Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hume and Is It All about Pleasure?

David Hume was a Scottish philosopher who thought all ideas came form experience, none from reason. I can't stand him, but I bring him up to refute his central claim that everybody does everything because they are seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. When we act in front of others, we act to seek praise and avoid blame, according to Hume.
This idea has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time. Between my uncle, two friends, my dad, and two priests, I've accumulated several reasons that it is wrong.

1. That's how two year olds act, and the whole point of growing up and being raised by your parents is to grow strong enough to break out of that selfish mode of behavior.



2. There is no way we could possibly know if everyone always acts like that. I might find that I do, but I will never know more than that for sure, and assuming others do because I do is a fallacy. (Incidentally, I don't always act for those motives.)


3. To disprove such a statement, we have only to find one person in one situation. That alone would show that such a statement isn't true. The Martyrs are examples of this; they offered their lives because of belief, not for anything less, not for the happiness of heaven; they died because they loved God and His truth and wanted to obey Him for His pure goodness.





4. We obey God because He is our maker, not because He will reward us. That is the call of every Christian, and every person really: to obey God, not for our own gain, but because it is the will of God who is all goodness, all truth, all love.



5. Pleasure, essentially, is the satisfying of the lower urges and passions: hunger, thirst, wanting to be warm and comfortable, have the admiration of your friends (or maybe the whole world), etc. etc. etc. Pain, then, is when these desires are not fulfilled and/or denied. People do not always operate on such lowly motives. Sometimes we are actually capable of doing something for the goodness of the act and the joy of the person who will benefit. We are more than animals. We have higher faculties and aspirations. We can go beyond these lower urges by using these higher faculties to strive for these higher aspirations, which take us beyond our falleness into the fullness of who God calls us to be and do.



6. Our own pleasure may somehow be involved, like as an encouragement or incentive to push yourself with when you want to give up, but that doesn't make it the motive. Take the task of fighting sin to reach heaven, or any other such high mission. They are all about someone else, some good and truth of God. We fight temptations because they are wrong and we do good because it is right; that in itself is the reason. When it gets hard, the pleasure of heaven is an encouragement, but it is not our motive for fighting evil and doing good. The pleasure of heaven, though great, is not enough to inspire such martyrs and saints and missionaries as there are in the world.



7. Consider the nature of temptation. I've been tempted (and fallen) enough times to know that temptations often appeal to the pleasures. Pride appeals to the pleasure of thinking you are great; Gluttony appeals to the pleasure of taste and eating; Hate appeals to the pleasure of not sacrificing for anyone or doing anything selfless, and instead being consumed with yourself; Envy appeals to the pleasure of thinking you deserve things and feeling angry and revengeful to those who have what you think you deserve. The list goes on for miles. The urge to do good deeds, on the other hand, comes from knowing something is good, someone needs something done for them, etc. Virtues all come from love, and love... Love gives pleasure, but the main point of love is the sacrificing for another, for their sake. I shall paraphrase Pope Benedict XVI: Love is wanting the best for someone and taking efficacious steps to provide what is best to the beloved. Since love, the root of all good (because God is Love), is not about satisfying your own pleasures, than neither are all things which come, purely, from love. Sins, however, are very driven by seeking pleasure and avoiding pain for oneself.



8. And last but not least, the argument by my very own dad: If all actions are based on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, then morality becomes nothing. There is nothing wrong with killing your nasty neighbor if it gives you the pleasure of blasting his head to smithereens and knowing you'll never be bothered by him again. Of course, you are forfeiting the pleasure of heaven, but if you don't believe in an afterlife, or can convince yourself that sinning won't be an obstacle, you are all set to do the most horrific nasty pleasurable things you can imagine.


In conclusion, let us consider the prayer the Church instructs her members to say in the repentance from their sins: "...I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because I have offended Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love..."
The first motive for hating the faults one has committed is the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; this is a pleasure vs. pain motive, but it is not the only motive. Nor is it the main motive, or the strongest motive. It is surpassed by far by the regret of having offended God. Notice how the attention goes from oneself to something other than and beyond oneself. The motives for which people do truly great things are other-centered. Notice also the reasons for regretting having offended God: it is for no other reason than that God is good and deserves our love. He deserves not all only our love, but all our love, once again showing that great deeds are other-centered while sins and lowly behavior are self-centered.

Hume may think we always operate in self-centered ways, but if the Church instructs us to act in other-centered ways, then it is possible. Moreover, the Church gives us examples of such behavior in the saints and drives us to do likewise, for we are all called to be saints.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

TRUTH


Truth
is the correspondence of Reason and Reality. God is Absolute Truth, and with our reason and what God has revealed to us -Divine Revelation- we can reach truths about God and His creation.

There are two Kinds of Truth:

Truths of Reason These truths are learned by our reason and observations. They lead us to know that there is a First Cause, a source of all that exist.
Truths of Faith These truths are the truths we learn from God because we are not capable of learning them through our own reason and observation. They lead us to know who the First Cause is. They deal with realities we could never learn of by our human reason. They are based on God's reason.

The authority of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, is why we believe. With God's aid, we believe. This believing is faith. Further, we naturally search for more understanding of what we believe in; the more we understand, the more clearly and firmly we believe.
This is a sketch of the relation between reason and faith.



Monday, November 30, 2009

Memory of You

Slowly forgetting as my memories drift away
far, far way into imagination's dream land;
flickering in the firelight, I see yesterdays merge;
voices blur and I can no longer understand.
Where have they gone- my days of childhood, my past?
Your face is softened to nothing; still I feel
you were smiling. I try to focus and blow away the dust;
your face becomes sickeningly polished and surreal.
But I remember the rain, as I hear it now.
And I know I was glad, and was unafraid,
for you cherished me though you never said it
all the time you were with me, all the time you stayed.
My heart remembers even if my eyes do not.
My promises I recall; each one I will fulfill.
You are never far from me, for you I will not forget:
You loved me then, and I love you still.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Diagram of the Soul

I was talking a couple of nights ago to a very close friend, and the topic of the soul came up. A little over a year ago I came up with a diagram of the soul, as below.Central Circle: Place of inner peace and integrity, love; Where God is when the soul is in a state of Sanctifying grace; commonly called the "heart"
Middle Circle: Place of chaos, confusion, inner war, temptation from within
Outer Circle: What others see first; facade; reputation
Central Stripe: Existence; essence of your being and personality
Middle Right Stripe: Thoughts; opinions; philosophies
Middle Left Stripe: Feelings; emotions; passions
Outer Right Stripe: Talents; skills; hobbies; interests
Outer Left Stripe: Senses; how we perceive the things and people around us

Saturday, November 28, 2009

ART II ~Art is..........?

Thanks to Tolstoy's What is Art? I've been thinking about art a lot lately, and I've come up with this theory:

Essentially, art is the portrayal of truth through beauty; by doing this, it can reflect the goodness of God and lead to contemplation of things eternal.


I have charted out the components of Art in this way:


In art, beauty serves truth, but the relationship between truth and beauty do not have to be 50/50. Still, every component has to be there for it the work to merit the name 'Art'. art also has a relativity in that what some people call art others call junk. This is because what appeals to some people's senses is repulsive to others, what some people consider reasonable others think is stupid and nonsensical. I think people can pretty much agree on what reflects reality and what is orderly.
Notice that Order and Reason are more internal and mental qualities. Reason is an action of the mind, and order is something perceived by the mind. Meanwhile, appeal to the Senses and Reality are more physical and external qualities which we learn through our senses and through experience.
Now, I said in my theory that art can lead to the contemplation of the eternal. This ability and its effectiveness depend on two things: 1. the artist(s)' intention and his/her/their ability to fulfill the intention 2. the mental capacities of the audience.
Considering the first, no mater how much a person has a good intention, if they can't portray it, the art is stuck in their heads. This is why talent is such a huge thing to be an artist. As my friend pointed out, you can fix technique, but not talent. The talent of art is a God-given gift, and those with it have the ability to communicate well their intentions, to lead to truths beyond the senses by appealing to the sensible. The problem is when the intention is wicked and sinful. I cannot think of any situation when such an 'art' would lead beyond the sensible. Moreover, truth is a good thing even when it is far from beautiful. When exposed to such 'art', which I cannot quite consider merits the term 'art', the right thing to do is to avoid it and all temptations it will give.
Considering the second, no matter how simply the artist portrays the truth, if the audience is hopelessly or obstinately stupid, they won't understand, and again the art will by stuck in the head of the artist. So when viewing or listening or watching art, one should try to hear what the artist is saying, no matter how hard. If there is no message, mere beauty, then it is not art but mere beauty. Remember, however, that one person may get nothing from a work of art while others get very much, and so what may be mere beauty to one might be art to another.
To summarize, let's read one of my very, very, very favorite passages from one of my very, very, very favorite books:

2500 The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos-which both the child and the scientist discover-"from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them."290

[Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.291 For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail.292 I became enamored of her beauty.293

2501 Created "in the image of God,"294 man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill,295 to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.296

Friday, November 27, 2009

Aglow, Aglow, the Warm-Chilled Earth!

The earth is ablaze and alive:
Life steams up from the ground
in a thousand flashes of gold.
The leaves, they fall in golden ease
and rest in the folds of the golden ground
They roll and skitter, sparkles of glitter
and fall tumultuously down.

Splendor solemn, trees arising
in a sacred, solemn majesty.
A warmth, a world of golden bright.
The wind - the air - is soft and chilled
but warm the golden light
aflame with life.

See them dancing down the wind,
along the ground and down the wind?
rolling down the hill, sparkling in your hair?
Natural gold of our sacred God
falling here about our feet,
Aglow, aglow! the warm-chilled earth.



Birdsong

Birds sang, their voices light and sweet. Emily opened her eyes and listened to the morning. Emily was nineteen years old and a college student. But when she heard the songs of the birds, she was a little girl again, without a single worry or a single fear. Emily listened, and heard the birds of her childhood.
Emily was a little girl, and her daddy was big and strong. He went to work every morning. When he came home she attacked him with hugs and kisses, and told him what her mother had taught her in school. Her mother taught her at home. She taught Emily stories from the Bible, and how to read, and everything she thought Emily should know. Emily would sit on a stool in the kitchen, struggling through her reader. Her mom, washing dishes, would correct her mistakes and urge her on.
In spring, her mother and her would clean the house. It would smell of fresh soap and lilacs. Emily would run to the window and lean out, breathing the clean air of spring. The scents of flowers were faint upon the breeze. And the birds, singing and singing until Emily thought their hearts would burst.
Her daddy taught her to ride a bike. How proud she was when she could fly along the sidewalk with the other children. She even raced with the boys in their bike races. Once the boys piled up twigs to see who could break the most as they rode over them on their bikes. Emily won because her bike wheels were pure rubber, and the boys marveled at her bike.
On summer evenings, her dad would take her on walks. She loved to watch the sky as it settled soft and dark upon the neighborhood. The flowers of gardens glowed, and fireflies sparkled. The trees seemed strangely mysterious in the dim light of evening, as if they could move when you weren't looking.
. . . when she heard the songs of the birds. Then the alarm went off, and she had to be nineteen again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Punishment of God

Sometimes it seems as if God is a punishing being, and when I read a fellow blogger's view, I decided it was time to do some research into what my religion says of God's punishments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

The Commandments [...] express the implications of belonging to God through the establishment of the covenant. Moral existence is a response to the Lord's loving initiative. It is the acknowledgment and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving.

So, we obey the Commandments, the morals given us by God because we are His, and it is our way of honoring and paying homage to God.
Consider also the quote, "Love elicits a response". Because God loves us, He gives us commandments and morals by which to live well and reach heaven. This love elicits our response in two ways. 1. Loving Him back (the 1st Commandment: "I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other god besides Me.") 2. Obeying Him. (the 2nd - 10th Commandments) The first way causes the second way, and the second reinforces and demonstrates the first.
Therefore, when He is punishing us, He is punishing us for making Him second in our hearts. He is also punishing us for extending this misdirected love/hate into our actions, which effect others.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Life of an Artist

I


Little girl sitting at the dining room table. Before her is a sheet of paper, and on the paper is a large, black circle. Around the circle is gray, like a gray doughnut with a huge black hole. A black hole. Around the gray is a squiggly line of purple. She can't think what more to draw. She pokes the purple crayon, rolling it along the edges of her paper. She looks at the black circle, ponderously. Her name is Cassandra. She-! Did the black hole just move? It seems to quiver. Not the black wax on the white paper but something Deep in the picture quivered. Cassandra shakes her head, quivers to break her concentration. And when she looks back at her drawing, she is very small.
She is very, very small. The little girl sitting with her chin in her fisted hands at the edge of a black hole. Behind her is gray. In the far horizon is a ring of squiggly purple. Before her is black and black and black. 'What is black?' She wonders. 'Is it anything more than this color?' But her questions are only little quiverings in her mind. She does not know how to say them, for she does not know the right words. Her thoughts are prisoners of her wordless mind.


II


Veins of white, where the black wax did not quite meet, ripple through the black hole. The veins are slitting farther. The peices of black are splintering apart. Where they shift, the paper under them glares white. Something deeper than the paper, nearer than the wax, is stirring. Something is moving and moving everything else. The gray throbs and the purple squiggly line, far in the distance, squirms uncomfortable.
Steady, up and down; up - the living thing under the black wax is trembling - violently. The white cracks, like lightening, shoot to the edges of the black. The gray heaves and lowers, vomiting a gray minst. Heaves and lowers. The purple squirms and rises. It is a ring of electric fury, snapping and flexing. It sends out purple and orange sparks. The enormous drawing comvulses in rhythm, as if it has a pulse.
The girl waits for the living force with a pulse to come out. She knows it will come out. Chunks of black wax are being rent from the paper and flung. They hurtle outwards. Just as they are about to smash down into the gray fog, they rear upwards. They lift and wheel around the black hole's edges. Cassandra watches all this. . . astonished. The chips of black wax are circling evenly, like horses on a carousel.
Little girl waiting. Waiting with her chin in her fisted hands, but nothing comes out of the black hole. 'How did my picture come alive?' She wonders wordlessly. 'Where did its life come from?' But there is no one to answer her questions. No one who can understand them. No one. The girl is entirely alone. She sits and waits, but there is nothing in the black hole.
There is more black orbiting in the air than black on the paper. Only a few specks of black still cling to the very, very blank white paper. The paper is empty of any secret. Cassanra walks into the center of the paper where the pulsing thing was supposed to be. There is a Deep pulsation, but it is so low she can barely hear it. But she feels it. Everywhere she feels it. She stands in the center of the very, very empty paper. But there is no wiggling beast giving her drawing life. There is only Cassandra. And the pulsation. The pulsation is very heavy here. She feels it in the edges of the paper, in the sparking, flexing purple line. She feels in it the heaving, vomiting gray mist, and the circling chunks of black wax, and along her skin. She feels it in her blood. It is a heart beating, heart of the little girl.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Does One Owe To One's Parents?

I was talking with a friend earlier today about duty and parents- what one owes to their parents, what is obligatory, what is done out of love, etc. I thought I'd post these from the Catechism of the Catholic Church for my friend:

2199 The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it.

2215 Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. "With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?"19

2216 Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. "My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. . . . When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you."20 "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke."21

The catechism goes on after 2216 to say a lot more about the duties of grown children. Here is the link to further reading on this:

The catechism of the Catholic Church on duty, love, and parents.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sacred Music - the playlist

Every other month for a month I listen to a specific composer or genre of music ONLY. This month, the 27th of October to the 27th of November, I am dedicating to religious, prayerful music. So, there is a new playlist of religious and prayerful music on my blog. On the 28th of November I will reinstall the original 'Cogito et Scribo' playlist.

While on the topic of religious Music, there is a wonderful paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on sacred Art:


Sacred art
is true and beautiful when its form corresponds to its particular vocation: evoking and glorifying, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God - the surpassing invisible beauty of truth and love visible in Christ, who "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature," in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."297 This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints. Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.

Friday, October 23, 2009



..........
The flower and the raindrop
..........tender, cool and young they are
..........full of growth, and let us speculate on where
they might go. Little children are so
fascinating because you do not know if
..........or how their lives will unroll
..........or when they might fly or fall.
..........All is mystery unwheeling
..........a sunrise and the light of day is fresh upon
their amber cheeks. Their eyes are glassy, rounded and
blue and ~ a sunrise and the light of day
..........bloom on the flower and the
..........raindrop.
.....The ground is damp~
..........The air is muted
by chill ~ and
.....The sky, the sky!
..........Oh, the sky, is
heavy with gray.

Descartes II

Descartes has rather odd ideas concerning the senses and the mind. Basically, he says that in our search for absolute, unquestionable truth, we must realize that the senses deceive us. He uses this as one of many examples of the deception of the senses.

"[F]or example, I find in my mind two wholly diverse ideas
of the
sun; the one, by which it appears to me extremely
small draws its
origin from the senses[...]; the other,
by which it seems to be many
times larger than the whole
earth, is taken up on astronomical
grounds, that is,
elicited from certain notions born with me, or is
framed
by myself in some other manner. These two ideas cannot

certainly both resemble the same sun; and reason teaches
me that
the one which seems to have immediately emanated
from it [the
former]is the most unlike."

Therefore, he reasons, all that is left to rely on is the mind.
One of the problems with this idea is that the senses have no will of their own. They are faculties of the body which collect data about the world around us and about ourselves. They are not capable of deceiving. What deceives us is the part of our mind that deciphers the information collected from our senses.
Also, one must keep in mind that the senses aren't the only faculties we have for learning and figuring things out. They can only go so far, but reason can go farther. For example, the senses teach us tat the sun gives light and heat. Reason goes on to teach us that it is immobile, extremely large, etc.
The fact that what we learn from the senses is rarely the entire truth because the senses are limited and because we do not always understand the data they collect correctly is no reason for disregarding them.

(Thank you, Joe, for your input in this problem.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Descartes (and a tangent on some definitions of 'person')

Descartes is a rather controversial philosopher, at least among conservative Catholic circles. Presently, I have read his Discourses, I-III and the first half of IV, and his Meditations, I, II, & III. I would like to explain his "I think, therefore I am".

"I Think, Therefore I Am"

That is THE statement of Descartes, and few know much more about him than that. At first this statement seems to say that thought is the source of existence. But let us examine the text, keeping always in mind that Descartes was rather obsessed with doubting everything until he had undeniable proof for it.

"[F]rom the very fact that I thought of doubting the truth of other things, it followed very evidently and very certainly that I existed[...][T]here is nothing at all in this 'I think therefore I am' that assures me that I am speaking the truth, except that I see very clearly that, in order to think, it is necessary to exist."

You see, he is so concerned about not calling true anything that has the slightest possibility of being false, that the only thing left for him to know for sure is that his mind, which he calls 'I', exists. His proof for the existence of his mind is that it is thinking. And so, his 'I think, therefore I am' is really just a poor way of saying 'Because I think, I know I (that is, my mind) exists.

This would all be well and good, except for what he says during the ellipsis in the above quote.
He states:

"had I simply stopped thinking [...] I would have no reason to believe that I had existed."

This statement gives two criteria for a thing, specifically a human, to be considered living:
1. The thing must be thinking
2.The thing must be conscious of its thinking.


True as it may be that one's thoughts are a proof to oneself of one's existence, they are not a criteria for being considered a living human.

Speaking of criteria to be considered a living human, these are the definitions of some other philosophers of the word 'Person'.

Soul trapped in a Body - Plato
Rational Animal - Aristotle
Embodied Spirit - St. Thomas Aquinas
Thinking Thing - Descartes

It seems that these Philosophers fall into 2 groups- Those that define a person by what it does (thinks), and those that define a person by what it is made of (a body and a soul).

Monday, October 19, 2009

truth is. . . and it is where?

The more I read and study other philosophers, the more truth and good sense I see in the Catholic Church for having answers to all that befuddles them. It is quite extraordinary, and I think the whole lot of the philosophers would agree, that all the answers to all the problems all nicely fit together in the same place. One need not go trudging to all the ends of the earth to find a thousand different answers to a thousand different questions only to find that the answers don't always agree. For the Truth is one, it is alive, and it is near.

Story of a Thought


Thoughts have lives of their own.
They show themselves to us in the secret dark corners of our minds.
Where did their life come from?
What is their soul?
Whatever they are, they are a fire that drives man
and makes a magician or a fool of him,
a painting or mud of his life.


Maybe they wake
when
something in us brakes.
And they all spill out,
embryos ready for our consciousness to nurture them.
And our emotions drive and whip
like the wind.
And our friends. . . we need not think on all the things they say,
Only that our thoughts are fragile and scared.
and Sacred.
And they are shattered and shattered again
until they are grown


and strong enough to stand on their own
and ripple unbroken in the winds of time
and chance.
For they have found their place
'mongst the threads
of all our other thoughts.
And they are stitch
sewing a soul,
shattering us
till we are who we have become.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Virtue and Emotion

It is easy to agree with Plato that emotions are lower than thoughts and that they ought to be suppressed because they get in the way. However, emotions show the depths of the human soul. They lead a person where mere reason cannot. And if we really are to agree with Plato, we must see that if God made emotions, then -in the original way in which God made them- they cannot be bad.
I would like to raise the question, what is a virtue made of? A virtue is the fruit of all that is best in a human. This best includes emotions. When a person acts virtuously, are not all the components of their soul in a harmony with God and with each other?
Emotions must be guided by thought, but likewise thought must be guided by emotion. When these two seemingly opposite parts of the soul work together, there is harmony; and where there is harmony, there is the possibility of virtue.

Virtue
/\
/...\
/......\
Emotion.......Thought

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dreamly

When you can look into the future and see a dream coming true, stitch by stitch sewing together an impossible hope and the next several months into a cloth of reality, it is very frightening. When you see something so good you did not think it would ever exist, sitting a little ways away made of brick and mortar, it is very startling. When an idea you had hardly dared to follow because of its impossibleness is right there for you to jump at, you wish you knew how to run. Because it does not fit into how you thought it would have to be. Your idea of stark 'reality' is meaningless dust. And the dust is blowing in your eyes so that you can hardly see, but you don't know how to run away with the dust. There is a siren beauty about the dream in front of you, enticing; it somehow seems very dangerous, and you do not know whether to follow or not. You are a coward to run, a coward to hesitate, but you have not the strength to do anything but stand and stare. You wonder, its seems so hard to comprehend that a dream could come true. It seems an illusion. There has to be something wrong with it. It cannot possobly be real, it is too perfect. You pull back your foot, and kick it. It hurt your foot. You know it is real by the pain in your leg. 'Pain,' you think, 'equals real.' And you are no longer so afraid, because pain is real. It is definitely not the fearsome unknown. You know now how real your dream is, and you can walk into it, becasue it has caused you pain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wisdom

A sort of meditation
Some things are too deep and dark to be put into tests. There is no mathematical formula for evaluating trust, for example. But I am talking to myself. Everyone knows what I am saying. But they forget it. And the wise repeat it. And I hope I am one of the wise. But I'll never know, because wisdom can't be measured by degrees or tablespoons. What exactly makes a person wise? Perhaps, understanding of all that is forgotten, what must be repeated, and then repeating it.
Yet, I think it also has to do with truth . The wise person is the one who searches for the truth, because he understands its value. The wise person searches, and does not give up until he finds it. He prepares against what might discourage him, and he perseveres. The wise person is the one who sharpens his perception of good by remaining chaste and pure in heart. He deepens his intellect by studying the truth of other wise men. Thus, when he meats the Truth of God, he recognizes it, loves it, and spreads it.
This, I think, is wisdom.



I went to New York City last summer, and I walked to the shrine of the North American Martyrs. Had a blast, but during both trips, I missed my piano.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nothing to say

I have nothing to say.
I want to wrote something, something
beautiful and lovely, like
folds of green gossamer
that ripple like water,
but I have nothing to say.

day drifting and another
hour to go, and homework
and all that sort of rot.
But it's not much of anything
when you have nothing to say.


When all that you feel
is sound and dance
but all that you have is words
and repetition and a nice
reputation and you
are caught up in now,
a now not worth having

and you have nothing to say
to the lilting green day
as it whispers and passes
you by. You are mute
and alone in a land all a dream
of what could be- unworded
and you have nothing to say.

The joys of college

1. Annoying professors
2. Annoying classmates
3. Annoying textbook prices
4. Annoying pressures to be getting a job
5. Annoying rooms whose numbers are not in numerical order
6. Annoying opportunities for financial aid that don't exist
7. Annoying worry of where to transfer to
8. Annoying kid behind you with cough
9. Annoying adults who congratulate you on your wise choices in life and don't realize how annoying it all is
10. Annoying campus that has no where beautiful or slightly less blah-looking
So don't go to college unless you're sure you want to be annoyed for the next 4 plus years of your life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What is Wisdom?

Clear, calm, accurate vision, and comprehension of the whole course, the whole work of God.
~Cardinal Newman

Education? Pshaw! just my JOB and $$$$

Tons of people are heading off to liberal arts colleges with the single goal of attaining the greatest good this world has to offer: A JOB. They are abusing and disregarding the college's purpose. A liberal arts college is not just about getting a job; it is about learning from vast fields of knowledge which have proved useful and applicable to the desired degree. In other words, liberal arts colleges are about knowing much in many different subjects and specializing in the field of your choice. This field of choice, or degree, can thenn be put towards many things, including a job. But what people want is only a job, nothing more, above or beyond that. And so one hears such things as, "I don't like high school; but, yeah, I'm going on to college." "I don't need this; I'm going to be a ---." If people want preparation for a job, let them go where they will get it and not ruin and disrupt the studying of those who want a liberal arts education. Let them get internships, apprenticeships, and go to vocational and trade schools. Then the liberal arts colleges will be able to better provide for those who do desire and want what they have to offer. Those who want a liberal arts education will actually be the majority and dominant student force in the liberal arts college.

Monday, September 14, 2009

joke

What do you get when you cross a river and a stream?

highlight below to see the answer:

Wet feet

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Education

Never has it been more urgent to reinvigorate the moral vision and resolve essential to maintaining a just and free society...Young people are surely your nation’s greatest treasure... That is why they urgently need an all-around education which will enable them to reject cynicism and selfishness and grow into their full stature as informed, wise, and morally responsible members of the community.
~Pope John Paul II

Monday, August 31, 2009

Inspiration

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."
G.K. Chesterton- On Running After Ones Hat, All Things Considered, 1908

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our Economy and the Real Causes


I here have in crude cartoons and captions my view on the economic situation.


1. Ideal Situation: With children and the elderly and some other groups, there are a little more consumers than workers. Of course, workers are also consumers.




2. But then, there came along the abortion
and the contraceptive and the spendomaniac
and the debt, and all of a sudden, there
weren't enough consumers and the
consumers there were weren't spending.





3.The number of consumers kept shrinking. So the number of workers kept shrinking. Because not all co nsumers are workers, but all workers are consumers. And when there's no one to buy, what demand is there to fulfill and who has money to pay workers, who in turn have no money to buy. Because there aren't enough of them to create a demand.



4. There are not that many children. There are not enough consumers.
If someone is not a worker, what are they? Are they unworkers?
Because there are not enough consumers.
Because there are spendomaniacs and debts
and there is the contraceptive and the abortion.

here is a much more informed video on this topic

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

you are lovely

this is one of those poems when you find something really great to listen to and then just go with it- turn it into words. ( I know a certain person doesn't like poetry without meter, but whatever. I suppose there's probably really good music without a time signature.)

~The music is Waterfall by John Schmidt~


you are lovely
listen to the water
falling
as if it were
raining
strongly for you
you are lovely
and I
I know not what to think
only to hold you
not let you fall
away like the
water

Friday, August 21, 2009

what is an adult?

What do you think makes an adult?

I think that these make a person an adult, among many
others (ellipsis)


1. self control in suffering without being heartless

2. perseverance in affliction without not knowing when to surrender
3. steadfastness of conviction without being narrow minded
4. willingness to listen without not giving advice where it is sought
5. able to sacrifice without letting go of one's original hopes
6. prioritized without not having time for others
7. perception of others' good without over estimating others' merit
8. perception of others' evil without over estimating others' faults
9. Wisdom

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

4 kinds of music

There are, I believe, four categories into which all music can be divided, according to one's reaction when the music is over:
1. The kind of music you don't even bother to hear till the end.
2. The kind of music that when it is over, makes us glad it is over.
3. The kind of music that when it is over, makes us replay it in our minds and wish it had not ended quite so soon.
4. The kind of music that when it is over, makes us cry because it leaves the air empty, absolutely hollow like a body whose soul has just abandoned it.

(thank you, Paul, for your input)

WHY

and i am beginning to think that people simply do not ask WHY enough and they call their teenagers selfish and immature for asking but i think maybe they are afraid of the answer and we teenagers are perhaps too stupid to know fear and common sense we only want to know WHY and have a way of asking WHY in the most inconvenient of times
we are desperate to know and as we do not find out we become complacent and stagnant and the rush of emotions stills and the tornado is over everything is much more settled but there is no real foundation things are only settled because they are settled and we have grown too adultish to ask WHY only we smirk at teenagers when they ask as if we knew and we wish they thought we knew but obviously we teenagers know they adults dont and what makes a person an adult anyway
if you dont have a foundation of answers to WHY then you are merely a settled teenager and nothing more but where there is a foundation there can be something real and strong and strong enough to always be a tornado and always be asking WHY and not be silenced by adultish people who are merely settled teenagers but really finding the answers

Saturday, August 01, 2009

what is that?

I don't know. What do you think it is? Abstract stuff supposedly has a meaning. This means ... well, what do you think? I think the colors are unborn thoughts. and the purple squares are where the thoughts have been broken into words.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For most of us reading, whether prose or poetry, is a form of entertainment. At times if we find our own life disjointed and our reactions to some situations beyond clear, reasonable explanation, literature offers us the opportunity to look at patters of human life and contemplate them from a distance. If the writers are good, we can see parallels with what we have experienced and causes and effects make sense. According to one English teacher, "Fiction gives us little universes to ponder, to discuss with others, to marvel at and question."

from a lecture handout

White Music

Blank, soft sound, muted
by the sense of brighter.
No specific voice sings.
all voices melt and span
the breadth of the day.
Across the open, flat sky
the white flash of a seagull wing.
Rising, falling, open, flat,
filling the vastness,
creating the vastness.
Wide and untroubled
float these voices.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I think therefore I am- until I was

Writing exercise from my Composition class: Describing dieing in outer space because your ship has blown up.


That's my wing over there. I think maybe it's moving. I think... Who said that? Cogito...
My thoughts freeze in my head. I feel as if I ought to feel like I'm falling. But I don't feel... What do I feel?
Cogito igitur... Who said that?
I should be tired. But I am too tired to fell tired. I am freezing, but my blood is moving so slowly I don't feel it stop.
Stop.
Twitch my finger, and it hurts. Hurts to move: am I moving in this stillness?... So, this is dieing. I see a friend's face before me. Why her face? I wonder. Why not someone else's? I cannot remember what they look like. I can never remember what anyone looks like. Why am I thinking? Shouldn't I be dieing? Am I alive? I know I'm not dead.
Stop. Like a telegram. Stop. But I haven't stopped yet. Cogito Igitur Ego. Stop. I hold on to that thought, like a lifeline. But I don't care about dieing. I am too far from what I love to think how I will never be near it agian. I cannot, somehow, think 'Why am I dieing?' Perhaps because I only know it, cannot feel it.
It hurts to twitch my finger. Is this what death feels like?
There is a vacuous silence. My thoughts are sucked into it. They enter it and die. Dieing... But I cannot be sucked away into nothingness. I must exist until I die. I cannot disintegrate and evaporate with my ship. I must be. I will be. Until I am beyond existence. Stop.
Cogito Igitur Ego... Sum. And that is the final word, the closing chord. I am alive and wait. Wait. this is going very slowly. Why, I wonder, why am I dieing so slowly?
Blackness all around. Strange place to die. As if I were buried alive. Will my body fall apart, once I die? There is a very white star over there. It is so white and far away. Maybe I will come near it.
Stop.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

water lilies

Water lilies whisper wondering
in the lakes and wetlands.
These are hard times;
these are cold times.
These are times,
and time's a river.
Listen, listen!
Don't you hear it?
There are times:
All times are history
by the morning
aft the closing
of the night.
Water lilies, water lilies,
wild stagnant water lilies
in the blooming of the waves
and in the sparkle of the the sun.
Time goes; time goes, and it's lost.
Hard times down the water falls.
What is left? What is left?
Water lilies, Water lilies.
Wild, stagnant, still the same.
Heart unbending in the waving,
blooming and not wilting yet.
These are hard times, water lilies.
These are hard times yet.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

and the garbage cans

The sky is gray
and it's raining.
I lie here
petting the cat.
I should be
doing school.
I was so
happy yesterday.
I thought I'd
found something,
a reason to
hope in today.
But the earth is
the same place,
Nothing
has changed.
We lie here,
and it's raining.
We want to know
the answers,
colors to our
gray questions,
and be able to lie
down and sleep.




The answers are there,
at the other end of it all,
So I must keep going.








The bicycles lie by the garbage cans.

I thought I had found my answer.
But only I asked the question.
And there are many more questions.
The bicycles lie by the garbage cans.
It seems as I gaze at the cat
like I'm ready to sleep and not ask.
And the bicycles and the garbage cans in the rain.
















The cat's eyes slit open in sleep.
Even in dreams you cannot leave
the life holding you and the rain.
It seems like I'll be passing
while the bicycles, garbage cans, rain.
The earth is the same thing
And it's fading away.
Vague thoughts that I don't hold.
And the bicycles- the cat twitches-
the rain. The rain has gone.
And I lie here by the cat.
And the bicycles lie by the garbage cans.
My thoughts run on; they ask
and I'm tired. The cat is asleep.





















And I'm fading away.
I thought I found something.
I'm fading while the bicycles
rust by the garbage cans cracked.
And I'm fading. The earth is the same.
And cat, in the dream, and the rain's gone.
I'm fading. The questions still ask.

fascinating, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

stupid people

you are a fish in a glass bowl
your eyes are big
you cant break your confines
just swim in circles
in circles
in circles
your eyes are big
what do you see
locked yourself in a glass bowl
away in selfmade walls
selfmade walls
selfmade walls

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pondering the Quiddity of the Palpable


You figure out what "Pondering the Quiddity of the Palpable" means.


I think that thinking of anything that can be sensed automatically leads one to ponder that which cannot be sensed. Because the rules and consistencies behind the palpable are the impalpable.
The apple falls from the tree because of that force know as gravity. We can sense gravity upon our own bodies, but in a much more abstract way than how we sense the apple in our hands.
Pushing this thought farther, take something like a hug. Palpable indeed, but there is an impalpable truth behind it- love. Love may lead to palpable sensations, but love itself is beyond our senses.

That is why I chose the least palpable color- gray. This picture represents the moment when the human mind leaves off pondering the quiddity of the palpable and transcends into the impalpable.

So, I had to write this essay for my English Composition class. I think it's worth reading.

Music, Who Am I?

It was all Socrates’ fault. He said that one can tell who a person is by what they listen to. I desperately wanted to know who I was, and I was determined to discover the truth is this assertion.

I remembered how on the last days before my three most recent birthdays I had watched the hours end, one by one. It was like trying to hold the waves as the river dragged me onward. Then, shortly before my seventeenth birthday, I heard the song “From a Distance” played by flutist James Galway. I instantly associated it with growing up, and the song became a source of steady hope and my window through which I looked back at my past and forward into my future. On the last day before my seventeenth birthday, I thought of that song and all it was to me; I did not count the hours.

I recognized this as proof that music did indeed shape me, perhaps even who I was. I decided to test Socrates. I don’t know who I, a stupid American teenager, thought I was to challenge the unquestioned wisdom of an ancient Greek philosopher.

For one month I did not listen to music. I hoped I would discover my essence, uninfluenced by music. In the silence, I became more perceptive of sound, and as my ears sharpened, I grew to rely on them more than any other sense. A strong connection developed between what I hear and how I consider my life and surroundings.

I became acutely aware of the evils of the world, perhaps because I was listening more than ever before. The world struck me as horrific, resonant with hatred and deception. My friends were disappointing me; my parents expected me to make choices I was not ready for, and I was hungering for something I hardly believed in. The chaos of others’ voices and my own faults strangled me. My mind was jarred with raucous noise. With increasing panic I struggled to understand it all- society, immorality, people. Yet I did not even know how to perceive the world. Truth and falsity are too tangled. What was I to do? How was I to react? Below all this was a throbbing hope that there might be a universal truth to summarize, unite and explain all people, including myself.

Also at that time, I found everyone wanted me to be happy and nice. It was like a sheet of smoky glass surrounded me. People only saw of me what they wanted. When I did not smile, they would laugh and say, “Smile! The sun is shining.” They did not listen to what I was trying to say. I would flounder for any answer to their questions and hope they would hear the hypocrisy in my voice as I said something I did not believe. But I was saying what they wanted to hear, nice things lit by the sparkle of an imaginary sun. Why did they expect me to be so happy and nice? Did they think that by being so, they could pretend the world was a good place and life easy?

As another month began, I decided to listen to music for one hour in the morning and one hour at night. One Saturday morning, I chose Shostakovich’s 8th Symphony.

I listen.

The music is wild, bizarre, unlike anything I ever heard before. Like water might feel as it spreads across the ground where it has been spilt free from its container, so I feel my mind expanding, daring to look into horizons I had never thought possible. I try to do something while I listen, but I cannot. My entire mind is consumed by the symphony. The instant I am not alert, the music will leaves me miles behind and become incomprehensible. I close my eyes, and I see colors, brilliant colors on opaque darkness; they seem to mean nothing, only visual translations of the sound. Then I realize the darkness is my mind; the colors are my thoughts. My thoughts are being blown up as they are given unbelievable expression in the music. The music explodes in the darkness, challenging, mounting, bursting, shattering. Breaks. Heals. Breaks again. Is meant to be broken. The bandage was false. My thoughts are all fragments, dancing apart like galaxies, held together by sound.

The music begins to translate itself into the language of my mind. I understand. The music is an analogy of society, immorality, people. It is a rhythmic explanation of all the inconsistencies and faults of mankind. Within this symbolism, I find I am a microcosm of the wild, bizarreness of life and the human experience. We are each worlds of unanswered questions; we are each symphonies. All people together create the chaos portrayed in this symphony.

The music grows to be everything but what I hear. It is the patters before my eyes. It is the swaying surrounding my body. It is the clean, limitless air I breathe. Yet I cannot hear anything, just as I cannot see my face. The music is my mind. I am slipping from it. I am slipping into it. Music, who am I? The music is me. The music is the confusion in my own soul.

If I could breathe slower- If I could write faster- Every measure is a day’s emotions, rising, falling. Every wave is a passion. I skim at breakneck speed across the foamy crests with hardly a chance to see into the depths.

My eyes are closed. I do not see the sun. I feel motion. I am moving through my mind; I am climbing up into the past. Problems unsolved, like incomplete days, are sewn together. With rapid speed the music fills the voids in me of unanswered questions, from the surface of perception to the depths of my subconscious. The darkness is alive, and I am alive. I do not need the sun to show me that I am moving, that I exist.

I open my eyes. The music seeps from my consciousness. I have not moved an inch. The air of my room is polluted with demanding questions and haughty answers and expectations. I feel a queasy uneasiness. When my eyes are open, I need the sun to see that I exist, but I do not know who exists. So I close my eyes.

And I listen.

I am turned inside out and shaken like an old rug. My essence is explodes into a thousand fragments that transform themselves into sound. All the confusion in me is surrounding me. Mental trauma, which once choked me at every turn of my mind, is now outside of me. The symphony is coming to a close. I watch the minutes end, one by one. I wait for one last discordant eruption. But the music is simple, vulnerable; what could it mean? I wonder at myself for understanding the dissonant sound but not being able to relate to a restful melody. My subconscious, concupiscent desires, despair, and perverted hopes talk to me from outside of me. They are far from me, and I realize I am free to sense the inner peace that I had almost forgotten to believe in. The answers and harmony I have been hungering for are being sung to me. I know how I am to respond to society and the faults of humanity. The symphony glides into a finish with poignant ease.

Music, who am I? I close my eyes, and I know. I am the question, the seeker. The music is my reason, my illumination.