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

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mind

All of us, by simply being alive, behold a miracle: our minds.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Endurance

 I've been here before.
 I will survive another month under gray skies.
 I'm holding on as a tight as I can. The monotony never seems to end. 
 Every day feels the same.
 Every day I think about the place I'd rather be than here.
 I've been here before.
 I will survive another month under these grey skies. 
 We've carried each other through and over the seas. 
 We live for nights like this. The ones we won't forget.
 I hope to open my eyes to see this picture. I'm throwing it all away.
 I hope to open my eyes to see this moment that I should treasure forever.

August Burns Red, "Spirit Breaker."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Friends

To my friends:

I’ve been thinking about the transition most of us are about to take as I lay the foundations for closing this chapter of my life. Most of us are graduating and the rest of us are still here for one or two more years. I’ve been thinking about how I can psychologically work through what in my mind seems from afar, as it approaches, to be a huge loss.

It also doesn’t make any sense to me that it seems so. I’m typically someone who tends to shrink away from change, hold onto existing relationships, and move “locations” as little as possible. But right now, though it has nothing to do with the quality of the place itself, I’m so ready to leave this college, I can barely contain it. I can’t wait to go make new friends, start a career (ok, for philosophy majors like me, start MORE school), and find out what I’m capable of doing in and for the world as an agent of God’s restoration of humanity. What that implies is that I literally can’t wait to be on my own and away from the people I call home. 

At the same time, I’ve been horrified. I’ve been avoiding thinking about it. I’ve been joining in the excited ‘grad’ hype talk with everyone else who confronts me saying, “So, you ready to graduate?”, but in my heart I’ve been thinking, “But I’m losing so many people who literally are my home. What do I do about that?” I know I’m not losing any of you, first of all, but in another sense I will be. I don’t get to see you every day. I don’t get to be reminded of our memories by the way we quote each other on the internet, or by seeing someone pasted in front of the others with something horrifically embarrassing without any context, or the way we talk about our past adventures (which were most likely bad decisions.) I don’t get to encourage any of you in your struggles in person as we go through life together on campus, nor will I get to receive constant face-to-face encouragement from any of you the way you’ve done so for me in times I’ve needed it. I’m going to feel that lack in my heart for a while. 

But, ‘in another, much truer sense’, I will always have you with me. I was having a conversation with Jodi a few days ago in which we both realized/ or, came to a consciousness of our consciousness that our friends live in our hearts, literally. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt each of you come out in me in the way I think, speak, feel, and respond to situations; for better or for worse. I’ve become who I truly am in my time at TFC and despite this being mostly an intense and tedious struggle between myself, God, and the Truth, each of you has laid a spiritual foundation that has given me footing to step out in faith and grab hold of levels of maturity I thought were insanely impossible for someone as messed up as I was my first few years of college. In light of this, I want to share something with you all. 
You know I like to keep lists and records of all of your antics— for that reason I have quotes (and pics, for that matter) from/of all of you crazy and numerous enough to blackmail you into another country. But I’ve also kept lists of all of your amazing qualities that I have learned the most from, and this I share in a similar manner to the way emperor Marcus Aurelius did in the beginning of his Confessions. One thing I love, and which is true of every single one of you, is that you all fight for something beyond yourselves. You all know that honoring the truth is what you want to do with this short life God’s given us, and you aim your lives towards this end. I’ve learned so much from you and I’m endlessly honored to have significant parts of your hearts living inside me. This list isn’t exhaustive— so if you’re not on here, don’t conclude I haven’t learned anything from you.

in no particular order…:

Jordan: To honor what is actually true by having reasons for my beliefs; to be self-critical; to endure confusion, always trusting that there is some explanation for states of affairs (maybe); that Metal music is the best music; to mean what I say; and to think. 

Gage: To always try to be joyful; to be a faithful friend; to ground my worship in thought, not emotion; that metal music is the best music; to trust God.

Becca: That there is always a solution to problems I face; to find adventure anywhere one goes and to take opportunities; to trust God; to endure trials with patience; to be a faithful friend. 

Jodi: To find pleasure in observing the most commonplace things; to see the Christian life in a mature way; patience; to do all that I do in a manner honoring to God; to be creative and find solutions to problems in my own creativity rather than my wallet; that the Christian life is not founded on emotions; to selflessly commit myself to a person no matter how hard it is. 

Bekah: To become one with Nature; to be crazy every once in a while; to do everything I do with all of my might and mental strength in excellence; to appreciate my family; to use my imagination. 

Kayla: To always mean what I say; to maintain a level of sincerity priorly incomprehensible to my weak and inconsistent mind; to persevere despite overwhelming setbacks. 

Kevin: To commit to a goal and waver from it for no reason; to work through intellectual difficulties one issue at a time; to be a faithful friend. 

Jeremiah: To do all I do with strength of thought and purpose; to have joy and confidence even in the worst of times; generosity; to see problems in life practically and intellectually instead of emotionally and with fear; to trust God. 


Though anyone who knows me knows I don’t budge in my beliefs unless you give me time to think about it on my own, in the past I’ve still had a hard time trusting my own conclusions until I saw other people living out truths I was still weak in following. It has been so wonderful to have a solid group of friends who are so strong in areas in which I was so weak. Together we have grown stronger, and even when we’re gone from one another and phone calls and visits will have to suffice, we know that God helped us grow through our love and support for one another. 

I love all of you guys

Evan

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overcoming Major Struggles in Life

I've been going through some significant struggles over the past 8 months, and I've learned a lot. I have by no means overcome these struggles. But in order to remind myself I've decided to make this list.

It doesn't significantly matter what your struggle is. My struggle is dealing with constantly muddled, unclear, and unavailable thinking and concentration which has implications for my whole life. If you struggle with Bipolar disorder, an abusive spouse, the death of a family member, doubts about God's existence.. anything which really pushes you to your limits, these things are helpful and necessary.


Do This:
Realistic, Positive Thinking
Selflessness
Prayer
Patience
Hope
Persistence through the unpleasant
Acceptance of your situation
Humility
Seeing through your Darkness
Believe you CAN get through this
Solve problems as soon as you can
Remember that everything in life is a gift.

Don't do This:
Self-pity
Giving up
Negative thoughts
Get lazy when you make progress
Get angry at God
Stop believing in God (if you're going to do that.. base it on evidence, not anger and dissatisfaction)
Avoid problems and wait until you can think more clearly and have more motivation
Compare yourself to other people
Use your struggle as an excuse to give in to hopelessness.


Come struggles in life, it is not time to focus on yourself in a selfish way. Success stories come from people who look away from themselves instead of focusing on their suffering. Sometimes it can be tempting to focus on your suffering because, if you do not, people will assume that you're doing fine and place expectations on you which are only appropriate for those who are not struggling with major issues in their lives. But, that one ought to put a smile on his or her face while fasting does not imply we ought to allow others to treat us as if we are not struggling.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Deduction and Counterexample

In our darkest hours, when piety is not worth it, is it worth it?
Will mercy finally open the eyes of those who will keep their hearts to the flame a little longer?
Or perhaps piety may go unrewarded, and this fact be attributed to the unknowability of His plans,
what seems have been a blatant contradiction smoothed over by abstract deduction from his nature...
But is such a thing all that wrong?
For if He is, he is just.
And I know little, but that He is.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saying Goodbye to My Granddad

Rest and live again in peace, Pops. My memories of you are full of happiness and the learning of wisdom.



My Grandfather's (my father's father's) name is George Garrett. He passed away March 9th at 3:40 PM. My most fond memories of him are the loving way he treated his wife, always showing he treasured her, the endearing way he treated his grandchildren, the way he always asked me how I was doing studying my "'isms" while getting a philosophy degree at my college, and the life lessons he would try and teach me every time we got some time alone. He was rarely in a bad mood. I still remember the time we spent with him on his fishing boat, and how proud I was to help him steer the boat when I did. I still remember how every time I saw him he would make sure I knew he loved me. 


I'll be seeing you soon enough, Pops...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Truth, the Bridge to Reality and God's Glory

I cannot decide whether it is frustrating that many men and women, for thousands of years, have dedicated their lives to acquiring true beliefs about realities which are right before me in the room in which I sit, or exhilarating. For many years we have theorized as to the nature and origins of the human body, and yet I sit here as a human body concerning which, were there to be true propositions about human bodies' origins and nature,  such things would have to conform to my body and its properties as I sit frozen in this moment of time. Everything which is true about humans in general is true about me as I sit contemplating this reality.

Made as animals, reality is ever elusive to and hidden by our senses and lack of understanding.

I sit here with the knowledge that realities which thousands of the brightest and most gifted have searched after and either found or not found lie beneath my skin. And yet the best way for me to cross that great divide between my consciousness and the real world is the way of virtue and knowledge.

Made as gods, the divine image within us gives us light more than enough to cross the bridge, and to in doing so gain knowledge of the true world and consequently the Glory of God.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Insight Five


We ought to rightly take into account the huge difference between our experience of other people's
words and actions and what that other person actually meant by these things. When we attempt to
understand what actually enters the head of others and what explains their actions and words, we find a
world of difference between this and our first impression of what they say and do.

Insight Four


We do not act rationally when we denigrate everything human. For in doing so, we condemn the very
human intellect by which we condemn all things human.

08/6/13

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Update

I'm hoping, at some point, to post a much more detailed update on things, but I thought I'd write a small post in the midst of my sleeplessness.

Many things have changed about my life. I am a Christian now, and I am now living every day struggling to learn how to trust the truth again. A few years ago I thought I knew what it meant to pursue truth, and that the Christian life had little to do with it. Now I find that that two are so intimately intertwined that I cannot analyze the definition of Christian practice without a sincere adherence to, love for, and pursuit of all things true. We were made with the reflection of the being whose nature is truth. What's great is that philosophers probably need not heavily qualify such a statement (maybe). It's not one of those silly, meaningless statements we say about God to heighten our emotional state about him (such statements are not rare amongst Christians), it's an actually true proposition, if you define it sensitively enough.

I have also found that I have an anxiety disorder which is largely responsible for the emotional pain and confusion I've gone through earlier in life and even in the past few months. As I've gained an ability to think propositionally and clearly, I've begun to see how much I lacked clear thought over the first 20 years of my life due to anxiety overwhelming clear judgment for so long. It's been the most difficult thing to overcome I've ever experienced. I have sincerely wished to not be alive more than a few times, but that's only in the really bad moments. For the most part, I'm learning and entering into freedoms which I never knew existed.

Learning how to love has been one of the most unpleasant things I've ever experienced. In the words of Kahlil Gibran, "Even as love crowns you, so shall he crucify you." The crucifixion is a real one. It's one that will make you scream in anger, rip your hair out, turn unsuspecting inanimate objects into punching bags, and weep from what seems like the depths of your soul. Love is not fun or easy. It's a commitment to be more than you are. It's demands overflow into every area of life and trap us with logic. But given that human psychology is dual-natured, when we let go of our non-sensical lower desires and honor reality in our choice to love, we let go of the finite, blind, crazed rebellion within us and put on the incorruptible-- that being, truth, or, the image of God, becoming armed with strength and understanding.

I hope to pursue a little more education in I.T. related topics, such as getting an Apple and Microsoft Technology certification. That way I can work in a computer related profession as I attend Graduate school. I hope to eventually move overseas to Europe to bring a bit of God's light (and by that I mean justified true belief adhered to with proper respect) into the academic environment there by teaching Philosophy. But this is a long way off, and I have much preparation to do.

Please keep me in your prayers. Every day I am fighting a battle that seems fit for a man stronger than I, and I often fail miserably. But I am trusting that God is working these things for good, and that he is helping me along the way.