Friday, October 29, 2010

"indiscernible certainty"

(What follows is a two-part presentation. First in an introductory essay, seconded by a poem. The poem was actually first in the order of creation, and arose as a reflection, a re-expression of the personal essay and blog entry, "Got Nothin!" The essay was written later, and to serve as introduction of the conceptual linkage of the poem to an art instillation entitled, "Layers," by Doug Jaques. The instillation and presentation of the poem was culminated in an "8 Minute Max" evening at Hope Chapel.)

It is in theory and philosophy which I delight, I have passion for, and is that facet of my identity by which I know myself the most intimately. Consequentially it is also the facet by which I feel the most isolated, philosophy itself not being a common, household pursuit.
It is in metaphor that I find... a "layering", and thusly through this layering the written parallels the visual. The isolation produced in the experiencer - by the obscurity of the philosophical and theoretical references - serves, I hope, to function as a marriage of the layering metaphor to the experience (of the audience). The experience discussed within the poem, and the truth of that experience, manifests in a baklava-like fashion in the layered understandings of myself in the minds of others, the mind of myself, the mind of "the perceiver", and the mind of God.
There are some elements, some references, which it would be helpful to explain before reading the poem. These references are to Leibniz, Schrodinger, and Camus. Leibniz's Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles, crudely stated, says no two individual objects are exactly alike, and that any two objects which are indiscernible are thus indistinguishable and identical substance. Schrodinger, a physicist, took issue with the notions of uncertainty in measurements and statistical predictions suggested by some Quantum theorists, and presented a thought experiment functioning after the logical formulation of a "reductio ad absurdum" - a reduction to the absurd. This theory involved a cat being placed into a box with a "diabolical mechanism" which, under certain conditions, vents a poisonous gas into the box, and thus allowing the observer to know the cat as both alive and dead at the same time. Camus, neither a physicist nor a philosopher but a writer among the Irrationalist Movement, and a self-proclaimed "absurdist," sought to address the absurdity of a meaningless, godless world.
Quantum Mechanics deals with the state of matter and its relative "discernability". Some theorists discuss interactions of quantum objects with measuring devices and perceiver both, which produces effects measurable only statistically - an idea with which Einstein ultimately became disillusioned. Many Philosophers question if what we perceive is actually what is actually true of the object being perceived, and further still how is that we know anything at all. Quantum Theory, with its theoretical elements of "complementarity" and "uncertainty", thusly bears a pertinence to the philosophical speculations on the concepts identity ad individuality. Does Quantum Theory, then, imply that the fundamental particles of physics can not be regarded as individual objects? If one can maintain metaphysical speculations of individual objects while yet positing Quantum Theory, does the resultant indistinguishability of objects violate Leibniz's Principle of Indiscernibles?
So, the uncertainty inherent to communication, the elusiveness of understanding, and the implications of that all upon my identity distinguished from the perceptions of others (as such is based upon uncertain communication and elusive understanding) finds expression through the vehicle of Quantum Theory used as metaphor.
Only in the infinite, and infinitely knowing mind of God, as am I robed in Christ, do I find I can be fully known, understood, fully perceived. As God is true, and truly existent, and all things hold together in Him, by His holding them together, then therein lies the greatest and most certain of Hope to be known, beyond even the philosophical or theoretical certainties and uncertainties fathomable in the mind or even experiences of Man. This is a hope we as yet only vaguely discern, and could be said to be an indiscernible certainty.


Indiscernible. Introspection
proves me Leibniz looking in a mirror.

Ask me to trust you, then
prove you are not Schrodinger putting my
soul into the box of your own "diabolical mechanism"
which is only all of what you can conceive.

Poor Albert (the other one) became disillusioned, but i
am finding there is complementarity enough, and abounding in
in what i know of what i know.

Reductio ad absurdum, after all -
and i am too tired to prove anything to you,
when i prove my own death every time i look inside me,
and all the other times i don't.

In the momentum of my soul,
and the interaction of my mind on truth, i cling to how
Camus was indeed a stranger in the mind of God -
whom knows that which makes this "Principle of Me"
totally Absurd, truly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I got nothin'.

When folks ask if they can pray for me I tell them, "I got nothin'." It's a bold -faced lie, before them and even God, perhaps. See, I feel like a three-legged greyhound raised around a bunch of whippet's, and no one ever bothered to tell me. I am starting to realize as they talk about running and I talk about running there is something i am not aware of, and some disconnect, some alterity to my experience. And it is all i can do to stay focus on my own gimpy hobbling along, and how it is not running... even though deep in every fiber of my broken being and in my missing leg i know what running is supposed to be. The kicker, pun intended, is that anytime I focus on what i think is wrong about their gait it keeps coming back to me, and what is wrong with me when I am trying to keep pace.

Moral of the story, maybe, that a three-legged dog shouldn't ... just shouldn't?

So i lie and say I got nothin', when maybe i got more to ask for than most, but i just don't know how to ask. It is not like running three-legged translates all that well. Why i feel it is incumbent on me is likely rooted in my being bred to run. A little more than the humidity in my stump after sleeping on tile during a chilly night is that ache to run. Let's leave aside the fact that the only frame of reference i have is what life has provided, and not until it is a matter of retrospection and comparison. Suffice it to say i just don't know how f'ed up i am. Not that others don't like to point it out, with or without truth infused in the telling. Not that I am not getting a solid hint on my own, with every step, ever breath, every "out of the gate" of every moment.

The "bitch-stick" beating of that, though, actually comes with not knowing what vision i can through myself into, what truth to adopt as the presuppositional cornerstone - i mean, do i just look to the future for my children (and what they can have with all their legs which I never was given as a result of my parents' gimp-making snap of the jaws), or just the more fundamental yet less defined "God is good, will be good, the same yesterday today tomorrow". See, if you didn't know it, we all favor a side and if left with enough space and no navigational tools we end up walking in a big circle, and doubly so for a three-legged dog. On a side note, it is sheer and verily biting and accusatory irony-in-the-guise-of-self-deprication aimed at others that this three-legged dog dresses up with an eye-patch and a fake peg-leg and goes around slurring, "Arrrrrgggghhhh, matey".

I know God is good, I have witnessed it, been a recipient of it. And the lovely sagacity i share with my wife which echos the verse " to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness" comes back to bite me in my haunches. So this is what i would ask prayer for, that I might know what it means to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and that i might grow in that, and go deeper in that knowledge, and that like Solomon i might laugh at my three-leggedness and find that fear/reverancy which is the beginning of wisdom, being choke-collared by Wisdom.

If it is exile, there is a promise always to be brought out of it. Honestly i shake at the thought i might not be brought out of it, and pant for surer footing that I won't be left alone in this exile than my feeble trust allows me to believe upon. Trusting is a matter of remembering, and that is a discipline. The real hurdle is remembering and simultaneously not forgetting the vantage of my own brokenness. Maybe that vantage point is what humility is, what humbling ones' self looks like, don't now but it doesn't matter: It is a boon to see how f'ed up i am. If that is the only truth i ever get to see, it is still the truth, Truth. There may be some that would pray I would know myself as I am seen robed in Christ. A buddy has prayed that. Others, my wife included, has prayed i would have a friend that would encourage me. Guess all that is something.

But this dog needs something to hunt, in order to run, er, hobble after. How do you chase that electric bugs bunny and give up ever catching it to the point, even in your most primed that if that gate opens you're ready to heel when you're told to heel because you are wanting to heel and not exact upon that silly, rail-running little hoppity hopper figure a rabid ferocity?

So, ok, end of day: i am broken, f'ed up beyond humanly repair. I am to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. I feel, know my heart is far away. Obedience is a momentary state, and not the regular gait. I have looked in the mirror and forgotten my face. I am three-legged dog dieted on my own vomit. Maybe I am also blind in one eye...or deaf in an ear. I don't know if this discipline is all that there is about me, but it is all i can see. i look at my failure and brokenness and that is what such has always been taught me to be: all that i am (at least as far as the world and my own eyes are concerned). Yeppers, i really don't know how God see me... hell, don't even know how a father sees me. I know how i see my son. I don't know how to be looked upon continuously (read, "to be known") as other than my failure, or what i am beyond my own abilities or actions.

Friday, August 20, 2010

You know, i see creation to be like what a father does with his children, from the first engendering efforts to the shaping of personhood through modeling of character and acts of encouragement and provision.

Likewise I see goodness as the quality which encapsulates all of how family is, from its expansive narrative and all its subtextual joys and frustrations, all of marriage's pith (from its creation of a whole unit from two fractured pieces, and how it relatively redefines the individuals as more than a mere individual and single pieces), all of parental-child pith (with all the dynamics and all the identity-forming "recursive-ality").

It really is the case that a table is set before me, in the presence of my Enemy, for me to be a father.

You know, however, i do have to ask, "why is it as a father i am surprised by this sense? "

It would be entirely too easy, and altogether too ubiquitously banal to dwell on the characterizations and social attitudes (portrayed in entertainment media) regarding fathers and men. If you are a man, you know there is not a lot of positive press we get, no great identity-affirming-destiny-imparting attitudes out there. That pretty much goes without saying.

But why is it even what is good to a man and a father isn't more prolifically praised, touted, proclaimed? Why don't we have stories from father's perspectives that give utterance to how incredible awesome our gifts of family are to us? Heck, why don't we even have current-era "John Waynes" portraying the grateful and committedly loving attitudes of fathers for their children, men doing whatever for their family and offspring? It isn't because there aren't men that feel that way towards their family. It isn't because every father is a shmuck. It does seem that every movie with a father is about how much or how relatively little a failure that father is - thus is about the father, not from the father.

I mean, would i as a father who knows how much he fails his children desire to see a movie that paints fathers in general as failures? No. Would i want to see a movie about a father that loves his children and does what he can, all he can, for his children? Well, Hell yeah! I don't mean the father seeking vengeance motifs either - that too is banal and ubiquitously present and absolutely irrelevant.

It isn't because such a movie or such an article would ferret out some quintessential notion of identity for me that i have struggled to find. Nah, it would just be something with which i could identify, and finally something with which i could identify.

The real question is why we as a society don't seem to clamor for such a form of perspective in media, or why we are so seemingly obsessed with slamming men and fathers as failures. Hell, lets put a finer point on it: slamming white men as failures, because i doubt such a movie that slammed absentee african-american fathers would fare any better than Cosby's "Pound Cake" speech in the general "politically correct" environment of media reviews.

Gotta say, take note, that i did not say the "Pound Cake" speech was valid, nor that movies about absentee african american fathers should be made, nor that political correctness in reviews was off-base. But neither am I saying the opposite. All i am saying is that the issue of positive vantage points (those vantage points of fathers whom love their family) are not racial-based, whereas the negative portrayals of fathers are uniquely racially oriented, and are so in an environment that would not accept such if directed at other races. But man, all that is a digression, huh.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blogging

Leaving aside the fact that I update this blog about as frequently as I do my tetanus shots, and that my follower-base is about as expansive as my athletic ability (and how both these facts preclude the intent) one supposes a blog like mine is meant to be a vehicle for social redress, a platform for speech and rhetoric and ideas, a venue for intellectual pow-wow, a veritable 21st century marketplace or city gate.

But I just now finished reading an NPR blog about the "Rules for the "N" word" (a quipping addendum to the already prolific outcry over Dr. Laura's faux pas), and for the life of me I can't see how such can be the goal of any national media outlet, nor how one might want otherwise.

Simply put, the allowance of response to sensational blog news pieces (and by sensational i mean "inciting") is mercurial savvy, if it is anything. I mean, post a hotbed topic, and get folks riled up, then let them debate about it with a sense of having a voice (a la comment posting) - thus having them returning to the site repeatedly to follow the responses to their responses - all the while inundating them by ever changing advertisements in the margins. Ingenious, devilish, but ingenious.

This medium allows folks the opportunity to adopt their virtual personas and hash out topics sans any fear of personal reprisal for their inconsiderateness or rudeness or lack of empathy. It even seems that the blog arguments that arise (even which chasten such rudeness) only serve to fuel the the goal of increasing visitors, and thus more eyes subject to the advertisements.

Hey, this is great for me, since I am a freelance writer and any media outlet picking up my story will likely allow the response section and thus generate notoriety for me as an off-shoot of the debate. But here is the sticky question, I mean, with no cup of hemlock waiting for contributors at the end of posts, can i really convince anyone of the importance of taking the issue beyond verbal banter? Has media - once a papyrus abstraction from the city gates, now a virtual obtruseness - lost its significance for social dialogue, especially since it is driven by advertisers' scrolling flash illustrations of the "good life", and warped around the fancy of secrecy-birthed personas wanting the satisfaction of venting and being heard in the ether?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A "what if" place....

What if God did not want you to succeed, but to fail? What if in your life God wanted to work on issues of character, and to do that required you remain in a lesser status than even now to which you are used? What if life for you were never to be easy, always flavored with failure to your projects, lack of completion of dreams and goals? What if you never attained to a level of management, and your ventures never succeeded? What if you were never elevated to a position of leadership? What if always you watched other passing you by in every aspect of "practical" life, all for the sake of God developing your character and blessing you in the Heavenly realms - not even with "salvations" notched in your belt?

What if you were constantly scrimping by, never with any comforts supplied, just needs, and even those not out of some stored up resource other than God's daily provision? What if you never had savings, never got vacations, and any delights in material things came from momentary experiences of others possessions - but always you returned to your lesser home, your lesser bed?

What if the good God had for you was only the esteem of your children and others, a strength of character and moral rectitude, a certainty that your basic needs were supplied but also a certainty that is anything was really really needed for you to carry out God's will even that provision would be made available (but only that provision)? What if that Good was a child-like dependence upon Him, knowing the dependability of a Father who supplied needs for His projects (not your projects)? Would you desire after only His projects, and His projects more than your own?


Now what if this were someone else such happened to? What would be your attitude towards them? Would you pity them, or envy them?

The question becomes a simple one: are you seeking now the purposes of God, for this day and for this season in your life, as all which you are seeking? Honestly, there is no other purpose in life, there is nothing else to be had but what God wants for Himself and His Kingdom.

What is one believing on God for, and what is one trying to manage out of God? Is this place not the place in which the birds steal the sower's seed? The place in which one looks into a mirror without seeing, or forgetting their face? The place where one listens without hearing, knowing without doing?

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Bio.

It is a dangerous thing for a writer to get to write his own bio. Scary as well, since some of us writers have to work harder to make ourselves sound as interesting as something else we might write. We may inventively have to begin with some qualifying statement about how dangerous it is for us to write our own bio. If done correctly we drop the fact in that we are writers when we do.

Given that every writer is concerned with the five story elements (character, setting, plot, conflict, theme), and having already nailed down the first element (character), the writer would then need to move on to setting. Here is where some difficulty comes in, since how does one really describe the georgic "ville de nascence" of small town Texas so eloquently as to capture it in it's fullest bucolic (albeit equally mundane) character. Perhaps with an almost blithe tone and word choice, going so far as to use a made-up french expression?

Or then, without having been already garish enough in speech heretofore, avoid sesquipedalian and long-winded accounts of the mere move to the grand and metropolitan town of Texas at such a young age as finds a boy issuance into his first years of elementary school.

And of plot, what ever might that challenged writer include to enthrall his audience? What retellings indeed of cerebral pursuits of a Bachelor's in Philosophy in the hallowed halls of academia; or Dionysian escapades four years ago in the courtship of his Juliet-like spouse.

As per conflict, well, it would be a truly grandiose tale: the quintessentially tell tale of the Herculean struggles of the stay-at-home father (firstly) and free lance writer (secondly), a veritable Mr. Mom for his three and a half year old daughter, and his nine month old son. This quixotic tale would would find its hero standing resolute against Society's preconceptions (of the role both for men and women), resisting the tides of cultural presuppositions in support of his beloved.

Our hero of this scribe's penning might soliloquize as to his great esteem for an officer's intrepidity and pluck, the very mettle and measure of what he seriously finds so admirable in all of those that make up the Thin Blue Line - for the defense of whom our Hero would purpose his days in applying his full prowess of pen. This grit, this true grit and valor and hutzpah, so personified by the officers he admires, might be the sought-after theme, the character to which he aspires to make the piquancy of his writing of his life for his bio.

Or the writer may just state simply that he was born in small town Texas, but moved to big town texas early enough to be an almost-native, went to scollege where he got his Bachelor's in Philosophy, married his spouse in 2007, and is a stay-at-home father for his two children (a girl of three and a half, and a boy of nine months). The writer might also mention he enjoys the opportunity to write whenever he can. His hobbies include: reading, watching really good cop shows, and collecting stuff (newts, salamanders, comics, marbles, and aquarium fish).