So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
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The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre à la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
If We Are The Body
Tuesday. 6.21.11 10:35 pm
listening to: Casting Crowns: If We Are The Body
watching: streams of photons entering my photoreceptors
Peter, my male chess-playing soul-twin, once said that he viewed the body as the interface through which the soul interacted with the physical world. When he looked at my body, he said, he wasn't actually seeing me, he was merely seeing my interface-- my avatar, if you will. In some ways, my physical appearance served as something a distraction or an obstacle that could cause a person to misinterpret who I really was-- the real me... my soul.
I suppose my views of the body are not so different from my soul-twin's. I have always viewed my body as an instrument, or a suite of instruments, like a telescope or a seismograph or a motorcycle. In orbit around Mercury right now, for instance, there is a NASA satellite made up of a chassis carrying a suite of science instruments. There is a light-detecting device which can determine mineral compositions, a radar beam that can determine altimetry, a neutron detector that can be used to calculate elemental abundances, and many more. My body is like that satellite. It has a chassis (my skeleton), a circuit board (my brain), a motor (my heart), and it carries on board several important scientific instruments. There is an instrument for collecting light in the visible spectrum (my eyes), an instrument for detecting pressure differences and acoustic pressure waves (my ears), an instrument for analyzing aerosols (my nose), an instrument for detecting chemical composition (my tongue) and a large heat and pressure-sensing membrane that fills in all of the empty space between instruments and protects the inner workings from stray particles and radiation damage like a gold foil wrapping (my skin).
Sure enough, the NASA spacecraft cannot smell, and I cannot detect neutrons. Each of us is an incomplete set of instruments. We can learn a lot about Mercury using the suite of instruments on the spacecraft, and I can learn a lot about the physical world around me by using my five senses, but neither of us can claim that the limited amount of information that we process constitutes anything close to the sum total of Reality.
Peter's focus is on getting to know the soul behind the avatar. My focus is on getting to know the physical world that is so incompletely described by my instruments. Each of us is aware of the limitations of our bodies, and that all of reality is viewed through the clouded and imperfect lens of humanity.
So what is the body then, and how should it be treated? Perhaps in Peter's thinking, the body takes something of a subsidiary role to the mind. Perhaps he would advocate achieving a kind of stillness, the kind that mediation experts seek to attain. The mind is constantly bombarded by stimuli from the body... if there were a way to quiet the insistent voices and needs of the body perhaps the soul would be given free rein to fill mind and the meditation subject could capture just a tiny glimpse of The Infinite.
In my thinking, the body should cared for like an important instrument or device. It should be well-oiled, it should be cleaned, its tank should be filled up, routine inspections should be carried out. It should be trimmed and toned and built up so that the user can take full advantage of all of its capabilities, and so that the world can be experienced at maximum capacity. Everyone knows if you are not taking care of your instruments, they will eventually rust or break, and though these days you can easily replace many of your organs, eventually all the peripherals will go and the chassis will break and your device will no longer take you anywhere. The link connecting your eternal soul to your mortal body will be severed, and your soul will return to being part of The Infinite. [Heaven. Nirvana. Take your pick.]
But while I might take care of my computer by defragging it periodically, or installing anti-virus protection, or keeping it away from unsavory situations and websites, do I ever love and appreciate my computer for what it is? Do I ever sit back and say, "I want my computer to feel good--- not because I want it to run faster or I want it to perform better, but just because I appreciate the beauty of my computer and I want it to be happy."
No, I don't.
So should the body be appreciated for merely existing? Should the body be taken care of not merely as a means to an end but as an end in itself?
Is who I am only fully realized through my body, or is my body a set of blinds through which my true self is shining?
1. Is the goal of life to reach out and understand the eternal souls of those around us, despite the limitations of our bodies?
2. Is the goal of life to explore and understand the physical world, despite the limitations of our bodies?
3. Is the goal of life to appreciate the sublime reality of self-awareness, manifested in being incarnate?
I don't know. Right now my body is sick, so I leave you with Marcel Proust's thoughts on the matter:
It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body.
would you also so differentiate between the mind and soul?
» middaymoon on 2011-06-21 11:47:04
This reminds me of my Humanistic Psychology class, in which we were taught that the body and mind/soul were rather inseparable. Though we describe ourselves as "having" bodies, really we "are" bodies. A lost limb is not a mere detached object, but "part of me that is gone," and its absence changes the world for the person in question...
That was just what the professor told us, though.
» randomjunk on 2011-06-22 01:00:46
Your input is appreciated!
"Quandry" is a pretty swell word.
And yeah, I'd probably make the same argument about mind and soul. There's a brace of physicists who are enamored with the idea of the quantum brain, and it seems to me that quantum mechanics is the perfect vehicle for some other-worldly source to have input on our otherwise self-dependent brain chemistry.
» middaymoon on 2011-06-22 05:24:45
Well put. There was this guy who was wearing this really ridiculous hat in Thailand. All of the street dogs thought he was an alien and started to surround him and harass him. However, just by removing the hat he was his old self again. I always think of that when I think of the body and the soul. This body that we wear is so easily confused for who we are.
On the other hand, when you read about the ascetics and the lengths to which they go to achieve that separation, you see another cautionary tale, like when Mother Teresa wanted to have her nuns live on nothing but white rice. It says that you are only able to do the 'work' you were set here to do as long as you 'avatar' is in functioning order and its almost irresponsible to damage it to glimpse the Infinite which is with us and surrounds us whenever we percieve it or not.
At least that's what I think.
I'm sorry that you're sick :(
» jinyu on 2011-06-23 08:14:51
Re: I didn't choose agnosticism. It chose me. Just like any religion chooses a person.
» thaitanic on 2011-06-26 08:33:34
Re: I didnt move here
I'm just here on a temporary basis.. haha, until further developement. It depends, but yea, I'm enjoying myself. :)
I like the way you view the human body, it makes sense, in a way..
» Xboyz on 2011-06-28 11:17:01
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