It's all about perspective

Archive for February, 2008

Potential

While driving home from my weekly visit with the family, I was listening to classical music on the radio and trying to fit together several of the sociological concepts I’ve been working with over the last few weeks when this phrase came to mind:

What if the reason we have faith, or believe in things we can not see, or need to escape into a fantasy world; is because we don’t want to take responsibility for our own self-development?

Before you call the mob, sharpen the pitchforks, and light the torches; allow me to explain.

I am a very firm believer in a simple truth. We messed up the message. We were not created in god’s image, god was created in ours. We took the best things about us, what we wanted to exemplify, and created an anthropomorphic deity that takes care of everything for us. In the history of mankind we have done it not once, not twice, but countless times. We created this god and then he “gave” us a specific set of rules that allow us into a paradise after all of this “suffering” on earth. Instead of dealing with the problems that arose to cause this suffering, we took the easy route and put all the responsibility for our “salvation” into the proverbial hands of god.

But think about what this world would be like if every single one of us took responsibility for our own self-development, for our own failings, and for our own arrogance? Instead of throwing our hands up and saying, “god has a plan,” we instead worked on solutions to problems, where would we be as a culture? Is this what blind faith leads us to?

I understand faith because regardless of what people may think of me, I do have faith. I have an extremely strong faith. It just doesn’t lie with religion. My faith does not allow me to fall into a trap wherein I find myself in a situation that looks for answers from some figurehead that has never talked to his people or actually solved any problem. Where every solution to every problem has failed the test of time.

The argument needs more work, but I have faith that it holds more than just a ring of truth to it. Perhaps the greatest achievement of god’s so-called “plan” is the realization that we don’t need it and never did. Perhaps we just need to own up to our own potential.

A Montague’s Woe

I am currently sitting at the Mudd Lounge drinking a Bogtrotter (a delectable combination of Guinness and espresso) and doing my homework. Reading through my sociological theory book on the chapter regarding Max Weber. I decided to take a break to start work on actually writing down my responses to the questions assigned me for the class and found that I have wireless connectivity here, woohoo!

I’ve been thinking about something in the back of my head ever since I got here over an hour ago; how in the hell can I get any meaningful studying done in a place such as this? Oddly enough though, I find I actually study better in a loud and semi-crowded environment. This place is hopping right now too. There is a D.J. up by the door spinning some great groove tracks and there are friends talking, laughing, and generally enjoying themselves all over the place. Is it possible that I have an easier time studying about the underpinnings of sociological theory when in the social world? I am a student of society. I’ve decided to make it my career, my life’s work, what better reason could there be?

If any of my previous posts have been read you’ll know I’ve been in a funk since pretty much the beginning of February. But somehow when I sat down here in the corner where the black and white tri-fold wall decoration sits and began reading and watching everyone, my funk has slowly been ebbing, washed away or at least partially muted up by my work. Do I dare let my work consume me? Is the answer to some of my problems merely to give my heart and body over to the work that already consumes my soul? I want so much for the answer to leap out at me and say something, but I fear that is a pipe dream.

I love school and my studies, it is the one mistress I could never leave, and woe to the significant other that asks me to. Yet this funk, this streak of procrastination, this whatever it is has paralyzed me to an extent. I have been unable to keep up with my studies instead letting it sit for another day. Two weeks I have let work and readings pile up. Speaking of which, what the hell am I still doing here?

Hell is in my mouth

I have been slowly getting some dental work done over the last several months. To date I’ve had: a root canal and temporary crown put on, two fillings, and six teeth removed. I have to admit the root canal wasn’t really as bad as the rumors say. It did feel weird for my dentist to insert the files into the deadened root canals and start tapping them against my skull. I’ve never had to force myself not to vomit so hard in my life. I could feel it, it didn’t hurt, but I could feel the tips of those tiny files tap, tap, tapping away at my skull. All the while the brain is going, “this should hurt and I’m far too confused that it doesn’t so I’m going to flip out now, ok.”

But what has been the worst experience by far has been the extractions. I’ve had three wisdom teeth removed and the molars in front of them removed as well. I didn’t have enough room in my head for the wisdom teeth and when they came through, it was at an angle. They really screwed with the molars in front of them and so everything started to decay because of them. I had the first wisdom tooth/molar combination pulled years ago due to the pain, but nothing bothered me up until about six months ago. Now I’ve had dry socket, not once, but twice!

For those of you who don’t know what dry socket is, let me enlighten you. When a tooth is pulled it leaves a hole in your gums that leads strait down to your jaw and the exposed nerves. Normally, this socket fills with blood, forms a scab, and begins the healing process. Sometimes though, when you smoke, when you spit especially hard, or when you don’t keep the area clean enough, the scab process gets screwed up and a dry socket can occur. What this means is that there is no protection or covering for your little nerve ending and sweet baby jeezus does it hurt like hell.

I had the last two teeth pulled last thursday and went to the dentist today about some minor pain I was having. Since I had gone through this on the last round I figured I wasn’t going to screw around. Now that whatever particles were in there have been flushed out it hurts worse, but I guess it beat having an infection in there. From what I’ve been told that is a fate nearly as bad as inquisition torture. It is a persistent dull ache that feels very much like needles are being scraped along my jaw bone while iodine is being slowly poured over the wounds. It hurts clear up into my ear and gives me headaches that can take me to my knees if I don’t keep ahead of the pain with lots of ibuprofen.

Hell, I have found thee and thy name is dry socket.

Super Tuesday

Well, here it is. While I have been avoiding this decision for quite some time, with Super Tuesday upon us I can’t wait anymore. I’ve been talking with friends, colleagues, and instructors about the next direction our country needs to take and after listening to Ambassador Akbar Ahmed at Drury University on Thursday night I think I’ve made my decision.

Ambassador Ahmed spoke to a near-full auditorium at Drury and spoke about relations between the American and Muslim worlds. He said that things are not looking good. According to a Pew Study on attitudes, the relations between our two peoples have seriously worsened over the years. Because of our actions immediately following 9/11 and ever since, our public image not only in the Muslim world, but everywhere has been tarnished to the point that I believe no Republican candidate can fix.

The path to fixing this tragedy lies in understanding, but we can not understand if we are not willing to talk. The Republican candidates have been willfully ignorant of our situation in the global theater and I believe this is one of many reasons why it is time for a change. We need to go back to the table of negotiation, we need to foster a sense of trust with our opponents rather than a sense we are going to bomb them into submission. Our current administration has burned so many bridges in the last eight years it could easily take eight more years to rebuild them. Yes friends, it is time for a change.

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