Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Capella

Anyone who knows me well or even in passing knows that I am a musician and an avid lover of all things musical. I remember getting caught one time by my sister as I was conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 4th Movement... It was only in my head with a great stereo system at the time and a music stand, conductor's score, and a baton. Yeah it was a bit embarrassing but the next birthday of mine she gave me a picture of a conductor in paper cutout with his hands up and a huge note on a blue background.... and I still have it hanging in my house. But just today, my father sent me a wonderful link to a YouTube video of an A Capella group from Slovenia whose performance of Africa by the group Toto... totally cool:

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Monday, July 20, 2009

One small step...

I've been watching the newscasts and history channel and other channels presenting really cool programming on the this the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. It was really great to watch a re-enactment of the moon launch up through the splash down 5 days later. I remember where I was that day even though I was only 7. My family and I were driving back from my great aunts cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains and so I couldn't see the landing but we were listening to the radio as live broadcasts were going on even on the radio and not just television. I still have several of the newspapers that my father bought for that day and I hope to get some type of plastic protector for them (I think more for sentimental reasons than anything else... I know I'll never part with them until I meet my end). I suppose the only thing I find distressing is that such a phenomenal achievement will get only a day or two of some newscasts and most people will go about there way and then promptly forget all about it while someone like Michael Jackson got weeks of seemingly non-stop coverage after he passed away. People's priorities and sense of history is totally screwed up....

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Heretic and the Infidel

I have a couple of definitions I think we need to work with before I explain my position on naming myself. Let's begin:

[from the New American Dictionary On-Line, color emphasis totally my own]


A person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.
Middle English heretik, from Old French heretique, from Late Latin haereticus, from Greek hairetikos, able to choose, factious, from hairetos, chosen, from haireisthai, to choose ; see heresy


pl. her·e·sies
1. An opinion or a doctrine at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from or denial of Roman Catholic dogma by a professed believer or baptized church member.
2. Adherence to such dissenting opinion or doctrine.
1. A controversial or unorthodox opinion or doctrine, as in politics, philosophy, or science.
2. Adherence to such controversial or unorthodox opinion.
Middle English heresie, from Old French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, a choosing, faction, from haireisthai, to choose, middle voice of hairein, to take



1. An unbeliever with respect to a particular religion, especially Christianity or Islam.
2. One who has no religious beliefs.
3. One who doubts or rejects a particular doctrine, system, or principle.

Middle English infidele, from Old French, from Latin infidlis, disloyal : in-, not ; see in- 1 + fidlis, faithful (from fids, faith; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots)

Now with these definitions firmly out of the way, I am please, nay, proud to say I am a Heretic and an Infidel (and they are capitalized because for the purposes of this essay I consider them proper nouns... more about this after a moment). I take my pride (if it can accurately be termed pride) in calling myself these things in the same way that the homosexual community has usurped the meaning of the word 'gay' for their own purposes. So too do I usurp the churches terms for my own purposes and take pride in being and Infidel and a Heretic. I reject all religious doctrine, dogma, systems, and principles... I have no use for them and I choose (see 'heresy' ) to find the truth for myself absent of any faith or orthodoxy. Now why do I reject orthodoxy? First define your term again:

[from 1. Wikitionary and 2. Ecce Romani latin course and dictionary]

1. Etymology

From Late Latin orthodoxus, from Ancient Greek ὀρθόδοξος (orthodoxos), from ὀρθός (orthos), straight) + δόξα (doxa), opinion).

2. From Latin "doxus" to opine, have opinion, or think.

It is one of the fallacies of religion and the nature of orthodoxy that it requires that you think in a particular way; that you have 'straight thinking.' In a word, bullshit. I have always thought that the one of the unstated reasons that people so fervently cling to their faith and religion other than the social aspects is that it tells them how to think about the world bu require that you stay within the rigid framework of the dogma of the faith. In short, your ability to reason outside of a certain 'box' is stunted and so is the growth of your mind. I reject this proposition completely, utterly, and emphatically.

I am forever grateful for the process of science that has freed my mind from the trap of dogma and orthodoxy. Despite all the effort he put into it, my Methodist pastor grandfather was never able to convince me that his church (or any other church) with any type of orthodoxy was a living, growing entity concerned with anything except the perpetuation of its own existence... It reminds me of the functioning of a virus.

I state again proudly and for the record: I am a Heretic and and Infidel.

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