Wednesday, November 26, 2003

these are SUPPOSED to be the bestDaysOfMyLife

and here I spend them HIDing.

HIDING from a world that doesn't even know what love is,
or maybe they're all too comfortable to let anyone else in on the secret,
or maybe they're just plain scared that they were wrong,
and that has made all the difference.

la vie n'est pas juste

that little divide between a er and an im
means everything and nothing all at once.

So I expect you're a bit taken aback by this sudden outburst of angst, and I apologise if you were shocked, but you asked for a post, I promised it, I delayed it (my apologies; it snowed Monday morning), and here it is. Raw is honest, whether or not it's fun.

And oftentimes a beautiful pain is the highest truth we can ever know.


- posted by Eva @ 8:49 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Allie, I took the following from Wendell Berry's The Art of the Common Place (part III page 138). I have rewritten it to flow from me. I find it difficult to post a photo or a story without giving credit now. It is a struggle between the advice of Einstein and the voice of those around me who are 'more true' than I. Einstein said the key to creativity is hiding your sources. The voice of truth says: tell us where it came from. As you see, I am leaning more towards truth these day . . .at least as far as you can tell. . .*snicker*.

I was walking with a friend earlier this fall, and we happened upon a field planted in various densities of plant populations. My friend pointed to a Maximilian sunflower growing alone, apart from the others. He said, "There is a plant that has 'realized its full potential as an individual.'" Clearly it had. It was tall and had many long branches heavily laden with blossoms - and the branches had broken off, for they had grown too long and too heavy. The plant had indeed realized its full potential as an individual, but it had failed as a Maximilian sunflower. We could say that its full potential as an individual was this failure. It had lived outside an important part of its definition, which consists of both its individuality and its community. A part of its properly realizable potential lay in its community, not in itself.

In making a metaphor of this sunflower, I do not mean to deny the value or virtue of a proper degree of independence in the character and economy of an individual, nor do I mean to deny the conflicts that occur between individuals and communities. Those conflicts belong to our definition, too, and are probably as necessary as they are troublesome. I do mean to say that the conflicts are not everything, and that to make conflict - the so-called "jungle law" - the basis of social or economic doctrine is extremely dangerous. A part of our definition is a recurring contest over the common ground: Who shall describe its boundaries, occupy it, use it, or own it? But such contests obviously can be carried too far, so that they become destructive both of the commonality of the common ground and of the ground itself. By ground, I mean the actual ground that is shared by all involved.

- posted by -g @ 7:56 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Monday, November 24, 2003
Working in a cell and being watched

This photo was taken by yet another child whom I have unofficially adopted as my seventh or eighth asian daughter (I've lost count). I introduce you to Mai Doua (thank you for reminding me to be true Allie *smile*). The photo reminds me of a metaphor for life. We are being watched. It cannot be proven so, but all have an inclination that it is true. So, by faith, we are being watched. What effect might this have on your behavior? It is, perhaps, in direct correlation to your faith.

John 15
The Vine and the Branches

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[1] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

- posted by -g @ 6:53 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Saturday, November 22, 2003

What use be wings if you have no head?

- posted by -g @ 5:18 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Sunday, November 16, 2003
Of Life and Death and Still-Life

In preparation for my own death, I am ordering my papers and deciding on my final philosophy. Belief of any sort takes faith. Faith is a gift from God and can be increased by increased time with Him. Time with Him comes from fellowship with believers, the reading of his word and singing praises. The world is a dark and sad place. Light emanates from believers and mingles with the confused who are also believers yet not aware of self.

I'm reading a poem by Conrad Aiken entitled: Palimpsest: The Deceitful Portrait. It may take me several months to understand it to the best of my ability. I am giving it time now, but there are many distractions in my life to prevent me from delving as deeply as I would like to. I have removed teaching at the college level from my life. I have removed the prospect of taking classes from my now. Even so, I find that my schedule is full and I am not able to tend to all I wish to do. It may be that the busier I am, the more I get done. Perhaps I am lazy. The small details of my life are falling apart. Some close to me are terribly unhappy - for many reasons. As a defensive measure, I remove myself from deep emotional attachment or involvement in the details of those discontented ones. I sense a constant rejection, and it is not healthy for me to be exposed to that for continued amounts of time. I am laying out an excuse for my detachment. . . it is survival in a sense. Knowing myself is the idea. I do not know myself very well, and I am not true to myself. If I were, I would not be where I am. I have a friend who is young in age but old in wisdom. She has taken a chance and struck out of the norm. She is an example for me in my oldness and conservativeness.

So here is Conrad Aiken's idea in the poem: Palimpsest: The Deceitful Portrait-

We live for small horizons. We move in crowds, we flow and talk together, seeing so many eyes and hands and faces, so many mouths, and all with secret meanings. Yet, we know so little of each other. Only seeing small bright circles of our consciousness, beyond which lies the dark. Some few we know - or think we know. Once, on a sun-bright morning, I walked in a certain hallway, trying to find a certain door; I found one, tried it, opened, and there in a spacious chamber, brightly lighted, a hundred men played music, loudly, swiftly, while one tall woman sent her voice above them in a powerful incantation. Closing the door I heard it die behind me, fade to a whisper, - and walked in a quiet hallway as before. Just such a glimpse as if that open door is all we know of those we call friends. We hear sudden music, see a playing of ordered thoughts - and all again is silence. The music, we suppose (as in ourselves) goes on forever, behind the door, as it continues after our departure. So, we divine, it played before we came. What do you know of me, or I of you? Little enough. We set these doors ajar only for chosen movements of the music: This passage (so I think, and yet this is guess work) will please you, - it is a strain you fancy, - more brilliant, though, than yours and while you like it you may be piqued. . . you look bewildered, and you think (to judge from self - this too is guess work) the music strangely subtle, deep in meaning, perplexed with implications; you suspect me of hidden riches, unexpected wisdom. Or else, I let you hear a lyric passage, - simple and clear; and all the while you listen I make pretense to think my doors are closed. This too bewilders you. You eye me sidelong and wonder: 'is he such a fool as this? or only mocking?' - There I let it end.

Sometimes, of course, and when we least suspect it - When we pursue our thoughts with too much passion, talking with too great a zeal - our doors fly open without intention; and the hungry watcher stares at the feast, carries away our secrets, and laughs. This, for many counts, is seldom. For the most part we vouchsafe our friends - our lovers too, only such few clear notes as we shall deem them likely to admire: 'Praise me for this' we say, or 'laugh at this,' or 'marvel at my candor' - all the while withholding what's most precious to ourselves - some sinister depth of lust or fear or hatred; the sombre note that gives the chord its power . . . or white loveliness - if such we know - too much like fire to speak of without shame.

'Know thyself.' 'Be true to thyself.' These are the philosophers' refrains. These are our life's work. These are our preparation for death. Moreover, on this journey, we encounter each other and the rooms we share and the music: fully or not - with rehearsals or not - while warming up or not - on purpose or by accident. It is life, and it is not heaven. Is it perfection you seek? The closer you come to it; the less it will be so; for you yourself are not perfect. What will you do to that perfection? Will you contaminate it or will it purify you? I suppose you will not be able to tell unless you risk drawing near to it. So many have given up risking now. Doors remain closed except for those calculated moments of presentation.

- posted by -g @ 11:03 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
So That's The Face!

Sorry Greg. I had to see what you were talking about. What was the inspiration for that?

- posted by -g @ 3:53 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
A Conversation of Love and Loss
(not to be confused with reality)


"Tell me, R.S., why did I ever take this road? Little did I know the chief peril! Torment in the dark was a danger I feared, and it did not hold me back. I wouldn't have come had I known the danger of light and joy. I have taken my worst wound in parting from that which I love most, even if I should go straight to hell this very night. Alas for the pain in losing what I never thought to find."

"Alas for us all! And for all who walk the world not having met what we have, and even gaining her favor. Such is the way of it: to find and lose, as it seems to those who must proceed when staying is desired. I count you blessed: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise. You have not forsaken your duty, and the least reward you shall have is that the memory of her will remain clear and unstained in your heart, and neither fade or grow stale."

"Maybe, and I thank you for your words. True words doubtless, yet all comfort is cold. Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror, be it clear as crystal. You may see it otherwise, but not so for me."

- posted by -g @ 9:47 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Clarence . . .coming home

This man's life is a case in point; he lived out his philosophy, at least for about 90 years. His philosophy was "I don't need you and you don't need me. There is no god, and even if there was, I don't need him and he doesn't need me.

Clarence was a school janitor most of his life. He tinkered with HAM radio and collected junk. He hated cats. Dropped out of high school in 8th grade, worked hard, married and raised five kids. Outlived his wife and all his peers. He retired in the house he built with own hands, he didn't need anything . . . until his first stroke.

It was after his second heart attack that Scott moved in to take care of his Grandpa Clarence. Gramps was supposed to live about a year. Scott talked about Jesus being real, Gramps just chuckled. Scott started feeding a stray cat, which had kittens. Another heart attack and Gramps really started getting weak.

Over the next ten years Grandpa Clarence and Scott learned to love. When Scott talked about Jesus, Grandpa started to hear. The night before he died at age 99, Gramps woke in the night with a vision of angels coming into his room to bring him up to meet Jesus, Clarence was ready. Next day he died with a smile on his face, his favorite cat sleeping on his lap, Scott and all the family around him.

- posted by greg @ 1:52 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Monsters Lurking

Hello Dear Children. Here is a writing prompt for anyone who cares to engage thoughts at this level. The words have been taken from a very precious notebook that has deepened my understanding of human nature and allowed me a new look at purity in love. The words are not my own, but they certainly have crossed my mind enough to become my own. Enjoy, and do let me know what you think - especially you ToK buffs:

PHILOSOPHY bullshits truth because one of its primary tasks is to establish a lexicon of ontology, a language of Being, and TRUTH HAS NO LEXICON. The power of words rests on what is ultimately a pragmatic/utilitarian Right; the power of words lies in what they describe and it is the plot that makes the book, or rather, the characters that make the plot that makes the book. [This begs the question: Is it right to consider Right? . . .] . . .If it (philosophy) doesn't awaken Truth in you, it is not the Way.

Paths Converge

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, Master?
And he answererd saying:
Together you shall be for evermore.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alnone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

-Kahlil Gibran (from The Prophet).

Looking In, Looking Out

Random thoughts from that same precious notebook - these stemming from a Saturday morning conversation with big brained people:

Culture teaches us that when we die, the condition we are in has no baring on what comes next. I do not agree. I believe we will be held accountable for our choices. Now what?

The examined life is our goal. This is about validity, not sequence. This is about quality, not quantity. The whole point of philosophy is to prepare us to die. Interaction leads to truth. If philosophers were asked to lead lives indicative of the philosophy they preach, most would decline, and some would even run for the hills. Socrates did live his philosophy, a philosophy of decorum and custom. He was accused of corrupting the Athenian youth; moving them away from custom. Found guilty, he was sentenced to death. In actuality, he was set up because he upset certain people of influence and power. They thought to scare him into exile, but he chose to stay with custom by drinking the poison. Now who is embarrassed?

The question: "How should we be governed?" comes after "How are we to live?" which comes after "What kinds of beings are we?" This leads to "Knowing Self". We must know ourselves to know anything, and that is bound to take a lifetime. The examined life is a process to defeat skepticism and cynicism.

- posted by -g @ 10:23 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

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