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DIARY: 1998
6 entries (# 1-6)

Section Index

  1. Diary/this site
  2. Christmas
  3. time/reading/loose ends
  1. logic/contradict./diversity
  2. essays
  3. Final Thoughts on 1998

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Entry # 1: Dec 23 1998 - diary/this site

As I am starting this internet diary today, I am doing so with some relief - you might have noticed some passage of time between my last update to this site and today (yes, it has only been a week, but, well, for me it seems to have been much longer). Let me explain this productivity gap now: I was looking for an appropriate way to utter some thoughts on this site apart from the essay areas; I again was thinking about re-structuring this whole damn thing (hey, this is a diary, so I can use these words).

As you might have realized, or might even not, depending on how closely you follow my scribbling here, the present look of my internet pages is already the fourth version, the fourth incarnation of me trying to find a fitting layout. In the first two versions I used frames, but then I couldn't stand them any more, after that I provided my site with a table-based structure as can be found on most professional sites; but the problem with the table is that it loads much too slowly - the browser first wants to read the whole thing before it is being displayed; regardless of any <colgroup> tags or not. So I got rid of all that stuff, et voilà!

So, while I seem to be relatively content about the design of my site right now, I had some problems regarding the contents structure - and the lack of freedom in concern to the strict thematic nature of my essay constructions. So this is the result, I have realized that I have started this sentence with "so" again, and, so (there you have it), after I have caught myself again, ready to refrain from such verbal gimmick, the series of diary entries has been opened now.

December 23rd, 1998

Entry # 2: Dec 24 1998 - Christmas

Today, on Christmas Eve, the day of our hopes and wishes has come - symbolic for what we expect from the world around us; symbolic for what we used to yearn for as children. Still, getting presents seems to be the primary objective today; with the Christmas tree set up nicely in the living room, the windows and streets and houses decorated with all those little gimmicks, even the entry to the homepage supplied with stuff like that. Very nice, but important?

Likewise, we usually hope for a White Christmas (even in Hawaii? well, I'm not so sure about that) - hoping for a soft, tender, bright and clean carpet being applied to the world; hiding all problems and dirt and conflicts under it. Then we think of Christmas songs in the radio and on the streets and in the warehouses; we are used to Christmas specials of our favorite television programs, to the Christmas movies appearing in this season. And, of course, we are expecting some days off.

Well, that's it, isn't it? Oh, wait, there was something, yeah, isn't this a Christian holiday? Well, Christmas has the name of Christ within it, in other languages similar hints are appearing, referring to the clerical character of this day. The birth of Christ - the birth of the Son of God. Born to us, as a human being, a message from God that he does care about us. We are used to see Christ Jesus as the little, cute, helpless baby lying there in the manger, with Mary and Joseph and some shepherds and some sweet little sheep around. Christmas, the birth of a baby.

Christmas is nonsense without Easter; Christmas is nonsense without Good Friday. The manger contains the Cross within it; the Cross leading to resurrection, not just of Jesus, but of mankind. This is no cute little baby, this is the savior, the preserver of us all. In manger and Cross, there is the blood of Christ, the blood of the martyrs, the sins of the world, the future of us all. A Christmas tree without a manger is nonsense, a house with a Christmas tree but without a Cross is nonsense. Christmas is no nice tradition, it ain't just a nice season.

The secular world likes to misuse religious feasts, likes to dismantle them, to remove the religious meaning and keep the symbols. Christmas is being reduced to presents and to Christmas trees, Hanukkah reduced to some candles; Easter then gets a bunny and eggs. But when I think of Christmas, I think of the birth of the Son, when I think of Hanukkah I think of the victory of the Maccabees over the secular Roman oppression and the restitution of the Temple in Jerusalem. The so called spirit of Christmas is an artificial construction served to replace the original concept; perhaps because the secular world dislikes religious concepts?

December 24th, 1998

Entry # 3: Dec 26 1998 - time/reading/loose ends

Right now, during the Christmas holiday season, having some break from the usual university schedule, such a break or vacations in general are always filled with intentions of mine to finally read some books I want to; to finally connect some loose ends, to finally finish some important pieces of work, but what happens? Anything else but that. I haven't even watched the movies I intended to do, video tapes are piling up around my VCR, and those videos which I still have to catalog are piling twice as high. The only thing getting regular attention by me are my homepage and the television shows I prefer.

Well, in theory everything sounds so logical, so simple: read that book. But when I finally sit down, having opened the book, passed through the same sentences I have passed through another time before, before finding the paragraph where I last stopped, what happens is that suddenly I get an idea about something I would like to write about. I just can't concentrate on such passive consumption of ideas - it also happens while I'm watching tv, but then a tv show or a movie demand less work and concentration; there are various stimuli interconnecting, it is possible actually to watch and think about something else without necessarily losing something of the story.

That's something I think characteristic for me, and it is also a bit bizarre: The subjects of mine are demanding reading, and I do read, but I don't like it, I hate reading: I prefer writing something on my own, and if I read, I prefer non-fiction, mostly metaphysical stuff or something like that, check my Book Review Pages for a short selection of my favorites. So there is a feeling of general tiredness but also a feeling of yet undiscovered possibilities - the first being a reflection of what I actually do, the second one referring to what I would want to do in addition to that. At the end of the day, I am always sort of surprised how short it has been. Money might be essential and important, but the most essential luxury I could imagine would be time. And to save you time for other activities, and to let me go to bed now, I'll stop that entry right now.

December 26th, 1998

Entry # 4: Dec 27 1998 - logic/contradictions/diversity

I have here one of my notes made while I was trying to sleep, stating something about logic. What then is logic, what meaning does it have? What puny assumption can guarantee our "superior" knowledge that the universe is built upon logic? Aren't we seeing but the surface of things but nevertheless assuming to possess any kind of solid knowledge? With what right, not justification, but right, do we but state that all we see is true, with what right can we insist that the laws of the universe (as we think they would be) are the way they are? Who are we to tell the universe how it is supposed to behave?

Imagine being a two-dimensional being. You would only exist in two dimensions, only move in them, only perceive them and nothing but them. How could you imagine another dimension? We are likewise bound by restrictions; trying to guess what's out there - but anything else has to fit our models of explanation, our ability to understand, must fit in our model of the universe. Otherwise, havoc will occur - or simply disbelief. Even if we were able to see the truth, we wouldn't be able to grasp it, to accept it. Perhaps after some time elapsed we would think about it and perhaps come to some change of mind, but not necessarily. Think of how resistant even Einstein was regarding quantum phyiscs. At the end, we remain human beings - subjected to our restrictions.

That's why I like notions of post-structuralism, science fiction and transcendentalism, that's why I like thinking about paranormal phenomena and metaphysics: Those theories, although none of them would supposedly contain the entire truth, at least accept that there is a certain degree of uncertainty in themselves, they help open the mind to unknown possibilities. They make us think, they attack the traditional edifice of conventions. But at the same time I intend to and do stick to Catholic belief - that's no contradiction. What are contradictions then? The very idea of contradictions is based upon the acceptance of logic, but on what is that based? Mightn't it be that the universe is even based upon contradictions, upon diversity? I have my own belief, but I can accept others. How empty would our world be if there were just one belief, just one religion or denomination, just one form of art and expression, just one opinion! God is so great that he deserves to be wordshipped in various ways! May he be called Jahwe or Allah, Shiwa or Manitou, whoever. Hasn't our constant quarreling with other opinions and beliefs caused nothing but pain and injustice? We should overcome that kind of discriminative and limiting thinking. Let us grow by accepting other possibilities while at the same time not losing solidity and constancy.

December 27th, 1998

Entry # 5: Dec 28 1998 - essays

Why do I write essays the way I do? Why do I usually choose a five-paragraph structure for a certain part and, in case of larger essays, include it into a 12-parts plus interlude structure? Well, that sort of happened out of coincidence. The five paragraph structure not, that's deliberation I think: I like that classical drama theory piece dividing it up into five parts with part three usually being the climax. And for the greater structure, that happened as an accident. With The Fabric of Reality, I wanted to have ten parts (5+5) but felt something was missing, so I needed two others. When then still something seemed to have to be included, the Interlude was born.

I like to stick to a certain scheme when I see it is working. Structures and sub-structures help me guide my efforts, channel the flow of ideas. But I do not necessarily rely on this pattern everywhere and everywhen: As with this diary, for instance, you will find me structuring it much less in a systematic way, creating not such large structures. That's not what the diary is for. And I also may finish after two paragraphs. Just like now.

December 28th, 1998

Entry # 6: Dec 31 1998 - Final Thoughts on 1998

The end of a year - a time for retrospection. But why then? Isn't retrospection a task to be performed much more regularly? Time doesn't care about the artificial limits we apply to it: Tims's flow is not regulated by our measure, it ignores it. The only thing influenced by our measure is our perception of time - and by this, we can change time: By letting our intentions and anticipations guide our deeds.

What will be achieved in the new year what wasn't in the old one? That depends solely on us. For this site it means that it will simply go on, that I will continue what I've started; with both constancy and change in mind.

December 31st, 1998

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