I love the TED talks. Amazing stuff over there. Run over there and check it out.. i've watched a TON of things but i would like to know what strikes your fancy. let me know!
here's my big rant for today based on two TED talks. How do we create?
Why am i this person? why am i not someone else? I would prefer to be a Japanese heiress, why am i a white American from Ohio?
what Amy Tan talks about around 11 minutes is that we "notice disturbing hints from the universe that were always there." this is what i was talking about in the last post about Serendipity and synchronicity. we strive to gain our focus on the question "Why am i here?"
I have not read A Purpose Driven Life.. so i can't comment on that.. but i do believe that we all have internal blueprints and we have to follow and we get in trouble if we stray too far from these blueprints. Joseph Campbell's simple "follow your bliss" helps but we must be mindful of our bliss and our pursuit and what effect that takes on others. the question then of "why am i here" becomes a problem of big sorts, esp. if the universe is telling us in such obvious fashion. how can we miss such obvious cues?
the Christian answer is because we're fallen. The science answer is that our brians are miswired. Either one points to the fact that humans are limited and flawed.
i'm not in the Sinner Theological World... so i don't really buy the "inherently and permanently no good" of the original sin doctrine. i think that once we gain our focus, we can overcome a lot of flaws inherently built. God is helping in this process the whole time, helping us to wake up and become who we are and who we're meant to be.
In the book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Helath, Wealth, and Happiness Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein points out how weird our brains actually are. Humans are very illogical: we eat more from larger plates, care twice as much about losing money as about gaining it, fret over rare events like plane crashes instead of common ones like car crashes. We need what Thaler and Sunstein call a "libertarian paternalism" that lure us to make the right choice. our brains are really weird.
but what about trauma? what about those events that happen to us that are SO traumatic that we will never get over them? things like rape, abuse, oppression, dehumanization... what about those things? these are results of what is attached to our memory. what is memory then? a collection of protein chains.
Neuroscience has discovered how we remember events in our brains through protein chains. An NYU neuroscientist Joe LeDoux, who studies fear memories in rats, tells us how with a one shock, one tone, and one drug injection, you can bust up this piece of matter, and prevent a rat from every making a memory. LeDoux’s research goes sci-fi, when he and his colleague Karim Nader start trying to erase memories. And Nader applies this research to humans suffering from PTSD. We heard about this when we were at Rolex in Lexington KY on the radio. Listen to it here! IT'S AWESOME! check it out, as this is the basis this post revolves around.
Particularly traumatic memories appear to be captured by two separate parts of the brain: the hippocampus, the normal seat of memory, and the amygdala, one of the brain's emotional centers. People incapable of forming long-term memories thanks to hippocampal damage can nonetheless form subconscious memories of traumatic events if their amygdala is intact. Someone suffering from the Memento condition would likely have a feeling of general unease encountering a person or a situation that had caused them harm in the past, though they wouldn't be able to put their finger on what was making them uncomfortable. In Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind, something like this happens. There are several instances in the movie where Clementine appears to have a trace emotional memory of an event that has been wiped from her waking mind.
Theoretically, if you could block protein synthesis in a human brain while triggering a memory, you could make a targeted erasure.
So not only does this show how we don't really remember who we are accurately, we don't preceive reality accurately, and we're generally in quite a state. once we realize this, maybe we won't be so hyper about disagrements. maybe the word HERETIC won't be a warcry anymore, but mean "to choose" like the greek implies.
this is post-modern thought. no memory is verifiably true. there is no objective reality only reality viewed from our context, with our prejudices and world view. or maybe there IS objective reality, but our brains can't handle it, misinterpret it, and ultimately misread it. so if there is objective reality, all we get from it are glimpses, small epiphanies. When we remember and view reality, it is an act of creation. Every thing we do is an act of creation. where then is God?
well Biblically this fulfills that we are active in God's creation that we are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:13-16). The apophatic tradition focuses on a spontaneous or cultivated individual experience of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception, an experience often unmediated by the structures of traditional organized religion or learned thought and behavior. so that place where words fail you.. that is God. can you describe what it was like the first time you saw the ocean? first time you fell in love? that indescribable part is where God lives.
The Divine is ineffable, an abstract experience that can only be recognized - that is, human beings cannot describe the essence of God, and therefore all descriptions if attempted will be ultimately false and conceptualization should be avoided (like using pronouns).
This is a super long post... with a lot of stuff in here for y'all to watch, listen to, and consider. so i'm gonna go on vaction here as i have to write my first sermon for my field education placement. so i'll let you catch up, please comment on what you think after you've listened and watched all this, and then we'll chat! i'll post next on July 1st.