The Discovery of the World

 

Last night I dreamt of an intersection of cars in the city, but on the corners were green and flowering trees. The sun was rising in the east and it caught the beauty of these shapes in gleaming angles, defiantly shining its light through the cars saying, “look closer”. God was near in this patch of land, unseen by others, hidden among weeds and small trees. Children and my peers were there, and we knew what we were sent out to find. It was as happy to be found by us as we were to find it.

 

 

 

 

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“If I were God, I would make a world just like this one…”

“If I were God, I would make a world just like this one, where everyone comes raw and naked and dependent into it; where everyone enters bloody between the legs or through the cut belly of a woman; where nothing is for certain and there is so much to learn. I would make the world unfair as this world is unfair, because only in a world like this one is it possible that maybe the rich will take down their fences; maybe the poor will get together and break the fences down; maybe those who know how to read will teach those who don’t. Maybe the fed will feed the hungry. Maybe the lion will lie down by the lamb.”

­–Pat Schneider, If I Were God

 

 

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Psychology Class

I scored an A in my psychology class! And this is what my professor wrote to me:

“You were such a wonderful, deep, insightful presence in the course. You added so much to your fellow students and to me. Your big connections to multiple levels of knowing and experience is needed in science and in Psychology. I hope you find a way to stay connected to it. You have an analytical and very expansive way of looking at the world. Very refreshing for me. All my best!” –Professor Corey

 

 

Photo by Gentle J. Pine on Unsplash

“Swiftly arose and spread around me…”

“Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, and I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, and I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, and that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, and that a kelson of the creation is love, and limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields, and brown ants in the little wells beneath them…”

– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 

 

 

Image source: Pixabay License. Free for commercial use.

What Leads to “Harmful Consequences”? –notes from Psychology class

Found some great reading by David G. Myers today in my psychology class…

[In counseling psychology] another area of potential value conflict is religion. Highly religious people may prefer and benefit from religiously similar therapists (Smith et al., 2007; Wade et al., 2006; Worthington et al., 1996). They may have trouble establishing an emotional bond with a therapist who does not share their values. Albert Ellis, who advocated an aggressive rational-emotive therapy, and Allen Bergin, co-editor of the Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, illustrated how sharply such differences can affect a therapist’s view of a healthy person. Ellis (1980) assumed that “no one and nothing is supreme,” that “self-gratification” should be encouraged, and that “unequivocal love, commitment, service, and…fidelity to any interpersonal commitment, especially marriage, leads to harmful consequences.” Bergin (1980) assumed the opposite—that “because God is supreme, humility and the acceptance of divine authority are virtues,” that “self-control and committed love and self-sacrifice are to be encouraged,” and that “infidelity to any interpersonal commitment, especially marriage, leads to harmful consequences.”

                                                                                     – from Psychology in Everyday Life

That lesson is being applied by Stephen Ilardi and his colleagues (2008) in their training seminars promoting therapeutic lifestyle change. Human brains and bodies were designed for physical activity and social engagement, they note. Our ancestors hunted, gathered, and built in groups, with little evidence of disabling depression. Indeed, those whose way of life entails strenuous physical activity, strong community ties, sunlight exposure, and plenty of sleep (think of foraging bands in Papua New Guinea, or Amish farming communities in North America) rarely experience major depression. “Simply put: Humans were never designed for the sedentary, disengaged, socially isolated, poorly nourished, sleep-deprived pace of twenty-first-century American life.”

                                                                                    – from Exploring Psychology, Eight Edition

 

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Testing for Stress

 

When I took the test, my Holmes and Rahe stress score was about 300 (pretty high). I didn’t take the student version because I didn’t identify with most of their questions about typical student life, because I don’t live a typical student life of an on-campus dorm kid.

What stood out to me about these tests was how frustratingly limited, how dully mainstream and worker-bee predictable the questions offered were about. They assumed a standard of normalcy that is only real for a certain percent of the population. I’m sure a lot of the situations offered to be officially recognized as stressful certainly do cause a lot of stress in real lives (loss of job, divorce, etc). Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder, with some anger, why the following type of questions were missing:

“Have you suffered the loss of a beloved animal lately (check: on-par with losing a human family member)?”

“We recognize that there are a lot of intimate relationships beside the strictly legally married ones: have you lost a beloved mate? This includes, but is not limited to, formal legal divorce.”

“Is one or both of your parents still living but are basically deteriorated into a state of violent, zombified walking dead strangers thanks to mental illness and poverty and now you’re an orphan?”

“Have you experienced a loss of a beloved community, a severing of ties with a cherished identity/tribe/lifestyle which was a foundational support to your wellbeing?” Why, yes, community actually matters as much if not more than biological family even though Americans are the only people in the world too fucking arrogant and solipsistic to even acknowledge that in their formal psychology.

“Have you been deprived of an important right of passage, the rejection from participation in ancient human life events? Are you suffering an inexplicable feeling of a lack of purpose and recognition of what matters in the world around you? In fact, is your whole society falling a part?”

“Are you suffering flashbacks of abuse and neglect?”

“Are you coping with the impending death of a family member, maybe the only one with whom you have a parental bond?” Grieving ahead of time is natural and a healthy way to cope with loss.

“Have your homeland and native ecology been devastated?”

“Have you experienced a decreased amount of time spent exercising or being in contact with nature or your understanding of the Divine? If so, this might kick your ass.”

Yeah, Christmas was a thing to be stressed about, but not separation from non-nuclear family. I’m not persuaded by much of standard psychology.

 

 

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

The Visitation

There has been a visitation here;

what creature’s tracks of forefoot and rear

are present, signed their name into the sand?

What perfect pressure of heel pad or tiny hand

has loped or softly crawled or slithered,

out of skins of other lifetimes withered?

Into places that I cannot go, they go:

the spirits of the world in fur,

my familiars of the Maker– Her

imprint kissed the quiet ground

for hominids like me to know;

perceiving shapes and hearing sound,

a story of the living world below.

 

 

 

Image © Gentle J. Pine. All rights reserved.

Mathematics in “A Wrinkle in Time”

There are several interesting topics about math in Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.“The Tesseract” is about space-time travel, and is often represented as a cube inside a cube that can twist and rotate upon itself. Another way of envisioning it is as a wormhole, perhaps not unlike the one so beautifully and imaginatively seen in the movie Contact. In the book, L’Engle uses illustrations of an ant walking on a piece of string from Point A to Point B. When the hands holding the string bring the ends together, the ant is able to walk immediately across from A to B without traveling the whole length of the string. This is representative of the warping of space itself.

“The black thing” is L’Engle’s personification of moral evil in the universe, also called “IT”. There is a curious overlap with the idea of dark matter. While dark matter is not a moral evil itself, we wonder if it’s mystery and immense power could be manipulated for such should humans ever come to have such control over the cosmos.

The book’s old witches, archangels in disguise, are Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which. They teach the children, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, about the 5th dimension and how it is the best way for incorporeal spirits to travel. This is related to the Tesseract. The children get to feel what it is like to be briefly squashed into a two-dimensional world; this is how they can comprehend what it is like to be a 5th (or more) dimensional creature trying to interact with 3rd dimensional creatures like us.

Works Cited

Weare, Jessica. “A Wrinkle in Time.” A Wrinkle in Time. Brown University Mathematics, 4 Dec. 1998. Web. 14 Sept. 2014.

Weisstein, Eric W. “Tesseract.” Wolfram MathWorld. Wolfram Research, Inc., 1999-2014. Web. 14 Sept. 2014.

 

 

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Journal Entries: A Walk Into Duvall

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I’m sitting outside the library writing on my laptop in the fine summer breeze, and this guy walks by me and says, “Why aren’t you sitting inside on a nice chair where it’s air conditioned?” Me: “I like sitting outside.” Him: “They should put a bench out here.” Me: “I prefer the ground.”

 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Walked 7 miles into town this mornin’! Saw all sorts of lovelies you don’t see in the car: a cute lil Jumping Mouse, a Snake, white Trillium flowers in bloom, Ravens going “squak!”, Cherry Creek all shiney and epic, and a good long look at that giant wooden carving on the way up to the Lake of the bearded guy holding up two big circles on a pile of skulls. Sleeveless in the cool morning air. Ate ribs in town and saw loved people and did stuff. My poor feet started hurting because they hath become so delicate and un-callused this winter and I picked the wrong shoes. Rain began to fall….hard. I chickened out of the walk back and got rescued by a heroic friend in town who drove me back up. It was a good day.

 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Monday morning after seeing my T off to work I went and sat outside the Duvall library, waiting for it to open. I was honored with a visit from an adorable little brown mouse who popped out from around the corner, took a good look at me, scampered across the sidewalk to investigate in tremendous cuteness, then scampered back into her abode with another glance of greeting my way. She was so quiet and delicate, so scouty and beautiful that I loved her right then and there.

 

Guardian Kitty

Proof of how loving and tolerant is my cat, Rose (“Rosie”), whom I have had since I was twelve years old; recently I was having a dream where I had to run down a tunnel toward a bright light, and I had to do it quick. But I wasn’t leaving my kitty behind. She’s comin’ with! ‘Took me a minute to realize I was sitting up in bed, eyes wide open but still asleep, wiggling toward the light of the hallway like a comedy show with my completely relaxed cat flopped over my arm without protest (I would save her, too!), not struggling but metaphorically rolling her eyes because she knew it was a dream before even I did.

Then, a few nights ago I awoke at a dark hour from a sad dream. My Rosie was sleeping right beside me, but the moment I awoke and she heard me cry, she immediately got up and planted herself snuggled right into my shoulder in a ball, nuzzled her nose into my neck, put her paw on my heart and purred me back to sleep. Now that’s what I call a Guardian Angel Kitty.

 

 

Image © Gentle J. Pine. All rights reserved.