Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mythos and Logos

I just finished reading “The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism” by Karen Armstrong. The book was mentioned in the Columbia Tribune last week. Karen Armstrong was the recipient of a high award in Spain for her books on religion.

Living and working in an academic environment, I have experienced part of the events she reviews. It is like having lived the past 70 years looking out at the world through a square inch hole. The book presents the entire view in a perspective that I was not at all aware of. I knew of events, but had no idea of how they may fit together.

My response to students from the monastery near Maryville, who did well in the General Biology course until the word evolution came came in to view, was to say, “Don’t limit your God. Because we now know something about how creation works, that does not take anything away from God. Actually it makes creation more marvelous as we can now appreciate how it works. AND is still working. The creation is not finished.”

I got a surprise this morning from the little robot that lives with us. I carry it in my pocket. It evolved just a decade ago.

Last night I clicked the alarm for 6:00 am. This was about the fourth day. I wanted to get to breakfast when it opened. Since about six of us eat about the same thing each morning, the server greets us with “special” or “the usual”. We do not have to wait to be waited on as is the case later on with the dining hall filling up.

Click. A menu popped up requesting me to respond to a bedtime application. My iPhone was smart enough to know what I was doing. I filled in the need information and went to sleep.

This morning I was partially awakened by someone’s music. It varied from soft to louder, with each cycle getting a bit louder. This went on for six minutes before it occurred to me what was happening: this was my wakeup call. The genie in the sleep number bed reported that I actually woke up at 6:00 and then waited six minutes (restless time) to get out of bed.

We need myth and logic: religion and reason; God and science. Our relatives in San Antonio introduced us to the Saturday afternoon non-denominational community mega-church. Provision Living at Columbia streams the Crossroads community church here in Columbia into the theater. Members of the church, who now view the service with us in the theater, report that the theater overstuffed chairs are a great improvement over pews for the elderly.

Myth looks back in time. Logic looks forward in time. Each has it place in human existence. Some people believe in myth, some in logic, and others in both. There is nothing wrong in believing in both. In fact, what I get from the book, is believing in both is healthier than in just one.
The book makes a good case that modern man has great difficulty in thinking like the pre-modern myth thinkers. More than one event in the Middle East was pulled of with the expectation that the end result would spontaneously develop as expected with the actors only starting the event. Applying myth where logic is needed can get yourself killed (and a lot of other people too).

During the time I have been reading, I have also been attending a meditation class three times a week.

God spoke to the Jews in dreams. The Moslem tradition is based on meditation.

I have reached the point where time is lost. It is also difficult to tell when I am asleep or just suspended inside an empty shell of my body. The number bed reports that I am asleep for say 30 minutes when I judge the time to be less than five minutes. I really need to get something to replace the BASIC body monitor that includes heartbeat, sweat, and skin temperature.

Also my inward directed experience is still pretty much a swirl of grey clouds. I have yet to get a clear color picture of the things mentioned in the guided medication.

The most puzzling thing is that before, I would go directly back to sleep if I got up in the night. Now that I am interested in defining sleep, it may take several minutes. It seems that wanting to got back to sleep quickly may produce the opposite effect. I think I am having that same problem with meditation. "Relax."

The sleep number bed can sense heartbeat, motion, and breath rate. This produces restful, restless, and out of bed. This is logical. The leap to sleep is myth.

The report states that it took me 45 minutes to fall asleep. It also shows that the first hour in bed was 49 minutes restful followed by eight minutes restless. This means being restful does not require me being asleep.

The three red out of bed bars are of uniform size but represent different times of being out of bed and restless: 1 minute out of bed/3 minutes restless; 3 minutes out of bed/3 minutes restless, and 2 minutes out of bed with 1 minute before and 6 minutes after restless. [The blue shaded one-hour slider provides these details.] That means it takes 45 minutes to define sleep the first time and 3 to 6 minutes later on. The software "learns" based on averages, to my knowledge.

The facts are interesting but they do not define the time I am asleep. It took 45 minutes for the sleep number bed to figure out that I may be asleep at the start of the night. It then calls sleep after just a few minutes after being up at night. My experience with meditation doubts this call. To say that I went to sleep AT 45 minutes is a myth. Marketing often includes easy to accept myths.

I am truly asleep when I am unconscious. When a weight falls from my hand at night, I figure I must be asleep. I will give it a try. I will also see what happens during meditation in the same way.

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