Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Counseling vs. drug therapy
No text or music is without genre
No text or music is without genre
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Essay on Love
Posted on November 23rd, 2007
Several years ago, a dear friend wrote me and asked me to speak on love.
Here is my reply:
We do not have to worry about how to tell when it is love, for Love tells us.
The touchstone of true love is a lifetime of shared commitment. Failure of this test does not mean that we have not loved or cannot love, but passage of this test is proof positive of love indeed.
Years after we had parted and gone our separate ways, I told my beloved from my college years, "as Robert Frost once said, home is where, when you go there, they have to let you in, and I know your heart is home for me, for whenever I come to you, I know that you must let me into your heart."
We need to be needed and we need to need.
We may look to many songs and poems to learn different aspects of love.
One old song says "Love is a many-splendored thing" while another says "falling in love with love is falling for make-believe".
There is even a song which says, "when I'm not near the one I love, I love the one I'm near."
"Better to have known love and lost, than to never have known love at all".
There is love of neighbor, love of country and love of God.
There are selfish and selfless forms of love. There are selfish loves which smother and destroy and there are loves which give life and meaning both for the giver and the recipient.
We see love as instinctive in infants. There is no child which does not love its caregiver, no matter how flawed or abusive they might be.
We love because we seek love in return. The love we seek is a validation of our own self-worth, that someone would care if we were not here. The essential message of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," with Jimmy Stuart, is that the world would not be the same place had we not passed through it.
In the movie version of Brideshead Revisited (from the novel by Evelyn Waugh), Sebastian, a tragic alcoholic, has found and taken in someone even more tragic and helpless than himself. Sebastian explicitly says that anyone must be in quite a sorry state to need the likes of a Sebastian to look after them. Yet, Sebastian finds meaning and self-worth and validation in this relationship where he feels needed.
To love is to find value, worth. To be loved is to have value and worth.
Aristotle said: A friend is another 'I'
There is a love which strikes us unexpectedly, like lightening on a stormy night, like the song "some enchanted evening, you will see a stranger, across a crowded room" or the song "strangers in the night, exchanging glances, lovers at first sight".
There is a different sort of love which grows through years of shared experiences, which is the love that is possible in arranged marriages. Mohandas Gandhi and Kasturbai were married at the age of 6 and spent a lifetime together. Gandhi, in old age, wept inconsolably when his lifetime companion, Kasturbai, passed away.
We see such a love expressed in the song from "Fiddler on the Roof," "Do you love me?"
We do not choose our parents, and yet we love them. Sometimes we do not choose our life companion, and yet we grow to love them through shared experiences.
We may even learn of bizarre loves as in the movie "Kiss of the Spider Woman": A complex and universal story of friendship and love, "Kiss of the Spider Woman" explores the enforced relationship -- through imprisonment -- of two men with radically different perspectives on life. Molina is a flagrant homosexual window trimmer convicted on a morals charge and Valentine is a clandestinely-held revolutionary who has been endlessly tortured by prison authorities in a non-specific Latin American metropolis.
Definitely, love is quite necessary and required for life. An infant will die without some form of love, even if only a feigned love by some nurse caretaker. Experiments in nurseries indicate that if an infant is fed and cleaned, but never given affection, that it grows sickly and dies. I know this only from reading, and cannot personally vouch for the scientific accuracy of this observation.
Various religions speak of love. The Bible says somewhere that God is love.
The Psalms say "how blessed is it for brethern to dwell together in unity / it is like the oil running down the beard of Aaron". This passage from the Psalms speaks of the sort of love found in monasteries, which is not a sexual love. One sees an analogous love in the military between comrads-in-arms who have seen many battles together.
That love which the world spends most of its time discussing is the love which draws two people to share a life together. For the vast majority of us, that love is heterosexual love, which draws us to someone of the opposite gender, yet for a sizable minority in the world such love is for someone of the same gender.
Most of us know what it means to live with another person in one fashion or another. Most of us have lived with parents, siblings, relatives. We share the daily tasks of eating, sleeping, cleaning, working and recreation.
It is possible to live with someone without loving them and it is possible to love someone without living with them, but the highest expression and test and proof of love is your love for someone you live with daily.
In the delightful play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, a young man, about to marry, expresses great anxiety about what they will find to discuss each day, for the thousands of days that constitute a lifetime of marriage. Years later, that same character laughs, because what seemed a problem was never really a problem at all. There were always plenty of things to talk about.
Thornton Wilder won a Pulitzer price for the play "Our Town". It is quite possible that Thornton Wilder was gay. I have read that, after his death, it was revealed that Wilder was a homosexual, a fact he kept hidden during his life.
Karl Maria Kertbeny (or Benkert) [Hungarian] Coined the word "homosexual" in 1869.
Karl Maria Kertbeny (1824-1882)
Karl Maria Kertbeny was a Hungarian writer who is remembered today mostly for coining the term "homosexual" as a replacement for the pejorative term "pederast" that was used in the German and French speaking world of his time. Though he claimed not to be homosexual himself, Kertbeny said that his sense of justice made him cry out against sodomy prosecutions. Kertbeny argued that homosexuality is an inborn disposition, so laws like Paragraph 175 that punish it are unjust.
Kertbeny's writing career produced many books, but almost nothing of literary merit.
I mention Thornton Wilder's sexual orientation simply because so many writers, artists and philosophers have been gay and yet have written works which influence our understanding of what love is.
While we are on the subject of Thornton Wilder and his play, "Our Town," take a look at this excerpt from an article on AIDS and the terminally ill:
Originally Posted by regarding Our Town
...anybody who's living with a terminal or a chronic condition is forced to look at their own mortality. For a lot of people who successfully go through the adjustment process and aren't stuck in it, it's real freeing to begin to savor each moment of life, to see fully all the colors that are there, smell fully all the smells, taste all the tastes, hear all the sounds, feel all the feelings you can. It gets back to Thornton Wilder's play 'Our Town' about this girl who was part of a community but who then dies. She comes back as an invisible spirit and watches the townsfolk, her former neighbors. And she see how very little actual living the people do when they're caught up in the middle of it, how they all just kind of sleepwalk through life.
(end of quote)
I don't think that sexual orientation makes a big difference in one's capacity to love another during a lifetime of cohabitation. There are both straight and gay couples who are successful in committed love relationships, and there are many of both orientations who are failures (and some who are chronic failures).
It is difficult to speak about love without speaking about sex. It is perhaps easier to speak about sex without love than to speak of love without sex.
It is easier to make a lover out of a friend than it is to make a friend out of a lover.
It is rare in any relationship for two people to love each other equally. There is usually one person who loves more and another who loves less. Sometimes, in life, you must make a conscious decision and commitment as to which role you wish to play.
Compare a line from e.e. cummings poem :
your sex squeaked like a billiard-cue
chalking itself, as not to make an error,
with twist spontaneously methodical.
..... with this line from Wallace Steven's poem "Le Monocle de Mon Oncle":
If sex were all, then every trembling hand
Could make us squeak, like dolls, the wished-for words.
In the 1980s I lived and worked in New Haven, Connecticut (near Yale University)....
Japanese Sushi restaurants were beginning to gain popularity in the USA, but there was only one such restaurant in New Haven at that time.
The two restaurant owners were a somewhat portly middle-aged man of Irish ancestry (who was gay), and the chef, who was a much shorter, slender Japanese man (also middle aged). They were lovers who had lived together for many years.
I went to the restaurant often, and got to know many people well there (customers), and also the Irish owner....
Im' sure that most people perceived them as quite an unlikely couple to share life together.
One day, the Japanese chef returned to Japan for a visit. After several weeks returned to his life (and companion) in New Haven...
I had some talks with the owner (the Irishman).... about various personal things...
He told me that one day he asked his companion "Do you love me?", and the chef answered... "Love? ...
What is this talk about love?....
We are CONNECTED!"...
What is love (reformatted)
with some impropriety... but also some wisdom.
There is one "dumb blond" who is like a Sufi master Nasrudin, a wise fool.
Her first line is "I wish I lived in a world in which EVERYONE EXCEPT me
was enlightened,.... so that each and every day, I would learn wonderful amazing new things.But.... her second line, later, explains what LOVE REALLY IS...
She tells a man who has a broken engagement, "if you REALLY LOVE her, then your love is NOT dependent upon marriage, or even ever seeing her again even if you NEVER SEE her again,.... you will love her, if you have what love TRULY IS Listen, WHENEVER someone so ARDENTLY desires some outcome, that they become PETULANT over its denial,.... then there is an EXCELLENT chance that IF ...IF they were to gain their goal, they would become bored
you know the problem is that we people are selfish .we dont want to be in love we want to be loved!
They would lose interest.
Or, like the old song "falling in love with love" with the IDEA of love,
being in love with love-- falling in love with love is falling for make-believe We romanticize our notion of what a love relationship would beIn the moon-lit forest of D.H. Lawrence "Sons and Lovers", when the boy and girl seek the fragrent rose bush blooming in the moonlight That evening, that rose-bush, is ROMANTACIZED love.... but it is NOT love in a daily working relationshipJust as books like Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ROMANTACIZE the notion of young love between two males or any number of other movies and novels that ROMANTICIZE the notion of a lesbian love, or a homosexual male love.....
the fiction, the dream, the vision, is far different from the daily realityIndia stresses the difference between a "LOVE MARRIAGE" and an "arranged marriage"Maiden: so I decided not to take everything so seriously. and simply enjoy presence or absence of people William: yes, very zen-likeMaiden: also I decided to fall in love with my own life.William: live the moment
yes, fall in love with your self, your life... you should watch
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury There is one scene where "the wise Martian" explains to the
earth-person that, the meaning and purpose of life is SIMPLY TO LIVE
and derive pleasure from THE GIFT OF PURE BEING
Maiden: If I love my life. I will improve.
I can be what I desperately might search in a lover, couldn't I?
What Is Love?
HERE IS AN EXCERPT FROM A LONG DISCUSSION with a woman in her 20's at the end of a 3 year courtship which would not result in marriage:
William: There is a wonderful silly movie here "What Love Is" a comedy,
with some impropriety... but also some wisdom.
There is one "dumb blond" who is like a Sufi master Nasrudin, a wise fool Her first line is "I wish I lived in a world in which EVERYONE EXCEPT me
was enlightened,.... so that each and every day, I would learn wonderful
amazing new things. But.... her second line, later, explains what LOVE REALLY IS... She tells a man who has a broken engagement, "if you REALLY LOVE her, thenyour love is NOT dependent upon marriage, or even ever seeing her again even if you NEVER SEE her again,.... you will love her, if you have what love TRULY IS listen, WHENEVER someone so ARDENTLY desires some outcome, that they
become PETULANT over its denial,.... then there is an EXCELLENT chance
that IF ...
IF they were to gain their goal, they would become bored you know the problem is that we people are selfish .we dont want to be in love we want to be loved! They would lose interest or, like the old song "falling in love with love" with the IDEA of love,
being in love with love falling in love with love is falling for make-believe We romanticize our notion of what a love relationship would be But in the moon-lit forest of D.H. Lawrence "Sons and Lovers", when the
boy and girl seek the fragrent rose bush blooming in the moonlight That evening, that rose-bush, is ROMANTACIZED love.... but it is NOT love in a daily working relationship Just as books like Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ROMANTACIZE the
notion of young love between two males at Cambridge (or is it Oxford) or any number of other movies and novels that ROMANTICIZE the notion of a lesbian love, or a homosexual male love..... the fiction, the dream, the vision, is far different from the daily
reality India stresses the difference between a "LOVE MARRIAGE" and an "arranged
Maiden: so I decided not to take everything so seriously. and simply enjoy presence or absence of people
William: yes, very zen-like
Maiden: also I decided to fall in love with my own life.
William: live the moment yes, fall in love with your self, your life... you should watch
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
William: There is one scene where "the wise Martian" explains to the
earth-person that, the meaning and purpose of life is SIMPLY TO LIVE and derive pleasure from THE GIFT OF PURE BEING
Maiden: If I love my life. I will improve. Maiden: I can be what I desperately might search in a lover. couldn't I?
A Perfect Day For Bananafish
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Plato's Theatetus - What is Knowledge?
manners, and poor style, to ramble on in such a stream of consciousness.
If I am to respond properly, then I must pick and choose sparks from
that expanding sphere of fire or, I suppose embers is a better word for
them by the time they fall into my grasp, for they have cooled down a bit, and reorganize them into some respectable, linear, thematic sequence, or syllogism (of the A implies B, B implies C, Aristotelian variety, train of thought, line of reasoning). ---- In Mexico City, they somehow wandered into an exhibition of paintings by the beautiful Spanish exile Remedios Varo: in the central painting of a triptych, titled "Bordando el Manto Terrestre," were a number of frail girls
with heart-shaped faces, huge eyes, spun-gold hair, prisoners in the top room of a circular tower, embroidering a kind of tapestry which spilled out the slit windows and into a void, seeking hopelessly to fill the void: for all the other buildings and creatures, all the waves, ships and forests of the earth were contained in this tapestry, and the tapestry was the world. Oedipa, perverse, had stood in front of the painting and cried. No one had noticed; she wore dark green bubble shades. For a moment she'd wondered if the seal around her sockets were tight enough to allow the tears simply to go on and fill up the entire lens space and never dry. She could carry the sadness of the moment with her that way forever, see the world refracted through those tears, those specific tears, as if indices as yet unfound varied in important ways from cry to cry. She had looked down at her feet and known, then, because of a painting, that what she stood on had only been woven together a couple thousand miles away in her own tower, was only by accident known as Mexico, and so Pierce had taken her away from nothing, there'd been no escape. What did she so desire escape from? Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her
ego only incidental: that what really keeps her where she is is magic,
anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. Having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of force, she may fall back on
superstition, or take up a useful hobby like embroidery, or go mad, or
marry a disk jockey. If the tower is everywhere and the knight of
deliverance no proof against its magic, what else? -- Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49, end of Chapter 1
The aviary is empty at our birth, and the knowledges that we acquire through learning are birds that we capture for the aviary. When we first catch one and imprison it, we may be said to "possess" it, but we do not actually "have" it until we catch hold of it again (197c-e), that is, make use of it. The modal has the advantage over the wax block that it can account for knowledge that is latent rather than actual. But it has the disadvantage that it is no longer possible to match knowledge against perception—the birds do not seem to refer to anything outside the aviary. This does not seem at first to be a disadvantage, however, for Socrates' examples are no longer concerned with perceptual knowledge but only with mathematics. It is as if we have now moved beyond pistis to dianoia on the Divided Line. But the model cannot be assimilated to the doctrine of recollection, because it posits a mind empty at birth and filled entirely by empirical means. In fact the suggestion that we learn mathematics by having it handed over from teacher to student (198a-b) flies in the face of the Meno .
Friday, May 27, 2011
Samsung Epic 4G
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
If threads did not wander there would be no tapestries
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The American Agenda behind the H-Bomb
Your Inner Journey
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Jesus for President
Disappointing Political Candidates
Zen Masters and Poetry
Six year term of office
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Hemingway and Faulkner occasionally took snide and snarky potshots at each other. Authors and artists can be petty. When I came across Mailer's remark today I reflected on other works like "Franny and Zoe" and "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish" and decided that Mailer's observation was inaccurate. Apparently for a period Mailer and Henry Miller rented apartments in the same Brooklyn brownstone and as they passed one another in the hallway each would think of the other "oh, he will never amount to anything." I read that "The Death of a Salesman" was written in 6 weeks. Stephen Crane's "Red Badge of Courage" was written in 10 days flat. Various novelists say they can complete a novel in six months. Annie Proulx worked six months on her short story "Brokeback Mountain."
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Boycott Traitor Trump
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Pynchon on Leopold's Congo
The word BOOK means RELIGION in Tibet
Monday, May 16, 2011
Switching from Windows to MAC
Why I am a Heretic
Jaroslav Pelikan and Hans Kung
More on salvation, faith, and the Roman Catholic Church
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Salvation by Faith Alone
Someone asked a good question regarding Catholics and whether it is true that they suggest more for salvation than a simple profession of faith. It is true that the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox reject the notion that someone may be saved by a simple profession of faith. Martin Luther developed the 5 "solas" as an innovation in the 16th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas .... so we may feel certain that such notions did not exist before Martin Luther. One of those "solas" is "salvation by faith alone." If one looks at the Epistle of St. James it is very obvious from the verse "show my your faith without works and I will show you my faith THROUGH my works" and "faith without works is dead" that James did not share such a notion. Luther did not care for the Epistle of James and wanted to toss it out of the Bible. We need only look at the writings of Maximus the Confessor in the 6th century who said:
"Do not say that 'mere faith in our Lord Jesus Christ can save me.' For this is impossible unless you acquire love for him through works. For in what concerns mere believing, 'even the devils believe and tremble.' "
It is obvious from looking at 6th century theologians like Maximus and the entire Philokalia which spans 70 authors from the 4rd century to the 11th century that there is no hint of Protestant notions of piety. If all that was necessary was a profession of faith then why would the desert father have left the cities to live in the deserts in celibacy and fasting. They could have stayed in the city had a wife, sipped there beer and chatted about their faith in Jesus.
Newt Gingrich was on an interview on television this weekend as a possible presidential candidate. The journalist pointed out that Newt is on his third marriage and was caught in an adulterous affair just as Clinton was going through the Lewinsky scandal. Gingrich said "Yes, this is true, but I have ASKED GOD FOR FORGIVENESS." Well, that is typical Protestant rhetoric. You live exactly as you please and then when it is convenient you sob and say your sorry and ask God for forgiveness and that makes everything all better. Yes, people can make mistakes, but they must CHANGE THEIR WAYS and reform and not return like a dog to their own vomit. There are actually Protestant denominations who believe that baptism by water is unnecessary since faith is all that is necessary. We see in the Book of Acts that the eunuch in the chariot asked for baptism by the waters edge. The first 1000 years of Christianity were all about baptism by water. The Protestant Reformant gradually resulted in many changes in the most basic things.
No one FORCED Martin Luther to take life vows of poverty and chastity as an Augustinian monk. Luther voluntarily made the vows and then did not have the courage or discipline to keep them so he rewrote religion to suit his own weaknesses. Perhaps some of the "works" that Catholics and Orthodox require may seem extraneous or superstitious, but to me it is obvious that mere lip service to some faith or belief or whining and sobbing for forgiveness and saying you are a "changed person" are worse than useless for they are dangerous as they lull us into a complacency rather than motivate us to take action and do something about our problems. If you are an alcoholic, then stop drinking. If you are overweight then stop eating. If you are a fornicator/adulterer then stop with those activities. SHOW that you are truly sorry by the WORK and ACTION necessary to change. But don't just say you are saved by faith alone because Christ did it all for you an paid your substitutionary atonement on the Cross, because that doesn't work. Salvation by faith alone is a diseased notion which does more harm that good. If someone has seen fit to life a contemptible life worthy of damnation then they should just accept the damnation that they have earned and not try to talk their way out of it.