Archive for April, 2008
You’ll get a real kick out of this.
Competing strands of gravity
swim within me.
Tensions like tides
pull and ply.
What would a scream do?
A little, lilting vibration in the air –
would that strengthen my pillars?
And it never has been.
All that is left-
To writhe and float
in the furnace of anxiety.
To bend and shake –
the audience will love the dance.
and go silent.
when the mourners have gladly dried their little tears,
and all have concluded –
‘he is dead’
‘he is gone’
‘our little man has left us’
‘but we can keep going,’ –
then, when silence has descended
upon the few passions that burned for me
I will unfold.
light and flowers.
and a child with sapphire eyes.
Soren Kierkegaard is one of my favorite writers ever. His wit was razor sharp, he was painfully deep, and his passion for life was breathtaking. Though most people don’t really know who he is – mostly because his name has been carelessly lumped into the pile with other philosophers, something which he did not consider himself – every person living in the west believes certain things about religion, god, and faith because Kierkegaard believed it and wrote about it. He left a deep footprint in the terrain of humanity, even if most can’t tell whose footprint it is. In many ways, that footprint is so large we can’t even see it – we’re standing in it.
Another king of thinkers, Friedrich Nietzsche, called deep thinking wandering in the forbidden, and while Kierkegaard was making his trek through the dark, seductive woods of human existence, it became clear to him that the deepest personal attachment in his life to his fiance’, Regina Olsen, despite the happiness it brought him, was a fetter restraining him from his art of reforming and remaking the crumbling world around him. Upon this revelation, with fear and trembling, he broke the fetter and was freed, crying and bleeding, to leave those great footprints.
While some of us more than others will be faced with the fearsome opportunity to let go of what we love to seek we must – or otherwise live tiny, smiling, blase’ lives of happiness – Soren’s life can serve as a picture, from beginning to end, of that choice well-made. I’ve chosen to make similar choices, and often I’ve chosen the smaller, more palatable thing. For those of us who desire – or at least desire to desire – the greater thing, I think that Kierkegaard’s life can serve as an icon of the painful, beautiful, passionate, well-lived life of no regrets.
c/o jana quigley
Asha Mission Childrens Home
near pinki furniture shop
Old Chowpal Road
New Delhi– 110061
These guys are really a paradigm of excellence in most every way. In my mind, Google (along with Starbucks) really sets the standard for excellence as a mega corporation. They haven’t compromised their vision, they have a relentless commitment to excellence, they’re passionate about what they do, and they care about people. Awesome.
People gravitate toward the objects of their desires. That statement in itself probably isn’t nuanced enough for our immediate adoption though. I’d refine it to say that people gravitate toward the fulfillment of their desires. This holds for art especially – it is the fault where the fields of desire and expression meet. Art also often centers on vicarious experiences, film especially. We watch movies most often because they are stories that we can step into and experience the events through the characters with which we identify. I think that, in light of this fact about people, knowing what genres of film a person gravitates toward can tell you a lot about them. People who love romance stories are those for whom the hope of romantic fulfillment is very important. People who love sci-fi love the mystery of the universe, and desire to find the extraordinary in it. The stories that we long to step into vicariously are most often the stories we wish were our real life stories.
In light of this, what can we say of the growing popularity of two relatively new genres: the end-of-the-world movie, and the gore-centered horror flick? Specifically, what can we say about the people who crave these stories? I’m not going to answer those questions for anyone, but there are some observations that I think are worth making:
-The Hostel an Saw movies, to my knowledge, have had more, and more quickly-produced sequels than any other franchise of film. Ever. Well, maybe excluding porn flicks. But that only serves to strengthen my point – everyone reading would probably agree that sexual stories are the most popular today, as far as being stories that people desire to step into. If movies centering on the torture of humans are a close second, what can we say?
– When the cold war had ended, it became apparent that the ubiquitous fear of an apocalyptic nuclear war would not be realized. Tons of sociologists and social psychologists noted, in puzzlement, that the general response to this was not relief and gladness, but increasing anxiety and depression.
– The explosive popularity of torture-centered horror movies was preceded by an even more explosive obsession with videos of people getting hurt. Jackass, worlds-funniest shows, and youtube are full of videos of people suffering that we have, quite disturbingly, learned to laugh at.
– Kierkegaard noticed that for something to be humorous and tantalizing to a person, it must be abnormal. No one craves the mundane. Have we so exhausted the world of its resources for gratification that everything but the absolutely heinous has become blase?
What do you think?
As was probably apparent in the ‘gospel’ post down there, I (and a significant portion of the Church) am coming to see the call of Jesus as something more significant, and real-world effective than mere secluded religious expressions like going to church or holding bible studies. The teachings of Jesus and his Apostles aren’t an end in themselves, and have no life in them; only the person of Jesus Christ is live-giving and redemptive, and he exists in the world through his followers. We are called to be the primary redemptive force in the world. Sadly though, the organized church offers very few opportunities (in my experience) for actually bringing about that tangible, real-world redemption.
To that end, if anyone knows of opportunities that already exist to do some real good in our community, please let us know about them. I’ve realized that I talk a bigger game about the world-changing power of the gospel than I actually live out, and I imagine a lot of other people would say the same. A lot of it has to do with the lack of apparent opportunities to do anything real. So, if you know how to get involved in something real, bring it on.
If your experience is like mine though, you don’t know of any open opportunities that really need you. I mean, there are volunteer opportunities, but it seems like the ones I know about are doing fine. So, if we are all coming up short on opportunities to effect the world for good, let’s find some need that we can meet and go for it.
Over Christmas break some of us got together and put on a Christmas dinner for the homeless, and that turned out very well. I think it was a meaningful instance of God’s love for people and, in my mind, that is the most basic and significant fact of the gospel. I’m not pushing for anything specific regarding what we actually do. I would just like, at this point, to see if there is interest and availability for a group of us doing something meaningful.
So, if you are interested say so. And, if you know of some need that a group of ten or so could meet, say so and we’ll get on it.