I finished the Tanach. I also reread the Talmud.
I am currently working on a brief spate of Reformation history, specifically surrounding the creation of the King James bible. Centerpeice to this is the book, God's Secretaries, something I picked up for a book club at the synagouge I do technology consulting for. The discussion of the book is going to be headed up by the younger of the two rabbis of the congregation, who is, obviously, going to discuss the signifigance of the KJ from a jewish perspective. This should be most illuminating, as he is a very learned fellow, but not seeped in the stoic agedness of many Rabbis of his position.
I am doing my homework for this little get together. Seth (the rabbi) is reading a goodly pile of cross-refrencematerial on the subject, and I want to be on an even footing, at least insofar as the particulars of what we are going to discuss is concerned. I am considering doing a research outline to keep my mental notes straight,despite the fact I am loathe to do so on something that will have very little long-term use to me.
My additional list to the centerpeice book is:
- In the Beginning : The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, anda Culture
- Coined By God: Words and Phrases That First Appear in English Translations of the Bible
- The Obedience of a Christian Man
- God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible---A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal
Why would an athiest spend so much time on religion? Theological literatre, and the impact it has had on history is central to much of my angst over where our race lost what I consider to be it's roots. While I do not subscribe to a Campbellesque view of our various mythos, I do think that there is a common-root genetic issue which has a major part in SOME of the aspects of these faiths.
The problem is trying to compact several thousand years into one lifetime for reflection, without getting sucked into a particular time period.
TLC recently aired several short skits under the title Ancient Egyptians. I watched two last night, and while I was impressed with some of the detail, and blown away by the acting and costuming, it left me thirsty on the factual level. It was more of an Egyptology PR program than an informational one, which is fine, I guess, just not really for me.
Egypt has been heavy on my scope of late, what with my rereadings mentioned above, and a recent blitz on the subject by TLC/Discovery, Sunday's airing of Stargate Director's cut really brought back some memories though. I am reminded of my tendency to overindulge on certain subjects. The protagonist of that particular film is a hopeless Egyptologist, with whom, for the first 20 minutes or so, I make a scary (potential) ghost of the future connection.
I realzed at an early age, that while I have made commitments not to follow in the footsteps of my chemically addicted forefathers, I have, in essence, found new opitaes in the form of electronic entertainment (most specifically - games), and books. I collect books the way fratboys collect beer bottles. Most of what I own is dross, as I was a library whore when I was doing the bulk of my research.
I am getting off track.
What all this Egypt stuff reminded me of was the fact that, once upon a time, I had it in my head to be an Archeologist (Egyptologist), or a Palentologist (or both!). I backed away from it when I made the realizations about my obsessiveness. To devote myself wholesale to such a topic would be to eclipse any hope of experiencing the other aspects life has to offer. In a way, I wonder if that is not part of my scholastic apathy - a fear that if I were to truly stick to my guns, I would end up subsumed in irrelivance forever.
Now I look at the skeletal remains of nearly a decade of intellectual sojourining, what I have been able to raise from the depths of past hubris and indescretions of high emotion, and I am swep away by a sense of dread and hopelessness.
I had all my research, my outline, and my draft, and I threw it all away. Partially to prove a point to myself, and to someone else. Now I am listening to the echo of that stupid act, which is coming up on four years gone, and there is a terror at the pit of my stomach that I will never be able to recapture what I had.
Since this post has been mostly whining sofar, allow me to add that I do not bemoan the decisions I have made that has brought my life to this point. I live with a wonderful woman whom I love very much. I have a job that covers both the expenses I require as a part of my lifestyle, as well as paying for the costs of past mistakes. I have friends, old and new, some of which can tell me what I am thinking by the look on my face and the content of the preceeding comment, others of whom are nought but named entities online whose wits and words are constatnly intermingled with my own. Some are a little of both.
The point is, I want folks to get that I am not all suck here.
What really got me started on this little ramble was a brief moment of reflection (while on hold with product registration at Macromedia) on Angels in America. I only caught the last hour of part 1, I plan on watching the entire thing tonight (thanks to ondemand). I highly suggest it. Two of the most powerful films I have seen dealing with the post-Aids world are "And The Band Played On" and Citizen Cohn, both HBO productions. Angels seems to have the brilliance of both in the same package, furthermore, I never thought anyone would be able to surpass James Woods in his portrayl of Cohn, and Pachino does it.
Since I have not seen the whole thing yet, my opinions on this may change. For now though, I am calling it the best drama of the year. Bar none,
Anyway, the movie got me really thinking - about a lot of things. Combined with my worries about richelle's recent bout with the flu, the future of my seemingly wasted work, and my usual perky maudalin outlook, I got pretty seriously dark and thoughtful. Been a good long time since I was really there.
I spoke with my mother last night, who informed me that my sister is now seriously caught up in some heavy psychosis over chellez and i getting married.
So many things in my life have been altered by the course of her life, and the decisions my parents have made concerning her treatment and well being. When I was 18, I signed the paperwork that would make me a seamless legal guardian if anything were ever to happen to both my parents at the same time. This is important, as so much of her living is subsidised by state and federal programs, and my parents have invested gallons of blood, sweat, and emotional torment to keep her out of a state or federal mental health fascility.
My ultimate responsibility for my sister is a constant weight around my neck - not something I realize is there all the time, since that particualr area is well calloused, but now and again, things shift, and the weight makes it's presence known again. Given the prodigious longevity of women on my mother's side of the family (who my sister most takes after), the mass of the future obligations is, at times, a maddening eclipse. It is a horrible thing.
Last night was like that.
Without getting too much into the sordid affairs of my family history, the long and short version of where things stand in my family, as far as my sister is concerned work something like this:
My mother has always put forth "the solution".
My father, never really having the time or wherewithall to do the copius research that my mother has, defers to her view.
My younger brother directly avoids all interaction, unless it has a direct effect on him.
Since I have been asked to have a say in it, I have not been offered a say. I get memo-type updates saying "this is what we have done...fyi". When I asked, at 18, for a copy of my sister's medical history, so I could be on top of things IF something were ever to happen to my folks, I was told, literally "Over my dead body" by my mother. Her belief is that I can figure things out when they are gone. I am of the mind that I will have enough to deal with without having to catch up on however many years of medical history and scientific research cross-refrences.
Since I was 15, the falling out between my mother and I has left a gulf that has never been filled. She fears that distance as much as I regret it. The difference, however, is thatI have made a peace with it - I truly believe it still haunts her. I think that this fear contributes to her desire to keep me in the dark on my sister's history - the fear that I will challenge decisions past, or decisions yet to come keeps the illogic of the situation like a fresh toadstool - flowering and mouldering at the same time.
I can't say I apprecaited her insistance that I take a firsthand part in the treatment of my sister's current condition, without giving me any of the backstory. After many years of giving things up "for the good of the family" I feel it is important that I take a stand of sorts - despite the tidal waves of stress this is going to create, amplified by the upcoming holidays. The worst part is, since richelle has come up here, she has never seen the depths of depravity my family can sink to with regards to thier ability to hurt. I am almost wont to aquiesce to keep her out of potential avenues of fire.
I still ahve not made up my mind as to what I am going to do. I will have to decide by the end of the week though.
So, when people ask how I am, my answer is "tired". I feel like I spin 20 hours a day - even my dreams these days are all hollow echoes of my daily stresses, worries, and obsessions. I truly wonder if the paths I have chosen are the right ones, and, while I cannot change the past, wether I should take the risks to make the potential changes. Will enough of what I have survive the metamorphasis to make it a worthwhile venture? Or will ten years down the road show a divergence point which could have led to brighter skies, but instead led to somewhere the heavens are not even visible anymore.
Yeah, so, I guess I need to go do some work or something. I am not getting paid to think, only do.