Saturday, August 15
Sunday, January 4
In the Land of One's BirthTwo and a half years goes by quickly, at least in hindsight. Then again everything does. Being able to power through memories at the speed of thought will do that to them I guess.
I've changed... alot... but in many ways I'm still the same: unsure of myself, appearing to be confident when really I don't feel very confident at all. I've made mistakes too; wasted chances, wasted time, wasted friendships and (deeply to my regret) hurt other people... I couldn't apologize more for it...
I am different though... the way I view the world and my relations with other people has changed... grown. God has blessed me with friendship, love and experience in these past two years, and for this I am grateful.
I don't know what'll happen in the future, but I know that I can look back on my time in America with fondness and love, and that counts for something I think.
Now that I'm back in Singapore, I'm hopeful. I don't want to waste time. I will not waste my experiences. I want to grow as I have grown before, and learn as I have learnt before, and I pray that all of you can do the same.
So to 2009, and this new phase in my life: here's hoping you'll be something awesome.
Tuesday, December 2
Eternal BusinessJeremy is up to his eyeballs in work. Leisurely thought will resume come January... maybe...
Saturday, October 25
A ThoughtI feel hopeful, about things. Though the troubles and worries I've been dealing with lately haven't really gone away, and though there are yet many hurdles and mountains to overcome and surmount; I feel a kind of peace.
While I don't know if things will work out in the short run, or if I'll be able to handle all the things that are being piled unto my plate or if I'll be able to progress and move beyond all the things I've been trying to move beyond for the past couple months:
I know that God will carry me through it all, and that knowledge alone is enough for me...
I just felt like that needed to be said, both for my own sake, and for the sake of whoever should read this. Trust in him, and he will carry you through...
Tuesday, October 21
A Reflection on the Difficulty of BeingIf I would try to describe my daily struggle with faith, it would be difficult at best to find the words suited to the task. They exist surely, but I have neither the knowledge nor self-awareness to procure them at ease. However, the vocabulary of the matter is hardly the most pressing difficulty one is presented with.
As a person who was born and raised in what could be characterized as a ‘Christian household’, I like to think that 'faith' is something I (and the people around me) am familiar with. I often consider myself to be morally righteous; certainly I rarely conceive of my own thoughts as being fallacious or ethically flawed. I often presume the ethical virtue of my thoughts without investigating or considering them. Yet, it seems to me that this is normal in society. The few fellows I have related my thoughts to often agree with my conclusions, rarely challenging the premises upon which they stand; and I for my part take comfort in this agreement, and reflect it by responding in a likewise manner. In this way, we perpetuate our self-righteousness, continuing on without anxious and thorough deliberation of our own inner thoughts. Such constant self-reflection would surely be tiring; and so we dispense with it, and are content to continue thinking what we will.
However, lately I have begun challenging this ease with which I conducted the affairs of my mind. As a socialized individual I had learnt to discount certain tendencies of my nature. One learns as a child that walking around unclothed is ‘bad’; that swearing is frowned upon, and so on… We ignore these urges within ourselves, and learn to restrain them. However, it seems to me that we never really cleanse them from our minds; and though we might not partake of them daily, we are never truly free of our desire toward them. We merely learn to control them, to ignore them. Thus, they persist within our minds, and daily nudge and tug at our consciousness, hiding safe in the folds of our self-righteousness till they are called out and confronted. It is (for me at least) easy to think that one is faithful; it is far harder to confront the clear and present evidence of one’s own lack of faith and then genuinely progress.
Which brings me back to the story of my own faith: I had always thought that despite my failings as an individual, I possessed at least on some tiny level some measure of faith. I had my moments of doubt, my instants of weakness, but all in all, I thought I did alright by myself. Now I find myself disabused of this notion; and I am finding it difficult at best to conjure a means to confront it. As an aspiring ‘Knight of Faith’, I find it demoralizing to see that in many ways I have hardly moved beyond the aesthetic, if at all. Like de Silencio, I am amazed at the story of Abraham, and I am convinced that being capable of genuine faith is a thing of wonder. Yet, I do not know how to make that movement, or where I should even begin. I no longer wish to move beyond faith, and yet being confronted with it I am now unsure of how to proceed.
I am concerned also with Kierkegaard’s conception of the ‘movement of infinite resignation’. It seemed to me at first that this would be the natural step to take in order to progress toward the ideal of the ‘Knight of Faith’; to make the leap and move beyond the present stage and into the next. However, on closer inspection of the profound size of that leap, I found myself doubting my own ability to best it. As Kierkegaard describes in Fear and Trembling, the ‘Knight of Infinite Resignation’ is “sufficient to oneself”. “It is only the lower natures who have the law for their actions in someone else, the premises for their actions outside themselves.” To be able to reconcile oneself to the realities of the finite and move from desires that are transient to those that are eternal: would that not be enviable? Yet I find myself at a loss as to how I should go about doing even this. It seems simple enough to conceptualize what I am doing wrong in this respect; but given the emotional and sub-conscious requirements of the goal, I find it difficult to say how I can begin to do things right.
So how does one move beyond the present and progress? In pondering this, I considered the following: Must we understand fully the point at which we wish to arrive (in other words the ideal) or must we first become self-aware (that is, aware of one’s current intentions, motivations and core beliefs, implying thorough deliberation and clarity on the matter)? Further, is understanding this ideal necessary to becoming self-aware (does knowing the goal we are striving for help us make sense of our imperfect selves); or does this knowledge colour our thinking and prevent us from seeing what we truly are? If we are unaware of what the ideal is, how can we understand how we are flawed? Conversely, if we are looking for flaws, might we overlook our virtues? Moving even further, is complete self-awareness actually possible? If I as a person am a ‘subject’ and thus cannot be understood by ‘objective’ means, is there some personal state that I can be ‘self-aware’ of: and if so is this awareness necessary for progress? Without any answers, I returned to the original question.
Now, it seems to me that there is one possible step, though it may not be a definitive enough answer for some (including at times myself). That is, to attempt a movement. Regardless of whether that movement is small or large, visible or invisible, the fundamental requisite of progress seems to me to be a willingness to take a step in the first place, even if it is in the wrong direction. Just as Kierkegaard believed that action was an integral part of personhood (or being), and just as faith (and progress toward it and through it) was an integral part of his being: so too is action an integral part of my faith and being (at the very least, I believe this should be the case). Though I may not make the leap between stages in these movements, I hope that they take me closer to them at the least.
But what of God; it seems odd to speak of faith and yet not mention its subject. In all these things it is clear to me that my understanding is faulty, and incomplete. In every instance it is shown to me that my resolve is lacking and my foundation on shaky ground. Yet, through it all, God carries me through the difficulties of being, and inspires hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day. For me, God is the anchor in an uncertain world; the moral compass in a reality that has none. At the end of it, it seems to me that the point of my struggle is to get closer to that ideal, that relationship with a living God. To say that one has “fought the good fight and kept the faith”, surely that is the struggle of a godly life. Thus, while I place no confidence in my own abilities, I pray (and place faith in that prayer) that God will see me through to the goal; regardless of the shape or form that goal will take in my life.
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Matthew 22: 35-40 (New International Version)
I wrote this for my religion class, and am happy to say that it was one of the rare moments in my college career where the assignment I turned in genuinely reflected my feelings about the material at the time. I love religion classes xD
Thursday, October 16
Inconclusive Random SubscriptJeremy suddenly wants to take pictures of all things musical. He wonders idly if music can be adequately expressed in a visual format, especially one such as photography, but notes that his original thought was not for artistic expression, but rather simply because he thought it would be pretty cool to get pictures of himself enjoying music.
Because he does... enjoy music that is.
And the random thought floating through his head was: "wouldn't it be awesome to just post a bunch of pictures of myself rocking out with friends and have some cool album name and put it on Facebook or something... yeah that'd be awesome!" It branched off from there to a general sentiment of 'music is cool!' thus allowing him to completely ignore the task at hand of... uhh what was it again?
As you, the informed reader, probably can tell, the glut of sudden posts is a side effect of severe acute procrastination syndrome (and maybe some ADD). The author is a chronic sufferer.
AnnouncementJeremy has joined a band and has a gig on the 1st of November. He's excited.
He has blisters and a broken, bleeding nail from playing bass for said band. Incidentally, he also had a four hour practice with said band and now has to write a 4-6 page religion paper that's due at 9:40am tomorrow. He's rather unhappy about this.
That's all he has to say for now; wish him luck with his paper...