On the Road again.

Well, here i go. In about 5 minutes I'm leaving for good ol' Kansas to be with the Grandparents for a bit in the RV. If you think of it, feel free to call me, in that i'll be driving for 8 hours with no companion and no music except what the radio (however spotty) will afford. I don't mind a little alone time though, which is great, because i'm ready to be home, and thus, ready to drive.


"You watch your Phrase-ology"

First of all, 10 points to the first person to cite where the quote in my title is from.

However, what made me think of this, was a phrase i oddly heard used a few times today (not odd that i heard it used, more that i heard it numerous times:

"neck of the woods"

10 mas puntos (thats me beginning to implement my spanish speaking) to the person who can explain where the phrase came from. Now, lets be honest about this too, I mean, its easy to look it up, but does anyone REALLY know from whence it came?


Late Night Hotel Talks.

So I'm living in a hotel right now because it seems to be the most sterile environment. Sterile is best since apparently I'm allergic to everything, literally, everything. I had my allergy tests today, and NONE of the allergens came back negative, meaning I'm a walking, talking allergic reaction waiting to happen.

My friend Alexandra Jane came to visit me tonight and we were planning to watch Finding Neverland, so we mosied on down to the front desk to pick up some treats for the feature film. An hour and a half later we made our way back to the room, too intrigued to even think about starting a movie.

As we attempted to buy our snackies, we met the front desk worker, TB. He said "uno momento, por favor" (which i thought was Spanish, but apparently the way he said it was Italian). We asked if he was from Italy, and he said, NO, he was from Egypt (that was the first time in this conversation that i felt like an idiot, he clearly looked Egyptian). Then he proceeded to ask about our education and how many languages we spoke. One, was, of course, our mutual answer to the question, though i sheepishly added my minimal but hopefully progressing knowledge of the Spanish language. He said, "that's poor." I agreed. I said that I hoped to someday be trilingual. To that he answered, "that's poor, I speak six." Turns out that Egyptian children learn three languages by the time they graduate high school. His next question was, "what is the greatest fault of humankind?" The way that the conversation was going, I thought I knew the answer--ignorance. Turns out I was right. We talked not as much about the failing US educations systems, but more the flourishing systems of Egypt, Germany, and Japan--countries who recently were devastated by war, but now take the 1-2-3 spots of education in the world. Where is the US? Number 9.

There were so many places in the conversation i wanted to agree with him, and a few in which i wanted to disagree. But first and foremost it just reinforced my dissatisfaction with American culture. You just don't need to have extensive knowledge of anything to make it in our society(overall attractiveness and rhetoric will take you long way). Hard work is severely diminished, and getting by with a passing grade is good enough. If you are in an Intro to Accounting class, and you know that if you pass it, just barely, you can make up your GPA in classes that you are "better" at. Isn't the point of class to learn and begin to understand those things that our minds previously failed to comprehend? I find myself falling into this trap all the time. For instance, my biology class. I hated it. Often, i would tell myself that it was the faulty system of Taylor that even put me in this class first semester, and thus it was my prerogative to shirk my responsibility to gain as must as was possible from it. What an attitude.

Perhaps our country, with all its advances, has begun to limit people. My school tested me in 8th grade, and told me what subjects would best suit me later on in life, what kind of job I should get. It said I should write, and read to become a teacher or a lawyer. But, I shouldn't attempt to do anything that required great attention to detail, like a surgeon. I shouldn't be a writer, but i could be a critic (which was an unfortunate thing to hear in and of itself). So, as an 8th grader, what do I begin to do with this newly acquired knowledge of my strengths and weaknesses? I began to make excuses. "well, i really don't have a math brain so to pay attention in Algebra II would be fruitless..." "well, i don't have a desire to ever think about the excretory system again, so i don't really care how i do on this project..." You'd think that perhaps this would be frowned upon, and perhaps it was, but I remember these excuses being made FOR people, by those who were there to teach, in high school.

Why do we not want to start mandatory language programs that will actually push people and not be simply elective courses in the first year a child enters school? It may put undue stress on the child...or something. Or the school doesn't want to do the work to find tremendous language teachers and begin to pay them too. Some schools have good programs, some don't. Here's my problem.

Its not so much with the lack of classes, as it is an IGNORANCE. Just like TB said, my lack of knowledge of other languages shows ignorance, but not just of languages, of cultures. After some thought, I also believe it to be pretty darn disrespectful. The majority of the world learns English. Most countries graduate high school seniors who could come here and live and speak fluently with in our culture (and probably with more grammar and syntax than most who grew up here). When they come here, they want to be able to communicate with us, why? because apparently they respect our culture (though i don't know why.) Most Americans, however, couldn't even begin to communicate with people of other-language speaking countries. Not only that, but also, they couldn't care less. We are being ignorant and disrespectful. We have failed to realize our place on this planet. We are not just the big powerhouse that can go in and fix people's failing governments and cultures. We have forgotten that most countries and cultures are infinitely (maybe that's a bit hyperbolic) older and more established than we are, and may have a few things to teach our baby country about its place in the world and in history. I don't think you can love someone unless you know them, and I, for one, do not know much about any other cultures. How can I expect to love and respect them? I can't, because i am ignorant.

(this was only the first 15 minutes of the conversation in which he went on to tell us stories of his life in the 19 countries and 49 states he has visited. wow. cool guy.)

P.S. the only reason I could have this conversation was because he spoke English. Without his knowledge of the language, we would have had a failing attempt at communication. My night would have been tragically less than it was had we not been able to hear his stories of his culture, education, vocation, and family. I want to be able to go to other cultures and hear more stories so that I may love and respect people who didn't grow up in a place like I did, people from whom I know I have so much to learn. I should probably start to learn now.


Urgent Care Centers.

are inappropriately named.

Let's examine:

"Urgent"--Flat out lie. I could have died right there in the waiting room and they wouldn't have seen me for an hour. It almost happened.

"Care"--If any doctor EVER tries to tell you that the best way to deal with your asthma is to take 10 days of 3x a day prednisone with no taper--run the other direction (your lungs might not appreciate this, but your liver will).

And here we see that "urgent" and "care" may be the two least fitting words for this fine establishment.

Perhaps "lackadaisical disregard" or "apathetic nearsightedness". Anything, just NOT urgent care.

"How Am I Supposed to Breathe With No Air?"

Maybe Jordin Sparks has asthma too?

Tell me how I'm supposed to breathe with no air
Can't live, can't breathe with no air
It's how I feel whenever you ain't there
It's no air, no air
Got me out here in the water so deep
Tell me how you gon' be without me
If you ain't here, I just can't breathe
It's no air, no air

No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air

I walked, I ran, I jumped, I flew
Right off the ground to float to you
There's no gravity to hold me down for real
But somehow I'm still alive inside
You took my breath, but I survived
I don't know how, but I don't even care

My biggest problem with Jordin representing us asthmatics of the world, is that she seems to imply that its easy for those with no air to "walk, run, jump, and fly" as insinuated in the last paragraph.

No. Its not. In fact, i can barely get air as i lay here. How am I supposed to breathe with no air?



Dear Mommy,
You are a mom. Here's proof.

Each one of us loves you.

Even in our silliest moments, we love you.

Here's the story:
In the beginning there was Lisa, a beautiful woman.

There was also a Chris, a studly man.

They fell in love.

A few years down the road, there was Annie.
(you celebrated your first official mothers day in May of 1989)

Next, there was a Clare Bear.

Then there was a little Lissie.

And last, a Gracie poo.

Since then, they have become friends. Sisters and friends.

All in all, you are a wonderful mother, and
we [] you.

Your Daughter,
Anne Marie.

Happy Mother's Day.


The Evangelical Manifesto.

Yes, there is one now.

Read it.

I appreciate this. I have read it, and am encouraged by the direction that it takes. Its important to define terms, but its something we often forget in Christian circles, assuming that we all understand words like "santification" or "grace". This gives us a nice little definition of "evangelical." I'm sure we'll hear more about it in the coming months.

These are some of my favorite excerpts:
"Fifth, the Evangelical message, “good news” by definition, is overwhelmingly positive, and always positive before it is negative. There is an enormous theological and cultural importance to ―the power of No,‖ especially in a day when ―Everything is permitted‖ and ―It is forbidden to forbid.‖ Just as Jesus did, Evangelicals sometimes have to make strong judgments about what is false, unjust, and evil. But first and foremost we Evangelicals are for Someone and for something rather than against anyone or anything. The Gospel of Jesus is the Good News of welcome, forgiveness, grace, and liberation from law and legalism. It is a colossal Yes to life and human aspirations, and an emphatic No only to what contradicts our true destiny as human beings made in the image of God."

and also, due to my obsession with paradoxes in the faith:

"We therefore regard reason and faith as allies rather than enemies, and find no contradiction between head and heart, between being fully faithful on the one hand, and fully intellectually critical and contemporary on the other. Thus Evangelicals part company with reactionaries by being both reforming and innovative, but they also part company with modern progressives by challenging the ideal of the-newer-the-truer and the-latest-is-greatest and by conserving what is true and right and good. For Evangelicals, it is paradoxical though true that the surest way forward is always first to go back, a ―turning back‖ that is the secret of all true revivals and reformations."

by far one of the most necessary things for those both inside and outside of the church to hear:
"We confess that we Evangelicals have betrayed our beliefs by our behavior. All too often we have trumpeted the gospel of Jesus, but we have replaced biblical truths with therapeutic techniques, worship with entertainment, discipleship with growth in human potential, church growth with business entrepreneurialism, concern for the church and for the local congregation with expressions of the faith that are churchless and little better than a vapid spirituality, meeting real needs with pandering to felt needs, and mission principles with marketing precepts. In the process we have become known for commercial, diluted, and feel-good gospels of health, wealth, human potential, and religious happy talk, each of which is indistinguishable from the passing fashions of the surrounding world."

This document is pretty monumental, and i'm not sure why it was not more highly anticipated in Christian circles. Maybe it was, but my head is in the sand or something. Anyway,its only twenty double spaced pages, read it.


The Enneagram.

Here's the deal, until about a year ago, I LOATHED personality tests. Perhaps it was the fact that i had this unquenchable desire to be an "individual" and thus could not even begin to desire to allow a test to put me in a box and make me like 1/4 of the rest of the earth's population. This is how i felt until i found this--the ENNEAGRAM. Now, my story with this personality indicator is made 30x cooler by the fact that i was told my personality via the electrical currents in my body, however, this is irrelevant.

What i like about this system is that it really isn't confining. It gives some motivations and drives, its more about the "why" of a person than the "what". And as a person who values the why more than the what in general, i like this test.

There are nine possibilities in this model, and they are consist of the numbers 1-9. Each number has a few "archetypal" adjectives that describe the activity of the person. Here are the 9 types.

Brief descriptions of the nine Enneatypes are as follows:

[Ones: Reformers, Judges, Perfectionists]

Ones are focused on personal integrity and can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws or what they believe are flaws (such as negative emotions) and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical of others, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The greatest fear of Ones is to be flawed and their ultimate goal is perfection.

Ego fixation: resentment
Holy idea: perfection
Passion: anger
Virtue: serenity
Stress point: Four
Security point: Seven

[Twos: Helpers, Givers, Caretakers]

Twos, at their best, are compassionate, attentive, generous and caring but they can also be particularly prone to clinginess, neediness and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love.

Ego fixation: flattery
Holy idea: freedom
Passion: pride
Virtue: humility
Stress point: Eight
Security point: Four

[Threes: Achievers, Performers, Status Seekers]

Threes tend to be especially adaptable and changeable. Some walk the world with confidence and authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting in ways they think will bring them approval but losing track of their true self. Threes are motivated by the need to succeed and also to be seen as successful.

Ego fixation: vanity
Holy idea: hope
Passion: deceit
Virtue: truthfulness
Stress point: Nine
Security point: Six

[Fours: Romantics, Individualists, Aesthetes]

Fours are driven by the desire to understand themselves and find a place in the world. They often fear that they have no identity or personal significance. Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative and intuitive and at best they are very humane. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression.

Ego fixation: melancholy
Holy idea: originality
Passion: envy
Virtue: equanimity
Stress point: Two
Security point: One

[Fives: Experts, Thinkers, Investigators]

Fives are motivated by the desire to understand the facts about the world around them. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. However, some Fives are known to withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness and want to be capable and knowledgeable above all else.

Ego fixation: stinginess
Holy idea: omniscience
Passion: avarice
Virtue: detachment
Stress point: Seven
Security point: Eight

[Sixes: Loyalists, Heroes / Rebels, Defenders]

Sixes long for safe stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but once betrayed, they are slow to trust again. They are particularly prone to fearful thinking and emotional anxiety as well as reactionary and paranoid behavior. Sixes tend to react to their fears either in a phobic manner by avoiding fearful situations or by confronting them in a counterphobic manner.

Ego fixation: cowardice
Holy idea: faith
Passion: fear
Virtue: courage
Stress point: Three
Security point: Nine

[Sevens: Enthusiasts, Adventurers, Sensationalists]

Sevens are adventurous, constantly busy with many activities with all the energy and enthusiasm of the Puer Aeternus. At their best they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders and truly live in the moment but, at their worst, they dash frantically from one new experience to another, too scared of disappointment to actually enjoy themselves. Sevens fear being unable to provide for themselves or to experience life in all of its richness.

Ego fixation: planning
Holy idea: work
Passion: gluttony
Virtue: sobriety
Stress point: One
Security point: Five

[Eights: Bosses, Mavericks, Challengers]

Eights value their own strength and desire to be powerful and in control. They concern themselves with self-preservation. They are natural leaders who can be either friendly and charitable or dictatorially manipulative, ruthless and willing to destroy anything in their way. Eights seek control over their own lives and destinies and fear being harmed or controlled by others.

Ego fixation: vengeance
Holy idea: truth
Passion: excess (lust)
Virtue: innocence
Stress point: Five
Security point: Two

[Nines: Mediators, Peacemakers, Preservationists]

Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best they are receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. They also, however, tend to dissociate from conflicts and to indifferently go along with other people's wishes. They may also simply withdraw and try to shut down emotionally and mentally. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all else. Nines are especially prone to dissociation and passive-aggressive behaviour.

Ego fixation: indolence
Holy idea: love
Passion: laziness (sloth)
Virtue: action
Stress point: Six
Security point: Three

Another interesting thing to note is that there are not usually any repeats within a family...unless, i suppose, you have more than 9 people in your immediate family. But in that case, some people's personalities are probably getting suppressed anyway. :) I love trying to guess which enneatype fits people in my life.

I am a 4. You should take a test and find out what you are, or just read through them and decided. You are probably going to be a better judge than any test, after all, you've lived with yourself for a while.


Urban Dictionary Update.

Many of you may have used Urban Dictionary to get caught up on on the current Lexicon on the street--well, i took it to another level--I get an e-mail with the "Urban Word of the Day."

Today's Word:


What do you think it means?
Maybe you already know and are much more avant-garde than I.

Dinner. What is it?

If words mean things, can they mean different things on different days?

Such as, can dinner mean lunch on sundays? If i go to a "carry-in dinner" at warren first baptist at noon, can i call that dinner? What then, is the next meal called?
If dinner happens at 6 o'clock on every other day, then can it happen at noon on Sunday?

Andrew Smith thinks it can.
Ridicule him.

Please weigh in.


Starbucks, worth the bucks.

Today i went to starbucks and was impressed, yet again, by the conversation i had there. I've always been a little skeptical of the whole "you are paying for the conversation atmosphere thing," but i can doubt no longer. Its true. Some of the most influential times of discussion and conversation can be pinpointed on a map.

[St. Louis]
-Chestefield Aiport Road in the Commons
(jenna--shed motherly wisdom in the area of family relationships)
(alexandra, katie, rachel, meredith--discussed what it means to truly be in community with your close girl friends)

--Delmar Road in the Loop
(Maria and i talked about the ways the church has hurt and destroyed its relationship with the people who need it the most)

--Olive Road
(Annie P and i talked about education and where its gone wrong. She told me about the approach of her classical school, and her opinion as a teacher and mother. I loved it.)


--Habor Road
(I talked with a Jehovah's Witness and began to understand just a bit what good looks like when it is severely tainted. Realized the necessity of every word in the Bible.)
(My parents took me to breakfast and told me i would be moving to St. Louis for my senior year if i so desired. I desired.)

--Fairview Road(Deitrich's Coffee, oops!)
(I read more books in the coffee shop than i've ever read sitting in my own room.)

[Gas City]
--Well, the only Starbucks in Gas City.
(I've sat with many a girl and had many a conversation this year, too many to count really.)
(Today, i went with Andrea DiSanto. In the 3 hours we sat talking, i was so encouraged by her insight and fellowship.]

So anyway, i thought i would document for myself the ways in which Starbucks (or Deitrich's) have been essential in the formation of my mind and thought process. The more i think about it, the more i don't see all these conversations as separate entities, filled with a conglomeration of ideas that i just stuffed into my mind for use later. They really have been integral in the process of forming my mind, molding and reminding my mind, making it different today than it was yesterday.

On this note, two things popped into my head after Coffee with Andrea today.

1. For this summer i have decided to live a "Holistic Summer" while i am home.

(Body)This will kick off by my attendance the holistic doctor to work at relieving my poor body of the harm it incurred/i forced upon it this year. Also, I will go to bed before midnight 6 nights a week and get up before 9. I will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. I will train (providing that my ankle is better) for half marathon with my sisters. I will eat naturally as much as possible (hello lots of fruits, veggies, and hummus). No soda, no chips, no ice cream, no candy, no silliness. My body deserves a break from these things.

(Mind)I will read a book every week, and hopefully more than that. At the top of the list will be anything written by Neil Postman (possibly "The Disappearance of Childhood" first.) I will have conversations. I will blog.

(Soul)As i don't consider my soul to be entirely separate from mind or body, it think that both of the lists apply here. Also, i hope to do time in the word with my sisters in the mornings. (before our run?) Also, if i get up early enough, i'm going to go to San Clemente and sit on the lifeguard stand and read out loud from the Word. I love hearing the Word read in large passages out loud.

So there that is, you'll hear more this summer.

2. Today I pondered which 5 books had the greatest impact on my life, and why. Here they are, in a very particular order.

a. A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken. (read in 2007) It doesn't matter who you are, this book will mean something to you. I heard today that it has been used as a marriage counseling book, it used to be used in the Foundations of Christan Thought Class, it was a part of my Junior year curriculum, and if you like a good story, this will do more than suffice. Old men like the book, middle school girls like the book. Its not really just a good story though. What impresses me most about this book is the fact that it was written. Weird, i know. But, its not a made up story, it is a man (sheldon vanauken) reflecting on his life with a certain aptitude for incredible synthesis and Godly understanding that is altogether quite uncommon. He writes about mercy in the most "graceful" way i've ever experienced (pun very much intended).

b. The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. (read in 2006) Becoming real, need i say more?

c. Descent into Hell, by Charles Williams. (read in 2006) Biggest thing i learned here--Terrible Good. Perhaps this is when my love for paradox in the Christian faith began. Also, coming face to face with yourself (your doppleganger) is a scary, scary thing.

d. Letters to a Diminished Church, by: Dorothy Sayers. (read in 2006) If nothing else, the chapter "The Dogma is the Drama" is life changing.

e. Technopoly, by: Neil Postman. (read last week in 2008) Awareness. really, this man just wants people to wake up and see the way that visible and invisible technologies have changed our lives and motives. Thanks to him, i woke up a bit. Thanks to this man's inspiration, i didn't do my homework one night. I was altogether too aware of my faulty desire to have a positive quantification of my thoughts--an A+ on my understanding of Hegel's philosophy. (ok, maybe this wasn't Neil's fault, maybe i just didn't want to do it.)

My blogging addiction is somewhat out of control. Its good though, now i have to focus and finish the work that i was going to do in 3 hours, in 1.5 hours. :)



Derrida v. Dennett...a paper i wrote for History of Philosophy. Nothing of my own thoughts...unless you consider my interpretation as my thoughts, in which case i might think you are correct. Without further adue:

Derrida begins his work “Structure, Sign, and Play” with the word “perhaps,” which seems entirely fitting as the whole body of the work is concerned. The object of this “perhaps” is an “event,” or the beginning of a shift from the old idea of structure to a new conception of it. The idea of a structure has always been coupled with the idea of a center which organizes and, more importantly, limits freeplay with in it. The idea of center, he says, is a paradoxical one. The center is both within, and outside, the structure—belonging to the totality, and outside it. Thus, “the center is not the center.” Concerning centers, within history, they can be seen as constantly being replaced within systems, each structure insisting on a different center. This “event”, then, as he discusses it, occurred when we became aware of the structure itself, and the center as a separate construct. He begins to wonder about this idea of a structure with a center, drawing attention to the necessity (despite all efforts) to refer to and speak within the confines of the structure you are attempting to deconstruct. He uses the example of the concept of “sign”, saying that signifying systems are centerless, with all the signs possessing an equal role with limitless freeplay. However, in using the word “sign” there has been a meaning assigned, and thus, the deconstruction of the system defeats itself.
Derrida next begins in on the work of Levi-Strauss. He gives an example of a time in his work where Levi-Strauss finds an inconsistency—a place that deconstructs, makes the oppositions unstable, and shakes up the entire structure. Derrida calls this, “putting the elements into play.” The key moment arises in how one deals with this deconstruction. There are two options. One can either attempt to reconstruct a system with no inconsistencies (deemed impossible by Derrida), or one can continue to use the previously deconstructed system with an awareness that it is founded on a center that is not fixed, but instead, has freeplay. If one chooses the latter approach, he is a Bricoleur, decidedly unconcerned with coherence of terms or truth value, elevating instead, their usefulness in the system. The bricoleur uses bricolage, which introduces a new way to discuss systems without appealing to a center. Arising from these assertions is the notion that totalization of a system is impossible—no system can cover all the bases because there are either too many things to account for or too much freeplay in the system. Play within the system disrupts the center, or presence. One can either dream of deciphering truth, a center free from play, or one can deal with the reality of the multiplicity of centers and get caught up in the freeplay. Thus the “perhaps” at the beginning of his essay was a signal of the denial of definitive truth that was to come.

Dennett, on the other hand, initially calls out to philosophers to regard their work with caution, so as not to harm, asking questions like: “What if I’m wrong?” These questions must be asked because, despite tradition, ideas affect lives in way that are worth worrying about. He, next, tells a story of a man who came to him, searching for “an epistemology.” He recognized a “gulf” between himself and the enquirer. This gulf is best described as the space between those who see proof as futile because of the relativity of truth, and those who see truth as scientific, provable. He has even been able to get his counterpart, Richard Rorty, to acknowledge the gap between reality and appearance—truth and non-truth.
The recognition and bridging of the gap are ideas that humans discovered and mastered. Humans, not animals, have the ability to worry about whether things are true, or if they just appear to be true. Because of this doubt, we invented communicative and recording innovations which come with the idea of truth inherent in them—the goal of truth is inherent in every culture. People ask questions to find true answers and measure things to get accurate ideas. Our technology of truth is science, using objective tools and objective organization so as to avoid opinion from tainting results. When science goes astray, which it will inevitably do, it is a result of bad science, political misuse of science, and unperfected methods—which are, luckily, perfectible.
These two works are, in most ways, diametrically opposed to one another. Ironically, both men use the idea of an engineer as a premier example in their work. In Derrida’s work, the engineer is seen, negatively, as someone who designs buildings with little or no freeplay, someone who aims to originate discourse from his own unique experience. He must create a stable system or nothing at all. This character is not one that Derrida would hold up as a shining example of human purpose, to say the least. In Dennett’s work, the engineer is someone who must ask himself: “Am I wrong?” This, to Dennett, is an entirely necessary question that can have either profound effects for good or evil. The example of the engineer sheds light on both men’s ideas about philosophy. While Derrida does nothing less than ridicule the engineer for his objectivity and desire for stability, Dennett highlights the necessity of objectivity in the realm of applied sciences as well as in discourse.
Dennett’s opponent, Rorty, takes what seems to be a similar stance to that of Derrida. He says that “debates about Truth really do erase the gulf, really do license a slide into some form of relativism.” He says that these discussions are just “conversations” (discourses, if you will) in which your side is determined by political, historical or aesthetic necessity. This is why Derrida points out the shift in centers from one time period or culture to the next—these conversations are in flux because the ideas of culture change over time, along with the conversations and discourses themselves. Dennett, however, still asserts that though language and metaphor are tools of thought, we also have other methods of ascertaining truth (e.g. microscopes and mathematics), which are not relative conversations, but lend themselves to objective truth. In the end, (in a much too simplistic manner), Derrida asserts that constructions of truth emanate from a pragmatic center, and can only be believed as true if that is how one chooses to deal with the deconstruction of truth—a nostalgic clinging to something that has been lost. Dennett, on the other hand, believes that objective truth is not just solely an exercise in clinging to what is most useful, but is, instead, an objective affirmation, worthy of complete confidence, if all correct methods are employed.

On a side note--Derrida is entirely too difficult to read for what he is trying to say. Dennett, though, speaks like i think philosophers should--coherently for the lay person, me.



I don't know about you, but i think Satire is one of the most powerful ways to communicate. If you've never checked out sites like the ONION, you should. It's an entirely different way of thinking about things, and a powerful one, especially in our culture that so enjoys sarcasm. Its a way to meet people who don't really care to talk intellectually, and trick them into it. HAHA. So devious.

I wrote a Satire Senior year. Props to Dr. Holley for being the best AP Expos teacher to ever walk the earth. I mean seriously, i'll probably post all of my papers from that class at some point, he made us write about important things, which, inevitably, made us think about important things.

Well here it is, my Satire:

Break All Ties—For Your Sake

Dear Friend,
I do not think that we should continue our friendship. I would like to say that it has been nice getting to know you, but that would be a lie. I really don’t care about you. But I don’t feel bad because I know you don’t care about me either. All I care about is myself. It is my belief, however, that we are all narcissists, so much so that we are unable to engage in the act of loving anyone else. I hope you will be able to accept the fact that I do not believe that our friendship is destined to continue. If you do not understand why I am saying all of this, then allow me to explain a bit more in depth.
Firstly, I do not really want you to know much about me. I like to stay safely introverted so that at no point will I be vulnerable. I don’t want you to know about my flaws or my imperfections. I do not want you to patronize my struggles by telling me all about yours. Mine are more important to me, so I don’t really want to hear about yours.
Secondly, I do not want to take any advice from you. If you do happen to see any part of my life which you deem to be “out of line,” I do not really want to hear about it. I don’t want to change—if I did, then I would have seen those problems and made those changes on my own. I am who I want to be; your influence means nothing. I am an individual, and my life is not to be ruled democratically by you and the rest of my “friends.”
Thirdly, I feel that hanging out with you, and anyone else for that matter, severely hinders the gain of any sense of self I that have ever hoped to have. Friendship often requires sacrifice, but why should I sacrifice any part of me in order that I might be friends with you? How does that help me? I gain nothing from your friendship except an earful of information about your life that I couldn’t care less about.
I am not sorry about any of this really; to be sorry would mean that I have taken time to regret something that I have done, and focused, for a moment, on your well-being, something I really do not have time for. But as my last act of thinking about others, I will offer you this advice: Break all ties.
I am currently contemplating a move to rural Kansas or upstate New York. I am highly anticipatory about all of the wonderful things that will come from my new, decidedly individualistic lifestyle. I will have much more time to ponder all things related to myself. I will no longer worry about what is socially acceptable or politically correct. I will forget about your problems and worry about my own. I will no longer have anyone to tell me when I have overstepped my bounds. I will no longer have to commit every Friday night for the rest of my life to a social event. I will no longer have to go to Starbucks as a tradition of friendship but instead will merely get my drink and leave without ever speaking a word to anyone, save the barista. I will never have to make small talk about the weather or the Cardinals. Not only will I not have friends and acquaintances, but also I am toying with the idea of forgoing all human contact—it’s just so “others centered.” After all, why should I care if your dog died? It’s your dog, not mine. That’s for you to deal with. I did not ask for any added stress. When my dog dies, I won’t beg for your attention. But you already know this because I told you that I’m leaving, and these are the last words I will ever speak to you—and if all goes as planned, the last words I will have to waste defending myself against all people like you who pry into my life, trying to “help” or “comfort” me.

This I believe, again.

I once instructed a good friend to post his "this i believe essay" as a good starting point for his blog. As an act of solidarity, i will be posting mine as well, though i already posted it a few months ago. I still believe it...so here it is...again.

I believe in something—that’s right, something. I know most of you are thinking that this is a cop-out, a lame excuse to forgo identifying my core beliefs. Well, you are wrong. I love to meet people who believe in something. And by “believe”, I do not mean that they claim to have conviction. I am talking about those people whose lives are living proof of their claims. If you tell me you believe in abolishing poverty in third world countries, you gosh darned better be working towards that goal with more fervor than you have while power walking the mall to look for the newest superfluous things you simply, must have. By believe, I mean do. If you believe in relieving the poor of that burden, then do it—not all of it mind you, but as much as you can. I personally don’t believe in it. I want to, but it seems that I don’t. I wish I did, but I couldn’t possibly; that would mean giving of myself, something that I’m not yet prepared to believe in. So, let us all live out our beliefs. I believe that my convictions are objective truth—if you really believe something, then you ought to feel the same way concerning your beliefs—but I would rather meet one-hundred people who are diametrically opposed to my convictions and have legitimate reasons why than meet one person who concurs with what I say but has no idea why. However, in extreme cases, such as Osama Bin Laden and Hitler, I would probably retract this statement on the grounds that I am no longer speaking with a sane person. Please, not only live out your beliefs but know the beliefs for which you live.
In my short seventeen years, I have discovered, quite painfully at some points, that even a misguided belief with a good argument behind it often trumps the so called “impenetrable” case of a person who cannot make that case. Let’s all be fair and give each other respect by not wasting another person’s time arguing a position that we know little to nothing about.
Knowing what I believe is only the beginning. Often, in searching out the root of my beliefs, I realize that what I say I believe is not necessarily what I do believe. I say I believe in the power of prayer, but do I? If I truly realized the immensity of that truth claim, then I would probably find myself on my knees a lot more often—in a manifestation of my belief. Action follows belief. In my case, I know the right thing to believe, and yet the action is lacking, and it is obvious that the belief has not yet taken hold of me. If I cannot life it, then I do not believe it.
Living for your beliefs is being honest; it’s not pretending that you have convictions without understanding their implications. Saying that I believe in the power of prayer also implies that I have witnessed its immense power because of the way I daily see the blessing involved in a life spend saturated in fervent prayer. But I haven’t. I have seen the results in others’ lives. I have smattered my life with prayer yet have never fully realized the potential of this belief if it were to be lived out as it was meant to be. This honest approach has given me a better starting point, a humble one, from which to approach a person unhypocritically in conversations that may end up altering either party’s beliefs.
When two people come to the table with their own, well defined positions, it makes for an intellectual battle that is much more efficient and rewarding than the conversation that occurs between two people who really have no serious convictions but merely wish to have this type of conversation because it is the thing to do these days. The former conversation results in an exchange of wisdom, and the latter leaves those involved much more confused than when the conversation began.
So if you are planning on entering into one of these conversations any time soon, please believe in something, really believe it. This is something I believe. I believe in something.