Tagged as Personal
Written on 2007-06-17 18:00:00I'm at church right now. I'm not in church but I'm at church writing this from a computer not far from the service area. I've been thinking about some things. Mostly I'm just trying to avoid having to deal with much until lunchtime. I'm trying to keep my mind among occupied. I haven't been to church in a while and it was interesting to listen to Michael speak again. I was reminded of some of the supremely good issues that Christianity forces one to address. Chiefly imperfection and pride and introspection. I was also reminded of the nonsensical approach (perhaps the word I'm looking for is presentation) that is given in the average church. I can actually watch the service from another monitor here in this control room. Anyway, I've been thinking about perspective and how difficult it is to ever be objective outside of your perspective. You can always be as objective as possible within your perspective but managing to actually go far enough out to get beyond your perspective (note: here perspective includes your understanding of the views of others) is really, really difficult. In fact, I'm having a real hard time finding a good way to define perspective. I'll try to come back to this later today. But I'm thinking about G.K. Chesterton's writings and how wonderfully prosaic his thinking was as well as his Christianity. I'm also thinking of Paul Graham and his essays on Education. And I'm remembering some of the issues I had to think about in youth groups or what have you in middle and high school. I think some of the things we had to confront were good even if the presentation or structure wasn't ideal. And it's making me wonder what a Hacker School would look like. What would a Hacker Church or Youth Group look like? What would make church or school more purposive, more elegant? They certainly aren't designed ideally now. I'm wondering how you captivate a generation of people and convince them that grappling with problems is a supremely more rewarding and better thing than having fun. Moreover, that grappling with problems can be fun (not that you shouldn't at times have regular fun too of course but more that it should be the exception rather than the rule). Christianity has a terrible tendency to make one believe that all things can be made Black and White as does much staunchly moralist thinking. Unfortunately, the real world strays much much closer to Mathematics or Literature. There is one concrete meaning or answer generally speaking. At the very least, there are answers that are definitely wrong. But there is a world of grey and interpretation and middle ground and the problem is several orders of magnitude more complex than I feel Church or Christianity prepares you to deal with and this is in part because I think it conditions you to think about things a certain way and to hold distaste for certain thoughts. Chesterton treated Christianity as a filter. He evaluated ideas particularly in terms of what their effect would be on him to some extent. He believed in the teachings of the church but he was also mindful of the fact that he should consider ideas which flew in the face of the church or solutions to problems that seemed unorthodox. However, he also considered many ideas on the basis of what spiritual effect they had on him. He thought of evolution as being a well and good idea in so much as it meant God took more time to make the world but a worthless idea in terms of equating man with the chimpanzee. Not because it necessarily wasn't correct so much as because for him the idea that he was equivalent to a chimpanzee was a degrading fact from which he could draw no implications about how to live or behave. It wasn't instructional. It was defeatist. I'm not saying that we should reject the idea that we're descended from Chimpanzees. We very well may be and provided we're not bothered by that then fine. But one must have ideas for pragmatic and practical reasons. They are meant to drive and further progress which is it's own challenge. A lot of our problem nowadays is that we're firm believers in universal solutions. Buckhead (30327) is the second wealthiest congressional district in the country (behind 90210) and we're sending our kids to cookie cutter programs with cookie cutter lives. And you know what? They will be cookie cutter adults that do not live up (on average) to the success of their parents. This is me predicting dangerously. The problem is that we need people to innovate but the parents aren't thinking that. They're not thinking we need to make sure our kids have the same crazy and ridiculous diversity of experience and adversity we had to be successful. They're thinking lets go to a safe, non-threatening, homogeneous place to raise a family that's as conforming to our idea of the good as possible. And that's largely what Buckhead is. It's kind of disgusting actually. The whole notion is that of group-think and not in the collaborative, open source, everyone can contribute everything kind of way. Buckhead is not a wiki. The problem with this is that kids aren't being taught to think for themselves, they're not being taught to find their own solutions to their own questions. They're not necessarily taught that the question (or to question) is important. And universal solutions don't work. We're slowly learning this. The trick is local solutions to local problems. Domain-specific versus Domain-inspecific. Anyway, I've got to run but more on this later. And everyone pray or wish luck on me between Noon and 2 o'clock.