Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Artic Update

A review of the last 5 days...

A powerful cold front has swept across the whole country, so that maximum midday temperatures barely scrape beyond 11 or 12 degrees Celsius. For South Africa that’s icy. My room captures all the day’s sun. Since it’s slightly elevated and north facing it catches the first rays of the morning, and the last rays of the evening. So when I come home, even with the heater off all day, the room is extremely cozy – with the blinds softening, and coloring the light adds to the warming effect.

News at school is that the principal intercepted a black bag, and inside it was a note to one of the teachers: “You’re next, bitch.” The note referred to the rotting carcass of a white cat that was also inside the bag. All four students associated with the dropping off of this bag are in Grade 10. I teach three Grade 10 classes, and they are a nightmare. Anyway, the staff have steeled themselves, and we are sticking together on this one. It’s important to not appear to be affected by acts of intimidation. Our principal has suggested ‘the drinking tea’ approach. That we appear stoic and unmoved, however we may be feeling. Obviously hearings will be held for the 4 students, and the teacher who the message was meant for has reported the incident to the police. The police are just shrugging their shoulders, and calling it a prank. It sets a somewhat alarming precedent, from my point of view, but the principal assures us that this sort of thing never happens. Ok.

There was also a bus accident over the weekend – a double concertina bus overtook a slow moving vehicle, and then was faced with a truck laden with bricks turning into the lane in front of it. The driver braked and the wheels locked – of the rear carriage, the rear section of the bus. This caused the bus to whip around and the bus ended up on its back. Brebner students had to crawl through the windows to get out. Many had cuts and bruises, all went to hospital and about three remained overnight. One of the girls on the bus was one of my students, the goalkeeper of my girls under 18 hockey, but I saw her today looking none the worse for wear.

Over the weekend I was on full hostel duty. Really hated it but got through some of my marking, and since it was so cold, I didn’t really miss out on training – I mean, I doubt whether anyone trained much over the weekend. On Saturday I also had to attend the Sport’s Day, and my team won all their matches (and R1000). Then, in the middle of all my duties, I got to know Jeanne, the girlfriend of the headmaster’s son, fairly well. She studies Occupational Therapy and also does hostel duty over occasional weekends. We swapped DVDs (I got a season of Desperate Housewives from her, gave her Groundhog Day and 21 Grams).

Today I got permission from the headmaster to get off teaching and to go to SA Cycling Champs in PE next week Thursday and Friday. Yippee.

Also met Justus after hockey practice (PJ was giving the under 18 boys some fitness coaching, so saw him today too) today to demonstrate on a map exactly where I went when I went through Lesotho. Next edition of Heartland will be printed on June 7th. Good news, means I will be repaid the R1000 for the trip plus be paid for the 5 stories published too. Maybe by this time next month I’ll be fairly flush. I’d like to put a bit of cash into GOLD FIELDS and SASOL, or top up my unit trusts.
He says I can use the new Toyota Yaris on Friday and Saturday this week. Should be good. Can go and check my university results and get to the Provincial Cycle Race on Saturday morning. He also told me that Passi, Alna’s mag has gotten off to a good start.

I am also considering buying an ex-girlfriends car – a red golf. She wants R25 000 for it. I just want to check the book value with Lindsay Saker and for that I need the year of manufacture and the odometer reading. Justus also reckoned it ought to be worth around R20 000.

Gave back all my Informal Tests today. Very busy at school but at least time marches by relentlessly. Hardly noticed the power failure today. For most of the day the bell didn’t go, and the kitchen staff were able to make do since they are able to cook with gas. Fortunately it came back on just as the sun sank away and the cold set in.

Might do some indoor training tonight on my bike, and some core exercises.
Looking forward to the trip to PE. Must find out now if there’s a flight available…

Welcome to the Desert of The Real

If you’ve seen the movie the Matrix you’ll be aware of the concept of having faith in something (which includes someone). Of course once you direct that faith into the real world, what happens is the belief manifests. To the extent that belief is based on truth – which is another way of saying on what is (objectively) real, to that extent, to that capacity, does this truth manifest. Truth is neither good nor bad – it is simply what is. But at the very least, it is the highest order of reality, and an individual needs to ascertain this baseline to find a relative position.

But I am straying from the point I wish to make here:

In The Matrix, Morpheus seeks for Neo his whole life, and Neo is also seeking. As it turns out, Morpheus is seeking a concept, and Neo accepts Morpheus’ concept, and even begins to believe himself as a kind of savior/rescuer (because this belief is supported by circumstance, by a confluence of events, by evidence, by popular belief). And then even Neo realizes that he is not the one – at least, not in the sense of being borne unto a certain destiny, of being divine by right or birth or providence or a divine Father. But be careful now, because it is a very subtle paradox, and in this careful contradiction, lies the third tier of the universe. Yes, it is not a duality, not just male and female, night and day, black and white. For there is also the eclipse, the stars, the union of humans (in which we came to be born and in which all new life comes into being), and the gray twilight that is both magic and chaos – the hinge upon which all things open, or close, and without it, there would be no door.

Now remember that after Neo realized that he had no manifest destiny – in other words, if he sat back and relaxed, destiny would not simply sweep him up into his role as savior. That’s not entirely accurate…but bear with me for a moment. In the same way that the momentum that got Neo to where he was, Neo took it over, owned it, accepted it and directed his purpose with an integrated sense of reality. While it took faith outside of himself, and faith greater than his own, to turn him into someone else, someone more powerful, it is finally the inner knowledge, and innerverse that completes the circle.

The interesting point is that our faith manifests reality, both in ourselves and those – who we empower – around us. In this way we are both the mechanism and the embodiment of God, in terms of our choices, and whom we select to represent us, to save us. We can save ourselves, unless of course, we gave up that choice (consciously or by default or ignorance) as a collective, and then it is left to individuals to save us – when our collective deadline has past, and reality – in its new often unbalanced guise of austerity – has set in. This redemption process is merely a process of rebalancing, just as austerity is also a process of rebalancing of the human race. Currently, the human race has by far exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet. Beyond this fact is the point that we (well, a minority section which we define as The First World) have for the last handful of decades enjoyed stupendous wealth, comforts and pleasures. This period is about to expire.

God is a consciousness beyond this world, but also one integrated into it (whether we accept that or not). That means God is part of this world, here. Now. The idea of heaven and hell as only after-life auditing is a distortion. Heaven and hell are both state of beings, and both states occur in the Now. They are merely states of harmony or dysfunction, rewards for living well (consciously), or not.
In fact, the power of God exists in only one place – the here and now. God is not as unfamiliar as we might think. God is the entire being of all things, as simple as that, and in that simple structure is far more profundity than we can imagine. This is because the universe extends further than this Earth, and the world, and all its creatures, is infinitely small, infinitely diverse, infinitely changing. For the moment, we are part of the desert of the real – in terms of being able to manifest our own contributions to reality (in thoughts, words, deeds) real and compute into a visual, physical world. But there is much besides.

In this sense, our thoughts, our words, and most importantly our actions, have the power of our comprehension, and, for collective good or ill, beyond individual capacities and comprehension. Reality is my choice, it’s yours, and it’s ours. But our participation makes what is. Each of us has unlimited capacities. Each of us can be more than we have, as yet, chosen to be. Power is in our hands, to have, to hold, or not to have. In the end, we have to be, or not be. For whatever we will, will come to pass.

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