Monday, December 29, 2008

bible criticism

Helow agane.  

There have been a few funny things happening lately concerning me and people with very strong convictions.  So I'm doing what I always do... I'm plotting to take over the world.

Before for we get into this highly charged topic of religion and sacred texts let me just say this;
I'm nobody of consequence, I'm just some dude.
I've been wrong more times than I can remember and every time I was wrong... I thought I was right.
I've said the right thing at the wrong time... the right thing the wrong way... and the right thing for all the wrong reasons.
So there.

I am not a mainstream Christian or a Bible literalist.
I tend to believe that all religions are more than their sacred texts.
And I believe that spirituality transcends religion.

Now then, my first year Religion professor hated all religions except for Egyptology.
I remember him trashing the story of Jonah because archaeological findings suggested that Nineva was much smaller than the account given in the Torah (okay, that was his beef? What about being eaten and regurgitated?  No problem with that?)

I loved the guy, he was a great teacher, but he was no anthropologist or construction worker.  Experts in ancient South American civilizations will tell you that the old mezzo empires were vast, much more so than the sparse ruins that survived the ages.  That's kind of a cool idea, the metropolis consumed by the jungle.  Some anthropologists speculate that if modern civilization were to expire that the only thing left after 100 years would be hotdogs and super highways.

I find this very easy to believe.  Being a former construction worker I have seen first hand how poorly structures are made these days.  My house was sheathed in 1/8 inch foam and then covered in vinyl siding.  This plus my drywall is the only thing standing between a thief and my LCD television.  An archeologist digging around the ruins of America might suspect that the nation's capital was pretty small, after all DC is dwarfed by it's surrounding foam/plastic suburbs.  

Maybe the ancient Assyrian's had better construction than American contractors.  I don't know.  I've also been to Dandora, it is the largest slum in the world, it can be seen from space.  One good natural disaster and it's all gone.  The only thing left would be foreign embassy buildings.  
Then again, all my jewish friends hyperbolize every detail of every story... but they do make better stories.

I guess that's why all my other professors were always going on about 'context'.  
They all claimed to be teaching on religious texts from the context of 'phenomenology', well that was bull shit.  They were the most... never mind.  
From the academic context, the 'serpent' in Genesis is just a snake and nothing else (because the book of Genesis doesn't say that it is anything other than a snake), from mainstream Christian tradition, it is Satan.

Since my old friend Matt reminded me of a hilarious story about a bald prophet cursing 42 kids with death by bear attack, I'll use that one to crit in a few different contexts (in the tradition of the Talmud I'll start with minority and go more mainstream).

Here's a weird story where Elisha gets mocked by some kids saying 'go on up bald head!' and Elisha calls for TWO! bears to kill the kids (42 are slain) 'in the name of the lord'
Sweet, apparently Elisha is bald.
What does this mean?  
Was 'Go on up bald head' a reference to something in the northern kingdom?  an urban/thuglife philistine song perhaps? Did Elisha see the bears first and then prophesy ex eventu?  Was the scribe of 1 Kings just a baldy child-hater that had an agenda to insert a turd squirting fear of God in those would be bald head mockers?  I know that there was a different dialect spoken in the northern and southern kingdoms, perhaps 'go on up baldhead' meant 'hey you, with the bald head, look out for those bears' or 'please kill me'.

It's just a story.  
I'm only half kidding here.  There are dozens of different kinds of Jews.  They could be national, ethnic, orthodox, reform, conservative, mystic, whatever.  Most Torah literalists died out after Antiochus Epiphanes.  The few Jews that I have known in the U.S. don't believe in God or an afterlife, but might believe in a 'messianic age'.  

Christian Tradition
No one in the Bible makes mistakes, if it happened then it is good and we must conform our logic to these moral contradictions.  
God did it and the kids were asking for it, Elisha is just a vessel of GOD's will.
All have fallen short of the glory of GOD and the wages of sin is death... the kids deserved it... in fact we all deserved it... it's only by the mercy of 'Bald head' that we are not all eaten by two bears.  

Who cares?  Is there anything of worth to take away from this story?
I would find it very comforting to know that Elisha was just a dick.  I mean, I'm a lazy selfish jerk, but I would love to be used by God.  
I don't know if I believe in bear curses, but if I did then I would think that Elisha was GIVEN power by God early on and may have used it well sometimes and not so well other times.
Either way, I think it's a weird story.  I definitely would not take it as a prescribed world view, reflection of God's will, or model of good character. 

Alright, so I'm like totally not mainstream.  But I dare any of you baldies to curse me with carnivores bears.  That's how I want to go out... but it would be cool if they were undead cybernetic bears with alien DNA.  
On a more serious note, I would encourage those who get really defensive about their religious texts to relax a little bit.  If your faith is so fragile that it can be shattered by a bit of textual criticism then where is your faith really placed?  

The best things in life are unconditional, if you have a NEED for your book to a little inerrant idol then you don't deserve to have your faith, what you are looking for is certainty and insurance.  
Okay my stream of consciousness hit some rough waters there, I'm tired, figure it out yourself.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dirty Rooster

It's funny how different our prespectives are on the same things.
Maybe not. I'm so sleep deprived right now that I have no idea what I'm doing.

The doctors told us that we would have the baby last Wednesday. I've been on high alert for 6 days. Everytime I lay down to sleep my adrenaline pumps and my mind races. I stare at the ceiling for hours. M can't sleep because of her contractions.

Our daughter had her last day of daycare. The kids all did a little Christmas musical. Now she sings this song to herself all the time, but gets the words wrong. Yesterday I heard her say, "Baby Jesus in the manger, see him sleeping on the hay. Mary hugs a dirty rooster, see the baby run away."
That was cute. Since I've been reprogramed as a social worker every thing that I see is colored with a sort of welfare/human services tint. When I think about Christmas all I see is a teen pregnancy, the mom and dad in trouble with the authorites, and a kid being born in a cold dump surrounded by horse shit. I guess it is a little more profound than the crap on the Limetime channel. Do you think that those regal wise men really knelt down in manure next to a bunch of blue collar sheep herders? Damn I'm tired. Actually I really like my grunge revision of the nativity scene, it's much more punk rock, but not as marketable.
I do have one question about the angels that were seranading. Are these the same angels that make your face melt if you look at them? Cause, wouldn't that be really terrifying?
Christopher Walken was a pretty cool angel in that movie Prophecy. Eric Stoltz, not as much.

It's starting to look more and more like me and M are going to have a Christmas baby. So... yeah, Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Software Synthesizers

never mind all of this.
The only soft synths worth my attention are the Omnisphere and Alchemy.
(actually I own Absynth and it rules)
The fourier re-synthesizing of Alchemy blows my mind.
And the 'Steam Engine' of Omnisphere picks up my scrammbled brains and shoves them back into my skull.

I know there are a lot of quality virtual analogs out there, 
but I'm just feeling pretty played-out on that whole va sound.
There just needs to be new ideas in synth architecture!
Actually the Arturia Origin seems pretty friggin cool as far as originality goes.
If they could make additive, granular, and wavetable oscillator modules I would be all over them.  
I also wouldn't mind some good Oberheim and Prophet filter emulations... 
maybe even a formant filter... hell, an FS1R model while I'm at it.
Could you imagine Frankenstiening all those modules together?!?!?!?
It'll never happen though, Arturia is all about analog emulations.
I should make my own synth. It would totally be a keytar!!!

Additive, granular, and wavetable (true wavetable) is the way to go.
Actually the FM synthesis of the FS1R is still pretty friggin cool in my book, 
8 freq operators and 8 formant operators?!?!? Can you even believe it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm in love

okay... I'm trying to catch my breath here.
My heart is pounding in my chest.
My family is asleep and I need to share my excitement with someone.
So here I am pouring myself out to the cold faceless interweb.

I was playing my Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer and I came across a ram patch called
"Choir Bells"

I held a simple C chord...
It was a nice angelic pad.
As the LFO swept through the wavetables I could hear droplets of rain like they were resonating wine goblets in a random and yet divine unearthly unity.

I just sat there holding that chord for about ten minutes.
It was ten minutes of bliss... pure untainted beauty just for me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Presence Process session 6 & 7

Uhg, what can I say about these sessions?

It was brutal.
This description is going to sound cheesy and new age.
Just bear with me, I have an open mind, but I'm not Shirley McClain or Tom Cruise. 

Session 6 focused on ... finally resolving past issues.

Session 7 focused on feeling secure while dealing with really insecure things.

Sometimes I would remember a mistake I made or something embarrassing that I said or did and I would beat myself up about it.  My reaction was to do what ever I could to sedate the feeling, distract myself, whatever, anything but deal with it.

The session seven tries to trigger even the most deeply buried junk from our emotional history.

This is important because the unresolved issues in our past are the basis for our reflex/reactions in the present.  

The training involves a change of perspective towards yourself.  If a good buddy came to you bummed about something stupid they did in the past would you punch him in the gut and call him names?  I wouldn't, I would try to be a good friend and console the poor dude.  But, why don't I treat myself with the same compassion when I recall a past upset?

Don't judge your pain, 
just listen to it, 
feel it, 
and deal with it.

So here's where it gets weird.  
Each day I would sit in a tub of warm water for 20 minutes.  
My ears were submerged  and everything sounded funny.  
I closed my eyes and remained as still as possible.  
The idea is that in our hyper-culture we are constantly bombarded with sensory stimulus.  
It is hard to experience the peace required to listen.  
So this is a little like sensory deprivation/womb simulation... that's the weird part.  
The difficult part is that what is triggered is not cognitive memory information, but pure emotional memory without any personal historical context.  
It is like taking an emotional shit, a very dull agony.  

But this is what it takes to remove the metaphorical splinter, a deep and infectious splinter that makes your flinch and get angry when people bumped it or tried to address it.
End of metaphor.