Life finds a way

by Newnameelizabeth

Not that humans cannot impact their environment. Not as much as doomsdayers say though. Take Hiroshima and Chernobyl even. Today they are teaming with life.

And not that we should see ourselves as powerless over our circumstances. We are incredibly able to change our own little bubbles, just not that far beyond. Back to the soil issue from my last post, if you want an east Texas Azalea in west Texas, you can import a couple of yards of east Texas dirt, and water the heck out of it and then still have to keep amending the soil with at least acid because our water is so hard. I’ll also say that it probably still won’t thrive because it won’t have enough in common with its new neighbors. Plants communicate, you know. If you want happy plants, plant things that spring up as volunteers in your area.

Soil ph causes

by Newnameelizabeth

I have noticed that magnolia trees do not do as well in Parker County as they do in the county to the east of us, Tarrant County. I wondered if perhaps Tarrant County was more acidic so I looked up a ph map. Turns out it’s not, so now I’m guessing that Magnoilias like wetter Fort Worth better.

I was pretty surprised how this map revealed the dramatic divide in our country between acidic and alkaline soils. I googled why this is so, and the first answer was man-made pollution in the form of acid rain and fertilizer! I don’t think the map would be so starkly divided if that were the case.

In the 70’s and 80’s it seemed that pollution was something that built up due to neglect and unintended consequences, so we all needed to be more aware of it and make cleanup a priority. But now there is such a concerted effort to blame western people for everything, and to promote the educated elite to god status who can even rule over soil composition.

If you dig really deep, you can find a fourth cause, I don’t remember the other two unconvincing ones, for soil ph differences being geology. I’ll add plate tectonics.

Calcium carbonate is what makes up limestone and contributes to alkaline soil. Limestone is created in shallow seas from decaying shelled creatures. There are very thick limestone layers all over the gray blue areas of the map and the higher elevations of western geologic strata.

What is in the center of the orange, acidic parts of the map? Higher mountains with deeper granitic layers of rock exposed with a different erosional shed composition. These are ancient, pre mankind structures that all the earth moving/changing modern technology cannot control or significantly alter. But modern propagandists cannot tolerate explanations that put them in a rudderless, at least to them, raft tossed around, up and down by giant magma waves.


by Newnameelizabeth

It amazes me how resilient the earth and life are to catastrophes and disaster. Yet also how delicately some things have to be balanced. The latter things are rare and fleeting and the former things abundant. But there are also seemingly endless new rare things waiting for opportunities. They say earth has the largest number of types of minerals because of how they are formed through our unique plate tectonics and biological processes.

This does not negate the sadness of devastation or disaster. But because voids can be filled, either happily or not, sometimes we have to make a point to remember what was there previously. I don’t say first, because there may have been many iterations beforehand.

This was all spurred by my phone widget randomly selecting a photo from my library of an orphaned puppy our horse border bottle fed around the clock for about a month. She and her assistant became his substitute mothers and he appears to have thrived. I haven’t heard how he’s doing now.

I’m sure he has different behaviors than unseparated puppies do. We use the term well-adjusted to describe beings who cope well after coming from “unnatural” situations. Others remain stuck in the trauma. This puppy had a sibling who died early on.

Cynthia Ann Parker could or would not adjust back into the white world. Calling it white world opens a whole nother can of worms. Her son Quanah made it a point to adjust, though he had less of a natural relation to it. The whole native reaction and relationship, even currently, to colonization is utterly fascinating to me.

You could say Cynthia Ann was being stubbornly self-pitying, but some things are tragic enough to die of a broken heart over. The Indians who accepted capture to reservations and found some amount of happiness could be said to have accepted a substitute life. They grieved when their children found it to be primary.

Primary/natural verses secondary/synthetic is a very difficult question. In a sense, if you are interventionist at all, which even kick off-only clockmaker deists are, then everything has an element of synthetic to it. “Naturally occurring” can only be non-mindfully physics driven.

The only way mindfulness can be respected by naturalists is if you respect how a creator of nature wanted things to be, which the Indians did.

I mainly know how the Christian God wanted things to be, and that is with a female mother and a male father. Yet God also seems to think adoption and caring for other beings and things is good too. But don’t forget how it was, or was intended to be.

Who is holy?

by Newnameelizabeth

Perhaps Protestants’ difficulty with the ever-virginity of the Theotokos is because they do not have a place for holiness.

“Be ye holy, for I am holy” is cast as an impossible and vainglorious task only to be accomplished by God alone covering us over and pretending we are Jesus. I have heard them describe certain people as godly or holy before, but they aren’t holy in the same way God is holy. They mean they are obedient, prayerful, and on friendly terms with God. These are good ways to be, but they aren’t anything to take one’s shoes off before, as the burning bush was for Moses, who also shone as a result. The Theotokos was the burning bush and Joseph was Moses in her presence.

My priest said that Jews understood how to treat holy objects that bore God’s presence, and therefore Joseph would have treated Mary with the same reverence.

A Valentine to St. Maximus

by Newnameelizabeth

This is an amazing explanation of St. Maximus the Confessor’s philosophical vocabulary.

“If the Ambigua is the epic work of a theological genius, it is also the work of a man who had received what we would recognize as advanced professional traiing in philosophy, a language that he speaks as freely and fluently as if it were his mother tongue. This was recognized by writers of the Middle Byzantine period – a time of renewed interest in Neoplatonic studies – who typically refer to him as “Maximos the philosopher.” The philosophical language spoken by Maximos, however, is not simply that of Plato and Aristotle, but rather the distinctive idiom of the late Neoplatonists, the so-called Commentators, who flourished from 200 to 600 CE, making Maximos the inheritor of a long and rich development. Though difficult to characterize without carcature, the Commentators were Neoplatonists who sought to harmonize the teachings of Plato and Aristotle by transposing Aristoteliian logic into Platonic metaphysics, the eclectic use of Stoic categories, and the arithmetical philosophy of a revived Pythagoreanism. Maximos’s thought seems effortlessly to encompass the whole sum of the received philosophical tradition, and with magisterial freedom he makes other men’s philosophies but fragments in his own system.

Maximos’s aim is not to extend the tradition of the philosophers into Christianity, but with the tools of philosophy to elucidate the tradition of the Fathers and the Councils. The Confessor’s fundamental themes are arranged not according tot he assumptions of worldly wisdom but according to the order of a life in whose midst is born the Divine Logos. He therefore redefines the Neoplatonist language of causality so that the principles (logoi) of beings are not simply formal causes and teleological finalities but are themselves grounded in the person of the Logos and identified as “divine wills” (Amb 7.24). No longer Origen’s disembodied “rational entities” (Amb 7.2), and still less the emanations of Neoplatonism, the logoi are the free, personal expressions of divine love, the “wills” of God to love the world, the divine passion to “love and be loved” (Amb 23.3-4). This is central to Maximos’s transformation of Origenism, which entails not simply a rearrangement of Origen’s metaphysical syntax but a complete redefinition of its fundamental grammar. In this way, the Origenist problem of the mind’s “satiety,” which triggered the descent into motion and matter (Amb 7.2-5, 28-29), is eliminated by identifying “stability” (stasis) with love, uniting the saints by grace to a Trinity united by nature in love. Recent scholarship has turned its attention to the philosophical aspects of Maximos’s theology, but more work remains to be done. The notes to the translation endeavor to highlight the more important connections between Maximos and th philosophical tradition a a small step toward a ore comprehensive understanding of this most distinctive of Christian thinkers.

As readers of the Ambigua will soon come to learn, however, arriving at such understanding can be a difficult task. One reason for the difficulty is that Maximos’s thinking is at its most characteristic when it is at its most allusive and oblique. Not content to confine himself to a single point of view, he generates an elaborate pattern of commentary and counter-commentary, a supreme achievement of dialectical tension, a masterly orchestration of images and thoughts resonating in richly varied meters. Maximos’s inexhaustible complexity of language, his subjection of every surmise to ongoing renewal, ever more ingeniously approaching that which cannot be approached or named, virtualizes the very unfolding of creation – never static, ever in motion – so that nearly all those who have sought to take the measure of his thought have merely broken off a fragment from the whole, isolating a falling star, and mistaking it for a light-house on a nonexistent island. Yet beneath the bewildering vaiety lies a deep consistency. For if the Ambigua is a labyrinth, that labyrinth is the universe itself.”

p. xxii-xxiv of the Introduction to On Difficulties in the Church Fathers, The Ambigua Vol. I by Maximos the Confessor, edited and translated by Nicholas Constas

Depending on your point of view

by Newnameelizabeth

I stayed home from going to our rent property with George to meet the real estate agent for the same reason he does not want me to go with him to the car salesman. I side with the salesman, though I cannot be one because it is too awkward. This realization as applying to this agent on this day brought to mind a post I did a long while back on David Bentley Hart siding with the batter in his essay on baseball. I said then I side with the pitcher. I see these two occupations as initiators of great plans and actions, and thus others who do not meet their terms become unwelcome buzz killers and foilers of grand schemes.

Of course this could be turned around. When I am rooting for a team, my star batter has a noble plan to hit it out of the park, and it would be nice if the pitcher would get on board. If he doesn’t he is a tricksy schiester.

All players are intensely focused on the ball, however. For this to be worthy, it has to be holy. The best players conform themselves better to the nature of the ball including it’s hardness, weight, bounciness, and of course, trajectory. Good real estate agents similarly respect and honestly convey the properties of the property.

Just do it

by Newnameelizabeth

Why is it so hard to stay focused on the one thing needful? I know something about easy distractibility, but even ADD people can complete a Lego project, and phobic people can overcome severe anxieties if they are sufficiently motivated.

Perhaps God’s mercy is to blame. Or maybe the Theotokos encourages God to be too lenient and understanding, and to not give us ultimatums. Not that he doesn’t ever.

The fear of God has motivated lots of people, especially in the past. Today’s lenient society has taken away the sense of that to a large extent, not that we wont regret it.

But if God wants people to come to Him of their own free will and not just by coercion, and offers blissful union, why don’t we do it?

I cracked open a spiritual book for the first time in a while just before writing this because I’m trying to procrastinate less in many areas. I’m a little more motivated because cleaning for our house blessing last week made such a difference, but was so difficult because of neglect. I’m also trying to not put off writing so much. So it is because of a stick more than a carrot.

But then the carrot comes:

– the Ambigua to John is unified around the experience of divinization, which Maximos characterizes as the deepest longing of the saints, the desire of human nature for assimilation to God, and the yearning of the creature to be wholly contained within the Creator (Amb citations). The Ambigua is in many ways a map of this experience, a collection of notes made by a seasoned traveler, marking ou the path to God trodden by the saints from the beginning of time.

p .xvii of the Introduction to On Difficulties in the Church Fathers, The Ambigua, Vol.I, Maximos the Confessor, Edited and Translated by Nicholas Constas

Asperger introspection?

by Newnameelizabeth

Finding out that one’s quirkiness may be due to a disorder instead of a unique personality is a bit disorienting. Yet all Aspies are different as are all normies, if there is such a thing. So I don’t know how the following fits with us or me only or with them too.

Self perception: First I’ll say that before western culture was so deconstructed, one could assume a cultural identity that everyone could relate to – I’ve even heard black people say they related to it, and they are now called sell-outs. I am not saying that it was necessarily healthy or real, but that the perception of everyone buying into it created a baseline, an attainable bar to measure onesself by. This was fad culture, but also longstanding romantic, chivalric culture where people knew their place and how many points they got. Therefore one could be comfortable with a certain level of success, namely getting married, having children and earning a living.

With everything up for grabs now, one is no longer sure that even having three square meals a day is the right way to go. Should we be growing the population? Just how much does one person hurt the environment? Have we put too much emphasis on able-ism and bootstrap pulling oneself up by-ism? Have the scientists been overconfident spinners of disinformation all along? How long was America the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Ignorance was bliss, and I wonder if like Jordan Peterson says, society is better believing in God whether He exists or not, that self-awareness, like atheism, will throw us into chaos or disillusioned inaction.

Back to introspection, if I am not who I think I am, how am I known? By what others think of me? If normies are iterances of a deligitimized culture, and aspies adopt expressions from whom they’re with, then everyone is wearing borrowed clothes. Who knows how one would have dressed otherwise? Wearing borrowed clothes can still say something about a person. It’s the somethings that we try to piece together. One can know something about a mountain by a photograph. One can try to put together a 3D model from lots of photographs. Information can be obtained about its structure from outcroppings, and of course more from a visit to know scale and context. But even geologists don’t have a precise story about all the workings inside or its history. Right now old models of gradualism, which replaced new creationism with a single catastrophy, are being put in the controversial category by evidences of sudden multi-catastrophism with almost(?) total rebuildings. Stories are wildly disparate among sincere, knowledgable recounters.

Yet we know something and somehow mostly cope, survive or even thrive. Is it enough to know it’s weird, or is that just an Asperger thing?

The Russell Carlson

by Newnameelizabeth

First there was the Great Courses Geology course that changed me from young earth to old earth, then there was astrophysicist Hugh Ross to see what God was doing over such a long period of time, then Stephen Meyer to see it from a more biological level. Now there is The Russell Carlson podcast to see what He did just 11 to 14,000 years ago. Here’s an introduction:

The Edmund Fitzgerald

by Newnameelizabeth

I watched this video because we’re thinking of road tripping to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I didn’t know I didn’t know about what happened to the Edmund Fitzgerald. 😢