nolongerinbetween

Archive for August 2020

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Prima injustitie este trupul. Primesti la nastere, odata cu trupul care iti va purta sinele prin lume, destinul tau. Loteria genetica are intotdeauna the upper hand in razboiul etern dintre libertate si determinism, dintre nurture si nature. In contra idealismului platonic trupul e papusarul care trage sforile sufletului. Trupul este destin pentru ca ceea ce esti este determinat, intr-o proportie coplesitoare, de trupul in care eul tau s-a intrupat. Slujba. Partenerul de viata. Marimea contului din banca. Succesul la femei. Amprenta pe care o lasi in oamenii din jur. Numarul prietenilor. Durata vietii. Libertatea. Atentia cu care esti ascultat. Carisma. Umorul. You name it. Toate iti sunt date. Toate sunt continute in trupul pe care-l primesti in custodie la nastere. Poti trai cu iluzia ca lotul tau se opreste unde se termina trupul. Ca datul se refera la hardware, dar ca software-ul este totusi in jurisdictia ta. Fals. Pana si personalitatea iti este data. Inteligenta. Empatia. Zambetul. Sclipirea din ochi. Timbrul vocii. Felul cum vorbesti. Felul cum razi. Pana si mersul este un dat si nu este al tau. Si ce poate fi mai personal decat mersul? Poti admite half-heartedly ca trupul static e un dat dar ca trupul in miscare, in dinamica, mersul, este totusi semnatura ta personala. Nu este. Nu l-ai ales tu si nu este contributia ta personala. Ti-a fost dat. Nu tu alegi centrul de greutate al trupului, amplitudinea si gratia pasului sau confidenta cu care iti porti corpul prin lume. Dat. Dat. Dat. Dat. Dat. Dat.

Orice relationare cu oamenii din jurul nostru este intercesata de o continua cantarire negustoreasca. Suntem niste masini automate de jurizare. De dat note. De validat fiinte. Bun – Rau. Placut – Neplacut. Cool – Uncool. Desirabil – Indezirabil. Da – Nu. 1.0.1.0.1.0. E limbajul binar al orientarii noastre prin jungla umana. A never-ending assessment and ranking. Orice intalnire cu o persoana noua este un examen de bacalaureat. Un examen de admitere in care cel judecat ajunge sau nu in gratiile noastre. Nimeni nu pare scandalizat insa de faptul bizar ca apreciem sau judecam oamenii pentru lucruri care nu sunt sub controlul acestora si pentru care nu au nici cel mai mic merit sau vina. Ca valorizam oamenii penru lotul in care au fost instalati si nu pentru eul lor autentic. Pentru talantul primit in custodie nu pentru uzufructul lui. Ce chestionez aici nu este atractia pe care o simtim fata de un chip frumos sau o minte sclipitoare. Fata de un bust generos sau un zambet dezarmant. Inteleg foarte bine ca atractia este raspunsul evolutionist la problema mortalitatii si a supravieturii noastre via reproducere. Chestionez insa saltul nepermis pe care il facem de la atractie la valorizare. De la atractie la alegere si discriminare. Chestionez efectul de halo care ne da peste cap cognitia. Sistemul nostru de orientare si evaluare a oamenilor este fraudulos. We equate luck with merit. We mistake gifted for praiseworthy. We conflate lot with work. Our assessment tests are rigged and deeply flawed. Even a genius, someone we all praise and hold in high esteem is, at the end of the day, just a lucky bastard. La fel cum este absurd sa fii mandru de culoarea ochilor tai este absurd sa valorizezi pe cineva pentru picioarele lui frumoase, pentru memoria impresionanta sau pentru gropitele din obraji. Valorizarea ca sa aiba sens trebuie sa fie o functie a meritului si sa treaca prin contributia personala.

value = f (effort)

Nu sunt un sfant. Nu am nici eu anticorpi impotriva primatului corporal. Nu scap nici eu tentatiei de a evalua oamenii cu acest cantar masluit. Al lotului cu care au fost inzestrati. Insa ma straduiesc de fiecare data sa aduc evaluarea back to the right framework – eul tau nu rezida in lotul tau, in datul care iti este oferit. You are not your feet. You are not your face. You are not your brilliant intellect. Atunci cand am de-a face cu cineva care ma intereseaza cu adevarat, marea mea curiozitate e sa ii gasesc eul lui profund, sa ajung sa am o relatie cu sinele lui, nu cu determinatiile contingente. Sa-i transcend lotul si talantii primiti in dar la loteria divina. Nu e un demers lipsit de riscuri insa. Atat in ce-i priveste pe ceilalti, cat si in ce ne priveste pe noi insine. Pentru ca la capatul acestui proces de deconstructie, dupa ce dam la o parte zecile de layere ale lotului primit in dar si care nu ne pot fi creditate cu adevarat noua insine, ne putem intreba ingroziti daca ramane mare lucru din noi. Daca restul gasit, sinele autentic, are catusi de putin valoare. Faceti un exercitiu si dezbracati-va de tot ce inseamna determinatie si dat in voi. Faceti acelasi lucru cu cei doi-trei oameni pe care ii iubiti si apreciati in viata voastra. Ganditi-va la tot ce va place si valorizati in voi si in ei, si daca nu le puteti atribui contributiei proprii, inlaturati-le fara mila. Ceea ce ramane este eul vostru si eul lor, gol golut. Daca exista Dumnezeu, this core, this residual self este ceea ce va ramane din noi si ceea ce-I vom prezenta glorios in ziua cand ne vom prezenta in fata Lui. Now weigh up again this naked self devoid of any given traits. You can now properly see what you are made of. How proud of yourself are you now? How pleased with the people whom you love are you now?

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After she died, for a month or two, I couldn’t look at her pictures. Every time I got a glimpse of her image, from the corner of my eye, it was so painful I thought my chest would explode. Then gradually that pain faded away and I was able to browse through the vast collection of pictures I took of her. I would look at her pictures and videos every night before going to bed with a sort of a religious zeal. Now again, in the last weeks, I find myself incapable of looking at her. The pain of seeing her photos is for some strange reasons once again unbearable. It exceeds the threshold of safety so if I get to see a photo of her somehow I instantly feel the urge to turn away and protect myself. Not that I can escape her image entirely. If I close my eyes, she is always there, in front of my eyes, like painted on my inner eyelids.

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The thought that there’s nothing left of her, that I will never see her again and that I will never be reunited with her fills me with despair. What’s the point of everything if we cannot secure the most important thing in life? Yes, I am capable of moving on and, in spite of suffering for her loss, of still enjoying life. I can carry on living a good life like I did so far. I can carry on with my interests. I can even buy into the idea that we are here to better ourselves, to learn, to experience and fulfill our potential. I can even try to achieve things people are usually proud of – I could write books, I could set up a movement within the evangelical faith, I could start finding a way to activate the political animal in me and fight our deplorable governments etc. But what’s the point of all that if the only thing that matters is beyond our reach or given to us only for a short while?  We need immortality to validate our struggle. We need immortality to gain relevance. We need immortality to save anything we do from pettiness, no matter how great it is. I cannot do it like most people, in complete blindness, building castles in the air. What’s the point to take life seriously if our love cannot be saved? What’s the point of loving in the first place if I cannot take that love with me in eternity? What’s the point of being saved if I am separated from the ones I love? What’s the point of doing anything if our loved ones are doomed to destruction and nothingness?

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Magical thinking comes in many shapes and forms. One way is the irrational belief that if you think of something bad it won’t happen. The fact of thinking of it in itself, of considering that terrible outcome will prevent it from happening. Usually when something bad happens to us we are saying “I never thought this could happen to me”. The hardship comes as a total surprise. So if I had thought it could happen to me maybe I would have been spared. The trick then is to anticipate and consider the hardship and so to keep it away. All this magical thinking takes place on a subconscious level. It runs under your conscious radar. You know it’s silly and irrational but that won’t stop you from hoping to alter the course of an event by mere thinking. As if it’s enough to expose and uncover a plot to soften the blow of surprise and spoil its power. As if since you think of it first the gods can no longer throw it at you.

It goes without saying that it doesn’t work. I was always scared that she would develop a cancer of some sort. My fears, my anticipation, my constant thinking of such a terrible outcome didn’t do the trick. It happened regardless. You would think that the ordeal of living in fear of something would be enough. That you won’t have to go through the real thing. But life rejects clear patterns.

By the same token, you might think that once cancer screwed your life one time it won’t happen again. You might think that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. That it would be highly unlikely, let alone cruel, to come across the C-word again in your life. But like I said, life doesn’t follow patterns consistently. Every time you think you discovered a pattern and a rule, life will break free and betray them. Magical thinking falls short again. Lightning does strike twice in the same spot. If you don’t believe me ask CS Lewis. His life was shattered to pieces when his mum died of cancer when he was nine years old. You would think that the trauma of losing the person he loved the most at such an early age due to cancer won’t strike again in the same way. Think again. Fifty years later cancer will shatter his life once more, taking away his beloved wife. The dice our gods use must be loaded and tampered with. No wonder it was only then when his faith got on the brink of erosion. When something hits you hard you are not shielded from a second blow. You would think that if you are already down you would be given a respite. But there’s no safe place from the cruelty of life, gods and people. When you are down and wounded expect nothing from mortals and immortals altogether. I should know better.

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I feel like talking about her all the time. It’s as if the love for her is so overwhelming that it needs an outlet. This is one of the reasons I share my ramblings. I’m like an overflowing well that cannot be contained. I feel like stopping people on the street and tell them how beautiful she was and how blessed I was to have her in my life. I feel like cutting any discussion I have short and start talking about her instead. To hell with everything else. But I know it’s an impulse I need to control and that I cannot impose on people with personal things that cannot be easily passed on. In grief you go off to a solitary place that cannot be shared with everybody.

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BoardingPass_MyNameOnMars2020 Tori

Today her name took off into outer space. Her name was written on a plate that will be carried hundreds of millions kilometres away from Earth. A seven month journey to Mars. I hope she will smile from beyond the stars seeing her name landed on the red planet. Maybe we are mere mortals, maybe we are just a speck of dust suspended in a sunbeam for a short while, maybe Keats is right and we are just “names written in the water“. If that is the case, her name on that plate on Mars will survive my death for a few hundred years as a mark in time, as a token of my endless love for her.

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Even when I was close to God I have to admit that I never got to love Him more than I loved His creatures. Once in a while I came pretty close but never really went to the end with it. If jealousy would be one of His traits He would have all the reasons to strike me down. But I’m sure it’s not the case and He is pleased that at least I got to lose myself completely in the love for them. Maybe one day I will take the big leap. Half the journey is already done.

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I was always pleased to learn that I share with CS Lewis this fascination with animals. When he was a kid he would spend most of his time in the Animal Land or Boxen, imaginary worlds he created with his brother, inhabited and run by adventurous odd creatures and fantastic talking animals. Since he was a kid until he died he was known as Jack. He hardly used his given name ever. Probably not too many would know or realize that he adopted the name of his dog Jacksie. When he was four years old his dog was killed by a car. He then took the name of his dog Jacksie and he would stubbornly answer to no other name. For the rest of his life. Talk about faithfulness.

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When it comes to animals, mankind is split in two and is as polarized as ever. Half of humanity doesn’t understand the other half. Half of mankind would tell me bluntly “it’s just a cat” and that my grief is borderline pathological. Even on my side of humanity, the one that is into animals, some people see them as mere companions. They offer them shelter, food, protection and love. But they don’t see them as more than animals. It’s not that the bond they develop with them is somehow weaker. Not necessarily. It can be as strong as possible. But it matters though how you look at them. Taxonomy is important. I’m in a funny position since as a believer (albeit a terrible one) I had to reconcile evolutionism with creation so I ended up having a foot in both camps. I always had a sense of solidarity and brotherhood with them but in the last years it got deeper. To the point I can find humanity guilty of Specism. I do think we are a more evolved species as part of God’s plan but not that this entails we can rule over the other creatures. In this respect my belief and the Christian faith part ways. I could be accused of anthropomorphism, of attributing them humans traits and that I see in them more than I should. But I’m not sure that the criticism would hold. I don’t see them as people. It’s just that I could never ever escape the irrepressible thought, every time she looked at me, that there was SOMEONE in there. That behind those big eyes was not just a mere physical mechanism or a hollow shell. If we call that a person is open to debate. But that there’s somebody in there, in the same way my self is trapped in my body, I’m almost certain.


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Mind, Body & Soul

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literatura e efortul inepuizabil de a transforma viaţa în ceva real

The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.

Mind, Body & Soul

Quality Education & Advice

literatura e efortul inepuizabil de a transforma viaţa în ceva real

The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.