Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chapter Titles for "My Mentaculus: Thoughts on Everything"

Today, I thought to myself, "If I were in writing a postgrad history research paper, what topic would I choose for my thesis?" This bizarrely fun question led to the inevitable answer, "Everything." The simple fact is; details are boring. I like to keep my mind thinking about big picture stuffs. 
Enter the Mentaculus. 

I followed my answer with another question: how would I write about everything? What follows is the outline of such a work.

in 10 brief volumes

Mentaculus Rules:

  1. There are to be 10 volumes.
  2. Each volume is 50 pages in length.
  3. Each volume includes 10 chapters
  4. Each chapter is 5 pages
  5. Every chapter must specifically reference 5 aspects referenced in 5 other chapters in other volumes.

Preface to the work: would include a one-page brief explanation as to why I'm doing this, and why I've chosen to convey the information in which I want to convey via succinct chapters that delve in-and-out of my own personal life experience.

Notes on the Mentaculus: the Mentaculus is a 'work' being pursued and written (drawn) by a character in the film "A Serious Man". Throughout the film we are given the promise of something extraordinary out of the completion of said work. When it is revealed to be just the scribblings of a madman, we are left greatly dejected.

Volume One: Animals
Chapter 1: Introduction -- in which I explain why I've chosen to start with animals rather than something more self-centric. The answer being, namely, that as a child we put as much (if not more) stock into other as we do self (at least at a directly conscious level)
Chapter 2: Tasmanian Tiger -- in which the extinct tasmanian tiger is used as a tangible illustration of the separateness of the animal kingdom from us. Additionally, how they spark emotion in us. Use: "The Hunter"
Chapter 3: Cats -- in which I tell of my adventures with their alien personalities
Chapter 4: Hippos -- in which hippos are seen as the epitome of paradox: blubberous, cute, and deadly
Chapter 5: Sharks -- in which we realize the existence of sharks is mindblowing
Chapter 6: Dinosaurs -- in which we wonder on what once was, and what we've lost Additionally it must be noted that the existence of dinosaurs was unknown until the 18th century
Chapter 7: Ants -- in which ants are depicted as extraordinary creatures... and communists
Chapter 8: Donkeys -- in which I reflect on their stubbornness and seeming humility
Chapter 9: Apes -- in which we try to reconcile ourselves with the humanness of apes
Chapter 10: Dogs -- in which we reflect on man's best friend and their mortality
Volume Two: Childhood in Our Own Lifetime
Chapter 1: Intro on self -- in which I recall when I first connected my name with my child self.
Chapter 2: 
Lying -- in which I recall lying got me gain and virtue got me in trouble
Chapter 3: 
Cheating -- in which I recall buying trophies for myself 
Chapter 4: Hurting -- in which I retell my story of the man and his donkey

Chapter 5: Church -- in which I recount the oddity of going to church as a child
Chapter 6: School 1.0 -- in which I recall the happiness of school-life
Chapter 7: School 2.0 -- in which I recall the terror of school-life
Chapter 8: Thought-life -- in which I recall the things I thought about at an early age
Chapter 9: Christmas Trees -- in which I recall the times we picked out Christmas trees
Chapter 10: Perfect Contentment -- in which I reflect back on perfect moments
Volume Three: Systems
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which I review my childhood in order to view it as a series of systems of managementChapter 2: Family -- in which I note the most primal hierarchy, the family unitChapter 3: Collections -- in which I depict our historical insistence on collecting things and ideasChapter 4: Language -- in which we evaluate the need and limitations of spoken languageChapter 5: Progress -- in which we observe the miracle that the mere ordering of information leads to accrued knowledge and therefore progressChapter 6: Human Body -- in which we observe how successfully some systems workChapter 7: Testaments -- in which we look at the systems in place first in the Old Testament, then the New, and then extra Testaments of other religions.Chapter 8: G.U.T. -- in which we discuss the "Grand Ultimate Theory" and the need for controlChapter 9: Gestalt -- in which we see how the whole is more than the sum of its partsChapter 10: Too Muchness -- in which we conclude that systems are necessary because there is too much stuff to hold individually
Volume Four: Worldviews
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which we inspect how one's worldview affects everything one doesChapter 2: Plato and the Ideal -- in which we think about eternal, big things
Chapter 3: Cynicism -- in which we reckon with our unknowingness and what that does to us
Chapter 4: Lowlier Studies -- in which we see how philosophy turned to baser studies, namely, psychologyChapter 5: Life Questions -- in which we place abstract theory into our life decisional contextChapter 6: Refusal of the Call -- in which we refuse to knowingly accept any worldviewChapter 7: Acceptance -- in which we accept the fundamental place of philosophy in our personal lifeChapter 8: Nihilism -- in which again we reckon with our unknowingness and inability to knowChapter 9: Existentialism -- in which we re-invent our realityChapter 10: Building -- in which we build a personal worldview from the variety of choices
Volume Five: Theology
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which we examine the need for theologyChapter 2: Sunday School -- in which I recollect the strangeness of Sunday SchoolChapter 3: Theism and Atheism -- in which we ask, "Why is there nothing instead of something?"Chapter 4: Polytheism and Character -- in which we examine world religionsChapter 5: History of the World -- in which we look at history from a godlike perspectiveChapter 6: Jesus -- in which we examine the life of Jesus ChristChapter 7: Jews -- in which we examine the history of the Jewish peopleChapter 8: Romans -- in which we look at the book of Romans and the expansion of Jesus-ism from a cultural belief system to a worldwide phenomenonChapter 9: Stephan -- in which we reflect on Stephen's last monologue and martyrsChapter 10: Job -- in which we survey the book of Job and come to certain conclusions concerning the character of God
Volume Six: Fear
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which we acknowledge the power of fearChapter 2: Calvin and Pondscum -- in which I reflect on how miserable John Calvin makes me feelChapter 3: Pain -- in which we isolate pain as something that causes legitimate fearChapter 4: Workouts -- in which we reflect on lesser forms of painChapter 5: Of the Unknown -- in which we reflect on unknown forms of painChapter 6: 9-11-01 -- in which we use the historical event to examine responsesChapter 7: The Experience of Terror -- in which we acknowledge the existence of terrorChapter 8: Guilt -- in which we feel guilt and great fear of further guiltChapter 9: Psychosis -- in which we delve into the psychological ramifications of fearChapter 10: Breakdown and Repetition -- in which we acknowledge the inevitability of repeating our past failings
Volume Seven: History
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which we delight in the existence of a examinable historyChapter 2: Repetition -- in which we examine cycles and tendencies of mankindChapter 3: Novelty -- in which we acknowledge novelties in history, including modern day fadsChapter 4: Revelation -- in which we acknowledge the entrance of gamechangers into historyChapter 5: Knowledge -- in which we examine how knowledge has been leveraged by cunning historical figuresChapter 6: Power -- in which we examine what causes power and how it is wieldedChapter 7: Storyline -- in which I remind the reader that storyline is the prevailing lens by which we must examine the pastChapter 8: Ancient -- in which we evaluate ancient history so as to depict its storylineChapter 9: Middle -- in which we evaluate the middle ages so as to depict its storyline
Chapter 10: Recent -- in which we evaluate recent history so as to depict its storyline
Volume Eight: Media
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which I claim art is a way of pushing past the limitations of languageChapter 2: Ugly Woman Sculpture -- in which we recognize the oldest known sculptureChapter 3: Homer -- in which we evaluate mythChapter 4: Bible -- in which we examine the poetic nature of the Bible
Chapter 5: In Praise of Folly -- in which we examine the book by Erasmus
Chapter 6: Bolero -- in which we laugh at the repetitiveness of Ravel's workChapter 7: Mona Lisa -- in which we are confused by the popularity of DaVinci's workChapter 8: Citizen Kane -- in which we examine the wholeness of Orwell's workChapter 9: Amadeus -- in which we wrestle with God and unknowingness yet againChapter 10: The Lives of Others/Narnia -- in which greater truths are found in myth stories
Volume Nine: Unanswered Questions
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which we take our frustrations and write it all into a bookChapter 2: Storyline -- in which we acknowledge that we don't know why there is a story at allChapter 3: Gamechangers -- in which we ponder what the next gamechanger will beChapter 4: Aliens -- in which we dwell on the existence of smart extra-terrestrialsChapter 5: Light -- in which we vent that we don't even know what light is (or isn't)Chapter 6: Smallest and Coldest Things -- in which we discuss the absurdity of limitations in natureChapter 7: End of Space -- in which we try to imagine nothingnessChapter 8: Time Travel -- in which we frolic through thoughts of time travelChapter 9: After-Life -- in which we try to envision continuation after our physical deathChapter 10: The End -- in which we contemplate the end of story
Volume Ten: Death
Chapter 1: Intro -- in which we discuss conclusions and story ends Chapter 2: Death of Gracie -- in which I tell of my experience watching my dog dieChapter 3: Death of Wells -- in which we mourn the death of Wells (both the death of his ambition and his literal passing)Chapter 4: Death of a Salesman -- in which we contemplate the death of idealsChapter 5: Death of Rome -- in which we contemplate the death of ideasChapter 6: My Death -- in which I muse on my own deathChapter 7: Sequels -- in which we examine our need for sequelsChapter 8: Infinity -- in which we rack our brains trying to imagine a world without endChapter 9: Prestor John -- in which we find hope in novel places
Chapter 10: How does it end? -- in which we acknowledge we don't know how to end anything



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Horrible Responsibility #10

Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah... Jonah 4:6


Are there missed opportunities? Could I miss out on something?

If yes, then others could conceivably suffer because I missed your leading. If no, then doesn't that mean there are no opportunities? No possibilities?

I guess it's the same-old, same-old: determinism versus free will... but it's harder when it has a personal context. It hurts to contemplate.

And so I give it to you.

But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. Jonah 4:7