say goodbye instead of being lost together with your love.

When we are young, we love magic. When we are old, we love ghosts. Neither truly exists in the present. Both are wanting more than is possible.

The Eternal Nature of Love

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I was supposed to be reading Gilgamesh when I flipped over to some Love Poems from the Ramesside period of 1300-1100 BCE. One describes a girl’s shyness over a boy who rides in on his horse. Another is a boy’s depressed state that he blames on his love (he says he’ll feign terminal illness just so she’ll see him one last time). Yet another describes how a girl will seduce a boy by getting him to go swim with him while she wears her new sheer swimsuit from Memphis.

Love is a biological thing I guess. When I was younger, I never would have admitted it. It seems so real – like the most real thing that could exist. But it’s all hormones and emotions tied into a drive to keep the species going while providing an existential excuse to continue on through the hardships of life. Not a bad bargain I guess. And yet it sucks to see life through the eyes of wisdom. Know why the Teacher in Ecclesiastes sounds so depressing? Because wisdom is depressing when viewed with temporal human eyes. That’s why love appeals to us. It causes us to go beyond ourselves. The mountains at sunrise, the roar of the beach, the completion of a song, and the best paintings in the world – these all draw people beyond theirselves. They point to the existence of things beyond the mind of mankind. This is where my ontology meets reality. This is why it matters and how I can agree with Graham Harman about the centrality of aesthetics in philosophy (although I not as strongly).

But seriously, love hasn’t changed because it’s tied to human nature – every magnificent moment and every damned disaster.

It Begins: My Final Year of My M.A. in Humanities

(Image by Janko Ferlič)

5:05 AM – My new routine has begun. I’m up and getting ready for the gym. And then my daughter stumbles in and asks me “What does stink bug poop look like?” Wow. Hopefully that’s not part of the routine.

The class I start today is Ancient World. It probably should have been the first class I took, but oh well. It’s the Epic of Gilgamesh this week. I’ve read part of it before but I can’t remember much.

I also have to cut the caffeine completely again because my sleep cycle gets jacked up and I get evil from that (plus food deprivation from a die-t).

6:21 – time to get in the house and get started.

Pressing Pause on Harman’s OOO Intro

When I purchased Harman’s OOO Intro, I also got his The Quadruple Object – and I’m glad for it now. I find myself agreeing at a distance with Harman and came to realize that he hasn’t made clear what he means by either “real object” or “direct” (as in direct knowledge or direct contact between real objects with real/sensual objects). I’m hoping that switching to QO will allow me to fairly weigh out Harman’s position. There is much to like but, I fear, he has traveled a long road after taking an early wrong turn. He’ll get close to his destination, but not quite. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will agree with him more, but I’m clearly in the New Realists camp (closer to Ferraris).

I Actually Watched Punxsutawney Phil This Morning

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Seriously….

My daughter insisted on watching it this morning and I am blown away that there were thousands of people standing in 6 degree F weather, listening to intentionally exaggerated parodies of songs dedicated to a ground hog…. but hey they sure made it a fun all nighter for those people marking it off their bucket list!

At least I can mark it off my list for watching it on TV.

New Music: Alex Di Leo

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I discovered Alex Di Leo a few months ago when he released “Brooklyn Bridge” as a single. Great song to run to! I just realized that his EP came out recently too and it’s well worth a listen!

Also, I finished painting one one my lower office spaces today and have to work on the lower trim tomorrow, but it’s coming along well (although that rubber trim sucks to work with around corners). Everyone keeps commenting about how hard I work just because they can see a very visible result. They don’t see the scheduling and templates I work with or hear the patient complaints I resolve. But the notice this. A word of advice to new managers: do something highly visible at least once a month. It will establish you with your staff quicker than the behind the scenes stuff that is far more important. Also, make sure you communicate something daily and follow up on issues quickly. It goes far.

(Also, my manager helped paint too so I’m trying to make sure everyone knows she helped a lot too. All of my higher-ups straight to the top of our musculoskeletal line are amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better set of people to work with. It’s awesome to even be able to say that.)

I Never Liked Politics… Not Sure If I Do Now Either

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I’m laying on my bed, getting a crick in my neck, reading over OOO’s theory of politics and social order. It’s quite interesting and claims to line up with Bruno Latour’s current position. I hope that’s correct because I wouldn’t know otherwise.

You see, I’ve always neglected politics because I was so caught up in trying to understand the world around me and myself (and God at one looooonnnnnggg point), so I didn’t care to try and control the world. I felt it was like operating heavy machinery without knowing what I was operating. The good news is – no one knows precisely what they are talking about, but luckily science has stepped in to help.

I’m still listening though this book and even went and got the hardback on Sunday. I’m loving it. But it’s also making me want to take action and I’m not so good with that due to my tormenting level of introversion.

Also, I’m kind of pissed that I wasn’t educated about the last 50 years of history while I was in high school. I’m directly effects by that part of history as much is not more than the major points beforehand! I’m learning so much about desegregation in America (as well as other major themes) from Kleinfeld’s book that I feel ashamed for being so ignorant in my early 30s.

I would love to study more Gandhi and King too. There are factors that made their movements work while many others fail. We have to study what works and make policies with that knowledge rather than making policies from dirty deals, back stage bargains, and party politics. We use the scientific method in most everything now, so why do we shirk it when it comes to our political opinion? That’s lazy and dangerous.

Ignorance will kill us all unless we learn to bear the truth bravely.