Words

Life

forgiveness and humility

by Andrea Elizabeth

In reading the story of Joseph and his brothers I note that Joseph’s messing with their minds is effective. He finds it necessary that they deal with what they have done to him and realize what it feels like to put the shoe on the other foot, and that they come to respect their father’s grief over someone besides themselves. I also note that the brothers still defended themselves when they were wrongly accused.

Thus forgiveness is not free, and humility does not mean quietly turning the other cheek all the time.

Independence Day

by Andrea Elizabeth

Each time I try to say why I love America, I get bogged down with slavery, Hitler and Germany, people with Daddy issues, and victims of crime. I guess the issue is how far is too far.

I think it is ok to love people who have hurt you or ones you love even. I don’t like the word forgiveness because it indicates tolerance of the intolerable. Corrie Ten Boom shaking the hand of the ex prison guard always comes to mind, which sometimes makes me feel guilty. 1, it had been a long time. 2, he extended his hand and asked.

Regarding 2, maybe she wouldn’t have felt the warmth surge up her arm if he had not truly repented and done some sort of penitential suffering of his own. In other words, I think it is ok for forgiveness to be conditional.

Love can be unconditional, but only towards created things, animal, vegetable, mineral, and human. And divine things. Sin is not created. It is a warped misrepresentation, which we all buy into to some extent. We can hate that that happens. And if we know that we all have bought into it to some degree, we can love each other, and try to fix ourselves first.

Since the protesters’ soul-search of others gets plenty of coverage, I will say what I love.

America’s bravery, beauty, daring do, industrious intelligence, music, naivete, idealism, faith, hope, love, opportunities, attractiveness and welcomeness to others, room to breathe, resources, animals, vegetables, and minerals (not just as resources), ability and willingness to repent, relative hiddenness in the stone age before colonialism, world-quaking discovery and refuge, and map, though I think that could have been managed better with our modern ideas about other cultures, but who knows if there is a silver lining to the old ideas. The protesters don’t think any of the qualities above that are associated with colonialism justify our existence. However, they do not realize that the stronger opportunistically, justifiably or not, knowingly or not, taking advantage of the weaker exists in many shapes and forms in every human heart, and that no one deserves to live if not even having the thought is your standard.

I want to hear a German talk about how complicated it is to love Germany nowadays. I don’t like the idea of being totally ashamed of your home or your last name, unless it is Hitler, or Butts, or Bottoms. I am 1/4 German, inherited from immigrants who came over at the end of the 19th century. I love Germany’s technical intelligence, strength, the idea of the autobahn, the idea of the black forest, Hansel and Gretel, that it only recently isn’t Prussia, that the Holy Roman Empire existed there until Napoleon, Fredericksburg, Texas and other Bavarian towns and food, toughness and athleticism, the Steppe Migration that occurred 6-8,000 years ago, I think, according to David Reich, a genetic Ashkenazi Jew, who presumably has German ancestry. He says that a lot of German genetic research is stymied and suppressed because people are afraid of what the Germans did with it. I want it to be objectively studied. A lot of the problem is how people value different traits. Value judgments are different than the discoveries themselves.

Shake it off

by Andrea Elizabeth

Kierkegaard’s explanations in “My Position” and “My Strategy” in Point of View are helpful in understanding  why he became Devil’s Advocate in Johannes Climacus and his nuanced view of religious governors, which is sort of you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. But mainly Kierkegaard is against tyranny on any level: personal, hierarchical, or the crowd mob.

I think Kierkegaard also sees any one statement as tyrannical. He needs “on the other hand” (but not the arrogant “to a certain degree”!) or to throw it away from consciousness in order to keep the door open to the Divine.

His statement about going from the complex to the simple as one matures makes me think that we go through a process of analyzing things on a molecular level in order to build our mechanisms for dealing with the universe and God. Once we have these mechanisms up and running, we can throw the instructions away and just be.

How apropos

by Andrea Elizabeth

“And this is my faith, that however much confusion and evil and contemptibleness there can be in human beings as soon as they become the irresponsible and unrepentant “public,” “crowd,” etc.—there is just as much truth and goodness and lovableness in them when one can get them as single individuals. Oh, to what degree human beings would become—human and lovable beings—if they would become single individuals before God!”

Excerpt From
Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXII, Volume 22
Søren Kierkegaard, Howard V. Hong & Edna H. Hong
https://books.apple.com/us/book/kierkegaards-writings-xxii-volume-22/id1054614325
This material may be protected by copyright.

Wait

by Andrea Elizabeth

I found this review in the Historical Introduction noteworthy.

“the extent to which he, the very subjectively disposed author, succeeds in making himself the object.”55 Kierkegaard did succeed in this regard, Rudelbach thought, but in reviewing the work he maintained that Kierkegaard’s indirect method was Socratic enough but not Christian, that his emphasis on the individual amounted to “absolute isolation,”56 and that his dismissal of apologetics was a mistake”

I don’t think so in his case.

Excerpt From
Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXII, Volume 22
Søren Kierkegaard, Howard V. Hong & Edna H. Hong
https://books.apple.com/us/book/kierkegaards-writings-xxii-volume-22/id1054614325
This material may be protected by copyright.

Epigraph Chapter 1

by Andrea Elizabeth

of Kierkegaard’s Point of View

“[XIII 490] Whoever believes is great and rich,
He has God and the Kingdom of Heaven.
Whoever believes is small and poor,
He only cries: Lord, have mercy!”

The first two and the last two lines rhyme in Danish. There isn’t a footnote attached, so I don’t know if it’s from a prayer book or what.

Excerpt From
Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXII, Volume 22
Søren Kierkegaard, Howard V. Hong & Edna H. Hong
https://books.apple.com/us/book/kierkegaards-writings-xxii-volume-22/id1054614325
This material may be protected by copyright.

On being a witness an apostle and a penitent

by Andrea Elizabeth

In the Historical Introduction of Point of View, Kierkegaard is quoted as saying that we are witnesses of God instead of recollectors or rememberers.

“Socratic indirection presupposed that the learner was in possession of the truth and needed only to be prompted to recollection, but with regard to Christianity the method is properly only provisional.

Yet the communication of the essentially Christian must end finally in “witnessing.” The maieutic cannot be the final form, because, Christianly understood, the truth does not lie in the subject (as Socrates understood it), but in a revelation that must be proclaimed.
It is very proper that the maieutic be used in Christendom, simply because the majority actually live in the fancy that they are Christians. But since Christianity still is Christianity, the one who uses the maieutic must become a witness.
Ultimately the user of the maieutic will be unable to bear the responsibility, since the maieutic approach still remains rooted in human sagacity, however sanctified and dedicated in fear and trembling this may be. God becomes too powerful for the maieutic practitioner and then he is a witness, different from the direct witness only in what he has gone through to become a witness.14”

This reminds me of my understanding of Absolute Divine Simplicity, which leads to the Beatific Vision as the ultimate experience of God. If instead we are called to synergistic participation, then we cannot just be witnesses.

There is a quantum saying that the act of observation changes the thing observed. God is changeless, but it does address the idea of passive observation somehow.

Regarding apostleship and penitents

“By being situated this way, I myself, like everyone else, will be placed under the “judgment,” if you please, the judgment upon Christendom contained in these books. It is precisely this that will prevent my being confused with an apostle or someone like that. The books are poetically written, as if by an apostle, but I have stepped aside—no, I am not the apostle, anything but, I am the poet and a penitent”

I like that he considers that his apostleship may be deluded or at least criticizable. This addresses that others who assume that role are probably deluded, but doesn’t go so far as to be too intimidated by the role to give a stab at it. C.S. Lewis gave similar disclaimers in his prefaces.

Excerpt From
Kierkegaard’s Writings, XXII, Volume 22
Søren Kierkegaard, Howard V. Hong & Edna H. Hong
https://books.apple.com/us/book/kierkegaards-writings-xxii-volume-22/id1054614325
This material may be protected by copyright.

Søren!

by Andrea Elizabeth

In a Facebook Kierkegaard forum, someone asked for introductory material on Soren Kierkegaard, and a few agreed his own Point of View is helpful. I just downloaded it on iBooks as it was cheaper than getting it bound, though I would have preferred that.

Just reading a snippet about his pseudonymous works, real or not existentialism, dialectics, and indirect communication sends me.

Oh to escape your “should” voice. This is probably an illusion. I used to think something was binding me and I needed an intervention to be set free. What if this feeling of being bound is really a condition in itself separate from actuality. If one looks at the space between now and potential and mastery, then there is a dis ease, but since the remedy is practice instead of unbinding, then it’s not liberation as such.

But to use a voice not your own… It seems that some of the allure is to explore the taboo, or at least some position you disagree with. The should voice tells you that this legitimizes the illegitimate. Don’t go there, they say. Jordan Peterson says you should go everywhere. I prefer a cursory glance as the feeling of oppression is too strong. Ah, we’ve gone from liberation to oppression. Hmmm.

Drug abuse oppresses me. The abusers feel liberated by it. I don’t trust it. Some uninhibitedness may be authentic, but I don’t think it’s balanced or in context.

I remember some show many years ago where a man wanted a divorce because his comedian wife wouldn’t take her antidepressants. She said that she couldn’t write under their influence. That’s how I feel about mind altering substances, even though they may aid some people.

But to write as someone else. When I’m warming up for choir, sometimes it’s helpful to pretend a british accent or opera lady voice to loosen it up.

I was a news junky till the riots

by Andrea Elizabeth

Now I can’t listen to more than a few headlines a week. The Left’s exaggerations are mind-numbing, and the exasperation on the right is way too familiar. The Right has been duped into repeating, “We think what happened to George Floyd is a desperately unique synonym of egregious. There, I’m not racist.” “Yes you are,” is the baseless rehearsed ad hominem comeback.

Just show your colors and vote already. And they better be real colors and not coerced or an attempt to placate the relentless virtue signaling, oddly Church Lady-like guilt trippers.

Knowledgeable, well-reasoned philosophical and legal arguments are refreshing, however. I don’t hear any of the Left doing that.

In other words, vote D if you’re a Marxist, and R if you’re not. Don’t vote D because it will mean you’re not a racist, because the D opportunist candidates really have nothing to do with that.

Verbalize Understanding, Context, and Solutions Orientation

by Andrea Elizabeth

This will avoid frustrating the listener. It involves relevance realization. However, someone who is good at doing this may be a bit broad stroked and lacking in details. This is where engineers come in, but engineers may not see the big picture and may not know where to spend their energies.

I know of several people who keep immaculate drawers, but the room is a mess. These are detail people who can’t cope with practical, contextual macro orientations, and only think that action is warranted if they have time to make it perfect.

If only everyone knew their place. Context again. Then they would have humility about their weaknesses, and need for others’ strengths. Or they would become more well rounded and balance the two in themselves.

But sometimes you can’t change your reactions to things. What to do if messy drawers give you the creepy crawlies more than cluttered rooms, and your affected companion vice versa? Know that it is just as hard for them to forgive you as for you to forgive them.

Both should keep working on balance though.