Monday, November 21, 2011

The Way of the Human Being Part 3

The way Martin describes my culture in the Way of the Human Being is not flattering.  In his eyes the traditional Native American culture is superior.  They seem to have the monopoly on the perfect way of living.  He makes it sound as if they have the right idea and we are ignorant people who have lost a key aspect or being a human.  I don't have clearly articulated thoughts on this yet but there is something that puts me on edge.  Maybe because I am not a Native American, for him to completely write off my culture seems unfair.  I don't think that my culture is perfect.  Far from it!  But by writing off my culture I feel as if he is also writing off part of me.

Saint Augustine's Confessions and Way of the Human Being part 2

I have discovered a new problem.  When I try to write a paper that deals with big issues that I have also been dealing with it changes from a comparison to a opinion paper.  This will need to change.  I need to remember that I'm not writing about what I think based on what I've read from these authors but what THEY think in comparison to each other.  The first draft is very much that.  A first draft.  It will change quite a bit.  Hopefully it will turn into a actual paper as opposed to a word barf of my own thoughts.

Saint Augustine's Confessions and Way of the Human Being

While both Augustine and Calvin Luther Martin agree that reality is more than what we see just in front of our faces, they disagree on what that reality is and how we go about finding it.  Augustine sees the ultimate reality as a understanding of God and evil.  Martin sees it as a connection and balance between the earth and humans.  Both of them argue for a spiritual aspect of reality but while Augustine believes that our interactions with God are the most important, Martin sees our interactions with animal-people and the earth as the highest priority.

Saint Augustine's Confessions: Themes

Throughout the book Augustine wrestles with the idea of God.  How can our brains comprehend the massive idea of God without trying to reduce Him to a material form?  How do we perceive God?  

"How could I see this when me eye saw only the body and my mind only a construct?  Nor did I realize that God is a spirit, without parts of his whole having their own length or breadth or weight.  Any part would weigh less than the whole.  If spread everywhere, such a body would still weigh more or less in any spacial segment of it, and each part could not be everywhere, as with the spirit, as with God" 

He also thinks about how we perceive the world around us.

"I 'called up before my mind' the whole range of creation, whatever is obvious in it to our senses - earth and sea and air and stars and trees and animals - and whatever is not taken in by our senses - the high spiritual canopy and all angels and all spiritual entities.  But even the latter, like the former, I imagined as occupying some kind of place.  I made out the whole of creation as one vast physical stuff, articulated into different sorts of material bodies - the real bodies or those I imagined as the spiritual realities.  I made it out as vast, without giving it any specific magnitude (which I could not measure) but, be it ever so large, reaching a certain limit in any of its extensions.  And you, Lord, I saw as embracing and pervading all parts of this mass, but stretching far outside it on all sides - as if there were a sea everywhere, and everywhere only this boundless sea throughout the endless reaches, and in the sea a huge but not infinite sponge, totally soaked with that sea in every particle of it."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Way of the Human Being Part 2

I am very good at immersing myself in the fictional worlds of books.  If the rules of that world say that something is true I will completely believe it within the world the author has created.  This is great if I am reading fiction.  However, when I read nonfiction this skill carries over.  I still unconsciously view the world of the book as separate from the real world.  Any idea or argument that the author introduces in the book becomes very true to me within that world.  Because of this I have a hard time taking ideas or arguments and looking at them in a critical way.  I also have a hard time transferring those ideas from the world of the book to my life.
 I have a feeling that as I read The Way of the Human Being this is pose a problem.  Problem noted and will be paid attention to.

The Way of the Human Being Part 1

As I started reading this book I was already looking for anything that has to do with Beauty/Quality.  I wasn't disappointed.

"Beauty has an older claim on us than does time; beauty was there in the beginning before time was conceived; it was inherent in the originating Word, the idea and its pronouncement.  Time is but beauty's scaffolding."

"We were created, they say, to restore the beautiful."

"The weaving-way restores the beautiful.  Beauty comes from the act itself; "man experiences beauty by creating it,"say the Navajo.  Understood is the principle that an event is nothing without human participation: there can be no beauty without our creating role in it."

"There is beauty, and, existing outside it, unconscious of it, there is time."

Ah ha!  The ongoing theme strikes again.