Adjectives on the Typewriter

she moves her words like a prizefighter

28 April 2005

Language skills

Your Linguistic Profile:

80% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Yankee

And I've been told I use British punctuation rather than standard American...

25 April 2005

Finally some Christian philosophy!

Today in class we covered Augustine and the professor, though always "fair," did a particularly good job of both explanation and advocacy. Wonders never cease! Like I said, this prof. is very good at supporting any philosophical perspective, but I still half-expected him to snub Augustine a bit in typical university style.

After lecturing on Augustine's synthesis of Plato and Paul, pronouncing the philosopher's name AU-gus-tine the whole while, the professor asked a few people what they thought of the theologian/philosopher's work. And the general concensus was that regardless of how much "sense" Augustine had, or how logical his arguments are, they still aren't worth accepting. The reason? As given by my fellow students, because Augustine is too religious sounding.

Having read so much about Plato's concept of ignorance, I find it astounding that my classmates can so reject any philosopher just because they aren't religious. I mean, we hear so much about ideology and discrimination in the Christian worldview, but in truth it's the Christians who are "discriminated against." How someone can openly acknowledge an argument is true and yet still refuse to accept it is beyond me... Honestly what kind of intellectual integrity is that?

And it's still Au-GUS-tine.


Are yous dead?

What, do I need to post something controversial or something??? I don't have time at the moment, but I will say I've a lot to post about an excellent philosophy class this morning...

23 April 2005

Too tired to do anything useful

Hmm, I was seriously thinking about posting something deep but on second thought I've got quite a stack of persuasive papers to grade before Monday so I'd better get on it.

On (yet another) random and uninteresting point, we got to use our real Samurai swords today at dance rehearsal. This peice has amazing choreography!

22 April 2005

Almost the weekend!

Random funny incident:
Yesterday while I was at the high school a fellow student asked me whether I was a teacher. Lol! For those of you who don't know, I'm 17...

19 April 2005

God chooses war as an instrument of His judgments

Here are some thoughts from that I found relevant to the recent discussion on Islam and Christianity:

"God called for the conquest of Canaan by His people
(Deut. 20:16-18) and directed a number of the battles there in detail and personally (Josh. 6:1-5). The same was true later, especially during the reign of King David (II Sam. 5:19-25).

More soberly, God initiated wars and battles against His beloved people when they also deserved judgment. Israel was given over to Nebuchadnezzar by God Himself
(Jer. 21:1-7).

This was not just an 'Old Testament' affair. The Lord Jesus prophesied the total destruction of the Temple
(Matt. 24:1-2) and interpreted it as something that would come directly from God's hand in punishment (Matt. 23:32-36). The Romans executed divine judgment in 70 A.D.

We may be certain that God has called for a series of entirely justified wars throughout history. They have not occurred merely because He permitted them. He planned them
(I Kings 22:14-23). He also mercifully set boundaries to them (Jer. 25:12-13). When those who were His instruments became arrogant (as though they, not God, had pulled the strings), they too were punished.

Unlike demonic principalities and powers (the Greek 'gods' come to mind), the Lord does not take pleasure in the shedding of blood. At the same time, He experiences no need to answer to man for His judgments. Though 21st century man find it repugnant, scripture speaks of the God of love as a God whose wrath is consistent with His love
(Rev. 11:15-18).

Sin ought not to have been. Death ought not to have been. Man chose (and chooses) sin and death. War is death's most exquisite expression. God makes use of war to accomplish His eternal purpose when fitting.

At the very end, the Lamb of God will Himself wage war
(Rev. 19:11-21). You can count on it: that war will be justified."

18 April 2005

Supreme Reason

Once again I return to the blog with nothing important to say. I'm sitting with the sliding door wide open, watching the furies of the rain from the shelter of the basement. You know it's wierd-- sometimes I like rain and sometimes I don't.

But on to deeper things...

In discussion group on Thursday we talked about the practical application of Plato's division of the Soul. In the Republic he says that the state is basically made up of three types of people. The first group is "golden" in nature- these people are well disciplined and live through Reason. Though rare, Plato claims they should be the elite governing class, the Philosopher-Kings as it were. And, as rational thinkers, these individuals are completely selfless, reaping no physical reward for their labors. The next group is the "silver." They are ruled by Spirit and will power and are destined to carry out the commands of the Philosopher-Kings. This group is slightly larger and is responsible for military measures and the like. The final class is by far the largest: the iron/brass people who are governed by their fleshly desires or appetites. This group simply submits to the Philosopher-Kings and is allowed to engage in pleasure constantly.

I think this breakdown, though slightly oversimplified, is generally true. However, my philosophy professor insists that this system is "disturbing" because it discounts the value of inherent human rights. Now this professor is not the typical thoughtless liberal you encounter on campus; he has a lot of good sense and I've come to respect him a great deal. But I just don't get what's so "uncanny" about intelligent, rational people governing the rest of us. Obviously, power has the ability to corrupt, but that doesn't mean it has to. If these Philosopher-Kings are truly rational and selfless, they'll be able to resist the temptations power has. Besides, they're not supposed to be paid. So while there may be a few odd exceptions, overall I think this sort of aristocracy is safe, not to mention beneficial.

Perhaps I ought to read the Republic myself before I say anything too ignorant. After all, even Plato thought the system would require the Philosopher-Kings to lie to the "masses"...


17 April 2005

"They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity..."

Watched "The Incredibles" for the first time last night and went to sleep contemplating this quote from Syndrome:

"Everyone can be super. And when everyone's one will be."


13 April 2005

"Philosophy requires...

...the virtues of patience and charity"? That's exactly what our professor told us in his first lecture. And, being my ignorant self, I half-ignored half-discounted what he had said. After all, so many of my professors have boasted in their particular discipline's superiority, etc, etc. That certainly requires patience... But charity?!?

Yep, charity too, though not in the sense of tolerance or weak benevolence. In this instance, it's more like Humility. The strength of character to acknowledge when we don't know the answers. Not a feeble "I'm not sure..." but a courageous "I'm too finite to know a lot of things!"

Although this is relevant to any (and every) discipline, it is absolutely essential to philosophy in particular. Philosophy is, quite literally, the love of knowledge/wisdom. And what is true knowledge? According to Socrates, it's knowing what we don't know, and knowing that we don't know it. Is there any better definition of humility? Thus charity and wisdom are inseparable- you can't have one without the other.

Conversely, when Socrates equates ignorance with evil, we see that ignorance is simply a form of pride. He wasn't claiming that childlike innocence is evil, rather that the worldly "knowledge" possessed by so many is quite the opposite- foolishness. In thinking that we know, we blind ourselves to higher, more glorious truths like the prisoners in Plato's Cave. This ignorance is a deliberate suppression of the truth, humanity's willful rejection of a Divine gift (Romans 1:18-23, 25).

The only way to get out of the Cave, our own personal prison, is to realize the folly of our earthly "knowledge." That, in effect, is the goal of philosophy: to rid the individual of his trite, mundane "knowledge" in preparation for the real Truth and Beauty and Wisdom from above.

"Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of God into an image made like corruptible man..."


08 April 2005

More insights

Stumbled across some thoughts on the Relativism issue so I decided to post them even though they're not my own. This was drawn from Russ Lipton's blog at

"If all religions are right, no religions are right .... except agnosticism. After all, even a child recognizes the obvious contrasts and contradictions between the claims of the world's different religions. They can't .... all .... be .... right.

Only agnosticism (on the skeptical side) or Hinduism perhaps (on the credulous side) can claim to swallow up all other religions by relativizing them. Today's New Age agnosticism neatly does both in the post-modern West (and, increasingly, East).

Those of us in the West live in a culture where it is not only permissible to talk about sex, we must talk about it - all the time, if possible. Yet, while we are not persecuted openly for talking about religion (I said, openly), speaking seriously about religion is considered either a breach of manners or a sign of moral stupidity.

Note, I said, speak 'seriously'. This can only mean speak about my religion as though it were right - true. The truth. While agnostic New Age man fails to understand that he too makes an absolute claim to truth, we do understand that. We understand that it is literally impossible to follow any way of life unless one is convinced that it is the truth."

I think that pretty well summarizes the inherent flaw of Relativism. If, as Relativists would assert, there is no absolute truth, then what truth lies in their own position?


Relativisim and Postmodernity

Discussion group didn't go quite as planned- it was basically just a lecture class- but as we're going over the Sophists it was encouraging to find at least one other person in the class who's not a relativist. I have an ally! Still, the way the professor presented the relativist argument was very tricky to refute, so I'll need to ponder that over the weekend. It's a bit unfair that a Relativist can always "counter" your logic with a "That's just the way you see it- I see it differently, and my perspective is equally valid." I mean, it's almost impossible to argue against someone who acknowledges your argument as true but won't accept it because there are so many dang truths!

On a completely different subject, here are some relevant thoughts pulled from

"We have long lived with the ideal of a new era of freedom, and now we find ourselves in a century of new enslavement. In politics, it is the age of genocides, totalitarianisms, discriminations. Even in pluralist democracies, democratic ideals of participation and openness coexist with manipulation of public opinion, the reign of various lobbies, formal citizenship, constant diminuation of public participation, etc.

In ethics, where freedom fought all moral taboos in favor of the liberation of the individual, we are faced with the dramatic situations of family break-up and the loss of a sense of sacredness of human life. Though total individual autonomy is more and more of a reality, it has brought unexpected and negative results: loneliness, the problems of marginalized and senior citizens...The severe fall in birthrate affecting industrial countries makes generation replacement impossible. Might not individual autonomy, as we have conceived it, be a threat to the very survival of society? We now live in a universe of fragmented knowledge and, especially, in a universe where the different domains of this knowledge have no link with the only values capable of identifying what is legitimate and what is not.

We live in fact in a civilization devoid of any ultimate meaning: the first civilization, to quote Malraux, which has not been capable of building either a temple or a grave."

07 April 2005

Hooray for books!

Today I took the time to seek out the philosophy section in the library-- what fun! The only sad thing was, with my Spanish, Philosophy, and Communications textbooks, as well as my Spanish-English dictionary, Greek book, binder, and Logic book from Gonzaga, I only had room for 4 more books in my backpack. Oh for backpacks with unlimited space! Still, I managed to cram in Aristotle's Ethics, a collection of Plato's Dialogues, Herodutus' History, and Nietsche's On Rhetoric and Language. I had to save more Aristotle and a Greek lexicon for next time :( And oh! So many more left behind on the shelves, and how rarely are they used! I am awed by the sheer volume of resources available, yet apalled that they are rejected so among my fellow students.

Random humorous incident of the day:
One of my professors, in an attempt to explain the concept of carpe diem, wrote instead carpe deum. She insists that it means "seize the day," and I cannot persuade her of its true meaning- literally, "seize the god."

Ok, so most people don't find that funny...oh well.

Today's thoughts and speculations:
The idea of cultural tolerance pops up frequently at a secular university. What I don't understand is why people presume that knowing or "understanding" a different cultural necessarily generates tolerance. I mean, the more I learn about an immoral society, the more likely I am to reject it. Simple ignorance is not the reason cultures conflict. Hitler didn't slaughter the Jews becasue he didn't know about their culture-- indeed, he slaughtered them because he knew. Evil and ignorance, though related, are not the same.

06 April 2005

This is what busywork does to me:

I so want to go deeper into philosophy, but we've only just started the Sophists and the Socratics so I don't quite feel comfortable writing about them. I might make a fool out of myself. It's highly likely. In class we've been discussing some eastern philosophy- Taoism, Vedism, Confucianism, etc. But I know so little about these that I really can't say much about them. They've got their problems, of course, but eastern philosophy is so...unlinear that it's difficult to evaluate or refute. So I'll leave those alone.

Anyroad, we've got dicussion groups on Friday, so perhaps I will develop a better understanding of the material then. Sorry for the lack of intellect today

05 April 2005

More Parmenides

Ahh, now I have the time to elaborate more on philosophy. I don't have my previous post in front of me at the moment, so this may be a little difficult- forgive me if I misquote myself.

Anyway, and without sounding contradictory (I hope), I have developed a new respect for Parmenides. I haven't changed my opinion about his argument, but after giving it some thought I can't say he's completely off track. Even my own Christian worldview is based on paradox, so I can't exactly expect some pagan to come up with all the answers without bumping into a few "non-explainables."

Here's why I respect the guy: I think a lot of the problems I noticed in his argument before are evidence of the impact our materialistic society has had on me. Yes, even as Chirstians we are sometimes pulled into the world's current. In a "post-modern" society (whatever that's supposed to mean), we want everything to be scientific. Everything needs an "intellectual" disecting before we can accept it as true. And if we can't see it, it must not exist because our senses our supremely rational. We love to rely on our empirical conclusions.

Now I'm not trying to discout the value of science; what I'm saying is that even true, sincere science sometimes fails to come up with an explanation for things. We are fallible, finite human beings and we need to admit it. That's where I agree with Parmenides-- not everything we "sense" or observe is as it appears. I won't go so far as to say it's all an illusion, but I will grant that some things, perhaps many more than we realize, simply defy our human perception. Modern "academics," however, absolutely cannot bear to acknowledge that they don't know all the answers. They delight in being Skeptics, questioning and criticizing theism/the metaphysical without end. But when it's all said and done, what have they to offer? They pride themselves in their knowledge and yet what do they know? Only the suffering and instability of this world. That is what they spend their time observing, after all.

But Parmenides, though also fallible, goes a step beyond this arrogance. He at least can admit that "the One" is infinite, unknowable, far above "all we ask or imagine." And that is an amazing breakthrough for a pagan philosopher.


03 April 2005

Sunday's sky with dropplets laden

As a sort of corrolary to my last post, here's a verse from today's meditation and preparation for worship:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
~Colossians 2:8
Just thought that was a good reminder as I wage war in my secular classes.
On that note, I got my rejection letter from Notre Dame yesterday, which was slightly disappointing. Ok, so they actually put me on a wainting list, but there's little difference especially since they won't contact me until June with a definite answer. So Gonzaga's looking pretty good at the moment, though I never planned it that way. But on the same day ND sent me that letter, Gonzaga sent me one with an updated financial aid package- another scholarship! Anyway, no permanent decision just yet. I really should have applied to a state school...

01 April 2005


Here's a little humor I found in my online wanderings tonight:

An old guru walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Anyway, I thought I'd put in something different from my usual dreary journal entry. Like I said before, philosophy class has been very engaging (and a little confusing so far). But I've managed to muddle through it. Here's something I was trying to argue in class, but once again more poor communication skills got in the way and I made a fool of myself in addition to convincing my prof that I have some inborn "hatred" of these guys :)

Parmenides' Basic Argument
Premise 1: Something is, or something is not.
Premise 2: We can only conceptualize and think about something that is.
Conclusion 1: Therefore, it is impossible to prove that something is not.*

Parmenides goes on to argue that change does not exist, because if it did, that would require us to prove something was, but has changed, and now something is not. Which obviously negates his first conclusion. Similarly, if things cannot change then all we perceive as change is a mere illusion. Thus, according to Parmenides, there is no such thing as change, motion, or flux; all is an infinite, eternal changeless "One."

This argument is, however, very circular when you consider the philosopher's claim that change/motion/finiteness does not exist. This is equivalent to saying that change is not, which defies Parmenides' original conclusion that it is impossible to prove something is not. By asserting that all is One, he outrules the extistence of the Many, thus contradicting the very foundation of his argument (conclusion 1).

All right, now I see why I looked so dumb in class- I really don't have a handle on phrasing this stuff very effectively. Consequently, I think I will begin to use this blog as a forum for my philosophical discourses. Hopefully that will improve my critical thinking skills and my rhetoric, as well as giving me a better understanding of the course material. We'll see how it works out.

Though I don't intend to fully abandon my random musings either...

*Material drawn from Stumpf and Fieser's "Philosophy: History and Problems," (c) 2002.