7 Nov 2014

Fighting the wrong war


Fighting the wrong war - by P.K.Odendaal - November 2014.

 

I have heard of war and I have actually also been in one. I have heard of conflicts and I have been in thousands of them. I have heard of causes and I have personally supported more of them than I care to count or remember.
But ... I am yet to know or find out which war, conflict or cause I was in, which I really had to pursue actively or with a straight face. I have this nagging feeling that I have been in the wrong ones for the wrong reasons and at the wrong times - much like the USA.

1 Nov 2014

The Missing Link


The Missing Link - by P.K.Odendaal - November 2014.


We grow up by learning from links - the process of linking one thing to another - and our whole life is about linking things together. It is from these links that we start to get meaning from the patterns which develop from these links. It is much like the threads in a spider web - a very good analogy of life and science. It is what gives meaning to life and what holds scientific hypotheses together. At first we see a thread and have no idea how beautiful the pattern or the ultimate product looks like - and the ultimate form of many of these products we do not even see on earth.

27 Oct 2014

The Rat Race - Part III


The Rate Race III - by P.K.Odendaal - November 2014.

 

Back to our roots.

I recently wrote to the people in Ukraine that they should go back to their roots, and that inspired me to think of my own roots. Where have I come from and what are my roots - and also, where are the roots of mankind.
In general I know that our roots are in Paradise, where our roots and even the roots of the Tree of Life still stand. However, I now find myself in a new sort of paradise which I do not like at all. One filled with the superficialities of mankind - a vanity fair so to speak. On the surface all seems to be fine, but I know very well that it is built on a foundation of straw - a foundation called civilization - which is very frail and unstable. When will this house of cards fall in? It falls in every few years in the form of a financial, economic or political crisis and waits in anguish at its last stand between good and evil.

13 Oct 2014

The Rat Race - Part II


The Rat Race - Part II - by P.K.Odendaal - October 2014.



In the previous article I have dwelt briefly on our quest to reach the stars, and in this one I will try to acquire some perspective on which stars are reachable and which not, as well the seemingly endless routes we need to follow to find one which will lead us thence.

I often ponder freedom and try to become clear in my mind as to what it actually is. What does it consist of, what are its symptoms and how does that infection spread? What is its prognosis and how does the disease inflame the mind? Is there a cure for that malady? In history, almost all groups seeking freedom have ended up in bondage and even slavery.

30 Sep 2014

The Rat Race - Part 1


The Rat Race - Part I - by P.K.Odendaal - October 2014.

 

I was inspired recently whilst seeing the film 'Man of La Mancha' and listening to that most beautiful of songs: 'To reach the unreachable star'. This song was composed by Mitch Lee with lyric by Joe Darion. Here it is:



To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...

24 Sep 2014

Knowledge and Wisdom


Knowledge and Wisdom - by P.K.Odendaal - September 2014

Conventional wisdom has it that these two concepts are almost the same and a pursuit of the one is also a pursuit of the other - and ultimately, if you pursue either, you will end up having both.

Well ... as expected, nothing is further from the truth.

That reminds me then that conventional wisdom is not wisdom at all, but knowledge, as wisdom cannot err or seldom does. We should call it conventional knowledge.

2 Jun 2014

To my readers in Ukraine.

To my readers in Ukraine - June 2014 - by P.K.Odendaal.

Many of my readers are from Ukraine, and in this time of their tribulation I wish to remind them of their roots and how they once were able to stand together and build a big nation and state or principality and to support them in their quest for self-realization. This is not a contemporary or political article - I do not believe in those as they are based on conventional wisdom which is invariably wrong. I present this as a historical and religious perspective. It is more about the wisdom of the ages and the wisdom of the Rock of Ages, than about the former.
Let us go back to that time for a moment.

7 May 2014

The importance of Nothing - reloaded


The importance of Nothing - reloaded - by P.K.Odendaal - May 2014.
(Be prepared for heavy reading - sorry!)
It is just logical and right that, on this quest for reality and the stuff it is made of, I should start at or with Nothing. Here I am not referring to our normal concept of nothing like having nothing, feeling nothing, or doing nothing, but rather to the more purist interpretation thereof, namely absolutely Nothing.
It amazes me that we know absolutely nothing about Nothing, whilst we know such a lot about Something. Maybe we should have started to know something about Nothing before we started to know something about Something. That might have given us a better understanding on Something, but here we are, as always, starting somewhere midfield and exploring sideways and ending on the sidelines.

23 Apr 2014

Covering the middle ground - rehashed.

Covering the middle ground (rehashed) - by P.K.Odendaal - May 2014

Oh, it is so nice to hold no set views or convictions - it enables one to jump to any conclusion, because that is how conclusions should be reached. If we should ponder the facts and take a considered view, then everyone would reach the same conclusion and that would be boring, and mostly wrong, because those conclusions would be based on conventional wisdom which is mostly wrong.
I do not know why fence-sitters have such a bad name. They should be honoured and revered as much as the opportunists are, the latter of which I can never be one - missed opportunities suits me just fine. I mean, if you are a fence-sitter then it would be so easy to jump from this fence to any side - and so convenient.

18 Mar 2014

Terms and conditions apply


Terms and conditions apply - by P.K.Odendaal - March 2014.

Although we are free to do what we wish to, sometimes to a limited extent depending on how heavy we have compromised ourselves previously. Every action of us is a cause which has an effect. That is a law like gravity and there is no escaping it.
The exciting thing is that we never know what the effect is, because similar effects do not have similar causes - or at least our knowledge is not sufficient so that we can forecast the effect of causes accurately. In science it is quite certain what the effects are, but in the broader social and spiritual field it is not.

5 Mar 2014

What if God ... Part 3 - The aftermath of free will


What if God ... Part 3 - The aftermath of free will - by P.K.Odendaal - March 2014. 
So, now we have decided that we have free will after all. But what are its implications.
Firstly we can do what we like ... well maybe not everything. We cannot decide to spend the day on Mars - or such other trivial places. But ... why not? Surely I am body, mind, soul and spirit and my mind, soul and spirit are not tied to my body and are free to roam where they wish. So, my mind, soul and spirit can wander around Mars or anywhere else, for the day - nothing prevents me. If we think about Mars and imagine its surroundings and let our thoughts take flight ... then we are there.

3 Mar 2014

What if God ... Part 2 - Free Will


What if God ... Part 2 - Free Will - by P.K.Odendaal - March 2014. 

Free will? Oh, no, not again!
Sorry, but I will pursue this until I have exhausted all the arguments that I am aware of. I have not exhausted that yet - and even after this article you may add a few from your own experience.
In the previous part I have stated in general terms that any belief system needs one or more axioms. Science and mathematics are also belief systems - there is no such a thing as a pure science or a pure mathematics. It is not possible to formulate any belief system without using one or more axioms. The axioms used by science and mathematics are bountiful. Just the plane geometric postulates by Euclid (300 BC) are five in total. He also stated five common notions - and then we have not even touched on a fraction of the axioms, notions and postulates of those two latter disciplines. It is even highly probable that axioms, notions and postulates are the same thing - who cares.

25 Feb 2014

What if God ... Part 1 - Introduction

What if God ... Part 1 - by P.K.Odendaal - March 2014.

There are at least a million such questions being asked everyday by millions of people, and some have the form of :Why did God ... or Why did God not ...
I am also quite sure that these questions can all be answered by a few short answers, and I will venture into this domain to find answers to some which bother me, but which I am sure have answers. I am also quite sure that I can compile a series of articles on this, which I am willing to venture out to do.

22 Feb 2014

The Pursuit of Nonsense

The Pursuit of Nonsense - by P.K.Odendaal - February 2014.

It seems to me that the world has turned from the pursuit of happiness - the pastime of choice at the start of the twentieth century - to the pursuit of nonsense - the pastime of choice at the end of that century and even more so today.
Whether there is a semantic difference between nonsense and nonsensical things, I do not know. I also do not know whether I wish to know the difference, as it is all the same difference. To me the word nonsensical seems to be more sophisticated and intellectual - so I might prefer that as a fashion statement.

18 Feb 2014

Poem - Peter and Paul

Peter and Paul by Lewis Carroll.

I do not know why I love this poem - it makes me laugh and it makes me cry and it makes me see how the world goes by - but here it is - for those of you who have friends which should really be your enemies.


‘Peter is poor,’ said noble Paul,
‘And I have always been his friend:
And, though my means to give are small,
At least I can afford to lend.
How few, in this cold age of greed,
Do good, except on selfish grounds!
But I can feel for Peter’s need,
And I WILL LEND HIM FIFTY POUNDS!’

1 Feb 2014

The enigma of our existence

The enigma of our existence - by P.K.Odendaal - February 2014.

There goes the baker with his tray, like always
The same old bread and rolls to sell
Every morning just the same
Since the morning that we came
To this poor provincial town.
There must be more than this provincial life! .. from Beauty and the Beast.

Oh, we are so provincial! If something does not fall in the province of our experience or influence then it does not exist.

30 Jan 2014

Phantasmagoria - Canto V

CANTO V--Byckerment

"Don't they consult the 'Victims,' though?"
I said. "They should, by rights,
Give them a chance--because, you know,
The tastes of people differ so,
Especially in Sprites."


The Phantom shook his head and smiled.
"Consult them? Not a bit!
'Twould be a job to drive one wild,
To satisfy one single child -
There'd be no end to it!"

21 Jan 2014

Adult Sunday School - Part 18 - The resurrection (continued)


Adult Sunday School - Part 18 - The resurrection (continued)

I believe in the resurrection of the flesh - by P.K.Odendaal - January 2014. 

In part 17 we spoke of the resurrection without going into detail.
There is a Nicene creed which was compiled in 325 AD in Nicea (now in Turkey)in which it says that we believe in the resurrection of the dead, which in later centuries have often been changed and adulterated to say: I believe in the resurrection of the flesh.
Although I doubt most of the creed as it is in its present form in the Dutch Reformed Church, I do now believe in the latter fully - and that because of a vision I had last week.

20 Jan 2014

Phantasmagoria - Canto IV


Phantasmagoria by Lewis Carroll - Canto IV--Hys Nouryture

"Oh, when I was a little Ghost,
A merry time had we!
Each seated on his favourite post,
We chumped and chawed the buttered toast
They gave us for our tea."

"That story is in print!" I cried.
"Don't say it's not, because
It's known as well as Bradshaw's Guide!"
(The Ghost uneasily replied
He hardly thought it was).

15 Jan 2014

Ballad of Reading Goal - Part VI

Ballad of Reading Goal - Part VI (end) - by Oscar Wilde
 
In Reading gaol by Reading town
There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
Eaten by teeth of flame,
In a burning winding-sheet he lies,
And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

10 Jan 2014

Phantasmagoria - Canto III

Phantasmagoria by Lewis Carroll - CANTO III - Scarmoges
 

"And did you really walk," said I,
"On such a wretched night?
I always fancied Ghosts could fly -
If not exactly in the sky,
Yet at a fairish height."
"It's very well," said he, "for Kings
To soar above the earth:
But Phantoms often find that wings -
Like many other pleasant things -
Cost more than they are worth.

7 Jan 2014

Ballad of Reading Gaol - Part V

Ballad of Reading Gaol - Part V.
 

I know not whether Laws be right,
Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in goal
Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
With a most evil fan.