Turn! Turn!Turn! by The Byrds

A time to listen

A time to be silent and a time to speak

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent
and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Theodicy

Theodicy is the “answer to the question of why God permits evil.”

The Struggle

We often refer to the conflict between good and evil as this grand struggle between two monolithic forces in a cosmic struggle over ultimate destiny. But it can also mean the moment by moment inner struggle.

The common picture we have of the conversation that is constantly going on in our heads is the devil speaking in one ear while an angel is speaking in the other. It is a sort of unholy trinity, an internal dialogue between the self and the embodiments of good and evil. And is that not who we are? We think of what it means to be human, and we divide ourselves into three distinct parts: mind, soul, and body. The spirit is willing (good), but the flesh is weak (evil).

It is by the renewing of our minds that we are transformed. By shifting our point of view, we can begin to see things differently, and we can find a new identity.

On the evening before he meets with his estranged brother, Jacob meets with God and wrestles with him from evening until daybreak. Then they have a conversation about Jacob’s name.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

It is in this struggle with God, in this conversation, that we learn our true identity and begin to understand who we are.

There is this give and take in a conversation, where people take turns, knowing that there is a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

Our digital communications environment is a constant, never-ending stream of media: text, audio, video. The technological goal, now, is to design experiences. We are only just learning the benefits of observing and listening in a world that can’t stop talking. It is a quiet revolution.

Six Senses

We have at least six senses for the sensory stimuli we perceive as physical beings: touch, taste, sight, sound, smell, and balance. We usually forget about balance when we refer to our five senses. The vestibular system is necessary to stay upright.

Jesse James Garrett on Design for Engagement

Without a sense of equilibrium, we would surely fall down. There are diseases and disorders that effect the inner ear, where people whose sense of balance is lost to any degree become virtually incapacitated by the loss.

Six Days

Six days, we do our work. Then we rest. This has been the constant, never-ending pattern from the very beginning. From the genesis of conscious thought, we have been aware of these differences that create meaning and rhythm in our lives:

  • Light and darkness
  • Water and sky
  • Vegetable and mineral
  • Sun and moon (time and seasons)
  • Fish and birds
  • Animals and mankind

Every day, we are reminded of our need to work and our need to rest. Our bodies need sleep in order to be able to function properly.

Every week, we are reminded of our need to work and our need to rest. Our lives need an equilibrium between work and play in order to maintain a balanced and healthy life.

Where do these patterns come from? We have physical cycles, weekly schedules, lunar cycles, seasonal cycles, yearly cycles, galactic revolutions. If we go down to the atomic scale, the rotation of an electron can provide us with an atomic clock.

Powers of Ten by Charles & Ray Eames

Extraterrestrial

What can we say before this vast universe? Is this just an accident, the result of infinite permutations of random chance? Or can we perceive an order in the disorder, a cause in this effect?

Let us assume the existence of an extraterrestrial being with superior intelligence and abilities who has secret knowledge of our origins. How could we communicate with such a being? Our tiny brains might not be able to comprehend such wonders. It might take a considerable amount of time for this being to pass on to us such information in a form that these frail physical bodies might be able to comprehend. The first contact with this being might have been like little children interacting with their extraterrestrial guardian, who might give these children some borders to keep them safe from harm. It would be something like a garden where they could play in the dirt, learn their ABCs, learn about numbers by naming and counting animals, learn to share, eat fruit at recess, have a nap time after lunch. It would be a garden for children, a Kindergarten.

We are silent before the creation when we consider how a God might have formed these heavens and this earth by speaking into existence the world which we inhabit. How could such a thing be true? How can we even conceive such a possibility? With a few words, God brings something out of nothing, order out of disorder, separating abstract ideas in the mind into complex physical manifestations of unfathomable physical laws that we are only beginning to understand.

Cause and Effect

While cause and effect are manifest in the physics that govern the natural world, we humans find these laws of cause and effect have a parallel reality in our common experiences, which we might call the supernatural world. That is, as humans, we are above nature. The things that we do have specific and unavoidable consequences for both ourselves and the natural world. If we get too close to the fire, we are going to get burned. The consequences are specific and unavoidable. If we say vows of love and fidelity to another person, but later break those vows, there are specific and unavoidable consequences that will result from this broken relationship. These are supernatural laws, or spiritual laws.

Back to the Garden

Now, Donald J. Trump, I want you to know that you are loved and you will always enjoy the love of your Heavenly Father. As a new believer in Jesus, you have been adopted and you are now the child of a new Daddy. There are things that your Dad wants you to learn, things so simple that even a child can understand. I don’t know when you were hurt when you were playing during lunch time. Someone must have hurt you, because you are sad and angry. But you cannot go around grabbing and hitting people. You are just going to make enemies and you won’t have any friends. Say, “Sorry. I won’t do it again.”

That’s great! See, everything is great again! Now, let’s go back to the classroom and have a nice nap. Then we can have story time. That’s a good boy!

Now, when you go home, turn off the TV and the computer and read a good book. Those devices tend to be for people who don’t know when to be quiet and when to speak. They say silly, mean things. Some even talk about grabbing innocent, little pussy cats from little girls. I know, it really is disgusting, isn’t it?

Here’s a good book. It’s called a Bible. It tells us who we are and where we came from. It even has a story about a girl and a boy just like you who used to live in a beautiful garden. That’s why we call this Kindergarten.

Well, thank you for coming to school, Donald. Have a wonderful evening! And don’t forget to give your Mom and Dad a big hug when you get home. And listen to your older step-brother, Joshua. If you follow his example, you’ll be fine. He was always such a good boy, and he has grown up to be such a fine man. I wish everyone could be just like him. The world would be a much better place. Don’t you think?

Oh, I forgot. You call him Jesus. I thought he was Jewish. Well, sure. We’ll call him by his Greek name.

Conflict and Civility

Soon, we might be learning about what it means to be a good citizen and how to be civil with each other.

If you want some homework, you could listen to some nice music about the soul, spirit and body.

Or you could listen to these people talking about the art of conversation.

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design. https://stephenbau.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store