Sunday, February 27, 2011

theory & practice

reading socrates has me thinking. if you were scheduled for surgery, who would be the expert, the philosopher who theorized about the procedure or the surgeon? "the surgeon" would be my immediate answer. this is all very "chicken and egg" however, because without the ideas that brought forth the schools of thought on medicine, the doctor would have had nothing to study.

my personality inhabits a world of ideas. while i am quick to take action on many of them, i have found more traction by being in community with people different from myself and vice-versa. case in point, there's a time to write poems about doing something and a time just to do that thing, whatever it might be.

take engineering, for example. there are designers and builders. sometimes the builder will look at the plans and say, "we don't want to have to bend this rebar, so we're going to build it differently" and it can work just fine. other times, however, the designers will say, "that is not going to work and this is why..." so, it seems to me you could drill a post effectively and not know why it works OR you could design plans but not know how to drill a post. could a person be proficient in both?

which led me down another road of inquiry in terms of knowlege and understanding. do i have to know why the baking soda works in a cake in order to bake one? no. might it be interesting to know? of course, especially if the recipe went awry or i needed to problem solve a creative solution in the kitchen. does the housewife sometimes have a better grasp on home remedies from helping sick chlidren than a nurse who has just graduated? yes. would it be ideal to have both the understanding and the experience? perhaps.

following the socratic method here, would mastering both theory and practice then entail a new level of acquired wisdom?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

truth, beauty & goodness

for valentine's day, i received a love gift! the book "aesthetics: a comprehensive anthology". i've read the first four chapters (overview, plato, socrates...) i've unknowingly here gone straight to the top of the information food chain. it seems this is the compilation used to teach courses on the subject.
i'm on chapter 7 and couldn't be more in love with the challenge of it all. it's enlivening to read of philosophies and historic thought that then, in my mind, can boil down to a love affair with the beauty of God. i see it, hear it, feel it everywhere!

Monday, February 14, 2011

the art of savoring

if you're heading to the oregon coast, you've got to make a stop at EVOO in cannon beach. it stands for extra virgin olive oil and offers the best cooking classes, ambience and food around. not only was it absolutely the most delicious 5-course meal i've ever tasted, but chefs bob & lenore are down to earth, funny, and willing to take creative risks with both preparation and presentation of their entrees.
i also learned several things about food preparation. 1) start with organic, locally grown fresh food. this seems obvious, but believe me, when i tasted the grass-fed beef it made me never want to go back to corn-fed! 2) heat pans before putting the oil in 3) ice cold water to keep the color in green beans 4) mis en place, french for efficiency and doing everything you can ahead of time 5) tricks to buy time when cooking risotto 5) coriander adds flavor so you can use less salt....the list goes on.
....basically, prepare for an experience in fun, in food, in "savor".

Saturday, February 5, 2011

poetry slam

a poetry slam is a competition at which poets read or recite original work (or, more rarely, that of others) these performances are then judged on a numberic scale by previously selected members of the audience.

coming up february 20-21 this youth poetry slam is coming via the portland international film fest. to watch more:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

room for what is

for anyone who has ever been misunderstood (you, myself, Jesus...) it is so comforting when someone knows and really sees your heart. i've been thinking about this alot; our propensity to get part of the story right but interpret the rest wrongly. the good news is, we find what we're looking for (in the case of joy and life). and the bad news is, we find what we're looking for (when we think we're right but we don't have the whole picture).

a practical example of this is music rehearsal. i love beethoven's 9th symphony. we worked hard on it in the fall. it is rich, tonal, melodic. when we started playing shostakovich's 5th symphony this winter, my ear couldn't find a resting place. i even listened to two different recordings (one conducted by leonard bernstein and one by shostakovich's son). i realized i was listening for beethoven and not making room in me for what we were actually playing.

tonight i tried to go with a more open sense of tonality, if you will. i didn't find rich melodies per se. this piece is atonal, dissonant. (what i learned was that, politically, he was portraying russian patriotism while simultaneously writing to communicate the people's unrest. no wonder it's not relaxing to me, but it is effective when you know the whole story).

i don't want to start with the truth but let my presuppositions and filtered perceptions run amok. it is a constant discipline to stay open, to practice seeing, or, in this case, really listening to something for what it is whether that's a person, idea, book or piece of music.

have we still not found what we're looking for? where are we expecting beethoven when shostakovich is playing? can we really see God, others and ourselves accurately? is there room for what really is...not just what we think it should be?