09.30.20

Seeing him through the eyes of those who love him

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:54 pm by Administrator

i once believed that i was a very empathic person, during a time in my life when i was actually very emotionally unhealthy. in retrospect, what i perceived as empathy was actually projection; i tapped into my own very intense suffering in order to mirror the energy of the other and thereby experience a form of connection. this is a skill that i learned in the church and perhaps not surprisingly. the more i reflect on my old religion, the more i recognize that christianity in many ways is a religion of projection. god projecting himself onto humans, as his image bearers. jesus projecting himself onto people and viewing them as his own body. sinners projecting their shame onto others, as a tribe facing a common destiny of judgment and wrath. human beings projecting their fallenness onto the animal kingdom, thus justifying their right to own, groom, and butcher other living beings on this planet for consumption.

my blog entry from sixteen years ago that so incensed my wife (and led to our fateful meeting) was an essay about how god lacks empathy for human beings. oddly enough, i have come full circle now to the same conclusion, albeit through a different lens. it is not that god cares so little for human beings that he does not deign to accept them for who they are. it is that humans created a god in their own likeness, and in so doing they invented a being who is similarly incapable of genuinely understanding the human condition.

empathy, i’ve learned, is indeed a very difficult skill to exercise. it is not simply a mindset or an attitude. it is an approach to relationship which requires a non-egocentric view of humanity. i believe that for many people empathy is generally impossible, because empathy requires sustained, nonjudgmental awareness. as yongey mingyur rinpoche emphasizes, most human beings exhibit awareness regularly and frequently; but they slip in and out of it without conscious intent, much like falling in and out of sleep. when challenged by the complexity and demands of intimate interrelationship, sustained and non-judgmental awareness is exceedingly difficult and most often displaced by socialized expectations—such as ideas of responsibility, status, worth, and equitability.

i have endeavored for the past three years to experience moments of awareness, and if i am honest i have found this to be extraordinarily difficult. i have been conditioned my whole life to constantly evaluate myself with respect to others and on the basis of conceptual identities. i habitually judge myself and other people according to what i expect of their behavior and other self-representations. when i am not under stress, i am sometimes capable of imagining the complexity of the underlying motives of other people, but even in this exercise i customarily project onto others my own patterns of reactivity. awareness requires a rejection of socialized expectations; it absolutely requires a disruption of the conventional contrast between self and other. as such, awareness implies the echo of self in others; it implies the fundamental unity of living things. ultimately, awareness prevents the differentiation of the saved from the sinner, the privileged from the oppressed, the just from the unjust. awareness is ever unsatisfied with conclusions about what is good and not good. awareness culminates in a freedom from judgment and from the suffering that judgment inevitably entails. it is in this state that compassion is not only possible but inevitable; and where this is genuine compassion, empathy has already been evidenced.

i should say that though i continue to struggle to experience sustained, non-judgmental awareness, so many things have changed in my life over the past three years simply on account of the journey i have begun. i do not experience road rage—ever. the last time i got angry at another driver was in the spring of 2018, more than two and a half years ago. i do not cry much anymore; in fact i cannot remember the last time i shed a tear. i don’t drink to inebriation, and i experience no temptation to do so. and lastly, i do not get angry about politics. specifically, the president of this country does not provoke an emotional reaction from me anymore.

that’s not to say that i cannot look at him critically. they are many things about his leadership that strike me as disagreeable, reprehensible, or wrong. but though i can experience those judgments in my mind, i do not experience those judgments secondarily as a surge of inner identity, a confirmation of an internal belief, a validation of a certain point of view. as such, i can look at the various things about trump that i perceive as disagreeable, reprehensible, or wrong without finding him as a human being to be disagreeable or reprehensible or wrong. if i were to suffer on account of donald trump, it is only because i caused myself to suffer; i am the cause of my own suffering.

refusing to consider donald trump as an irreconcilable “other” has enabled me at times to see him the way he is seen by those who love him. there are moments when i think that i can understand the connection that they have with him. when he expresses himself so unapologetically, they feel validation—a validation of their deeply felt need to be heard, to hold onto what is theirs, to not be forced to relinquish what they have toiled for to strangers who dislike them. for years, they have been told by smarter, richer, and more sophisticated people to change the way that they live and behave, and when their president pushes back against this tide of change, they feel the lifting of a burden, the easing of an anxiety, a safety in institutions.

thus, when trump is bold and even unreasonable in the face of other authority figures, he validates the repressed rage and fear of those who have been judged and found wanting. it is no wonder that they stick with him through thick and thin. so much separates him from his followers: his wealth, his power, and his circle of powerful friends. but in this one thing, this deeply anti-establishment sentiment, he has a compelling connection with so many people who have felt left behind and unseen.

donald trump will never be embraced or loved by the nation as a whole, and for that matter many of those who love him most are already accustomed to being marginalized and despised for who they are. this is saddening, and it invites compassion. yes, there is room for compassion for those who are so despised, whether or not they have power and wealth. and moreover, there is room for understanding, because we are all suffering and despised, if for no other reason than on account of the fact that we know not how to love our own selves.

i wish for my fellow countrymen an experience of nationhood that causes them less suffering. i have no ill will against either of the men who are campaigning to lead us. i wish for us all a kind of unity that has nothing to do with common belief. i wish for us a unity that comes from the relinquishing of belief, an awareness that makes forgiveness futile because the judgment that underlies forgiveness becomes unnecessary

09.28.20

a perspective on the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:55 pm by Administrator

our tie with the bengals yesterday was good for a laugh. quite literally, i was laughing as i saw the outcome unfold.

am i disappointed with how this season is evolving? obviously i am not happy that we are losing. but for all of the many reasons i’ve enumerated over the last 12 months, i am relieved that it is becoming clear to everyone that this mediocre squad as it is currently constructed has no future. because that means we can all finally abandon this farce of a “sustaining success” or “win now” mentality. it is most definitely time for a rebuild.

despite my qualms about carson wentz and my consistent clamorings for a wentz trade, i know that we are very unlikely to trade the guy. personally, i believe that his flaws are deeply ingrained and fatal to his progress as a player; but i’ll grant that there is a small possibility that a new offensive coaching staff could still redeem his rapidly disintegrating career. i’d like greg roman to take over as head coach/OC in 2021 and see what his approach to the game can do for wentz; but if that pair shakes out as badly as the pederson-wentz tandem has, then i have no doubt that roman will do well with jalen hurts. jim schwartz of course has no future with the eagles after this season, and it will be important that we bring in a much different kind of defensive coordinator—someone who actually knows how to teach the coverage schemes that he uses in-game.

i originally predicted a 6-10 season but am revising that prediction down to 4-11-1. we will likely beat the giants just once; we will possibly edge out the redskins at the end of the season (though we’ll throw the game if we’re smart about it, to win out on draft position); and we will accidentally beat arizona and cleveland as well. i’m absolutely rooting for more losses. this team gains nothing by ending the season 7-9 or 8-8. a late season surge would simply be an excuse to keep the band together. personally, i’m very tired of the adversity narrative, which has been a bad excuse for the team’s precipitous decline over the past two years. a 4-11-1 season will totally crush those narratives and allow us to effect the purge that is needed for a clean start in 2021.

on top of firing pederson and schwartz and moving on from a core group of guys that we love but can no longer afford—including graham, ertz, jeffery, d-jax, jalen mills, and rodney mcleod—we’ll have what i project to be a top-6 draft pick in 2021 if we lose out during the season. if we can get a high 3rd round pick in an ertz trade, we’ll be set up nicely to rebuild this defense through the 2021 draft. and yes, all of our top picks in 2021 have to go into the defense. over the past two seasons, we’ve wasted so much draft capital on skill players and offensive linemen who may or may not cut it at the pro level, and there’s simply no sense in adding more receivers to this squad when we’ve proven completely incapable of properly using the talent that we already have.

with that said, i’m excited about breaking into the top 6 of this upcoming draft, which unlocks the possibility of getting an elite linebacker and the most dynamic defender in this draft: micah parsons. whether or not we move from 4-3 to a different scheme, our new DC is going to need a playmaker at the second level of the D, and at last we’ll have a legitimate talent at linebacker, not to mention a future leader of our defense. in the early 2nd, there will be some intriguing safety prospects (as 2021 appears to feature an unusually good crop of safeties), and that’s where we’ll find our malcolm jenkins replacement (no disrespect to jalen mills, who shouldn’t be playing safety in the NFL). i think we’ll need to sign a starting-caliber safety in addition to drafting one in 2021, and i’ve got my eyes on haha clinton-dix of course (the player i wanted in the 2014 draft).

but i’m getting ahead of myself. let’s get busy losing, so that the next chapter of eagles’ history can begin!

GO EAGLES

09.24.20

what rich people do to change the world, and other random thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:30 pm by Administrator

i’ve had a few decades now to observe the lives of america’s wealthy—and to contrast this with the lives of america’s very poorest people. here are a few random observations from this contrast.

when rich people want to make the world a better place, they progress from sponsoring individuals to driving political causes and ultimately to financing transformative ideas. for instance, they’ll begin with scholarships—a great way to connect with individuals in need and to address barriers to socioeconomic barriers. or they’ll join the board of a community-oriented organization, in order to drive improvements that will help specific people. if they get tired of this or crave influence of another kind, they’ll start to mix with politicians, or they’ll fund PACs. they’ll identify the cross-cutting themes that they want to address through broader reform, and they’ll support the political candidates that will drive the legislation necessary to systematic change. if they find that this is ultimately futile, or if they ultimately seek greater control over the kind of change that they want to support, then they get into the business of financing innovators—people or organizations that can transform society by changing the fundamentals. even if it’s not venture capital per se, it’s some kind of selective, deep investment intended to establish a legacy. those are the guys who get university positions or performing arts centers named after them.

when poorer people want to improve society, they tell their stories to their grandchildren and the youths in their communities. the main thing that they have to share is wisdom—and so they do it, by spending their time with those who have their whole lives ahead of them. they don’t have the resources to push political candidates or finance groundbreaking research; but perhaps their impact, as personal and compelling as it can be, is ultimately no less meaningful for the next generation.

what troubles me about the liberal voices of our time is that they don’t have a specific picture of what it is that they want society to look like; but it’s clear enough that they want everyone to change how they behave and treat others. what troubles me about the conservative voices of our time is that they have a very clear picture of what they want society to look like; but they don’t recognize that this vision of society is built upon an unrealistic rejection of mutual responsibility. it isn’t civil society that they seek. it’s decidedly uncivil, and smugly so.

when i was a religious man, i wanted to convince everyone in the farthest stretches of the world to come to my belief about the cosmos. i was willing to sacrifice myself in some way to force this belief upon others. my ego was an extension of the ego that has driven Western Christendom for thousands of years. it is only logical that on account of this ego i lost sanity, compassion, and even basic common sense in approaching human relationship. time has taught me that no religion that rejects unqualified acceptance of the other can adequately describe what love is. and so i have come to this conclusion: love is a fundamentally corrupted term, best know in the interdependence of a parent and a child, least understood in the context of moral responsibility for another. if there is such a thing as a universally understood experience of love, it probably begins with awareness. if you cannot genuinely understand another being, you cannot love that person or that thing. and here of course is where our idea of love, as we inevitably understand it in our warped view of things, always fails.

i got lucky with my life partner, and it was as good of a match as i could have hoped for. despite that, i would hope that my children would not find their life partners as i did—through a magical merging of worlds. if they need to share life and even procreate in order to experience personal worth and fulfillment, i would encourage them to find this match as meticulously as possible. after all, we hire for competencies, not for affections. some basic compatibilities are essential; lust and fondness cannot overcome all differences. a human being has the right to know where and how they will be tested or even deceived in the course of a complex, intimate journey with another equally mysterious and autonomous individual. there should be behavioral assessments, scenario testing, and even genetic profiling to guide this process of selection, shouldn’t there? but there isn’t, because we’re magical people in the end, and because we believe in a love that has no foundation in deep awareness.

i have learned that there is no magic in the world. if we want to make this world a better place, we cannot trust in fanciful ideas; we simply have to make sure that the next generation does not repeat our mistakes. that we fail to do this century after century is truly a reflection of our steadfast unwillingness to place others above ourselves. it is a wonder and a mystery indeed that we, egotists every one of us, are each a reflection of something essential about our universe. it is as if, through the unique revelation of our species, the universe wanted to remind itself that indeed there is room for some vanity (or at least some pride) when a star is born

09.23.20

The Eagles’ Turnaround Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:01 pm by Administrator

here’s how it’s going to go, with some revised ideas for our draft:

1. the eagles beat the bengals but lose three straight to the 49ers, steelers, and ravens. they get completely blown out by the cowboys in week 8 and go into the bye 2-6.

2. the pats are 4-4 at that point, and newton is not looking effective in belichick’s offense. hungry to get tom brady’s proper successor in place for the long term, he swings a deal for wentz: two 1st rounders (2021 and 2022) and a 2nd rounder in 2022. the pats also take alshon jeffery in the deal.

3. once the rebuild is in motion, ertz will also be traded at the deadline for a mid-2nd round pick, as there’s no way we’ll be willing to commit top-3 tight end money to him when goedert also needs to be taken care of.

4. we’ll come out of the bye with a new-look offense: jalen hurts at the helm, with a base 11-personnel set and a high tempo RPO offense featuring lots of pre-snap movement, screens and sweeps, and designed QB runs. jalen won’t be given a lot of opportunities to make big plays downfield, but we’ll keep him upright and allow him to make plays with his feet. he’ll have some terrific moments, as we go 4-4 down the stretch and finish the year 6-10 with reasonable optimism about the future.

5. we’re going to hire Greg Roman to replace Coach Pederson, and the jalen hurts era will officially begin.

6. jim schwartz will get axed as well, and our 2021 draft will focus on rebuilding the defense with the right talent for a new 3-4 scheme that focuses on disguise, aggressive man coverage schemes, and heavier blitzing. we’ll get two of these four guys in the 1st round: caleb farley, patrick surtain jr., hamsah nasirildeen, and nick bolton.

7. in the 2nd round, we’ll have at least two picks and will focus on the lines: a defensive end and an interior o-lineman.

going into the 2021 season, the cowboys will break the bank on dak prescott, as their o-line and d-line start to age out, setting the stage for a fast regression. the eagles will struggle in year one of the greg roman regime, but by 2022 we’ll have one of the youngest and most talented teams on both sides of the ball and will compete to dominate the nfc east yet again.

09.22.20

The eagles: setting the table for a turnaround

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:57 pm by Administrator

i predicted that we’d go 6-10… but when i look at the remaining schedule, i’m not confident that we’ll make it to 6 wins. in particular, i’m looking at the distinct possibility that we will be no better than 2-6 by the time the trade deadline rolls around. and even more specifically, i’m contemplating the particularly salient possibility that we will go into our bye week at 2-6 fresh off a humiliating loss to dallas and thus absolutely prepared to blow up the squad at the deadline.

the worse our situation is, the more likely it is that we will be very active on the trade block. and of course there’s no question that we’ll be sellers, not buyers, if things go as i expect that they will.

i think that there are several players that roseman may consider trading if the price is right. zach ertz for one. derek barnett for another. hell, we might even be open to trading our newly signed defensive star darius slay! while those trades may free up cap space, they won’t net the kind of draft capital we need to really transform the franchise.

no, the turnaround we need really hinges on what we can get for one player and one player only. carson wentz.

provided that he shows some flashes over the next six games, i have to believe that carson is still worth at least three premium draft picks to one of four teams: the bears, patriots, colts, and chargers. the bears probably won’t pull the trigger before the trade deadline if trubisky is at least serviceable (which he has been so far). the colts will also defer if philip rivers doesn’t fall apart. that leaves the patriots and the chargers. of the two, i believe that the patriots would be more likely to make a deal, especially if they’re in the hunt for a playoff spot and seeing a lot of inconsistency from cam newton (which they will). the chargers should be interested, as talented as they are, but it depends on how strongly they believe in justin herbert’s ability to win now.

if bill belichick’s mentality is where i think it’s going to be come november, he’s not going to be happy at this stage in his career being on the outside of the playoff bubble with a quarterback he doesn’t have total confidence in. half a season of losing perfectly winnable games is going to make him hungry for an all-in win-now transaction. the ultimate price of two 1st round picks and a future 3rd might be where belichick and roseman find common ground. new england will be betting that their 1st rounders for the next two years will be late in the order, but philadelphia will be betting on buffalo, pittsburgh, and a few other AFC teams to ensure that at least the 2020 pick stays in the top 20.

after trading wentz and committing to a rebuild, the eagles will be able to do a number of critical things that will pave the way for a proper turnaround:

1. install jalen hurts as the starting quarterback after the bye week, and see what we have in the guy. he’s mature, he’s multi-dimensional, and he might just be compatible with doug pederson. if hurts makes magic in the second half of the season, then doug pederson can stay. if not, then we’ll need to find a new head coach.

2. trade desean jackson if possible, or let him play out the season in a back-up role. coming out of the bye, we need to put reagor and arcega-whiteside on the field together for all the snaps they can handle.

3. give josh sweat the largest share of defensive end snaps and see if he can round out his game this season. if he improves in the run game, then he might be worth a contract.

4. derek barnett should get the second largest share of snaps at DE. he’s also playing for his job this year.

5. after the season, i’d like to find a way to keep both ertz and goedert, but obviously if ertz is looking for top-3 tight end money, then we have to trade him for a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

6. with a 6-10 record (good for a pick somewhere between 7 and 10) and the patriots’ 1st round pick (hopefully between 16 and 20), we’ll be looking for an outside cornerback and a versatile linebacker. i favor using our top-10 pick on a DB (i.e. caleb farley) and saving our top-20 pick for a linebacker like nick bolton.

with premiere young talent now at the 2nd and 3rd levels of the defense, we can focus our free agency on adding to the defensive line, especially on the edge.

stopping, by chance

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:47 pm by Administrator

it takes some courage to admit
that a perfect time might have
just passed.

the kids were at a certain age,
and the conversations on trips
took a particular direction

as we wound through hills
and speculated on the lives
of the cows, of horses.

now, i understand
that my judgment of what is perfect
is just a thought, a remark

as random as the decision
to pull over to the shoulder of an empty road
as long and as quiet as life itself

but yes i did that.
i stopped, by chance, and i knew what i had
in that moment with a friend and our children.

i knew it, and i take some pleasure
in knowing that i knew it
because it is gone.

the possibility of a scenic
overlook ahead steadily remains,
but the moment cannot be planned,

and it is always different
the closer you get to your destination.
a mind takes it course

same as the car, same as the wind.
the cows and their tails, and their careful
way of bowing to the earth i will remember.

perhaps, there will be one more moment
for a field, and for forgetting
what brought me there.

09.21.20

the eagles suck, and i saw it coming

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:02 pm by Administrator

i think that doug pederson has earned the right to finish out the season, and so i don’t think he will merit the chip kelly treatment. but let’s face it: our journey with dp has run its course, and it’s time for a new head coach in philadelphia.

i’ll admit that i was underwhelmed by the pederson hiring four years ago, but i understand now why he was the pick. chip kelly hadn’t connected with the players and had created bad culture in the eagles locker room. pederson was a player’s coach, a guy who could connect with his guys. philadelphia needed a character foil to chip kelly, a coach who would come in and prove to the players that management was listening to their concerns.

in retrospect, that 2017 championship run was the product of good culture. there was good culture among the players, who brought veteran perspectives and prior super bowl experience into the locker room. there was good culture among the coaches too, because these were smart guys without a lot of ego who were thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to do something new. it helped that our 2017 schedule was easy and that the league in 2017 offered a unique window of opportunity to a very talented eagles squad, as the division and the conference were particularly bad that year. but there’s no question about it; the eagles were tight, and they came together in a special way over the course of that year.

what’s happened since the super bowl year has sort of illuminated one basic fact that i learned through the baldrige criteria of performance excellence: good culture requires integration of key staff, not simply basic alignment. when the eagles lost frank reich and john defilippo, they lost the two guys who effectively bridged the stylistic gap between carson wentz and doug pederson. carson, an alpha male with his own idiosyncratic and uncoachable instincts for the game, didn’t want to run doug pederson’s offense, and pederson, a macro guy and a player’s coach, deferred to carson when he really needed to teach wentz the game. the result of this awkward relationship was two years of regression for a raw talent who could have developed into an efficient quarterback at the nfl level.

it’s not simply that doug pederson needed to be tougher on wentz. it’s that wentz needed someone who could always be a step ahead of him, anticipating his instincts and pushing him to process faster and better. it was clear that nick foles wasn’t that guy for wentz; neither was mike groh. if defilippo had stayed in philadelphia, wentz might have grown by leaps and bounds. if wentz could have been an understudy to a better but similar quarterback like aaron rodgers or ben roethlisberger, he might have hit an inflection point earlier in his career. but as it stands, carson wentz is looking more like a project than a bona fide pro at this stage in his career. philadelphia ruined him; and in so doing, they proved that good culture is about more than approachability, safety, and emotional intelligence. good culture is about mutual commitment to transparency, accountability, and personal growth.

the articles by joe santoloquito and josina anderson were widely panned by the philadelphia media and dismissed by the eagles organization, but they offered the painful truth about wentz and the eagles locker room. when you have bad culture, you lose engagement quickly. alshon jeffery wasn’t the villain of this story. orlando scandrick wasn’t peeling sour grapes. the incompatibility of wentz and pederson bled into the team’s overall approach to football and turned the eagles into one of the least cohesive squads in the NFL. the messaging from management may be as confident as ever, but the fact is that the eagles are routinely botching plays on both sides of the ball because they’re not functioning as a team.

while doug pederson (and jim schwartz to a large extent as well) will go down with the ship this season, a coaching change will not be sufficient to solve the eagles’ disrepair. the single most important question remains: who will step in and fix carson wentz’s game? who will teach him how to play football, now that the future of his career hangs in the balance? it can be done. mid-career matt ryan looked like he was fading fast in 2014-15, but kyle shanahan came in and helped him turn his career around in the short space of a season. wentz needs a coach who is smarter and better than he is. if the eagles cannot give him that mentor, then the eagles owe him an opportunity to start over with another team.

howie roseman hasn’t drafted well for most of the past several years, so he doesn’t get a pass. but it isn’t his fault that doug pederson has failed to recognize his shortcomings and adequately compensate for them. roseman has actually done everything humanly possible to give pederson and schwartz the pieces they’ve required to sustain their failed experiment. but the price that the organization has paid for the collective “win now” mentality in philadelphia is a distinct lack of young talent to build around. i was extremely critical of many of roseman’s recent draft decisions—jj arcega-whiteside and davion taylor, among others—but the fact of the matter is that an offense featuring wentz, miles sanders, zach ertz, dallas goedert, and desean jackson should be one of the best in the league by any metric imaginable, whether it be yards per play, completion percentage, red zone efficiency, or points per game. our offense has been almost unwatchable for two full seasons and somehow looks even worse in 2020. that’s not a player evaluation problem; that’s on wentz and pederson.

hindsight is always perfect, but i was in the minority camp that wanted to sign foles and ship wentz back in march of 2019. i saw it coming. i didn’t prefer foles because he was the more talented quarterback; i preferred him because it was clear that he could run doug pederson’s offense. had we traded wentz back then, i’m sure we could have gotten three 1st round picks in return. i’m looking at the league now, and there are only three teams that might consider giving us a 1st round pick for wentz—the patriots, the bears, and the colts—and i’m not even sure they’d do it. i’m not mad now that we lost our chance to off-load carson in 2019; i’m mostly mad that he’s lost so much value in the intervening time.

the silver lining for a lost season, as i’ve mentioned previously, is that it will make it easier for us for launch the turnaround when the off-season arrives. if we go 6-10 (my prediction back in april), then there’s no question that we’re going to clear the decks and make massive changes. i for one am definitely looking forward to the jalen hurts era.

jeffrey lurie, find howie roseman some help please. the 2021 draft is going to be a good one. let’s not waste another critical opportunity to rebuild the team.

GO EAGLES

09.18.20

rebirth

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:45 pm by Administrator

paul said that he no longer lived. he had died—and now someone or something else was living in him. an alien identity had taken root in his consciousness and was spreading its tentacles throughout his being, putting to death his natural impulses, making him do things that were against his nature, and pressing him to submit to forces unseen. his identity bifurcated, his consciousness overtaken by a parasitic force, his spiritual energies now directed against his own self, paul fell into despair and romanticized his own death. even as he felt himself dying from within, he sought comfort from the inevitability of his own physical demise, speculating endlessly on the knowledge, freedom, and even glory that he might experience in the next life. embedded in concepts and embracing a newfound religion of intricate ideation and self-reflection, paul was nothing if not the very picture of suffering. and he didn’t deny this either; to him, the suffering was redemptive and sanctifying. his suffering was itself an identity.

i react to this in two ways.

my first reaction is to resist this path, because it is the path of great suffering, and because it is a journey into deep conceptual identification.

my second reaction is to wonder at this—and to wonder specifically if perhaps paul’s journey, as dramatic and intense as it was, was his own personal journey out of ego. was paul’s suffering actually his emptiness? did paul experience the emptying of himself as suffering?

09.16.20

suffering

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:18 pm by Administrator

you are the cause of your own suffering.

i see it in you.
your thoughts of anger and despair,
your endless thinking.

you ask so many questions
about the pain you feel
and the future you cannot discern.
i tell you

you already have within you
every answer that is needed
on account of your deep and limitless
connection to all living things.

even if you do not know these answers,
they are within you.
what is required is permission—

the permission only you can give yourself
to put words, thoughts, actions
to the truth that is for now a mystery.

you will lose someone you love,
or you yourself will begin your dying.
then, as the universe unburdens you
of the idea of your life

the answer will come to you
birthed by strangeness
or estrangement. you will give it a name
and it will be known to you,

the nature of the suffering
you never knew you were bearing,
the name of the soul
you never expected to find.

09.15.20

tenet, trade wentz

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:49 pm by Administrator

my son and i drove 40 minutes away this past weekend to watch tenet. it was a big moment for us, as it was our first movie in the theater in seven months (since “1917″). we sat in the back row in a nearly empty movie theater for the first showing on sunday morning. the experience was weird but also gratifying.

tenet left a lot to be desired. the premise of course was interesting—a battle for control over technology that allows people to “invert” time, thus creating a scenario in which the same individual can approach a single moment in time from two different temporal directions (a temporal “pincer”). it’s hard not to compare tenet to inception, as a uniquely complex story like tenet’s is otherwise peerless. while inception was mind-blowing, illuminating, and truly poignant as a story of obsession and regret, tenet kept losing itself in its own sundry details, consummating in briefly fascinating convergences before ultimately failing to hold together around any real drama. the movie needed more internal symmetries; more fundamentally, it needed motifs (i.e. a spinning top) to bring ideas and relationships into focus. as it stands, tenet came across as a series of “gotchas” that made it seem like a somewhat inelegant exercise in puzzles—a heartless exercise in the end.

i’ve had enough of carson wentz. i don’t care if he goes out and wins some games this season. he’s proven what he is: a guy with amazing arm talent who cannot suppress his instinct to search downfield on every play. he’s good enough to be considered an above-average QB talent, and with the right offensive system he can be quite productive. but doug pederson’s approach to the game isn’t compatible with wentz’s, as evidenced by the spike in offensive efficiency we experienced in 2018 when foles took over for a faltering wentz (and the drop-off we witnessed when wentz resumed quarterbacking in 2019). to put it simply, the eagles can’t win playoff games with a QB who routinely completes less than 65% of his passes, fails to avoid critical sacks when the game is on the line, and can’t establish rhythm or chemistry with his primary receivers.

the trade i’m looking for before the deadline is with chicago: carson wentz for khalil mack, nick foles, a 2021 1st round pick, and 2022 2nd rounder.

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