Last night I was pooped and went to bed unusually early. Waking up unusually early, I felt it was a good time to update earthpages.ca. I enjoyed working on the above. As I research and revise these entries, I’m not only brushing up on my general knowledge but also on my ability to (hopefully) communicate fresh ideas to as many people as possible.
I’m taking a bit of a vacation from my usual blogging. Yesterday I moved the lawn, talked to my neighbors, played some electric guitar, started a new midi composition, and generally did a few things that can get overlooked when I’m at the height of my research and writing. One of those things that can get overlooked is checking my followers, and returning the favor.
This morning I went back several years in my followers list and found some bloggers who, for whatever reasons, I hadn’t followed back. Sometimes it seems that I do follow back but it doesn’t register at WordPress. I’m not sure if this is a glitch or due to some other human or tech reason. Anyhow, I just followed those forgotten followers at earthpages.org.
Another point. I know that I can take a while to get back to your site if you have liked or commented at mine. The reason I do this is because, well, I am a busy guy. But more essentially, I like to really focus in on a person when I visit their blog. I’m not the type who can just casually visit hundreds of bloggers, hardly read their stuff, and click the “like” button. So… I know who you are. If you have recently liked or commented on my stuff, I do plan to get back to see what you’ve been up to.
That’s all for now. Back to my “vacation.” Today I think I’ll attend a midday Mass and then do a little housecleaning! Not most people’s idea of a holiday. But believe it or not, I can have fun even doing that. It’s all in where you’re at.
Last night I had two scary dreams. One was that some burly stooges posing as workers for a home security company came to my childhood home to physically abduct me. I awoke startled.
The second dream had me back in university. My dorm room had been changed from a distant, satellite dorm at the edge of town to another room more central within the university village. All the books and items in the room looked vaguely familiar but not quite right. Next thing I knew, some creepy people came in, began to set up a portable operating table, and told me I was scheduled for an operation. When I asked an attendant “What operation?” she replied “I don’t know.”
Sensing serious danger, I asked to make a call and woke up, thinking I would have had to be like that guy in The Fugitive to escape something horrible.
Truly scary dreams. I hope they just mean slow down and take it easy for a while, which is what I intend to do today. Everyone else gets summer holidays and, although I’m not going anywhere physically different, I think I’ll just take in some arts and culture for a while, and post my discoveries here.
The most recent discovery is tweeted at the top of the page. I like this painting. Notice how the more important guy has better, more ostentatious clothing and bigger, more expressive eyes. What really struck me, however, was the larger globe in the picture. Fascinating how mythological creatures are intertwined with the scientific mapping (zoom in to see). We’ve lost that mythic connection to science, although some writers like James Hillman suggest that we’re just fooling ourselves. The mythic is still present and even science is a kind of mythic pattern.
I guess that’s in line with what I’ve been arguing all along here at Earthpages.org and Earthpages.ca. But as I said, it’s my holiday, of sorts, and I don’t feel like going into it any further right now!
The other discovery, made last night, is something I’m listening to right now: Venice Classical Radio. I almost feel like I’m living in some little flat in Venice while listening to this excellent station. The selections are accessible but relatively uncommon. I’ve only heard one Mozart staple, which I enjoyed anyhow (pretty hard not to like Mozart).
Many scientists do not seem realize that they are influenced by a tremendous bias having to do with two related ideas: The principle of parsimony and Occam’s razor. Basically, the bias prevalent among scientists today is: If something can be explained with less, this is better than using more.
In a way I can understand this. Consider the sham fortune teller who is dead wrong with his or her prediction so creates all sorts of ad hoc explanations to try to explain their goof. But in another way, I think this reductive bias can lead to problems, especially in the area of mental health.
I have discussed the topic of science elsewhere and really don’t feel like going into it all again. A lot of effort usually gets met with blank stares. So I’ll just link to my entry about science at earthpages.ca and add the following quote which doesn’t really solve the problem of making religious experience scientific, but does point out that the current scientific attitude is based more on fashion than fact.
The medieval formula ‘philosophy the handmaid of theology’ and the associated idea of theology as ‘the queen of the sciences’ are seldom taken seriously today…Yet neither philosophy nor science have ever refuted the claim during the past seven hundred years. It has been dismissed by fashion, not by reason. If God is, and is our ultimate end, then the science of God must indeed be the queen of the sciences.¹
¹ Source, and a few more paragraphs explaining what this quote is about: https://javipena.com/2015/04/29/theology-the-noblest-science-thomas-aquinas/
Looking back on my life I see a funny dynamic. Many times I thought I’d found “the answer,” either through a partner, a job, a scholarship, a religious affiliation. And usually when I have found the apparent “answer” I’ve become a bit full of myself and maybe overly enthusiastic about my new path. God and life, however, have this way of auto-correcting. Stuff happens… and what a great way to regain humility.
Today I’m thinking it’s nice that I don’t take myself as seriously as I once did. Yes, if someone steps on my toes I will still let them know. I don’t believe God wants us to be doormats.
But at the same time, getting older means that I can appreciate all the twists and turns my life has taken, and just as importantly, how everyone else is just as “valid” as me. Are just as valid as me? Whatever. I don’t feel like checking out Grammar Girl right now.
The tweeted article spells out some of the reflections I’ve had over the past few years in this area. I think it does a good job.
Some of you might recognize the header for this post as coming from an album by the classic rock band, Supertramp.
The album cover captured, like the best of Supertramp, the irony and alienation of the 1970s. True, the 70s had a fun and optimistic side. But there was also this nagging sense that the world was messed up and there was no turning back.
Pollution, social problems and spiritual angst are nothing new. They’ve been with us in various forms throughout history.
For me, the best approach is to try to understand our somewhat tarnished world and to not judge. The only person I can really judge is myself. And I suspect that God’s standards and expectations differ from person to person.
All fine and dandy. But as Archbishop Sheen suggests, if we just go on blindly ignoring problems, how will the world ever get better?
And this is the crux of the matter. Where should the Christian dictum of do not judge end and the modern idea of social responsibility begin?
Again, each must find his or her own solution. Some of us pray. Some of us write. And some do a bit of both.