Articulating Silence

A poem I wrote at age 10.

“At times all I would need is a single word, a simple little word of no importance, to be great, to speak in the voice of the prophets: a word of witness, a precise word, a subtle word, a word well steeped in my marrow, gone out of me, which would stand at the outer limit of my being, and which, for everyone else, would be nothing. I am the witness, I am the only witness of myself. This crust of words, these imperceptible whispered transformations of my thought, of that small part of my thought which I claim has already been formulated, and which miscarries, I am the only person who can measure its extent.”

– Antonin Artaud

I am very grateful for an offer to write for the Justice Unbound magazine. I am welcome to the idea of writing “weekly” articles for the magazine as well as articles for the thematic issues that are released. I have a few ideas about what to write on the topic of criminal justice.

One issue that I was thinking about is stigma associated with mental illness and media coverage associated with “big cases” such as recent Aurora tragedy. If you have been following the media coverage of this tragedy much of the recent focus around the prosecution of James Holmes has been on his seeking mental health care prior to the shootings. This case rases many important issues and may change how mental health care providers protect the confidentiality of patients. Why?  The stigma associated with mental illness.  The great fear that I have is that it, and cases like it, will only do harm to the overwhelming vast majority of people who struggle with mental health issues who are peaceful members of society. The same could be said for African-American males. Just because you are an African-American male, does not make you any less of a member of society. Nor, does it make you a murderer or any other kind of criminal.  The stigmatization associated with mental illness is a major reason why life is so difficult for people who struggle with mental illness. I believe the church can, as it has for other groups who have faced stigmatization such as homosexuals and African-Americans take a stand on the issue of advocating on behalf of people who struggle with mental illness. For many homeless people, this is the reason they are homeless. I see the homelessness and prison issues as another side of the same coin as mental illness stigmatization.

I choose to be open about my experience with bipolar disorder. With this choice comes risks. For example, I recently learned that I was denied a tutoring job because I honestly wrote about a spiritual experience I had due to struggle with bipolar disorder on my blog.  A parent in Princeton Googled my name, found my blog and an entry where I spoke about a spiritual struggle I faced due to possessing bipolar disorder, and decided not to hire me.

I wrote this in a post, “Yesterday at Princeton Theological Seminary, I took my first exam in Hebrew language class. It was a positive experience, the culmination of three weeks of immersive learning in the language of the Old Testament of the Bible. So far, we have covered word gender and plurality, learned how to form the participles of verbs, memorized (or at least tried to memorize) roughly 200 words, learned about pronouns, and sung several songs from the Old Testament. The highlight of the course so far has been singing a segment of the Psalms in a round during Wednesday chapel service. The beauty of the voices of the congregation singing in union in a language that three weeks ago we had no knowledge of was quite transcendent. Today, however, I was tired. Learning a new language is like relearning how to think. I feel like a child in class, at thirty-one years old here I am struggling how to form a simple sentence from the words that I have only barely memorize few days before. As a note for the next week, it would be a good thing to type out all of the vocabulary words that we have learned so far and share them on this blog as both a practice to learn the vocabulary words better and to teach others how to speak Hebrew.

I have tried to keep my sanity during this intense series of three weeks by reading a book by Thomas Merton entitled, “Zen and the Birds of Appetite.” I have written brief blog posts here and here on some of the topics of the book. Yesterday, after my exam I finished the book. The last couple blog posts I have shared a couple of quotations from the book that stuck out in my mind as interesting for various reasons. I hope to return to them at some point as I put some of the ideas contained in book into practice. With a couple of other seminary students, I hope to perform some of the contemplation practices Merton mentions in a Christian context with the hope of growing in the spirit of God. Today, I had my first contemplation session. At 1:30 pm this afternoon, I sat in the Miller chapel of Princeton seminary and prayer read out loud in the style of the local church movement Psalm 107:

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good:

For his steadfast love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

Those he redeemed from trouble

And fathered in from the lands,

From the east and from the west,

From the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,

Finding no way to an inhabited town;

Hungry and thirsty,

Their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

And he delivered them from their distress;

He led them by a straight way,

Until they reached an inhabited town.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

For his wonderful works to humankind.

For he satisfies the thirsty,

And the hungry he fills with good things …”

Following the reading, I looked at the cross. The following thought arose during my meditation session today. The experience that has had the most positive impact on me is deepening my relationship with my sister Anne. We are very different and for many years remained distant. Due to our life experience and my living in Atlanta during the past 2 years, we now share a much closer sense of common experience. This has helped us to grow our relationship in a good way. I can give credit to a deep spiritual awakening that started 3 years ago as one of the central reasons for me ending up attending seminary. I wrote this passage over three years ago in response to some of my thoughts about my sister:

“Life

“What does “world” mean, when we speak of the darkening of the world? World is always spiritual world. The animal has no world , nor any environment . The darkening of the world contains within itself a disempowering of the spirit, its dissolution, diminution, suppression, and misinterpretation. We will try to elucidate this disempowering of the spirit in one respect, namely, the misinterpretation of spirit. We said: Europe lies in the pincers between Russia and America, which are metaphysically the same, namely in regard to their world-character and their relation to the spirit. The situation of Europe is all the more dire because the disempowering of the spirit comes from Europe itself and – though prepared by earlier factors – is determined at last by its own spiritual situation in the first half of the nineteenth century. . . “

Introduction to Metaphysics, pp. 34-35, 1935 A.D.
-Martin Heidegger

I am a son and a brother. My sister and I, like all individuals, define our future from our sense of history and spirit. Our mother is American and our father is Turkish. Our childhood, like Heidegger’s Europe in the “pincers between Russia and America” was a compression of east and west. As individuals, we are convolutions of the two. In high-school, we struggled to create our own sense of spirit and identity. On the one hand reason, on the other hand passion. We are a superposition of traditionalism and progressivism: American. Both approaches seeking to better the world through a positive being-in-the-world. Our father is a Physicist. Our mother is a librarian. Both share a common love of life and learning. However, after time their relationship fragmented. The fragmentation resides as a point in our shared cognitive memories, an event. Our futures follow.

Our sense of future and purpose came later in life. As Europe’s “own spiritual situation in the first half of the nineteenth century,” we followed a complex but parallel path to individuality. At times, the path is black. At the age of twenty-two, my sister was diagnosed with cyclothymia. I was in the middle of my Ph.D. dissertation studies at UC Berkeley in the field of chemistry. Presently at twenty-five, she is stabile thanks to oxcarbazepine and sertraline HCl. She is preparing to be a physical therapist. I seek training to help her continue without interruption from “disempowering of the spirit,” fragmentation. During my fourth year I decided learning organic chemistry in a Ph.D. was not enough to accomplish this task. I decided to audit three graduate classes at UC Berkeley covering: genetics, immunology, and cellular and molecular neurobiology.

Time was transformative.
I was thrown towards life.

I was introduced to: the yeast cell, the fly, the worm, the human immune system, and the human brain. All these systems share common traits and structural principles. The human being is dual: God – “World is always spiritual world” and animal – “The animal has no world , nor any environment .”

I am a scientist and a philosopher. My life is dedicated to the study of the principles to better the human condition.

More specifically, I seek to focus my future research efforts on cognition

spirit.””

What a difference that three years make in a person’s life! I now read this writing and am struck by the naiveté of the writing; little did I know that this passage (and the motivation behind it) would send me on a journey to M.I.T. to study biology. Renouncing a marriage, I traveled to M.I.T. to try to “help” others by contributing to the field of neuroscience. There, through as series of events I discovered that I have what western psychiatry calls “bipolar disorder I.” Many bottles of lithium carbonate, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Ativan, and Pristiq later along with a series of therapy sessions I now stand at a different place. I no longer look to science for salvation from suffering. I turn to God. Meditation, prayer, and religion for me are a path to a new and better life.

This past few weeks at seminary has taken some adjustment. I feel I am coming from the opposite side of the room in many conversations I have had so far with classmates. That is okay, in diversity lies the beauty of life. A significant issue that I am struggling with now is where do I fit in the church? I can see both sides of the liberal/conservative fence. The question is where do I plant my feet? Can I straddle it? When asked, as I was this week by a classmate, “As a scientist, do you believe in miracles?” I can honestly answer, “Yes.” Do I believe that the hand of an anthropomorphic superhuman God can reach down from the sky and heal the wounds of a leper? No. Do I believe that God can heal the spirit of a man or woman giving him or her a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in life? Yes. Do I believe that God can heal the brain? No, that is the job of psychiatry. Can He heal the Mind? Yes, absolutely. The subtlety of language is the difference. It is my hope that writing about the thoughts that arise in meditation will help guide me in spiritual development in seminary. Seminary is a funny place, the academics are important; they embody the wisdom and knowledge of those who have come before. Generations have fought to preserve and extend this knowledge, sometimes sacrificing their lives to bring it to the next generation. Why? A topic for another blog post after I digest Sarah Coakley’s sermon that I bought today at Labrynth books, “Sacrifice Regained: Reconsidering the Rationality of Religious Belief.” However, the academics are not the most important part of seminary as I am quickly learning. The meal table is. Where do I sit?, with whom do I sit?, what do I say?, and other such questions are all answered by trial and error.

Ultimately, grace is experienced in the interactions around the meal table in seminary. It is a lot like my previous experience in the Cambridge Zen Center (CZC). As described well by the website of CZC, “Becoming a resident at CZC offers an opportunity to commit to a spiritual practice with the support of fellow practitioners who are all going in the same direction. Zen Master Seung Sahn explains the practice of living in a Zen center much like washing potatoes. In large Zen temples in Korea where there are many monks living in the monasteries, potatoes are often washed by putting them in a large pot filled with water. The water is stirred with a stick, so that the potatoes rub each other and get cleaned all together. Living in a Zen center is like that; we get cleaned by rubbing each other, rather than cleaning each one individually. By living and practicing together, we become more compassionate and mindful of ourselves and others.” Seminary is like that.

Now, I am watching Batman Begins (a movie where the villain is a neuropsychiatrist that torments the people of Gotham city with his psychiatric concoctions) in Brown hall with other seminarians searching for some solace and rest to start a new week of language studying. The movie for me provides no solace other than the fellowship of other people. I cannot wait to start studying Hebrew again tomorrow after church. The mission for this week in Hebrew, translate Psalms 107 from Hebrew to English. Five more weeks of Hebrew or Greek to go.

After the movie I had a wonderful conversation. A quote and a piece of scripture came to mind after the conversation.

First, Thomas Merton:

“Buddhism refuses to countenance any self-cultivation or beautification of the soul. It ruthlessly exposes any desire of enlightenment or of salvation that seeks merely the glorification of the ego and the satisfaction of its desires in a transcendent realm. It is not that this is “wrong” or “immoral” but that it is simply impossible. Ego-desire can never culminate in happiness, fulfillment and peace, because it is a fracture which cuts off from the ground of reality in which truth and peace are found. As long as the ego seeks to “grasp” or “contain” that ground as an objective content of awareness, it will be frustrated and broken.”

– Thomas Merton (Zen and the Birds of Appetite, pp. 85-86)

Second, a passage of the holy Qur’an taught to me by my cousin in Turkey:

“The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.”

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.””

-(Qur’an 2:285-286)

And finally, I wanted to make a note of a book I discovered on the Facebook page of Imam Suhaib Webb The Resilient Clinician. I was warned by a senior seminarian tonight that it is a good idea to take care of oneself first in seminary. Only then can one share life on earth with others with serenity and grace. For this reason, this book seems important for the future. Good night, time to get some rest to attend the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton tomorrow for the first time.

and this:

As I have alluded to in a previous blog post, a couple of years ago I began to loose the single minded focus that it takes to succeed as a practicing academic chemist.  The reason for this change of heart will become clear as I continue to write on this blog.  For the time being, I would like to share a piece of reflective writing that I did in 2009 as part of a reading of Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time with a friend.  I have no formal training in philosophy, thought I would like to obtain some at some point in my life.  For me at the time, this book was an object for written meditation (as this blog is for me today).  The writing of Heidegger was sufficiently dense that I was able to center through repeated readings and writings of the text.  The book, as it does for many people opened my mind to 20th century existentialist philosophy and as I would later learn to Christian theology.  Furthermore, it led me to questioning and reevaluating my being-in-the-world.

“The start of a reading of Heidegger’s “Being and Time.”
I – H2 “I. The Necessity for Explicitly Restating the Question of Being

This question has today been forgotten. Even though in our time we deem it progressive to give our approval to ‘metaphysics’ again, it is held that we have been exempted from the exertions of a newly rekindled gigantomachia peri tes ousia [“a Battle of Giants concerning Being,” Plato, Sophist 245e6-246e1]. Yet the question we are touching upon is not just any question. It is one which provided a stimulus for the researches of Plato and Aristotle, only to subside from then on as a theme for actual investigation. What these two men achieved was to persist through many alterations and ‘retouchings’ down to the ‘logic’ of Hegel. And what they wrested with the utmost intellectual effort from the phenomena, fragmentary and incipient though it was, has long since become trivialized.”

The modern condition is one of fragmentation. Three pillars of the individual (emotion, reason, and spirit) are shallowly expressed. As individuals placed within a complex social framework we wear masks. In my own life, I am: a husband, a son, a friend, a student, a scientist, and an athlete. In each, I exhibit different properties of the Homo sapiens, existing as a player in a larger drama. To each fragment a shard is given. Impressions are incomplete, halted by ticking digits. Modernity exalts meta- (e.g. q. “How are you doing?” a. “I am doing fine.”). No time for -physics. Too much to see, too much to do.

Metaphysics (Oxford English Dictionary) – 1. The branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things or reality, including questions about being, substance, time and space, causation, change, and identity (which are presupposed in the special sciences but do not belong to any one of them); theoretical philosophy as the ultimate science of being and knowing.

The rekindling of “gigantomachia peri tes ousia [“a Battle of Giants concerning Being,” Plato, Sophist 245e6-246e1]” frames a new [potential] time of fusion. Rebirth. Before I was a husband, a son, a friend, a student, a scientist, and an athlete I was an infant, unchiseled stone a clean memory. In short, I was a being built and ready to observe phenomena awaiting neural development to provide language.

I – H2 “Not only that. On the basis of the Greeks’ initial contributions towards an Interpretation of Being, a dogma has been developed which not only declares the question about the meaning of Being to be superfluous, but sanctions its complete neglect. It is said that ‘Being’ is the most universal and the emptiest concepts. As such it resists every attempt at definition. Nor does this most universal and hence indefinable concept require any definition, for everyone uses it constantly and already understands what he means by it. In this way, that which the ancient philosophers found continually disturbing as something obscure and hidden has taken on a clarity and self-evidence such that if anyone continues to ask about it he is charged with an error of method.”

Modern American social convention approves of questioning “being.” We accept that science provides a creation story. Our churches provide us God. Our relationships provide us identity. In each setting a dogma is given. We relish the “results” of genius: Darwin – evolution, Christ – martyrdom, and Madison – pluralism. However, as “average” citizens we do not give ourselves the time to participate in their quests. We stand on the shoulders of giants but we do not walk alongside them.

I – H2-H3 “At the beginning of our investigation it is not possible to give a detailed account of the presuppositions and prejudices which are constantly reimplanting and fostering the belief that an inquiry into Being is unnecessary. They are rooted in ancient ontology itself, and it will not be possible to interpret that ontology adequately until the question of Being has been clarified and answered and taken as a clue – at least, if we are to have regard for the soil from which the basic ontological concepts developed, and if we are to see whether the categories have been demonstrated in a way that is appropriate and complete. We shall therefore carry the discussion of these presuppositions only to the point at which the necessity for restating the question about the meaning of Being becomes plain. There are three such presuppositions.”

At the outset of this treatise, we do not possess the linguistic framework with which to explicate the structure of an amorphous shroud covering “Being.” The “presuppositions and prejudices which are constantly reimplanting and fostering the belief that an inquiry into Being is unnecessary” are vital organisms grown from the “soil” of “ancient ontology.” They provide a foundation for Western Thought and Intellect. We seek the primal origin of ideas and concepts. Does that desire shroud our eyes?

In my own life, I seek to understand my experiences as events deriving from the past. As part of this process, I project my mind’s eye, language, into the past and construct synthetic experiences. One-part-12-years-old and one-part-25-years-old my mind weaves a tale from discrete events. The mind however, is anything but discrete. It is a continuous entity. How can language, a fundamentally discrete entity, convey the continuous? My memories are encoded in language. When I discuss my memories they fragment into bits, discrete events: an analog of this process – the quantum mechanical double-slit experiment.”

Now, it is 2012 and I am in Princeton Theological Seminary.  The description I wrote about language as a fragmented vehicle for explaining reality is no more relevant than for theology, the articulation of the divine.  I look forward to learning how to write and justify theological positions in the next few years.

and this:

“No one can be viewed as the exclusive transgressor in regard to what is done.  Rather, the more a person’s action seems to call for condemnation, the easier it is in most cases to show how the agent has in various ways been tempted and provoked and to show for how long the evil in that person has been nourished by the sin of others.  Consequently, in all sinful actions a shared work and a shared guilt are involved.”

—Friedrich Schleiermacher, “On the Sacrifice of Christ That Makes Perfect,” in Reformed But Ever Reforming, trans. Iain G. Nicol (Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997), 88.

I saw this quote on the blog of a Ph.D. student at Princeton Theological Seminary “The Fire and the Rose” after falling asleep early tonight around 7:30 pm and waking up at 1:00 am.  The author of the blog prefaced the quote by saying, “In light of Virginia Tech tragedy …”  I have refrained from writing an entry on the Aurora shooting that occurred recently out of deference to the many victims of the crime.  Why should I contribute to what is an already vociferous Internet response to the tragedy?  However, after stumbling across this Schleiermacher quotation above by a fellow seminarian I could not help but do a Google search for the latest information on this month’s most recent mass murder – the Aurora, Colorado “Dark Knight Rises” theater shooting.  The result, a lot of information but no insight.

Reading an article entitled “Colorado Suspect was Getting Psychiatric Care” in the New York Times tonight was enough to spark some thoughts that perhaps may be novel enough to write on.  Briefly, here is what I know about the case.  The shooter James Holmes was a 24 year old neuroscience graduate school dropout who was able to procure a small arsenal via the Internet.  He dyed his hair orange, dressed in body armor, and entered a theater at a midnight showing of the new film “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire onto a crowd of innocent people.  The result, 12 people dead and approximately 50-70 injured.  The police apprehended him and he stated, “I am the Joker.”  So far, the news media has been fairly quiet about the case.  He has been shown in a preliminary hearing in court looking disoriented and lost.  Now, the media is reporting that James was in the process of receiving mental health care.  The shootings occurred approximately 40 miles away from Columbine, Colorado – the scene of another mass murder that has graced the headlines during the past few years.  In a nutshell, the picture that has been painted so far of the events and personalities of the Aurora shooting are well – insane.

In a climate where everyone is trying to place the blame somewhere (James Holmes, the Internet, the Second Amendment, Hollywood, Satan, mental illness, graduate school, etc.) it seems to me the only reasonable response is to say that the burden of guilt is shared.  Rather than trying to delineate between guilty and innocent we should acknowledge shared guilt and move on to repentance.  This is the same approach that the German nation uniquely took after the Holocaust.  The reasoning goes, “We all bear the responsibility of these events so it is our responsibility to ensure that they never happen again.”  James Holmes pulled the trigger in Aurora, but his mind was conditioned by American culture.  Educational culture.  Entertainment culture.  Digital culture.  All of it.

The name for the national soul searching process that occurred in Germany after the Holocaust is Vergangenheitsbewältigung, which literally translates to “The means of dealing with the past.”  Vergangenheitsbewältigung is a total effort.  In Germany, history books were closely examined and rewritten to ensure genocide denial would not happen.  German high school students take field trips to concentration camps to learn about the nation’s collective guilt by viewing places like Auschwitz first hand.  Symbols such as the swastika are illegal, free speech has its limits in Germany.  When right wing hate groups assemble in Germany, ordinary citizens counter protest.  The list goes on.  If you are interested in learning more this article is a good start.  Now you may be saying, “Wait a minute 6,000,000 deaths does not equal 12 deaths!  Do you expect America to adopt such drastic cultural changes in response to what is an otherwise isolated event by a criminally insane individual?”  The short answer I give is, “Yes.”  Here is brief explanation why.  More will follow in future blog posts.

The United States of America is the most violent nation on earth.  It is also the most individualistic.  People here care about “Freedom.”  The freedom to do what?  To bear arms?  To speak freely?  American freedoms are for the most part good, they give citizens the ability to live as they wish.  People are able to purse their own route to happiness by following what their own heart and mind tell them is right.  If “Other” gets in the way of this freedom, however, we are told we must fight.  This is where the problem of freedom arises.  Is freedom worth human life?  If so, how many?  After the events in Aurora, I will go so far as to say that some freedoms are not worth human life.  I would rather have the lives of the 12 people killed in Aurora returned to their rightful owners than to have the freedom to bear arms.  Repeal the Second Amendment, that is a start.

The events of Aurora are not an isolated series of events, they an indication of a systemic problem in modern American culture.  Each year, it seems mass murder is becoming more common.  Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbine, 9/11, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma City, … the list goes on and will continue to go on until an American Vergangenheitsbewältigung occurs.  The religious tradition of the United States of America is predominantly Christian.  It is within this tradition that I believe many of the answers to the problems of this beautiful country rest.  Whether you are a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a secular humanist, etc. the majority of the voting population in America is influenced by Christianity.  Civic laws are influenced by religious laws.  For more on this topic, I highly recommend reading David Sehat’s recent book entitled “The Myth of American Religious Freedom.”  If America is truly “One Nation under God” then it should follow His law, at least the ones that maximize Life.  We can debate which divinely ordained laws are applicable to our present reality, but there is one that I think we can all agree on (at least in principle).  That law states, “Thou shall not kill.”  The Bible is fairly clear on this topic:

“You shall not murder.”

Exodus 20:13

“You shall not murder.”

Deuteronomy 5:17

Do not kill who?  The law is quite clear, it is total in its nature.  It states, “You shall not murder” without qualification.  In other words, do not wage war, do not kill criminals with the death penalty, do not commit suicide, do not commit the crime of murder, etc. American citizens should follow this principle absolutely.  In turn, civic laws should be crafted to maximize Life on earth.  Life = ?  Does war return the Life to victims of tragedy such as 9/11?  Does the death penalty return Life to the victims of a crime?  Is the Second Amendment worth Life?  I am probably in a small American minority that would answer “No” to all of these questions and come to the conclusion that the death penalty should be made illegal, the just war doctrine is a flawed construction, and the American constitution is obsolete (at least in regards to the right to bear arms).

A part of an essay that I read in 2009 by Slavoj Žižek in response to 9/11 entitled “Welcome to the Desert of the Real” comes to mind in reference to Aurora (just insert “mass murder” in place of the word “bombings”), ”Now, in the days immediately following the bombings, it is as if we dwell in the unique time between a traumatic event and its symbolic impact – like in those brief moments after we are deeply cut, and before the full extent of the pain strikes us – it is open how the events will be symbolized … Therein resides the true lesson of the bombings: the only way to ensure that it will not happen HERE again is to prevent it going on ANYWHERE ELSE.”

The hand of Death is already strong as it is, we should not empower it by giving it tools of ever increasing technological sophistication.”

I suspect this is the reason.  This is not the first time, nor will it be the last that this has happened to me. However, I believe there is something important about writing to connect with others about our experiences.  Thus, I write this blog. You can see that I have good intentions to help others who face struggles with social justice issues and that I have a strong faith that God through providing his son Jesus Christ to humanity can heal the spiritual wounds of people. I hope that I can work on behalf of others by writing about important social justice issues. I take a personal interest in seeing the stigma of mental illness eradicated from society.  Why speak?  Some would say, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  I would say, “Don’t speak, don’t live.”  A better way to articulate this point is:

“No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.”

– Antonin Artaud

Part of the intention behind this blog is to force myself to write diligently to learn Turkish to speak to my family in Turkey to share my story.  Here is a set of words a friend gave me as a first set of words to learn:

Yesterday, I found an interesting interfacial book between science and religion. Written by a former professor psychiatry at UCSF, now practicing in Princeton, on the book of Exodus. “In From Plagues to Miracles, psychiatrist Robert Rosenthal takes a fresh and bold new look at the story of Exodus in which the figures of Moses and Pharaoh represent dueling aspects of the human mind. Pharaoh is the ego-mind: arrogant, capricious, and cut off from God and Spirit. Moses represents the part of the mind that is and has always been in full, direct connection with God.”

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About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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