Sunday, October 31, 2004

There is no higher god than truth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

So, tonight at Snow Patrol

I made an absolute fool of myself. What makes it all the worse, I did it in exactly the way that I told John that I would on the way. I said to him, "Serendipity has always had a way of giving me exactly what I want, but not taking care of any of the deatils. Like the universe sets up in front of me the things that I want the most and commands me to choose."
Today was really the best of possible days. The last few, really, have been beautiful days. I woke up in a good mood, after a day of some accomplishment and learning, and I prepared myself for class and went to the work I love more than 2 hours early.
I got to school today in a good mood, after talking to both my roomates for a while. Things were in the works for all of us today, and I could see immediatly that today would be a good day all around. Few are the blessed days, and we should always learn to count them.
Campus was beautiful in the Fall air. People were congregated in all the corners of the outisde walls, and the smokers lounge was filled with all the souls that I had been hoping to meet in the past few weeks. Everything seemed awake and alive, and after all, I was going to Snow Patrol later today.
My class was a little light today, but it taught me a great truth. Never tell students, in a class you don't take roll in, that you are going to cancel a lab. Nobody will show up. But it really tells you something special about all the ones who do. I decided to give them a few extra points on the last test for showing up, since some of them needed it and the only other few that were there were all but garunteed an A anyway.
Since the class was so small I got a chance to talk to them a little bit more one on one. They asked me about my research, and I actually had a moment or two to talk to them about my ideas and the theory of relativity. They heard a bit about my personal life and what I hoped to do here in Austin. They also heard, I thought flippantly, that I was looking for another job, something I could do that would work around my teaching schedule, but would give me something to do in the long hours of the day.
Then the class went really well. I moved fast today, but today was a day for introducing new ideas and talking about how they connected with each other. I think most people kept up, but the math was easy for them by now......they've seen the exact same thing so many times before by now.
After class I was approached by one of my best students. She is an older lady who comes in a few minutes late everyday. It never really bothers me when she comes in late, because you can always tell that she pays absolute attention to everything that you are saying. I can tell from her concern that the reasons for her tardiness are simply beyond her control since she never dismisses me or is even distracted in her attention. I digress.
Did you know that Albert Einstein's first job was that of a patent clerk? He was working as a patent clerk when he completed his theory of relativity and all the other profound ideas that came about in that miraculous final year of his old career. I've always had a special affinity for Einstein.
And today one of my best students comes to me after class and asks if I would be interested in writing patents. Her husband does it, has been doing it for years, and she wanted to know if it was ok for her to give my contact information over to him. She thought that perhaps the work would suit me well, and that it would be exactly the kind of work that I might hope to do in addition to my teaching.
I had never thought of it, but she is exactly right. I don't think of a lot of things these days, for all my real attempts at trying to.
I was so excited to go to the concert tonight. John came and picked me up at school, but I made him come out of his car and over to the smoking section of the student loung so that I could keep talking to this girl who was a physics major at the school and I had met at Spider House. She was telling me about how hard it was to get into UT, and I told her something then that I myself wouldn't understand until later in the day.
Have you ever had one of those days when life just simply insisted that you learn something?
I told her that there is no reason that she should not be selected to UT since she lives here in Austin. Who are the people in the physics department there, except for people who shared her interest in physics and the profundity of nature, and more important, they are just down the street from where she goes to class every day. It seemed to me, as I told her, that if she wanted to be a part of UT, then she should go and talk to the professors there and to participate in the academic life on that campus. How better for her to become a part of UT than to be a part of UT.
After I spoke to her John and I went off to the Snow Patrol concert, and wow, I'm really at a breaking point. I knew that it was true, but tonight it became so obvious that I'm just falling apart.
So heres what happened.
We were waiting in line and this lady behind us started talking to us about the band and other bands here in Austin. She was telling us that she wasn't sure if she would be able to make it to the show since she had to work. What is her work?, you ask. Well, she owns her own jewelry production company and she has this huge order that was coming in and she had production meetings and other such to-do's. Anyway, she was absolutely interesting.
The gates opened and we went inside. The concert was magnificent and the VIP show was even better. They played all the songs that I wanted to hear in the soundcheck party, and then again in the actual concert.
While I was there I ran into a guy that I met in Commerce. Serendipity man, she's persistant. Yet, for all serendipity could do in bringing me an old friend from Commerce and repeatedly throwing this utterly intersting new soul at me (I ran into her 3 more times throughout the night, and everytime was just as intriguing and fateful as the last) I was focussed always on myself and the mundane little contrapions I make out of my life.
John and I had a few drinks over at Oil Cans while we waited for the show to start. I told him that my lecture for the Dyonisium had been accepted and that very soon I would be delivering a lecture entitled, "Sibyls, Symbols, and the Nature of Time". We spoke well for a while and had a few drinks as friends before the concert.
At the concert I simply fell apart. My machinations and trite little perspective took almost complete control, and over something as small as a drink I was willing to cast it all away and shred poor innocent John to ribbons for the sake of my rotting soul.
And that is exactly what it is, you know. I spent the last few minutes talking to Isaac, explaining how I feel so lost, like I'm always the constant other. I was telling him that I feel always like Im the foe, and that my soul is here rotting in my room.
I regret what I did to John tonight, and I hope soon to be able to make it up to him. He is kind and faithful and deserves much better from me than what I so often choose to give him. There was one part of my great accusation to him, one part of my final shattering, though, that sums it up. Something that I needed someone to hear, but not just to hear, but hear in the right way. I think that there was a portion of my soul which needed someone to share my utter desperation, but there I can only conjecture.
I told John that I feel like everyone takes and is all demanding, and that I give always to the point of my own destruction every act and every thought that is most important. I admitted my desperation, and my desperate need to be able to call something, even just a small thing, mine.
I regret that John had to serve as the tool for my desperation, but I believe that he is willing to suffer a bit for my growth. It's one of his most remarkable virtues. As such I believe that he will forgive me my trespasses if I will take the opportunity and the lessons, and actually grow from them.
Today was a wonderful day, one that has shook the very foundations of my life. Not so much like an earthquake, but like the ground has finally begun to settle.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Cumaean Sibyl

There were ten Sibyls in the ancient beliefs of the Greeks. By far the most famous of them was the Sibyl who spoke at the Oracle of Delphi, whose generational descendents spoke with her voice as they advised Alexander of Macedonia and the elders of Athens. "Know Thyself" were the words chosen to inscribe the entrance to her cave, and it is supposed by the Greeks that she, and all nine of the others were possessed of the spirit of prophecy.
Second in fame to the oracle at Delphi is the Cumaean sibyl, who, it is claimed, had in her possession nine books of prophecy. Books of prophecy, especially of secret prophecy, are of an extreme value indeed, and are coveted by both the great and the small. As such, the Roman Emperor Targuin came to want the books, and asked the Cumaean prophetess what was their price.
The priestess stated what it would cost for the king to know the future. The price to know which were the battles to be fought, and what were the nations which would come to rule the world.
Or were they?
There are but nine volumes, the kind must have thought. Would any of the prophecies concern him at all? Would any of them contribute anything to his ends? Such is the nature of the future though, if he had known what was in the books then he wouldn't have to acquire them, right?
The king said no to the witch, her price was too high.
The prohpetess, a servant in the ecstasy of Apollo, took up a third of the books and cast them into the fire next to her. And as the knowledge warmed her in the fire, but chilled the king, she doubled her price.
Now the future has this way of burning. Pages of it smolder like so many gifts of prophecy. Best guesses really, in the end I suppose, and most of them ignite when they come within just moments of reality. Smolder up and drift away with the wind. The Fates could claim dominion, some say, even over gods; they will rarely let their ways be known to mere mortals. But some have claimed to see the future, some the fates have seemed to trust. Some, like the sibyls have seen past the veil, and one of them wrote it down.
Still, the king must have sat there trembling as he watched the future burn. How mortal he must have felt, how reminded of his own limitation. His fear got in his way though, the same fear that brought him there. He came there to pay for certainty, but without seeing first what the books said he could not be certain of their value. He wavered again and I'm sure pointed out to the old seer that he was a king.
I wonder if the seer knew that it was coming. I wonder if it was in the first third of volumes or the second one that the sage would cast a second third of the books into the flames. She did not hesitate, she did not wonder or question her course. She burned three more of the books and again she doubled her price.
The prophetess here demonstrates exactly what the king does not, certainty. She is, after all, a prophetess. It is for her to know the truth of what will come. Is it through her wisdom that she gains her sight or her sight that garuntees her wisdom? The soul is in that question, if you learn how to ask it.
The king must have been agast. What he came here to possess was now all but gone. Six of the nine volumes of prophecy were gone, and the price had now quadrupled. He must have felt regret then, to know that if he had agreed at the beginning and shown his faith, the problem he now faced would be averted.
It must have been humiliating for the king, to be so rebuked by the wisdom of the Sibyl. She knew what he could not, even though what she knew was the same as the king. She knew why the king had come, of course, it's obvious. The king also knew why he had come, and he knew it must have been obvious to the seer.
What was not obvious to the king was that the seer knew also the depth of doubt that drove the king to her. She knew, I am sure, that not knowing had caused the king to cross the lands and find her, but she also knew that the certainty of not knowing would drive the king to her will.
After watching the second set of books burn, the king consented and paid her the new price.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Of sages and shards

It has been on my mind lately how much the truth is a thing which is scattered about us, like so many pieces of glass. Long and arduous journeys are taken by greater and lesser men, finding barefoot paths amongst the rocks and the shards. Their feet made bloody from all the seeking, cut most often by the tiny shards of what their journey will not let them see.
The image of the sage upon the mountain strikes me. Why is he there? For years I always supposed that there was something holy about the place, something that the sage discovered while he first climbed that sheer granite face. I think that perhaps he too was once seeking, and that someone told him, "Go there. Go to the top of that mountain, for it is where the gods dwell. Go there and they will tell you all that you will ever need to know." And so he went, climbing the face of the mountain and keeping in his heart as he climbed that the journey would finally come to an end.
I wonder what it was that he first saw as be broke over the top of the cliffs. Was it a white bird sailing across a blue sky and setting sun? Was it the feel of the snow on a springtime peak? Perhaps it was just so many stones cast upon the top of a shear granite face. Whatever it was, though, it kept him; for when he reached the top of the mountain for the very first time he never left it again.
I do not claim to know what the sage would have learned that day, or any of the mysteries that he has discovered in his years of sitting there, gathering up the shards of truth like the sharp little diamonds that they so truely are. I cannot claim to know the sages thoughts, but I think that I can claim to know what kept him there.
The sage learned a thing that caused him to stop his questing and let life go on without him. Though truth is scattered over all the world in its tiny pieces, he no longer journeys to gather them. What I think that he learned on the crest of that great hill was that the whole of truth is everywhere, and not at all in the questing. He learned then that the shards are everywhere, and that each piece is worth the whole.

Last Poems XII

By: AE Housman

The laws of God, the laws of man,
He may keep that will and can;
Not I: let God and man decree
Laws for themselves and not for me;
And if my ways are not as theirs
Let them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds I judge and much condemn,
Yet when did I make laws for them?
Please yourselves, say I, and they
Need only look the other way.
But no, they will not; they must still
Wrest their neighbour to their will,
And make me dance as they desire
With jail and gallows and hell-fire.
And how am I to face the odds
Of man's bedevilment and God's?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.
They will be master, right or wrong;
Though both are foolish, both are strong.
And since, my soul, we cannot fly
To Saturn nor to Mercury,
Keep we must, if keep we can,
These foreign laws of God and man.

From Long Ago, but still

Our love is forbidden, and can never be
for God lives in fear it transcends even He.
So our lives are drawn, vast undening lines
never to cross or together entwine,
for the knots made of our love, no devil untie
by the shearest of force or the subtlest lie.

Our love is forbidden and can't be unfurled
for if faith moves but mountains, then we would move worlds.
So our destinies woven, pure perfect strings
tuned so close together, but with no chords to sing
for the notes made of our love would go ever untamed
or matched quite in unison by angelic refrains.

Our love is forbidden, and can never be
for it's glory's so blinding not even angels could see.
So we'll run together, yet we'll never know
the perfection of our unified soul,
for all of creation lives deep in the fear
that in the presence of our love, even Heaven would sear.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I have never heard the weaping of a rose,
as winter comes with threat of certain death,
for a vine amongst withering pedals knows
that spring suns and winds bring life her breath.
Nor does a spark from flames leaping ever see
the moist night air which shall show no concern to it.
Instead it screams to the world, "Im free, Im free."
and seeks falls fallen pedals to kindle it lit.
As the sun shines full on the moon, its mirror,
and the fortnight carries it out of its place
does envious man seeĀ himself any clearer
or only a darkness in that mirrors face?
For the vine and spark know what man has not found,
that the truth is a thing strewn there on the ground.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Some Random Thoughts

It should be forbidden to name a law or for the government and its official representatives to refer to one couched in terms beyond the scope and written wording of the law. The people should not be deceived by so many tugs upon unwary hearts and minds.
Instead, I think that the congress (or whatever legislation) should adopt not only the specific wording of the law, but also a standard interpretation by which the common citizen can understand what is being demanded of them.
When making meade you should save the pasteurized honey and soak some pork chops in it. Afterwards, fry each chop for just a moment and then pour the honey in the frying pan with three heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic and half of an onion, chopped fine to preference. Let simmer for as long as you can stand to wait, but keep a close eye on the honey as it will likely form a foam which needs to be removed.

Friday, October 01, 2004

In Regards to the Utopian Paradigm

There can only ever be one true test of a Utopian society, and that is in the safety and social development of its children. If the absolutely unthinkable in Utopia were to happen, and an infant be separated from it's parents then the parents would be compelled not to worry or think the child lost. Instead they would know that the child would be taken up by the very next person who passed it by, and that person would take the child in and give it true love and teaching as it grew.
It seems to me that most people think that in a Utopia our bureaucracies will work perfectly, when the truth is obviously that in a Utopia culture would work perfectly without them.