January 31, 2006

Theodicy – introduction

Posted in non-fiction, philosophy, religion, theodicy at 7:51 am by Jerry

So, it looks like a theme is developing throughout a few posts here. I want you to know that my blog posts will not all be about evil (I said they wouldn’t all be about evil, I didn’t say they wouldn’t all be evil).

Maybe this theme has developed because of what I’ve been reading lately. I’m reading Evil in Modern Thoughtan alternative history of philosophy by Susan Neiman (copyright 2002, but I’m reading the 2004 paperback print with a new preface by the author). The book is amazing! I’ve gone through it once and now I’m going through all my underlining and comments throughout the pages.

In Neiman’s introduction, she clarifies her intentions:

“Since I do not think an intrinsic property of evil can be defined, I am, rather, concerned with tracing what evil does to us.” p.9.

I’m not much of an Immanuel Kant follower, but he’s communicated some interesting thoughts on the relationship between virtue and happiness. Neiman explains:

“In Kant’s view we must believe that all our efforts to be virtuous will be completed by a Being who controls the natural world in ways we do not. We have no evidence that such a Being exists. But only such a Being could provide the systematic links between happiness and virtue that reason demands. Reason needs such belief in order to maintain its committments… ..How else can we face a life that increasingly shows us how rarely the world reveals the connections between happiness and virtue that reason demands?” p.66.

“Rather than encouraging morality or holiness with incentives, such processes dilute and debase them. Goodness is genuine only if done for goodness’ sake. Attempts to give extrinsic reasons for virtue do not merely weaken virtue; they destroy its very essence.” p.70.

“..instead of knowledge of the future, God gave us hope. Kant turned this thought into one of his greater arguments: if we knew that God existed, freedom and virtue would disappear. It’s an act of Providence that the nature of Providence will forever remain uncertain… ..Our very skepticism is a providential gift. What binds the real and the rational together must be so fragile that it will seem miraculous–and on occasion the miracle occurs. As with any other miracle, it takes something like faith to perceive it.” p.327.

Stay tuned for “Theodicy – Part l.”

Hades’ Helmet

Posted in martial arts, mythology, psychology at 6:17 am by Jerry

For my beginning growth as a “blogger” I’m temporarily staying off the radar. I need to find my comfort zone in this kind of medium.

Speaking of invisibility, when I was about fifteen my friends and I became obsessed with martial arts. We watched all the movies, took Karate, and ran around town after dusk, pretending we were Ninjas. Aside from the fact that Ninjas were traditionally paid assassins, I loved the graceful agility of their economical movements they portrayed in movies. Sho Kosuji, the hero in many Ninja movies, moved like magic.

And that’s part of the reason why I loved (still do) martials arts. Sometimes martials arts can make the body seem magical! For instance, invisibility. Among all the different martials arts out there and their affiliations with the different nationalities (not as important to martial art schools like it use to be, thanks to Bruce Lee and others), the japanese Ninjas were known for their training in the arts of invisibility.

This training, from the little I’ve read on it, ranges from the use of camouflage, body positioning and movement(s), misdirection or inviting attention to other areas in your environment, etc. When I saw examples in martial art magazines I thought they were ridiculous. But their attempts intrigued me.

Many times, I wanted the power to be invisible in highschool, to sneak up on others, seeing their world without my influence on it (if you’re thinking about girl’s washrooms — that’s downright cliche — valid, but cliche). But when the power of invisibility was put in the hands of others around me for the purpose of making me invisible, I saw my world (inside and out) change in so many ways. (Note: Hades isn’t just known for his helmet.)

How are we to understand a world that chooses not to see you? And if they choose to see your mortal coil without seeing the spirit of who you really are, how should we respond to that? There’s an old saying, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to make people believe he didn’t exist.” I think one of the greatest tricks our devilish societies can pull is to not physically see you — out of mind, outta sight!

No, I’m not insecure about coming out as a “blogger”. I’ve just been reminded these past few days about the power to make others invisible. My Cartesian response to anyone being made seen as invisible — don’t believe others’ misrepresentations of your identity – who you truly are does exist.

January 29, 2006

Apparently, Hell isn’t so hot anymore…

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:19 am by Jerry

“No, I don’t have a blog. I’m what is known as a ‘Blogger’s Spouse’.

“No, I don’t think I will ever “blog”. I don’t know how others do it. I’m more of a responder than an initiator. I only think of something to say write when I read other people.”

“Yeah, when Hell freezes over!”