Friday, October 28, 2005

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

To the real Jonathan Seagull,
who lives within us all.

Richard Bach. Jonathan Livingston Seagull

"It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea. A mile from shore a fishing boat chummed the water. and the word for Breakfast Flock flashed through the air, till a crowd of a thousand seagulls came to dodge and fight for bits of food. It was another busy day beginning. But way off alone, out by himself beyond boat and shore, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was practicing. A hundred feet in the sky he lowered his webbed feet, lifted his beak, and strained to hold a painful hard twisting curve through his wings. The curve meant that he would fly slowly, and now he slowed until the wind was a whisper in his face, until the ocean stood still beneath him. He narrowed his eyes in fierce concentration, held his breath, forced one... single... more... inch...of... curve... Then his featliers ruffled, he stalled and fell. Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor. But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve - slowing, slowing, and stalling once more - was no ordinary bird. Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight - how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else. Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Golden shores abound
The deep beckons forth
Shower of the waves
The kingfishers soar
The sapphire air rings with joy.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kierkegaard's Passion

Kierkegaard's passion was not about a staunch, certain and blind belief in a truth called God. It was rather about clinging on to the uncertainty of it all post reflection, and to reaffirm one's authenticity in taking the leap of faith. If Kierkegaard is seen at the root of Existentialist thought, it is because of his emphasis upon the individual whose lived experiences are most important, and because of the strong notion of freedom that a person possesses in existing and making alternative difficult choices.
The dilemma is that individuals are not sincere if they do not attempt to reflect on the relation between themselves and God. But when they indeed do, it turns out that they can never be certain about the phenomena, because God can never become the object, and therefore never accessible to the rational faculty; God is, indeed, the eternal subject. When the individual subject thus confronts this dilemma, (s)he suffers from the agony of uncertainty. And yet this uncertainty must be held fast onto with the greatest passion. The uncertainty of the possible brings with it the suffering that a truly existing human being is conscious of, as a mark of taking upon complete responsibility of choice. Kierkegaard's remedy is hardly the average person's cup of tea. But for him the ethically responsible persons would turn 'inward' and go through this if they thought of themselves as being true to the spirit of Christianity.

Clearly, Kierkegaard's bitter polemic was both against the institutionalized religion of the Church and society which offered a platter full of absolutist, certain and dogmatic Christian doctrines, to be followed uncritically, scientifically and generally. In sharp contrast, Kierkegaard felt that in truth, we strictly are individuals who cannot be treated mediately or like objects at all. We must simply not be part of these sheep-like herds (as community, race, society, etc). We must stand out by being aware of our existence. Thus, Kierkegaard's other adversary was the worldview of the Hegelian Absolute, that totally subsumed the individual's subjective reality under the Objective Spirit or Geist.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Canopy of the Verdant