Tag Archives: philosophy

Yet a Little More: Gratitude in Action!

A study in how life is easier when we have a perspective of gratitude.

Oh, my beloved memory foam chair

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. It can make all the difference, so they say.

Right now we’re moving to a new state.

And I have this chair that I love, love, love.

My fancy studio chair

My fancy studio chair

Brand new, this chair would cost $1200.

Has a bazillion little doohickey adjustments to support your back…

…It’s made of memory foam…

Oh so nice.

And What?

Also, I have something else.

Well, my wife has something else, and I am soooooooooo lucky to have my wife.

So, I “have” something else in proxy through her.

Fat Cat - Kitty Door

Enter Jack, our big-boned cat

A large, snuggly, and sometimes ornery cat.

My wife LOVES this cat, whose name is Jack. And I am SO happy that Jack makes her happy.

(Are you picking up that I am not normally fond of pets? Continue reading

Vine No. 2: Pure Philosophy

Pure Philosophy, by Bryan Beus

Pure Philosophy, by Bryan Beus

(Website isn’t showing the animation, so you can see it here: )



Vine No. 2: Pure Philosophy

I have a tendency to over think things, sometimes. When I drew this picture of an old, old man observing angels finding their way to heaven, I was wondering how much of thinking hard about deeper things is useful, compared with simply taking off in our goals.

I would imagine both are always useful.

Posted on Vine here: http://vncl.co/emLFMHA4Mtb

Review: The City of God

The City of God
The City of God by Augustine of Hippo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was totally worth the time it took to read it. Augustine’s understanding of the gospel and remarkable rhetorical skills make for a compelling breakdown of the fall of Paganism, the rise of Christianity, and the importance of gaining entrance into into the City of God by surrendering ourselves to God’s will.

I would heavily recommend reading it on audio first, because there are long sections of the book that, while germane anciently, are now completely irrelevant. The said sections concerned the political and philosophical questions of the fifth century and were difficult to endure. Reading it on audio enabled me to mentally ‘tune out’ until the narrator reached a more interesting subject. The sections would, however, be interesting subject matter to a serious student of history.

Many of Augustine’s insights were wholly new to me, such as his understanding of numerical symbolism. I’ll outline one example briefly:

‘God worked 6 days, then rested the 7th.
6 here represents completion of this mortal life. This is shown in that the fundamental base numbers of 1, 2, and 3, can be either multiplied together to reach the number 6 (1 X 2 X 3 = 6), or added together to also make 6 (1 + 2 + 3 = 6). Therefore, 6 is a number that is complete in this life.
7, then, is the transcendence of the number 6. Upon the finishing of this life, we then enter into the rest of the Lord (symbolized by the Sabbath Day), thus transcending at the completion of this life.’

He also explains the numbers 8 and 12, but in order to find out, you’ll have to read the book:)

Double five stars for Augustine’s theological understanding wisdom, and rhetorical mastery.

View all my reviews

The spirituality of sketchbooking

Over the years of sketchbooking I’ve noticed a few things about sketchbooking.

The main goal of sketchbooking is to increase our ability to observe the world around us (A common misconception is that a sketchbook is a place to increase your drawing ability. While you may find yourself increasing your drawing ability as you go, save that focus for another time).

Catching the simple, everyday things with which we are all familiar, yet take for granted is a part of our impetus for being artists in the first place.

Yet, that’s not far enough. I’ve seen a lot of sketchbooks and art that captures unusual or thought provoking scenes, yet the art still leaves me feeling depressed. I don’t want to look at art like that. There’s too much great stuff going on around me to voluntarily import depressing thoughts and feelings into my life.

Some of the most uplifting things happening are found in the darkest, most frightening places: the ex-convict who returns to prison to teach other convicts how to overcome their addictions; the orphan who marries, and then loves his or her spouse and family; the war-torn refugees who still love their country. There’s magic everywhere, yet we have to tune ourselves into it.

A sketchbook isn’t just a place to observe: it’s an opportunity to observe beauty.

Review: Meditations

MeditationsMeditations by Marcus Aurelius
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the pinnacle of Pagan thought, it definitely deserves the merit which it has received. I enjoyed essentially all of his thinking, though with the understanding that the pagan-religious aspect of his work is something in which I do not believe.

He repeats a consistent theme throughout:
The universe forms a whole, where every part is important and has its place.
We find peace in the universe when we accept our part and seek to fulfill it to its fullest measure.
Our human duty is to give of ourselves to others, however we are called, in order that others might see this principle clearly also.

Continue reading

Liz Carlston – Columbine Survivor

Liz Carlston came to my local church ward and spoke to us at a Monday night activity. Liz was a basketball student during the Columbine incident of 1999. Here are a few of her messages:

When tragedy affects us and people ask us to relate our experiences, we can choose to speak a message of love and healing.
In our desires to prevent tragedy to happen again, our aim can be to change people’s hearts, as opposed to placing laws and limitations on them.
The many miracles that happened that day, including the failure of the propane-bomb detonations and the help of a nearby Vietnam-veteran nurse, show that God always has a contingency plan.

On the way there and driving through streets covered in five inches of snow I got my car stuck, then had it towed out by a stranger, and then had to leave my car in a parking lot and walk the rest of the way. It was totally worth it.

Review: An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth

An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with TruthAn Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a record of maintaining a clear political mind and one’s search for strong character I enjoyed this book. Concerning his spiritual searches, I thought they were interesting to read, though I disagreed with him and, often times, found his point of view quite difficult to accept.


I must mention one thing which is not in the book before I continue, Continue reading

A Reminder: How To Vote for True Change

Dear America,

With the onset of the campaigning season for the upcoming elections, I’d like to share a few thoughts on what I believe we should be looking for as Americans.

We all remember the phrase, “The Pursuit of Happiness.” We often forget the true source of Happiness, however.
Happiness comes when one forgets oneself and serves others. Complete Happiness comes when one forgets oneself completely in selfless service.

We need to remember this always, because there are a great many voices in the world telling us that Happiness comes from superficial sources.

A few of those fallacious sources could be said to be: Continue reading

Sketches and Thoughts on The Karate Kid

Sketches and thoughts on The Karate Kid (2010).

What most impressed me about this film was the way it captures the underlying principles not only of kung fu, but of every worldly endeavor: the development of compassion.

To quote a line from Mr. Han (played by Jackie Chan), “Kung Fu is the art of making peace with your enemies.”

Kung fu fascinates me, just like about every other male in the world, and probably most females too. The movement, defense, self-control, discipline, and sheer coolness of the art form makes it impossible not to ignore. (For those who love to learn more about it, I’ve included a National Geographic Documentary series video on YouTube at the end of this post).

That being said, it’s unlikely that I will ever spend time on learning it. I have my hands full just trying to learn to draw and write at the same time. What interests me more with kung fu is how the true masters learn that when they can look at their enemy in the eye with true compassion, both sides can put down their swords and embrace.

The film ends with Dre Parker (played by Jaden Smith) beating his enemies with honor, and his enemies see the truth in maintaining one’s integrity and congratulate him.

I give the film an A-.

Continue reading

A discussion on the development of independent thought

This discussion is meant for a Christian audience–specifically those who believe in a personable and conscious God.  If you don’t fall into that category, then we’ll discuss the nature and possible existence of God another day.

First let me start by saying that “independent” thought is a misnomer. Pure independence doesn’t exist for an individual human being, as I understand it.

So, let’s define independent thought as being, “the ability to make decisions by selective choice of influence.” In other words, the ability to decide what influences you will allow upon yourself as you make decisions, and what influences you will not (this also includes being aware of your influences).

Fact: It’s impossible for any human being to be completely independent in a thought process because an individual human being cannot create herself. As her individual origins were dependent on her parents, and their origins dependent upon theirs, it is impossible for that individual to ever be truly “independent” in anything.

Now, as I said above, this conversation is directed towards people who believe in a personable and conscious God, and I say this because I’m about to make a few leaps in logic which would normally accrue debate.

If we are constantly being bombarded by external influences of all types, and if we want to become independent in our thought process in order that our pursuits (for the purposes of this blog–our stories) can take a consistent and individual direction, then we must find a stabilizing point on which to focus ourselves.

This is because without one constant belief, core value, spiritual/intellectual/physical focal point, our life will become a painting without a subject; a story without a climax; a song without a theme.

Just as in each creative story we must know where we want to focus our attention, we must also know in our development of independent thought upon what value we want to develop.

Very well, let’s say that we’re agreed that in order to develop independent thought we must choose a core belief. How do we go about picking it?

If we want to become independent, then we must pick something that is entirely independent in nature.

Yet everything we know of in this universe and our collective human experience is influenced by and therefore dependent to any degree on its environment.

The conclusion as to what core value we must pick is obvious: God.

God, being the creator of the universe, is the only independent belief and value upon which we can focus in order to become independent.

In fact, if he is truly independent, then the more we “depend” on him, that is to say, build upon belief in him as a foundation, the more we independent we become.

Dependence on God=Independence

Complete Dependence on God=Complete Independence

Furthermore, if God exists and, as Christians believe, if all that he is and stands for is Truth, then it’s like that age old saying, “The truth will set you free.”

Now I wonder whether or not my philosophy professor would approve…;)