Tag Archive | Science

“Race” should have been made obsolete a long time ago.

❤ ((!egad! 😳 the pretty red heart has been changed to a black one! I like my hearts red!… ottoke???!!!))

————————————————- To the post now (updated with info on 2 documentary films about the First Nations):

The conclusion is this:

Thus, given current scientific data, biological races do not exist among modern humans today, and they have never existed in the past. Given such clear scientific evidence as this and the research data of so many other biologists, anthropologists, and geneticists that demonstrate the nonexistence of biological races among humans, how can the “myth” of human races still persist?

If races do not exist as a biological reality, why do so many people still believe that they do? In fact, even though biological races do not exist, the concept of race obviously is still a reality, as is racism. These are prevalent and persistent elements of our everyday lives and generally accepted aspects of our culture.

Thus, the concept of human races is real. It is not a biological reality, however, but a cultural one. Race is not a part of our biology, but it is definitely a part of our culture. Race and racism are deeply ingrained in our history.

Excerpt from: “There Is No Such Thing as Race” by Robert Wald Sussman, here:

http://www.newsweek.com/there-no-such-thing-race-283123

heart  Here’s a similar article: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/01/racism-science-human-genomes-darwin

There’s no sense in referring to persons by the color of their skin. It’s a subtle form of discrimination at the least.

On to a related topic…

500-nations

This is an excellent huge documentary film first put out in 1995 in a series of parts. It was hosted by Kevin Costner and it is accessible in YouTube (just look for it); or simply buy the DVD. It has also come out in book form so you can try looking for it in your favorite bookstores.

If you hear somebody say that this or that civilization was the best ever, caution, because that person has not actually done research and so the rest of what he is saying could just be his opinion backed by half-truths (ergo, not the truth).

If you liked 500 Nations or if you are interested in the current events associated with the First Nations (American Indians) then you won’t regret seeing this documentary (it looks at the Lakota today; and please “share” it as well as download it if you can 🙂 THANKS!):

heart Peace heart

heart

heart

heart 🙂 I made my ‘hearts’ for here 🙂

on Wolfhart Pannenberg, theology, and science. Part 1

Hello. Good morning. (An information on fractals is at the bottom of the description for Chaos Theory.) 

When my professor finishes marking my paper (A Recapitulation of Pannenberg’s “The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences” in: The Historicity of Nature, PA:Templeton, 2008, 25–39.) I will upload it here.

But first, as preliminaries, I want to share a few information that served as submitted-supplement to that paper and which I thought was necessary to have at least the minimum grip on in order to appreciate Pannenberg’s above-mentioned book-chapter.

That is, I did some readings on these in order to ready myself for the class report. Additionally, having a glimpse of the enormity of subject areas that Pannenberg has been trying to link [together] makes one appreciative of the breadth of Pannenberg’s outlook on the connectivity and source of everything: God. I wouldn’t have appreciated Pannenberg [that] much had I no inkling at all of concepts he had in his sights while doing his theological reflections in relation to the natural world.

I’m grateful to authors who make available on the web easily understood basic information on specialized areas of knowledge, like the ones here that I found, below.

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Here is the Supplements now [very sligthly edited]:

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SUPPLEMENT PAGE | PANNENBERG: The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences. [Oberseminar SS2014]

DEFINITIONS.
  ♦  natural science = any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena (Merriam-Webster)
  ♦  quantum physics = the study or description of components and processes within the atom
  ♦  indeterminacy in quantum physics = Heisenberg’s term ‘inaccuracy relations’ (Ungenauigkeitsrelationen) or ‘indeterminacy relations’ (Unbestimmtheitsrelationen) was dealt with in his 1927 papers where he said of sub-atomic particles (paraphrased here ->) “You cannot know the position of a particle and how fast it’s moving with arbitrary precision at the same moment… The more accurately you know the position, more uncertain you are about the momentum and vice versa… So we have essentially given up on predicting the position of a particle accurately, because of the uncertainty principle. All we can do is predict the probabilities.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/basics-of-quantum-mechanics-for-dummies.html ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/) both accessed 20June2014
  ♦  chaos theory = the study of how even simple systems can display complex behaviour. These systems can seem straightforward — but are very sensitive to initial starting conditions and this can cause seemingly ‘random’ effects. (homeschooling-ideas.com)
  ♦  field = in physics, region throughout which a force may be exerted; examples are the gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields that surround, respectively, masses, electric charges, and magnets. Fields are used to describe all cases where two bodies separated in space exert a force on each other. Each type of force has its own appropriate field. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia)
♦  for descriptions on spacetime, etc, this webpage may be of help: http://www.ws5.com/spacetime/
_____________
What is Chaos Theory?                     http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/ [accessed 20June2014]

Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. […] By understanding the complex, chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere, a balloon pilot can “steer” a balloon to a desired location. By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.

PRINCIPLES OF CHAOS:
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. A more rigorous way to express this is that small changes in the initial conditions lead to drastic changes in the results.
UNPREDICTABILITY: Because we can never know all the initial conditions of a complex system in sufficient (i.e. perfect) detail, we cannot hope to predict the ultimate fate of a complex system. Even slight errors in measuring the state of a system will be amplified dramatically, rendering any prediction useless. Since it is impossible to measure the effects of all the butterflies (etc) in the World, accurate long-range weather prediction will always remain impossible.
ORDER / DISORDER: Chaos is not simply disorder. Chaos explores the transitions between order and disorder, which often occur in surprising ways.
MIXING: Turbulence ensures that two adjacent points in a complex system will eventually end up in very different positions after some time has elapsed. Examples: Two neighboring water molecules may end up in different parts of the ocean or even in different oceans. A group of helium balloons that launch together will eventually land in drastically different places. Mixing is thorough because turbulence occurs at all scales. It is also nonlinear: fluids cannot be unmixed.
FEEDBACK: Systems often become chaotic when there is feedback present. A good example is the behavior of the stock market. As the value of a stock rises or falls, people are inclined to buy or sell that stock. This in turn further affects the price of the stock, causing it to rise or fall chaotically.
FRACTALS: Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. […] Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc.

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That’s it. For a quick peek at fractals you may click on my Home tab, above, and the page opened will have a few illustrations of fractals beneath that themselves are links to explanatory pages on them.

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

among us

come, get out from your enclosure and stand among us… [the trees say]

we are all creatures of metabolism, come out where your vibration is affirmed, supported, upheld, played out, and so glow strongly by your own light…

come, let us rejoice of life together, let us be thankful together,

stand among us under the sky …

“7.83 Hz alive” by sacadalang 2014

… winter may come anytime, we remain …

7.83 Hz, the Schumann frequency, is the earth’s and the living organism’s frequency. It’s one of the explanations that science has come up with to the question as to why we feel very good whenever we are outdoors. All of us who are alive, and so the earth, vibrate to this frequency. Persistent disturbance to this vibration becomes physically manifested over time, as a health aberration and the like. So it’s not just actually the loads of oxygen and sunlight of the outdoors that affect us, but rather phenomena on the subatomic level, too.

[ this was taken at the onset of winter, and so the other trees surrounding have already shed their leaves; likewise with the green-sky view at the post previous to this ]

 

Faith and Rubik’s cube

The Rubik’s cube is fascinating. It reminds me of what life is like. Rubik's cube 1 _green

Life is a series of acts in order to put things into order. Order order order. For me I see life, mine at least, as being put into order at some other parts while [I] am occupied with putting into order some other different part.

I have forgotten about this feature in my life until I recently spent time getting to know a 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube. To my delight I saw that when I try to get a side into a single color the other sides may form distinguishable patterns all by themselves.

Rubik's cube 2 _redThere are those who, like me, do not congregate towards the “very” end of the “orderly” spectrum. I may be called lazy by some, but I know I’m not lazy. It’s just that the way my clock runs isn’t the kind that will stand out in the corporate world. Instead, my clock runs in such a way that I take the time to appreciate patterns that aren’t interesting to others. No, I don’t have the aptitude for the mathematical way of describing patterns, so that’s not what I’m talking about, either. There’s just too much stuff needed to be able to math-talk that I run out of time for them. Nevertheless it would be wonderful if I, too, like the mathematicians am able to cook up a statement describing how the color patterns come up when this and that turning is done on a Rubik’s cube.

Rubik's cube 3 _nearlyThe way I, or you, put our lives into order may be objectionable to others. There are those who express disapproval at the way we do things. It could also be that we try to put our lives into order in such a way that we won’t be at the receiving end of a disapproval. Whichever way it is we do feel the tension between these two ways tugging at us. For me it is couched as “what should I do?”

We all have our own pattern-appreciation-languages ::: musical notes, weaving patterns,  words on a page, lines+shapes+lighting, or sound+movement+lighting, angles+weights, trajectory+speed, food tastes, taxonomy, almost-no-words-but-full-of-thoughts (e.g., the haiku) … et cetera

Rubik's cube 4 _nearlyThere are also those who, like me, aren’t experts at a particular pattern-language but all the same we are uplifted whenever we spot an evidence of one.

If you believe in God then this shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Thousands of years ago humans have already become aware that God causes patterns to form. He puts order out of chaos.

Rubuik's cube 5 _orange

At center stage, my Rubik’s cube on my table where my study things are pushed to the side for the moment.

I am typical of my folks. We get to laugh at almost anything, not the least at our own selves. It helps us cope. It helps us from going down that road which is lethal to those who have “nothing”. I needed to put that within quotes because, one, it is subjective, and two, “nothing” doesn’t seem to exist. That’s what I understood the last time I looked up science. But, I fervently request you, don’t discuss creatio ex nihilo with me yet because I haven’t read up much on that. If you want, in relation to it, you can look at discussions about an ancient Mesopotamian composition that starts with “When on high” … 😀 that’s all I can remember for now 😀

I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but just in case you are also like us who are nakakapit sa patalim (living on the edge of a knife) then let the lesson I discovered from the Rubik’s cube encourage you. Just keep on no matter how hard things are going because somehow there’s a pattern forming at the other side, waiting for its perfect time to come up in your life’s story.

Johnny Mnemonic Revisited

Keanu Reeves as Just-Johnny = Johnny Smith

Keanu Reeves as Just-Johnny = Johnny Smith

When the 2021-setting sci-fi Johnny Mnemonic film came out in 1995 320-gigabytes seemed to have been an enormous amount of data, akin to one’s impression of how much the Library of Congress holds. Of course it holds much much more than that, and 320 GB is paltry nowadays when terabyte external drives are stacked on shelves much like choices of fruits or potato chips in a grocery store. But Johnny Mnemonic will always be something big for me.

I saw it during my getting-to-know-Keanu-Reeves-days many years ago, when I didn’t even notice that the Just-Johnny role doesn’t need much acting skills. Which didn’t make me conclude that Keanu Reeves couldn’t act, thank goodness. Whatever could be said about him what remains is that this actor projects respectable charisma and he’s among my enduring favorites.

Johnny Mnemonic was disturbing to me then, and even now after I rewatched it, for the fact that I felt that it used the most extreme avenue for information transfer: the human brain. It was disturbing to see that it could become possible that the brain encasement be legitimately violently invaded for electronic purposes.

brain functions by studyblue.com

brain functions by studyblue.com

Yet while I was rewatching it I realized that the idea of using the brain for induced memory storage is fantastic (even) without foreign-object implants, like that chip that Just-Johnny had.

The induced-memory/ies would just be existing in the neurons themselves. The human brain has more than enough “space” to hold such extra memories — this with the assumption that we use only about 10% of its capacity. But please excuse errors in my statements here. I’m not a brain expert; just a thought dabbler. What’s sure is that the brain is a little understood organ of our body.

In another way Johnny Mnemonic can be seen as an exploration into the wonder of the human brain, brought into popular media. However, the violence in that film seemed to have downplayed this feature. That’s another thing that imprinted that movie into my psyche — it was violent. Stabbings. Bazooka hits. Big city filth. Monster companies and disenfranchised population. A courier job that traded childhood memories for a brain implant. A strong antagonist is dressed as a preacher, and it’s only now after I discovered that he’s Dolph Lundgren that his scary effect on me has lessened.

Recently I noticed that when I download a video I’d get only images and no sound. Sure enough I found that other people are having the same problem as I do and the discussions on the solutions is replete with jargon that had me jacking up my logic fast or else I wouldn’t be able to catch any of the drift.

TRON 1982

TRON 1982 protagonists

Thankfully I understood enough to realize that there’s nothing wrong with my codecs and I need not uninstall anything. That in fact it’s not my doing. Incidentally I had figured out earlier that the safest choice, for me at least, is the webm file. I used to choose either flv or mp4 but they’ve become more of miss than hit for me. So far so good and I hope there’ll be no more seemingly-malicious hitches anymore, and forgive me if they aren’t malicious at all but most people out there seem to think so. This takes me back to Johnny Mnemonic.

What’s malicious in Johnny Mnemonic’s story is that the big-time company/ies block vital and can-be-easily-had information from getting out into the people. But here’s the third reason why it remained big time for me: a dolphin’s brain is a main conduit for information capture and release. If a dolphin could do that then how much more a human, though there’s the mention of the sonic waves that we can’t detect to consider, which gets me a bit puzzled now because they’re not electromagnetic waves. I could have heard it wrong. Oh, well, at least I took to the dolphin faster than Just-Johnny did.

TRON 1982 poster

TRON 1982 poster

Now my thoughts are threatening to go whichever way, because suddenly while I was writing the paragraph above I thought of TRON and his fight against the Master Computer. But I can’t accommodate TRON here now or I’ll get off my track.

I should be talking about my wonder of the human brain here, which basically is what Johnny Mnemonic has tampered with. Way back during my paperback-novel-reading days I got introduced into the wonder of the travelling bard of the ancient Celtic societies. He’s trained to memorize his people’s knowledge through songs and stories and it is through him that subsequent generations learn of their past. He’s responsible for training one who will follow after him and in this way precious knowledge is not lost. In that story that I read an antagonist hit a bard, causing his skull to be broken (sorry about that, but I had to retell it like that).

The author lamented the tragic loss of all those lengthy sagas and lore, all stored within that helpless brain of a now lifeless mystic. I did cry when I read that and it’s among those paperback-scenes that I will never forget. It’s like experiencing a world where all information within books and libraries have been burned down (which thankfully got saved in Aeon Flux in glass-like panels, but I can’t talk of Aeon now…)

a druid, bard, or poet

a druid, bard, or poet

Going back three paragraphs past, I was about to say that an okay-functioning notebook doesn’t get examined by me until I notice that accessing files and webpages are getting frustratingly slow or something’s not like the way it used to be. By looking for causes and wanting to overcome my frustration I get thrown into a world of fanciful jargon, like my newest vocabulary: splitter. If you’re not into computers then don’t worry if you don’t know what this is, yet. Without anybody to help me with computer troubles I have already figured out that I could survive just by learning from the web community itself. I’ve discovered that it’s not only me who’s having this or that problem and that there are lots of people out there willing to help out. Beautiful beautiful world.

Now, what I was about to say again is this: that as much as a single personal computer is like a brain [!break! I’m listening now to Joe Hisaishi’s First Love and I’m going berserk because I didn’t know it’s his and it’s among my favorite sound tracks, this one in The Legend/Taewangsasingi  🙂 ]… as much as the computer is like the brain the cyberspace is also like a bigger brain. But then I’m a member of the cult of the human brain and I do believe that it’s more wonderful than the web, as much as I believe that human cloning will never be successful.

a  druid, bard, or poet

a druid, bard, or poet

If, just as in TRON, it’s possible to have all the body’s particles be digitized — and that means a one-to-one coding has been achieved — then that means memory locations can also be specified. But my argument is this: the neurons are not fixed entities but are rather, like all the human cells, dynamic. If it becomes possible to be accurate on the permutations of the totality of neural functions then memory functions can also be tracked. I doubt if this is possible, much as I doubt if it’s possible for a successful human cloning. A cloning of the physical parts, maybe yes, but the human is not only cells and tissues. Cells and tissues by themselves will not work unless there’s a “something” else that is added (e.g., in a specifically comatose patient), and then it’s a fully functioning person. I did ask my organic chemist classmate about this and he said, yes, modern technology can now successfully produce a human clone. I did ask my teacher where the soul would come from, and he said, well, God can work in indirect ways. But I didn’t press anymore because I didn’t want to compromise anyone with my fanciful speculations. At least what’s clear is that the manifestation of a genetic trait is the function of groups of genes plus the environment, a topic yet little understood nowadays.

The jargon that computer experts use just throws back at me the fact that information handling is a very specific arena. An mp4 is a world away from an mp3: one engages both my vision and hearing while the other has no visuals at all. This specificity is what our brains deal with all the time, a coordination of visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, proprioceptive, equilibrioceptive, nociceptive, thermoceptive and chronoceptive information handling, and simultaneous reactions, and more. Don’t be stressed about the 6th to 10th terms; they’re also new to me  🙂 . It’s all extended to the nerve system, hence throughout the body, at micro-world speeds. There’s storage and garbaging, filtering and enhancing, recycling, dissolution and recalling — all the complicated stuff happening in just seconds within 1 person, 1 baby, 1 elderly, even 1 dolphin!

Dolphin in Johnny Mnemonic

Dolphin in Johnny Mnemonic

Haah! Now I’m irrevocably lost and can’t return to Johnny. But as this post gets disseminated to individual brains out there via cyberspace then small chunks of sense here and there among the paragraphs above will be perceived by one person or another. Bastante. I’m satisfied with that. As much as I wanted a coherent composition I didn’t exert enough will to muster the will power to do so. Nevertheless, the mind isn’t confined to just logic, the kind that has a neat row of arguments. Intuition and random functions are also important features, and they sometimes manifest in one wanting to stop crazy studying for a moment and go configure into words a collection of recollections, like this one here.

It’s now Yiruma playing with his lovely lovely A River Flows In You. I wish for a river to flow within you. I wish everyone a peaceful day/evening and may you be the blessing that you wish to be.

♥  Muchisimas gracias to the owners of the illustrations above.

We Are Worth Dying For

tall tree“The theology of the cross … is nevertheless first of all a statement about God, and what it says about God is not that God thinks humankind so wretched that it deserves death and hell, but that God thinks humankind and the whole creation so good, so beautiful, so precious in its intention and its potentiality, that its actualization, its fulfillment, its redemption is worth dying for.”

leaves and sky— Douglas John Hall (The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World. 2003. Minneapolis: Fortress)

🙂  I picked this up from the doctoral paper of Mary Christine Lohr entitled Finding a Lutheran Theology of Religions: Ecclesial Traditions and Interfaith Dialogue submitted to the University of Exeter in 2009  🙂

I can’t get enough of reading the part God thinks humankind and the whole creation so good, so beautiful, so precious in its intention and its potentiality, that its actualization, its fulfillment, its redemption is worth dying for again and again. I can’t help but be emotional while I think of the biosphere with all the rain forests and the fauna therein, white and yellow plumeriaall the continents and the peoples in their varied songs and dances, all the music of articulated languages, all the dreams recorded in words and works of art and thriving organizations, all the curiosity bursting forth in scientific theories, inventions and space exploration that has now reached beyond the Solar System. The human is beautiful. The biosphere is wonderful. To see that it is so is just as lovely.

Months ago I met a physicist who was a bit at a loss for words when I asked point blank on his views on the world-apparently-being-slowly-destroyed. fall magicFrom his response I gathered that there are movements in nature that we haven’t perceived yet. He seemed to tell me that science knows that what we have found out for now is not enough to speak of what’s real. I felt then that I was listening to a scientist who had been humbled by what he has so far perceived of the structure of nature. I also felt that there was a hint of naive hope in his tone. In turn, I, too, was humbled in that I saw my ‘greediness’ in wanting to put markers and pointers and enclosures to things and phenomena in accommodating them into my scheme of understanding.

I understood a bit more then of how I could not do that with Creation. Creation is awesome, and that’s why it’s beautiful. Something that leaves us awestruck isn’t something that can be easily boxed, a mountain village reflectednor can even be boxed at all. Life and living cannot be outlined just within sociological formulations, nor ideological dogmas, nor faith systems that render us constrained and betrayed. Especially that Creation is a reflection of God.

There’s got to be more to Creation than just objects that ‘need’ to be defined, classified, organized, and manipulated. In the phenomenon of the Cross is a picture that could help make it clear to us how radical the valuing of Life, of Being, is…

…may everyone of us find that which keeps us breathing, gives us space for growth, and so Live…

[Thank you to the webpages where I got the pictures above from. Peace.]           

on communication

I brood over communication. I’m thinking of whether we all of us see the same hues. Since we each of us  are unique individuals with body cells programmed by our unique DNA codes, then we shouldn’t necessarily have exactly similar rod and cone cells in our eyes. Also, only a single pair of eyes can occupy a point from which to view an object. Angles of reflecting and refracting light from source to object to eye would be different then. Hence, the red that I see wouldn’t be the red that you see. The color #b10611 may not necessarily appear similar to any two persons in the world.

love♥  <<< this is in the color #b10611.

We each of us perceive differently and yet we are capable of grasping each other’s perception. I simply find this amazing. When I woke up yesterday the thought of dust-laden mucus being directed by cilia outwards of my body—not anywhere else—made me seriously question as to which of the two, cilia or mucus, should the will of expulsion be attributed to. I thought then that the mucus is a non-living substance. Therefore the life, the willing-to-happen, is in the cilia. The cilia ‘know’ what to do, so to speak, and they do it. Amazing. Billions of microscopic cilia in my respiratory tract ‘talking’ to each other so that the pollution in the air I breathe in is barred from entering my vital functions.

This webpage, from where I got this picture from, has an easily understandable explanation.

bronchicilia from bio.davidson.edu

I was about to say that everything that has life communicate with its own kind, but then I realize that the-making-of-things-to-happen is not confined within forms that we tag as having “life”, or alive. I was thinking that all cells withing our body communicate with each other, but then when I get down to the basic building blocks I end up with just aggregates of proteins interacting with each other according to the chemical laws. However, I also think of the virus that’s dead outside a living cell but alive when it’s inside. So the wood particles comprising my table react with each other, yes, but not in the same way as the particles within the pine tree outside my window.

Of course when we really get down on it everything we can observe are nothing but just permutations of chemical configurations, held together by the fundamental forces—at least this is how we know things to be. But the matter of perception-comprehension-communication between us humans are also permutations of possibilities (and so there’s a similarity there, but more). You may or may not be able to understand what I say. You may or may not be able to understand what I say the way I meant for you to understand it. You may be able to grasp something from what I say which is entirely outside of my perception.

happiness is by Charlie Brown

So I find it amazing when love and life and laughter and beauty and hope and friendship is communicated between persons of differing worldviews and backgrounds and experiences and convictions and aspirations.

I say that there is a sort of a quantum gap (my term for that which is traversed in a quantum leap, and I’m using them here for mental pictures only) between a non-life and something  alive. Life is such a profound mystery. This marvel is manifested in the way living things communicate. Their interactions with one another—cell to cell, ant to ant, mind to mind, for instance—might just seem to be on the spectrum of matter interacting with each other but the possibilities defy quantification. Science has been very good at quantifying so many things and has been taming matter for a while now, but Life still defies quantification. It eludes our grasp, cannot be boxed.

Peanuts gang

I’m reminded of what Jesus of Nazareth told Nicodemus, that the spirit like the wind is there but one cannot predict its movement. Whenever I wonder at what moves life I think of this wind and then I am humbled by the many things that I have no comprehension of but yet are evident. It is evident that the world is in shambles, yes, but one has only to look at obscure nooks and one will see that life and goodness and hope are thriving and are spreading, being communicated from one living being to another. Things that deaden are overwhelmingly everywhere—concrete or plastic everything, garbage in mass media, our inner struggles, etc.—yet we only need to look at the green leaves and know that they, too, cover the earth. I only need to remind myself that the next person’s skin is as vulnerable as mine, which means I am among humans who like myself have stories being carried around all the time, everywhere.

This communication thing, it’s as elusive as Heisenberg’s electron, but it can be done and in many different ways. Cells, and humans, thrive by communicating. I realize that communication, in its many forms, is as vital as food and air. No wonder it, too, is so enjoyable.

(Many thanks to the creators of the Peanuts drawings.)

We’re supposed to live with dirt

A classmate once told me that had germs been visible to the naked eye none in our face-area would be visible at all. It’d be so covered with bacteria there’ll be no part of our faces left to be seen.  I remember how we laughed over the ghastly picture it presented to our imagination, but at the same time sobered by its truth.

I once again put off the the urge to transform my room into a spick-and-span condition. I’d just have to  continue hoping that no one come to visit me for now — my room’s state of disarray is embarrassing. (In case an unexpected visitor does drop by my saving grace is that my room doesn’t smell. Aside from maintaining ventilation I’ve followed some people’s tip to leave coffee grounds in open containers at a corner of the room. Also whenever I remember to do so, which isn’t too often, I wipe portions of the walls near the stove with vinegar-and-water solution. I don’t use air fresheners.)

Gye Baek ep11 (1) Gye Baek ep11 (2)Gye Baek ep11 (3)Gye Baek ep11 (4)Gye Baek ep11 (5)Gye Baek ep11 (6)Gye Baek ep11 (7)Gye Baek ep11 (8)Gye Baek ep11 (9)I have too much clutter. The books are all over, piled or stacked, on shelves and on the floor. Binders and folders line up on the shelf and on the floor. Boxes are under the table and stacked over the door. Condiments and pots and pans are beneath the teevee table. Of my 2 tables, only one-third of one has a cleared space, the other has one-fourth only. The window sill has an array of plants on big yogurt canisters. I don’t conceal the trash containers (1 for general trash, 1 for plastics, 1 for metals, 1 for paper). Since I have to be non-dependent  I decided it best to save little things that might be useful for “emergency” situations, like strings and bottles and card-boards and canisters. (However, I recently decided to discard some and resolved to not add into the collection anymore.)

I feel I ought to get more organized but the truth is that for me it’s less stressful to let things be than to go against the law of entropy. I just haven’t thought much about it but I may be “lazy” by nature — because the decades of academic discipline (waking up at 5 or 5:30 AM on school days since 8 years old) have not really “disciplined” me. I procrastinate. I focus according to interest and mood. I must have an inner motivation otherwise I yawn every minute. My brain now refuses to take in lists of vocabulary because I don’t have to take quizzes anymore. I can sit up for 8 hours straight on an interesting topic I’m surfing about but I have to get up from my seat, out of impatience, after every page of reading from a book that I “must” look into in preparation for a class.

I remember the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness”, the one drummed into us by our elementary school teachers. I guess for us then the bottom line of that was self-discipline. Whoa. I haven’t thought of that one for a long time now. So, what of it now, have I gone far from being “godly”? Hahahaha.

I learned from a Bavarian senior that even until today the Hausfrau (housewife) isn’t as looked-up to as the Karrierefrau (career woman). For many the housewife is someone “lazy”. I’m inclined to think that this absurd belief stems from the industrialization era, when concepts of just-in-time and bundy-clock precision had to be catered to in the name of “development” and, of course, profit. Hence, money. Hence, prestige. How can the housewife be associated with laziness? That’s absurd. By common sense argument her job (or the househusband’s) is the most crucial in any society.

What I am sure, though, that for now I find myself agreeing with Brian A. Haggerty’s “…there remains the fundamental question of why efficiency should occupy such a place of importance in society.”* He’s discussing a bit on how we are obsessed with, among other things, efficiency — so much so that we discard those that we find “inefficient”, like those who are of no use anymore in the industrial arena, specifically the aged.

I am inefficient in organizing my room so that it stays visitor-presentable all the time but then I think of my intestines that need bacteria in order to function. To what extent do I “clean up”? I think of the decomposers of the rotting things in the soil, and in my large intestines. I think of the ever-present germs in my oral cavity. I think of faces I’d meet on the streets (and mine in the mirror) had bacteria been non-invisible. Dirt is part of life.

In my part of the world body “odor” is suppressed. We’re efficient in it so much so that a breaking of this norm, to a certain generally accepted intensity, is considered an act of misconduct and is reprehensible. The morning full-bath is an understood must, and if possible one can’t be found to not have taken a bath before going out of the house for the day’s business. One isn’t free to smell bad. Everyone seems to disapprove of it.

I didn’t disapprove at all at Cho-young sniffing after Gye Baek (episode 11). Humans do smell. — Why shouldn’t Gye Baek smell? Why am I not free to be smelly? When and how and where did it ever start that the scent of a human is associated with negativity? How has it happened that something as natural and as “common sense” as the smell of a living human body be an avenue for discrimination? — It makes little sense to me. Each one has a particular smell and it is a mark of individuality, of particularity, of personhood — why should it be suppressed? Why are we so obsessed with the efficiency to not-smell/smell-“good”?

Which reminds me of my none-too-white teeth. Hahahaha. The craze to make the teeth white is frightening. I put turmeric in my food. I drink coffee and tea. I’m afraid I’d be punishing my enamel if I brush too hard and too frequently. I’d rather have “colored” teeth than stop using turmeric. Then there’s the matter of shampooing the hair everyday. Crazy. Even the prestigious maiko (geisha-in-training) washes her hair once a week.

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*”Out of the House of Slavery: On the Meaning of the Ten Commandments” (1978) p.81.

Note: Thanks a million to the site where I got my snapshots from.