The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

maybe the Lord is God of thunder

December13

I may have George, John, Johnny and Todd back to hands-on-knees. I’ll add Mark to the mix.

so… I started with the simple question:

“How is it, or why is it, the Christians and Jews managed to come up with a “competing” holiday period Christmas and Hanukkah)?
What is the common ground or tension point?
Perhaps the answer is evident and I’m a bit foggy today. However, I’m drawing a blank. And, its a terrific excuse to engage you good men.”

it’s been quite a spell since I posited myself as the Heterodox, eh. the conversation is only getting itself underway. or, it may stop itself cold. perhaps because I answer my own question towards the end of soliloquy (an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, esp. by a character in a play.) below. soliloquy kind of works because I talk to myself and mutter through the thinking process – and, it’s all quite dramatic.

while I want there to be a God, I do sense there is something I can’t fathom that creates triangles that generates purpose (this might make a lot of sense to people that play Soccer and/ or Lacrosse and understand physics) and might assign karma to stuff. maybe not Catholic soccer players from Ireland, mind you.

in any event, I suspect “God” was realized when some cave dweller saw a family friend fried by a lightning bolt and realized they were gone.

really gone.

they had evolved enough to be self, and not just situationally, aware. the concept of fading to black and no longer being conscious gave birth to the notion there is something else we can hope for.

few things inspire like hope.

playing on the need were some form of leader(s) that understood they could control others and this evolved into organized religion that first had to be filtered through a series of pagan rituals.

so, the line of David was divided while a bunch of people were holding an orgy under the harvest moon (although a dear friend suggests: “I believe Christmas which was not highly celebrated actually was chosen during a Roman festival of the sun. So in a way, it was marketing”). by the time they came to their senses it was December, and they picked and chose their favorite rites. but, both lines exert a measure of control with a set of rules that make most people manageable for the hierarchy that get to go to Mandela’s memorial and take “selfies”. God just issues discernment and sorts-out those that don’t use it in an advantageous way.

define advantageous as you will. that might be the holy grail.

something created the universe. it works brilliantly I think, unless its a fatally broken open-loop system that has [fill-in-the-blank] leakage at the end we can’t yet see (AT&T has a data-leakage problem they won’t admit to, and it causes a lot of slower thinking people financial issues). God works. when I finally see Him beyond my minds-eye, I THINK one of my first questions might be, “so how should I refer to you?”, or, “what do you like to be called?”. also, “do ‘selfies’ impact the whole ‘plank in the eye’ conversation?”.

one more thing… who wins if you care enough to keep asking the question(s) as I believe the Heterodox, must? is it a Kobayashi Maru? possibly Russian roulette? are you damned if you do? or, damned if you don’t?

see you on the other side. maybe not. probably.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

Share

does Christ have a fake ID?

December26

I started this post abut a week ago, but kept losing both my enthusiasm and focus.

that was until I ran towards a thought, as opposed to from one.

Emma Jo still exhibits too much wonder and joy this time of year, and I worked hard to savor every moment of that. then I saw an article reminding us, collectively, that there is no validated evidence that Jesus Christ was, in truth, born on December 25th. that started to really bug me. however, Saturday I had a very good run at North Park. I started out a bit sore and thinking I might want to dial it back a bit. but, by the second circuit I was feeling pretty light-footed and decided to put some steam into play. the “zone” realized itself and my mind wandered with my good form. that’s when I was (thunder) struck by the notion that I believed Christ rose from the dead.

just like that.

no justification. no debate. not even a “why not”, to allow for some wiggle-room.

there was this sense that I could not prove it did not happen. and, I’d been playing the Heterodox card so long I had forgotten the circular argument that, ultimately, believing in a thing (any thing) is potentially much like believing in oneself. there are times when we prevail against great odds. and, I’m certain faith has it’s role in that.

so, I’ve elected to keep some of the early thinking alive in this post. however, now you know, as do I.

meanwhile, I fully understand that this post is going to generate a great deal of consternation. I expect the shaking of fists, and possibly teeth gnashing. lofty-minded opinions may be hurled my way.

so… was Jesus really born on December 25th?

does it matter?

original thinking that geared this controversial topic must needs be, and should be attributed to Angie Mosteller, and probably God, for that matter.

but, we must also submit ourselves, collectively to the aforementioned Heterodox.

I’m confident that Jesus walked the earth and died on a cross. I don’t know that He rose from the dead (as we think we understand death) to seal the deal around a covenant between Himself, God and the rest of us. however, I’m genuinely satisfied that this is the case though because there is a clear advantage there for all of us. and, we’ll make that assumption going forward with this post so we don’t get bogged-down with tangental discourse.

you may be pausing, right about now and taking your own wonder at the veritable lack of drama, here. but, in truth, it’s more calm, for me – much like the way after I feel after a good run.

make a note that I also think I know that Jesus was a Rabbi leading up to his death. although I can’t point to the relevant scripture, His being a Rabbi, from the line of David (through Mary, and possibly Joseph as well) is mentioned throughout the New Testament (Books of Matthew and John 1:14, for example) /1.

…there’s some random thinking, for you. I love and value random, heart-felt, unrestricted, irreverent, untamed, Kobayashi Maru-drenched, thought.

by the way…

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book,” Rabbi Rami Shapiro told CNN during a recent interview. “They have memorized parts of texts that they can string together to prove the biblical basis for whatever it is they believe in, but they ignore the vast majority of the text.”

these baring points are relevant, here, because the point of this post is to pin-down points of logic hopefully based in fact but impacted by sequential logistics that include science in the form of astrology, technology (the press), and matters of convenience, ironically originating from the catholic Church.

I grew up delighted with the calendar event of Christmas day and the date of December 25th. now I relish Emma Jo’s own delight. but, there are rumblings a-plenty that date was chosen in an effort to “Christianize” a pagan holiday. Tim Barker recently shared with me an article on just that topic. I contemplated adding my own research and perspective. but, I love interest in that in the face of calm perspective. however, it’s (the, and other, related articles) subsequently been a terrific source of lively debate between myself and a few buddies, and an interesting teaching opportunity for my own kids (although we need to tread lightly around the Santa Claus element for the time being).

in any event, like everything else in our lives, the Heterodox inevitably rears it’s head for me and creates the “truth-of-the day” based on current information. but, I’m still fascinated by how the date of December 25th was potentially selected.

though the gospels of Matthew and Luke both give an account of Christ’s birth, neither one provides a date for this great event. Though it may sound strange to our modern minds, it is likely that early Christians did not place any particular value on birthdays.

it was not until the third century that various pockets of Christians began to show interest in the date of Christ’s birth, and it would take another century for the Church to begin celebrating it with some uniformity. the first clear record of Christ’s birth on December 25 was not until 336 AD, but it is possible that the church had accepted the date long before and that it was already common knowledge. regardless, even if the dating of Christ’s birth was owed in part to the pagan holiday, “The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun,” the influence was probably only secondary. it appears that the primary goal of the Church was to determine an appropriate date, one that Christians expected to be rich in symbolism. if this date, December 25, also happened to give the Church a sacred feast with which to counter pagan celebrations, then it was arguably the best possible choice for the day on which to honor Christ’s birth.

by the third century, it appears that some Christians had started celebrating Christ’s birth, as well as his death, on March 25th.

go look it up. do it!

so, why were Christians celebrating Christ’s birth and death on the same day? well… there’s an ancient Jewish tradition of “integral age” or “whole year theory” that evidently influenced this practice. it is a belief that the life of a Jewish prophet began and ended on the same day. most good Rabbi’s know this. a third century Christian, Sextus Julius Africanus (note: most of the valid research evidently occurred in the third century), added an interesting component to this theory. he argued that Christ’s life began not at birth, but at conception (thus the Catholic views around birth contro?). his case proves to be of particular relevance, because if Christ was conceived on March 25th, he would have been born roughly nine months later on December 25th, the date on which our current discussion is focused, eh.

but look… you can Google, Bing, or, what-ever “facts around Christ’s birth”, and get all manner of data and information. but, it really does not matter. dates don’t matter. calendars have changed and evolved. man has clearly manipulated fact and information. however, God gave us discernment. and, mine is edged with faith, now. I’ve tried to intellectualize all of it. all of it, mind you. but, that does not work for me, today. so, that’s the sublime beauty of the Heterodox – I’ve realized my truth of the day, and will remain satisfied that darkness can try and prove otherwise. that’s how I nimbly side-step the hypocrisy issue.

so, perhaps more simply stated, I believe in Jesus. in part, because I believe in myself. I’m of the opinion that God relishes my own thinking and He designed me for such purposes. thank God.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

1/ Men better than myself, teachers, tell me that Rabbi’s start memorizing scripture (i.e. the Torah – which is largely the first five books of the Old Testament) as soon as they are able to read along with any other good (subjective) Jew. then at the age of twelve they either took up the family trade or become a Rabbi (this entailed memorizing the rest of the Old Testament). Point-of-reference: There is the story where Mary and Joseph left Jesus in town and upon their return came back they found him studying scripture with the “other” Rabbis.  Also, I believe that when he is much older He goes to Peter, James, and John (who are in the family trade of fishing) and asks them to drop their nets and follow Him. I’m advised that they would not have done so unless he had authority (being anointed by God, nonetheless). If they followed Him they could potentially become a Rabbi themselves, and move-up in social class.

Share

why we party

December30

The main purpose of a political party is to get its members elected to office and then push specific objectives that follow a sustained line-of-thinking.

Although our current president (I used small caps, purposefully) Barack Obama, is clearly more interested in staying in office for the sake of just being in office. He is apparently in mortal fear, now, of being ousted after a single term – an ultimate form of humiliation suffered by tense denizens of the Oval Office (see the hapless Jimmy Carter). This is the only reason he petulantly gave up his efforts to over-tax the wealthy (under his own earthly father’s vision). But, let’s all of us, collectively, firm up our satisfaction in knowing the fellow and his government whore group have been routed (as in seriously ass-kicked).

Meanwhile… Parties are, otherwise,  made up of people who have the same general idea and goals about governing. Once in power, the purpose of the Party is to accomplish its goals for the city, state, or nation. While not in power, the Party acts as the “loyal opposition” until it can elect a majority of its members to power.

Look for Obama to devolve into a form of petulant terrorist if he finds himself wobbling towards lame-duck status under eight years. I’m currently of the belief that he thinks wealthy people, not of his design, don’t deserve their status, and need their assets reallocated to fuel his ideals. More on this later. However, we need to be ready. That’s both the Heterodox and Jeffersonian in me – as well as the Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman.

To be clear… The Founding Fathers disliked political parties, calling them “factions” motivated by self interest.

Historical footnote: Then President, George Washington, was so disturbed over the quarreling between Hamilton (Federalists) and Jefferson (anti-Federalists) that he famously devoted much of his Farewell Address to the evils of parties. You need to understand that the people who supported Hamilton and Adams were called Federalists (ironically supporters of the Constitution) but they were not, in fact, an organized political party.

The first recognized party in America was made up of the followers of Jefferson, who, starting in the 1790s, called themselves Republicans (or, I love this, Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans). Hamilton and those who opposed Jefferson, kept the name Federalist and appeared to be content with a form of rabble-rousing.

Let’s be clear, Jefferson’s Republican Party has no ties to the current Republican Party. In fact, the current Democratic Party considers Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as the founders of their party. But, somehow, after Bill Clinton, the Democratic party forgot that they are public servants, and appear more intent on creating an environment that serves their own miserable means.

More later. Read between the lines. Talk amongst yourselves. Care.

There might be the gnashing of teeth. Possibly the shaking of fists. Certainly voices will be raised.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Share

jeffersonian expectations against Realities. Or, the predicted triumph of the few over the fewer

December1

It’s been a rather long, tumultuous, and educational experiential journey refamiliarizing myself with the PC (as opposed to Apples), Windows – by way of the Android Operating System – and technology in the form of upheaval; the kind that requires and creates change. “Experiential” is an interesting word for the purposes of this post. The word derives it’s meaning from a learning process at the feet of old philosophers, yet it’s also apropos to a dedicated process of learning something new by, essentially, immersion. And, here we are…

Along the way, I find myself constantly reminded that we’ve become terribly reliant upon the internet for information with it being the uncertain arbiter of truth.

So… It’s become my view that the Internet, or any technology can not, will not, and should not act as a proxy to achieve the dreams and social goals we lack the courage to propose, debate, and legislate.

Thusly, I stand firm the Jeffersonian and Heterodox.

And, not often enough, we’ve discussed what being Jeffersonian means, on this Blog. However, today I’ll add some thought around what it does not mean. There will most certainly be the shaking of fists – and, furiously, that. Possibly the gnashing of teeth. Heated words, to be sure. The portent of change, inevitable.

NOTE: Don’t be overly concerned if you are reading this and come to a bound conclusion that you’ve waded, possibly unsuspecting, into my thinking mid-stream. We must all begin somewhere, and it’s how we finish, and that likely, counts for the most.

In any event, I’ll offer this abstract to maneuver you along:

It is often claimed that Internet technology will revolutionize society by privileging the small and benefiting the individual. We term the utopian tendency to hail a new communication technology as an inherently positive, decentralizing, and democratic force. In a manner of speaking this might be referred to as an example of the: “the Jeffersonian syndrome (named in honor of my hero so often appropriated to identify the decentralized, democratic outcome – the predicted triumph of the many over the few).”

It’s not just me, mind you. Others started it…

“Life in cyberspace seems to be shaping up exactly like Thomas Jefferson would have wanted: founded on the primacy of individual liberty and a commitment to pluralism, diversity, and community” (Kapor, 1993).

And,

“…the social liberalism of New Left and the economic liberalism of New Right have converged into an ambiguous dream of a hi-tech ‘Jeffersonian democracy’. Interpreted generously, this retro-futurism could be a vision of a cybernetic frontier where hi-tech artisans discover their individual self-fulfillment in either the electronic agora or the electronic marketplace” (Barbrook & Cameron, 1998).

Huh? “agora”?

Social critics dislike paucity. For example, society (that collective you), they (the social critics) complain, suffers when there are too few firms in a market, too few political choices, or too little communication. Small numbers of firms coordinate actions to stifle entry and innovation, largely at the expense of consumers. Concentration at the most extreme results in rapacious monopolies that produce inferior products at high prices. Likewise, a small number of political parties limit voter choice, stifle policy change, and produce voter apathy and special interest politics. Society would clearly be better served, so the critics argue, by greater political choice and the accompanying increased voter participation. Too little communication is also bad for society, as limited communication precludes understanding, diversity, and community.

Weep not for the minority, although, it is that collective “they” that hold most of the power, and the wealth, under many definitions, that is part of it.

Social critics often place their hopes in technology to erode the dominance of the few and foster diversity. Many view the internet as a liberating technology. Indeed, they embrace the internet as subversive, a technology that will pry power away from the few – tyrants, censors, robber barons and phone monopolies (let’s not forget Obama, Obamacrats, and that insidious media) and return it to the people. The internet, so the critics claim, will usher in a new era of perfect market competition, more direct democracy, and greater community-building (cf. Dyson, 1997). Ultimately, it will undermine the dominant few in many segments of society, and usher in a more democratic and heterogeneous political and economic system.  A system that will produce infinite consumer choice in the marketplace, deliver true democracy in the political realm, and provide unlimited and enhanced communication in the cultural realm.

This view leads to fallacious expectations about the impact of technology. And, these misguided expectations are cyclic and predictable. Corollary to this might be  a brief historical discussion of earlier communication technologies. Jeffersonian claims about the Internet are rebutted by the three propositions:

1.  New technologies do not operate in isolation from existing organizations and systems;

2.  Valuable information is never cheap; and,

3.  The economics of information markets imply concentrated structures.

And, so… The Internets non-Jeffersonian impact on economic, political, and community structures is discussed using three cases:

1.  The online market for books;

2.  The claims made about direct democracy; and,

3.  And, political parties, and the hopes for computer- mediated communities.

It’s not that I wish to promote an opposite, dystopian perspective, nor do I consider the Internet impotent in terms of societal change.

Instead, I wish to call attention to the Jeffersonian-esque view of technology as a very predictable mis-perception that is a waste of our energies.

First, as a society we must, in reasoned deliberation, conclude that we are in need of one or more of the goals we have discussed here; be it less concentrated markets, greater economic efficiency, more direct democracy, a more decentralized political system, or more participatory and emancipatory communities.

Second, after a rational analysis of our goal and the changes needed in the social, political, and economic domains to approach it (addressing also the question of if and how “the” internet has the potential to aid us in these ends).

Third, and perhaps finally, we need to advance that goal through policy.

The hype surrounding technology is also predictably old: the introduction of the PC ushered in the “PC revolution” quite simply because many analysts expected the technology to usher in just that – a revolution (a revolution of what and how the revolution was to happen was never quite specified). The hype and bluster of the internet and in particular electronic markets is thus just yet another round of new technologies and anticipated revolutions.

Think in terms of what the catapult meant to war nine hundred years ago.

These technologies have had, and may yet have, a broad range of important and far-reaching implications. The question on the table is whether these technologies will deliver on the promised Jeffersonian expectations of decentralization and democratization, or whether this revolution will yet again fail to materialize. As I’ll struggle, here, in my own inarticulate manner, to have made clear, the weight of history leads us to doubt, the present conditions in electronic commerce lead us to doubt, the claims made about direct democracy lead us to doubt, and the idolatry of the computer-mediated community lead us to doubt.

This makes me perhaps not fearful, but certainly watchful of the idyllic, sophomoric generation that sees computers and the internet as the “easy button”.

While this post has approached these domains largely using an economic perspective, I’ll grimly suspect that judicious analysis from other perspectives would also cast the Jeffersonian expectation in an unflattering light. But, stay focused on me. But, as my own Mother expounded: Question everything, and accept nothing until the truth of the day is best known.

Where the drive of the heterodox crosses paths with the passion and intellectual nuance of the Jeffersonian, you’ll find that truth in the light of the seeking heart.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Share
« Older Entries

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

Share this Blog with friends or enemies (via Twitter). Do it!:

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Archives

Share

Email Subscription

Linkedin

View Brian Cork's profile on LinkedIn

Categories