Tuesday, June 29, 2004
 
Building on Mr. G's "no stuff" entry...

I often wondered why other people envy the rich and famous. I personally think they're masochists, but maybe that's just me.

The other day someone said they were jealous of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I asked them why. They thought I was offended and getting defensive. I merely wanted to know where this jealousy was coming from. They explained that Mary Kate and Ashley didn't do anything and had huge sums of money. I gave them a quizzical look and said, "but they act. They've got millions of stupid movies. They have to keep up with their appearance. And all that other crap. "They still insisted that those two did nothing.

Sometimes while watching Vh1's Life of the Rich and Famous I do get a little greedy. I look at all the 'stuff' in awe.

But would I be happy with all those material possessions? Yeah, of course I would. To have anything I willed. To do anything I willed. To have anyone do anything I willed. Of course I would enjoy that life style.

However like everything else the novelty will soon wear off and all I'm left with is an unsatisfied life. I would be unsatisfied but I would have no cause to be, I mean, I do have everything I want. Why would I be unsatisfied?

I'm searching for what will make me happy. And I've realized that money, fame, admiration from others (popularity), fried foods (except egg rolls, crab ragoons, and other good fried foods), pets, meaningless happiness, and probably a few other things make me happy for a bit but like drugs after the high I feel worse than before.

So I continue to search... (maybe the search gives my life meaning and I'm happy for something to do? Nah, nothing is that simple... except Life?)

But I still want some stuff.


- posted by Julia @ 11:31 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

"It would fly more accruately with rocks in it, but the cost would likely be too high to make the route profitable." Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 5:14 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
The Newspaper Story

I am helping a friend deliver papers this week. We begin at 3:30 am and end at 6 am. 300 papers hand delivered provides great exercise and more humbling stories for the future prevention of swollen head syndrome. The story goes like this: I was perfecting my paper throwing skills. It is fun to watch those blue plastic bags filled with daily news twirl around and land in bushes or on rooftops. One time I actually landed one on a patio table as if it had been placed just so for the patron's morning coffee/quiet time. Feeling confident, I started tossing the blue cylinders from a little further away; carefully feeling out my range. On one occasion my efforts were so sincere that I was certain to land it in one of those green paper boxes from 25 feet away. Unfortunately the blue plastic bag caught on my pinky and twirled around once before it went straight up and came down on my head. This would not have been so bad except that there were witnesses. I thought I would confess it first before the news got out *smile*


- posted by -g @ 4:48 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Sunday, June 27, 2004
 

Sam caught a big one. Any Fish Stories to tell? Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 9:07 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Friday, June 25, 2004
 
Self Control

As I drove from the Central Library to my humble abode not more than 12 minutes away, I was completely amazed to find that the plentiful container of scrumptious hand-made egg rolls were gone! The only thing that prevented me from eating all of then in that short 12 minute span was the desire to post an image of those amazing creations. I was determined to leave two at least. You see my success. Da, Julia...this could be an avenue for world domination. You could conquer any power who should fall prey to one taste of those addictive agents. *bows to asian phenoms*

p.s. It was a delightful visit, thank you.


- posted by -g @ 2:06 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

and then there was one Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 2:05 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Thursday, June 24, 2004
 
Simplicity

Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety and fear. Simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style. One cannot truthfully exist without the other. It is a puity of heart, and this is to will only one thing. What is it that you will? Richard E. Byrd, after months alone in the barren Arctic, recorded in his journal, "I am leaning that a man can live profoundly without masses of things."

God made us simple, our complex problems are of our own devising (Eccles. 7:30).

When we are truly in this interior simplicity our whole appearance is franker, more natural. This true simplicity makes us conscious of a certain openness, gentleness, innocence, gaiety, and serenity, which is charming when we see it near to and continually, with pure eyes. O, how amiable this simplicity is! who will gie it to me? I leave all for this. It is the Pearl of the Gospel. --François Fénelon

It is a psychosis to define people by how much they can produce or what they earn. This psychosis permeates even our mythology. The modern hero is the poor boy who purposefully becomes rich rather than the rich boy who voluntarily becomes poor. Covetousness we call ambition. Hoarding we call prudence. Greed we call industry. Lusting for affluence is psycotic because it is not reality. We crave for that which we need not nor enjoy. We buy things to impress people we do not like.

So, what do you have that you can do without? Are you willing to part with it? How would you part with it?


- posted by -g @ 10:24 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Wednesday, June 23, 2004
 
Words and Acceptance

Over and over again, names, mottoes, watchwords have been turned inside out, and upside down, and hindside before, and sideways, by occurences out of the control of those who used the expression in their proper sense; and still, those who have sturdily held their ground, and insisted upon being heard, have in the end found that the period of misunderstanding and prejudice has been but the prelude to a wider inquiry and understanding. -Voltairine de Cleyre

We are drawn to ever deeper regions of solitude, from which we are unlikely to bring back news that will be greeted with applause.


- posted by -g @ 8:05 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Saturday, June 19, 2004
 

Tis the season.  Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:06 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
A Story for Allie

Allie has asked for more stories. Here is a recent one that I am sure will become more refined with repeated tellings. A young lass who recently joined our American community from India approached me on the last day of school and told me she hated me. Then she hit me in the shoulder and told me again that she hated me. She is a wisp of a child so there was no damage done, but it was confusing and I am sassy at times, so I told her that it was ok and that I forgave her and that I still thought very highly of her. She let out an exasperated sigh or grunt and said: "OK. Here it is. You tell me why you believe in God, and I will tell you why I do not." I laughed and told her to sit down. I set a carving tool up on the table and said: "Look." Then I knocked the tool over and proclaimed: "That is why I believe in God." She was confused, as any sane individual would be. She did not hide her frustration and demanded more. I told her that the cause of the tool falling was me pushing. Every effect has a cause. I invited her to look around and imagine the world she sees as an accident. Any thinking person would have trouble doing so. The further back you look for origins, the more likely you are to run into a creator. Every effect has a cause, but not every cause has a cause. The cause is what I name God. Several other students had gathered to hear this discussion, and she had no answer, only exasperation. Because the universe is fair and unbiased, I should also tell you that a student handed me a piece of pizza around this time. I proceeded to drop it on my lap. A lovely and supportive on-looker was quick to point out that this was a grand example of cause and effect. It is nice to be ones own illustration at such times, and though I have many reasons to be proud (you being one) I have just as many reasons to not be proud (me being the main one). Peace my dears, in the truest sense.


- posted by -g @ 7:55 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Thursday, June 17, 2004
 
Hate is not as simple either

I was thinking about Hatred. Is it really the opposite of Love? Wouldn't the opposite of Love be No-Love (an absence of love)? But Hate is not No-Love. It is "to feel hostility or animosity toward," which isn't the same as an absence of love.

So why is it that people instantly think, "love, opposite is hate"? In fact, couldn't one love something and at the same time hate it?

I think they're very similar emotions. They're both very passionate and extreme emotions. It is very hard to get these emotions, it kind of has to build-up. You can't just all of a sudden feel these intense emotions. But of course everything has its exceptions and that does occasionally happen.

Doesn't it make more sense that the opposite of Love is No-Love?


- posted by Julia @ 2:21 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Tuesday, June 15, 2004
 
A Little Drop of Poison

My interest in this thing known as Love is growing. I have never been 'in love' romantically. So I stand on the outside as an unbiased investigator. Maybe not, I find myself being jaded all the time. So here I continue my exploration of Love, unlike other 'normal' people instead of experiencing it I'll just observe, take notes, and make conclusions. And you the reader aid me on my Quest of Understanding Love.


"'But you said you did not love our father. How can you have faith in him if you didn't love him?'
'Maybe that's the reason,' Adam said slowly, feeling his way. 'Maybe if I had loved him I would have been jealous of him. You were. Maybe - maybe love makes you suspicious and doubting. Is it true that when you love a woman you are never sure - never sure of her because you aren't sure of yourself? I can see it pretty clearly. I can see how you loved him and what it did to you. I did not love him. Maybe he loved me. He tested me and hurt me and punished me and finally he sent me out like a sacrifice, maybe to make up for something. But he did not love you, and so he had faith in you. Maybe - why, maybe it's a kind of reverse.'"
- John Steinbeck, East of Eden


Song - John Donne

GO and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.


These two pieces of writing are pretty contemptuous. But there are millions of other pieces of writing to say otherwise. It seems to me that Love is perhaps the most confusing emotion. Before one knows for certain that they are 'in love,' they must go through a series of questions and doubt. Is it too hard to accept something that is natural? Or is love just an illusion from our feeble minds?

Even I too, contradict myself because I can not accept anything for what they are. I must question everything that needs no questioning. All the important questions are already asked by the time we're an adult. But the philosophers must continue, or else they'd find themselves bored to tears. So I continue my futile quest, perhaps it's not so unimportant? Who knows? I might learn a thing or two.


- posted by Julia @ 10:29 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Saturday, June 12, 2004
 
(I think) I am wiser after I finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I, personally, have always been scared of eternal return. Not as in the return to a new life but the "that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum." Now that is scary. To be doing the same tedious task, over and over and over. That has weight unlike if it only occurred once, it is light and weighs almost nothing. (Einmal ist keinmal.) Then the tedious task is nothing but a hurdle we must jump. But if eternal return is in fact true then after a while your legs will tire and you would probably fall but of course you won't because you'd still be doing the same dreary chore. That is something I fear but can never know for certain if it is true.

Then why fear it? Because I fear the unknown. Don't we all live our lives in search of the truth? I live for knowledge. But true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing. You can never be certain of anything but of yourself (and even that at times is tricky). You can have faith and confidence but that is different from actual certainty. Something that has weight. That's what I search for.

So if you don't have certainty about anything but of yourself then is Love the only real truth? It is abstract and has no shape, form, or substance but it is there. And you know this to be true because "Man is the measure of all things; of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not." How can this weightless entity weigh more than anything else in our lives?


- posted by Julia @ 6:14 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Friday, June 11, 2004
 

There is a story behind this one. Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:08 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

Looking down may also be looking up. Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:07 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

This Year's Crew Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:04 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Thursday, June 10, 2004
 
Outrageous Love

This little story must be shared, Sharon and I went to the wedding ceremony of two recent college grads. Both Lutheran and practicing Christians. The bride grew up in this church, and the pastor knew her since birth. Before the vows, the Pastor tells the audience that these two people have not only remained chaste during their engagement, but that they have even refrained from kissing ... yes kissing! And they want to share their first kiss in the presence of family and friends here at their wedding ceremony. They waited for their first kiss ... for our benefit. Even the pastor was flabbergasted, this is unheard of, he said. And when it was time for that kiss...."I now pronounce you husband and wife......" It was a really amazing kiss. I will never forget it.


- posted by greg @ 2:06 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Wednesday, June 09, 2004
 
an open letter to(the idea of)gaylund stone

dear mr. stone,

some months ago (was it in april?) you came to rufus king as an official examiner for the IBO. you may remember our interview, in which i blithered and wrung my hands and tried really, really hard to condense all i had learned (imagine, reader's digest condensed art. you wouldn't like it, i imagine.) and say things that reflected that, at least generally. you may recall the generally awful job i did of answering your questions, i certainly do.

since then, i've ruminated and marinated over the things you asked me, and have come up with a lot of deep, insightful answers that i would have liked to given. that's ok. i'll save these answers and pop them like hard candy in the future, enjoying their overwrought completenes.

but there was one thing you said to me, not a question exactly, but a topic of discussion that almost made my eyebrows break from their orbit on my face. you said to me, "i don't see a lot of your personality showing through in your work." i was so shocked by this pronouncement that i said something rather stunted and silly about everything having come from and blah blah blah. what i really wanted to ask you, what i really want to ask you is, what were you looking for? the question just tumbles like an ice cube into my gut whenever i begin to dwell on that abysmal interview. where did you expect to find my personality that you weren't?

i don't mean to be rude. it's just hard to be respectful of the idea of a person. so, you know, whenever you get a chance, write me back with the idea of an answer, ok?

disrespectfully, but not on purpose,

emily joy


- posted by emily oi! @ 11:06 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
I think perhaps the atheist doesn't consider her/himself to be in need of salvation... the atheist doesn't necessarily think her/himself to be perfect, either, since that would defy the notion of atheism; if one is an atheist then one can't think there's any god, the self included. Rather, flaw is accepted as part of human nature. Again, that doesn't mean a sense of resignation, and I certainly wouldn't call it immorality (in fact, I hesitate to call anything immoral, realising that, regardless of whoever or wherever or whatever god may be, I am not him/her/it and neither is anyone else I know). Indeed, acknowledging one's own imperfections is - and I suspect anyone here would agree - the first step toward correcting them.

Then, of course, the question arises: what's to do after you've perfected all your imperfections?, and I don't think anyone's ever had to answer that.


- posted by Eva @ 5:59 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
A bit more on the three addicts

G- thank you for such kind words, they can only qualify as an idealized self-image (a la Sam) and worthy of attaining. I realize I'm an infrequent visitor to this wonderful blog, but it is always a great pleasure just to read back the insightful posts from you and your brilliant guests. By the way: I'm keeping with strict nepotism for my summer help, sorry!

Sam- greetings and thank you for your comments. The matter of humans thinking we are God has always intrigued me. As a lifelong Christian I was taught that our great enemy, Satan, was the first one to desire "to be like the Most High" and for his aspirations, he was banished to our lovely planet. He didn't exactly think that he was God, perhaps he knew better. I read a little quip that has stuck with me ... what is the difference between me and God?....... God never thinks He's me.

The three addicts all shared the 12-step dilemma, which demands turning our unmanageable lives over to a higher power (or God as we understand it). This originates from basic Protestant teaching: we are all sinners and must confess and accept the redeeming life of Christ for our salvation. S and E reject the traditional position of God, and take the position for themselves, thinking (in my view, wrongly) that they are God. I view this simply as a case of mistaken identity, one which I also make from time to time.

But, Sam, your view is quite different. An ideal yet realistic self-image as the highest power puts me in the business of first creating God, then paying homage to my creation by becoming it. The realistic fact that would constantly gnaw away is that it cannot be done and I know it. Here I agree with your evaluation of E, despair would drive me down also. Is then the "salvation" for the atheist to create an attainable higher self? One not to high, and yet high enough to make it a healthy challenge?

I prefer, rather the dilemma of the addict and the 12-step program. For the Christian, (or as you said, a religious person), the person of Jesus Christ is not merely a role model to emulate, but the one God who desires to fill us with His strength and power and wisdom and love. The very things I so deeply need, and quite frankly find terribly lacking in my Self.


- posted by greg @ 1:37 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Monday, June 07, 2004
 
Hello Sam

I have posted Sam's comment because it is a thoughtful one. I am glad to have the interchange, and it is nice to be in communication with Sam again after so many years. I hope Greg will respond to your comment Sam - I think he might. I can tell you all a little bit about Greg, and he can correct me if he chooses.

Greg is my cobbler. He is an extremely intelligent and funny man. I would describe him as "authentic" or "sincere". I am pleased to call him friend. He is an artist and artisan, a prolific reader, a master drummer, a non sleeper, and a cheerful drink for weary souls. He is the father of three brilliant children and the husband of a woman who might just be a tiny bit smarter than my wife, (it is a toss up, but I will always side with my linguistic master gardener *waves to wife*)....actually, Greg's wife might just be the only one I know who has read ALL the books at the Wauwatosa Library (and she remembers thier content too). By the way, I am looking for a summer job, can you use an extra shoe-maker Greg?


- posted by -g @ 9:45 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
We are all living double lives, myself included (although not to the same extent as C). See my response to your post in my journal.

Greg (and I'm not sure who Greg is, but hi Greg, I'm Sam) also brings up the case of E, and he states that E sees himself as g/God. There are many different perspectives that an athiest can have, and proclaiming yourself to be g/God in lieu of a higher power is only one of them. To E, and probably to many people, the Self is the higher power. Your platonic image of youself becomes your idol. I subscribe to this point of view and I am not addicted to anything. E worships an image of himself that is unattainable and therefore succumbs to addiction and self-abuse. I pay homage to an ideal yet realistic self-image. While a religious person emulates a g/God that they know they can never truly be like, a person like E tries (and ultimately fails) to become a perfect image of himself. -Sam


- posted by -g @ 9:44 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Sunday, June 06, 2004
 
Saved from what?


- posted by Eva @ 10:46 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
S C & E

Greg's post about his friends makes me wonder many things...one of which is this: How many of us are living double lives? What would happen if our lives came together into one life? What distinctions are there/must there be between public and private lives? Certainly it is ideal to not have them contradict. Who does not lie with words or actions? Do we not need saving from self? Can self save self?


- posted by -g @ 7:01 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Saturday, June 05, 2004
 
Noodles

I whisked my lovely away for a quick yet relaxing meal at noodles & co. I ordered a glass of wine with my meal and she freaked out. In response, she ordered a large rice krispy bar dessert thingy. The man who poured my wine chuckled at our banter. He added to our conversation by telling us that he rose from the dead recently. I didn't really hear him or what he said didn't really register. SHE picked up on it though and asked him what he meant. He told us that he had lime disease and collapsed. He was DOA but they revived him. I noticed that he shook with jerky movements when poured the glass of wine. SHE asked him if he saw a tunnel and light or anyone familiar. He shook his head and smiled. After our meal, I asked a busboy for the name of the manager who rose from the dead. The boy didn't really understand what I was asking, so I described him. As we left, I asked to see Dan. I shook his hand and told him that I was happy he was alive. He smiled and thanked me. We walked for a time and I attempted to show HER a beautiful street that I happened upon the day before, but it was gone. Not beig able to see everything, I find life rather mysterious.

This reminds me of the boy who, while flying a kite, was asked by a man what he thought he was doing. "I'm flying a kite" he told the man. The kite had dissapeared behind a cloud and couldn't be seen, so the man asked him how he knew he was flying a kite. The boy replied "The kite tugs on my string now and then to remind me that it's there." This seems an appropriate metaphor to hint at how we know that God is there. He tugs on our heart or spirit string every now and then.


- posted by -g @ 4:00 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



Wednesday, June 02, 2004
 
Lovely Day

The weather was wonderful and the docent was full of stories. Bradley Sculpture Gardens is always a fun place to wander about and except for the soggy turf and wet feet, all was delightful. Thank you Becky for joining us and good luck on obtaining that summer art position.

Eva, Sam, if I had known you were to be at graduation, I would have made an effort to find you. It was rather fun, and I did enjoy the "love" theme.


- posted by -g @ 8:32 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

The Docent Said: "Don't Touch!" Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:29 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

Special Guest Visitor Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:27 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

Sculpture Garden View Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 8:26 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 
Three addicts

S is an old friend, we spent our young years studying the Bible, praying, reaching out to others who had an interest in following Jesus. S had a specific interest and skill in defending the Bible against cults. S also had a specific interest in alchohol. Over the next twenty years, S developed chronic alchoholism. As a young Christian, S came to recognise God as the highest power, willing to forgive his sin, and restore his humanity. Now, S has come to recognise himself as the highest power . . . as his liver fails, as his limbs go numb from alcholoic neuropathy, as all his relationships disintegrate.

C is also an old friend of mine, we spent those same early years studying the Bible, praying and reaching out to others who were interested in following Jesus. C had the uncanny ability to defend the Bible against the world views of humanists, pagans, and athiests. C also had the uncanny ability to obtain and ingest the highest quality illegal drugs. Over the next twenty years, C lived a double life. One life was as a high profile health care professional, serving the community and the church. The other life was as a secret drug addict, filled with deceit, lies, paranoia and guilt. When the two lives crashed together, it was a great crash indeed, filled with divorce, lawsuits and the loss of career, hope and dignity. C believes that God will now punish him severely, daily for the rest of his life. C continues with drugs. C belives that it would have been better if he had never been born.

E never believed in God, nor did his parents. E is funny, handsome, charming, generous, and sincere. E is 21 years old and is a heroin addict. E has been arrested five times for possesion and with intent to sell. Once, while on probation, E was just inserting the needle into his arm when his probation officer walked into the room, unannounced. E spent nine months in prison with mandatory drug rehabilitation therapy. After his release, he continued with a twelve step program. Unfortunately, E could not conceive of a power higher than himself. E has been arrested again for heroin possesion, and now wears a security collar around his neck.

My heart is broken over these three addicts. I imagine what they could have been, I imagine what they might yet become. I wish they could stop thinking that they are God. I wish I could stop thinking that I am God.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. --Proverbs 22:6

--Greg


- posted by greg @ 1:46 AM | | 0 rocks in pond



Tuesday, June 01, 2004
 

Look at all those cords! Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 10:40 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



 

Happy Graduates! Posted by Hello


- posted by -g @ 10:38 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



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