Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ulysses, Tennyson, and Me

Being Catholic is fairly simple, or can be. The Apostles Creed is a pretty good summary. Being the sort of person I am, I broke that declaration of faith out into a hierarchical list.

I believe:
  • In
    • God
      • The Father almighty
      • Creator of heaven and earth
    • Jesus Christ
      • God's only Son
      • Our Lord.
  • Jesus
    • Was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
    • Was born of the Virgin Mary
    • Suffered under Pontius Pilate
    • Was crucified
    • Died
    • Was buried
    • Descended into hell
    • Rose again
      • On the third day
    • Ascended into heaven
    • Is seated at the right hand of the Father
    • Will come again to judge
      • The living
      • The dead
  • In the
    • Holy Spirit
    • Holy catholic Church
    • Communion of saints
    • Forgiveness of sins
    • Resurrection of the body
    • Life everlasting
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Credo Chart)
My guess is that many of the world's billion or so living Catholics don't enjoy organizing sets of information into charts, tables, and lists. Some do, including me.

We're all individuals, one-of-a-kind creations of God, who are supposed to look out for each other: and supposed to be the person God made us to be. I've been over this before:

Scholar, Nerd: Tomayto, Tomahto

One of my daughters noted that by temperament I'm a scholar and philosopher; another said that I'm a nerd. I think they're both right.

A nerd is "an insignificant student who is ridiculed as being affected or boringly studious," or "an intelligent but single-minded expert in a particular technical field or profession" (Princeton's WordNet)

I'd quibble with "insignificant," but I'm also the sort of person who habitually uses words like "quibble;" and, for that matter, "habitually."

As for being "single-minded," that's almost true about me. I'm only interested in three things, that which:
  • Exists within the universe
  • Exists beyond
  • Might exist
"Tomayto, tomahto? Fred Astaire and Ginger rogers sang about that in "Shall We Dance?" - and that's another topic. Topics.

"...To follow knowledge, like a sinking star..."

I've felt like this:
"...And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought...

"...for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die...
(Ulysses, Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
I have no intention of leaving my wife and family: but I do intend to continue learning as much as I can, for as long as I can.

Happily, I live in an era when someone like me, living near the center of the North American continent, has access to a sizable fraction of humanity's accumulated knowledge. Just 'catching up' would be the work of several lifetimes.

Even better, from my point of view, we're learning so much about how the universe works that one person can barely keep up with developments in one field of study. Not everyone shares my enthusiasm, and that's yet another topic.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.