Saturday, August 30, 2014

After the Future: Grace in the Wilderness

After the Future: Grace in the Wilderness

Because this is the difference between the Nietzschean and the Christian. For the first, the world is radically open-ended and any human future is a possibility. The Christian would also acknowledge that because humans are no longer fated by the gods and determined by outside forces in the way they were, that a wide range of futures is a possibility, but however it is attained the future has a goal, a telos,  an Omega point.  And the striving toward that endpoint is what gives meaning and significance to what we do now. 

Underlining is my emphasis

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sack cartoon: Climate-change denial | Star Tribune

Sack cartoon: Climate-change denial | Star Tribune

Deviant and Proud

Last night I stopped by the site of George Monbiot, an author who writes for the Guardian in the UK.  I was thinking to myself that I had not been there in a number of months.  He's a thoughtful guy.  I was so glad I did as he provides a critique of what is called neoliberalism in Europe which he interprets as free market fundamentalism.  Below is much but not all of the article.  Please go the site and read the whole thing.  I have never bought the idea that unfettered greed is good.  I admit there is value in competition but can't believe it stands by itself as the key to everything.  

Do you feel left out? Perhaps it’s because you refuse to succumb to the competition, envy and fear neoliberalism  breeds

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 6th August 2014 
To be at peace with a troubled world: this is not a reasonable aim. It can be achieved only through a disavowal of what surrounds you. To be at peace with yourself within a troubled world: that, by contrast, is an honourable aspiration. This column is for those who feel at odds with life. It calls on you not to be ashamed. 
I was prompted to write it by a remarkable book, just published in English, by a Belgian professor of psychoanalysis, Paul Verhaeghe(1). What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society is one of those books that, by making connections between apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and why. 
We are social animals, Verhaeghe argues, and our identity is shaped by the norms and values we absorb from other people. Every society defines and shapes its own normality – and its own abnormality – according to dominant narratives, and seeks either to make people comply or to exclude them if they don’t.

The same forces afflict those who can’t find work. They must now contend, alongside the other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy. 
These shifts have been accompanied, Verhaeghe writes, by a spectacular rise in certain psychiatric conditions: self-harm, eating disorders, depression and personality disorders. Of the personality disorders, the most common are performance anxiety and social phobia; both of which reflect a fear of other people, who are perceived as both evaluators and competitors, the only roles for society that market fundamentalism admits. Depression and loneliness plague us. The infantilising diktats of the workplace destroy our self-respect. Those who end up at the bottom of the pile are assailed by guilt and shame. The self-attribution fallacy cuts both ways(5): just as we congratulate ourselves for our successes,we blame ourselves for our failures, even if we had little to do with it. 
So if you don’t fit in; if you feel at odds with the world; if your identity is troubled and frayed; if you feel lost and ashamed, it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud. 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Antarctic and Greenland Ice Mass Change

I downloaded data from this NASA site and plotted it up.  I combined the data into one plot as shown below.  Data is from the Grace Satellite and here is the reference.

Quoted from the NASA site:
Data from NASA's Grace satellites show that the land ice sheets in both Antarctica and Greenland are losing mass. The continent of Antarctica ... has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002.

Along the same lines, here's an article Putting Antarctica Sea Ice Loss Into Perspective.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Creation Has Not Stopped

In recent years I’ve been reading John Haught and Ilia Delio.  They are associated wth Georgetown University and each has written several  books that take seriously the writings of Teilhard du Chardin and seek to interpret and build on what he said.  The first quote is from a John Haught book, Deeper Than Darwin, and the remainder from a compilation of different authors, including John and Delia, titled From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe.  Of course these are things I’ve highlighted and then downloaded from my Kindle and the Highlight locations are given. I find these writings comforting and exciting.

Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect For Religion In The Age Of Evolution (John Haught)
- Highlight Loc. 785-86 | Added on Saturday, May 17, 2014, 06:03 AM 
By our best  reckoning, the universe is a story in the process of being told. Evolutionary  narrative clearly implies that the cosmos is still coming into being.
 From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 184-87 | Added on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 07:12 AM 
He found the basis for spiritual renewal in the awareness that “creation has never stopped.” “The creative act,” he concluded, “is one huge continual gesture, drawn out over the totality of time. It is still going on; and incessantly even if imperceptibly, the world is constantly emerging a little farther above nothingness” (PU 120–21).
 From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 203-4 | Added on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 07:17 AM 
With rare exceptions, Christian thought has not yet looked carefully at the dramatic implications of evolutionary biology and astrophysics for our understanding of God and the world.
 From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 272-74 | Added on Thursday, May 22, 2014, 10:34 PM 
Lack of interest by theologians in the new scientific cosmic story only weakens their intellectual opposition to the current academic cult of cosmic pessimism. Cosmic pessimism is the belief that nature has no purpose and that whatever meaning exists in the world is our own human creation. the ancient Hebrew discovery of the future can hardly object.

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 313-15 | Added on Saturday, May 24, 2014, 07:31 AM
 Those who dwell within a worldview rooted in the motifs of promise and hope will rightly suspect that Platonic, Aristotelian, Thomistic, and most modern philosophies have blunted the futuristic edge and thrust of early Christian life and thought. 
From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 321-23 | Added on Saturday, May 24, 2014, 07:33 AM
 A sense of darkness, a realization that the intelligibility we seek is always partly obscured by shadows, is inevitable in any universe that is still in via. As long as the universe is not yet fully actualized it cannot possibly be fully intelligible to those who journey along with it (CE, 79–86; 131–32).

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 324-25 | Added on Saturday, May 24, 2014, 07:34 AM
 Like truth, intelligibility is something for which we must wait, since—if it is to be a continuous source of nourishment—we can never possess it.

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 351-52 | Added on Saturday, May 24, 2014, 07:40 AM
 That is, contemporary physicalism and its attendant cosmic pessimism are based on the uncritical belief that only through breaking things down into their subordinate parts can we finally satisfy the human craving to understand the world.

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 385-86 | Added on Saturday, May 24, 2014, 08:10 AM
 it leads Christian educators and ministers to ignore both the dramatic, emergent character of the universe and the promissory thrust of biblical faith.

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe (Ilia Delio)
- Highlight Loc. 398-99 | Added on Saturday, May 24, 2014, 08:13 AM
 Teilhard’s search for a grounding of solidity and consistency, therefore, led him eventually to claim that the universe leans on the future as its true foundation (AE, 139, 239).

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