26 September 2009


Saturday a couple of roommates and I went to Yellowstone.

It was a little disappointing because the road construction they were doing blocked one way. And the other way was blocked by a fire that had started that afternoon.

On our way home we stopped by Big Springs in hopes of finding where the Henry's Fork of the Snake river comes out of the ground. No luck there either. But we did find something!

Two Moose! One even had antlers!

21 September 2009

From a certain point of view...

When I got back in Rexburg I was just a little bored so I borrowed AJ's 1984 by George Orwell and gave it a read. AJ, the Covalent Roommate had read it over the summer and had something of a debate about what truth is. The Covalent Roommate recapped the discussion and asked me what I thought. I had to agree with the 1984 view of truth, sort of. In 1984 truth is described as what is true in the present was true in the past because They go back and change all tangible evidence of the past to match the present. Therefore truth is defined by the past and the past is edited by They.

My ideas of truth actually date back farther and are a little different from 1984. My views are much more inline with something from 1983: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In the scene where Luke is on Dagobah and Yoda has just "passed in The Force". Luke is feeling all alone and says...

Luke Skywalker: I can't do it, R2. I can't go on alone.
Obi-Wan Kenobi[voice emanates from nowhere] Yoda will always be with you. [reveals himself as a spirit walking nearby]
Luke Skywalker: Obi-Wan! Why didn't you tell me?! You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father!
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.
Luke Skywalker[incredulously] A certain point of view?
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend. When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.
Luke Skywalker: There is still good in him.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: He's more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.
Luke Skywalker: I can't do it, Ben.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.
Luke Skywalker: I can't kill my own father!
Obi-Wan Kenobi[resigned] Then the Emperor has already won. You were our only hope.

I would like to point out that Luke had a different lens or paradigm than Obi-Wan and was able to see a way to redeem his father, defeat the emperor and restore balance to the Force all without killing his father.

To me truth is only truth "...from a certain point of view." We can twist it and mold it into whatever we want it to me, from our point of view. Even God's truth is only true from a certain point of view, His. (It just so happens that no opposing view really counts compared to the views of an omniscient being.) Obi-Wan had used Anakin's dichotomy to describe him as two separate beings to Luke. I doubt that Luke would have been able to accept and handle the "truth" when he first met Obi-Wan. This pattern of receiving truth from a certain point of view and then out growing it and needing a new point of view seems to be a common issue with truth. One size does not fit all.

In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle C.S. Lewis describes a scene that take place after Narnia is destroyed and all the creatures are taken into the after life. In that scene Edmund sees a group of dwarfs who died while sitting in a dark shed. They had convinced themselves that they were still in the dark shed even though, to Edmund and everyone else, they were sitting in an open field under the sun. Edmund talks with Aslan who tells Edmund that the dwarfs are living a form of truth that they have chosen and that none, not even He, the mighty Aslan, can help them see differently. To prove this Edmund takes some of the wonderful banquet that surrounds the dwarfs and presses it to their lips. Immediate the dwarf jump up and begins yelling at the other dwarfs something about "shoving manure" in his face. Aslan reiterates they the dwarfs are so against "being taken it" that they can no longer see the truth that Edmund sees.

Another example is that of Moses. Moses receive a commandment "Thou shalt not kill" in Exodus, but then in Deuteronomy he is command to destroy entire nations. The two commandments show us that the first, given at the beginning of Israel's journey, was targeted to Israel's almost child-like maturity (this is the same place where laws are laid down for everything from "Thou shalt not kill" to detailed explanation of what to do if something bad happens to an animal you borrow (seriously, Exodus 22:10-15). The second, given later in Israel's journey, was an update targeted to Israel's almost teenager maturity. The revised commandment would be something liken "Thou shalt not kill, unless I command it and I will only command it when it is absolutely necessary." Both commandments were truth, from a certain point of view.

I will leave one final example. Often we tell little children "don't talk to strangers". We give this advice to keep them safe from evil people in the world. The simplistic advice is inherently flawed though. Children will need to talk to a school teacher who is a stranger. We expect them to interact with our friends, because we know them to be safe. They will certainly need to interact with other children that are strangers in order to gain new friends. So really our advice is "Don't talk to strangers unless they are associated with a reputable organization, someone you know can vouch for them or they are of a like age and sufficient appeal so as to not make you inclined to question there integrity". If this is the truth from the adults perspective why not tell it to the child? Because the child can't handle it, no more than Luke Skywalker could have handled know that his dad was the penultimate evil in the galaxy. So we give them a simpler truth. Truth from a different point of view, one that can be more easily handled.

In life I find it important to continually update my point of view to be able to encompass new learnings so as to be able to gather new insights and understandings.

20 September 2009

Midnight Combine Hunting

For all the farming that goes on in the area I had thought it would be really easy to get pictures of tractors. False. I found that I needed to be a little tricky. Tricky in the case being Midnight Combine Hunting. (Midnight, a word which here means "late in the evening but before the midnight curfew".) So I am proud to present pictures from the hunting expedition.

My Car Elazar

Friday I got in my car Elazar and started warming him up. He needed his tires rotated and oil changed. Seeing as how I had no school I figured that Friday was a good day to take care of him. After letting him warm up a bit I slipped him into reverse and started backing him out. In the process of backing up Elazar honked his horn. I was a little startled but he had done this a few weeks back so I wasn't too shocked. I was embarrassed though. There was a girl walking to her apartment and she looked my way but kept walking. Then he honked again causing the girl to whip her head around and glare at me. I decided that Elazar and I were going to have a talk. So we drove out into the country, turning as little as possible so reduce the amount of random honking, and we talked.

We talked about how he, Elazar, should not be sharing his views and opinions with the world. Not only is he not very well informed about world events (occasionally listening to talk radio doesn't count as being 'well informed'). More importantly, people understand car honks only slightly better than they understand why birds poop on bald people's heads.

I think the lubricant was causing something in the steering wheel assembly to stick when it was cold. Not being one to volunteer for unexpected embarrassments I pulled over to the side of the road near some fields, pulled out my tools and performed surgery again. This time I crimped a small plate into place. I hadn't crimped it back from the last time I did surgery.

I checked on him today and he seems to be behaving much better and no longer shares his opinions with the world. A well behaving car is a wonderful car.

19 September 2009

Paradigms and Perceptions

In my Organizational Communications class (COMM250) we have been discussing lens or perception, also known as paradigms, that people use to perceive the world. We talked about how paradigms can keep us from seeing everything that can be seen. Sometimes the lack of broad perception helps us not be swamped down with superfluous details but it can also prevent us from seeing better solutions to the problems we are experiencing.

Recently Red and I were talking and after the words I was struck by a paradigm limitation that both he and I have experienced. The conversation went something like this:

Red: Girls!
Daniel: What about them?
Red: Well, I was talking to my friend and she said that she wishes that people would be frank and honest with about their feelings.
Daniel: Which is true.
Red: Then she says "my friend thinks that you still like me. Do you?"
Daniel: Oh, wow. That was sly.
(Random laughing.)
Daniel: What did you tell her?
Red: I didn't answer.
Daniel: Do you?
Red: It would never work.
Daniel: Why?
Red: I don't know.
Daniel: But you do like her.
Red: Yeah, but it wouldn't work.
Daniel: Do you like her more than the other girls you've dated?
Red: Yes.
Daniel: I think you don't think it will work because you are scared of where it will lead.
Red: Why would I be scared?
Daniel: I would guess that you like things that are predictable, and she isn't.
Red: True.
Daniel: There are two kinds of dating: the first is the 'hi, I like you and want to get to know you' the other is 'I really like you and need to see if this will work'. I vote that you move into the second mode of dating.

We continued the conversation a bit more but I think you get the idea. What I realized is that in matters of love it is very common to have a very narrow and shaky lens that keeps us from seeing and processing information clearly. The behaviors and actions that Red was not able to see were so clear to me, but when I have been in Red's shoes the same behaviors and actions were as unclear to me as these had been to him. We each had been limited by our own lens while also being liberated by someone else's.

17 September 2009


School has started! The first real week of school has been good. Yesterday I had a rush of projects to be completed, but I’m sure next week will flow better.

09 September 2009

Some goals just need time

In 2008 I set a somewhat ambitious goal when I went off to school in Idaho. I decided that I would see a moose in the wild. I had heard that they were running around all over in this area so I didn't think it would be too hard of a goal. I talked to people who knew where to find them, I ventured out frequently, I even arranged some Moose Hunting parties (much like Frog Hunting). All of which failed to produce any sighting of moose.

I had given up on my goal to see a moose and moved on to other things. But today I am proud to say that I can scratch moose off my list of "Animals to see in the Wild".

I had been out at the Camas National Wildlife Refuge in the afternoon. I went there to go on a hike but it was too hot so I just read a good book instead. Towards the evening I started to get hungry and decided to head back to the apartment for dinner. As I was driving I saw a massive beast rising out of the water and running to the road. It was a moose. I slammed on my brakes and frantically grabbed for my camera. I had enough time to get a few pictures before the moose got too far away for a good picture.

08 September 2009

Back again

After a long but uneventful drive I have arrived but at school. It is almost the way that I left it. I am glad to be back.

07 September 2009

"You Find You Can"

An excerpt from "You Find You Can" by Daniel Evanko

You find the hour lonely and you don’t know that you can stand the silence any longer.
You find you can.

You are bruised, battered and beaten and you don’t know you can heal one more time.
You find you can.

You have tired so many times before and you don’t know if you can try one more time.
You find you can.

You must say goodbye to your best friend and you don’t know if you can bear it.
You find you can.

You feel the tears welling in your eyes and you don’t know if you can hold them back.
You find you can.

You already miss them and you don’t know if you can do it alone.
You find you can.

You see their heart breaking and you don’t know if you can walk away and not look back.
You find you can.

But then you stop, you don’t know if you really can.
You find you can’t.

You run back to them for one last embrace and you wonder if friendships last forever.
You find they do.

You say goodbye once more and walk away and you wonder if they love you too.
You find they do.