Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Windhover

This past weekend I took my daughter to a theme park. It was to be her day – popcorn, candy and rides. We did the bumper cars twice, rode the dumbo planes and mini rollercoaster. She loved it. While stopping to get a drink I noticed an open theater and nearby a huge net covering the forest. It was an aviary – a place wherein to keep birds and keep them from flying away. As I approached I noticed a large placard regarding eagles. It introduced me to this effort involving the protection of birds of prey – raptors. I looked up into the netted forest and saw several of the huge, bald eagles sitting on low tree limbs. My first thought was, "these fellas are meant to soar at 1000s of feet – here they are grounded." My heart was sad. Nearby, an even smaller, caged area contained eagles which could not fly at all.

We entered the open theater and waited for the "show" (that word is a disservice to what we witnessed). There, we saw, live, these incredible creatures. The handlers brought out owls, hawks and eagles of several kinds. All were majestic, beautiful, powerful. An eagle has enough strength in its huge talon to snap your finger in two. It could pick up and fly off with an adolescent child or full-grown sheep. Its vision is as keen as you or I with powerful binoculars and can spot a mouse moving miles away. Its wingspan is larger, by far, than a man is tall. Its eyes are striking, powerful, overwhelming. And as we saw these birds flying over our heads – literally inches above (one nearly clipped me as I sat) we were given the statistics: there were, some 100 years ago, nearly a half million bald eagles in the wild in North America. There are now a few thousand. Each day, some where in the U.S., a raptor is shot from the sky by someone wielding a gun. This happens about a half dozen times daily – why?

I am reminded of Isaiah when I see these birds, "he who waits upon the Lord shall renew his strength. He shall mount up on wings as eagles...."

I am reminded of Hopkin's Windhover where he describes seeing a raptor soaring on the gusts and declares it an image of God, Lord over the earth:

I CAUGHT this morning morning's minion, king-dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding of the rolling-level-underneath-him steady-air, and striding High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing

The raptors kept in the aviary were all there for a reason. They had been mostly shot or hit by a car or sick in some way. Some had been raised by humans since birth, and no matter how many attempts had been made to return them to the wild, they would always seek out human contact. For some, this also meant their deaths. As each bird was brought out I sat in amazement at its beauty and grandeur. Like beholding ancient kings, you simply could not tarnish their nobility. Finally, a golden eagle stretched his wings wide and it dwarfed the handler.

I thought about the eagles who simply refused to soar, who had forgotten, or never learned of their ability to reach the heights. They had no clue what they were missing. They could be scraping the edge of heaven with aplomb. They could be reaching the apex of the planet and lord their majesty over it, but, instead, they were content to be shackled by leather to a leather glove, to be handed meat scraps like pet jackals. They simply didn't know. They simply didn't understand.

They only know of the shackle and scraps and that's what they prefer. Learning to soar, learning to dive, learning to kill and eat is tough, and we refuse to try, to struggle, to rise above – to soar above. We'd rather stay where its safe, where we know the familiar and the familiar knows us. But if only we'd try, little by little, to flap, to fly then someday we would soar. We could learn to climb and we could stand atop of our world, Lords of it and above all those things we once allowed to shackle us to earth….

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Death of The Tao....

Quaint are these arguments pinning all the woes of the Western world on religion, on Christianity. Typically, Christianity is blamed for any and all murders, genocides, etc. I find that systems void of any deity are quite effective at slaughtering people too, thus we had millions killed, murdered, exterminated under fascism/communism (and whatever "ism" Pol Pot ran).

In the Abolition of Man Lewis argues that there has always been a string of truth throughout civilization (citing there is only one civilization). He calls this the Tao and argues that it has always existed and keeps cropping up no matter what in whatever religious form. Kant's paradox points this out as he compares the mystery of the starry heavens to the mystery of the moral law within. We just can't escape it -- this need to do and be right, so, call it what you will, but Christianity is simply another form of it (no one ever said it was perfect).

Lewis goes on to note that, for the first time ever, the Tao is actually under attack and in jeopardy of being done away with -- that this is a unique event in history. This is exactly what happened the last century in Germany, the USSR and Cambodia -- Taoless (The Tao being a general concept of a supernatural force we must answer to) systems took over the minds of humanity (yes, even in Cambodia -- oddly). Now, people died, and, sure, people died under religions too, but the fact remains that, for the first time ever, people were killed, en mass, not for land, not for belief, not for any reason other than the fact that they no longer should exist on the planet. The Jewish Holocaust is the best example of this. It was killing, for the first time ever, with the goal of entirely eliminating a certain people from the planet. Say what you will, but all other wars and conflicts had another, primary, goal.

In short, Christianity may suck, religion may suck, but these have never produced the goal which a Taoless system has produced, nor has ever such a dismal concept been conceived in any religion.

Irreligious systems, Taoless systems (communism, fascism, etc.), surprisingly, have the same goals as religion. They simply don't want a god to be any part of the solution, but this causes the paradox of demanding the function of a heart without having a heart. We simply don't behave very well on our own without the thought that we will, eventually, answer to a higher force. It is the brain that feeds the stomach through the heart. We remove the organ and demand the function.... We castrate and then demand the gelding procreate -- it simply cannot happen. Or, Lewis puts it another way, "what makes a man sit in the trench through the 6th hour of bombardment for God and country?" which he answers, "what else can make a man sit through the 6th hour of bombardment but God and country?" (These quotes from memory). This leads into thought that along with religion comes concepts of country, nationhood, family, etc. One could argue that we are moving beyond these hindrances -- that the American Civil War marked the end of state-centeredness and into nationhood, or that the end of WWII marked the end of nationhood and into a global community. Indeed, perhaps we are moving beyond god, beyond the boundaries of answering to such a force, but without the heart -- without these pesky religions -- it is an ominous world looming wherein there is no great parent up there to whom we must answer, where Nietzsche's ubermensch will create his own world, in his own likeness and the final minorities who don't look like me must be removed as so much infestation.

I empathize with Voltaire who witnessed the horror of a flawed religion, a flawed Christianity. I empathize with Bultmann who attempted to save the embattled faith from itself, but at the end of the day Kant's "moral law within" cannot be escaped, nor can it be supplanted with a godless system based on what's best and what's best void of god, for what's best void of god is relative and what's relative is horrific and so the 20th century has taught us.... The removal of the Tao produced for humanity the mindset to eliminate his fellow man for the sake of elimination and the grand achievement of human effort produced the nuclear bomb. What will happen when the twain finally are joined?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dude, where's my sword?...

/. had this blurb today about life ebbing out into reality when it comes to MMOGs:
“while some guy in Korea murdered another guy over a rare sword that existed only in an MMORPG”

Google/newsed it and found a simliar story concerning two Chinese men and a game called "Legends of Mir II" (never heard of it):

This is like a litmus test. Normal people will respond to the news of someone being murdered over a sword in a video game with something like, “that’s just terrible.” An MMOG player will respond with, “…what were the stats?”

Reminds me of Fight Club when I said, “Normal people.” You know, “people, normal people, do everything they can to avoid a fight….”


Or, "Sigs of The Day." I think some of the best stuff on the Internet are people's sig files. Such nuggets of truth, or humor, or whatever -- enuf. Here we go:

"Oh, something I learned last night... Don't try to reseat RAM while drunk. :/"

"Everyone's crazy save thee and I, and sometimes I wonder about thee."

"The real trouble with reality is that there's no background music"

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's a face-melting-type-thing....

In case you missed it, your face will melt in WoW ... in PvP ... will melt and stuff....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Creed's Torn

Peace is what they tell me
("What we offer will make you happy")
Love am I unholy
("But truth is not evil" I replied)
Lies are what they tell me
(I think they're lying to me -- I found out too late)
Despise you that control me
(I can't stop. I'm bound. I'm doing what's wrong and cannot stop it)

The peace is dead in my soul
(The peace they offered killed real peace)
I have blamed the reason for
my intentions poor
(My excuses to do wrong are weak, cop-outs. I knew better)

Yes I'm the one who
the only one who
Would carry on this far
(All those I'm with don't know. They don't know what I know. They've given up trying. I'm the only one who still is)

Torn, I'm filthy
(I can't stop, but I want to. Romans chapter 7)
Born in my own misery
(I was born into this evil world full of pain, full of wrong)
Stole all that you gave me
(It took my innocence. It took my happiness, and is still taking it)
Control you claim you save me
(My new friends, my new habits, you promised you'd make me happy, but I'm not. You took away what really made me happy)

"For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:19,24-25)

Cursor Thief

This damn thing stole my cursor!!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

EQ Babe

Every fat geek dreams of her, but she only dates -- IRL -- dumb guys with broad shoulders who can't type:

"Girl, duh duh duh duh, you'll be an EQ Babe, soon (repeats "duhs"). Soon, (more duhs), you'll need a man...."

Personally, this one, wrecks me. She'd make a great EQ liver dish too -- bottle of Chianti and all that.