Friday, May 12, 2017

The First Time

The first time I ever set foot in Europe was yesterday. This is a place I've dreamed about visiting for years.

Jodi and I are celebrating a lot of "firsts" this week:
First time driving in Europe
First time having a successful conversation in German
First time making a purchase in German
First German sunrise
First German sunset
First of time making a fool of ourselves (out of many to come, surely)
First anniversary of being married
... and many more...


Here's some interesting thoughts from our observations so far:

What didn't take us by surprise:
German grocery lines: they go really fast and you don't mess around

So far Germans don't seem too interested in much more than a "hallo", then getting to business. We are going to have to work hard to stop with the goofy American over-socially-eager smile and "how are you doing?" intro to every social interaction. But really I don't think either of us, being introverts, really enjoyed that aspect of American culture in the first place, despite many people seeing us as being very friendly.


What did take us by surprise:

Reading about German culture one might think that if you're not already friends with someone, it's a cold world to live in. But really most Germans seem to be extremely helpful if you ask. They even smile a lot when speaking with you!

As an expansion of the last point, we had also thought one simply didn't greet others unless they had business with them. But in walking the streets of Kamp Lintfort, I've noticed that just about everyone that passes us says "Guten Tag" oder "Morgen!". One time, a guy riding his bike about 200 feet away from me headed another direction looked at me and said "Hallo!".  So, I'm not entirely sure yet what to expect as I know things change city to city. Either way, this has been an amazing experience so far.

I will add more to this later as we spend more time here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ein Ganze Welt zu Wissen

Tomorrow night we leave for Germany for two weeks, setting out to answer a number of questions about the culture, get to know the people, and enjoy the history.

I will be posting updates as we go.

- Evan

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sight

Tired from the exertion of the weary and lonely journey I rested, observing what was around me. The skies had been grey for months as I bore through this path to "the other side", as I like to call it, and, if I had to be honest with myself it had affected my mood. Who am I to let the lighting of my atmosphere around me affect my joy? Simply knowing truth is enough, and I am self sufficient.
But that seems to be the very problem. Did the sky's less than colorful face subdue the fullness and strength of my thoughts, or had my soul's disposition made the dark skies darker itself? I know all too well the way the state of my mind affects my experience of reality. I might be wiser to ask how much effect reality really has on my state of mind.

In the midst of these thoughts I saw a peak of orange-red light through the trees. Like a child who sees his parents after a long absence, I pursued it, leaving my pack and belongings on the side of the trail. As I ran through the trees and neared the top of the foothill on the side of which I travelled, I wondered what drove me with such ferocious passion to the minuscule amounts of light which, to my calculations, must have the beginnings of a sunset. I reached the highest point and, gasping for breath, I looked up and saw for the first time in months a clearing sky. After a few more moments, as strong wind moved away the fog, I saw the green and red valley beneath me, trees gently swaying to the breeze. In the mountains adjacent, billowing clouds, and forests on the perimeters of the mountains touched with the golden glow of the descending sun. I stared and contemplated. I am a subjective being, and yet my mind was shot with the strength of pure understanding. As I gazed with the piercing light of pure contemplation, I saw the world for what it is, stripped of the blinding haze of my lower human nature, even for a brief moment. With the world I one became, even for a brief moment. I saw the day that we all have this knowledge, when we in our souls become solid and are no longer controlled by the shifting shadows of our desires, even for a brief moment. The wind, just as it took the fog and clouds away, replaced them soon after, and as the sun went further down I found myself surrounded in darkness yet again. But the darkness wasn't so dark this time. With words unspoken, God yet had spake. And it was enough to keep me going through the night. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Realization

In all of our lives there comes a point or points at which we are required to grow up into the propositions which we believe and have consistently affirmed for quite a while. When I say required, I don't mean morally required, because at all points being human means to embody and live fully the propositions about the world we believe. But my original use of the word required is usually an immediate practical necessity. In other words, I can no longer hold on to my immature perceptions of life in ignorance of what I know and truly believe, because it affects other people negatively that I do so. And since it is a mandate that I love others, I must change. Or because I have committed myself to consistently be a certain person or do a certain thing, I must call upon my intellect to direct my actions and thoughts, and not my passions. This is a process of realization.

This is usually a time a crisis. That nonsensical comfort of constant focus upon one's passions must be beheaded, ripped out, and it is never a pleasant process.

Lord, you have all knowledge of the intricacies and setbacks of each of our individual psychologies, and you give us grace accordingly. Give us grace and wisdom through these periods of struggle.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Illumination of the Intellect

Our hands and feet may tell us what things feel like.
Our eyes may tell us what things look like.
Our ears may tell us what things sound like.
Our noses may tell us what things smell like.
Our mouths may tell us how things taste.

But only our minds have the capacity of delivering unto us knowledge of what things actually are.

The infinite difference between a non-sensical experience of reality, which I question can even be called an experience of reality, and a sensical experience of reality is the propositional nature of the rational mind.

The rational mind tells us not *how* things are, but *what* they are. It helps us experience not the way things agitate our bodies, but the true nature of things. This is an infinite leap for subjective creatures. To subjectively become objective is the mark of God.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Remain in Me, as I Remain in You"

Truth exists in this way:

We, the subjective become one with that which is infinitely real. God within us, our rational capacities, bridges the infinite gap between the subjective experience and the real.

Reality is in us, and we are in reality.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Staring into Myself

All of human life is an experience of oneself, in one sense. For I only experience what my senses, specific mental faculties (such as memory, language functions, and etc.) my beliefs, and reason tell me about reality. Thus, when I view the world at any point in life, I am in a very real sense staring into myself. My visual experience proceeds from my eyes (and associated brain functions), my sense experience comes from the nerve endings throughout my body, my aural experience proceeds from my ears, my olfactory experience proceeds from my nose, and my taste experience proceeds from my mouth. 

But even further, my memory constructs impressions of what happened in the past, and the world which seems so real and much more than just an experience is constructed in my mind by what I think to be the case about it. When I stare at a leaf, I’m experiencing what my senses tell me about a leaf and also what I suspect to be the case about the leaf. But as you can see, all of this is coming from my own mind. 

When I look at a certain person and feel disgust, anger, or lust, I’m experiencing myself and the psychological phenomena I associate with them. 

Thus, any attempt we make to truly see the world is only a deeper gaze into our own psychology. 



However,

The sense information we create is caused by real things outside of our minds, and generally all of our sense information’s deliverances are consistent with the idea that they deliver to us impressions of an objective world.

The beliefs we have formed about reality, if correspondent to reality the way it really is, produce for us accurate experiences of the true world. 


So though it may be the case that an attempt to look closer at the real world is only a deeper gaze into our own psychology, it is also the case that our psychology has a remarkable capability to delivering unto us an accurate version of the real world. We therefore have an obligation to trust our own psychology and also to give it the greatest care of any other organ in our body, for it delivers unto us the true world. 

3/19/14