Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The curse of intelligence

Named for the shock value. It is not a curse!! I often am sad at the fact that I cannot pursue ideas, commit to pursuits or refresh relationships that have fallen off my day-to-day radar. There is so much I want to do with my eternity! – I wonder if THAT will be enough time?

St Cletus – Ora pro nobis.

St Cletus – Ora pro nobis. This is a very efficient way of praying. Consider that the Saints reside in the presence of God himself and that they have an eternity ahead of them. I can in 3 seconds invoke the help of one whose prayers are clearly desirable to God and probably more intense and more prolonged than I have time for here below. In fact by turning over the petition to the free will of a saint I never know how much "time" and effort they will spend looking after me - - - one prayer, uttered early in my youth, to Saint Cletus may by his graciousness lead to a lifetime of intercessions and graces won by his prayers to God for me. Wow!


Skeptometer. John Of ’Worke introduced me to this wonderful term. It seems that one of the deplorable results of our indoctrination-style school curriculum these days is that people have not learned how to be appropriately skeptical. (I won’t even get into how easy that makes the advertisers’ jobs!!) Basically, as we gain experience we start to learn who we SHOULDN’T believe unconditionally. We look for inconsistencies. We learn to look for signs that might indicate closer examination is warranted. I guess this is one of the elements of wisdom. And it is why we expect that people who are young don’t have fully functionional skeptometers. – and why we expect adults to gain accuracy on their skeptometers as they become seasoned with life. The term itself is brilliant. In one word I can communicate with my friends the whole idea. And it is simple code to refer to someone who’s skeptometer is broken. To refer to my skeptometer pointing to redline as I am hearing a story related via email (about, for instance, someone from a small African nation that wants me to help them recover their lost millions…)

Closely related, perhaps, is the fact that TAC graduates have come to be known by the phrase “careful readers of text” by many in the higher education world. And I believe it is used in an attempted pejorative way sometimes. But I wear the title as proudly as that of “geek”. I would not surrender the tendency to be a “careful reader of text” – in fact I work to maintain it. The tendency is what helps sharpen my skeptometer! It was funny to hear it for the first time because, again, the term describes the situation elegantly and accurately. The method at TAC, of course, includes plenty of calls of “can you cite the text for that Mr. Honey?”

Monday, February 13, 2006

Movies Can Be Worthwhile

I don’t really like to chat that much. It doesn’t suit my taste. Yet I love a good argument – not the fistfight sort of course – the spirited but logical dialogue gets me going. I find myself trying to turn small talk into something bigger all the time. Some topics lend themselves to this – like the discussion of movies. Almost any movie yields one or two topics of universal content – be it a positive or negative example or even an occasion to recognize privation!

A list of favorite movies would be bad without an indication as to WHY the movies are on the list. Wow that would be a lot of work. Maybe SOMEDAY I will do that.

Here's a few that have so many things in them I don't have to elaborate - you can begin on your own to analyze these:
Casablanca, I Remember Mama, Seven Samurai, Gone With the Wind, A Man for All Seasons. (Any good Shakespeare rendition).


Early in life we learn mostly through our senses. Even what we learn from others looks through the heavily-tinted glasses of sense-experience. As we age we learn to see through others eyes (an expression which stands for all senses here). In that way we become wise – looking beyond ourselves and beyond our natural instincts into a world we more and more are responsible for ourselves. I wonder if the person who becomes wise begins even to understand what was hidden from his gender early in life – begins to understand some of what belongs to only the other gender in the early years.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Every human on earth has been trapped in time. All events are sequential. Yet we are given the inestimable gift of intellect so that we may understand beyond the moment. We can remember the past, witness cause and effect and guess the future. Yet we still only know at 10 what we have learned before 10. And in this respect we are very limited by time – and also by those events which began to shape our temperaments and understandings. In fact the current trend is to assume that the earliest events are the only real indications of who we become. It is as if these events trap us into a lifetime confined to a restricted allowable set of consequences as if life were a syllogism whose principles were all in place before the age of reason.

This is not wholly untrue but it is vastly deficient. Just as I am composed of feelings and intellect I am also privy to sensation and revelation. I must believe that no person is so bereft of will that he cannot at any time grow more wise. And so I would not have so much emphasis placed on merely my youthful experiences – which I tend to find so hard to recall anyway!! It bugs me that so many "modern" people think everything can be blamed on some youthful experience rather than their own decisions.