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I’m reposting the series I did for finals week awhile back–I think it’s worth making it a tradition!
Today begins finals week at the college where I teach. I heard several years ago that one of the Ivy League colleges had a tradition of playing Beethoven’s symphonies back-to-back over the college radio station to end finals week. Well, I’m not Ivy League, and this isn’t radio, but I thought I’d post all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies between now and Friday. Since that’s only six days, I’ll have to double up three times. I’ll reserve Friday for the Ninth, which deserves a day all to itself. Today I’m posting the First and Second. To all out there, whether you’re taking finals this week or not (whether you’re even in school or not, for that matter), enjoy!
One of my all time favorite movies: moving, thought-provoking, powerful.
"Inspiration and Aspiration" by Solon Borglum, in the garden of St. Mark's of the Bowery, commissioned by William Guthrie
Christianity remains the most acceptable, best-known and officially sanctioned religion in America, but American Metaphysical Religion has intersected and in many ways transformed Christian belief and practice. The brothers Guthrie are an excellent example of the tension in this dichotomy. Both were Episcopalian ministers in New York City, but both had deep interest in non-Christian culture, including European paganism.
If you eat eggs, make sure you make the best use of those shells! Most of an eggshell is calcium. In fact, about 95% of shells are calcium carbonate...the same stuff that sea shells, coral, and limestone are made from (the other 5% includes proteins, calcium phosphate, and magnesium carbonate). Here's a list of what you can do with those shells so the calcium and its brittle shell don't go to waste.
It occurs to me that during the course of the various religious and philosophical musings I’ve posted here, there are some concepts which I have used very frequently, but which I haven’t really elaborated. In short, I’ve just tossed them out with a link, if that, and plowed on. One such example in particular is the concept of emanation. Emanation is a highly important concept in both Gnosticism and Neoplatonism, in which they both differ from orthodox Christianity. The mode in which the universe came into existence has implications for one’s theology, cosmology, and philosophy, so I think it’s worth revisiting these different views on the origin of the cosmos and looking at them in greater depth.
First, it’s important to look more generally at how the universe came into being. First, one might maintain that the universe did not come into being at all, since it has existed and will exist eternally. Both some atheists and some theistic systems assume this model. The universe may change or go through cycles (which may or may not repeat), but it has no discrete origin. It’s worth pointing out that even this perspective doesn’t necessarily eliminate the possibility of creation. As Mortimer Adler pointed out in his book How to Think About God, one can still think of God “exnihilating”–holding in existence–a cosmos without linear beginning or end. As I’ve explained in more detail here, God, properly understood, is completely outside of time and space in the sense in which we use those terms. A linear infinity of time–going infinitely into the past and likewise into the future–is still far “smaller” or “less” than the true atemporal eternity of God. To re-use the image I used in the earlier post consider:
Eternity, in this depiction, really shouldn’t be a separate sphere, but the entire plane–or better, the entire space–within which the comparatively tiny line of time lies and by which it is supported. Thus, God can easily be thought of as creating spacetime in all its linear infinity as a mere drop in the higher-order infinity proper to Him.
Albert Perry was an African-American who lived in South Carolina. Following his death, a secret in his DNA surfaced. A very special Y chromosome...
It's so distinctive that it reveals new information about the origin of our species. It shows that the last common male ancestor down the paternal line of our species is over twice as old as we thought.