June 04, 2015

Authenticity and the Heisenberg Effect

Jesus among the doctors

From Rabanus (Hrabanus) Maurus (say five times fast), an 8th century Fankish monk who wrote what seems as true today:
When the author says that he sought wisdom before his youth, before the opportune time to ask, he shows to have desired it prior to the errors of childhood and adolescence, and even before his youth, and to have asked insistently that God would give it to him, promising to seek it always. Adolescence and youth are fraught with dangers, because the actions of the exterior person dominate, as Solomon says in the book of Proverbs, confessing that he does not know “the way of a youth in his adolescence,” and the prophet asks the Lord, “Do not recall the sins of my youth and of my ignorance.”

For this reason philosophers, representing human life with the letter Y, assign the lefthand stroke to infancy and adolescence and the righthand stroke to the more mature age, when the intellect is more robust and rejects the earlier foolishness of the senses. In fact, this letter was first used by Pythagoras as an example of human life, in such a way that the bottom stroke, thinner than a comma, would indicate the uncertain condition of the earliest age, not yet given to either vice or virtue. The junction above it begins with adolescence, of which the right side is difficult but tends to a blessed life, and the left is easier but leads to perdition and death. On Ecclesiasticus 10.31.

To search and find authenticity kills the very thing it seeks and finds. The authentic is a fragile flower, susceptible to exploitation and subject to observation alteration, aka the Heisenberg Principle.

This was true with country music when searchers for roots sounds ended up blowing the thing up with too much money.

And in the early '70s, commercialism killed the authenticity star with respect to rock music:
[Songs] like “Indian Reservation” appeared on first listen to be bucking the status quo but, by 1971, they were the status quo. The music industry had figured out that political integrity was a selling point for the rock audience, and the sense of purpose that had once accompanied protest music was gone. Things hadn’t always been so cynical. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)” (1967), the Young-bloods’ “Get Together” (1969), and dozens of other protest songs had been integral to the peace movement at a time when bands still felt their music could provoke change. But the “statement” songs that opened the seventies often aimed to succeed within the system while merely creating the appearance of subversion.“ - Jeff Breithaupt
I think we see this in the gospel where Jesus said don't let your left hand know what the right is doing when it comes to giving alms.


Fr. B. can be a little blah, but he shot and scored with his sermon yesterday.

First, he said that in the first reading not only did Tobit error when he accused his wife of having stolen a goat rather than having received it as a bonus, but his wife err'd too when she said, understandably, “Where are your good works and virtue now? Your true character has been revealed!”

I've always thought of that as truthful if hurtful but it's not even truthful because “we are not our sins” as Mark Shea often says.  I too often self-define and other-define by our weakness. And so her line about character being revealed was false, said Fr. B.

He also talked about the gospel today where Jesus famously asked whose image was on the coin and then said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's!” And Fr. B said (paraphrasing), “and if Caesar's image is on the coin, whose image is that of other people? God's image! We are made in his image and likeness. So we need to give God what is God's, namely each other, because when we serve each other we are serving God."

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