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.