Sunday, March 23, 2008

Peace of Mind

So, seeing as I have 10 weeks left of High School, I have been pretty pre-occupied with thoughts of the future. What's going to happen to me? Where am I going to be in a few months? What's college going to be like? Etc. etc. etc. I got to thinking "gosh, I can't wait till I graduate, then all this worry will be over'. I caught myself just in time to add in a "yeah.... right". I've realized that life will never be certain, and that this senior year is but a foretaste and a shadow of what will come. I can't assume to know the challenges of the future, but I know that life won't be simple any more.

Dang it.

Well... I hope it isn't blasphemous to philosophize on less important passages of scripture, because I'm going to. Ooo, well that last sentence was asking for trouble. Of course, no portion of scripture is UN-important, I just won't be formulating my own opinions on major doctrines.

A few minutes ago I was thinking about my crazy senior life and my lack of ability to see what the near future holds in store, and I realized that, if my life is not going to be simple, perhaps that is one of the things that makes heaven so great. Heaven is the ultimate place to gain peace of mind, the place where all things make sense, the place where language and thought and emotion and paperwork will not be barriers to understanding. I mean... I'm not gnostic. Language and thought and emotion have their place (I don't know about paperwork), but it seems like one of the great things that we are plagued with here on earth is not being able to understand each other. Lord knows we try, but when you think about it, failure to communicate is the ultimate reason for man-made atrocities.

Think about the Tower of Babel. Human-kind got together and decided to build a tower to heaven. Yay them. Of course, their intentions weren't good, but I can still appreciate their efforts. Big buildings get me excited. But, think about it! They were all working TOGETHER. They must have been able to talk to each other and understand each other pretty well. But when God looked down and saw what they were doing, He confused their languages and they were no longer able to speak to each other. Things fell apart and people went their separate ways, and to this day we still have a diverse set of languages in the world. I think that before God struck the people at the Tower of Babel with confusion, they not only spoke the same language, but they all spoke it with such excellence, that they were able to expound upon their own thoughts and understand others' thoughts to a degree that we cannot imagine. I think that our pride and arrogance ruined that, and that in having so many languages, it is utterly impossible to reach that level of intellectual harmony again. Yes... kind of a Utopian spiel for me, but it seems logical. Our ability to have simple lives was ruined at Babel. Forevermore, we can neither think nor communicate as efficiently as we could then, and that has ultimately destroyed any sense of closure we might have about our lives. Our lives are complicated because we cannot work in the social environments that we are made to live in and around the people we are made to live with.

I guess this blog post ended up not being so much about my busy life, but about life in general. I wonder if these colleges could make their decisions more quickly if Babel had never happened...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Freedom Vs. Dignity

The only problem with getting up early and going to morning prayer with a group of gentlemen from my Church is that my brain actually gets working. Blast this early morning thinking. :) Que the sarcasm if it isn't already.

So, my family is now officially addicted to House. We've borrowed the DVD set of Season two, and when we watched an actual movie last night, my mom noted that while she loves watching movies, she really wanted to see what the next episode of House had in store. For those of you who don't know about House, I suggest you do some research and watch a few of the shows if it interests you. Suffice to say, it's a medical show with a humorous twist. Duh, it has Hugh Laurie in it.

To cut to the point, I got to thinking this morning about AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators). You know, the zappy thingys that bring someone back to life after his/her heart stops beating. Really quite mysterious. But, the thing is, on medical TV shows, you only see men getting zapped because the pads of the AED are applied to the chest. Of course, it's scandalous to show a woman's breasts on TV like that.

Why is it scandalous? Our Victorian sensibilities tell us that anything regarding the upper portion of a woman's body is unfit for public viewing. But, it's a doctor show. Women have heart attacks too? Why be sexist and only show men being saved?

In Victorian times, modesty (or downright prudishness) was emphasized so heavily so as to ward of sexual promiscuity. We can all recognize that, seeing as that strain of thought has become part of our culture as well. Quite honestly they didn't have to deal with medical shows in the Victorian Era. Doctors of course saw women's breasts. There was nothing dishonorable with that. They're doctors, that's what they do. Why have things changed then? The shows still deal with doctors helping people. The setting hasn't changed.

The TV has made slaves of us all. By blatant sexual overtones in advertising ("sexy talk" as Hugh Laurie said earlier in his career), we have lost all sense of dignity and respect for the female body. Even though the topics are the same, even though the show House deals with doctors helping people, it is utterly impossible for them to show a nude female torso and keep a sense of sobriety for the subject.

Now, having said that, I of course have to clarify myself. This is for TV shows. Movies, I think can be slightly different. Writing this, I thought almost immediately of the movie Wit, starring Emma Thompson. This is an incredibly powerful film, and while I endeavor not to recommend movies to people, I think that I can break that rule in this case. At the risk of giving away the plot, all I can tell you is that, towards the end of the movie, there is a scene where doctors attempt to use an AED on Emma Thompson's character. Now, they must remove Thompson's robe in order to move ahead with the procedure. I don't know if it's because it's Emma Thompson or because of the gravity of the movie itself, but I don't know of anyone feeling either scandalized by this or (going to the other extreme) at all tempted to fleshly lusts (monastically put). This is an exception. I don't think that anyone could have pulled this off on House or E.R. or any of the other medical shows out there. Films are able to grow a subject and mature in a way that TV shows are incapable.

Living in America, what are our freedoms? I've been told that there's nothing in the constitution about banning porno. True enough, there isn't, but does that mean that we ought to let it run rampant in society (as if it already isn't)? At what point do our rights dictate our judgments? I, for one, am glad that House isn't allowed to show female nudes on the show (though that could change, of course). I don't think that the general population, in it's present state, is able to handle it, myself included. We've lost all sense of dignity in this country, and our rights need to be called into question as a result. Yes, we have the right to buy porno at 18, but does that mean that we ought to? We think of ourselves as adults, but as far as moral compass is concerned, we're little better than children.
The Creator