Monday, September 29, 2008


What dose a can of soup mean? It means a day with out hunger. I day to be lived. A day not to be curled up in hunger, suffocating under the wheels of modernization. Stuff and more stuff. Sluff canned and condensed for your enjoyment. The drip of blood, the tick of the clock, the acceleration of time with the burst of an atom. Death in a shadow. No end in sight. Time with out a end. Life without any ends. The crack of an egg in doctors office. The sigh of along lost daughter. A day in the park. A warm bowl, a can of soup.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Continued Dialogue on Pragmatism

Well you certainly took my brief set comments very seriously? :) Well I must say to begin James is never channeling anything close to Kierkegaard, Kierkegaard having at no time been a pragmatist, other then perhaps having taken on the role briefly in 'either/or'. Still, your term 'meta-pragmatism' seems to be painfully vague in nature and scope. Would James seriously assert that we could step out of the chain of cause and effect and make assertions about our own judgments in such away? It seems that the term 'meta-pragmatist' is not really of much use, unless granted you can provide a clear proposition which would be an example of 'meta-pragmatic' language. (I am of the opinion that this is most certainly possible, just not shown clearly up to this point.)

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,


Comment on 'third world county' blog post.

third world county

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

Dearest One,
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.

60 Degree Weather in Winter

I never wanted yesterday to end. It was warm sun on my back, cool breezes in between. It was walking unabashedly barefoot. It was playing music for all to hear. It was saying what I wanted and doing what I wanted. It was rolling up jeans and running barefoot through muddy field and getting stuck and slipping and laughing and bliss. It was picnic benches and cinematic orchestra and the rascals and soul. It was moments in moments. It was rain. It was burritos with flare and burritos that melted me from the inside out. It was pictures in the car. It was laughter. It was new. It was free. It was. neverending. all encompassing. lovers spit. too thin. music of dreams. It was walking back alive. It was freedom so fine. I was in love.


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 Cape Town at night. I want to call out to the souls of the lost. I want to carry the black flag into the distance. But I know to well how certain it is that I never will. That I will for ever be trapped in the stretching sea of some suburban hell, chained forever to the lust of the father…


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…

Door closes…


Posses in an old movie…

Groovy they where but away are locked…

Shocked no longer by the sight…

Fight it no longer…

Stronger she…


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

My Generation

What dose it mean to be alive today? Alive in the 20th century. It's strange to think back over the generations. Generation X. The Baby Boomers. The Greatest Generation. What on earth will become of our generation? Volunteerism is on the raise so we are certainly do not fit the stereotype of Generation X. We are no larger then other generations and we certainly can not define our selves in terms of wars won or lost by any right. So how are we to understand our place in History?

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

Sociological Perspective on the MSM Blood Ban

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 Northern State University titled Discriminatory Biases in the Perception of Illness found that there is already a perceived association between homosexual behavior and HIV. The MSM blood ban supports this incorrect association between HIV and MSM activities (Triplet, 1992). According to the CDC, 67 percent of HIV diagnoses among males do accrue due to MSM (CDC, 2007). Although 26 percent of HIV cases happen among women, 80 percent of these involve transmission from high-risk heterosexual contact. Left unaccounted from all this is MSMW cases, or men who have sexual relations with men and women. The MSMW group, according to Mutchler, constitutes a vacuum HIV research. One of the key reasons this group is so important is that Homosexuality is an identity and therefore can not be a cause of HIV. Only specific behaviors can account for the transmission of HIV (Mutchler, 2005).

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.

Individuals as Political Capital: Comments on a Post Feminist World

Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner has produced a remarkable book about the collapse of feminism in the United States titled The F word: Feminism in Jeopardy. In the book she notes the raise in the involvement of women in the workplace, voluntarism, social work, universities, and political activism which stands in stark contrast to the sudden drop in women who vote and or claim to be feminists.

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.

A Critique of Divine Illumination (DRAFT)

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.”[3] 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.[4] 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?[5] 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[6] 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 Copenhagen conception of particle physics and is highly disputed. In our case it is only necessary to understand a few key aspects of the theory.

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.[7] 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.”[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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 London. The map you would be looking at would be very perplexing, a maze of train lines map out based upon geographical positions. Determining which station leads to which via such a map would have been painful at best. Although in 1933 because of the brilliance of Henry Beck, a draftsman for a London engineering firm, it became a whole lot easier.[11] Beck designed a map where stations where displayed along brightly colored lines fixed to an octagonal grid. All geographical or special positioning was thrown out. This diagrammatic approach is the perfect symbolic approach to how sensible things are intellectually recognized.

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.

[1] On Free Choice, II iii 7 – xv 39

[2] 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…

[3] Augustine: The Master 9.25

[4] Wittgenstein also provides a logical demonstration for why this is.

[5] City of God, Augustine uses the example of an individual to be mistaken as a proof for the existence of the self.

[6] 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.

[7] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

[8] Heisenberg, 1927, p.185

[9] Aquinas’s Interpretation of Aristotle from Summa theological I.84.a.6-8

[10] 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.

[11] Fiell 1998, pg. 98 Design of the 20th Century

Friday, September 12, 2008

Joseph Godspeed (Part One)

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

When you pray, move your feet.

My long lost love, do not surrender hope. Dry your eyes and awake to the light of the new morning as you heed your calling. Remember the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness so be careful in your words. You are right in one thing only, the closer to the church the further from God you will be. So always remember when you pray move your feet. When you move your feet keep your eyes not to the cross you bear, but to the one you could be bearing. Because the universe forgives no one who stands still. Just around the corner stands eternity. In moment their you will be infinite. The transgressions of this life will fall by the way side. So pray, and move your feet just bit a further.
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