This is a multimedia “essay” that I call a “weave”. I have stitched various passages, video clips, and images together in order to illustrate a thesis.
Estimated “reading” time: 15 minutes per weave, there are three weaves.
Large images, desktop mandatory.
PS: If there are videos, please stop and watch them. They will be important. Things are stitched together in order.
A hot and windy August afternoon
Has the trees in constant motion
With a flash of silver leaves
As they’re rocking in the breeze
The boy lies in the grass with one blade
Stuck between his teeth
A vague sensation quickens
In his young and restless heart
And a bright and nameless vision
Has him longing to depart
The fawn-eyed girl with sun-browned legs
Dances on the edge of his dream
And her voice rings in his ears
Like the music of the spheres
The boy lies in the grass, unmoving
Staring at the sky
His mother starts to call him
As a hawk goes soaring by
The boy pulls down his baseball cap
And covers up his eyes
You move me
With your buildings and your eyes
Autumn woods and winter skies
You move me
Open sea and city lights
Busy streets and dizzy heights
You call me
Too many hands on my time
Too many feelings —
Too many things on my mind
When I leave I don’t know
What I’m hoping to find
When I leave I don’t know
What I’m leaving behind.
Analog Kid – Rush
“We are called to become more and more human; we must discover the freedom to go beyond limits imposed on us by our world and seek fulfillment.
In the beginning we are what we are given. By midlife, when we have finally learned to stand on our own two feet, we learn that to complete our lives, we are called to give to others so that when we leave this world, we can be what we have given.
Death, from this perspective, can be made our final gift. We believe it daily, but is it not possible, that by living our lives, we create something fit to add to the store from which we came?
… our whole duty may to clarify and increase what we are, to make our consciousness a finer quality. The effort of one’s entire life would be needed to return laden to our source.”
“We are the species that imagines things that have never been. We paint beautiful paintings, create elaborate mathematical systems, reach for the stars. In the world outside of our skin we are masters at solving problems.
And yet we struggle. Our mastery of the world only makes the question of human suffering more urgent, more amazing, and more poignant: Why is it so hard to be human?
Even human beings with every imaginable advantage in the external world still can feel empty, alone, afraid, or miserable. They can turn their lives over to addiction, or compulsion, or delusion. They can struggle in their relationships and be tempted by thoughts of suicide.
The ubiquity of human suffering is shocking, even in the most developed countries. Nothing in the external world is enough to guarantee health, growth, and happiness. What is hard about being human is not on the outside – it is on the inside.”
I. Analog Iteration
“The classical approach to personality problems considers them to be problems in an undesirable sense. Struggle, conflict, guilt, bad conscience, anxiety, depression, frustration, tension, shame, self-punishment, feeling of inferiority or unworthiness – they all cause psychic pain, they disturb efficiency of performance, and they are uncontrollable. They are therefore automatically regarded as sick or undesirable and they get “cured” away as soon as possible.
But all of these symptoms are also found in healthy people, or in people who are growing towards health. Supposing you should feel guilty and you don’t? Supposing you have attained a nice stabilization of forces and you are adjusted? Perhaps adjustment and stabilization, while good because it cuts your pain, is also bad because development towards a higher ideal ceases?”
“It is reasonable to regard the world as a forum for action, as a “place” – a place made up of the familiar, and the unfamiliar, in eternal juxtaposition. The brain is actually composed, in part, of two subsystems, adapted for action in that place.
The right hemisphere, broadly speaking, responds to novelty with caution, and rapid, global hypothesis formation. The left hemisphere, by contrast, tends to remain in charge when things – that is, explicitly categorized things – are unfolding according to plan…
When the world remains known and familiar – that is, when our beliefs maintain their validity – our emotions remain under control. When the world suddenly transforms itself into something new, however, our emotions are dysregulated, in keeping with the relative novelty of that transformation, and we are forced to retreat or explore.”
“Children are intuitive scientists and armchair philosophers, brimming with such startling observations that it’s hard to believe they’ve come from people barely out of diapers. . . . But, along with their Talmudic wisdom and intellectual acuity, preschoolers can surprise, equally, with their undeveloped motor skills, atrocious impulse control, and venal self-interest.
Like teenagers, whom they closely resemble developmentally, preschoolers are a complicated mix of competence and ineptitude. The problem with American early education is how often the grownups misread, and even interchange, those two attributes completely, and at such critical moments for learning.”
“Any large-scale human cooperation – whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe – is rooted in common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination.
Churches are rooted in common religious myths. Two Catholics who have never met can nevertheless go together on crusade or pool funds to build a hospital because they both believe that God was incarnated in human flesh and allowed Himself to be crucified as to redeem our sins.
States are rooted in common national myths. Two Serbs who have never met might risk their lives to save one another because both believe in the existence of the Serbian nation, the Serbian homeland and the Serbian flag.”
“It is not until late adolescence or young adulthood that a human being typically begins to think of his or her own life in storied, mythic terms. Before adolescence, we have no life story. We have no identity. But this does not mean we construct our identity in adolescence from nothing. Instead, we have been ‘collecting material’ for the story since Day One, even though we don’t remember Day One.”
“Central to Piaget’s framework – and often ignored even by those who count themselves as Piagetian – is this activity, equilibration. Whether in the study of the mollusk or the human child, Piaget’s principal loyalty was to the ongoing conversation between the individuating organism and the world, a process of adaptation shaped by the tension between the assimilation of new experience to the old ‘grammar’ and the accommodation of the old grammar to new experience. This eternal conversation is panorganic; it is central to the nature of all living things.”
“You’re a liar. So am I. Everyone is a liar. We tell ourselves stories because we’re superstitious. Stories are shortcuts we use because we’re too overwhelmed by data to discover all the details.
The stories we tell ourselves are lies that make it far easier to live in a very complicated world. We tell stories about products, services, friends, job seekers, the New York Yankees and sometimes even the weather.”