The Wisdom of the Tea Leaves

As the Japanese proverb goes:

The man with no tea in him is incapable of understanding truth or beauty.

I, on the other hand, have tea in me.

And I can see

That ours is a beautiful, majesterial world,

And life is good.

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Unseasonal Weather

Greetings!

As mentioned previously, I'm in South Carolina for Christmas.  Today was day 3 and has been wonderful fun – I went out on a boat, fishing for the first time in my life, with my future brother-in-law Nick.  Great stuff.  But the best part was that it was WINDY and I got to wear TROUSERS!  O how I had missed them: on day 1 and day 2 I'd been wearing shorts, t-shirt and no shoes, outside.

On Thursday we went out for lunch at a fabulously Southern place, and as we sat down the song White Christmas came on the radio.  How am I supposed to deal with that?  The true meaning of Christmas is about darkness being invaded by light, and coldness being thawed – we Brits wrap up in a thousand layers all through November and December, knowing that, at Christmas time, our hearts are going to be warmed.  We can endure hardships, because there are good things ahead.

These poor, poor South Carolinians.  These poor people, with temperatures in the mid-20s all through December, never knowing the value of Christmas – it's hard for them.  In Britain we NEED Christmas, and if it wasn't there, we would despair in the dark dankness all around.  We need sparkly lights and blazing fires and mulled wine - they don't need those things here.  It's tough.

Pity us, cold people.

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

Good morning.  I'm just doing my final bits of packing (ie. putting fruit in my coat pockets) in order to buzz off to the States.

This year, Christmas will be celebrated with my new family, the Shahids, and to be honest I have no idea what it'll be like.  But it'll be good to be back.

And apparently it's 24°C in Charleston today!  Flip.  See you on the other side …

‘Christian Literature’

One of my ambitions in life is to set up a stall on the side of the street and give away Christian Literature.  Examples might include:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, GK Chesterton, TS Eliot, John Betjeman, JK Rowling, Dorothy Sayers, Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, JRR Tolkien, George MacDonald, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, John Grisham, Charles Williams, Leo Tolstoy, John Milton, Lord Tennyson, Evelyn Waugh, WH Auden, John Henry Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins.

And more – other suggestions appreciated.

This, of course, is part of my wider scheme to prove to the world that Christians aren't all utter, utter losers 🙂

reality to the Nth degree

Here's something that I've been kicking about, in the midst of my cogitations of the interaction of science and religion (about which I teach poor, unsuspecting 17 year-olds).  It's my latest theory on how the universe fits together:

The empirical view of the world – held to by most sensible people – is based on the assumption that everything that exists can be proved to exist, and therefore anything that cannot be proved, cannot be real.  That's my paraphrase anyway.  This is a very logical, slightly Newtonian perspective, with which I have all sorts of problems, but is actually very hard to argue against, since it provides solidity, assurance, and an absence of guesswork and conjecture.

The other assumption that it makes (rather subconsciously I think), is that reality only consists of the 4 dimensions: height, width, depth, and time – the 'empirical world' or 'space & time'.  We have measured these things and proved that they exist, more or less.

But my friend Tom's thesis is about 5th dimensional black holes.  How does that fit in?

For a long time, Mathematicians, Physicists, Science Fiction writers, Religious People, Psychics, and other weirdos have been speculating on the existence of 'other dimensions', just as real as the 4 of which we know, but as yet un-named and untamed.  For example, most Christians are quite happy with the concept of a 'spiritual world', more or less as real as the one we can see with our eyes.  If such a world exists, it is of course non-empirical, since it does not belong to the 4D Newtonian world, and can only be perceived by hints and nudges and gut feelings anyway.

Sounds rubbish, but then we are describing this world – or at least some of the non space-time dimensions – all the time.  We talk about 'soul ties', about 'feeling your pain', about 'being attracted' to someone; we have doctors sticking needles in our legs to combat pain in our neck and shoulders; we KNOW that the movement of the planets can effect our moods, dependent on which star-sign we were born under; plus of course there are psychics who can draw a picture of a place they've never been to, and prophetic people telling strangers intimate details about their lives.

Fascinating stuff.  Frustratingly unscientific – or unempirical, at least – but great. 

And then there's the thing (correct me if I'm wrong) about how, if two electrons from the same atom are separated, and one is rotated, then the 'twin' will always rotate accordingly, regardless of how distant they are from one another – they could be on opposite ends of the galaxy.  They remain somehow linked.  How?

So, these things (and many, many more, if you are into quantum) that describe energies and forces and causal links, but they are in no way provable, within the empirical universe.  Therefore they cannot exist, yet they do.

Here's a great article to stretch your minds.  And here's a quote from it:

The model states that the visible universe is a membrane embedded within a larger universe, like a strand of seaweed floating in the ocean. Unlike the universe described by General Relativity – which has three dimensions of space and one of time – the braneworld universe contains an extra fourth dimension of space for a total of five dimensions.

There is so much fabulous stuff in the world waiting to be discovered, and, it seems, a fair bit of it may lie outside height x width x breadth x time, leaving it open for all sorts of weird stuff to be absolutely true and 'real'.  Not just dark matter, antimatter, wormholes, time-travel and all that, but lunacy caused by the Moon, chariots of fire and heavenly armies, multi-dimensional chaos theory (ie. I pray and something unaccountably big happens as a result somewhere else), and the Garden of Eden still existing, somewhere.  Maybe.  Possibly.  Maybe.

Don't quote me, it's just a few thoughts.