What would you do if….? [Ghosts, demons, and the supernatural]

ghost

So two oddly connected events, what-call-you, occurred over the past few days. After the first, I woke with this blog topic in mind. After the second, I knew I had to.

The first was a dream that got me thinking. In my dream I was plagued by this creature/thing/person who would appear at random once a month, and stab me with a knife in the fleshy part of my right shoulder and promptly disappear. After this happened a few times, I started seeking help from any one and any where I could, eventually leading me to some sort of spiritual leader. The words “I don’t care what I have to do, I’ll do anything” or something of the extent was uttered.

Upon waking, I was immediately thoughtful about it and thought to myself: “Huh. As someone who doesn’t believe in the supernatural, what would it take for me to seek supernatural/spiritual help?”

A day or two later, I was sitting on my couch doing something or another, snuggled in my throw, and started calling for one of my 3 cats to come cuddle. I look around and start calling, until I look into my bedroom where I see 2, unmoving, glowing eyes. Of course I knew this was one of my 3 cats, but the way they were reflecting were just very eery. Especially since the cat was not coming when called.

Well, I start looking around for my other cats and eventually two of them show themselves. I look back, the eyes are still there looking directly at me. I point it out to my husband, he agreed that they looked very eerie and remarks “I swear to God if it’s not Eva (the 3rd cat) we’re leaving this apartment.” We’ve come to a mutual agreement beforehand that if any bizzare, Paranormal type shit happened in our apartment we wouldn’t go the way of all Horror movies, and just leave the fucking place. I give a shy laugh, but after that kind of remark press him to check it out. Ya know, just in case.

So he gets up, looks in the dining room and says “…Honey? Eva’s under the dining room table…” My heart stops. “Are you serious?” “…Yeah…” I tell him to go look in the room. He takes his time, turns on the light….

And there’s Eva! My mind skips a little bit and I start “then who’s under the…” until I hear him laugh.

Needless to say, I was pissed.

However, it still got me thinking.

My skeptical mind disbelieves in ghosts, goblins, demons, and all the sort. But my agnostic mind keeps me open to possibilities, and to trust my own sensory experiences put to the test of reasonable experimentation. So in this case, yeah, if he turned on and off the light, we poked around on the patio, and the eyes remained very clearly and distinctly without a sensible material cause? We would’ve most likely gotten the hell out of there. But alas, there was a rational cause for what appeared to be very creepy: my cat.

So, reader, have you ever experienced something that you thought creepy but found a rational explanation? How about something that you never did get a reason for and scared you?

Do you believe in the supernatural? If not, what would it take for you to believe it and take drastic action?

Penny for your Thoughts?

We the Consumer: Waste more than we consume

10 years ago I worked overnight stocking for a corporate supermarket whom you can likely guess easily. One of my firmly embedded memories of the experience was witnessing the massive amount of meaningless waste. There would be times while stocking cases of soda that a case would slip, or my muscles would give out from fatigue, and it would drop causing a can to either dent or bust. No matter the status of the remaining 11 cans, the entire case would go to the garbage. This pattern followed with just about any product that received very minor damage in part or whole.

I included a dumpster diving video as an example of this corporate waste as a drop in the bucket. Youtube searching for dumpster diving comes up with countless videos of finds in various establishment’s trash receptacles.

The thought process on waste began this morning with, probably, my 10th visit to Starbucks this week for coffee. My mind has been on a trend of thinking of practical trades to learn, stuff that would aid mankind when the zombie apocalypse happens, and realizing that catastrophe can flip our world upside down in the blink of an eye at any time sure makes one think. Looking at the plastic cup of coffee in my hand, and the empty cup on the table from the day before, I could not describe here the feeling. Only, maybe, an urgency to stop this madness of excessive waste.

But…

We have become so used to it. Those who champion the plain of living a waste free life are an inspiration to some, but so far from the norm that it is odd for us to see. Yes, some coffee shops like Starbucks will happily fill your metal canister with your purchased beverage, but how few of our products can we purchase without contributing to waste? How difficult and drastic a change from the norm do we have to make as individuals to simply not contribute to our massive degradation of our resources and planet.

Food for thought. It seems to me that consumerism and capitalism has made it incredibly easy for us to continue the cycle of waste.

What do you think? Is there anything you do to decrease your waste? Is it a pressing need for you?

Penny For your Thoughts?

Can doubt lead to a better understanding of “Being”?

Can it?

Insofar as language cannot adequately describe this concept of “being,” should we doubt (that is, not accept the truth of, call in to question) what it attempts to communicate to our faculties?

The more that is denied, filtered out, and shut out, the clearer the self becomes.

The question really is, what is being apart from our acceptance of the external world in relation to objects. Can is be conceived of? If the essence of man cannot be grasped without its continual relation, than to what extent can it do so and not lose a part of its individuality?

Heidegger speaks of one finding a “nearness of being” in learning to “exist in the nameless.” What is the denial of naming but doubt? To exist in the nameless is to refuse to describe and ascribe language to. And how else do we understand our existence but through language?

Is to experience something without ascribing a name to it true experience? Should one doubt, also, the ability of our senses to provide us with the essence of a thing? Is the truth that science sheds upon an object more true than the experience of it?

To be and remain in pure being is to withdraw into oneself apart from interpretation, but how is that state to be described?

Penny for your thoughts? Because mine can do nothing but reel and abstract into abstractions far from my ability to understand them.

Utilizing a religious past/education for secular post-graduate pursuits

proverbs 22 6

As the doors into post-undergraduate education has opened, I’ve been forced to look back into my undergraduate studies for my “best writings” to inspire my applicant writing sample. There’s only one problem…

I went to a Christian college where most of my studies were in Bible. It was only the last year and a half that was spent mostly (3 out of 4 classes) in Philosophy. So looking back into essays I had e-mailed to Professors and thus remain in my storage, I find mostly topics in Christian apologetic and reconciling/criticizing extra-canonical materials.

Out of the 5 years spent in undergraduate education at this private college, it was only the last year of it that I was a full blown Atheist.

This has been leading to bouts of hopelessness and feeling as if years of my academic life were for naught. After all, what doctoral level programs would accept someone whose “best work” is a thesis for accepting the book of Enoch into the Christian cannon? Or for reconciling modern science with theism? (Towards the end, I was more an agnostic theist than anything, and tried to sneak doubts into vague “i’m playing devil’s advocate here” term papers to my very-much-so Christian professors.) Not likely in a highly esteemed secular university where philosophy of evolution, metaethics, and philosophy of language are the hot topics.

My extra-curricular activities included a year long internship as a youth minister, converting people to Christ in a church-funded tent set up in our local county fair, the occasional sermon shared boldly on the subway, and repenting for sexual thoughts over who I was dating.

I intended on concluding this post with some theories, or at least something thought-provoking, but alas I’m at a mental impasse and very discouraged. So a venting blog it is, with a little peer into the author’s past.

What do I believe?

 

hume wise

As I’m beginning my morning read, happening upon an article on Phenomenology I’m clouded by my knee-jerk reaction of hatred and despise for the theory and field itself. Eventually, this forces me to stop reading and ask myself why? Then, what stance do I take.

Many who have discussed issues with me have pointed out, quite accurately, that I don’t take a stance on issues, I merely dissemble and attack arguments. When asked what I believe, or if I slip out something along the lines of “I’m an empiricist” I’ve been known to destruct what I claim as well.

As far as I am concerned, everything can be doubted. Am I a nihilist, then? No sir, that’s not practical. Pragmatist? In practice, sure (ha!). Does holding that the conscious thought of others cannot be proven make me a solipsist? Perhaps. But how do I know I exist but in the mind of a god?

Ah…

It rings of Descarte’s meditations, but without accepting that I am because I think I think (repetition intended). Or at least, that it is un-doubtable.

So, do I exemplify everything that is despised of philosophy? Believe nothing, doubt everything? Perhaps. At this point, until proven otherwise. Every argument seems to have its fallacies, everything can be doubted. As such, I suppose I believe in doubt.

Is this useless? Bullshit? Everything that is wrong with philosophy? A phase?

Penny for your Thoughts?

What is Philosophy?

 

Google’s dictionary, everyone’s main source for information nowadays, defines Philosophy thus:

the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

A little too brief of a description, I say. And what’s with the “especially when…”? Sure, we mainly recognize philosophy in its academic context, but any Phi101 class will admonish that anyone and everyone can, in fact, be a philosopher.

It’s the fact that we still return to the question of “What is Philosophy” that best defines us. When I become frustrated by the amount of writers people around me are quoting that I do not recognize, or miff over the new terminologies that are coined, I return to the starting point: introspection. What is it, exactly, that I do and want to do? What does my philosophy look like? Can it be defined by terms and philosophers? How do I express it?

So I returned to actual starting point, the very first book of philosophy I ever read in college: “Does the Center Hold” by Donald Palmer, and I found this piece of knowledge very enlightening:

Philosophy poses a series of questions that it then tries to answer and one of these questions is “What is Philosophy?” The fact itself tells us something about philosophy because it informs us of philosophy’s self-reflective nature. It is part of philosophy’s task to think about itself, because philosophy is an activity whose purpose involves questioning the assumptions of every system of thought, including its own.” pg. 5.

As such, it isn’t the philosopher who can quote the most, name-drop the most, or confuse the most with elaborately described concepts and terms, but the one who can turn around to one’s own assumptions and question the foundations of everything they believe. After all, isn’t that why people think we are so absurd?

But what do you think? Is philosophy a waste of time? Does it address the big picture? Is it an academic field, or something the layman can engage in?

Penny for your Thoughts?

High Thought in the Labor world

philo king

I remember the day it first dawned on me that my parents would not be paying me through college. I grew up seeing it as a standard on TV shows, movies, and even among some of my closest friends: parents put their kids through college. Not us, not me. It didn’t dawn on me at 16 when my school put me into a state-assisted job for children in poor families. The depths of it didn’t even dawn on me at 18, working graveyard in a Walmart after my application to a favored (by my church, at the time) private Christian college did not take financial aid (not-accredited) and I was unable to go.

It crept upon me like a sickness.

I scraped by in my first 4 years of college, somehow, without it taking me. I was living in a ministry-based “dorm” in nyc with a minimal (>$500) rent fee. I had high hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Until a divorce, a fall out of faith, and very upset parents left me with no support. I couldn’t live at home, I couldn’t live in a Christian establishment, I had no other option than to devote myself to an entry level job and put a roof over my head. I withdrew from school after bottoming out, and 2 months later got pinned with a bill.

These past 4 years since that time, I’ve waited tables to feed my stomach, keep a roof over my head, and piddle away at my debts.

Fast forward through those years, I’m here with my work (and charity of those close to me) paying off. I have a B.A. to show for it now, officially, but I feel I have lost my mind.

I fast forwarded through those 4 years in this blog for a reason, nothing happened. I worked, sometimes two jobs, just to make ends meet. I lived with my current husband’s family for a little less than half of that. Sure, I’ve done some recreational reading, some (very little) volunteer work, but nothing that is academically pertinent.

Nothing to push me closer to what was my dream and aspiration: teach and research.

After 4 years of manual labor, I can think of nothing else in life than make money, pay bills, have babies, pay more bills, and die hopefully leaving money to my next generation. My mind feels dull, the thirst for information has dried.

How does one rise above the restrictions, woes, and weight of a poverty upbringing and soar into higher education? Engage in higher thinking? Become the philosopher kings?

Thoughts?