that ringing in my ears

Stop! Listen! You can hear it if you think about it— that delicate ringing in your ears just below the surface of your conscious thought. Normally, most of us tune out its persistent ringing (although some of us are unable to silence it). Most of the time it is a background noise; that is all. But it can be a distraction. And in those quiet moments of self-conscious thought, it can be heard below the din of our ruminations.

Our ears tune into all kinds of ambient distractions. For some, music beckons like the Sirens of ancient lore, disrupting us from completely engaging in present conversations. For others, music provides a soothing underscore enabling us to focus more fully on the tasks at hand. For still others any ambient noise, the whirling of a fan, the clicking of a keypad, the laughter of children playing, distracts us from focused engagement. Distractions all!

So why is it, then, that too often we choose to focus on the distraction rather than the present undertaking? Could it be that some tasks put to us are too complex or immense? Then, the distraction becomes so much more appealing, drawing us to its fancy. Or might it be that we simply choose to not think too deeply, too hard, about anything. It’s just too much work. We’d rather tune into anything else, even that ringing in our ears, than give ourselves to proactive, difficult thought.

Dare it be said? The modern mind is no more. It has been supplanted by a simple mind, a lazy mind, for a mind poised for mediocrity. Rather than rising to the occasion we choose to wait to see what happens. Easier to respond; more difficult to initiate. So?!?

If a majority of us continue along this path we will be absorbed by the postmodern mindset of rejecting past wisdom simply because it is from the past. Instead, we will grasp the dribble of postmodern/postChristian philosophies that merely reflect majority sentiment and leaning. Brilliant!

For example, do we really believe that human nature and morality are mere societal constructs for the safe perpetuation of the human species?!? REALLY!?! Then evolutionary theory has degenerated into mere human mechanics. Human decency has descended into no more than what each individual thinks they can get away with. Individual commitments become mere conveniences.

You can believe whatever you want. I choose to learn from the past, live graciously in the present, and risk our futures on faith in a personal God and human integrity rather than on a closed universe and humanistic mechanizations. There may be ringing in my ears, but I still choose to think.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

Simple Questions

Too often in life we believe there is a simple answer for everything. Some believe that the simplest answer is most probably the right one. And, in some cases, that is true. But the more we learn, as created beings, the more we discover that this created realm in which we live is far more wondrous and sophisticated than we ever could have imagined.

Take gravity, for example; before Einstein who would have imagined that is was due to the curvature of space?!? Or, that before Watson & Crick, all life is based on a double helix molecular strand, our Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), that encodes the development of all life? Or, that, before Howard Gardner, there were different forms of intelligence, not measurable by standardized IQ tests? (Visual Kinesthetic, for one.)

In studying human nature the jury is still out. Are we basically good, evil, or a mixture of both? Can our human nature change? Can our basic personality change? None of these are simple questions, nor do they have simple answers.

Nonetheless, we crave simple answers. Why? Because complicated, complex answers are too much work. We’ve become a people whose lives are so complicated and busy that having to deal with anymore complication is just too much! If the questions were simpleother people would already have provided the simple answers. The reality of the matter is— that for every complex, complicated question, there is a complex, complicated answer; which, sometime, can be boiled down to a v-e-r-y simple answer. Sometimes. Not all the time.

The point is that we need to face both the difficult, convoluted questions, as well as the ones that resolve simply. When we initially face them, how can we know which is which? Well, some questions scream complication. With other questions, the answer seems obvious. So do we give up when the simple answer turns out to have more facets than we originally thought? I would hope not. [Please note, though—this comes from a man who does not hesitate to ask for directions. After earning five graduate degrees I have come to understand just how little I know or understand.]

During my doctoral pursuit I was rewarded with this fortune cookie at Panda East—Nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without passion. This seems a good axiom to follow when it comes to questions. Simple question: hard question. What difference does it make?!? It is all about discovering the riddles of life and the universe to make more sense of our own lives. What do we have to lose! Certainly not faith; faith is the energy we run on as we seek those answers we believe are out there, somewhere. Trust God. Dig in. Don’t give up.

Have a nice week,

Gary

the fact of the matter…

Reference— A fact (derived from the Latin factum) is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is, whether it can be proven to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by repeatable experiments… . Fact is sometimes used synonymously with truth, as distinct from opinions, falsehoods, or matters of taste.  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact#Fact_in_history]

Facts are slippery little things. For example, what is a historical fact, an emotional fact, a legal fact? Whole fields of philosophy are devoted to the study of facts- Ontology (what is actually there), and Epistemology (how we know things). For instance, because something can be stated as True, does is make it True? God is a giraffe with butterfly wings, or, there is no God, or, the earth once had two moons, or, Beatrice loves me. Does she, really? How do you know any of these statements are True?

The fact of the matter is that too many of us create facts to fit our beliefs, our way of life, our preferences—  in morality, interpersonal relationships, and in business practice. Too many of us simply believe that facts are predicated on our individual, personal preferences. Can you hear that? Think a minute. This is probably the most implausible fact of all! What happened to real reality?!?

Then there are the issues surrounding religious facts— miracles, the historical writings of religions and their founding, the verifiability and reliability of people like Abraham, Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Lao Tsu, Gandhi. What’s a body to do? How do you determine which religion is “true?”

Which brings us to one final question—  What if…? What if the fact of the matter actually does lie in an otherworldly, spiritual realm that contains Ultimate Truths? How do we blend the supernatural with what we believe about this natural realm? Maybe there is more to “religious facts,” than we want to acknowledge. This clearly calls for further, deeper investigation and discussion. Contact me.

There now…, haven’t I mussed up your mind for the day?!?

Have a nice week,

Gary

compliance

Remember when you were a child and your parents forced you to pick up your room? You did it…, but you were not happy about it. As you grew up you were forced to do homework; you couldn’t just play sports, you had to try out for them (as if you weren’t good enough); you had to take tests that measured your memory of what you had been taught (not, in contrast, of what you had learned), and then more tests that determined your later life-expertise. These tests usually were administered on a Saturday morning. You r-e-a-l-l-y were not happy about that. On the surface you were compliant: but within, you were seething in your own little, private rebellion.

Carrying this duality into adulthood results in a duplicitous character. A courteous Dr Jekyll on the outside— Mr Hyde lurking just below the surface. If not addressed this dichotomy creates a façade that veils your true self. First, others sense something that makes them feel uncomfortable around you. As time continues, you forget your true self and become the façade— you are known as that courteous, gracious person who always places the needs of others above his/her own. But deep down within your being, resentment and anger are festering. But by then you are no longer aware of it. You simply act out of a sense of duty, of commitment to the task, of compliance.

Until one day…, one event…, one person triggers those years of repression and duplicity…, and you explode. Hopefully, not on someone you love, but on someone who loves you AND comprehends what is going on.

Living a tranquil, compliant life, while roiling waters fume and foment within can take its toll on anybody. It will wear down your spirit, exhaust you physically & emotionally, and corrupt your soul. Get help! Find an insightful friend, a wise psychologist, or a minister/priest. This is a serious situation that will not naturally resolve itself. Even bring it before a holy, mighty God and cry out for Help!  Many people before you have come to this point and done just that. Do you think God turned them away?

 

Have a nice week,

Gary