Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Circus rings bursting with man’s mythology,
Ringleaders of conciseness last breath,
Dance upon the house that was Macbeth’s,
We crucified the idiot and nothing came,
Grasped the standard of freedom in shame,
Novelty in mankind’s relativity,
Ghosts hover above the nativity,
Facts or Reality,
Glass full of mortality,
Empiricist or Saint,
Death in paint,
A word to share,
A world in prayer.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I was a half mile from the fruit stand,
But just a stone throw from hell,
I was a half mile from the fruit stand,
But just a stone throw from hell.
I was kill ‘n time like old eve,
Just waiting on forever,
That old woman don’ Adam wrong,
My old woman don’ me wrong.
She’s a claim ‘n I did her wrong,
That old dog won’t hunt,
She’s a claim ‘n no wrong,
That old Abraham’s a watch ‘n,
She’s a scream n’ at the sun,
That old God’s not a watch ‘n.
Woman do ‘n me wrong,
Woman gone hang,
Woman done me wrong,
Woman led me down,
Woman ring ’n my neck.
He’s a begging for a preacher,
That old dog don ‘good,
He’s a begging for a prayer,
John’s given no revelation,
He’s a run ‘n for that river,
Just another stone throw from hell.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Still searching for a long lost tooth,
Soul tumbles through,
Draped in the bluest hue,
Room after room tumbling,
Bumbling, grumbling, fumbling… crumbling,
Surrounded in sounds so humbling,
Fading into times lost dunes,
A lost piper’s tune,
Drifts like a nightingale’s song.
Wondering how it all went wrong,
A story book past carved in crumbling stone,
A heart down the well thrown,
Water and blood churning,
Yearning, burning, turning… learning,
Forest of feelings left free burning,
Nothing left to say,
Your heart left to slay.
Hoof beats to the tempo of the night,
A blood stained dress all in white,
Windless trees bend and sway,
Steeples dressed all in gray,
Ferry you across the killing fields,
Water thick like blood that never yields,
Priests are winking,
I will be thinking, blinking, shrinking… sinking,
Disappearing into the bog still sinking,
Lost forever will I be,
On one knee.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
One might ask, "Can you indicate what it is of conciseness that is is conserved?" I might simply first retort with a question of my own. "What is it of momentum that is conserved?" In this way I really ask is moment any more abstract a concept then conciseness? The physicist, I feel, would tell us that momentum can not be seen so much as demonstrated. Momentum is not something you point at, it is something that effect those things which can be pointed at. Conciseness is the same way.
Where to turn…
Going home with a twisted soul,
With a heart dipped in coal,
Along with the pissed out train cars,
Destitute philosophize a cause,
Under the slow drip of sand,
A mile from hell, a mile from the fruit stand,
A seven eleven along life’s promenade,
She forgot her place and prayed,
Found Adam hold’in a spade,
Nowhere to turn,
Nowhere to turn…
A lamp post and a twisted rope,
Bastard goin’ ta hang,
Priests goin, ta pray,
Corrupted pipes and black berets,
Bombs and ballots lose their merit,
To the tune of their transgression,
All is given up in confession,
An alter to golden possessions,
A trick to turn,
A trick to turn…
Man in all his proportions,
All that’s left is her distortions,
A Grain of rice to fill a glass,
The trickle of blood to fill the mass,
Madness in quite sanctuaries thrive,
Nothing left to do…
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
While some may believe that balance is a luxury, I beg to differ. Balance is a necessity. It doesn't take much to realize that you control your life, your life does not control you. I know full well that I have deadlines and there are only so many hours in the day. It is mesmerizing the way the grind fools us into dropping those things in life which perhaps are most important, that keep us sane. I reach some days and feel like a robot. The grind eats away at me and it is as though life is being sucked from me. Eventually I shut down, useless to everyone, myself especially. Balance is a natural mode of Life. We see it in the seasons of nature as they each balance the other out. The universe is in perfect balance as the many tugs and pulls through planets and stars have their harmony. If I would surrender my constant agenda for several minutes and allow myself a few moments to listen to my own mind, or a half-hour to exercise my body, perhaps look up at the sky every so often life would feel more fulfilled for me. Great that I've figured out my own life plan, who cares, right? The point is that when battling a very busy schedule we all struggle to hold on to those things which are vital to our sanity. We push ourselves so far sometimes. Whatever it is that makes us feel inspired or that makes us feel better about ourselves is essential. The Bible says, seek ye first the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is a state of mind, of being in sync with that which is bigger than ourselves, that which helps us make sense of ourselves and life itself. So whatever your kingdom is, seek that first. I guarantee it will make all the other balls easier to juggle.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
We walked to the edge of the world; we found the very edge of reason. And in the darkness hope and pain looked as one and the same. All was lost there. Nothing was found. Every spark of humanity died without a home. The hearts of men grew cold as we sat on the edge of a knife. Running past the stop signs and crossroads of our youth, we found no homes for our friends. So we turned the car around, and speed down the ancient high ways past the rest stops and by-ways of our long lost fathers. We found nothing but the remnants of the American mythos. A thousand lives but only one soul. Lost between the pain and lust of puberty, we had everything to lose and nothing to gain, or so we could only think. We crossed from the fields and silos of our fathers across a line of blood and into the heart of the land of the believers. We found the Baptists of old along the twisting river. As the brown murky waters rolled past our eyes we watched as they submerged the heads of our brothers and sisters. It was baptism in blood in the age of sin; the second coming in the folds of the New York Times. What was to become of us upon that night? Where we the victims of our fathers sins? I would think not, we where nothing more than the next chapter in the transparent history of our lord, another stepping stone on the way to hell. Many different lives, one soul. We would be lost but for that ancient highway.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I am in complete agreement with you on the fact that the ‘Pro-Choice’ argument is one which is pathetic in structure and depth. I simply was pushing you for a clearer explanation, which you quite kindly provided I must say. I was trying simply to push for a definition of personhood which might provide the base for a strong assertion for or against the rights of the child in question. Potential for life is simply I would find not enough. All though to provide a interesting counter point we need only look to a point made by the late Pope John Paul the second, that “…modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established programme of what this living being will be a: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already determined.” Can the ‘meta-pragmatism’ you propose provide us with grounding for person hood which is both objectively scientific in nature and subjectively suitable to the unique nature of personhood? I propose this as a question of interest alone, not a criticism.
I find that it would be far too easy for me to simply assert that my original comments where simply my personal musings over a set of terminology I find misleading and some what lacking in purpose. But I must say James is not committed in any way to making predictions about the world. James believes truth is what ever satisfies our experiences as whole. An idea is true in so far as it helps us to find its relation to other parts of experience. James more then anything is attempting, in very good Aristotelian fashion, to over come the classic problem of universals by placing truth objectively within objects as they are not as they are determined by means of rationality. In this way James clearly states time and time again that pragmatics pertains to immediate experiences not necessarily predictions about the future which may require a priori assertions about the uniformity of nature or the laws of induction.
Let see then a example of the plan English meaning of ‘post-rational.’ I hope we both have the same dictionary. :) ‘Post’ seems to mean after the fact or coming after, rational means that which is ‘agreeable to reason’. If this is the case ‘post rational’ is anything coming after that which is agreeable to reason. You of course mean to imply that it means lacking or excluding from reason. Which as such their can be no such example found in the world at our disposal. We are inherently rational beings, any statements or actions we take are based upon some rational assertion. All though it is true that we can be mistaken in our reason and in such behave irrationally we are far more likely to be mistaken in our experiences. This returns us to the pragmatic assertion that truth is simply what we find to be in agreement with the body of our experiences.
You brought several excellent points. Of which I have touched on only a few. I greatly appreciate your time; I enjoy this sort of conversation very much. I hope to hear back in response from you again soon. As such best wishes,
Principle vs Pragmatism?
In the link above is a post which refers to the proposition 'Post-rational post-modern.' What exactly dose the writer mean by such a statement? Is their even such a thing as post rational? I think he or she is trying to indicate something closer to moral relativism, the view that the truth or falsity of a moral principle is relative to a individuals perspective, a view which most certainly is not held by the majority of Americans today.
The numbers of logical fallacies committed in this post are alarming. Denying an un-born child the right to chose? The child is not cable of even having a say, what exactly are you trying to assert; that non existent people have can make choices. The writer would be better off to simply say that asserting ones right to make decisions about their body dose not extend to possibly independent personal identity of a potential offspring.
Pragmatism dose not in anyway necessarily imply a prediction about the future. It means only that the truth of a principle is found in the result of an action. Pragmatism runs counter to the idea that right and wrong is determined by the principles which a individual acts or are judge by. ‘Meta-Pragmatism’ is as such a contradiction in terms. This is because to look to something before the result of the action would not be pragmatic at all. All though one thing is clear the above blogger has unintentionally answered my question, it would seem this post is in it self ‘post rational.’
Monday, September 22, 2008
A love has been lost, and though we say goodbye, you have my forgiveness. Know, though, that I am not your redemption. You will find redemption in your own heart and in the walk of your days. Everyday is a new day in which you have the power to begin again and define your moments. In this grand struggle to find peace, which we all must work through, I wish you strength. I would not wish to ease your struggle, for that would be a disservice to you. You are not your mistakes and you can break free from them when you so choose. Do not give up. There is hope in each new day.
I want to go and melt in the rain. I want to be consumed by the wind. I want to sit by the water and watch the world fade away into distance. Watch the moonlight stabbing through the clouds like a knife, its light pouring down like blood into the water below. I want to walk the streets of
Long lost love of midnight…
Tight against her body her dress clung…
Sprung forth waves of the deepest black night…
Quite a time before innocents lost by track side…
Cried? I can’t remember…
Embers long extinguished…
Distinguished no more…
Posses in an old movie…
Groovy they where but away are locked…
Shocked no longer by the sight…
Fight it no longer…
Knees knock together…
Whether to run or give into the dark…
Spark of humanity…
Vanity is all...
Wall in the heart…
Chart a course over the horizon…
Mizen mast is broken and shattered…
Tattered like my heart strings…
Brings the ancient puppeteer to tears…
Chairs left empty by long lost men…
Pen to paper…
Taper off into the distance…
Resistance among the ruins of the academy’s marble…
Garble of words about things and facts…
Acts of the Apostles…
Fossils are all that remain…
Rain falls on their empty shells…
Cells for my soul…
Stroll past the abandoned grave…
Brave no longer…
She's gone now. Neve to return. Their all gone. I'm the only one who remains. Soon I to will disapear. No one left to lesson. No one left to care.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Have we found our Kerouac yet in the writings of Stephen Chbosky, J. M. Coetzee, Naomi Klein, Ian McEwan, or Lawrence Lessig? It's strange to think that one writer could even capture a whole generation. We are certainly a generation, like so many before us, grouping for truth. Whether we find it in the things we own, the people we meet, or symbols which float around us we all desire it and are all bewildered by the complexity of it.
When it comes to politics we go every direction at once. Some hold on to the moral majority of their fathers, the liberalism of their mothers, or simply drive towards a chaos while trying to tear down the parties of old. What is horrifying though is that for all the talk, all the activism, all the volunteerism, all the praying, all the screaming, shouting, and marching so few of us arrive at the polls. We have driven our selves from the political equation. No man or woman can be faulted for who they chose to support. No matter what anyone says voting is never a sin. The real sin is not voting. If the truth is supposed set us free, voting is the insurance policy that backs up truth. We see, a I noted before, that as voting among women has declined the wage gap has increased. Those who show up it seems do create the law.
We find our selves in a interesting position. As poverty, AIDS, the veteran administration, globalization, and petty greed fill the streets of our cities and the deserted roads of the country side we have decision to make. As a generation we must chose a side. Not one of political affiliation, not one of loyalty to a party or an economic system but simply whether we will stand up for or brothers and sisters or allow them to perish in the face of intolerance and hate. The question echoes in the streets of Buenos Aires, it is sweeping through the fields of Mpumalanga, and marching in the streets of cities all over the world.
It should be clear that our generation will be defined by the globalisation which started before we where born. We will be rembered for what we did or didn't do accordingly. Their is no one left to blame but our selves. No where to turn but each other.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In the past four years of my life I have run over a dozen blood drives as a representative of the American Red Cross. While running these drives I found myself often in a position of having to explain to individuals why they would not be allowed to donate blood. Socially the issue at large was the federal ban on blood donations made by men who have had sexual relations with other men (MSM). A social issue is any issue pertaining to the sociological study of behavior within a larger society. Sociology studies the larger social structure and how individuals’ social interactions change over time. A personal trouble is the effect of a larger social issue on an individual or individuals. My personal trouble was helping two close friends affected by the MSM blood ban and countless other males confused by its implication understand its purpose.
Applying the sociological imagination we can better understand the effect they MSM blood ban had on my personal trouble. The sociological imagination is the ability to imagine the possible relationship between a given individual experience, or personal trouble, and the wider social forces or social issues in a given society (Curry, 2008). Homosexuals recognize the MSM blood ban as a personal trouble because from their prospective it appears as an unwarranted form of discrimination. It is clear today that the spread of HIV is not caused by ones sexual preferences but by the failure to in act appropriate preventive measure such as the use of condoms. It is also possible that the MSM blood ban could become a personal trouble for males who do no participate in MSM. Heterosexual males may misunderstand the ban and fail to understand the real cause of HIV, therefore failing to in act appropriate preventive measures themselves.
A study conducted by Rodney G. Triplet at
The sociological imagination allows us to see how my friends may have been emotionally harmed by the policy. It also allows us to imagine how an individuals behavior, let’s say choosing to use a condom, may change based of the stereotype put forward by the policy. A male who believes that only homosexuals can spread HIV may not feel the need to use a condom if he doesn’t identify himself as a homosexual.
Rowe explains the many reasons women do not want to be stereotyped as feminists or any other sort of ism or political orientation. She also predicts that the wage gap between women and men will increase and women will lose many of the rights gained over the last decades if they do not return to the ballot box. With this in mind I would like to make a few comments on individuals as political capital.
I believe as citizens of the American Republic we are the majority of the time we are not looked at a source of political value to elected officials. When a person is representative of political capital politicians will cater to their demographic and work hard to meet their needs and wants. There are two ways in which people primarily fail to be a source of political capital. First individuals fail to vote. When a individual, or worse a whole group such as women, fails to vote politicians have no reason to recognize their needs or wants. Second is when a individual votes for the same party their whole life or declares them selves a supporter of a candidate long before the elected officials have any need to solicit their support.
To remain a source of political capital women need to vote. But they also need to refuse to support a official in till it comes time to actually vote. This way by remaining undecided up till the act of voting politicians will be forced to constantly strive for their support. In this way individuals, just as women should, can retake power within the American political system.
Remarks on Augustine’s Doctrine of Illumination and Aquinas’s Aristotelian Reply:
A Logical Critique based on remarks by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his 1929 publication and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
In sections of Augustine’s City of God and his On Free Choice, Augustine argues for the existence of internal knowledge and the doctrine of illumination. In the process he discuses the discreet nature of individual internal senses and the notion the real objects are un-changed by our perception of them. In doing so he presented a unique set of epistemological and ontological view points where truth itself becomes the eternal and unchangeable that we know simply as God. It should be clear though in time that a great deal of doubt can be cast on Augustine’s position in so far as logic is considered the primary means for describing the laws of reason.
Augustine wished to show us that God represented that which our reason was not only inferior to but also that which has no superior. In this way God is truth it self. As humans though we are not eternal or unchanging and certain laws of reason are needed to allow our limited reason to discover truth. These laws are reveled to us, according to Augustine, ‘by the inner light, of which bodily sense knows nothing.’ This position which Augustine presents is dependent on the ability for individuals to sense certain laws of reason. The primary example put forward by Augustine is the science of numbers. “The science of numbers is there for all reasoning persons, so that all calculators may try to learn it, each with his own reason and intelligence.” In the case of numbers we must ask whether we gain our understanding of them from the laws of reason, which are revealed to us by the illumination of God, or through the bodily senses.
Augustine states that “…even if I did perceive numbers with the bodily sense I could not in the same way perceive their divisions and relations.” This statement is made in rejection of the position that we perceive numbers in images of visible things by way of the corporeal senses. The argument is that if such was the case how would I know with certainty that two distinct quantities will all ways yield the same result when added (i.e. seven plus three equals ten always)? An important point to be raised would of course be could we not imagine a world where seven and three was not equal to ten? As it though, the world being as it is, could we not extract such laws from the visible world? The idea that seven and three equals ten in the end is clearly the application of some set of logical rules which yield the laws of reason. But can such laws of reason provide us with an explanation of the senses that would allow us to prove that the science of numbers is such.
Wittgenstein held many views in his life from the Tractates to the Philosophical Investigations. In 1929 Wittgenstein published the second and finally piece of writing published in his life time, a paper titled Some Remarks on Logical Form. In this paper Wittgenstein makes some extremely interesting remarks about the way numbers are perceived in visual representations. Augustine was originally a professor of rhetoric, because of which he place a great deal of importance in the nature of how symbols such as words represented things in themselves. In his work he pursued elaborate accounts of how ‘signs’ found in scriptural texts can be interpreted along with the Sacramental acts of the Old and New Testament seen as signs signifying the nature of things. He went as far to state that he wanted to make clear “that things signified are of greater importance then their signs.” Wittgenstein become intensely focused on how atomic propositions where signs representing visible things. In doing so, in his 1929 paper, he constructed an interesting view of the logic dictating how such propositions where signs. Signs in which the occurrence of numbers where essential and unavoidable.
This paper was later rejected by Wittgenstein as worthless. It still remains a remarkable insight into the nature of reasoning through logic. Wittgenstein wanted to show how the logical investigation of phenomena could be explained symbolically. This is a necessary exploration for any one who wishes to claim access to the laws of reason as they are presented in logic. In the paper Wittgenstein asks us to imagine a square, P, defined on a two dimensional surface. The statement ‘P is red’ requires a logical representation which automatically entails a set of coordinates to restrict the area of the square, a measure of time, and some indication of the degree of the color. This is because any theory of knowledge must be constructed not a priori, but a posteriori from the visual experience of the thing in question.
The area P then can be represented by some proposition like ‘RPT’ where R is the degree of color, P the position of the thing, and T the time which the impression was made. The degree of the color which is my internal impression can not be analyzed into a logical product of single statement of quantity and a completing supplementary statement. This is because the relation of difference in degree is an internal relation and is represented internally between to statements of degree. When we are told the temperature is twenty degrees we do not also ask if it is ten degrees. This is because of the exclusive nature of measurements of degree.
Is this inner relation the inner light which Augustine suggests in his doctrine of illumination? Perhaps not, although here Wittgenstein may be suggesting that the inner relation which Augustine speaks is found within the bodily senses. Let’s for example look the case where two individuals have mistakenly identified P as being two distinctly different colors. One claims that the area P at a given time is red ‘RBT’, the other claims that it is blue ‘BPT’. How can we explain this contradiction? We are unable to define the colors red and blue by any property of exclusion so we are left show how the structure of a given statement ‘( )PT’ can have only one input. Wittgenstein shows that logic alone, or as it stands, can not provide for the logical exclusion of cases where both individuals are correct. This shows a deficiency in our symbolism as perfect notation will have excluded such statements by definite rules of syntax. As such we are at this point with out an ultimate analysis of the phenomena in question. If the most basic logical system can not explain the discreet nature of the senses how are we to claim access to the laws of reason at all? And with out such laws of reason how can we in Augustine’s view be capable of God or recognizing truth?
If the senses are discrete, in so far as I know only what I see and you know only what you see, and we have no clear system of language or symbolic representation of what we observe how can we claim to know where for certain the laws of reason are originated from our private inner illumination? It could be claimed that sense numbers are perceived in the logical propositions and statements describing visual experiences that the bodily senses do provide for the laws which dictate their relations. The value of doing so still remains unclear to us, unless by some means we can show that the bodily senses cause the thing it self, other wise unchanged, to change on account of being perceived. Augustine claims that,
“It is evident that things which we perceive with the bodily senses without causing them to change are by nature quite different from our senses, and consequently are common to us both, because they are not converted and changed into something which is our peculiar and almost private property.”
There stands today a theory within modern physics which claims that what we perceive is converted and change by our perceiving of it. This theory is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Theory. This theory stands as the cornerstone of the
Heisenberg applied the concept of anschaulich, the idea that a physical theory, or law reasoning within the physical world, comes when we grasp in all simple cases the experimental consequences qualitatively and see that a given theory leads to no contradictions. This concept establishes his theory as one of ontological significance as Heisenberg claims the “the path of a particle comes into being because we observe it.” This is because our measuring of a quantity, according to Heisenberg, gives that quantity meaning by creating a value for that quantity. It would seem that from this, and along with Wittgenstein’s 1929 paper on logic, that we can determine laws regarding the nature of things from the bodily senses alone. Of course the remarks made here only open up the possibility of determining laws a posterior, based upon the senses, and dose not in anyway prove conclusively that this is the case. The point here is only to cast doubt on the principle of illumination as the source for our laws of reason as represented by logic.
The true problem with Augustine becomes one of showing where exactly the illumination provided by God accrues. This is the same problem faced by all Platonists; they realize that something about our sense of an object can not be transferred into a purely intellectual quality. Wittgenstein realized the problems faced when attempting to intellectualize the world of sensible objects in the Tractates. It was in this work that he found that the world had to be made of more then simple facts represented by atomic-propositions. Originally Wittgenstein had hoped to derive from language a metaphysical theory which did not require an explanation of being in and of it self. Aquinas noted these difficulties in Augustine by way of the theories of Democritus and Plato as interpreted and critiqued by Aristotle.
Democritus’s Materialism and Plato’s theory of the forms are by no means reflections of Wittgenstein’s Tractates, but they both present some key short comings inherent in all three theories and that of Augustine’s doctrine of illumination. As Aristotle points out Democritus was correct to point out the importance of the senses as they are affected by physical objects through the discharging of the senses. He failed on the other hand to notice that the intellect has an operation independent of the body. Plato correct in pointing out that the senses are distinct from the intellect but failed to note that all intellectual concepts must originate from the senses and the intellect in a composite form. Aquinas demonstrates an eight step process by which simple apprehensions become intellectual objects according to Aristotle.
Through this process we move from first intentions into sensible species, or physical objects with intelligible elements, through the sense organs to sensible species impressed on the mind. These impressed sensible species become one common sense which forms a phantasm or unified image representative of the object. At this point a distinctive line is drawn between passive material quantities and the agent intellect. After passing this line the object in question becomes an intellectual quantity within in the potential intellect. According to Aristotle the mind is everything, and the potential intellect can represent any possibility and is possessive of the actual idea of an object. This process of abstraction clearly draws our attention to the distinction between objects and symbolic representation in the mind.
This is also true of Wittgenstein attempt at logical representation. Wittgenstein attempts to draw a line between the symbolic nature of the intellect and the physical things which make up the world. Augustine attempts to draw a line between the physical agent and the laws of reason themselves. The problem with Wittgenstein, Augustine, and Aquinas is that there is no line between the sensible and the intellectual. The reason immaterial can not effect the material is because both are intellectual and physical simultaneously. No object can be said to exist without being at the same time intellectualized, and for humanity no intellectual quantity can be conceived of out side the physical limitations of the body.
The eight stages demonstrated by Aquinas are deceiving, in that they attempt to hold the process of intellectualizing physical thing to specific geographical locations between the physical world, the senses, the mind, and the soul. Imagine for a moment you are standing in the middle of the London Underground during the early 1930’s. You want to know how to get some where on the other side of
Each of the steps out lined by Aquinas must be seen as transitional stations along the path intellectual understanding. Attempts at pinning each station to a place in the physical world or the mind are nothing more then an outdated form of Cartesian Dualism which services no purpose in discovering the nature of knowledge. It may help in defining the limits of a given proposition but even this remains unclear from what Wittgenstein demonstrates. The only purpose for orienting the path between sensible objects intellectually conceived and intellectual objects would be one similar to Beck’s placement of the Themes on the London Underground map. It offers us nothing more then a helping hand in understanding where the abstract process of achieving knowledge fits within our view of the world.
In the end Augustine can not claim that divine illumination comes at a specific point in the logical process of discerning laws of reasoning or intellect. Instead the process of intellectualizing the senses is as whole should be claimed as a form of divine illumination. All sensible things, rightly perceived, can then be viewed as truth it self.
 On Free Choice, II iii 7 – xv 39
 According to Rist (1994) his education is rhetoric, caused Augustine to consider long-standing Stoic and Epicurean disputes about the nature of signs, verbal and otherwise…
 Augustine: The Master 9.25
 Wittgenstein also provides a logical demonstration for why this is.
 Clearly I have not exhausted all possible logical systems, but I have shown a key feature of the failure of logical representations of the world in so far as the fail to capture private sensations.
 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
 Heisenberg, 1927, p.185
 Aquinas’s Interpretation of Aristotle from Summa theological I.84.a.6-8
 These assertions are similar to and inspired by Daniel Dennett’s multiple draft theory of conciseness, the claim that there is no single place, or Cartesian theater where conscious thought occurs.
 Fiell 1998, pg. 98 Design of the 20th Century
Friday, September 12, 2008
Joseph Godspeed made his way down the crowded street. Careful not to bump into anyone, he pushed and dodged his way through the globs of people that poured down the side walk. The sun shined brightly and the wind was but a gentle breeze. All this considered Joseph still pulled himself tightly inside his brown jacket. His green satchel swung gently by his side. He found him self steering down past his dirty gray jeans to his feet. There his brown sneakers where worn to the souls, but not from travel as one would think, but more from simple age. Joseph thought about the color of his sneakers, brown like the number four he thought. It had been five years since Joseph had bought a new pair and the thought that maybe his next pair should be five colored made him giggle.
Joseph hadn’t had much need for a new pair since his mother died. Not much need for a job. Not any real need for a good number of things, the very things that motivated all the people who sped past him on the side walk. By now he had slowed down to a slow walk. At first he had wanted nothing more then to get home as quickly as possible from the doctors office. But now he was lost in thought counting the people on the street, each number bright with color, all but 7 it was almost too dark to see. Soon Joseph was consumed counting and calculating everything he could see. The radius of a passing taxi cab’s wheels, how the bus formed two perfect Pythagorean triangles, and even simply the number of windows he passed all shown bright with a rainbow of calculations. His mind exploded in a psychedelic blur of numbers and calculations.
It was in the middle of this explosion of thought, brought on by his sneakers that it happened. One moment he was walking. The next he found his body in a terrible collision with the body of a young women. They struck smack into each other and her chest pushed his hand, still clutching the strap of his green bag, trapping it between the young women’s soft breasts. He leapt back hot with shame confronted by the most beautiful young women he had ever seen. Consumed at first by rough shot estimates of force and mass he now found himself consumed by the perfect curve of her hips. She was an unconventional kind of beauty, a quirky kind of beautiful; a kind of beautiful that goes un-noticed until one day someone collides head on with it. Joseph’s mind was now overloaded. In a mix of shame, confusion, and pain he fled.
Lost in the collision, lost in the pure shame of lust, lost in his own reality the ground began to move under his feet. Soon the street was spinning like a tunnel around him. Nothing could be held onto. Nothing could be judged. Nothing could be said to be real. Joseph ran. As fast as his legs would carry him, he was leaving the young women behind. He couldn’t keep his balance and bounced off lampposts, people, and buildings like an iron ball flying down the plane of some twisted pinball game. He had to get home; he had to escape the confusion of the street.
The real question of importance, for those of us looking on, is what that young woman felt. Did she feel violated or put out in some way? Maybe she had been violated countless times in her life. Was she excited by the encounter? Maybe she was a lesbian. Or did she simply brush it all off and move along her way? She may have not even have noticed Joseph. All the answers to these questions seem to depend upon the reality of who that girl was. But for Joseph all that mattered was finding something to hold onto.
When Joseph finally made it home to his apartment building a weight was lifted from him as he slowly climbed the stairs to his apartment. The world around him came back into focus as he reached the safety of his apartment. He always avoided the elevator. Strangely he had forgotten why. His sneakers pounded the old wooden steps as he made his way ever higher. Each step had a number for Joseph; therefore each step had a color. The stairs reached up like a twist rainbow, one colored by a kindergartener with a very odd set of crayons. His apartment was on the top floor far above the city streets below, and as he made his way down the soft green corridor to his door, his breathing had returned to normal. In the entrance of his apartment he hung up his brown jacket and laid to rest his green bag, the only witnesses to follow him home.
He locked the door behind him and made his way in to the single large room between his bedroom and the kitchen. With a push of a button the large plasma screen on the wall turned on. Its light filled the room but its sound was mute leaving the constant image of news reporters and scrolling headlines. Joseph turned on a single light just bright enough to cast a warm glow around the room. Another button pushed and a stereo came to life filling the vacant space of the room with crisp soft music. Finally his desk was revealed, empty all but for a brilliantly white computer monitor and matching keyboard and mouse. He turned the computer on and sat down in the large comfortable chair in front of it.
Joseph’s walls were not visible as they were covered in heavy wooden book shelves. The shelves were packed with books, DVDs, records, CDs and an assortment of three ring binders. The floors were also covered by collections of these objects along with boxes in varying states of openness. It seemed that Joseph’s collection was always growing. It had since college and the beginning of his search.
Joseph thought back to his college days, sitting alone in the quad behind the old student union. From across the fields the ring of a baseball bat dinged like a metronome in the distance, its heavy sound echoed and seemed to dictate the pace and rhythm of the whole quad. Between his classes he’d read all the books he could find. Philosophy, religion, psychology anything that might help him cope with who he was. Nothing seemed to ever work. As he looked across the common three small trees stood like armless crosses. They reminded him of the trinity, the center one ever so slightly taller, and a great rock in the middle. Each had its own color. The first was one-colored, the second two-colored, and the third three-colored. Together they had a strange bright heavenly aura. The rock they crucified his or their or the savior on. Joseph couldn’t make up his mind and turned his attention back to his computer.
A bump of the mouse and the screen came to life. After some deliberation, Joseph’s fingers began to type keys. A flurry of messages and bits of computer lingo flowed from Joseph’s fingers through his keyboard and into the command line on the screen. Joseph liked computers and because of the way he perceived numbers he had no use for visual displays and colorful desktops. He could see the structure of the computer in his mind. A strange synergy formed out of the psychedelic haze of numbers within his mind and the constant inputs and outputs of the machine in front of him. Sadly Joseph had never had need for a career and his abilities would never come to the benefit of society.
Soon Joseph was lost in the protocols and servers which the more terrestrial among us perceive as the internet. Joseph was searching, searching for not only himself but for some brief interaction with humanity outside himself. His brush with the young women in the street was fresh in his mind still. Joseph was wondering how ‘melody_448’ was. Soon he had found her and the digital equivalent of a conversation began.
josephus_31415: Hey! How are you?
melody_448: not good…
josephus_31415: What happened?
melody_448: my boyfriend… just having troubles again…
josephus_31415: You told me you were going to break up with him?
josephus_31415: You said you weren’t going to put up with his shit anymore…
melody_448: i know i just don’t know how to get rid of him
josephus_31415: Well you could just stop talking to him.
melody_448: it’s not that easy you think every thing should be so logical well its not and never is
josephus_31415: Well it should be.
melody_448 logged out
Just like that Joseph was alone again. Another conversation, another brief brush with humanity and Joseph was once more alone with his mind. Sometimes that was all right for Joseph. Other times it was nightmarish. It was too easy to be consumed by anxiety, and sleep never came soon enough for Joseph.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
The furthest back it can be found in black and white is in the works of John B. Watson's a psychologist from the early 1900's. He is quoted to have made the statement, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle with his own ego." This seems to make a great deal more sense seeing that the statement fits perfectly within Watson's behaviorist paradigm. I am not sure how many are willing to claim such a statement fits with in Plato's work, but I am sure there is some one who will. This all leaves us to ask who on earth do we credit this with anyway! The answer is most likely no one. Clearly it is a sentiment passed down from the ages. Taking it in its present stage of generic abstraction makes it almost meaningless. So why bother using such a quote?
I my self have been known to quote the occasional text or song lyric. I on the other hand tend to stick to things I've actually read. A quick survey of the blogging community will quickly show that a huge number of writers began their posts with the occasional quote. The vast majority of time, unfortunately, they never comment on the actual sources location or context. I get the strange feeling that just maybe a large number are getting there quotes not from the works themselves but from the ever convenient internet.
A quick Google search yields an ever increasing list of websites which provide quotes categorized by topic and author. These collections are not new by any means and have filled libraries across the globe for many decades. Before though, most writers tended to use them as references and not crotches. A good quote does make a fascinating way to draw in your audience or a precise way to develop a theme. But only if it is well developed and used in the context of the original author. Otherwise you should know that what your up to is incredible cliche and incredibly boring.
So as blogging comes under increasing criticism for its inferior quality both in substance and the quality of writing it self, it is important to recognize the need for originality. It is of increasing importance for Bloggers to invest fully in the originality of the work, and where appropriate invest fully in the work of those they intend to discuss.
Monday, August 11, 2008
In Afghanistan the soviets struck out to expand there empire through a well timed and strikingly unopposed invasion of a sovereign neighbor. As we speak the invasion of Georgia goes unopposed but in words. Instead of the Olympics supporting the cause of world peace it seems to have allowed world leaders like our own president to take the weekend off and turn their backs on the Russians violent assault on a sovereign nation. It seems that not only is China hiding behind the Olympics but now so is Russia, the U.N., and N.A.T.O. Now I would never support a Olympics Boycott but more must be done to shed light on the actions of world Governments.
In the ninth century when the original Olympics where being held in ancient Greece all of the city states of Greece signed a truce. The Olympic Games truce, or ekecheiria, forbid warfare among Greek states, armies entering Olympia, and the use of the death penalty. It extended protections to all athletes, their families, and fans to allow them safe passage to the games and returning home after their completion. The Greek historian Thucydides tell us the truce was seldom broken. Upon the one instance it was broken, by the Spartans who where then forbidden from attending the games and find a large sum of money for assaulting the city of Lepreum.
Now I am not suggesting that we should banish the Russians from the games. But with the re-introduction of the Olympic truce over the last few years by the I.O.C. it seems prudent that this truce be enforced. The Russian athletes of course should in no way be punish for the actions of their government, but the Russian government should beheld responsible for breaking the Olympic truce. Many would argue that the Olympics should not be allowed to be used for what may seem to at first a political purpose. It is the clear mission of the I.O.C. to protect its athletes and further the cause of world peace.
As such the Russians invasion of Georgia has not only violated the the truces by waging war but they have endangered the athletes and families representing the Republic of Georgia. These athletes are no longer able to travel safely from the game to there homeland. This is the greatest violation of the truce imaginable and Russia deserves to be held responsible for there actions not only by the I.O.C. but also by the international community as a whole. As a global community we must hold all accountable for there action or forgo any hope of world peace.
One must look at least as far back as the Boxer’s rebellion to truly come to terms with China's own struggle to comprehend themselves in relation to the world at large. The Boxer's struggled against the oppression of imperialism and the looming threat of 'them'. During the rebellion thousands of chines fought against the British and many other nations which had began to over run China's cultural heritage through religion, economics, and technological advancement. From the boxer rebellion to the founding of the People's Republic of China the people of china have struggled to find meaning in a world increasingly dominated the advancing scientific out look of the modern world. In this way China has struggled with the sins of the modern world for close to a millennium began the first to pioneer the modern world with the inventions of gunpowder, compasses, paper, and printing.
One may be left to ask why such a struggle emerges with the advancement of the scientific view. Martin Buber explains for us in his book I and Thou, a work similar not only in title but also in content to the Pink Floyd's 'Us and Them.' "Modern science and technology, not to mention philosophy, direct us to see everyone and everything as an object to be understood intellectually and to be used for practical purposes to support our own well being and happiness (Johnston, 2007)." In mush this way we have come to view China in all its complexity as on would relate to a machine which produces certain goods and services. This form of instrumental reason has left us to categorize and sterilize all experiences we have with China leaving us with no understanding beyond the instrumental nature of its people.
As it stands China represents one fifth of the worlds population. Our nation and theirs share a symbiotic relationship beyond any we have seen before. Economically we are bound to a nation which at first seem culturally and politically opposite our own. We must move beyond viewing china in the sense of intellectual, ethical, or political categorization and judgments and view them as human beings. That in essence is what the Olympics are all about. As we watch men and women from all the nations of the world compete we see them struggling with there own humanity. We can watch as they over come cultural stigmas of race and creed. And even more simply as the over come their own mortality coming to grips with pain, heart ache, and spiritual fulfillment and lose which comes with the very highest forms of the human struggle. We are most importantly forced to view other nations like China not as a simple 'them' but as human beings just like our selves who posses the same fear and the same infinite nature granted by the human condition.
When we face the question of boycotting such an event we to often view the situation only in terms of the present state of affairs. China is the regard is a nation which is violating human rights acts, subverting the United Nations in Sudan, and exporting dangerous good to the U.S. We must instead view China as a nation of people struggling to over come themselves. We must only look back to our own Olympic games of 1984. It was China who defied the Russian boycott of our Olympics and reached out to the world in a gesture of good will. In this alone we surely owed China our support in the Beijing Olympics. But with the events in Tienanmen Square in 1989 and the atrocities in Tibet have left some, like those support "The Genocide Olympics" Campaign, to wonder if the Beijing Olympics of 2008 will not be more a kin to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
We must simply stop and realize one simple fact. The Berlin Olympics did not cement the raise of Nazi Germany any more the the rallies at Nuremberg. Instead the Berlin Olympics allowed men such as Jesse Owens to raise above the odds and strike down Nazi Theories of racial dominance. It is here that we must stop and point out one other crucial effect of the Berlin Olympics. Jesse Owens, a man of color, face no racial segregation while in Berlin. He returned to a nation where he could not freely use public transportation, eat at public lunch counters, or even use a whites only restroom as he had in Berlin. The Berlin Olympics pointed out the very hypocritical position the U.S. would often find it self for the years to come. It clear to us the atrocities committed by the Chinese government if in no other way then by Hu Jia's open letter on human rights. But what of our nation? If the Olympics where held today in the United States what sorts of protests would we have seen as the Olympic torch made its way around the globe?
What should be clear above all is the importance the Olympics holds in over coming the struggle between 'Us and Them.' In the end, as Waters put it, "The fundamental question that's facing us all is whether or not we're capable of dealing with the whole question of us and them." The Olympics is one the single greatest ways we have come up with as human beings to deal with that question. Nothing should stand in the way of its progress. But when the dust settles, the fans wonder home, and the world leaders and diplomats depart we must make it our sacred duty to work in every way to ease the suffer of all of humanity not only abroad but here in our own land. In the mean time we must take solace in the fact that all of humanity will struggle forth and over come as it always has.
And everything under the sun is in tune,
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Shake back the tears and lie wide awake,
Coming is the scorn of a thousand lost nights,
Light so heavenly must fall from such great heights,
The fear of slings and stones,
Moans echo filling the night like the cracking of bones,
The night air’s stinging recoil,
Foil all that was born of our blood, sweat, and toil;
But all is lost upon the suns first light,
Trite it is to think only now of our Father’s last blood rite,
The Knight of Faith no longer everlasting,
Lasting through time only till the atoms blasting,
With borrowed dagger and the broken jar,
Scar our final night bellow that long lost star,
What is left of the Grammar school?
Cruel are the compass and the rule,
Games of language scrawled in chalk,
Walk one last time past the silent clock,
Upon the blackboard they are left to cry,
Fly from here or stay but to die,
For Copenhagen and Kierkegaard,
Scared they come to lie in the church yard,
As shall I upon the first light,
Fright has taken me long from such rite,
Consumed in fear no longer alive,
Thrive I shall for into the void I will dive.
I have spent a long time thinking over that letter. What to say; what to say? How dose a man face the lies of his past? At first I thought only time could heal such wounds. Perhaps with time I could answer such a question. Soon I found that I could do no such thing, for the heart to quickly will have moved on rising upon the wings of such a loving spirit. In just that insight the answer became crystal clear and yet absolutely meaningless. As I could only think of how any such answer could only drive doubt into the heart of love. In such I may have declared to God himself that I would never contemplate these thoughts. But in such it has fallen upon me as of late to throw off the great mortal dream of time it self and embrace the eternity that I must face. An eternity of the mind in which I may never escape the heart ache and pain that I brought into the world of one so dear. It remains within my soul each and every day. It will come to pass over my hands like so much blood. And all this must occur even as I only began to grapple with the eternal nature.
I have spent most of my life within the monstrous illusion which consumes so many. I lived in this world labeled as a Christian. The language of our fathers made the chains of of my slavery. I was consumed by the one written law. Defined by a label I had no true knowledge of. No conception beyond the aesthetic categories of the society in which I was conceived. The grammatical aberrations of the ethical consumed my every thought and made of me a slave to a notion of sin far from the realm of faith. I acted as a man consumed by a disease; a man with a sickness unto death which I could escape not even in death it self. My very actions reached out in anger to destroy the chains of the ethical, groping towards the aesthetic notions of the past. In doing so all spirit would be lost, all I could have held dear would be destroyed.
I pray now only that your spirit will eternally soar. That in faith you may be guided only to love. I can wish for nothing more for you or my self that I may never again tumble into your life. Instead it seems I must be left to spend eternity clamoring towards the unreachable. For not one moment will I live in such fear. I will live instead in the sweetest longing. In the memory of love eternally lost.