Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Creature with Two Legs on Either Side - A Thanksgiving Perspective

Do you ever wonder......

about the little tufts of grass rising from the deeps of the earth?
about the wind-swept skies that have clouds dancing to and fro?
about fingernails growing and growing?
about little clumps of dust appearing seemingly out of nowhere?
about the minuscule ant able to carry food as heavy as itself?
about words which, at one glance, appear recognizable, but at other times, looks like meaningless symbols?
about life?

Its challenging to think of life as I have never seen it. Imagine if you had seen the world for the first time, that everything is entirely new and not understandable. Wow! How we would marvel at the sight of a leaf! The sun in all its glory. We discussed this during Torrey after reading Chesterton's A Crazy Tale (the title references a section of it). Without revealing too much of the plot, I wonder if it really is crazy?

Perspectives play such an important role in our lives. It is like glasses we throw on every day. But sometimes they are smudged, or filter out the things that we think are so ordinary. In that way, nobody thinks too much that

Today, November 25th, Wednesday
never existed before nor will ever exist again.

So...lets clean off those glasses. Lets look at the world again in a curious manner. Lets see things as if we've never seen them before, and we are looking at things in a new way.

Life as we know it would change dramatically...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thoughts from "Jane Eyre"

Recently, I have been listening to the soundtrack of the musical "Jane Eyre" (which has lovely music, by the way). There is one song that is sung that got me to thinking. Here are the lyrics.

Sympathies exist
Presentiments and signs
That baffle our mortal comprehension
To dream or to see
Or to feel or to hear
What seems not to be there
But such things exist
Things beyond this earth
Things beyond our sacred
Thoughts of heaven
These are the things that reason defies
But reason sometimes lies

So they are. The last two lines have made me think. Can reason lie? I had never thought that it could as it has been, in my opinion, a way to discover truth. So how can reason present truth if it lies?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brains Conquer Beauty?

While reading in the library today, I happened upon a copy of "Sacred History Magazine" that was on the table I was sitting at. As I was flipping through the pages, I came across an advertisement that caugt my attention. The title read, "Brains Conquer Beatuy." Apparently some scientists have discovered a way to make fake diamonds that "look even better than the vast majority of mined diamonds." They go on to state that "only experienced diamond appraisers...are able to make the distinction between a flawless natural diamond and the scientifically perfect" model from the lab.

I have seen real diamonds before. They are a beautiful stone. Held to light they are dazzling and contain colors that can shock even a creative imagination. yet I wonder if the claim of "perfection from the laboratory" is not bordering on some deeper concept. It would seem important to remember that these lab diamonds , however wonderfully cut and clear, are still, at best, good imitations. I am not raising an indictment of the product or ones like it, which seem to be visually pleasing, but the fact that it is still a lab diamond makes it very different from a real diamond. Functionally, in sight and quality, for what it is, the lab diamond may be superb. Yet there is something tragic in the claim to have "cracked the code" of beauty. It reduces something beautiful to a mere function, in this case, a matter of appearance. Value, then, is found in the quality of the imitation. My fiance, Melissa, is very, very beautiful. If cloning does eventually come about, and scientists in a lab somewhere begin advertising that 'brains have conquered beauty; we now have the ability to produce copies of Melissa at a low cost that is just as radiant as the original, but that does not ever get ill or grow tired.' How profoundly hideous!

The good news here, folks, is that it is impossible to do this, because no lab could reproduce the subtlety or mystery or complexity, or any of the numberless qualities that work into what makes the brilliance of Melissa. With the lab replicas of diamonds, scientists have an easier job than this. They do not have to make up for the mystery of the human soul. But they still have the tall, and in my opinion impossible, order of replicating the mystery of what makes a diamond truly beautiful. Can the lab re-create the awe and wonder that the seemingly chaotic pressures and forces in the earth could arrange something that is at the same time so delicate and yet so immensely strong? Can they copy the wonder that God would make room in his plan for something so seemingly gratuitous as this? The lab attempts to give the spledour of reality to an imitation. i ask, however, if it is better to merely experience, even if for a fleeting moment, something real, or to have possession and permanence of merely a dream?