Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Cousin Ray and daughter Jordan recently ran the Austin Marathon together! As you can imagine, this was a big event in the Cousin Club Chronicles. Ray said, "We finished the marathon in 4:15. I really held Jordan back. She could have done 3:50 easy. We're pretty sure she's the youngest Type 1 (diabetic) to ever finish a marathon. The other youngest person we can find is 24. Jordan is 14." Hooray, Jordan! The family e-mail trails were all lit up with congratulations to the two, with pretty much everyone saying how wonderful Jordan looked post-marathon, and Dad looked ..... well... proud! He's no slouch, either, though, as our only Iron Man cousin. Congratulation, you two!! Well done!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Ah, yes, And The Trees Clap Their Hands - Faith, Perception, and the New Physics by Virginia Stem Owens, does not disappoint, particularly on the heels of Declare, which I blogged on below. Here are a few paragraphs from chapter 4 of And the Trees...:
Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel prize-winning biochemist, describes how he went about making his laboratory discoveries, which were as much a function of the imagination as of rationality:
"One needs the ability to strip to the essential attributes of some actor in a process, the ability to imagine oneself inside a biological situation; I literally had to be able to think, for example, 'What would it be like if I were one of the chemical pieces in a bacterial chromosome?' - and to try to understand what my environment was, try to know where I was ..."
Now that is hardly looking at stars as wallpaper. Such diving inside among the twining ropes of chromosomes through the agency of consciousness is an act of phenomenal participation in reality.
And lest we leave consciousness to the waking hours only, consider the testimony of Friedrch Kekule. He discovered the molecular structure of organic compounds while dreaming. How did they appear to him in this dream? He saw the atoms "dancing."
It seems the question of whether one clump of matter can observe another clump of matter is moot after all. That's not an adequate description of what's going on here. We're not observing, Heisenberg, we're dancing. Locked in an embrace with the world, our retinal cells quivering at the approach of the pulsating photons like any giddy girl at the prom, we are ourselves phenomena dancing with phenomena. No more looking at things in perspective, artfully abstracting ourselves from the situation as though we feared rejection, feared finding no partner. We are a little clumsy, it's true, and have forgotten most of the steps. We're inhibited and more than a little embarrassed at throwing ourselves into the arms of the universe with such abandon. Other peoples, seem to have mastered the necessary interpenetrations of the movements more successfully than we of the West, who are understandable rusty after so many centuries of trying to act like machines. Many of us rush off to find foreign dance masters at the expense of losing our own long-neglected lore."
Physics, frequencies, perception, East and West, and finally, theology. Owens wraps up this chapter with the following:
"Saint Paul, in that uncanny way saints as well as scientists have of staging possibilities before us, promised an interpenetration of consciousness, a participation in divine life. We live in Christ; he lives in us. The consciousness that uphold us in being, that attends us into being, that conceptualizes all the "levels, domains, and aspects" of the universe simultaneously, will expand, open its arms, and ask us to dance."
In Declare, Tim Powers focuses on "powers and principalities" as written about in the Scripture, that hold sway over a nation; his idea of a nation being more the pre-modern notion of a people group, a nationality, rather than a political state.
The Apostle Paul refers to "the prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2 which is at work among us to make us into children of wrath. And again in Eph. 6, Paul writes, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (v.6-12) We also read from 1 Peter 3:21-22, "Baptism, which corresponds to this (meaning the Ark) now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him".
I would suggest that these verses are key to what Powers was thinking, and then developed, along the lines of the angels in Declare, and the ultimate protection against them - baptism. Those angels, while awfully and awesomely powerful, were restricted to a specific geographic location. Also, of the 3 primary characters: Andrew Hale, Kim Philby, and Elena Ceniza-Bendiga, only Hale and Ceniza-Bendia are baptized, and it is quite obvious early in the book that baptism (or not) is extremely significant.
But, to the angels and frequencies. Powers uses the concept of frequency as a display of the power of the evil angels. When God created the heavens and the earth, He spoke and all things came into being. I don't know the Hebrew words and meaning for "He spoke", but I would guess that it denotes some idea of great power. All things that exist were shaped by the power of His word, and indeed hold together by that same power. Scientists tells us that matter has frequency, and that various types of matter have various frequencies - whether the sun, a rock, butterfly or brain-wave. I speculate that before the Fall, before sin corrupted man and creation, those frequencies 'rang true'. For man was created in God's image, perfectly, and God pronounced all of creation 'good'. However, with the corruption of sin in creation, all things - including frequencies, men, and rebellious angels, became less than what they would have been. I can understand why Powers would focus so much on these evil angels and the overwhelming effect of their frequencies. Yet those same angels were not all-powerful, but were subject to higher authority, even suffering death.
As I consider and muse upon these things, the principle of Eastern medicine come to mind - that the body's health is related to its energy. If the energy is flowing properly, health is optimal; if not, health is less than optimal. This energy (frequency) moves along meridians in the body with several primary contact points. Eastern medicine seeks to open up congested meridians and points to let the body's energy flow, thus bringing healing. Western medicine and thought has been wary of this philosophy of healing, perhaps because Eastern thought and Western thought are theologically incompatible.
But, I suggest that we have something to learn from Eastern medicine when it comes to health and healing and the ideas surrounding energy and meridians. Dogs have been trained to detect cancer in a human before tests can diagnose it. They have also been trained to detect a seizure before it occurs, and it's widely accepted that animals and birds can 'forecast' tumultuous natural events such as earthquakes, storms, or tsunamies. How do they do these things? They are much more sensitive to frequency than we are. (Remember the ol' dog whistle?) And, of course, sea creatures communicate by frequency - we call it sonar.
So, why wouldn't it be plausible that the falleness of our flesh would produce fallen frequencies, and thus cause illness, poor health, and eventually, death? And why wouldn't it be plausible that if we could improve the frequencies of the body, we could improve our health? It's a thought, and something worth considering. I've recently begun reading And the Trees Clap Their Hands - Faith, Perception, and the New Physics by Virginia Stem Owens. It will be interesting to see what she writes about the physics of creation.
Tim Powers writes a great, almost overwhelming story, again, in Declare, and among the many things to consider in this novel was the idea of frequency and it's effect upon creation, whether man, angel, or matter. Powers takes a hard look at the falleness of creation and the overriding redemption that Grace brings, no matter what you've been through.