Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On Missing and Longing

Question: What causes us to miss someone?

I often wonder why it is that I miss some people and don't miss others. I don't think the question can really be answered, its too complex, and I think it will always remain a mystery to me. However, I'm going to think out loud and give it my best try.

When you miss someone, it is because there is some factor in the relationship that is no longer present. On the surface it is a proximity issue...the person is no longer near you, with you, or in your presence. However, I think that it comes down to more than that, that you miss someone because of some sort of connection you have with them, and because of some sort of validation that they give to you.

I believe that humans need love because they were created by the source of love--God. This being said, humans constantly look for love, or to the return to God who is the source of all love and the only complete fulfillment of our need for love. We, being humans however, cannot typically achieve such a love here on earth (although arguably some Saints have), and so we look for it in other ways. Some people get it from money, others success/achievement, but most from other people. Therefore, when forming a relationship, we are in some ways, forming a relationship based on our desire for union with God. Disunion from God is Hell, and is torture for the Soul. Now, even though each relationship only gives us a tiny fraction of the longing we have for God, it is still enough to torment us when we lose it. Therefore, when we miss someone, we are longing for that smidgen of fulfillment that they provide us.

This can be solved in part of course by praying to God and forming a more intimate relationship with him. It can also be solved by realizing why we miss a person, that the person is, in someway, always with us, and by realizing that all separations are effectively temporary in one way or another. Emptiness is a result of the human condition...but it does not have to be blatantly accepted--we have the power to diminish it.

On the Crime of an 8 year-old

This story breaks my heart and nearly brings me to tears.

An eight year-old boy in Arizona murdered his father with a rifle the other day in Arizona. The murder seems to be premeditated. By all accounts, the father was loving and non-abusive, and seemed to do everything right. He did however, just remarry, but sources say he went everywhere with his boy (fishing, baseball games, ect.) and that no one ever expected such a thing to happen.


Has our society gone so far as to be able to strip such a young boy of any innocence? How can such a boy, still in the midst of pre-concrete operational thinking possibly premeditate the murder of his OWN FATHER! This doesn't makes sense to me. It is truly a tragedy in that it seems to go beyond all nature and common knowledge of father-son relationship and human development.

I have no answers on this one...only questions...

On Obama's "Approval Rating" According to USA Today

I have a lot on my mind I'll post in multiple posts so it doesn't get too long.

On the front page of USA TODAY, it states that 65% of America "said they think the country will be better off four years from now." What are some of the possible causes for this, and if true, what are the implications. I'm feeling slightly cynic today.

--What's interesting about this number: Only 52% voted for Obama in the election, and there were some VERY bitter Republicans. This means that over the course of merely one week, Obama has gained 13% in support, most probably from some independents, but also some Republicans. That's 13% IN ONE WEEK!

1) The USA TODAY is a moderately biased paper tending to lean towards Liberal and Democratic ideals. Thus, how accurate are the numbers themselves? It's entirely possible that the paper did not get find a poll with a representative sample and interviewed a high majority of either Democrats/Obama voters and/or minority voters who place high hopes in Obama's symbolic election. If this is true then the following points need not even be discussed, and the only implication is that America, like always, is being fed biased media.

2) Obama's rating has nothing to do with his person-hood, but rather his party affiliation. Bush's "disapproval rating" is at 68%, which is "coincidentally" about as high as Obama's "approval rating", and so perhaps the numbers reflect the peoples distaste for Bush and the Republican's management and are happy for the so called "Obama Change".

3) America has come to accept that Barrack is the next President, they are setting aside their anger or bias, and choosing to support and hope in him.

4) The symbolism surrounding the election of the first Black Man as President has started to transform the perceptions of the country. Perhaps if people have hope that a man such as Obama can be elected, he also has the ability to make the drastic changes the country is calling for. Whether or not this hope is founded on anything is another question, but it seems plausible the hope is filling the hearts of 65% of America, or 13% more than before the election. The implication of this is that Obama wields extreme power, and that his election meant more than many people would have supposed. It also means that "the audacity to hope" really isn't audacious at all, and hope still has a valid place amongst humanity, contrary to many cynic and skeptic claims.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the Essence of Beauty

Question: What is the essence of Beauty....what is it?

Part of beauty is something that pleases us. It is impossible to be disgusted by something that one considers beautiful, however, that perception is somewhat subjective. There is however, also objective beauty. For example, studies show that "average" faces are beautiful, and that things that are geometrically symmetrical tend to be perceived as universally beautiful. This means that beauty is not only an extrinsic entity, but also an intrinsic perception that in some sense is universally built into us. Because of this, the perception of beauty does not come from us, but from something greater than us, or the one who created us.

God created us, and so all beauty inevitably comes from him in some fashion. In fact, God is the Form of Beauty, or the most beautiful being in existence. This comes from his perfection, for that which is perfect is necessarily likewise beautiful. Therefore, all beauty is in fact participation in God, Perfection, and thus Holiness. That which is Holy is Beautiful.

This causes us to make the distinction between physical beauty and spiritual. Physical beauty is beauty observed with the senses, primarily by sight, but also through sound in the form of music. Spiritual beauty is the degree to which a person is in communion with God. This perhaps is a kind of distinction between perfection in the physical sense and perfection in the spiritual sense which can be defined more specifically as holiness. A person can have great physical beauty but hardly any spiritual beauty (holiness), and vice-versa.

Therefore, the essence of beauty is that which reflects some form of God, either physically or spiritually, through perfection (physically) and holiness (spiritually).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Psychology Research Idea (I)

"The Effect of Transfer Appropriate Processing on Children who Learn to Read Using Computers"

Question: If TAP can help or hinder memory, what is the effect of it on children who learn to read using computers or internet, and then try to read print books.

Source: Learning and Cognition Class

On Snow

Typically I do not like snow, but today it seems somehow more welcomed. Snow is wet and cold, two adverse conditions I normally don't care to encounter. However, snow also has some sort of intrinsic beauty that radiates to the world it covers. I am especially attuned to this aesthetic principle being a "4", and especially today for some yet undiscovered reason.

What is it that makes snow so beautiful, so aesthetically pleasing? Is it the color? The peacefulness of it? Or maybe its just the change in appearance our senses encounter, or the social upbringing that has taught us that snow is beautiful. I like to think its something more...there is some inherent beauty in snow that points to the Form of Beauty--God. There is a bit of God in each snowflake. I don't mean this in the pantheistic way, but only in perhaps a symbolic or transcendental way.

The snow is beautiful today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reflection on the Election of Barrack Obama

Regardless of political affiliation, one must realize the magnitude of the election that took place last night. It was almost definitely the most important election in the last 65 years, and arguable the most important ever. We now have a Black man as President of the United States of America. The only sad thing is that it has taken so long to arrive. Perhaps now however, the World will not view us as an arrogant, ethnocentric, bullying country.

We cannot underestimate the immensity of such an event. Perhaps now all the schema and stereotypes can start to be stripped away, and the question of race and color will slowly start to fade. Perhaps now instead of focusing on what divides us, we can focus on what unites us. I have always been an idealist though, and people will always be people...mired in concupiscence. I pray that the Country and the World recognizes this as an historic moment in time for America, and that we may slowly and yet steadily change towards the virtuous.

Theology Thesis Idea (1)

"Eschatology as a Paradigm for Ministry to the Marginalized"

Question: In what ways is Eschatology an effective way of ministering to those who are poor, terminally ill, or marginalized in various ways?

Contents: Eschatology, Beatitudes, Heaven, Catholic Social Teaching, Jesus, Biblical Examples.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A "Politco/Civico" Book Idea (I)

"American Caste"

Questions: Class Mobility in America, Widening Gap of Classes?

Source: LH Class--Tocqueville, Election Discussion, Health-Care and Poverty Presentations.