Category Archives: “Meditations”

SHADOW PUPPETS

death-2026516_1280What does evil, atheism, and the Shadow all have in common? Funny you asked. I just happen to have explored that idea. Unfortunately, for me, the study of philosophy didn’t find concrete answers to anything. It just opened the door to more and more questions, leading down a neverending rabbit hole. But, then again, my inquiry was an overview of specific concepts. Perhaps, if I had explored a particular subject more and pursued it at a Ph.D. level I would feel differently but I doubt it. Regardless, I like exploring ideas and the subject of evil. Metaphysical things have always fascinated me.

Did you know there is more than one type of atheism? In fact, there are three:

  • Practical
  • Speculative
  • Protest

Each one plays a role in perceiving evil, which, of course, also includes the age-old question about God’s existence. However, modern psychology (which used to be lumped into just philosophical thinking and exploration) doesn’t require cosmological things when determining the origins of evil. This is just one way that famous Shadow comes into play. I decided to give it a little spin and explore the idea of Shadow puppets as it relates to a number of educated theories I read on the subject of evil itself, which includes Jung and Freud.

With that being said, read on to learn a little about the different branches of atheism and the connections or disconnections between God, Evil and Shadows. Sleep tight for me, I’m gone.

Atheism and the Shadow Puppet

Just a side note, many find it difficult to determine which side of the fence I’m on when it comes to these philosophical musings. Can you?

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THE RELUCTANT GARDENER

At long last, I’m posting the screenplay I wrote as an animated short about Black Thumb Merrie’s perils as a reluctant gardener and her battle with nature. Follow her on her journey as …

Source: THE RELUCTANT GARDENER


THE RELUCTANT GARDENER

ThistleAt long last, I’m posting the screenplay I wrote as an animated short about Black Thumb Merrie’s perils as a reluctant gardener and her battle with nature. Follow her on her journey as she goes from a bubbly new homeowner ready to tackle yard maintenance and beautification to a crazed, accidental murderer of innocent foliage.

The Reluctant Gardener

Sleep tight for me, I’m gone.


OUT OF THE CLOSET

woman-1335487_1280When I think of a gamer, I think of someone who is super into video games—the kind that are played on an Xbox or PS4 console, etc. I would even consider those who are so into PC games that they would lug all of their heavy equipment to another person’s house just to hook up and play with others as a gamer, or someone really into internet gaming. My husband and son would fall into that category, especially considering my son worked at GameStop for years—it was his dream job. He is the guy you want to ask all your gaming questions because he is very knowledgeable. So is my husband. My husband, however, claims that I am a “closet gamer.” I’ll get to that later.

The first experience I had with a video game was as a child, on an Apple II, playing Oregon Trail. Granted, as a child, we would play other games (role playing, i.e. pretend—often I got stuck playing Daisy Duke, just because I was the girl—board games, sports, etc.), but Oregon Trail was the first game I played on the computer. It was addicting, fun and certainly spawned emotions, most particularly disappointment because I killed my crew by making a bad decision at the general store.

As I got older, I plunked a lot of quarters into arcade machines. My games of choice were either Pinball, Tekken or other similar fighting games, or driving games. I had an Atari and played a few games hooked up to our television (usually Space Invaders, which I took pride in whooping every adult that ever challenged me) and played Mario or Tetris when my friends all got Nintendo. But, as the games began to advance and become more accessible at home I sort of lost interest—getting my driver’s license may have had something to do with that.

So, as a kid, I could say I was a gamer. As an adult, not so much—except when my husband and I were dating. He happened to bring his PS2 over and tried to get me to connect with his love of games by appealing to the arcade kid in me with Street Fighter. He left to run an errand and I powered it up to check it out. By the time he came back, he claims he could hear me cussing and swearing (lots of F-bombs) as he walked up to the door (yet another emotive reaction a game apparently pulled out of me). Between that and the fact that I have beaten my husband at games like that (or even Pinball, which is now on PS4—just so you know), which infuriates the avid gamer in him who has spent years crafting his game play and learning very specific button combinations, I am what he calls a “button masher.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why he calls me a “closet gamer,” because I can beat him but have not admitted to being a gamer that could. In the game of pool, he calls me a shark. Really, I am not all that great at billiards.

Despite games drawing out emotion, whether as a kid or a grown-up, we all know that it is play, or pretend and are still grounded in our own reality. A perfect example would be my youngest who, at the age of 2 or 3, had imaginary friends. Some of the things she would say or do made me a bit nervous, wondering if she really believed. One day I asked her a question about her friends and she gave me this very perplexed look as if to say “Mom! You know this isn’t real, right?” It was she who was checking my reality.

“Human beings are capable of understanding the difference between the playing activity and the non‐playing activity, and he describes that phenomenon as a theoretical paradox. Framing is Bateson’s term for the playing activity initiating ‘this is play….’” Karoff, H. S., Ejsing-Duun, S., & Hanghøj, T. (2013). Playing and Gaming – Studied in an Informal Learning Setting. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Games Based Learning, 261- 267.

Moods in life are produced through our participation in the world around us as in gameplay are expressed through the action of such play when the person participates in the pretend world. Through game play there are four moods: (1) devotion, most attributed to being in a state of “concentration and focus”; (2) intensity, most attributed to physical play and the feeling of “butterflies” or an adrenaline rush; (3) tension, “fight or flight” is attributed to taking action or “being ready to perform” in a game; and, (4) euphoria, most attributed to silliness and laughter and is considered to be the most “open minded” of all moods because it allows for continual change. Karoff, H. S., Ejsing-Duun, S., & Hanghøj, T. (2013). Playing and Gaming – Studied in an Informal Learning Setting. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Games Based Learning, 261- 267.

Whether watching my children play or engaging in some form of it myself, I can see how all four of those moods come into play, as well as know that while we are all engaged we all still know it isn’t real. I am curious, however, how this may shift once virtual reality becomes more advanced. I had read an article once, a long time ago (by whom I cannot recall), that talked about a study they conducted whereby the subjects felt actual physical pain in the real world while experiencing being stabbed in the virtual world. Once we have advanced to actual Holodecks, will the lines between real and fantasy or play be blurred?

And finally, while my choices of video games are vastly different from what my husband or son would choose (they prefer fantasy role play or first-person-shooter), I, unfortunately, must concede that, by technicality, my husband is correct—I am a closet gamer.


AM I EVIL? YES I AM!

4963863-darthvaderWhen I was taking my senior philosophy courses, I was disappointed by the lack of variety in subject matter (they offered a lot of ethics) and so I was able to construct my own independent study. Because I had already spent a lot of time studying the metaphysical, which includes the existence or non-existence of God, I chose to continue that inquiry into evil–seemed fitting.

While eyeballs deep into the independent study, my very first lesson was that I should have researched books more thoroughly and chosen better. I remember, after reading through several chapters, flipping the book over a number of times to see what the writers’ credentials were to have written such material. Frankly, the book was probably made for younger students who need fictional characters to envision the concept–it mostly annoyed me. Not that I mind discussing Darth Vader or breaking down the intricate nuances of other beloved fictional characters, it was just utilized too much (in my opinion, which you’ll see bled into the writing as you read).

So, without further ado, in continuation of my previous post, God, Evil & Morality, click on the below link to view the meditation of what evil is in conjunction with a Darth Vader character analysis.

What is Evil

Disclaimer: I’m not very political; however, the attached document does broach that topic slightly with what was going on at the time when it was written (approximately 2011). That being said, it does not, by any means, convey my political stance or beliefs regarding the rebels or the Dark Side in any real or metaphoric realm. Well, except for the part about Wall Street. Maybe. 


GOD, EVIL & MORALITY

skull-960983_1280Now that we’ve gotten the three requirements that define God out of the way we will explore evil. But, before we go too deep, I’m going to leave you with an overview of The Argument from Evil and then discuss morality because we need to understand morality and how it relates to God and evil to determine if they are separate from each other and/or from God first.

Evil is not as easy to define as we humans would like to think. Hell, we like to think we know more than we do and want things to be one or the other. Unfortunately, there are a lot of grey areas. Analytical philosophy would look at everything that we would consider evil and put it into a circle to flesh out an ultimate definition (which is much harder than it seems)–this is not that. If anything, it just draws out more questions to consider. Actually, it makes pretty interesting dinner table conversation–especially if you have children (they have an interesting insight that can often question and discuss without judgment and gives the parents a view into how they think, typically more deeply than we give them credit for).

That being said, however, a Jesuit priest once conversed with me on the subject of evil and the difficulty of defining it–he gave me some perspective. He said evil is that thing so unimaginable one can barely speak of it. I can see his point; however, I do believe the threshold for some is higher than for others.

So, click on the link below. And, as always, sleep tight for me.

God, Evil & Morality

Don’t forget, I have a fictional short story that explores some of the concepts I discuss on this blog. You can find Meet Mr. G on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads and even iBooks.


Cosmological vs. Ontological

horsehead-nebula-11081_1280Previously I discussed the three required elements used to define God, as well as the design argument, which is used to affirm God’s existence in The Power of Three. The attached is a continuation of that discussion but outlines other types of arguments used for affirming existence–namely, the cosmological (St. Thomas Aquinas being the most well-known proponent) and ontological arguments.

Again, neither of these arguments convince me, based on the merits of their arguments alone, that God exists. But, in the words of the Reading Rainbow guy, LaVar Burton, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

Cosmological vs. Ontological

Sleep tight for me, I’m gone.