Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back from camp..


Bald Cypress getting its toes wet in the Guadalupe river, near the camp





My oldest (10yr) was away at camp all last week. We picked him up yesterday from kinda the middle of nowhere (ok, Sisterdale is not 'nowhere' but it is off the beaten track). The location was on his teacher's private property, 1 1/2 hours from Austin and 1 1/2 hours from San Antonio. The neat thing about this camp was not just the environment, but the fact that they were studying 'origins' all week. Lead by a professor of Philosophy who taught them about Euclid this past school year and Euclidian geometry, they studied all kinds of creation myths. When you think of creation myths, we in the Western world are pretty much stuck with the Christian (fundamentalist/literalist) version of creation. What a concept to think that other 'people' (i.e. cultures) have (had) their own version of events.

ewwwww! COOL!


The parents were given the reader so they could read along at home with everyday's reading and discussion materials. It definitely would have been threatened material for most Christians, ok, fundamentalists. There seem to be so many these days but hopefully that's a wrong perception. Even the most intelligent 'believer' seems to somehow struggle with the Biblical notion of creation and not quite know how to think about it. From my exposure/experience, a lot of them just gloss over it as it's "the Old Testament" anyway.

For those, I would recommend dr. Rocco Errico's writings as he has studied in depth with George Lhamza and knows (how) to bring the Bible into context. Oversimplified explanation; the bible is full of allegories as the 'eastern culture' used that to teach morals, through stories. He also explains bible passages by looking at the cultures of its time and the psychology of the people. Really, when you read (or hear) about that, I think you can see it as 'just another' creation story. People have psychologically had the need to explain the Origins of life; frame behaviour or expected/considered 'just' behaviour so in that light, the Old Testament if anything is to me, an account of a people that's just been lucky to have stuck around.

Poseidon, the camp's mascot. Naturally allowed to hop away at any given time.

Consider the following creation myths;
myths using the parent-child relationship model, parents giving life to the children -
Maori
Hesiod's Theogony

myths using the 'problem parents' model;

Enuma Elish (ancient Babylonian poem)

Then it evolved to delving into which philosophers started to look for rationale explanations of 'the cosmos' and the philosophic outlook of where it all began to into a long timeline (since our origin is considered to have started 15 billion years ago) starting with the 'flaring forth'. They discussed the origins through philosophy (plato) and science (A Brain for All Season: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change). They went through thought experiences, learned about the (briefly) timeline of human evolution. They were taught to examine, compare, experience and reflect. Thinking skills, what a concept.

Dirk, playing around with the digital camera I lent him.

They did look into the old testament creation story, as the Quiche Maya story as the Bushongo story from Africa. I wished I could've been there myself to read and discuss and explore.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Zee said...

Creation is a passage in time.
Well, we all know that. Nevertheless, the bible, or also the old testament, describe fragments of those travels.
Sure, there are many more documents, from many cultures and an abundant array of peoples. They all aim to picture a similar story. That is good.
From the Kalevalla to the North Myths of Odin and Baldur, to the serene imagery of African heritage, crossing over to Asia with it's bounty, inquiring American Indian tales ... it burns down to a similar sublime image.

The world was not created in seven days, only fools would hang onto such rubish. What the bible though describes, is evolutionary stages, simplified into seven stages.

Now the Christ impulse is fairly unique, in that it changes the karma and history of the earth. That of course is part of the "new testament". Christ was the first "god" willing to live and die like a human, therefore sacrificing "his" life towards renewal on earth.

Pagans release their intent towards nature, the immediate surrounding. Buddhist follow the eight-fold path towards enlightenment, in other words, detachment. Muslims subordinate their devotion to an idea that strangles development. Israelis are caught in a puddle of blood lines.

I am not sure where I am going with this, because there is no convincing answer, there is no cure to the maladies of misconception.

The point I am trying to make is such. Pay respect to the human beings and the living world around you, in small steps you will gather through observation the riddles of creation.
If you want to speed up this process of learning, study spiritual science as indicated by the scholar of Rudolf Steiner.

10:28 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

Such a cool camp experience...wow...and your boy is so beautiful- such sensitive old soul eyes...wonderful...

I love reading about other cultures and their beliefs and experiences...it makes the world seem closer- smaller- in a good way...thank you for sharing the tales- I will explore...

Btw the person wrote above- well, it is not all that way...Buddhism is far from detachment- it is about caring and being Mindful and Observant...and caring....I have no idea where the "detached" thing is from....and it is also NOT all about a path to enlightenment- it is very much about Empathy and compassion...( he makes it sound like a pretty self centered path)....the point of the Path, and why the teachings about a path are important- it is to help people appreciate that there is indeed a path, a journey...and to appreciate all lessons on the way...

there is no way to narrow most cultures or religions into random sentences...spiritually so much of the world is rich- to allow one's child to experience this and do so with open heart, and soul, and eyes...ahhh such a gift you have given....

okay I am done rambling....

namaste....

12:40 AM  

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