08/16/12

What was Noah thinking?

Victims who survived a crash of some sort are confronted with the shocking reality of their survival: Why me? Just recently I read a haunting piece by the pilot who was supposed to fly kaczynski's plane, but who, due to a weird succession of events stayed home, and thereby alive, instead.
He spent a decent amount of the following year in a deep depression riddled with guilt, followed by a period of marvel at a possible implication of significance over the continuation of his life. Meaning: why the heck am I alive???!!!
This is one question we all at sometime or another ask ourselves. Especially, if faced, like the above example, with the abrupt ending of ones existence. Imagine now, the whole world coming to an end, and you are its sole survivor. Now imagine further still, you have a few years to consider and ponder this very fact. Away from everything. Not only ON, but also inside a boat. Outside only rain and water. Try to imagine this scenario: you just survived the apocalypse, have no distractions by fending off zombies, and are surrounded by melancholy rain. In other words: Walk in Noahs shoes for a while. At least imaginarily, for this is exactly the scenario he found himself in!
Now picture the scene: all living flesh is drowned for its corruption. God is sick of man's evil ways. Noah is chosen to survive this. Following this, he is only confronted with himself. No rudder on that ark. Nothing to do to influence his surroundings. Helplessly subject to the powers of nature. Faced with his fears, hopelessness, sadness, grief over all he has just lost, anger over the seemingly stuck situation, I can not help but imagine Noah almost by necessity reaching the following convulsion: "no frikkin way did I survive, was I chosen, due to my good works"! Just picture the scene: you facing naught but yourself after a traumatic incident. I doubt any feelings of superiority manage to rise up within yourself.
Similarly to the Israelites wondering through the desert serving as a lesson, I believe this story brings with it an incredible insight. Producing value does not lead to inherent value for the Israelites. For Noah it was a similar "pattern of this world" that needed to be broken: the conviction that we are good by doing good. Goodness comes bound up with good actions. Noah, however, was unable to do good, to be distracted with his good deeds from what was really taking place inside of him. Prior to the flood we read that ALL flesh was corrupted. Noah was therefore NOT an exception, he too was corrupted. Still God chose Him, (Genesis 6:8) and Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This alone made Noah blameless and worthy of salvation, NOT Noahs supposed inherent goodness.
Try to picture for yourself after a dramatic incident in your life: generally, you are the least likely to think of yourself as heroic. I believe what Noah was certainly NOT thinking was: "it's my heroism, genius, wit, grandeur that got me out of this mess." To be honest with you, this realization is far less demeaning and more freeing than some of you may think: for it means that goodness will remain in this world (as I am not its source) even when I do not act good! Puh, feeling a lot lighter already. Thanks Noah!

d.

08/06/12

No-man's land

These days that's my dwelling place. Not knowing what, where and when. If man is the measure of all things, in the absence thereof, any kind of scaling proved to be impossible. Imagine yourself in space, no indicator of where up and down is, you would not be able to tell, would you?! Well, my no-man's land is similar in that I don't know where I am, what the heck I am doing and why I even as much as care. Another no-man's land comes to mind: the desert. How many die therein as there is no indicator if one is in fact walking in circles instead of TO somewhere.
In the old testament, the Israelites are famed for taking 40 years for an 11 day journey. Often, a moral reason is given for this duration: they were ungrateful and hence didn't reach their goal. What if there is another reason for your stay in no-man's land?
The Israelites were slaves before a miraculous escape enabled them to leave as free people. A slave tends to be treated as one who only has value if there is utility. A sick/disabled/slow slave won't be sold for the same amount as a healthy productive one. Living under such conditions can quickly make one very goal-oriented, and understandably so. Similar, Jews in a concentration camp had to maintain a certain appearance of health (entailing utility) in order to ensure an ongoing "life" ( if indeed it can be called that considering the gruesome circumstances) Their existence was inevitably bound up in their output. ( the amount they managed to work.)
If mans value is merely measured by what he produces, we are in deep trouble indeed: a child, a disabled person, an old person quickly becomes disposable. I believe the journey took so long in order to change old thinking patterns: man is not valued as long he pursues a certain goal or manages to produce a specific amount. Instead, a journey into no-man's land can teach one that dignity comes from existence. FULL STOP!
Being in the desert, NO labour, NO harvest, NO seed time, NOTHING to measure yourself up against, will make one realize over time that BEING in itself is the goal, NOT how many rocks I shifted today. I believe a trip into no-man's land is not punishment but rather a blessing, teaching one the very essence of existence. Enjoy!!!

me

sumfing

d.

07/25/12

Talk is cheap

What is this force enabling one to form concepts to (a) apply them to express ourselves and (b) position ourselves? When standing close to someone whilst they speak, one can, at times, feel the forceful breath involved. It's like a breeze. Sometimes. this rush of wind tells of far-away places, such as your fridge, your local pub or the Greek take-away. Little children use this breath to make plain to anyone around them whether or not they agree. Speech is like a force setting things in motion. Like a pool cue setting the white ball in motion: this I'd compare to the breath used to utter a word: the bible speaks of the power of life and death being in the tongue. In fact, a word can bring about war and destruction, another can redeem and leave us pacified.
Don't believe me? Try the following: next time you see your neighbor, call him a murderer. Alternatively, call the person who owes you money and tell them they no longer need to repay. If none of these "breaths of air" carry any consequences whatsoever, you don't speak the predominant language. All I'm saying: think about what yer talkin' about.
Over and out!

danger!

found something

am totally gonna wear that, haha

yup, neat

me not being big-headed

sliding off

d.

06/30/12

Real fur and fake earrings

I remember Big Brother's house guests being praised for being REAL. Real like these furs? We know what fake fur is, mainly plastic, but what is a real human being? Presumably you cannot simply get the plastic version, unless you are speaking of Barbie and Ken, both of which are lacking animus, though.
A very good friend of mine rejects the idea of contextualism completely. In his own words, however, he is not averse to being a relativist, maybe. Though differing in detail, the rough structure of both of these positions are truly nearly indistinguishable.
Now, this pretty much sums up what could be understood by fake: A person contradicting himself. Obviously, in logical terms, that would make him 'wrong', i.e. saying it rains AND it does not rain seems terribly odd. Being a relativist and NOT being one is another one of these examples.
Fake, however, is someone contradicting himself in terms of motive or transparency: being nice to me whilst equally despising every thread of my DNA -- this would cause me to call that someone fake. By comparison: Being true to myself, being in accordance with my intentions is considered authentic. When, though, are we ever completely honest?
If we prance around, shooting everyone down with our honest opinions, we may be truthful towards THEM, but will eventually cheat ourselves. For we won't be able to stand before our own honest judgements. We won't remain unaccused by ourselves. Being authentic therefore starts with acknowledging that we are being quite fake every once in a while.
Just like these fake earrings. Or is it the the fur that's fake? You decide...

d.

06/25/12

"Light version",

John Lennox, prof of mathematics at Oxford and passionate Christian, believes that this Universe presents us with 2 options of interpretation: mind before matter OR matter before mind, meaning the mind is wholly determined by materialistic processes. The one obvious trouble with that view is i leans towards self-erosion. For how can the very statement itself trump the one laying claim to "in the beginning was the word"/ mind before matter (notice, please, how I say BEFORE matter, not OVER! I am not advocating some McKinsey approach to life) in terms of "truth" if it only is the result of wholly determined processes? It would seize to be "true" and simply exist instead, but would prove a fallacy when dealing with apparent falsehoods, such as "mind before matter". For this statement too could lay claim to "simple existence", even though it stands in utter contradiction to the other one.
That's a light version of the puzzles this life throws at you! How do you solve your paradoxes?

d.

06/20/12

"Nobody reads your blog",

reads a tshirt. 1991 we got our first MS-Dos computer. My best friend at the time had an Atari, nothing serious though, games only! The device I am using to type this text on is a mobile phone and has by far more storage than the early MS-Dos machines! Finally the brainpower used to produce this amount of GB is finally paying off: gazillions of people writing blogs that no one reads!
Making high-end stuff available for the masses always brings with it a cry of outrage amongst, well, the masses. Plastic surgery is one of those instances: wax was used as wrinkle fillers as far back as the 20's, 1920's, that is. Good old candle in the wind, Marilyn Monroe, was injected with saline shortly before photoshoots. I remember being in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, last year. A haven for surgery tourism. However, the male congregation of our trip was not at all convinced they weren't surrounded by natural beauties. Mums of 4 with a tummy as flat as an iPad screen did not raise one ounce of suspicion amongst the carriers of the XY chromosomes. Funny how back home I got the idea to google MY suspicion (the one about the male congregation having been successfully fooled) and found how our hotel was actually the official recovery "room" for all the plastic surgery patients - bizarre, eh?! Maybe, pre-google and pre-computer I would have never been able to prove my suspicion right. Maybe a much better place of ignorant bliss? Maybe that's why there are so many blogs out there that no one reads: people voicing their outrage at having most of their suspicions proven correctly via the Internet. Who cares if no one reads it?! Like banging your head against the wall in disbelieve: not intended to change anything, simply an expression of, well, sheer wonder in the face of diversity of this world.

d.

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