Friday, March 24, 2006

First post

Better late to the party than never. Some folks have been bugging me to blog, and I've had the itch for a while. Just hadn't found the time to get things set up. When I've moved into a new apartment or house in the past, the first things that always get set up are the stereo system and bookcases. Why should my blog be any different. So I had to get the book and music lists hooked in...they are important.

I still remember my first time...first time using a web browser, that is. I've been a library nut since my early years. Spent many preteen hours in the Cumberland Mountains community of Harriman, Tennessee (population 8000) public library - one of the almost 3000 "Carnegie Libraries" built by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. My reading appetite was so voracious I had to lobby for an adult library card at around age 9. One of the first books I read after getting it was Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood". They also had an unusual record collection, at least for the time - I first heard The Jefferson Airplane and Miles Davis courtesy of my small town library.

So the first time I took Netscape's predecessor Mosaic for a spin - probably around 1992 - I thought I had rediscovered the library. I even began to favor a text-based browser called Lynx because of it's speed and ability to easily bypass distracting images. And even though I've been making my living developing software for over 20 years, I'm still like a kid in a candy store when it comes to using the internet. To think that all these resources are now at my fingertips - incredible. (One of my favorite recent offerings is being able to checkout secure audio books from my local libraries and download them to my MP3 player. This certainly makes the drive to and from work more pleasurable.)

About 5 years ago I began reading the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French Jesuit priest/paleontologist/philosopher/theologian. Since I grew up as a minister's son, spirituality was always something to reckon with one way or the other. My life had been a mixture of belief and atheism - the first atheistic phase began at around age 11. My "belief" periods had always been tinged with a notion that things still didn't make enough sense for me to really buy into at least the more conservative to moderate expressions of faith that reflected my upbringing and environment. I had run across exceprts of de Chardin's writings, but the impetus to bein reading him in depth came via Wired Magaine's December 2002 issue on Science + Religion. (The crucifix image above is the cover art for that issue, and was created by Kenn Brown of Mondolithic Studios.) Through the writings of Teilhard, I finally found a grammer for spirituality that respected all the things I did believe in - science, hope, love - and integrated it with the faith of my childhood and culture. While I'm still usually at odds with the "popular" expressions of faith and belief, at the core I now have sufficient faith in God and the world to at least provide an energy and a hope for the future.

Teilhard advanced the notion of the "noosphere" (pronounced no-sphere), which represented the third sphere or envelope of the earth. The geosphere contains the inorganic foundational material of the planet. The biosphere contains the organic substances and organizms required for (hopefully) self-sustaining life forms. This third envelope - the noosphere - was for Teilhard representative of the connections that were inevitably and inescapably required (he was a strong evolutionist) for humankind to connect and communicate across cultural and geographic boundaries. As the complexity of the human condition increased, there was a need for an interdependency of thought, just as there were symboitic physical relationships required at every level of physical existence. Teilhard wrote mostly in the early part of the 20th century. His writings were censored from publication by the Roman Catholic church during his lifetime, so the first appeared a few years after his death in 1955. He barely knew of the existense of primative computers, but his vision certainly anticipated this self-organizing system we now know as the World Wide Web.

So it is important for me at many levels to make time for a blog. It fulfills social, spiritual, and creative needs. Most of my posts will deal with music, books, spirituality, and science, since those are the places where my head usually lives. I hope you will bookmark this place and come back to visit often. I'll do my best to keep things interesting.


Tammy Jo said...

Yippee!! Yippee!! It is a good day indeed!!

julieunplugged said...

Welcome to the real spirit world where God (aka Internet) answers prayers at the click of a mouse!

Adding you to my blogroll... :)

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