Sight

24 Apr

Sight is based on light waves with a certain wavelength and amplitude hitting the retina (with rods and cones) in the eye. With stereoscopic vision an added perception of depth of field provides more information about the third dimension before us. Colors can be characterized by hue, saturation, and value:

The wavelength carries the information about the hue which is seen as the visible spectrum spanning red orange yellow green blue violet. The amount of other waves with similar wavelengths reaching the eye at the same time determines the saturation. The amplitude carries the information about value spanning darkness to lightness. So with any visual image there is an intricate, precisely timed photon dance moving towards our eyes.

If the journey is God – Physics – Biology – Psychology – Art, than what traces of the divine are carried through into Art? We can start by asking what are the principles and elements of design in visual art?

Then we can ask how are each of these a product of our minds, our eyes, the physical nature of light, and God? God has given these elements understood through Physics and supra-systems of principles understood through Psychology to be used in Art.

Tracing these principles and elements back to their infinite source would explain the transcendent quality of beauty. It would also explain how in applying our intellects to design, like how God’s intellect has designed nature, we can create something that is intrinsically good.

Elements of Design:

  • Space
  • Point
  • Line
  • Shape/Form
  • Color (Hue/Saturation)
  • Value
  • Pattern
  • Texture
Principles of Design:

  • Contrast
  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Emphasis
  • Proportion
  • Harmony (Unity/Variety)
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How to explore? (2)

11 Mar

We can use our E.A.R.S. (These work together inter-weaved as a singular irreducibly complex approach to exploration. Each angle falls without the others.)

E.A.R.S.Evaluate: As we pray, read Scripture and interact with others, we grow better at using our individual internal reason to see the value God has instilled in our surroundings and potential path. Using Christ, our wisdom from God, we can test everything. This is the scientific method which by common grace is available to all. It is used in exegesis and hermeneutics. Yet our logic is incomplete (according to Gödel’s theorems); it cannot be justified without something outside it to sustain it. We need the other parts of our ears:

Ask God: As we evaluate our circumstances, read Scripture, and interact with others, we learn more of how to pray to God, how our will is aligning with his, and how he answers our prayers. This affects our desires, and drives us to a closer relationship with God and others.

Read Scripture: As we evaluate our circumstances, pray, and interact with others, we increase our appreciation of Scripture, our ability and desire to search through it, and our trust of it to apply it to our lives. Taking in Scriptures gives us Christ, the Word. Jesus said “it is [the Scriptures] that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).

Seek Counsel: As we evaluate our circumstances, pray, and read Scripture, it gives us greater focus to our community and how we collaborate with and love others. They have different minds with different experiences. As iron sharping iron we can work together in our journey.

Exploration is for building us up.

Next to explore: How do we seek counsel?

———-

“test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

“be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

“examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

“let the others weigh what is said.” (1 Corinthians 14:29)

Sensation

8 Feb

Sensation is based on something external, coming from the physical world, passing in through our physical bodies to carry information to our minds. It takes three ingredients: an external world (material), an internal mind (immaterial), and a system (created and sustained). In other words, only by presupposing that nature is consistent and comprehensible because it is contingent on a trustworthy being (i.e. God), can we have a way to trust any of our sensory information. Still because of how “the secret things belong to the LORD”, our senses have limits. All sensory information is revelation from God, but not all is revealed. What becomes a sensation starts it’s journey by divine decree (normally following physical laws), in space-time, and as matter-energy.

Traditionally the five senses are sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, but these seem imprecise as there are other aspects to what we sense as well. What are the different kinds of journeys that end in sensory information reaching our minds? Also what about our sensation of things like balance, acceleration, time, orientation, pain, temperature, and internal systems?

But first for each of these we can ask:

  1. What physical conditions come into contact with our bodies?
  2. What biological structures do we have that are affected?
  3. What sensory information reaches the mind?
  4. How does this information affect us?

Here are some of the different ways to characterize energy (kinetic or potential):

  • Electrical
  • Magnetic
  • Radiant (Electromagnetic)
  • Sound
  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Thermal
  • Nuclear
  • Elastic
  • Luminous

Some biological structures:

  • eyes (cones, rods)
  • ears (eardrum, hair cells)
  • nose (olfactory receptors)
  • tongue (taste buds)
  • skin (nerve endings)
  • nervous system
  • cerebral cortex

 

Next to explore: What would sensation be like with fewer limits?

What to explore?

28 Jan

Expanding from the how to explore post, here is fuller list of spiritual disciplines (ways to access the mind of Christ):

  • prayer
  • Bible study
  • righteousness
  • service
  • worship
  • fellowship
  • solitude
  • self-examination
  • confession
  • fasting
  • marriage
  • parenting
  • education
  • culture redemption
  • evangelism
  • celebration
  • simplicity
  • missions
  • healing
  • stewardship
  • spiritual gifts
  • submission
  • baptism
  • communion

Now, can we get to the mind of Christ through these disciplines (our effort) or are they aspects of the way that he has instituted to be followed as a response to having already received the mind of Christ (his effort)? Which is primary; us reaching up to call him or him reaching down to call us? Os Guinness wrote in The Call,

Our primary calling as followers of Christ is by him, to him, and for him. Our secondary calling, considering who God is as sovereign, is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live, and act entirely for him.

It is Christ whom we can explore, it is as a response to his grace, and it is by his calling that we can do it. Who is Christ?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:1-3)

He is central to all things, and as God, he is infinite. So now our “unfamiliar country or area” to explore is everything and infinite. This is pretty big and impossible to become familiar with or learn about with our own effort. There are surely things that are beyond what we could ever get to.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
(Deuteronomy 29:29)

But we can “learn about or familiarize” ourselves with “the things that are revealed”. What is revealed? What specific things and what general things? It would seem Scripture would be one specific thing that we can fairly easily explore. We have it in it’s original languages with not many damaging errors, we have many translations available, we have many people who are trained in exegesis and hermeneutics that can further guide us, and we have archaeology and other extra-biblical information that can supplement this exploration. But more importantly we know that it is possible since “[Jesus] opened [his disciple’s] minds to understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)

More generally, through looking in at the nature of ourselves, God’s image-bearers, we can learn of his communicable attributes. And through looking out at the nature of the cosmos, God’s creative work, we can learn of his eternal power and divine nature.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
(Romans 1:18-20)

We cannot fully learn about his divine nature; the secret things are not revealed. But we can know enough that we are “without excuse”, and so that we may “do all the words of this law”. Os Guinness called it our primary and secondary calling. It is also summarized by the commandment to love. (Luke 10:27)

Next to explore: What has God made?

How to explore?

24 Jan

explore – “travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.” [1]

Exploring

  1. What different methods can we use to explore our lives?
  2. What different methods can we use to decide which different methods we can use to explore our lives?
  3. What different methods can we use to decide on which different methods we can use to decide which different methods we can use to explore our lives?

method – “a particular form of procedure for accomplishing or approaching something, esp. a systematic or established one” [1]

Descartes started his procedure with ‘I’ and ‘think’. This is human-centered and based on human-reason. Whereas for Lao Tzu, Confucius, or Buddha, it could be said that they would take exception to having any established method or even any goal to explore in the first place. This is non-centered and based on non-reason. Then there was Solomon who started with ‘fear’ and ‘LORD’. (Proverbs 1:7) This is God-centered and based on God-reason.

Now for question 2, how do we choose? But first, can we even choose at all? In these very questions aren’t I already starting first as a natural person using my human-reason? It seems already decided then. Isn’t my mind the only access point I have? What else is there? I don’t want to start with my mind which is tainted by sin (noetic effects), so could someone else come in and give me their mind instead?

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

As a follower of Christ, I can use his mind to explore life. I can use his mind to decide that I can use his mind to explore life. And I can even use his mind to decide that I can use his mind to decide that I can use his mind to explore life. This would seem to expedite things bypassing a lot of philosophical epistemology.

How do I access this mind of Christ? I could talk directly to it. Also It is something ‘we’ have, so I could seek out others that share in this unity of mind. I could look at history to the human person of Christ. I could check what he said and look further into what he considered divine revelation (special and general). In other words, this gets to a life of prayer, church, Bible and science as the ultimate method of exploration (not to be compartmentalized as separate methods, but treated holistically).

This makes things a bit more complicated. Wouldn’t it be easier to just sit and either think (human-centered) or avoid thinking (non-centered)? But now we get to develop a personal relationship with a divine being, love other people, study Scripture, look back at history which has already past, look out at and deep into a vast nature. This forms a connection to other human experiences that we may have less authority and power over like love. This surely complicates our exploration, but at least we have access to the creator of this “unfamiliar country or area” as a guide.

Next to explore: What is divine revelation?

———-

[1] New Oxford American Dictionary

What do we Study?

22 Jan


Below is a list of major areas of study I put together based on a survey of various university departments:

Humanities

  • Religion
  • Philosophy
    • Epistemology
    • Metaphysics
    • Logic
    • Ethics
    • Aesthetics
  • Languages/Linguistics
    • Phonetics
    • Phonology
    • Morphology
    • Lexicology
    • Syntax
    • Semantics
    • Pragmatics
    • Discourse Analysis
  • Literature
  • Visual Arts
    • Painting
    • Drawing
    • Photography
    • Sculpture
    • Crafts
    • Calligraphy
  • Performing Arts
    • Music
    • Theater
    • Dance
    • Film
  • History

Formal Sciences

  • Mathematics
  • Computers
  • Systems

Natural Sciences

  • Physics/Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Biology/Life
  • Geology/Earth

Social Sciences

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Political
  • Economics
  • Anthropology/Archaeology
  • Geography
  • Cultural/Area

Applied Sciences

  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Agriculture
  • Environmental
  • Library/Museum
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Cognitive
  • Family/Consumer
  • Social Work
  • Public Affairs
  • Law
  • Business
  • Design/Architecture
  • Transportation
  • Military
  • Athletics

What is the goal? What are the goals? Can we know God with the wisdom obtained through these human-designed studies?

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

These studies are all an outgrowth of human nature, our experience of nature, but also our inherent knowledge of the divine. Therefore some of God’s nature can seep out to make such studies engaging, helpful, fun, beautiful, and true, but they cannot be full without as a basis an understanding of what this “folly” is and who it is about.

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

These things (our authorities) are through and for him. Only in that do they contribute. So only in that can they be engaging, helpful, fun, beautiful, and true. This is a presupposition based on Scripture.

Next to explore: How are these through him and for him?

———-

And as a bonus here are the main categories of the Dewey Decimal system:

  • 000 Computers, Information, General
  • 100 Philosophy, Psychology
  • 200 Religion
  • 300 Social Sciences
  • 400 Language
  • 500 Science, Math
  • 600 Technology
  • 700 Arts, Recreation
  • 800 Literature
  • 900 History, Geography,Biography

Different Expressions of Love

19 Jan

What is the nature of man?

“The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
(Genesis 2:7)

  • dust & breath
  • body & mind
  • material & immaterial

What if we further divide the immaterial part into heart, soul, and mind as found in the greatest commandment? (Luke 10:27) To maintain the dichotomy these are still one part, but they are different manifestations of the immaterial aspect of man. The verb in the commandment is ‘love’. This chart explores different ways love can be expressed:

SOLO

IN

active

passive

heart
looking for beauty appreciating beauty
soul
prayer (conforming our will to God’s) receiving the Holy Spirit
mind
studying learning
strength
exercise relaxing

SOLO

OUT

active

passive

heart
creating emotion
soul
prayer (supplication) submission to God
mind
writing thought (inspiration)
strength
building spasms, sleepwalking

SOCIAL

IN

active

passive

heart
accepting love being loved
soul
Lord’s Supper Baptism
mind
listening being taught
strength
accepting encouragement being encouraged

SOCIAL

OUT

active

passive

heart
loving your neighbor as yourself* love
soul
church (visible) Church (invisible)
mind
communication being understood
strength
work willingness to serve

Some of these are imprecise, but they help in providing a framework to approach human nature as they apply to our individualistic, communal, active, passive, inward and outward experiences.

Next to explore: How do we experience these?

———-

*The second commandment (Matthew 22:39)