Art

January 14, 2008

The influence of art on the lives of human beings is an undeniable truth.   It provides a unique perception of the world.  Looking at a painting, listening to music and reading a poem are just a few of the ways to welcome a raw perception of our existence.  In art, there are no limitations.  Art reflects the truth that the artist sees in his experiences.  It reflects, in greater detail, the aspects of his life that remain untold in the deepest conversation.

Art is the best way for him to share the complete version of himself.  He is burdened in life by the rules of his society.  The social limits and political instructions.  The barriers put on by the sanity of his friends, family and acquaintances are all a part of his retreat.  By writing, he says it all, with metaphors, allegory or blunt description.  His art is raw representation of who he was born to be and who he would be without the silent rules.

Her art is the means for the realization of herself.  She is more complete and self-realized than all of her companions.  She puts away the rules, the responsibility, and the “real” world and tells the truth as she sees it.  She paints, writes and composes without limits and no one can tell her to stop.  Even the censors are conned when she disguises her truth with symbols and code.  The artists, as she well knows, are the only ones who spend their life saying it all. The truth is… they do not need to say it all to anyone else but themselves.  They must only know for themselves what they feel and believe. They have nothing to prove.   Artists know and artists do.

Both of them are free within their art.  They yell, hit, steal, hug, laugh and experience in their art.  They have a place a place to put all the emotion left unexpressed in the outside would.  There is no need for them to commit crimes, to hurt other people or to lose their temper because they do all of it in their distant world.  They do what the rest do outside, but in their paint, their piano and their notepad.  Yet they sometimes agree to share their creation.  He and she, she and he, are entirely content with letting their art stay in their rooms, but once in awhile (maybe by suggestion) they are led by something to share their art with the critics.  Everybody’s a critic. 

They share not only for the beauty, the human pride and the need to be understood.  They share it to teach a lesson, though they do not consciously embed a lesson into their creation because if they create with the purpose of teaching, their art turns into an all too explicit demand, which turns off any human observer.   But when they allow themselves to create for the sake of creating and to communicate only what lie in their hearts, truth is accomplished and those who see their art and who open themselves up to the possibility of anything at all, get the message (whichever one they find).

He paints to give you a new perception of the world.  She writes to show you the other side of the story.  They play so that you know what lies beneath the hard surface. 

So what of the human story is told by these artists?  The human experience is limited by our desire to free it.  Polite conversation, manners and “a time and a place”, are well intentioned creations of human beings that in turn create a respectful world of men behind the curtains that we in fact pay no attention to.  The issues that we have with our nations, our neighborhoods and each other are brushed under the table for the sake of respect, yet the unresolved emotions of each person in our world become something different.  They develop into revolutions, wars, art and a host of other things.  And unfortunately for most, they develop in nothing at all, except dreams long past and ideas long forgotten.  If anyone at all is wise, they will chose art or at least a path that leaves nothing unsaid.

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Winning

January 3, 2008

There are a lot of super competitive people in the world.  People who want, at all costs, to win.  To win sports, board games, video games and any other winnable quests.  But is it really about winning?

A lot of athletes talk about having something to prove.  They and their teams are either underdogs who have to prove that they are better than the critics say they are, or they are the best in their sport and have to prove that they deserve to be at the top.  Either way they win to prove something.  Why do they have to prove something?

I assume it’s the same reason that people in a political argument have to win, the same reason people have to be the top in their academic class and the same reason people want one million hits a day on their blog post.  I can’t say for sure what the reason is, but I think it needs to be tackled.  What are people trying to prove?  What do you have to prove?

I often wonder about the athletes I love, the people I argue against and even myself.  What are we defending?  Why do we need pride?  Our pride helps us win, but in the end it stops us from progress.  Our greatest strength is our greatest weakness.  It always works that way.

In reality, being the best is trivial.  It doesn’t matter.  Wanting to be the best is only a manifestation of human insecurity.  We cannot be satisfied with ourselves and our individual progress, therefore we must find an outside source to rectify this.   We build up one aspect of our being to win and neglect the rest and maybe the most important parts of our humanity.  Never in any generation of written history has there been an extraordinary push for individual betterment.  Sure the few poets and philosophers who words taken in stride may have suggested it, but there was hardly a revolution.  The concentration of humanity has consistently remained rooted in the greatest surface profit of the time.

Money, beauty, sport, argument…nothing internal.

How great would a society be if all of it’s citizens had complete confidence in their individual abilities?  What would be the consequences of that?  I bet is would be much better than what humans have created in the past.


For All of You

December 23, 2007

This isn’t my video, but I don’t think he would mind.  Happy Holidays.


There is no truth, no fact either

December 19, 2007

None whatsoever.  There is no absolute truth. There is no fact.  Fact is “the quality of being actual : actuality <a question of fact hinges on evidence>.”   Show me evidence that may not be disproved sometime in the future.  Even science could be completely wrong.  Truth is an illusion that we keep in order to make ourselves feel safe in certain things.  But here’s my question, why can’t we feel safe without having fact?  Why do we need affirmation of our existence and of our beliefs with “fact”?

Last quarter, I took an Organic Chemistry class complete with lab.  As I carried out various experiments, I always knew what the expected result would be based on lecture notes, common sense and lab preparation.  But as I went to lab week after week and as I listened to my Professor explain the workings of the world around us through reactions and mechanisms, I couldn’t help wondering if it was all coincidence.  And I’m sure that if I ask any chemist in the world, they couldn’t disprove that theory. 

We know nothing.  Not even what we see.  The labels that we have given everything that we can experience through our five discovered senses is only labeled within our own perception.  Everything is based on faith.  Faith that science isn’t just an astounding combination of coincidences as random and rare as planet Earth is in the universe. 

 So how can people claim to know the truth.  How can any of us claim Jesus saves, God is not here, we are made of molecules and he is bad man when we know nothing as fact?  We don’t need it to live, we don’t need it to survive.  We get so caught up in trying to prove and trying to find the facts that we miss the life.  We miss the experience.  We lose trust in ourselves and look for the “truth” in “fact” that doesn’t exist. 

Everything that we call fact or truth is based on imperfect human perception.  How do we know the red isn’t actually blue, or that pants aren’t actually shirts or that ugly is not actually beautiful?  It sounds abstract, ridiculous even, but ask yourself these questions.  Who says these things are fact.  Who says that I have written and not said?  The creator of the word “red” could have easily said blue instead.  It isn’t fact, it is perception and we have faith that that perception is right.  What do you know for sure that may not be disproven in death?  What Christian has died and knows that he will go somewhere else and not just dead?  What atheist knows that she will not die and see God? 

What does it matter if our perception is right?  It only matters that at the end of our lives we have experienced.  It only matters that we have fought the great fights.  Coming out of it with defeat of victory is trivial, as long as we have lived, what does it matter (absent of our reputation, of other people, of our families and our perception) what is fact and truth? Why do we concern ourselves with what we cannot know?  Of course we want to find out what is real and what is not, but why not create ourselves so that we do not need it?  Why not form ourselves so that we do not desire “fact” to affirm our existence and our faith? 

Think about a life that is absent of the desire for truth and fact.  A carefree existence with the complete ability to live without distraction.  To experience, love and connect only as experience.  Imagine life just as life.  Imagine loving your friends and family without wondering about anything else.  To take life as it is and respect as it is.  Yes, the fun of philosophizing and theorizing would be absent, but only at those moments, without the human need to question, would we know truth.  When we wouldn’t care.  When truth wouldn’t matter.  When we are satisfied with our destination.  We when realize that certain things have no answers, that life is out of our control, the we are in control of only ourselves and that we will die inevitably, but not in vain.  That’s when we know truth.  When living is only about living and we accept what others say at face value.  When we can look each other in the eye and say “This is you.  This is me.  This is us at face value.”    This is when fact/truth is obtained.  When we know truth is nothing.


A College Kid’s View On Why Church is getting Less Popular

December 18, 2007

It seems that a lot of adult ministers are facing a dilemma in the world.  Christianity and church are running becoming increasingly unpopular in my generation.  I can attest to being one of the many who doesn’t go to church very often.  I believe God, however, but the God I see being represented in the media is not the God me and my peers believe in.  In addition, the cult like atmosphere of church makes us uncomfortable.  We are a generation of freedom, not restriction. 

Generally, we are Generation Proof or Generation Why, because we demand proof for all of the hard, skeptical questions we have.  Rarely has any church been able to answer our questions.  The reason for this is that our questions are interpreted as judgemental and we seem to have already judged the answer.  But the truth is, we have the gene to question authority.  We want all sides of the story.  We want to hear about your doubts in religion, we want to hear that you don’t know all these answers and we want you to answer our questions.  Preaching only that “Jesus saves” to people who aren’t like the kids in “Jesus Camp” produces horrible results on the whole.

I doubt my generation will be a very strong “church going” generation aside from the evangelical children being taught as in “Jesus Camp.”  We will be a generation of faith though, just not restricted in a church.  If you practice youth ministry, my advice would be to ask genuinely without expectations what they want out of religion and how they see God in their lives.

In addition, atheism is growing among my generations for the same reasons above going to church for believes has diminished.  I can guarantee, especially being on a college campus, that there is astounding number of believers in God who just don’t want part in any church.  In essence, church isn’t appealing.  Ask people my age why.

One last comment, my generation has a lot invested in the idea that personal responsibility in necessary.  We face a lot of expectations from parents, school and society, so church is just another place for expectations we don’t want to deal with.  The new ministry that a lot of seek is one the “preaches” personal ability and trusting in yourself.  After all (Imago Dei), if everyone has a piece of God, truly taking the time to make decisions based on what you heart tells you will lead to the will of God, right?


Talkin’ Bout My Generation

December 17, 2007

Andrew: My God, are we gonna be like our parents?
Claire: Not me…ever.
Allison: It’s unavoidable, it just happens.
Claire: What happens?
Allison: When you grow up, your heart dies.  

This is dialogue from The Breakfast Club.  I used to like this movie because I thought it was fun and entertaining.  Not until recently did it actually mean something to me.  It summarized the themes of conversations around my university dinner table.  That’s right, the college kid is in town. 

I am in the 15-25 year range.  Our 3rd leading cause of death is suicide.  There is 1 suicide for every 100-200 attempts.  In 2005, 16.9% of high school students had considered suicide in the 12 months prior to the survey.  Our problem?   It hurts too much to go on.  The problems never seem to end and nobody seems to really listen or ask the right questions.  It’s less about dying and more about escape.

If we make it through: 79% of us (13-25) wants to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society.  More than ever, college graduates are taking a gap year to work for non-profit organizations.  Our motivation?  To not be what we watch, what we play and what we listen to.  And in the end, it’s about making sure that the problems we see are eliminated.  We are only as strong as our weakest member.

I used relish in the idea of being an adult.  I would have complete control of my life.  Then I realized that being young is the most freedom I will ever have… if I become the adult America wants me to be.  Allison (the “freak”) says that our hearts die when we become adults.  My generation does not want to be adults because we are afraid.  We do not want our hearts to die. We do not want our passion to diminish.  It seems a little ironic that we don’t want our hearts to die, yet so many of us attempt or at least think about suicide.  It happens because we are passionate and every detail in our lives is blown up.  Our hearts are very alive and we take everything magnifyed compared to adults.  So we escape through getaways and some can’t find one, so they decide to leave.  At the root of it all, the adventure in life that we seek is too appealing to let go for the tainted adulthood that awaits us.  Whoever said it gets better when you get older was lying.  It only gets better when you make it happen, at any age.  That’s the part left out of the education system.  As a young adult, though, sometimes we only have tunnel vision.  We know we’ll need to grow up, but the pressure can be too much.  It may be pressure different from past generations, but it is still very real.

For those of us who find the strength to make it through the misunderstanding and the pressure, we seek to change the world and make it easier for future generations.  The public activism of older generations has been transformed into personal activism within our specific lives.  Still, we are reluctant to enter the “real world.”  We were told immaturity, peer pressure and all the “teen” issues stopped at adulthood.  The truth is that they only become more passive aggressive and more institutionalized.  I’m sure any adult in the workplace can testify. 

Adulthood:   

  • Discovery of new things becomes limited
  • Freedom – only within the reigns of what is accepted by society; you make choice based on how you think you will be percieved
  • Honesty happens less – desparate housewives is based on a true story
  • It’s harder to apologize
  • You lose touch with your children’s generation 
  • The workplace is horrible (see “The Office” but in real life)
  • It’s harder to change (adults rarely evaluate their beliefs when questioned)
  • The illusion of being “too old” – you are never “too” old, why does this thought happen

The 15-25 Getaway:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse (more than just use) – instant relief from reality
  •  Music.  It expresses us.  It listened before we talked.
  •  Art.  It says without having to bother with words.  It is a translation.
  • Sex (abuse).  Somebody needs to love us, this is the easiest way to get it.
  • The internet.  What we write, what we read, it’s ours.  Nobody else has to interfere.
  • Video Games.  Fun.  Not schoolwork, news, parents, pressure. It stimulates.
  • Books and Magazines.  Something else.  Someone else.  Something more.  Something better.  

These getaways shouldn’t be necessary.  It’s not just our problem.  18-25 years and younger is not enough time to evaluate and then screw up.  The growing up process needs help from society.  It takes a village to raise a child.  The movies, games, music and television aren’t the only problems.  In the words of John Wooden, “Young people need models, not critics.”

The Point: 
This isn’t only for adults; this is a point for my peers too.  What you see on the surface of 18-25 yr olds is not what lies beneath.  The truth is never shown at first glance.  It is always put at a deeper position so that it can be earned.  If you’re a parent, stop talking, believe me, they know where you stand and they’ve taken from you what they think they need.  There’s so much you do not know despite how much they tell you.  If you’re a “child expert”, you don’t know the half of it.  If you’re just an adult, re-evaluate what you think.  If your one of us, screw it and just do what you need to do, this is your only chance to make sure that when you grow up, “you’re heart doesn’t die.”  The power to change the world is already in our hands.  We don’t have to do it like our parents; we can be the change, not protest for it.  Change what adulthood means.  Make it about discovery, learning, maturing and acceptance.  

Most importantly, never let your heart die. (too you adults, get it back and poppin’)

Stats and Facts (evaluate your views):

http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/suicide/
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-12-12-emerging-adults_N.htm?csp=34&POE=click-refer
http://www.marcandangel.com/2007/08/17/what-is-adulthood-20-defining-characteristics-of-a-true-adult/
Business Today Magazine. Fall 2007. Volume 44, Issue 2. – put out by Princeton (not my college. nope.)  It’s a good read for young aspiring adults and adults who want a refreshing perpective.


What’s wrong with Christianity?

December 16, 2007

I’ve been surfing around the Internet.  There is a lot of talk surrounding Christianity in America.  There are two main viewpoints: Christianity is awesome, Christianity is only bad.  Where’s everybody in the middle?

There are feelings of being misunderstood on every part of the spectrum.  There’s hate, anger, confusion, questioning, fear and whole other load of aspects to the discussion.

Christianity has had a very formative role in this country.  God is in the constitution, the pledge and on the coin.  Our presidential candidates are forced to state their church of choice, but at the same time there a millions of Americans who don’t want Christianity to have such an imposing role on their lives.  Valid point: Separation of Church and State. 

Perhaps Christianity has succumb to natural human flaws, perhaps it is corrupt.  On the other hand, it may be correct.  What is Christianity about?  It means a lot of things to me.  It my religion of choice because it feels like the right place to be.  That said, it’s hard for me to look at it and the ultimate source or the absolute truth.  Most of the religions in the world have important points to offer people. 

The bottom line is that America has hit a brick wall.  The discussion about religion has come into the forefront of our lives.  When we wake up, in the midst of politics and the presidential decision, we are forced to hear about religion.  And the fact is that the people today who call for the connection of church and state would call loudly for their separation if the more popular religion was Judaism or Islam.  What’s going on with Christianity?  It has become more of a Gospel of Judgement than a Gospel of Loving Thy Neighbor.  Is too late in America for it to be respected?