Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Intellectual Frontier

There are a lot of wonderful things about the place where I live, foremost among them being world-class scenery. Sometimes the view of the mountains to the east of here is enough for me to drive off the road. I've lived here for almost fifteen years now and it still captivates me.

What is severely lacking is intellectual stimulation. There are plenty of smart people and artist-types around, but still you have to go looking if you want to have a conversation about something other than skiing or hunting. That's an exaggeration, of course, but there's an element of truth, too.

If you have the kind of brain, as I do, that requires a certain amount of fodder to keep its continual chomping satisfied, you have to go out and find your own. Hence, the reading projects. And more recently, It is the most incredible, amazing treasure trove. I initially joined to get auidobooks that I would download to an iPod and then that would (supposedly) motivate me to get some exercise. The exercise part has only been somewhat successful, but in the meantime, I've turned into an junkie. It is unbelievable what you can find there.

I've discovered that I don't really like audiobooks, because I can't skim over the parts that are boring, and the narrator often reads far more slowly than I do. BUT, there are radio broadcasts on any topic you can imagine-- interviews, book reviews, radio journalism, you name it. Thousands of them. So I get to have the illusion that I am listening to cutting edge stuff, stuff that makes me think and question and figure things out, even though I live out in the middle of nowhere. It's fabulous. The reason why I say it's an illusion, though, is because often the interviews I'm listening to are two or three years old. So it's new stuff to me, but if you actually lived somewhere where people are intellectually involved, this would be old news.

But hey, it makes me happy.

So, just to prove that I do sometimes listen to my readers, I'm going to stop right there and not keep going on to a discussion of the interview I was just listening to ('scuse the dangling preposition). I do periodically try to keep my posts short but it just doesn't seem to work.

More later. Plus my son is about to get home from school with his buddy Keith and they will need something to eat.

Aunt BeaN


  1. Which readers say keep it short? Not me.

  2. Standing at the brink of atheism . . .

    For me that isn't the location of the problem. I was far too well indoctrinated in the art of protecting myself from atheistic arguments to find myself attracted there.

    My problem is a new awareness that my God isn't real. The God I've been praying to and counting on for help, the God who cares about my aching joints and my anxieties over my kid's safety . . . . that God isn't big enough.

    He isn't even big enough for the Creation story I was fed for years, much less for the billions of light years of universe that exist.

    He isn't big enough for the whole issue of time. I remember the shock of discovering that I had a beginning. My mother talked about her wedding, "before I was born," and I hated that. I rejected it with my whole being. How could there ever have been a time that I wasn't?

    Now I find my previous non-existence trivial compared to an endless existence (eternal is the word used) stretching out in the future. It makes me tired sometimes. Other times it makes me frightened . . . how could it really be good to go on living/existing forever?

    Of course, the alternative is a sudden non-existence, an end of the me that I know. I get vertigo just letting my mind wander in that direction.

    I know lots of people pride themselves on having dealt with their mortality. Not me.

    Most of the time I operate as though I don't know it: my God isn't real, he/she is too puny. But when the questions trickle into my consciousness, I try to trust in a God that is bigger than anything I have a definition for. It may be just a cop-out.

    Oh, well. I'm a coward.

  3. You know, Cheri, that's very different than how I think, but I hear you. At the same time that it's different, I don't think it's so very far apart. That "standing at the brink and looking over the edge" thing was prompted by trying to write (in a desperate attempt to get more words into my nano) a bit from the perspective of the dead mother. And it suddenly occurred to me, what if that is IT? what if there's just nothing? she's dead and she's just gone. And of course I've thought about that idea before, it's not new-- it just suddenly SUNK IN in a way it never had before and, well-- that's exactly how it felt-- my standing on the brink with toes on the edge, or your vertigo....

    I'm too tired tonight to make sense but just got to thinking about this again.