Tag 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 JET STREAM

Oh the follies of being a reluctant gardener and landscape maintenance technician. After we had been in our home for a couple of years–you know, settled in but still haven’t mastered the lay of the land–I went out and bought a new hose attachment. It seemed as though each summer we needed to replace one; thus, this go ‘round, I spent a little more time searching for just the right kind. I especially needed something heavy duty enough to withstand the playful abuse from children. I was sure I had found it.

As soon as I returned home, I immediately opened, attached it and began to play around with the various settings. One notch was for a fine mist that seemed more fun than useful. Another seemed quite useful for watering down the flowerbeds–it sprayed more like a showerhead. Then, I found the jet stream. Very Interesting.

Since our brick-colored paver patio was in desperate need of a clean, I thought this particular setting would be a great tool to power wash it. The stream was nowhere near as powerful as one of those actual power washer thingamabobs, but it probably could have stripped some of the paint off the shake siding. Feeling clever, I pointed the nozzle at the pavers and blasted away.

Now imagine Tom Hanks in Castaway when he created fire. This was me, beaming with pride as I hosed down the patio. Dirt blew out of every pore and crevice. I was doing a happy dance! “Dirt! I have power cleaned dirt from patio! Ahahahaha!” I had found a new tool and a new toy that made a job fun and easy–so I thought.

Can you see where this is going yet? Have you anticipated the havoc I wreaked upon my future self? Now, fast forward about two weeks. It was a perfect late-summer evening–not too hot and not too humid, with just a subtle breeze. While my husband was grilling brats, I relaxed at the patio table and sipped my wine. When the brats were finished he brought them over to the table, but dropped one on the way. He picked it up and set it aside. Within seconds an army of ants burst out from between our pavers to pluck up the greasy remnants. They popped out of there so quickly and with such a force it reminded me of the scarabs from The Mummy. All I could do was stare.

We had been grilling in that same spot since we moved in and food had been dropped, especially with young children around, a number of times with no issue. I had never seen such a sight, but didn’t think much of it at the time. I was fascinated, but still clueless. A couple of weeks later I noticed a few weeds beginning to creep up between some of the pavers. I quickly pulled them, naively thinking that would be the end of it.

Another few weeks went by when I noticed the army of ants had multiplied three-fold. Tall mounds of sand seemed to have formed overnight and more weeds popped through. What the hell?!? We were being taken over. I couldn’t believe that the grease from one fricken brat could have caused such a problem. And then…then, I remembered. THE JET STEAM!

It wasn’t dirt I had been blasting away. It was the paver sand used to seal the joints! Yes ladies and gentlemen, in my jet stream creating moment of premature pride, I had thoroughly removed the very sealer that was used to lock the blocks in place, seal the joints and block out the ants and the weeds. I’ll take my dramatic bow of shame now.

Sleep tight for me. I’m gone!


Soul Triad II

senseofcinema.com

senseofcinema.com

So, a few nights ago I threatened to inflict upon you my reasoning for disagreeing with Socrates’ argument that a soul is made up of three distinct parts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The summary of his argument, which needs to be read in order to fully follow my conclusion, can be found here: Soul Triad.

Socrates’ argument focuses mainly on the three particular elements: (1) reason; (2) appetite; and, (3) spiritedness. Considering he believes that rational thought must guide reason (critical thought and calculations, etc.) and irrational guides the appetites (thirst, hunger, sex, etc.), I think there are two additional categories to consider—rational and irrational. Rational and irrational would be two hemispheres of a soul and each hemisphere would have a main categorical function in which certain elements would fall. But where exactly would spiritedness lie, especially considering Socrates lumps anger (despite it being a passionate feeling and should therefore fall under appetite, which is irrational) into this single element?

Well, it wouldn’t. Because he places anger under the element of spiritedness, which is a passion and therefore falls under the irrational hemisphere and appetitive element, the element of spiritedness (so long as a passionate emotion is being used to define or describe it) would be eliminated and only two elements (reason and appetite) would exist for the soul—not three.

And, if spiritedness falls under the irrational and appetitive elements it is not a separate function outside of irrational and appetitive compulsions, therefore it could not possibly assist the rational element of reason by causing anger for giving into an appetite because the anger itself would be giving into an appetite and therefore irrational. For example, if a person became angry with themselves for having given into their sexual appetite, whether because it was premarital or against what is considered socially acceptable, the action upon the appetite of sexual desire belongs to the irrational part of the soul and the angry feeling after also an appetitive part of the irrational. With both being appetites and irrational, rational reason has not taken part and did not invoke a separate element to keep each side in check, therefore spiritedness has not been an ally to reason.

Further, the rational and reason are conducive to thoughts which occur inside the brain while appetitive compulsions are actions taken. We can think about doing them and choose to either act or not act upon them, but we are not really performing opposite actions or inactions at the same exact moment. If it really is a soul that compels the body and mind to everything (action or inaction) the soul would then compel the brain to think about sustenance until the need is fulfilled by eating, thereby satiating the appetite of hunger. But, once the individual has put food into his/her mouth they no longer think about sustenance. The action of thinking of sustenance is the opposite of physically fulfilling the hunger. When one physically fulfills that hunger, its opposite action ceases, therefore the soul is not performing opposite actions at the exact same moment, but rather one stops and the other begins. While an individual may think about how good the food tastes as he/she is eating, it is the same relative to the activity and not an opposite action or inaction. And, if the soul is not performing an opposite action or inaction at the same exact moment then there are not two or more elements to the soul—just one—the soul itself.

Whether the soul exists and is what compels a human to do, not do or think anything or whether it’s the mind or something else entirely is a completely different discussion. ‘Til next time. Sleep tight for me, I’m gone!

Don’t forget to “like” my Facebook Page.

And, if you are so inclined, check out my short story (released March 2015).  Meet Mr. G.  Also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

 


WHEN I’M OLD

A few years ago IExplicit saw a meme float around Facebook with a picture of an old woman that said “the only thing golden about my golden years is my urine.” I damn near rolled on the floor laughing, figuratively speaking of course.

I’ve decided to adopt that motto when I am her age. That statement fits my personality so well. I have also decided that I will say “fuck” a lot. I like that word. So many things can be expressed by just one little word. George Carlin gloriously explains:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZkb4TPI-Lo&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DxZkb4TPI-Lo&has_verified=1

Or, perhaps I need to adopt “fuck off” more often. The comedian Billy Connolly expresses the appreciation for that statement and/or sentiment so much better than I ever could.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJMqdTr7IQM

And, what amazes me even more is the very fact that for nearly a week I have struggled with writer’s block. I have an article for a career-based newsletter I must write and I’m stuck. I have had a million random thoughts cross my mind for this blog, even, but nothing has seemed to inspire me—until it is passed my bedtime and I decided to make a random blurb about what I aspire to be when I’m old.

IDEAS!!!!

More to come, I guess. Sleep tight!

 


LET’S TALK ABOUT GROUPIES

Have we reGroupies ajournalofmusicalthingsdotcomdefined the word groupie in the last few decades and I just didn’t get the memo?

I recently saw a news story that discussed a group of older-to-me folks who travel around the country in RVs following a religious music group—the kind that sing old-school-hymns-type. First, I would never associate the word “groupie” with that type of fan following, especially given that particular genre. Second, I do associate a negative connotation to that word because, as far and as long as I have known, it has referred specifically to women and meant they were sleeping with the one or more members of the group they were traipsing after.

Groupie, to me, is a word that symbolizes a stereotype. More specifically, women who have low self-esteem and endeavor to gain power through sex with rock stars, legends and/or idols who are typically men. Yet, at the same time, it seems to strip them (and other women, regardless of whether or not they are a true groupie) of power as it illegitimates any self-worth they may hold and any real experience or knowledge they may have in that particular environment (i.e. music-type statistics, networking, business acumen, creativity, or booking talent to name a few).

To my surprise, after having looked up the word to see if it actually meant what I thought it did, Merriam-Webster gave a very simple definition: “a fan of a music group that follows the group on concert tours.” There were some variations to it, but never once did it mention anything anywhere near my understanding of the word—they even used “golf groupie” or “political groupie” as an example of an enthusiast or aficionado! What?!

Okay, so back to the news story. I realize they used “groupie” as a bit of a play on words for an attention grabbing tagline. I get it. I certainly stopped what I was doing and paid attention long enough to be irritated, dismiss it and then write this blog. I am just utterly blown away that anyone—male, female, young or old—would surrender themselves to that word, let alone make it something positive. Maybe it’s only positive if you are following hymnal groups.

Sleep tight!

Image Credit: A Journal of Musical Things (all one word–dot com)

 


THAT SMARTS

If you know me, and/Poltergeist TVor as you get to know me better, chances are you will find that something intriguing said to me is not often forgotten. It could be weeks, months or even years, but that one thing will sit in my brain and tumble around until one day it randomly pops back to the forefront with a new understanding, perspective or retort.

That being said, a few months ago, while working on one of his class assignments, my husband posed a question that suggested people were getting smarter from watching television because its programing has become more intelligent over the years. I disagreed by stating (a) there are still mindless and dumb shows out there that couldn’t possibly be making us any smarter (Sponge Bob Square Pants is a fine specimen) and (b) that perhaps, in consideration of shows that are actually better and “smarter,” people are just wittier in general than in the past and the writers are now writing more intelligent pieces for their more intellectual audiences (regardless of complexity).

After considerable contemplation (unconscious or subconscious—whatever floats your boat), I now wonder if perhaps he should have asked a different question: does life, in fact, imitate art? I’ve pondered that question a lot more just lately because it seems as though society follows similar patterns and trends in thinking and behavior. There have been studies (of which I, unfortunately, do not know specifically or enough about in order to point you to them) that have shown various pieces of advertising or propaganda to have influenced this type of change in humans. Those particular pieces are all different forms of art—think Rosie the Riveter (just one example).

So, perhaps, in a roundabout way, maybe his idea was on the correct path in that if life does actually imitate art and that art is in the form of an intelligent television show, it stands to reason that it could influence others to go out and get an education to be like or do what they had seen portrayed in a show or shows that intellectually inspired them (my artist aunt has always said that art wouldn’t be art if it didn’t evoke some sort of emotion or reaction). By doing so they become smarter and in an indirect way television made them smarter—or at the very least, challenged them to think more often, differently, or more analytically about other complex ideas, which potentially could be argued as a possible gain in intellectual capacity. Maybe.

Or, better yet, maybe he should ask: is pop culture proof that life imitates art? Unfortunately, there are still more variables to pick out and evaluate far beyond what I’m capable of or willing to contemplate tonight in order to determine the truth in the answer—if there is one. With that, I bid you adieu. Sleep tight!

Image credit: Google Images


Part IV–Paradoxical Irony

So-cratesWhile I am somewhat leaping from the original progression I had planned for this particular blog category or “part,” it still plays on the matter of thinking for ourselves in terms of what we know or don’t know and so I figured now was as good a time as any. I don’t know how much you or anyone else may know about Socrates, because I will never really know what you know or don’t know and perhaps, to some, he’s just that So-crates guy Bill and Ted brought into the future for their final project, but I’ll give you a brief overview anyway.

Despite debate about whether or not Socrates really existed or was merely a character Plato created, Socrates was considered a wise man by some and an extremely annoying smartass by others. Those who held disdain for him felt as though he mocked their intelligence by performing Socratic irony (plainly, it’s essentially asking questions you already know the answer to just to bait an argument and make the other look stupid).

In addition to infuriating most of society, Socrates taught Athenian youth to think for themselves and to seek out what they did not understand—to essentially examine life. Unfortunately, most Athenians did not care for his lessons or their children questioning authority; thus, he was accused of, put on trial for, and ultimately put to death by Hemlock for, amongst other things, corrupting their youth.

Now, if corrupting the young is teaching them to question authority and think for themselves, then I would have to say Socrates was guilty as charged—he did teach Athenian youth to think for themselves. This is not to say I think he ought to have been executed, or that he should have been tried or punished. Whether the charge of wrongdoing for this particular “offense” was just or unjust is something I won’t delve into; however, I do think that thinking for self (if we truly can as often as we think we can) and questioning certain authority is a wise thing to do (though it certainly can and often will land you in a lot of trouble, such as the case with Socrates).

With that being said, I’ve laid some background for where I will lead you now. That is, into the unexamined life and a paradoxical irony. I am posting a revised version of a paper I wrote on this subject. Unfortunately, it is a lengthy summary and analysis to get to my ultimate conclusion. Because, technically, to do the subject any justice one must walk through a forest of long-windedness to see where the path has led them. Good luck. If you make it all the way through, sleep tight for me—I’m gone.

 THE UNEXAMINED LIFE

Crito, an old friend and student, believed Socrates was unjustly convicted by the Athenian jury because they merely wanted to remove an annoying old man whom they felt insulted their intelligence. Because he did not believe Socrates was guilty of the charges against him, Crito visited him in his cell to convince him to escape, offering him a place to stay with his friends at Thessaly—essentially in exile. Crito, among other supporters, paid off the guards to grant his escape. Knowing Socrates was an ethical man who would resist, Crito appealed to him to save his life by being more just than the jury and by not subjecting his sons to the loss of their father by remaining alive so he could raise and educate them properly. Socrates agreed to entertain a debate to determine if escape was indeed the right thing for him to do and if so he would go with Crito as he asked, but if not he would remain and face his death.

Socrates held that a good life is most important and to have a good life is to have “the good life, the beautiful life, and the just life.” (Plato, Crito, 2002), pg. 51. To live a just life one must not commit a wrong in response to a wrong committed against them (i.e. two wrongs do not make a right); thus, despite the Athenian court having unjustly convicted him (the wrong) it is unjust for Socrates to escape from prison (commit a wrong against the wrongdoers). Furthermore, if Socrates escaped from prison he would have to live somewhere outside of Athens so as not to get rearrested and new charges brought against him (an end to a beautiful life).

Near the end of Socrates’ defense in the Apology he discusses the various alternative remedies of punishment, one of them being exile. Exile does not seem like a reasonable remedy because history would surely repeat itself wherever he went. Socrates claimed others would say he should just stop his inquiries so as not to annoy others in whatever city he lives out in exile; however, he also claimed he could not keep quiet because “the unexamined life is not worth living for men.” (Plato, Apology, 2002), pg. 41, para 38. In other words, the unexamined life is a life without beauty and justness required for a “good life.” If he cannot examine life to live the good, just and beautiful life, then what’s the point?

To ask Socrates to cease his inquires would be to ask him to be someone else, to be more ignorant than he already thought, to be useless to a city and country he loves, and to disobey the Gods; thus it would be no different than death itself and if he disobeyed the Gods he would suffer a worse fate in Hades than death by the hands of men who “can’t handle the truth.” (A Few Good Men).

Living an unexamined life would be a life performing certain duties without truly understanding the meaning of what we do “…it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not,” whereas a person who lives an examined life would be able to admit that they do not know something when they, in fact, do not know, “…when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know.” (Plato, Apology, 2002), pg. 26, para. (d).

Furthermore, if one lives an unexamined life they would not have the power to reason whether some action is just or unjust—escaping from prison, for example. And so, he would not understand that, while he may feel wrongfully convicted he would ultimately be “destroying” a city upon escape by unknowingly proving that the City’s laws have no authority to keep him held in: “Or do you think it possible for a city not to be destroyed if the verdicts of its courts have no force but are nullified and set at naught by private individuals?” Nor would they understand that by disobeying the city in his escape attempt he would be allowing others to think that if he is capable of shattering the city’s legal system and power he would most certainly be capable of the charges he thought unjustly made against him in the first place: “…for anyone who destroys the laws could easily be thought to corrupt the young and the ignorant?” (Plato, Crito, 2002), pg. 56, para. (c). In order to systematically annihilate a city’s laws, whether by escaping from prison or committing some other wrong, one would have no choice but to live in exile and by doing so would have to “avoid cities that are well governed and men who are civilized” which would also be a life not worth living if it is without good governments and civilization—otherwise you live a solitary life or one amongst chaos and perhaps brutality far worse than death for a very old man, at least in his case.

Argument

If one lives an unexamined life they would be considered, by Socrates, as ignorant. However, “ignorance is bliss,” to the extent that you do not know what you do not know and cannot therefore know that there is something greater, more or better for you to either do or know.

Ignorance can also be, in certain cases, deemed as “innocence,” as in the case of a child. For example, a small child will freely run around stark naked with zero inhibitions, no feelings of guilt or shame over their nakedness or others seeing them in such a state. They are just this way, and we call it “innocence” because they have not yet learned the lessons from their adult caretakers and/or society that their nakedness is something that should be hidden. In this case the “ignorance” is bliss because they are free from the chains of shame over something that is completely natural.

An unexamined life could also potentially be bliss in the sense that one would not know how much “evil” is in this world and committed by man himself. Without this knowledge they could potentially live a more peaceful life in that they would not question why. They would not be constantly bombarded with seeking answers to endless questions that just open doors to more questions and the realization that despite how wise you may be you may never really know anything at all. And, if you can’t ever truly know anything at all, then what is the point of bothering with an examined life?

Of course, the downside to the above is that if you never question anything due to ignorance in the matter, then you could potentially enable unjustness in the world by not realizing the “evil” being done. Furthermore, Socrates would explain that with an examined life one would at least be able to determine right from wrong and therefore live a good, just and beautiful life—these qualities being of the utmost importance to him; however, if we life an examined life then we ought to know that we know nothing of anything and therefore can’t possibly really know what it is to live a good/virtuous life.

Conclusion

Either way we look at it we are screwed. If we are ignorant we know nothing and don’t know it; if we examine life we still know nothing, the difference is that we should then realize that we know nothing and if we realize we know nothing we are still, by technicality, ignorant. However, we can’t possibly know what we do not know and so, we cannot fully realize how little we know. And, if we cannot realize that we know nothing, or at least far less than we think we do, then we are right back at the beginning—ignorant and don’t know it. This is the ironic paradox in the unexamined life.