Monday, 23 June 2014

Healing from Shrapnel

A colleague of mine told me how at the weekend she pulled out a piece of glass from her arm that was as large as her nail. Apparently she'd been in a collision with a bus thirteen years ago whilst riding a bike. Whilst the doctors were able to remove most of the glass from her body, they missed this (rather large) piece. For the last thirteen years her body had slowly and steadily been working on ejecting the glass shrapnel from her body.

Her story reminded me of the emotional shrapnel that I have been working to remove. I've managed in recent years to overcome my addition to computer gaming, but that has been in large part to reconfiguring my life to leave little or no room for gaming. Rather than locate and adjust the root cause of my addiction. It was perhaps a rather extreme solution, but it worked.

Whilst on the subject of shrapnel, Gordon raises an interesting point about what percentage of population needs to be convinced of an idea (regardless of its validity) for it to take root.
Another quote, this time from Dr Robert Schoch.
A study carried out at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (see Xie et al. 2011) indicates that when 10 percent of a population holds strongly and unshakably a certain belief, this belief will be adopted by the majority. Thus, to gain widespread acceptance for an idea actually only requires convincing 10 percent of the group under concern (such as the community of scientists). But of course this is a double-edged sword. The initial 10 percent (with the majority following in its wake) may be convinced of an idea independent of whether that idea is valid or not.
The take-away that I derive from this quote is that the beliefs of the silent majority are irrelevant. As seen in China, Germany, Russia, Cambodia, and Congo. When the portion of the population with malevolent intent gains power, the outcome is tragic beyond words.

And then there is the shrapnel that comes with the fall-out. For years the world has ignored what has been going on in Syria and suddenly when Iraq is being carved up the world audience perks up. But not yet, it seems, to make any significant move to avoid tragedy. Right now the news in the UK is focusing on the shrapnel. Think it is much ado about nothing? Some people in Belgium might think differently.

I used to obsess about world news and geopolitics. Now I realize that's pretty pointless. Blogos gives some brilliant advice on how to deal with the darker side of Chesed, i.e. obsession, and that is become a Healer.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Theoretical Golem Builder

Over the weekend I got some unexpected advice about practicing magic around young children. The long and the short of it is: don't do it.

Having had some unwanted exposure to magic in my childhood, I'd rather not see history repeated. Anyway, this means that I'll continue my study of Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) and translation work. Plus I'll be able to spend more time on writing projects.

On the subject of Sefer Yetzirah, I've making good headway in chapter 2 of Rabbi Moshe Cordovera's commentary. This is large part due to my daily commute increasing from an hour each way to two hours. Tipping a situation from the pan of liability to the pan of merit is often easier than you might think :-)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Clouds, Lens, and Magic in the Blood

This is a brief update about the past week. I learned two things, one from one of my kids and the other from the land.

The first lesson was how to stop the rain. Whilst making it rain (and become overcast in general) works for me both in England and abroad - I have had limited success in stopping the rain. That is until quite by chance my kid told me of a simple incantation to break up the clouds. My approach had been to use sunlight to burn away the clouds, but encouraging them to de-congregate seems a gentler and more efficient approach.

The second thing is a lesson that I am still trying to grasp. It's very simply that the world appears to have (at least) one eye. The phrase 'eye of the world' - meaning attention on a global scale - may be more literal than I had previously thought. It was rather disconcerting going to sleep away from home for several nights and feeling each time as though I was lying on the lends of an eye the size of a country... just below me.

The third thing (rule of three) that I learned is that an interest in magic appears to be hereditary. My wife tolerates my interest in magic and it's not something that I share with my kids, but it looks like at least one of them may be following me some distance down this path...