Writing this now, in my double-glazed room, I can see a bottle of water in front of me bopping along to the beats of the calypso.
If you've never been (and are interested), here are some photos to whet your appetite:
Damn those alluring toe-tapping steel pan players. They'll be practicing till at least 2am, I'm sure of it.
Please pray for our souls - and our sanity.
Last year, in one of my modules, we momentarily touched upon this seemingly apparent dichotomy between man possessing free will and God. Seeing as my lecturer, Professor Alan Torrance (a highly acclaimed theologian and on the whole a charming man in my opinion) is a Calvinist, most of what he teaches his students are his own beliefs. I do not think he agreed with it entirely, but Perkin’s Golden Chain was one of them.
Perkin’s Golden Chain, in short, illustrates a flow chart of soteriology which demonstrates that man does not have the choice to accept or deny God, but that faith is the product of God’s ‘effectual call’. If one takes Perkin’s Chain to be correct then free will is simply a delusion that man endures; similar to the lives of the proles I mentioned in my 1984 post. But surely this example of Hyper-Calvinism contradicts the Catholic belief that humanity does in fact have free will? Aquinas believed that man has the freedom of choice (liberum arbitrium) and that this choice works with God’s grace and not in contradiction to it. He says, ‘People are free to make decisions. Otherwise counsels, precepts, prohibitions, rewards and punishment would all be pointless’ (ST Ia, 83, 1).
For Aquinas, God cannot intervene in the choices of man as He created them to be freely acting agents; to interfere would prevent them from doing so.
It is as if God has laid out several paths for us and we have the opportunity to choose which route to take. This is similar to Calvinist compatabilism.
But if God is the ultimate cause of our decisions then perhaps you ask whether we are truly free at all? If this is the case, then is God to blame when people choose to lie, steal and murder? Such a question gives rise to another: If God is the Ultimate Good, then how can Evil exist in the world?
Yes, well who in their right mind would waste their time contemplating the meaning of life, let alone at least for the next three years of their life?
Many people ask me why I even bother studying theology when you can just think about the questions of life whenever and wherever, with no need to sit in a lecture theatre or in a tutorial. Why squander away time asking questions that will most probably never get answered?
See, for me it’s not about the answers. I don’t expect to ever become aware of the meaning of life, discover why love is so paradoxical or quite grasp why there is suffering in the world when we have such a loving God. I’m in it for the journey. The pilgrimage. I find that by asking these questions I discover a lot about the world, about humanity and what I believe. That, for me, is all I need to know.
I was discussing it with a friend the other day, and we were wondering whether Orwell had any inkling as to just how much of an insight he had into the future of humanity. I hate to sound depressing but his book has made me really think. 1984 provides no hope whatsoever for the future of mankind, implying that we evolve to become mindless robots that can be manipulated by a merciless oligarchy.
And the idea of the proles; Orwell depicts them as being totally unaware of being fed lies that they believe to be reality. But if one thinks about it, it’s sort of already occurring in our society today. Well, what I mean is that it’s not difficult to see aspects of it peering through our everyday life. Did you ever think perhaps we are the proles? That we are the ignorant mass that could do something about the way the world is but are just totally naïve to the fact that this is the case?
If what we felt was reality was actually a lie would we prefer to know the truth, regardless of how horrible it may be? Would we take the red or the blue pill?
My friend argued that if the ‘world was really corrupt, damaged and beyond repair’ then she would prefer the lie, and take the blue pill. I on the other hand would have to take the red one. Why live the lie, despite it being the happiest thing you have envisaged (although in 1984 even the lie is pretty bleak), if you know that the truth is out there waiting to be found? My exact words to my friend were:
Maybe it’s ‘cos I’m a theologian, but I’d rather be told the truth, as the truth is the only thing worth knowing.
I said that then, but obviously I cannot say for definite that given the situation that I wouldn’t change my mind. But I still cannot help but fail to see the rationale in living a lie if you have the choice to choose to pursue the truth.
Credit to Andrei Robu for the image.
I won't recall the whole of the article to you, but if you get the chance you should certainly give it the once over. Below are some of my thoughts on what he has said:
Really now? They seemed to do a good job convincing the British public that.
I met some great people and I hope to stay in touch with some of them. Here are a few shots of just how glamorous media journalism can be:
All from the comfort of my seat.
I think it's going to be a good day.
I sometimes feel that I’m losing touch with my faith, with what I’ve believed for most of my life. For so long I have strived to return to a time when putting God first was habitual to me, when questioning what I believe was never a question I had to ask, or when I could confidently say that I was happy. But no longer does this place in time exist. Perhaps, given time, it will once again be reachable. I can only hope -and pray- that this is so.
Ever since I can remember I’ve known how to play the piano. I had a lesson here and there at secondary school, but quickly became fed up of playing scales over and over again. I’m not great, but I can perform a piece or two. It may come as a surprise to you but I can’t actually read notes; the same goes for when I play the drums. I think it’s been seven years since I first learnt how to play, and perhaps a year since I’ve played anything, but seat me in front of a piano and my muscle memory will effortlessly guide my fingers across the keys.
What fascinates me is the way our memory works. Is there something within our subconscious that chooses what to remember? If this is the case, why can I remember trivial things such as Angela Lansbury was the teapot in Beauty and the Beast? Or that an oenophile is someone who appreciates wine? And yet, I can’t remember my first day at school - or much of my primary school life for that matter. I even struggle to recall what I ate yesterday…
My mind’s like a box of Trivial Pursuit cards - but with the questions torn off.
I've read that we sometimes forget certain things because old information is replaced by new information. But that still doesn't answer my question. Why would anyone in their right mind choose useless facts over noteworthy memories? Maybe we don't actually get a chance to choose? Maybe our collection of memories are filtered by a Sorting Hat? Or perhaps they were just not that noteworthy after all?
Anyway, I’ve come to three possible conclusions:
1. My mind prefers to remember things that give me a false sense of security and contentment, veiling a set of memories that are too overwhelming to recall
2. I’ve developed dementia in my old age
3. I had a difficult childhood featuring a talking teapot and a lot of wine
I'm thinking the third one is most likely.
Our goal at the end of the two weeks is to create a DVD on the summer services that the borough offers, interviewing the public and trying our hand at being top notch journalists and cameramen/women (people?).
Not only is it a good chance to meet new people, gain some skills, and a benefit for my CV, but it's a pretty good reason to get me off my backside and do something constructive.
Who knows, maybe in the foreseeable future you may just see my name in an article near you. Or not.
But wait, she had a reason - or so she says.
Ms. Duncan claims it was 'to carry out risk assessments for school trips'.
Ah, well I guess that's ok.
Anyone else want to make a risk assessment? Raise your hand.
I hugged my cousins as they went off to school, said bye to all the neighbours and even had a chance to play with my godson before I left.
At Manila airport only departing passengers are able to enter the airport, not unlike in the UK where friends and family can accompany their loved ones.
So, we said our goodbyes in the unloading bay: my Lola cried her eyes out, my cousin wrapped himself around my leg and my brother pat me on the back reminding me to buy the things on his list. All in all t'was a bit emotional.
Although, for me, it was not until we were 10,000 feet in the air above the slums of Manila, that I wondered when I would be able to visit again - and more importantly, whether I would be able to fulfil my Lola's wish of seeing her once more.
I won't bore you with the journey or how many times my couin slipped; all there is to know is that there was sand, sea, pools and food. The only thing missing was the sun.
But we can't have everything now, can we?
The Infinity Pool and the Sibuyan Sea He can't swimStranded at sea
'Yer wanna a piece o' me?'