Archive for the ‘Eros Sophia’ Category

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On Genesis

September 10, 2009

“We always know who we should love \ but we’re never certain how.” John K. Samson.

From the dark silence of several weeks… a spark. A spark to start a fire. A spark from the void to ignite a word, and from that word spoken comes words written. The word is genesis and the words follow beneath. The subject is a particular genesis, the beginning of a book that represents the beginnings of humanity. Nothing in my life has intrigued me more than this particular account and it is often during the genesis of new and wonderful things in my life that it returns.

The book of Genesis speaks to the beginnings of humanity. That is to say, it gives an account for the root of human nature by creating a theoretical beginning. It is not a historical or scientific account but rather an observation of the things that were happening around the author at the time. Perhaps divinely inspired, perhaps not, it stands regardless as one of the greatest summations of human experience in the western cannon. Not because it accurately describes a moment in time, but rather because it describes every moment in time.

The stories, whether divinely inspired or not, serve as guides to human nature that tells how man lived, how we currently live, how we will most likely live in the future, and how we should live despite all of this. It is a summation, a prediction, and an ethic. Not only is it this, but it is all of those things for an individual life, for a community’s life, and for humanity in general. It accounts for personal ethic, political life, and ethical existence for people and does so while confronting man’s natural desire to wrestle with meaning at its metaphysical core. 

One story, the topic of this entry, is the story of Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel are brothers who live their lives in unfettered contact with God. This becomes important later. It must be noted that God is a character in Genesis and as a symbol means a great deal. Cain and Abel give worship to God through sacrifice. It is assumed by the reader that this is not a faith based worship but rather a necessity. They seem too close to God to really require faith to believe. He is more a fact. As if all the barriers between physical and metaphysical reality have been stripped.

Cain kills Abel. But why? After both brothers give sacrifice Abel’s is favored over Cain’s. Cain, assumingly out of envy, kills Abel. But why? For what end? I posit this – to achieve God’s love. Cain’s crime, one that is the ultimate in damnation, heinous in nature, and base in motive was caused by his desire to be loved by God, and his love for God. Having failed to achieve God’s love through worship, Cain removes the one that God favors, eliminating the completion if you will.

Thus Genesis not only confronts such base human behaviors as murder but does so while intertwining vicious behavior with the one true God. God, the greatest of all things, the good to which no other good should be sought, even without the veils between physical and metaphysical existence, gives man such great desire that man, given his freedom, will commit the ultimate atrocities to achieve His love.  

Thus we, whose mode of existence is weighed down by the barrier between physical and metaphysical beings, are even more likely to have our love misguided or to love improperly. Yet faith tells us to love God with all our hearts. Was Cain any different? We always know who we should love, we are never certain how. This to me, is most true with God himself.

The truth is we are all more like Cain than Abel. We will always love improperly, will always have misguided attempts at love, and will often confuse where and who God is. The punishment for this human flaw? Homelessness.

Following Cain’s atrocity he is punished by God. He is not killed, nor harmed, but rather exiled to forever wander and never rest. Cain is not only spared by God, but protected with a mark. Any of those who commit the atrocity of murdering Cain will be punished 7 fold. Cain must live, must carry the weight of his body, and wonder forever. This is humanity in the embodied state. Disconnected and wandering without true rest. For true rest comes in God. “Our hearst are restless until they rest in you.”

This is more bleak than hell, or at least equivalent. Unlike Cain, we are told of mercy and a possible return home but are left to wander until then. The possibility of mercy and home is a topic for another discourse on Genesis. For now, let us drain the final lessons for the story of Cain about how to deal with ourselves in the state of wandering.

Cain having been banished builds a city. A curious fact for a homeless man. Once again showing that earthly buildings do not provide man a ‘home’. The city is called Enoch, after his son. So Cain also has a family whose lineage continues. Cain’s family begets all those that play the lyres and pipes, and the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. A pretty prestigious class that gives birth to things so intimately woven with human culture that one cannot divorce humanity from them. They are the very finger prints of man.

Music shares in Godliness because its power can insight man to do both evil and good things. Music itself evokes love and as a product of love comes hate. It is the very lineage of Cain playing in our cars, or homes, while we run, while we read, from our computers, IPods, and stereos. In reminds us of the Cain inside all of us.

Beauty is a terrifying thing as much as it is an uplifting thing. The most beautiful and good things guide us but our weakness misguides us. Our love, coming from such flawed things, move with the power of all mighty God, but with the direction of the wind. We are pushed and pulled to the paths of least resistance. Yet even without resistance we would still be Cain. So engrained is freedom in our lives that even in the presence of God himself we can still falter. Faith is not loving God, no that is easy if you try. Faith is not thinking He loves you back, He does. Faith is thinking that His mercy will outweigh his justice, and that despite your flaws he will bring you home.

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The Great Gig in the Sky

June 9, 2009

“I think its time we compiled a list of places that we shouldn’t go.” – Maximo Park.

So here I sit, listening to Pink Floyd and Jazz music. I mindlessly go from thought to thought, and occasionally write. Yet as each thought rises from my mind it becomes too vague to exist outside me, and it dissipates. To grasp at it, is to destroy it outright, to let it go, is to let it drift away into the abyss of the physical world. I am here again, at the point I always come to, the point of reflecting on the mirror’s surface, the knowledge of knowledge, the knowledge of self.

In the name of unquenchable desire for knowledge many realms of thought have been explored and perhaps invented using this vague ancient defense as validation. Yet, as we focus our telescopes on the sky and trail our microscopes across strange alien fungi, we forget where knowledge comes from, to where it goes, and why we desire it to begin with.

We desire knowledge because we desire things like us – we desire ourselves. This is why we cherish such qualities as freedom and equality – the ability to make one’s self and to make others be like you. The greatest scientific discoveries in the world have always been immediately followed with questions that escape the realm of science. Until recently, this was a shame to even scientists.

Yet, this post is not an attack on science (like most of my others), it is instead an attack on everything – perhaps out of some metaphysical angst that must manifest itself as anger in order to make my feeble flawed soul feel empowered like some ancient Greek warrior. But none the less, I lash out violently at the entirety of my generation, in the process scourging myself.

How oft I failed to stop and understand my own argumentation. How oft have I walked the tight-rope between logic and emotion claiming clemency from either attack on the basis of its counter point. I am, after all, a lingual illusionist. The David Blaine of philosophers. The Criss Angel of poetics. Have I garnered anything but applause from my audience, who seeing the trick are convinced of magic, yet go home knowing that it can’t be true – despite any emotional response.

Just like everyone else when I finally settle back upon myself I cannot put a finger on where I am. (Anyone who tells you differently is one of two things. A liar, or an idiot). Yet, like most people I still claim a ‘selfhood’ to which I am obligated to be ‘genuine’. The tension between these two ideas gives the birth of such beautiful concepts as freedom, free will, and choice. I am concrete that changes. The result is the amazing ability to stroke the passions regardless of logic, and then collapse back into a world of 1+1 justifications. Proof. Poof.

The greatest pleasures arise from this tension and furthermore by this tension is magnified like an echo chamber. This equality of opposites within our souls allows the passions to win just often enough to make us miss it when its gone. Then in its victorious return it is all the more glorious. Furthermore, I am not entirely sure that this is a necessarily bad thing, but rather a misdirected good. Part of me wants to embrace this passionate side and perfect its music – while another part, the equality of reason, demands I embrace something “higher” – an emotion that is not without its own pleasure.

The result of continued friction and tension is, of course, orgasm. The release of the self in favor of one or the other. In the release there is always simultaneous guilt and pleasure, immortality and death, love and hate. The person is either truest or most false in the midst of this orgasm wherein the ‘pure’ form of the two sides is most dominant. But in so doing, in so stepping into purity, we have betrayed the things that got us there – the tension of two opposites. So have we become more pure by dissolving one side in favor of the other – or have we become less human because we have too much clarity. Perhaps we add this to the list of places we shouldn’t go. Perhaps we draw a map and mark it with an x. Perhaps we just sit here and listen to The Great Gig in the Sky.

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1000 Ships

April 7, 2009

There is no better personification of beauty than Helen of Troy. As symbol and as a person she is as close as I can get to an apt metaphor on this thing, this overpowering, frightening combination of wonder and awe that can cause a man to launch 1,000 ships.

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Give Thy Thoughts No Tongue

September 22, 2008

A question was recently brought to me by the mind of HollyMatrin on the nature of public and private property and the nature of thought. Most importantly, and at the heart of his comments, where do these two notions meet? The answer to which must remain far from our minds until we pin down what exactly the phenomenon of public property entails and what our concept of ‘ideas’ entail. First let us begin with the less mundane… the world of ideas.

Ideas are solely private phenomena. You can never share, give, or even steal an idea from anyone unless it is committed to an external media: speech, writing, etc. Unlike some other forms of property ideas are completely invisible and undetectable outside of your mind unless you will it to become external from you. The question is whether or not this choice to externalize thoughts makes the thoughts public.

On the other end of things you also have this question: Is it possible to NOT steal an idea? Once the idea or thought is committed to an external source and you obtain it from that external source is their anyway you can opt not to steal it. If the idea is a good one you would want to keep it and make it part of your own philosophy and if the idea is bad then you would want to use it as an especially poor example of those things that you do not believe in. Once you internalize the external media into your mind is the idea yours or not? If not, then aren’t we demanding our ideas be stolen… asking for them to be stolen… by putting them on external media. We cannot logically expect that after we say something it won’t be repeated, changed, or amended after our saying it by the ears that hear it. Can such be considered stealing? Or is it merely the nature of man?

So we have two extremes: The first is the thinker who comes up with the idea who willingly reveals that internal phenomena to external listeners (through speech in this example). On the other we have the listener who, if he is functioning in accordance with human nature, will internalize that external media and bring it into himself in some way. Yet, unlike in most cases of theft, the idea remains also within the original thinkers head. Can you even steal what somebody still owns after your done? We shall throw this thought aside as a mistake of language rather than an actual aid in our discussion. What we call ‘stealing’ cannot at all be used to describe this phenomenon but perhaps plagiarism or some other word could. So we remove this criticism even as it leaves my mind onto this page.

What plagiarism and stealing have in common is the idea of property. Property relies on a concept of ownership which is derived by some method of taking something to be one’s own and nobody else’s. When a person owns a thing they decide its destiny by matter of law not by nature necessarily. So hence we step away from nature while keeping it in mind. Our investigation so far has shown that ideas are naturally internal and their external manifestation is natural and perhaps even the impulse to take those ideas and make them our own is natural but such does not necessarily determine law. With that thought permanently etched into the internet, I will retire and leave whatever readers to ponder our procession thus far, but I advise anyone who questions, contemplates, or even discusses this post outside of this forum to realize what their reaction may say about the nature of this post. Even as your eyes travel across this field of letters can you be thought of as a thief?

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Beauty will save the world – but when?

March 3, 2008

Religion, Metaphysics, and Beauty are too real for modern philosophy to grasp. It can only be grasped by literature. The modern man’s mind is nothing but a machine, replaced by fanatical doubt. His heart is the only thing left capable of being open, of staying open, in the face of tyrannical rationality. There is nothing that strikes more fear in me than this, for once the heart is opened to truth it is as equally open to lies and requires constant vigilance – such vigilance must come from the same rationality that desires complete control over the heart. Hence the wise man may sleep but he never rests.

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There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

February 25, 2008

Why is it that whenever anyone endeavors upon the journey to truth using the brute force of their mind, it is called philosophy? Have we forgotten that we love her – and we should not try to master her, but to understand her? When did we become so prideful that we started doubting her BEFORE we got to know her?

Oh Sophia, oh sweet darling Sophia we are not worth your trouble. We have forsaken you because of our prideful attachment to our own natural talents rather than allowing you to show yourself – we are afraid that we need you. You have given us signs to lead us to philosophy, signs that fill out rich world with color and light, yet we imagine philosophy as a cold and sterile planet out of our reach. We think philosophy arises from philosophy, and that it only leads to philosophy, and that if we only understand her properly then we can achieve all. But we have forgotten that you lead us with things outside of philosophy, and that philosophy doesn’t always lead to philosophy and that just because something mimics the product of philosophy that does not mean it is philosophy.

This was never meant to be your job – we have foisted it upon you because we have no others to cling to.

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A short Entry: To reaffirm my beliefs to myself

January 14, 2008

“This truth seeks itself through the movement of writing: the third form that reveals the measure of an immoderate reason.” – Maurice Blanchot The Infinite Conversation (pg 220) 

If the universe is designed by a mind ANYTHING like man’s… then we must assume that what is most real is neither description nor object but substance or essence. Such a thing, neither visible nor touchable, reveals itself to us through those abilities we have which themselves are neither visible nor touchable. This quality we have is loosely called an ‘appreciation of image and symbol’ which lies ambiguously between emotion and reason and most likely combines the best of both when it works properly, and the worst of both when it works poorly. The revelation of essence through object is known through this sense, but once thrown into ‘understanding’ or ‘rationality’ it collapses into easily definable parts which do not justify the essence nor do justice to the revelation we know we feel. We must know that a stone is screaming a deeper meaning, or the moss on the stone itself is telling, or even the way the sun appears to move around us and yet never moves at all: all these are symbols, not just objects. Yet such a truth cannot be anything more than stated, never proven, for it relies on a recognition that this revelation (called epiphany) is a universal and human experience – but in strict reality this is purely based on a personal observation made by a singularity: me.

To say that all MUST feel this epiphany, as they gaze at the beautiful, cannot be based on any logical premise other than an assumption that we share a human nature: I do not know this to be true, but believe it, for I have never met an entity that I could not either define as human, or define as non-human. That being said, I would feel the utmost pity for those who had never experienced this other-worldly abstraction which grabs a hold of US, rather than us grabbing a hold of it. That, I suppose, is where the difference lies. I assume that there are things out there that can DO to us, but cannot be DONE by us, and that thing is epiphany. The best we can do is imitate it with cheap reason or mock it with two-dimensional faith.

Epiphany is not just a prophet’s words, nor a sacred text, they are those things which makes us KNOW, for just a second, that there is something beyond, that there is something true, and that there is meaning. We can either embrace it, or deny it for its frightful appearance, as a ghost, a belabored dream of a feverish mind. But we do not deny it because of its flaws, but because of ours.