April 17, 2014

Empathy, and the Long Reach of Reason

Posted in critical thinking, culture, film, history, humanism, justice, literature, philosophy, politics, psychology at 4:17 pm by Jerry


January 21, 2014

Scientists Are “Tackling Mysteries One By One”

Posted in atheism, bible, critical thinking, film, history, mythology, philosophy of religion, science, science fiction at 2:51 pm by Jerry

January 19, 2014

Cold Critical Thinking

Posted in critical thinking, film, songs at 6:33 pm by Jerry

While watching Frozen, the latest Disney movie Emma is obsessed over, I’ve been thinking about the not-so-warm and fuzzy-feelin’ connotations attributed to ‘critical thinking’. I’ve even made a connection between the two. I know, I’m weird that way.¬†(I don’t actually think there was any intention to portray a view of critical thinking in this movie, but I’ve used it as such.) ūüôā

Frozen is about Elsa, a princess with a power inside of her so overwhelming the power is feared more for it’s destructive abilities than for it’s ability to make things of beauty. Which is why she is encouraged to keep the power hidden from others and herself. The fear of her power is so great that Elsa is lead to believe that hiding the power can only be accomplished if she isolates herself from others, even her younger sister Anna, who wants nothing more than the warmth of a loving relationship with her older sister.¬†Eventually, Elsa’s responsibilities to care for others, especially her throw-caution-into-the-wind sister Anna, make it impossible to hide who she is, to hide the power within her.

Elsa’s power is the power of cold. And I see her power as a metaphor for an exceptional power to reason, or better yet, an exceptional and passionate power to think critically. And even though Anna doesn’t have any super powers, I look at her as a representation of the oldest power known to humanity itself, the power of attachments, the power of love (awwww).

A song that really stands out in this movie is Let It Go. It’s a great part of the movie. Finally, Elsa got out of her own prison to find a safe place to completely be herself, discovering her creative potential and exercising her poetic ingenuity. As sad as it is to trade one form of isolation for another (because everyone needs companionship of some sort), this latter form of isolation provided the greatest freedom she’s ever had.

But, eventually (spoiler alert), we learn that Elsa and Anna should have never been separated in the first place. In hindsight, we see that Elsa without Anna is far more susceptible to hurting someone with her power, and Anna without Elsa is far more susceptible to trust unwittingly in people or situations that are unreliable.

Elsa is the reasoning potential within us to think critically, the part of us that hungers for any knowledge that will clarify our understanding of things. But, critical thinking also has the power to take apart well-meaning, thoughtful constructs that we grow attached to.¬†It doesn’t make you feel safe and secure. At least, not in the beginning. Critical thinking can challenge the strength of our relationships, testing us to see if we really know what we love,¬†revealing overlooked knowledge that may change our feelings for what we are deeply attached to.¬†Admittedly, safety is tentative in the critical thinker’s world. But future respites of safety may be stronger, built on higher probabilities, even more secure¬†than what we’ve relied on in the past.

Anna is the part of us open to experiences of love and all the different feelings that come with personal attachments. But, the power of love can overlook any short-comings to the point that there is no resemblance of clear thinking, only the desire to remain attached, remain committed, to trust, to have faith, to be certain of feeling secure and safe whether you are or not. Admittedly, without the power of critical thinking, one’s safety or security can be over-estimated, even delusional, yet¬†unwavering. But, if the power of love would combine itself with the power of critical thinking, hope would be more than just sentimental. Hope would become a realistic driving force in the pursuit of our goals, our dreams.

I apologize if I’ve ruined the movie for anyone who has beared with me on this daydreaming venture. Chances are, I’ve created a false dichotomy here and maybe should’ve left it alone instead of dissecting a children’s movie.¬†On the other hand, I’ve followed one of the many meanderings in my mind and decided that my blog is a safe place to just let it go.

July 28, 2013

Love It!

Posted in bible, film, philosophical theology at 4:33 am by Jerry

Poor apologists. They’ve gone from ancient stories of divine demonstrations (or human illusionists) to claiming a remarkably specific yet abstract cause for the unknown beginnings of the universe. ūüėÄ

June 26, 2013

Purity Parody

Posted in bible, culture, film, songs at 2:05 am by Jerry

I expect, this video will offend a lot of Christians. And more so within the church’s older population (who might as well give up trying to keep it from their internet-informed teens!). Apparently, the¬†Saddlebacking¬†phenomenon is real. And¬†maybe, just maybe, purity parodies such as this one is what it will take to give Christian teens the courage to break through all the reality-hushing that surrounds sex-education dialogue.

March 31, 2012

Expressing Oneself Honestly

Posted in culture, film, martial arts at 2:38 am by Jerry

“To express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself… now that, my friend, is very hard to do.” – Bruce Lee.

The cultures we grow up in may have different ideas about who we should be, what we should do – what it means for us to be a successful human being.

Fighting your culture’s image of a successful you may demand the ultimate martial art skills within one’s heart, mind, and will. Training your body to be skilled in fighting can be a reflection of this internal fight for authenticity.

And if you can’t help but fail at being something you’re not, there really is no other option. Your only real choice… is to fight for an honest expression of your whole being.

May 11, 2011

Flying Zombie Feast

Posted in fiction, film, scripture at 3:59 pm by Jerry

Have your cameras ready because the May 21st Flying Zombie Feast is getting closer!

Yes, I said, “Flying Zombie Feast“. Because, as exciting as it will be to “meet the Lord in the air”, little is being said about who else will be there with the Lord…

1 Thess.4:16-17: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and THE DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE FIRST. Then we who are alive and remain will be CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Yes, always. An eternal kingdom of the undead. Have fun with that.

March 15, 2011

Baguazhang in the Movies

Posted in art, film, martial arts at 1:01 am by Jerry

Though it’s hard for me to recognize any outward appearances* of the kind of internal training I would expect in an experienced Baguazhang practitioner, I still enjoy the artistic style of the Baguazhang portrayed by the actors/martial artists (with black shirts) in these two movies.

*A strong upright structure rooted in every step with the parts of the body moving as one unit in a circular fashion. For example..

December 12, 2010

This Secular Humanist Welcomes Christmas

Posted in art, culture, family, fiction, film, friends, holidays, poetry, secular humansim at 8:02 am by Jerry

Christmas can mean so many different things to so many different people.
But I think what might be the greatest meaning we can all share,
If we care to think that sharing Christmas is fair,
Was said best by Dr.Seuss in his popular book,
Listen, or take a look:

Christmas day is in our grasp,
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas day will always be,
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome Christmas, while we stand,
Heart to heart, and hand in hand.

November 2, 2010

I Think I’ve Already “Found” My Life

Posted in atheism, family, fatherhood, film, friends, marriage, scripture, songs, theology at 8:57 am by Jerry

Every now and then I end up mentioning the valuable point that its reasonable to require evidence for the existence of a “God” before praying to this God, much less believing this God exists. And still, this point is so easily brushed away in my encounters, as if it has nothing to offer. Instead, I get hypothetical scenarios like, “But what if God did make his existence a matter of fact for us all? What then? How would you respond to his existence?”

Well, there’s so many questions I could come up with, questions I’d like to ask God. In fact, there’s so many that my list of questions would probably outlast my lifespan. But, if God were to turn to me and others, saying the same kinds of things written in the Christian bible, like:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 10:34-39 NASB

…And if God were to turn to me and others, saying, ‘It’s not your questions that will eventually decide your destiny, its your loyalty. So, are you with me or against me?’ …how would I respond?

Well, it’s hard to say I know exactly how I would respond in the future. However, I can’t help but think there would be a strong possibility that I would love others more than I would love God. And even if God managed to be my greatest love (which sounds so strange from a materialist’s point of view), if any of those whom I love just a little less than God choose not to be loyal to God, and therefore eventually are separated from this Kingdom of God that I’d be living in, how could I be satisfied with such a separation? How could I be content while being separated from those who I still have so much love for? (And God better not suggest to wipe away all my memories of them. THAT would piss me off!)

So, if this God does exist, and eventually reveals himself to all, there’s a strong possibility that I wouldn’t forsake my life for a life with him. Because, the more I think about it, the more I think that I have indeed “found” my life. My life is with those closest to me, those whom I love the most. And, based on 30 years experience of loving “God”, I think the earthly love I’m able to experience is far greater than any kind of love I could have for God. So, instead of an eternity of mediocre love with a supreme spirit while being separated from the love of others I care about, I’ll take the greatest kind of love I’ve ever experienced within a mere human lifespan. And with these loved ones, like the song goes… “Forever is our today”.

*This video is about warrior (sword wielding) immortals outliving those they love, those closest to them. (It’d be great if this video above manages to stay available. The song suits the post and I’ve been enjoying my second time through the Highlander TV series, too.)

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