Friday, October 31, 2008

we are who they were

have you ever wondered why we do the things we do? maybe you and me individually, maybe our entire culture today? why are we like this?
can we - individually or as a whole culture - develop independently of and differently than those who have lived before us?

i've come to be convinced that the understanding of current times, at least in a very large way, lies in the past. the study of history illuminates today with a clarity and wonder that cannot be otherwise imagined. the more history i learn, the more i understand about today, my culture, myself. i make no exaggerations. then was another time, another place, another culture. but we would not be who we are without the ideas, expectations and behaviors set in place by those very long ago. we are who they were.

many of us believe we are independent thinkers (which, ironically, is an idea given to us by some who lived before we did). but, how we think is in a very large way determined by the history of older civilizations. the way of thinking in thirteenth-century French romances has bled into your mind whether you've ever read Lancelot stories, and the influence of ancient sages like Plato - removed from us by miles and millenia - permeates our schools, churches, families, and deepest perceptions. ever read any Shakespeare? even if you hadn't, you've used the words and phrases and metaphors he invented. the very language we speak, our tool of fundamental communication, is a product of stone-age nomads, Roman military maneuvers and road-builders, and rosters of warriors, crusaders, emperors, despots. the way our classrooms are set up - the very concepts of teachers, students and exams - is a result of decisions and controversies made by pompous theologians and traveling humanists during the renaissance and the reformation. and the ideals of freedom we hold so dear, often as dear as our faith? they showed up in the sixteenth century, in books by bands of enlightened rebels usurping the Christian conviction that God raises and removes kings.

my friends, we - you, me, our culture, many cultures - are a conglomeration of them - the ancients, the rebels, the teachers and the poets.

yes, you and i carry the marks of poets and writers in our minds indelibly stamped in our very cores. and if there is one thing i've learned in my literature and history studies, it's that those who write are the tools of radical change throughout history. the written word has the potential to become immortal.

since the lives and texts of ancient times affect us so strongly, so also will our lives and ideas affect those far after us. the postmodernist culture is the forerunner for another kind of culture, whether or not they will know about how postmodernism worked. those who write the books today will be history that is studied and embedded in peoples' worldviews. the way our churches work, what our priorities are and how we influence our surroundings, will be the mark left on future christians and pagans - even if they didn't learn history about us. whether or not they will know about us (perhaps they, too, will be mad with the idea that they are independent), they will be patchworks of all that have come and gone - of our culture, of you and me, who are ourselves blends of ancient expressions.

it's something to think about.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So this week's post will be a shameless plug for the calendars I've created and which are currently for sale. I have more coming soon (so check back), but all the art on RedBubble has free shipping this week (type 100000masterpieces in the promo-code box)! Woohoo! :) So take a look at them if you need a cool gift for someone, maybe for Christmas...? I've created four already, all priced at $25. I can also customize them with any of my photos you've seen here, on Facebook, or on my photo web site. Thanks for taking a wee looksie! :)

See all my calendars here

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

a collage of wisdom

you might be tempted to be angry with me for not posting for so long, but the reason is that i have been out, in the world, collecting quotes from my varied travels to share with you. my backpack is full of scraps of paper with jumbled words on them, just waiting to be immortalized in...nonphysical electronic text. anyways, in all their glory, the unedited wisdom of the mass of humanity around me.

in class

"My interpretation of this text is that whenever we see a reference to a genie, we should immediately think of Allah." -student in English class

"The only way people can fly is by growing angel wings." -same student

"What's the cube root of four sixteenths?" -student in response to the question "Do you have any questions?"

"How our human conversations evolve from the tooth fairy to serial killers." -English professor

"That chair is the color tan. Yucky tan." -Computer Science professor

"If you want to see a real master at work, just watch Steve Jobs at a press conference." -Computer Science professor

"The opening ceremonies of the Olympics kind of frightened me. If 2000 men can drum in synchronization, they can take over the world." -Renaissance History professor

During an exam review for Computer Science class:
Student: "Can you define a string again, please?"
Professor: "Let me show you. 'Hi, I'm a cow.' That's a string."


"Nikki, can I interest you in a big cup of shut up?" -Dad

"Looks like you need to have a better coefficient of friction." - Justin, when the stack of books was too heavy for the small bookend

"Looks like the eye of the hurricane is right over Jamaica. Well, I bet they are good at evacuating, because there are a lot of really good runners there." -Mary (during the Olympics)

Mom: "Mary, you need to need to listen to what I'm saying."
Mary: "I'm trying, but you just keep blabbing, on and on and on..."

"I think this jacket makes me look really sisticated." -Mary

Mom: Wait until I'm done on the computer, then we can turn on the debate."
Mary: "I think this presidential election is just a little more important than our entertainment!"

"If I ever get acne, I am DEFINITELY using Proactiv because it is so effective even on tough acne." - Mary after seeing countless Proactiv commercials

While Mom was scrambling around to get everyone ready to go somewhere, Mary called from upstairs and called down to Mom: "Mom, I've never understood what lips were for."

"Russia's way more powerful now that they took over Atlanta." -Mary


"Barbers always know everything about who people are going to vote for. They're the best pollsters. Who needs a $25,000 poll when you can get one for $15, and a shave too?" -NPR

"A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away." - Barry Goldwater

"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." - Richard Feynman, physicist


"Justin Timberlake is bringing verb conjugations back." - overheard on campus

"I am the queen of nonchalant bluffing" - girl on the bus

"You're kissing him right now, aren't you?" - a guy talking on his cell phone

page hit counter