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.

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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.

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.)

August 20, 2010

Is Pining for the Supernatural both a Plus AND a Minus?

Posted in atheism, film, songs at 12:59 pm by Jerry

If I think the natural reality is not enough, if I put my greatest hopes into a supernatural reality that could very well be various figments of peoples’ imaginations, where am I getting the thoughts/feelings/energy to do this?

If the natural reality is a fact and supernatural realities are just fiction, is a supernaturalist stealing away some of their own effort from fully embracing/experiencing the factual reality in a way only they can?

Is that what happened to me when I was a christian?

I don’t know. But I do remember, when I acknowledged my lack of belief in God for the first time, it did seem like the natural world just got bigger.

April 9, 2010

Jesus Christ Super-Zombie

Posted in culture, fiction, film, songs at 10:00 am by Jerry

December 27, 2009

My Twinkling Star

Posted in family, fatherhood, film, songs at 3:13 am by Jerry

One of my little girl’s Christmas presents was a toy piano. Not only does she enjoy playing on it, she also decided to surprise her Mom and Dad with an unprompted performance. We wondered if such a performance could be repeated, and with a camera focused on her as well. I’m so glad it worked out…

December 1, 2009

My Doubts Sing Beautiful Songs To Me

Posted in atheism, film, philosophy, poetry, psychology, psychology of religion, science, songs at 3:41 pm by Jerry

Within the religious world I was brought up in it was not entirely rare to hear someone (including myself) say, “I felt called”. This often happens after a whole lot of deep, sincere prayer. And what was meant by this calling, this answer to prayer, was that we were called by “God”.

Some were bold enough to outwardly say it was God who called them, but others would only allude to it. I suspect, for the latter, it was not knowing for sure if it was in fact God calling them. They have been wrong about God’s will for their lives in the past and would hate to make anymore false assumptions, because, as the cliche goes – to assume makes an ass out of.. well, you know the rest.

As for those who keep claiming a direct line of communication from God despite being wrong in the past, well, I suppose they feel faith is always a greater virtue than doubt. Which is odd, when you really think about it. If we were to ask religious people how many times a doubt about their personal understanding of God’s will in scripture or otherwise has led to greater understanding, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were to say, “Oh, yes, there have been countless times when God has corrected my limited understanding of Him.” In other words, either God or you have welcomed DOUBT into your spiritual life to make room for greater understanding.

For the more humble-minded religious person who seeks to save faith-face by not claiming “God” to have called them, a psychological perspective can be taken (putting off claims of a direct communication of God’s will for hindsight-prophecy). These believers are freed to accept the possibility that the “calling” might just be a part of us, deep inside, that knows what we really want or really need – to be closer to the truth. And if we’ve repressed this “calling”, ignored it or simply over-looked it in the past only to later find ourselves giving it a voice, it is in those moments we do hear voices, voices that care deeply for us…¬† voices that are the expressions of our own doubts.

October 29, 2009

Stardust

Posted in atheism, film, mythology, science, songs, soup at 3:56 pm by Jerry

So many stars have died, exploding their dust across the universe, finding homes on planets such as ours. We, are literally the dust of many stars that have mixed into a variety of shapes, evolving from one form into another over millions of years.

One form we hold close to our hearts, among the many passing forms of stardust, is a form we call “life”.

We can be myth-makers, personifying death as a thief, a thief that will soon be met with justice, our lives returned to us once again. Or we can see ourselves as stardust, changing its form from one with life into another without.

Once the game is over, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.

Italian Proverb

April 13, 2009

Favorite Taijiquan Video

Posted in film, martial arts, songs at 3:52 pm by Jerry

I’m not exactly sure what it is in this video that draws me to play it more than any other taiji video. Is it the taiji form/style? Or is it the way this man performs it? I can tell that he’s put a lot of time into his Taiji Gong Fu (hard work). I really enjoy the music too. Maybe, along with the music, there’s something in all of the above that makes this video one of my favorites. Whatever it is, I feel very relaxed while listening and watching the video.

March 24, 2009

Jack Black Must Play Jesus from Now On

Posted in film, politics, religion, scripture, songs at 7:29 pm by Jerry

I stumbled upon this video over at Suddenly Atheist and I’m pretty sure no one plays Jesus better than Jack Black!

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