Text MESSages.

I am reminded of the movie "Meet me in St. Louis" as I endeavor to write the first line of this post (which is not this one, but the one under this paragraph).  There is a line where Rose says to her father: "I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate money," to which her father replies, "you also spend it."  And with that:

I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate text messages. (and facebook and twitter, for that matter)  To which one may reply, "you also use them." Right, right, right.  As with the movie, most people laugh that conversation off with a light-hearted, "he's got her there."  But does he?  To the casual viewer, Rose is dubbed a fool, as if her father's argument had stumped her, as if she had never thought about the practicality of money before, as if, somehow, once again, the realist had brought the idealist back to earth.  To this i would say, "not so."  

Rose wasn't an idiot.  She spent money. She knew she spent money.  She never proposed that money or capitalism or credit cards (did they have those in 1904?! :)) be done away with.  She simply spoke about her feelings towards money.  Her father made the assumption that she had a problem with what people do with money, but what Rose really had a problem with was what money does to people.  So too with little technological advances like text messaging. 

The big problem has never been what people do with text messaging.  I mean, I suppose people can employ it to use foul language, to gossip, or to degrade the english language by use of LOL and TTYL and the like, but this can be done in just about any medium.  The real problem lies within the way technology uses people.  The way that it can trick a person into thinking that text messaging is a quick, efficient way to transport thoughts--UNTIL it becomes a medium that envelops all of one's time.  A medium that was intended to expedite communication has had the opposite effect, it has slowed down true conversation, real person-to-person interaction.  In the words of Shane Hipps, "it had reverted into its opposite intention."

I have often laughed when people say that technology makes people dumber. (eg the calculator)  However, if not the technology itself, our reliance on it, no matter what it is, probably degrades our intelligence more than just a bit.  If we rely too heavily on something, if we use it because it is "rational," our thinking may become truly irrational.  A quick way to alert someone of something (a text message)=rational.  A way to spend a class period, the walk to class, your time in the library, your time at lunch, and on the walk back to your dorm (a text message "conversation")=irrational. 

Rational:  (In a text): Wanna meet at the union at 10? 
                             Reply: yes, see you there. peace.
                   (In person): How was your day?
                             Reply: (Long answer that gives the ins and outs and dirty details of the day.)

Irrational: (In a text): Hey, how was your day?
                              Reply: It was so so, how was urs?
                            Reply: Purty good, so why was yours so so?
                                Reply: Just not the best, ya know?
                              Reply: yea i know. what are you up to?
                            Reply: (short answer that will easily be forgotten by the reader in ten                                                        minutes and if the reader sees their texting buddy later, will proceed to                                            ask all the same questions that were answered via text conversation,                                                because the "conversation" was not a conversation at all, it was an                                                    addiction to interaction and attention and nothing real was said)

All that to say, there is nothing wrong with being an idealist. Rose was, so you should be too. It doesn't mean you stop text messaging, but it does mean you become aware of what you can become if you let your attitude towards technology, or anything really, go unchecked.

Don't let yourself become a textMESSage. (ha. that was lame.)


Auditory Learners.

I'm an auditory learner.  Guess what that doesn't make me--a visual learner.  This is not to say, however, i shouldn't stretch myself and grow in my ability to learn and understand via my eyes and the page, but is IS to say that what gives me the most understanding and comprehension is speech, spoken word.  I like to read, really, I do.  But, if i ever need to fully comprehend something, it would be best for me to talk it out, rather than go back over my notes.  I process things verbally. 

So why, then, has it never occurred to me (before 2 weeks ago) to read the Bible out loud?  I become easily distracted when I sit and read (no matter what the material), but when i read things out loud, I am caused to focus on what I am saying, take in the words I am speaking. What a powerful time with God I am having, reading and speaking through the Psalms.  And, how different from anything I've ever done, or from the classic "quiet time."  I guess its not really "quiet,"  but I'm not sure how much I agree with the notion of a "quiet time" actually having to do with the presence or lack of sound.  

I do know two things:
1.  Though there is a presence of sound, it is sound that quiets my spirit, and therefore not noisy like everyday life.  Not to mention, what a different kind of sound than what one is accustomed to hearing in the day to day.
2. For a person who lacks the ability to feel much emotion, or emote in general, the reading of the words of passionate Psalmists is a good practice.  It gives me the correct context in which to feel, to be joyful, to mourn, to cry out in the presence of God, for and about things that actually matter, that actually should, and do require emotion.



Don't lie, you got really excited when you read this title, you thought i was going to confess a thing or two to you.  Well, no, but yes. Here it is: This whole sabbathing thing is working out AMAZINGLY for me.  And, tonight, it has allowed me to do something that has alluded me quite a bit since i've been at school: leisurely reading.  So, here i sit, having read only 2 chapters of The Confessions of St. Augustine, and I love my life.  I kinda want to stay up all night and read it...too bad Greek is at 9.  

Here are some nuggets. yum:

"You are matchless, O Lord.  So our praise of you must rise above our humanity..."

-an amazing list of "oxymorons" which may be helpful if I ever write a thesis or dissertation about the necessity of contradiction.

"Let me die that I may not only die..."

 "All things changeable flow from the spring of Your unchanging Being.  In You live the eternal reasons of all the time bound things that cannot reason in themselves..."

"Who was the 'me' who lived in my mother's womb?"

"Nor does 'today' ever come to a close for you.  Yet because of you each day does come to a close for us.  The day finds its closing in you, for it has no way to end unless you uphold that ending..."

the end for now.  


The Fourth Dimension

Yes, its Friday night. Yes, I'm sitting in my room blogging.  Yes, when you're older maybe you can aspire so such things as well. :)

So, every semester there seems to be a class that "keeps me going" as it were.  This semester=C.S. Lewis and Wendell Berry.  Great class.  In general, it is a discussion class, but the first class (well, i guess it was the second, technically, but i slept through the first one...oops) he lectured on a Chapter of "The Weight of Glory" called "Transposition."  I read this back in the day, like, Junior year of high school or something, so I'm not quite sure i haven't read it MANY more times since then. Terrific stuff.

The basic idea that Lewis addresses here is that of how "supernatural" things manifest themselves in the "natural" world.  He begins with the seemingly striking parallel between speaking in tongues and hysteria, between the the acts that comprise justice versus revenge, the consummation of conjugal love versus that of biological lust.  It seems that it is impossible to separate those things that we consider "higher" from those which seem base, or natural.  

Lewis discusses these dichotomies by making a parallel: "If you are to translate from a language which has a large vocabulary into a language that has a small vocabulary, then you must be allowed to use several words in more than one sense...We are all quite familiar with this kind of transposition or adaptation from a richer to a poorer medium.  The most familiar example of all is the art of drawing.  The problem here is to represent a three dimensional world on a flat sheet of paper.  The solution is perspective, and perspective means we must give more than one value to a two-dimensional shape.  Thus in a drawing of a cube, we use an acute angle to represent what is a right angle in the real world.  But elsewhere an acute angle on the paper may represent what was already an acute angle in the real world..."

The interesting thing about this picture is, though, that if one were not accustomed to the three dimensional world, the cube would be nothing but two dimensional lines, with no way to be understood outside of the two dimensional world.  What is happening in the lower medium can only be understood if we know the higher medium.  Therefore, the skeptics conclusion that the "so called spiritual" is really only a derivative of the natural world is a conclusion that is to be expected from one who is only in touch with the lower medium. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

Even those who can spiritually discern a higher dimension are limited to natural words.  We can only talk about this in terms that exist within the fourth dimension.  And, those who have not experienced this fourth dimension can only explain things in terms of the third dimension.  It seems as if we are conversing about the same things, however in one case the language is a limitation, and in the other the language is a representation.

Perhaps, Hell is being obsessed with our own dimension, as if there is nothing more, as if those who strive for more are seemingly striving for something less, when all those wrapped up in this dimension can see is a cross-section of that which exists in the fourth dimension.

It is not that this fourth dimension is a dream, a flimsy thought, a see-through, phantasmal mirage that with the blowing of a slight breeze might vanish into obscurity, no. "Our natural experiences are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper.  If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun."

"If flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, that is not because they are too solid, too gross, too distinct, too illustrious with being. They are too flimsy, too transitory, too phantasmal."   

Anyway, it has just become more clear to me, after reading this chapter, that this was one of those ideas that the writer, Lewis, was obsessed with for his whole life.  It permeated most of his writings.  The whole idea of "The Great Divorce" rests on it.  In the Silver Chair the kids try to explain the overworld to those in the underworld (with little success).  In Til We Have Faces, three dimensional speech (yea, what a cool concept) will not provide the necessary words for the utterances she wishes to speak, things that may be too definite for language.  In Perelandra there is as constant relation between the higher and lower dimensions and when it is at one point being described to Ransom (a man), a higher being tells him that there is "no holding place in his mind for this." And the list goes on...

Also, it deepens my respect for fiction.  Stories, abstraction, may, in fact be one of the only ways that this can become clearer to us, in describing things that could be labeled "out of this world," we  may get a picture of that which is existing in a higher dimension, within this world.

Sorry to be a bore, but how exciting is it to think that this fourth dimension may, indeed, require different senses to sense things that, when on this earth, were pitifully sensed with the senses which are only suited to perceive that which exists in the third dimension.

Recommended reading: Many Dimensions by Charles Williams, A Wrinkle in Time (after all, just like we can fold two dimensional paper to make points touch, could not something in the fourth dimension fold our three dimensional time so that points could touch?), Flatland by Edmond A. Abott (I have not read this.), The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy Sayers (haven't read this one either)

Alright, i suppose thats plenty for a friday night.


I'm not so talented..

Especially in the area of long distance relationships.  Right now this is painfully obvious in the areas of communication with:
-St. Louis friends
-California friends
-Lithuania friends
-2nd East Olson friends (i mean, its a whole flight of stairs above me and a little to the right.)
-This blog.

It's as if I'm just now realizing that my ability to blog has returned.  Because i was away for so long, i got out of thinking in relation to or with the facility to interact with the blogosphere.

Just like when an old friend returns home or becomes available for human to human interaction after a long absence, sometimes you forget that it is possible to be physically present with them, since you had so long been unable to do so.  This is where i am with blogging right now:
Physically, quite able to interact with the keyboard, but living life as if i cannot.  The typing of these words honestly feels altogether very awkward, as if there is an uncomfortable silence between old friends as both ponder the fact that one or both has had more than a few experiences in their time apart, and neither is at all sure where to begin.

So really, i am not sure where to begin.  And may never do so.  The facts and experiences may just have to work themselves out as i continue to live life, changed and yet the same.  Experienced and waiting.  Different, and thus wholly unable to be what i was before, yet entirely dumbfounded and mute when it comes to actually relaying and therefore affirming the experiences. I suppose it will be my actions and not my words that must attest.  There is no need to begin, only to continue.  Perhaps these things become visible over time, one must hope, or else life would be spent explaining one's self and actions away.  
All this to say, I'm not going to pick up where i left off.  I'm going to continue, starting now.