So I’ve been thinking of literary characters that I am most like. This list is not very short (I can’t simply pick one or two), and it may appear random, but there is a method. So in no particular order here’s the list of literary characters that reflect me in some way and together create a picture of what I am like. I think I’ll leave the reasons why off for the time being. That seems like a much more entertaining game….
J. Alfred Prufrock
Blue van Meer
I’m sure I’ll find more as I continue to read. Maybe I’ll do one with television or movie characters…
Ok, so first of all, I feel the need to put a warning that this will contain spoilers for the whole series of books. Also, it has the great potential to degenerate into a rant.
So there’s a controversy about the Golden Compass book and movie. The story is written by an atheist and does not paint Christianity and the Church (particularly the Catholic Church) in a favorable light. And the email that’s going around talks about how two characters kill God and how that is a horrible thing. Well, if the character called God in the book was actually like the God described in the Bible, I could understand being upset. But as it stands, they aren’t at all the same thing. The God character in the series sounds more like satan than anything else. And the God in the book is very sad, and the moment of his death (which was not at all malicious or intentional on the part of the kids in the book) is actually a relief. And the presentation of the Church in the books resembles that of the Catholic Church around the time of the Reformation (which is generally agreed to be a dark time in the history of the Church), with its Inquisition style committees and preoccupation with sin and works and labeling most any new scientific advance heresy, and really should not be allowed to continue.
What I find most striking is that the critics focus on the words as they stand and not what they mean in the context of the story. I think if they looked beyond the words on the page, those critics would find that Pullman’s story really does represent what the story of Christ and Christianity is truly about – the need for us to love and live the life we have in love for others. I think this really is what God wants from us – for us to love and live our lives as if that love actually mattered to ourselves and those around us. This is what Lyra and Will discover in the end, and while it’s painful for both of them, they know it’s the best way to live. There are many times that Christians and the Church lose sight of that, or stumble in the implementation, but, much like the angel who comes through in the end, we cannot give up trying, no matter the ways in which we fail. Stopping without even trying is the ultimate failure, and I think that’s an important point that Pullman makes in his books. He also emphasizes the importance of love and actually living, and I don’t know how we can honestly argue against that.
Sure, if a person doesn’t want their child being exposed to that when they are young, keep that from them. But I can’t stand it when I am then judged because I don’t abide by the rules that someone else has laid out. The gospels have Jesus saying “If you love me you’ll keep my commandments.” The commandments that are recorded in those same gospels are loving God with all that I am, loving my neighbors as myself, and, as I am going, to preach the good news that God really does love humanity. There are other social rules that he doesn’t nullify, but the actual commandments from Jesus are few in number. They cover a lot, but they focus more on the attitude of people than they do on the actions of people. That to me seems like the best course to take. And I think I have a broader perspective on what it means to love and live after reading the His Dark Materials series.
So one of the things that I love is easy ways to help others. Here are a few links that I’ve come across through the lovely internet. The first is Kiva.org which is a website that creates opportunities for people to provide micro loans for others around the world. I think this is fantastic since numerous people only need what many consider a small amount of money to fund their business ideas. The other is Freerice.com which lets people play word games to donate rice to people around the world. There’s no signing up, there’s no financial commitment, you just have to click on the definition of the word that’s provided. And that’s probably the best thing ever. It’s a more productive way to waste those extra few minutes. Just wanted to share these because that’s what I like to do. Sharing is caring.
So I haven’t written in a long time… I’ve been busy, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use this space for. And then I became concerned. But I think that I will use this space to finish the numerous conversations I have. Which a rather silly statement because I leave this open to more comments and that’s no real way to end anything. It is a great way to continue the conversation though, and I think that’s what I do in my head. So I will use this space to expand my ideas by opening them up to everyone else’s. I find this forum very entertaining and I think I want to be a part of it…
So I’m back. I guess we’ll see what happens this time….
I love quotes. They are very often the best way to sum up whatever it is you are trying to say. And they do it with such panache. Which makes sense since that is precisely why they are quotes. There is something about the way the words are put together in that way that just rings. It’s like a beautiful melody that you wake up humming, yet barely remember until you hear it somewhere else. You can pretend to be serious, you can’t pretend to be witty, but you can steal wit effectively. And it is a great inside joke when you do it.
Reading lots of everything about everything and listening to whatever comes into range is a great way to pick up quotes, as long as you have some way to store all that information. It’s fine if you don’t, but only if everyone already knows that you read and listen to as much as you can. Inevitably you will misquote something, which is fine because misquotation is the pride and privilege of the widely-read. Obviously because a widely-read person never quotes accurately for the rather obvious reason that they are widely-read. So just learn to laugh at your mistakes and move on. There are always three good reasons to walk away from anything.
My one wish, though, is that I could be smart enough to actually come up with really good quotes. I guess I’d have to be a genius then. Well, everyone is a genius at least once a year it’s just that real geniuses have their bright ideas closer together. That’s what I wish would happen to me. But genius has its limits… The funny thing is that genius cannot be learned. I think that genius is more the application of an education — education being that which survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. Or perhaps geniuses are just those who have found out what the love doing with their life and have found people willing to pay them for it. Or maybe geniuses are those who dream things that never were and say, “why not?”
Or maybe I just like screwing with people and am really an intellectual kleptomaniac. I say a lot of things. I love thoughts and discussion and banter and parsing and playing the clown. I love nothing more that to find a weak spot in a statement and push it to see what happens. I am that person who will press your bruise to see if it hurts. The funny thing is that I will simultaneously be in pain with you and yet smile to see that my hypothesis was correct. Or maybe I just like to think that I am really like that…
I am more of an enigma than people give me credit for, and less of on than I would like to be. And I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say, but I love to see where the words lead. Once I get started, I’m hard-pressed to tell you where I’ll end. I wish more people had as much fun with language as I do; they might just laugh more and waste fewer days.
Do you ever have those days where you feel like you have a large truck with three huge, adult, bull African elephants stomping in it sitting on your heart? Where the only news you seem to hear is all bad. Not like “I have a hang nail and it’s driving me crazy” bad, but bad on the level of a country western song. Nothing seems to be in its place in the world, including you, and you’d like to just call time out for a few minutes to try to slow down the play, but the ref isn’t paying attention. I hate those days.
There are very few things in life that I hate, but those kinds of days are one of the few. They’re just so hard to shake. They screw up your perspective on everything, which makes it difficult to gather up the strength to push the truck of elephants off. Pushing a truck, especially one full of elephants, takes a tremendous amount of energy, even just surviving with it on your heart is draining, and it saps all the strength you might have been able to muster at one point leaving you in quite a predicament.
You know the only way to move out from under the truck, don’t you? You have to choose to. And that takes a ton of energy.
By making a conscious decision that you are simply going to look for the good things that are happening you begin to smile more. And smiling is good; it helps clear the soul and add acts a beginning push to start the truck rolling. It’s not a quick fix (nothing is a quick fix, if it looks and feels like it fixes the problem and you aren’t facing whatever the problem is then it’s a quick mask that is doing nothing to help fix the underlying problem, which only delays the inevitable, unpleasant, but good, process of fixing your issues); it’s a long process that will heal your wounds. Time doesn’t do it alone, most of the time you have to decide something about how your wound must be healed.
Hopefully there aren’t too many days where the truck of elephants are on your heart, but I hope that we all look for those things that make us smile and give a good push…..
Have you ever noticed that we seem to be getting more and more afraid as time goes on? I’m sure we have always been afraid, but it seems that we are now verging on the point of paranoia. When we go online there always seems to be tons of pop-ups that have some great new deal to help you keep your identity from being stolen. Identities were stolen long before the Internet but we seem to think that this is a new thing that we have to become freakishly obsessed with. Take common sense safeguards, don’t be stupid and give away important personal information, and enjoy the benefits that come with easier access to information.
And in a world that we are constantly told is more violent, America rushes to take these extreme measures for “protection.” But at what cost? Will every American have to carry around identity cards and eventually get microchip implants in order to be a citizen? Or will we all have retinal scans on record in order to do business? Hasn’t anyone ever watched Alias? Apparently there is very little that cannot be effectively copied. And how have the extreme identity measures worked in other countries?
Perhaps what we all need is a time out. Maybe if we all just sat back, took a deep breath, looked at the world around us we would look at all these safety precautions for what they seem to be –
An empty sham of an effort to make ourselves feel like we’re safe.
I’m not saying throw caution to the wind, but I don’t think that we need walls built on fear-feed misconceptions, and bolted doors while we huddle inside. What might happen if we really decided to try to see others for who they are rather than who our preconceived notions need them to be. Beginning with your answer to an interpersonal issue seldom leads you to the other person’s question.
What in the world are thoughts? I know that no one really knows where they come from and that they just appear, but why? I mean we think all the time (most of us anyway….) and yet there’s no way to tell really what constitutes a thought. In the Harry Potter books (yes I am referencing some of the most attention getting books ever, but I liked them before the mass hysteria) they are described as thin silvery strands, but that’s not very substantive. Yet they seem to make up a lot of what we point to as “ourselves.” If we are religious we point to our belief in whatever higher being/power/deity we ascribe to. Our belief. And what is belief really other than a very organized set of beliefs that are one set of principles that govern the way we interact. What is any government, for that matter, but a collection of ideas – a way of elevating thoughts – that the society lives by? And when we are asked by employers to describe ourselves what do we tell them other than what we think we are. Because how do we know who we are without thought?
And what has been the source of most of the terrible crimes of the future worlds in literature throughout the years? Controlling of thoughts. In many of the scariest fictional societies the way people are controlled are through their thoughts. 1984 has the Thought Police; Fahrenheit 451 overloads people with useless information and bans anything that promotes thinking; Brave New World terrorizes infants and small children in order to control their spending as adults because they think they cannot live without what they are deeply afraid of; the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings books distorts what a person thinks they are capable of handling while subtly subjugating them to the will of Sauron.
Attempting to control, or at least have a significant influence on, thoughts is not only in literature. What is any add on T.V. or in a magazine or on the roadside but an attempt to get you to think the same way as that company? And in today’s America what is the job of every White House spokesperson but to tell the facts in such a way that people will think the same way as the people they speak for? And we all tell our own stories in such a way so that we come out more of a hero than we might have actually been to get people to think better of us. No one is above stating facts in a way that assists a person to think the way that they want them to think. Even I did it in my choice of books and the way I described them in illustrating my point in the paragraph above. What do you think about that?
Thoughts are so interesting. They control and shape us while we are simultaneously controlling and shaping them. Yet they seem to lack the see, taste, touch substance that many people say they cannot believe in something without. So what do we do with such questionable things?
I hope this has been thought provoking….
I’ve never really cared for band wagons; they are far too crowded. Crowded with lots of people whose sole desire is to simply be on the band wagon because that’s where people are. It probably stems from a deep-seated desire to not be left alone that’s only magnified in a culture where people are pushed to keep a constant flow of stimulus streaming into their beings in order to know who is dating whom, what the new black is, whose hot and who has faded… all in an effort to drown out the one person who should matter most – them. In the frenzy to belong they let go of the person they began as and loose the very thing they wanted in the first place -acceptance. There is no you, there is only me, but a me that is defined by the group.
A band wagon is a crowded place. It’s a fight to keep who you are in the midst of a clamoring whole that wants nothing more than for the individual to melt away and become – wibble wobble – one of us. And here I am in the midst of it as a newbie posting blogs with everyone and their dog.