beauty and the beast

January 22nd, 2014

“Beloved I need to love you – every aspect, every pore.”

And this time God said,

“There is a hideous blemish on my body,
though it is such an infinitesimal part of my Being-
could you kiss that if it were revealed?”

“I will try, Lord, I will try.”

And then God said,
“That blemish is all the hatred and
cruelty in this
world.”

– fr. “Could You Embrace That”, Thomas Aquinas, c. 1245

I love literature, I love the written expression of thought!  I have loved innumerable books with  a quiet, tremendous passion which in many cases has eventually extended to the individual responsible for expressing his/herself so formidably in words!  I have loved stories!  I have loved the sustained expression of original idea.  I’ve loved and adored many writers and thinkers — and beyond that — Life itself, the mysterious ‘without which’, neither thinker nor thought would arise!  I love and have always loved just wondering and thinking about Life —  the Great Mystery that even Nikola Tesla (well, maybe Nikola Tesla) and even Dennis McKenna (well, maybe Dennis McKenna) haven’t, with all their original human brilliance, yet been able to solve.

When my kids were younger, I homeschooled them.  I had heard about homeschooling and had met and talked to a few homeschooling families.  The remarkable self-composure of homeschooled children made an immediate impression on me.  I reflected upon my own public school education for a few seconds and contrasted my own teenage insecurity and immaturity with what I saw in teenage homeschooled children, and decided to give homeschooling a try.  I didn’t have the wealth to pay for the kind of schools I wanted for my kids and I believed they’d be better off without the tutelage of semi-intelligent minds.  It isn’t that I believed myself to be a brilliant individual capable of educating my kids all by myself–no– in fact the enormity of the (unpaid, 24/7) job was daunting. When I looked back upon my own education in public school, all I saw was excruciating boredom, marked and defined by the interminable length of time one minute took to tick by on the ever-present black and white classroom clock.

My husband (now X) was agreeable.  So without further ado, I launched into home-education.

For the next ten years, I traveled a long and winding road of discovery.  In the process of home-educating my children, I became educated, for the first time.  I realized, little by little, how completely worthless my 13 childhood years from kindergarten through high school, spent locked in the confines of the school institution, had been for me and no doubt were for very many others, I believe the vast majority.  Not only did my 13 years at school produce an uneducated person, they produced a confused person; confused and ignorant about world history, American history, and science; essentially the world around me and the story of human beings through time.

Although I was always an “A” math student, I came to realize that all of the wonder, all of the beauty of discovery, all of the evolution and story of the development of math, from Pythagoras until Einstein were omitted from school math, which was introduced to children as a body of pre-fab, formulaic, increasingly complex knowledge to be memorized.

When I, a college graduate BA English Literature, began, at the age of 34, to teach my children science, I was confused about what “Science” is.  If somebody had said to me, “Define “Science”, I would have been confused, and probably would have mumbled an unintelligible guess.  I don’t know what my answer would have been, but surely I wouldn’t have known enough to say, “Science is looking at the mystery of everything around us, including ourselves, with curiosity, and trying to make sense of it.”

Science was presented, like math, as a pre-determined, given body of information to be memorized.  From the very beginning, in kindergarten or first grade, we were given textbooks with chapters about planets or plants or rocks or dinosaurs, with vocabulary words to be memorized and remembered, and fractured information to be tested upon, which then proceeded to determine where one registered on the omnipresent scale from very smart to incredibly dumb.

 

 

good luck with dat y’all

June 7th, 2013

the recent events, legislation and global government activity which, all taken and strung together make up the contemporary short history “Policing of the Internet”, make for a truly thought-provoking and new realm of philosophical speculation.

In our lifetime, just a hop, skip and a hip-hop step ago, we witnessed the dawning of a new age. There should be no question left in anybody’s mind, but that the rise of the World-Wide-Web marked the end of one long, tedious and material era of human history and the beginning of a brand new otherworldly, ultra-dimensional one.

The New Human History is a story that takes place in “Cyberspace”.  Cyberspace is a realm that didn’t even exist in pre-network computing human history.  We can think of the short history of cyberspace as the birth, growth and limitless expansion of a new dimension of space, like the space that humans have inhabited and thoroughly polluted on the globe, with their feet on the ground and their swords and guns and bombs in their hands or falling down from their airplanes.  Palaces, prisons, ships, airplanes, factories, cathedrals, kings, princesses, knights…animals, flowers and trees, forests, mountains and meadows, oceans, lakes, rivers…..kings, popes, presidents, dictators…. housing, feeding… poverty and wealth… the struggle of the people against over-controlling domination…

Looking back over what we know of mankind’s habitation of the globe, we can isolate the history of man’s war-making and policing efforts and think of it as the history of man’s attempt to gain or maintain Control.  When we are talking about activity on the firmament, we can relate to and understand that humans want stuff for themselves. Beyond food and shelter, they (or at least a segment of the human population and I will add (without malice) that by-and-large they tend to be male) always appear to want concentrated wealth — not for the purpose of survival and not for survival’s haughty cousin comfort, but for something more abstract and something that wouldn’t even be desirable if not for the vast and generally thereupon impoverished audience.  We refer to this abstraction as ‘Power’.

A few days ago, there was what we now refer to as a ‘glitch’ in the Chinese (and that would mean most-heavily censored) internet.  A ‘glitch’ is like an opening in cyberspace that allows people to go somewhere or do something that they normally wouldn’t be allowed or able to do.  Taking advantage of the portal, the Chinese gained momentary access to the President of the United States’ Google+ social networking page.  Hundreds of Chinese grabbed the unusual opportunity (seized the moment) and posted messages on Obama’s page.  These messages were cries for help.  The Chinese want freedom of expression on the computer because their leadership imposes more restrictions and censorship than any other currently on the globe.  For heaven’s sake, the Chinese cannot even Tweet!!

Lately (and not in mainstream media) but thanks to internet and global news sources, we read more and more about our own United States government and other national governments around the world scheming on and enacting legislation regarding ‘policing’ and censorship of the internet, of cyberspace.  We are now witness to one story after the next, of people being arrested, interrogated, imprisoned (tortured … by US as well as Them)… for cyberspace-related behaviors, activities, misbehaviors and violence.  There are the child pornographers and the Facebook slanderers; and there are the Wikileaks adventurers and exposure-provocateurs (whom I think we should bow down before but who are now being indefinitely detained… and tortured)…

 

 

 

beauty and the beast

April 10th, 2012

“Beloved I need to love you – every aspect, every pore.”

And this time God said,

“There is a hideous blemish on my body,
though it is such an infinitesimal part of my Being-
could you kiss that if it were revealed?”

“I will try, Lord, I will try.”

And then God said,
“That blemish is all the hatred and
cruelty in this
world.”

– fr. “Could You Embrace That”, Thomas Aquinas, c. 1245

I love literature, I love the written expression of thought!  I have loved innumerable books with  a quiet, tremendous passion which in many cases has eventually extended to the individual responsible for expressing his/herself so formidably in words!  I have loved stories!  I have loved the sustained expression of original idea.  I’ve loved and adored many writers and thinkers — and beyond that — Life itself, the mysterious ‘without which’, neither thinker nor thought would arise!  I love and have always loved just wondering and thinking about Life —  the Great Mystery that even Nikola Tesla (well, maybe Nikola Tesla) and even Dennis McKenna (well, maybe Dennis McKenna) haven’t, with all their original human brilliance, yet been able to solve.

When my kids were younger, I homeschooled them.  I had heard about homeschooling and had met and talked to a few homeschooling families.  The remarkable self-composure of homeschooled children made an immediate impression on me.  I reflected upon my own public school education for a few seconds and contrasted my own teenage insecurity and immaturity with what I saw in teenage homeschooled children, and decided to give homeschooling a try.  I didn’t have the wealth to pay for the kind of schools I wanted for my kids and I believed they’d be better off without the tutelage of unintelligent, mediocre minds.  It isn’t that I believed myself to be a brilliant individual capable of educating my kids all by myself–no, in fact the enormity of the (unpaid, 24/7) job was daunting. When I looked back upon my own education in public school, all I saw was excruciating boredom, marked and defined by the interminable length of time one minute took to tick by on the ever-present black and white classroom clock.

My husband, now x, was agreeable.  So without further ado, I launched into home education.

For the next ten years, I traveled a long and winding road of discovery.  In the process of home-educating my children, I became educated, for the first time.  I realized, little by little, how completely worthless my 13 childhood years from kindergarten through high school, spent in the school institution, had been for me and no doubt were for very many others, I believe the vast majority.  Not only did my 13 years at school produce an uneducated person, they produced a confused person, confused and ignorant about world history, American history, and science; essentially the world around me and the story of human beings through time.

Although I was always an “A” math student, I came to realize that all of the wonder, all of the beauty of discovery, all of the evolution and story of the development of math, from Pythagoras until Einstein were omitted from school math, which was introduced to children as a body of pre-fab, formulaic, increasingly complex knowledge to be memorized.

When I, a college graduate BA English Literature, began, at the age of 34, to teach my children science, I was confused about what “Science” is.  If somebody had said to me, “Define “Science”, I would have been confused, and probably would have mumbled an unintelligible guess.  I don’t know what my answer would have been, but surely I wouldn’t have known enough to say, “Science is looking at the mystery of everything around us, including us, with curiosity, and trying to make sense of it.”

Science was presented, like math, as a pre-determined, given body of information to be memorized.  From the very beginning, in kindergarten or first grade, we were given textbooks with chapters about planets or plants or rocks or dinosaurs, with vocabulary words to be memorized and remembered, and fractured information to be tested upon, which then proceeded to determine where one registered on the omnipresent scale from very smart to incredibly dumb.

 

 

regarding Colin Wilson’s monomania

November 22nd, 2011

I’ve spent months now reading Colin Wilson’s books, although I can honestly say, I haven’t been able to read straight through any of them, but find myself invariably skipping here there and all over the place.

It has occurred to me that this is not my fault, but his. First of all he has written many many many books. From the long list of possibilities, I selected a number of titles that looked to me to be the most interesting. Some of these included subjects whose scope seemed impossibly daunting and bulky, such as “A Criminal History of Mankind” (’84).

Having had a taste of Colin Wilson’s brilliance, however, I enthusiastically imagined I would gain many new insights, ideas and a more enlightened view of whatever it is that’s wrong with humans and how this has evolved over time. However, just as Colin Wilson himself has repeatedly claimed — he’s written the same book seventy times over!

Colin Wilson certainly seems to have one lifelong obsession, albeit a provocative and endlessly elaborat-able one. Like many of us, he looks Existence in the face, and asks, “Why?”, “What?”, and “How?”

Beginning with his first published book, “The Outsiders” (1956), Colin Wilson looks to a certain type of individual in modern society who is reflected in many (then) contemporary works of literature, such as “Nausea” by Jean-Paul Sartre, or “The Stranger”, by Albert Camus — works that are classified as ‘existentialist literature’. And indeed, the individual to whom he is referring, is the ‘existential’ one; he who finds himself a stranger in a vacuous society, able to witness, but unable to bring himself falsely to belong. This presents an existential dilemna for the individual, who tends to be unusually intelligent and sensitive, and who is then forced willy-nilly to spiritually and practically ‘make do’.

So Colin Wilson’s debut into the public mind is with a treatment of “Outsiders” which captured a vast audience (presumably of ‘outsiders’) and catapulted Colin Wilson to fame and high honor– for a while anyway. But where Sartre, Camus, Dostoyevski, Shaw and everybody else highlighted in the vastly-referenced “Outsiders” kept their outsider depictions within the bounds of creative imagination, CW took it all much much further. CW seems to believe that the outsider symbolically as well as literally represents and accounts for an entire dark strata of human existence, history, evolution and meaning.

Something I must mention at this point, and which immediately struck me as singular– upon reading “The Strength to Dream: Literature and the Imagination” (’61), which was book 3 for me, was that in addition to CW’s flagrant intellectual gifts and capacious learnedness (all self-initiated, as he grew up in poverty and without education) was a willingness to explictly and unabashedly explore and treat with objective frankness some very dark subjects: sides of the human personality: individually, socially, historically and philosophically, that are usually reserved for horror movies or aberrent pornography. Hence, he doesn’t shy away from in-depth treatment of such subjects as Allistair Crowley, serial killers, sex-killers, gurus-gone-mad and you name it. And that made me aware that with all our public enjoyment of horror and war stories, and for that matter of pornography, both explicit and the soft-kind that fills every PG-13+ movie and every bestseller, we skirt away from really wanting to know the man sitting on death row who killed people for no obvious reason — we wash it over with wishful idealism, not really wanting to deeply consider and unravel his horror, his reality, his humanness.

But I like Colin Wilson very much! I like his open-mindedness. I like the fact that although he was famous for a short while and then rather infamous and looked down the nose upon and sideways at, he believed in himself and followed his own star. Sometimes it’s clear to me, that a person is a Success in the truest meaning of the word, when he is true to his own self, especially when he’s had and then lost public admiration.

In a book titled, “Rogue Messiahs: Tales of Self-Proclaimed Saviours” (2000), CW tells the histories of the individual progression of cult leaders such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, from the roots of self-delusion, to the growth of power, to the gruesome treatments and violations of devotees including the cult leader’s strange extreme sexual dominence and abuse, and finally to some final horrifying apocoloypse.

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