Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

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It’s almost October and the semester is officially in full swing.  Practically this means that I’m grading or prepping several nights a week in addition to the full work days of office hours, classes, and meetings.  This has the predictable effect of plummeting my personal reading.  In July I read a book a week, now I’m averaging about 1/3 or a 1/4 of that.

Reading fewer books worries me for a couple of reasons.  I’ve been reading, listening, and thinking more about how the internet shapes the brain.  I find that the longer I spend on the web fighting through my inbox, reading Feedly, and skimming the Times and ESPN for a break the more frantic and scattered I feel at the end of the day.  I long to be focused for long periods and to hear other people’s well crafted, well curated thoughts.

Another reason I’ve been wanting to read more books is that I’m interested in having more conversations with people worth conversing with.  We’ve yet to make fast friends here in PVD.  Lots of good people, lots of fun people, but few people we hang with regularly and fewer still whom we talk deep into the night with.  But I’m realizing I need and want those conversations.  Our year in SC Wendell Berry and I talked deep into the nights as I read through his fiction.  I’m wondering now who I should listen to.  Eugene Peterson?  Some classic writer?  Contemporary economists?  Probably not economists as they are more work related, though it would be good if I could carve out some space for learning at work, rather than just teaching.

Explicitly spiritual?  Implicitly so?  Keen observers of the human condition?  I miss this type of reading….

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Written by furthermusings

September 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Reflections

My life verse about the internet

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As I talked with a dear friend tonight about the perils of the internet I was reminded of this quote that I used to keep taped to the top of my computer screen.

“Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is took weak and fuddled to shake off.”  C.S. Lewis

It’s strange to me that when I was in college the people whom the internet ate were almost entirely men who got sucked into computer games for semesters on end, emerging only for class and brief visits to the dining hall.   Perhaps they were online because they were bad at relationships… Perhaps their relationship skills were bad because of how much time they spent online.  Either way it was hard to watch.   I did that one semester too, and it was fun.  I can still taste the adrenaline of playing Half-Life or Team Fortress.   But I left, and I don’t have gaming systems because they are too sweet.

Today the internet eats women as much as it eats men.   The social aspect, the mirages of connection, that tell people they have friends even when the don’t.  It twiddles away good years that could be spent in conversation and love on Instagram posts and status updates.  All the while the internet provides a flow of a constant, unmonitored, and unedited social pressures into homes that were once havens from the pressures of the world.

This all makes me sad.  And it grieves me to see how it is eating young women now as well as young men.

Written by furthermusings

September 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Posted in Reflections

Pregnancy Photo Shoot

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Twas fun to head out to a big field and take some shots.  They’re coming …

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Written by furthermusings

September 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Pictures

Dust to dust

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Tonight, as Charity and I comb through a treasure chest of art prints, I emptied out an old frame we picked up several houses ago.

As I emptied it I wondered who these people are and what it is that brought them together. Who cared enough to have it framed and protect it many years? I wondered if any living soul knows who these nine people are and if there exists another picture of them in the world.

And as I picked it up it began to crumble into dust in my hands, early images fading away. What little knowledge of them in the living further disappearing…

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Written by furthermusings

September 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Pictures, Reflections