Sunday, August 10, 2008

new blog site

I have a new blog.... here's the link:

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oh Barney Fife...

Sometimes when I'm working I wish I could carry a video camera. The scenes I see could be straight out of hollywood, and that makes me rethink those scenarios I've always thought to be ridiculous. What if people really act like the characters I see in movies?

I was sitting in a restaurant (working), slightly overwhelmed by the situation I found myself in a few moments earlier, and became distracted by a deep booming voice coming from a few tables away. I turn to see an older man with the look and voice of the Skipper from Gilligan's Island talking to a younger looking Barney Fife (late 20's to mid 30's). The Skipper was talking away in between and through the bites of food he was taking and Barney was sitting, hunched over, arms folded, quivering and almost had a look of constant flinching. As the Skipper is talking I'm able to pick up that he is Barney's father and he's giving him a relationship talk. The Skipper tells Barney, "Now, you're a few years behind for your age, your girlfriend, she's a few years ahead of you in maturity."

This is how the conversation went. The only time Barney said anything it was "Yeah, I like that story, you like telling that one" in reference to what I assume was a well used story told by the Skipper, said with a smile that looked as well worn as the story.

If this were a movie Barney's girlfriend would make some teary eyed speech about how she'd have no choice but to leave him if he didn't respect himself enough to stand up to his domineering father. And then, inevitably, Barney would stand up to the Skipper who would stand, mouth gaping, in shock and surprise and apologize for the years of bullying, etc. and everything in life would be great from that point on.

Unfortunately for Barney, this is not a movie. Hopefully someday he's able to summon the self esteem to stand up for himself. What do they call it? Implosive anger...

Anyhow, I guess the point is that we need to allow others to be themselves, to make their own choices. There are other points too. One word: manipulation. I will leave that for you to ponder. I have to go to work.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm not sure if this falls under the tangent category, but it comes close.

I just finished an online class this last weekend. I had to write a reflective paper for the end of it on the sociological influences in my life and the way these influences shaped me.

I don't know if you've heard the theory that language is the way we know things. It's the Sapir-Whorf theory. They decided that our reality is defined by the language we know. While it is true that language can in various ways influence our perceptions, it is not always so. For instance, children know what families and parents are (if they've had the real representations) before they speak or comprehend language. There are other cases that it has more of an effect.

The most obvious case would involve the idea of love. In other languages there are many words for many loves. I think Americans may have various ideas that they apply to the one word we have. Or, maybe, we do have other words for love but we do not connect these words with the idea of love that the actual word means to us. I don't know if that made any sense. Example, kindness is love, respect is love, commitment is love, and many more but these words don't always necessarily involve love. You can be kind or commit to another person out of selfishness or pride. Also our word love, which applies to friends, family, objects, romances, this word has no clear definition. There is no universal implication other than a feeling or emotion.

This is one example. Of my friends who are fluent in other languages they all have perceptions they recognize more clearly than I can because they know words that express those ideas that English hasn't given language to.

And so to bring this full circle (I know you've forgotten where I started, if you've had the patience to come this far with me at all) as I was examining myself from a sociological perspective, one of the things that caught my attention was the language that I grew up with: the christian language (or jargon, if you please).

I have always had an awareness of spirituality, and I think the language I know has something to do with it. I've been able to grasp, at least what I've become capable of grasping, concepts like grace, eternity, and so on. I find more meaning in words like love, consequences, absolute, humility, than I otherwise would have. And then, if I occasionally care to step outside of the utterly important little world of me, I find that there are other human beings and that they also live in a spiritual world and all that implies.

I've come to think that counselors ought to have a good grasp of language and concepts. It seems that ideas are easier to fight when there are words to make them tangible. At least, this is true for me. I prefer a fight with something that is tangible, something that I know is real. Ideas, when they are only ideas, can make themselves so intangible that when they occur in someone they decide to ignore or suppress it. We live in a rational society that does not acknowledge the intangible. I'm not sure our society knows how to acknowledge something that they cannot define as a chemical problem or make an equation for.

We are all about the labels.

Love is a chemical. As is depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, personality disorder, addiction, romance is based on smell if you hadn't heard, happiness, and so on.

I wonder if they'll eventually make little pills you take to heal or have these... oh wait....

Have you ever seen Rob Bell speak? His 'Everything is Spiritual' video is great. That's what it comes down to. Our bodies are a reflection of what is spiritual, so yeah, it's only natural that they work accordingly. We were made as such. Yes, there are chemicals, and maybe we've figured out how to manipulate those to a degree, but that's not the root, it's only the reflection.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mmm it smells good...

I'm sitting outside and there's a bakery next door, the smell of fresh bread is calling to me....

It's been rainy the last couple of weeks, it's been nice and cool and the air is sweet. There are dark clouds hanging around the mountains, everything feels suppressed. It makes life feel quiet and still. The hustle and bustle are the same as ever, but it feels different.

There have been several sobering events in Flagstaff recently, I think the clouds know it. The sun does too. But, the world is bigger than I know and the clouds will move along in their time. It's rainy season and will be again and again, so I think I'll drink my tea, and smell the bread and thank God that the ground is being fed.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Oh those senators.....

A senator is proposing that the government set a national speed limit, 55 mph. Granted, it would reduce fuel consumption and all that. I think that this is all a big conspiracy. Obviously a country that has been used to traveling at 80 mph is not going to want to travel at 55 mph. This will increase the number of traffic tickets that are given out, which increases the amount of money the government gets.

That, and it would be sooo frustrating.