Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mystery and Spaces

I have a few different posts I've got to get posted before November starts: an election day research project, and a Pinterest challenge update ( yeah you thought I'd given up, never fear guys I am slowly inching closer to that 30 pin goal.)

Despite the urgent need to post my first political post and to post pictures of my latest projects, I won't be writing either of those posts today. Today I want to write about something a little more spiritual  ( original right?). Maybe it's because of the particularly thought provoking, old episode of House I watched on ion yesterday? In any case, here we go again.

In my studies there was a certain line of logic that came up frequently . It went something like this; human beings feel the need to explain mystery (using language ) and thus make up stories and belief systems to compensate for their fear(?) of the unknown ( W. Barnett Pearce, check him out, courtesy of the first seemingly scholarly work that popped up on google) . Many people use this line of logic to argue that religion and faith are really just compensation for the unknown. Some might even argue that this is evidence that science is the best way to come to know ( obviously false as science is itself a belief system which seeks to explain the unknown for the same reason). There was always something that bothered me in the class discussions that centered around this idea.

Why do we stop asking why when we get to mystery? I struggled in class to put words to the feeling I had whenever we got down to this question. It felt like putting the brakes on to quickly. By asking why, logic had somehow gotten us to the conclusion that human beings feel the need to explain mystery/the unknown but we stopped there. I think a better question to ask is why do human beings feel the need to explain the unknown? You don't see cats walking around contemplating the meaning of life. They eat they sleep they get on with things , and that seems to be enough for them. At least, they've yet to start up institutions where they sit around all day mewling at each other about it least not that I know of...although now that I come to think of it cats do seem to slip off discreetly on a fairly regular basis. Elephants don't seem to have been seized by a an urge to stare up at the stars and chart their movement across the night sky. I've yet to see an ape look ponderously at a flock of birds flying and jot measurements down.

What cues us in to the fact that there are things we don't know? I've seen Beta shocked by one thing or another, but I haven't ever found her later curled up in a corner with the spark of a burning question in her eyes. You get what I'm saying , yeah there's evidence of some animals mourning their dead but this isn't exactly compelling evidence that they are trying to explain the unknown.

Personally, I feel less fearful of the unknown and more drawn to it. Sometimes I find myself obsessing about life after death, other times I am pinning images of what I hope is in my future like somehow that makes the future a little more knowable.

Why are we drawn to these questions? Do we see spaces, absences where there are none? I don't think we do. Deep down, we know that there is more , something beyond. Our stories express this , touch on these deeply felt gaps in mortal knowledge. For "time ", something we've created to measure our seemingly limited lives, there's "eternity" something that defies our own institution and points to something bigger, something more ( is it "more"?). We feel it and so we ask, once we've asked we must least, that's my explanation ;)

*P.S. Maybe some of you don't think you do ask these questions , but unless you made a conscious decision to leave society in favor of a culturally isolated life and also chose to give up language then you are partaking in a belief system that answers these questions for you and thus you have been relieved of that fundamental need for now.*

Saturday, October 20, 2012

For a Little Lamb who is Lost

This poem is for a little lamb who is lost. It is special in that it was written as a personal lament for one person. If you relate to this piece, feel free to share it. However please do not use it for political ends, for that is not why it was written, and will be made hollow in such an attempt.

How far will you wander away little lamb,
 before you know you are lost?
How much are you willing to pay,
 little lamb, before you realize the cost?
You give yourself o'er and o'er, little lamb,
once pure without blemish or spot.
Gladly you'll be a sacrifice now, 
O'er the heathen , gentile's pot.
Answer the Master's call little lamb
'fore you find yourself tossed in the pit.
Wait not til that day at the judgement bar,
at which too the Lord will sit. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'll be back friends

In the last few weeks my time on the internet has become limited. It's been a great thing, but it means that I have to make sure I bring the right notebook with me when I intend to post a blog post ;) Don't worry I've got a thoughtful poem already written and waiting to be posted, as well as an update on that pinterest challenge you thought you'd have heard more about by now. Keep coming back , I promise I'll be here soon!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I first heard the term "Sustainability" from my roommate ( who later became a best friend and bridesmaid) Michelle Stevens. It was within the first few days of our meeting my freshman year, she described the AP Sustainability class she'd taken at her high school in Oregon. Only in Oregon right?

As I continued my studies, sustainability continued to pop up as a more and more important issue. I read books such as The Age of Missing Information by Bill McKibben, which drew to my attention the cultural problem of a disconnect from nature. I co-wrote a 20 page paper about it. I fell in love with Wendell Berry. I started a pinterest board. I cherished finding this book at Justin's grandma's...

Justin and I have enjoyed several of the longest conversations we've ever had ( remember how he doesn't really talk much?) about "organic" food and farmers' markets. Between his interest in health and preventative medicine, and my own theories about the socio-cultural benefits of local growing and reconnecting with nature we could go on for hours.

In the end though, my dear husband in all of his wisdom has again led me to ask myself this question; What am I doing about it? I defended myself to him by saying that even little changes were big ones for me, but as I go through this whole "being present" phase I can't help thinking that if this really is something I believe in /cherish, then I can't just file it away for the "when we get rich enough to buy a little plot of land" future.

These are the little things I am doing now:

1)Opening the blinds each morning and turning off lights whenever they are on

2)Reading books and articles about sustainability and living off the land

3)Asking Grandparents about growing up, and the logistics of homesteading ( so far I've learned about raising rabbits for meat, dairy cows, beef cows, sheep, bee-keeping, and horses)

4)Trying to change my clothes less, and re-wearing clothing that isn't soiled before washing it

5)Helping Justin's grandma( and learning in the process) tend a vegetable garden
Our first sprout-a pea shoot

6)Reusing and Upcycling plastic containers, paper towels, etc.

These are some things that I think I can add into my routine now:

1)Hanging sheets, towels, and running clothes to dry

Justin has already started.

 2)Using more of what we have, making sure I plan well enough that we aren't throwing out food.

3)Donating to a charity that focuses on making villages etc. more sustainable ( areas where there are inefficient water sources etc.

4)Eating healthier

5)Taking more nature walks, spending more time in the backyard, camping more.

6)Reading more Wendell Berry :)

 What do you think? What does sustainability mean to you? Can you think of something I should add to my list?

My basil and chives

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I am a videographer located in Goodyear, Arizona. Visit my site to check out my best work and the Stories Told blog.