A FRESH START…

Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

Kintsukuroi (Original Image c/o Wikipedia Commons)

2014-06-16 @ 06:10 CDT

With any grace, the above photograph and caption – which I found on Facebook – will be the perfect summary of my life as I portray it on this blog. (Wikipedia’s article on the Japanese aesthetic philosophy itself is well worth reading.) – (יוחנן רכב)

[EDIT @ 2015-11-16: Blogs written by true Christians, like true Christians themselves, have this principle apply to them:]

(Joh 15:1 ESV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
(Joh 15:2 ESV) Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Categories: Daily Life | Tags: | 3 Comments

A JOURNEY OF UNDERSTANDING

Earthrise Over Compton Crater (NASA/LRO/Wikipedia)

Earthrise Over Compton Crater (NASA/LRO/Wikipedia)

2016-07-08 @ 00:00 CDT

On this Gregorian date, I am 57 Gregorian years old. Oh frabjous day (insert sarcastic tone of voice).😉

But turning points in one’s life – my soon-coming marriage being a far more important one to my mind – are good times to stop and reflect. Tonight, before I went to bed, I decided to take just such a break.

I found it difficult to decide which version of the above poster I should put up. Should I put up the one I made which points out that the Earth is, in effect, my personal, psychological (not religious) “mandala” – a symbol of the wholeness of self that I seek, a wholeness rooted in a unified understanding of “both geos and kosmos“? (See this page, section “Functional Analysis”, subsection “Extraverted iNtuition”, for the basis of that last turn of phrase.) Should I play with the joke that “it’s a small world after all”, or should I note soberly that we really are “one world”?

In the end, I picked the idea that says all of the above and more to me, the one that states the root of everything else I seek to believe and to do: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

But my mind branches out from there in many directions of discovery about myself, others, and the world. One of the most profound directions began (formally) when I signed up for Vicky Jo Varner’s Type Discovery course on 03/16/2009. What I allude to about psychological type is based on what I started learning there. In time I was able to extend another psychologist’s model of how personality type works onto a biblical foundation. Here is how my mind is meant to work as a Christian, with the Eternal God ruling it and the Ego (in effect, how the biblical “Spirit of Man” behaves) being subordinated to Him while being in very close touch with my inner Self.

The "Converted" ENFP Psyche (After Haas/Hunziker)

The “Converted” ENFP Psyche (After Haas/Hunziker)

I used to have discussions of my studies of this particular topic on this blog and on another which I took down. Perhaps, should my very limited time allow it, I can start such discussions again.(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Culture, Daily Life, Despair.com, Humor, Inspirational Posters, Internet, Personality Type, Psychology | 4 Comments

TW COMMENTARY: A METAPHYSICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM?

Metaphysical Research Programs

Metaphysical Research Programs

2016-06-30 @ 10:45 CDT

This Commentary under my byline (real name, not pen name) may be found on the Tomorrow’s World Web site, and is a publication of the Living Church of God. – (יוחנן רכב)

Is the idea that the universe and everything in it—including life—came to be and then evolved by solely natural causes “just a theory”? Or is it something else entirely?

Sir Karl Popper (1902–1994) is regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers of science. Few if any knew the implications of evolution better than he. His answer to the above questions is telling. He called evolution, taken in the broadest possible sense, a “metaphysical research program” (Werner Gitt, In the Beginning Was Information, chapter 6.4, paragraph 11). What did Popper mean?

If evolution, taken in that broad sense, were simply a physical research program, then it would limit itself to studying the physical origins and history of the universe and of life within it. Then evolution really would be “just a theory”—a scientific explanation of physical reality that could be tested and, should the physical facts demand it, disproved. But Popper called evolution a metaphysical research program—an attempt to address questions which actually are beyond the scope of natural science. Among those questions are: What is the origin of the universe? What is its first cause? What is the ultimate reason for the existence of the universe? Is its existence even necessary? If those questions sound familiar, they should. They are the same questions religious people ask, all around the world. These same questions are asked by scientists who believe in special creation and intelligent design, rather than in evolution.

(Read more…)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, Internet, Science, YouTube | 1 Comment

HEADS OF MICE, OR TAILS OF A LION?

The Puzzle of Europe

The Puzzle of Europe

2016-05-27 @ 08:30 CDT

This blog is a stub – one meant to keep as a “ready reference” an interesting (if short) article on EurActiv.com. The article is entitled, “Conflict analyst: EU would have ‘second most powerful military on Earth'”. I can well believe it. So why not have it? I mean in Europe’s long-term, if totally carnal self-interest.

 Jesús Núñez (EFE) - c/o EurActiv.com

Jesús Núñez (EFE) – c/o EurActiv.com

The original article is in Spanish. Here is a quote from the English version:

The EU would have “the second most powerful military” in the world if its members pooled its resources, insisted the co-director of the Institute of Studies on Conflict and Humanitarian Action in an interview with EurActiv Spain.

“If we added the capabilities we have in the EU together, we would automatically become the second most powerful military force on Earth and the reason we aren’t is because there is no political will. This is because each national government would rather be the head of a mouse rather than the tail of a lion,” said Jesús Núñez, a conflict analyst.

According to Núñez, the EU has reached a point where it has to decide whether “to remain the eternal adolescent, going cap in hand to its parents, the US within the framework of NATO, at the weekend because it doesn’t want to fly the nest and be responsible for its actions” or finally become “master of its own destiny and focus on European defence”.

That is certainly the problem – no surprise really, given European history: “Each national government would rather be the head of a mouse rather than the tail of a lion.” But be careful what you wish for, Mr. Núñez – you might get it! Actually, “might” is too mild a word, because the need for a European military gets stronger every year, if not ever day. But history and biblical prophecy alike teach us a vital lesson: each time that lion arises, it’s trouble not just for Europe, but for everybody else within reach.

The biblical book of Revelation speaks of a time when, yet once more, the mice will get together to form a lion:

(Rev 17:12 RSV) And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.
(Rev 17:13 RSV) These are of one mind and give over their power and authority to the beast…
(Rev 17:17 RSV) for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and giving over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

The Living Church of God publishes two booklets on the topic and related topics: Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled!, and The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality? – in addition to many broadcasts found on the Tomorrow’s World Web site. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, Internet, World News | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

OPPOSITES ATTRACT

Love, Anime Style - Poster (c/o DIY.DESPAIR.COM)

Love, Anime Style – Poster (c/o DIY.DESPAIR.COM)

2016-05-25 @ 22:00 CDT

(I post-date this blog because I’ve been too busy to write this news. The date above is the date of the event, if not the exact hour.)

I never thought I’d see this day. I am actually engaged to be married at 56 years old (almost 57) – with Yisraela Batya, who is relatively older (in-joke). This will be my first marriage – as YB would put it, her only real marriage. The date has been set for August 21. The wedding will be small and private.

We have already picked out the rings, and by a feat of HTML legedermain, I was able to copy the images off the appropriate Web sites. It seems easiest just to repeat our stories as recited on Facebook, word for word.

Yisraela's Ring (Style)

Yisraela’s Ring (Style)

Last night was date night. Technically, every night is some form of date night. When we started out setting aside a night just for a date, we weren’t seeing each other every night already. But we are a strange couple.
I had been sending John links to jewelry stores on line for it seems like months. It probably hasn’t been however. I was as subtle as a fly buzzing around your head at night. And he saved every link. What a guy he was and is.
One night recently he opened some links while I was there and asked me subtly of course, what kind of ring would you like? I am someone who loves vintage everything. And there it was. He loved it, I loved it. He saved it to his files as being the one he’d purchase.
Then he sent me the next day the ring he wanted. I agree it is John. We both love the rings we picked out for ourselves and each other. So now we just have to order them. And I can’t wait!
I arrived for date night, he had me listen to a song he has been working on and perfecting for years, before I ever moved here. I think if there is anything perfect in this world, this song along with the writer qualifies. It gave me chills.
Then after talking for a bit, he began talking about us. And he said I had planned on doing this under the moonlit sky like you had mentioned. By now I was becoming more curious. And he said I know the setting isn’t what I had thought of, but the time was right.
“Will you marry me?”
I teared up as I thought about how many ups and downs we’d had in just trying to help each other through our many struggles. And how far we had come and how much God has made our love grow. I’ve never had anyone so gentle, kind, compassionate, committed, and determined on not giving up on us,like John.
When the man asks you if you will marry him, and you know it is God’s plan, and you feel for him as he does you, the only answer is “yes.” He took my hand, and kissed it. He told me how much he loves me and said, “We don’t have the rings yet, but we will order them.” But it just seemed like the right time and place to ask you first.
No one has worked so hard to help me, keep me, and remain loyal and true than this very special man. Our rings amazingly have similarities and I have never seen one like the one we picked for me. And the one John wants is just like him. So unique, so special. So about 8pm Wed evening he proposed to me. When we order the rings we can always photograph them and put them up for our friends and family to see. I have had so many pieces of jewelry in my life from diamonds to Sapphires to Jade and some others. This one is so beautifully unique. I’ve never seen another one like it.
Just like I’ve never known a man as unique and wonderful as John. My love and respect continues to grow. And we’d not be as far as we are if not for our love. I guess the polite thing to do here is to let my beloved say his peace too.
I am one of the most blessed woman in the world. I love you John….forever and eternally.❤

Johanan's Ring (Style)

Johanan’s Ring (Style)

My turn for storytelling: The song I was working on so hard for so long, and especially these last several days, is entitled “Hey, Christopher Alain”. I use two programs (apps, they’re all called these days), Finale and Scala, to create and then to re-tune musical sound files on my computer. I’ve been learning some special tricks on Finale which have vastly improved the results.

The more I gave the “final push to perfection” on the song yesterday, the more the effort seemed to express my love and emotions for Yisraela Batya. (If sung by a man to a woman, the title is “Lady Selene” – just for the record.) If only it were so prepared for another time, I thought, more appropriate for asking YB formally to marry me – when we both had our rings, for example. Well, when YB heard the song and responded so positively to it, I realized then was the time to ask her – but (true to form) not without expressing a little regret for the exact time and place. But I wanted the time and place to be spontaneous and a surprise anyway.

I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep last night. I made the half-mistake of listening to the song one more time, and discovered why some voices just weren’t “speaking” in the middle of the song (they needed to be raised an octave). That exposed some other harmonic errors which I needed to correct too. (As they say in computer programming, “there’s always one more bug.”) But this late morning, the score finally is what it is intended to be. I wish you all could hear it.

woodbar

Hey, Christopher Album (Earthlight Orchestra)

Hey, Christopher Alain (Earthlight Orchestra)

I have yet to publish the “perfected” version of “Hey, Christopher Alain” (“Alain” is just pronounced as “Alan”, although the original Scottish and French pronunciations differ), but I just remembered that one can order earlier versions of the song via my CDBaby page (Earthlight Orchestra). This version (not the same as the original single, advertised above) was published in honor of, and about the time of, New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto.

I will have to find some way of publishing the latest version. The application of Finale’s Garritan instruments – to say nothing of other small but vital refinements – makes that version sound light-years ahead of this one, which is only MIDI-to-WAV.

woodbar

As for the rings: My ring is tungsten (so it says – why not tungsten carbide, as is often used today?) with laser engraving (it probably will be narrower, as I requested 6mm rather than 8mm – tungsten is heavy). YB’s is described as “emerald-cut-genuine-aquamarine-platinum-over-sterling-silver” in the source code of the Web page which features it. The styles seem to complement each other and certainly illustrate our personalities well!❤

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Daily Life, Despair.com, Internet, Music | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

WHAT IS “NORMAL”?

The "Converted" ENFP Psyche (after Haas)

The “Converted” ENFP Psyche (after Haas)

2016-04-27 @ 12:03 CDT

“What is ‘normal’?” people ask about human behavior – sometimes seriously, sometimes as a joke. It’s a good question, but to answer it properly – I mean when the question is serious – one has to think in terms of intelligent design. Thinking in terms of unintelligent evolution leads to no answer which works for everyone. Or if an evolutionist does find such an answer, it is only because his careful observation of a universe which could not have simply evolved forces him to.

In terms of the design paradigm, “normal” – in the way I’d phrase it – means “operating according to factory specifications”. Much of the problem people have with each other is that they don’t know – or sometimes care – that “factory specs” differ from one individual to another and one group of people to another.

Unknowingly for most of my life, and knowingly and systematically for about the last 5-6 years, I’ve been seeking how different people and groups have different “factory specs” and how to explain the differences. I ought to start posting here again about some of the tools I use to explain those differences, and how diagrams such as the above summarize my own “factory specs”. (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Daily Life, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

ELEVEN AMERICAN NATIONS?

The Eleven American Nations (c/o Tufts Magazine)

The Eleven American Nations (c/o Tufts Magazine)

2016-02-22 @ 12:30 CST

Given my schedule, often I have to put something on this blog for further study, without making too many comments of my own. Here is one such item, which I spotted – somewhere – on Facebook today.

The Washington Post (November 8, 2013) cites this telling analysis by Colin Woodard (Tufts Magazine, Fall 2013) about how North America is sorting itself out into eleven distinct “nations” with very different makeups and outlooks on life. If Woodard is right – and his analysis makes a lot of sense to me – the implications not just for this election year, but our national future, are powerful.

As Woodard writes in Tufts Magazine, “Our continent’s famed mobility has been reinforcing, not dissolving, regional differences, as people increasingly sort themselves into like-minded communities.” This has great implications for dealing with violence-related issues such as gun control and the death penalty, again as Woodard notes. It seems unlikely that these eleven distinct “nations” can come to a consensus on these or any other major issues – at least any which will satisfy everybody. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, World News | Tags: , | 1 Comment

GRAVITY WAVES

Simulation of Two Black Holes Merging (c/o NPR)

Simulation of Two Black Holes Merging (c/o NPR)

2016-02-21 @ 12:15 CST

Undoubtedly there are many great articles out there regarding the recent discovery of “gravity waves”, but this page on the National Public Radio (NPR) site (another article is found on this page) has the virtue of being simple to understand, yet thorough enough to be helpful. It also features the graphic shown above and a very helpful video. This is an important confirmation of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity (an NPR commentary on this confirmation is here).

But a comment in that last article (by Linda Wertheimer) seems to me to be an overstatement at best. “Albert Einstein… developed his theory of general relativity in the early 20th century, and in 1915, he announced his theory that space and time are woven together and that events in the universe can cause space and time to move, to bob and jiggle, to stretch and ripple. Einstein’s ideas overturned previous ideas of an orderly universe where planets and solar systems revolved in a calm and eternal magnificence.”

It is the alleged overturn of the idea of “orderliness” which I’d like to challenge. We know more about just how orderly the Universe is than when Einstein was alive – let alone his predecessors in cosmology, Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, and Ptolemy, going back in time. Without the order inherent in natural law on the one hand and the human mind on the other, Einstein could not have made his theories and their predictions to begin with.

Even chaos is governed by natural law. One example of this is the random walk in mathematics. What Einstein and others have done – for this is how science progresses – is overturned a number of oversimplified ideas about how the Universe is ordered. The possibilities which exist within that order are mind-boggling – and that, to me, is the point. They bear witness, as even Einstein the deist confessed in his own way, to a Supreme Intelligence whose thoughts and workings should leave us all in utter awe.

(Proverbs 25:2 RSV) It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Science, World News | Tags: , | 1 Comment

MEDITATING ON THE TETRAGRAMMATON (YHWH)

The Tetragrammaton (Psalms 96:10, Hebrew Masoretic Text)

The Tetragrammaton (Psalms 96:10, Hebrew Masoretic Text)

2016-02-07 @ 15:30 CST

In our common English Bible versions, in the “Old Testament” (and in translations of the Jewish Tanakh), we see very frequently “the LORD” (normally as “small caps”) as opposed to “the Lord”. “The Lord” most frequently represents the Hebrew Adonay (אדני), and sometimes Adon (אדן) or ha-Adon (האדן). But when we see “the LORD”, and also “GOD” as representing Elohim (אלהים), almost always the original Hebrew word actually is the famous “Tetragrammaton”: Yehawweh (יהוה). The Hebrew Masoretic reading tradition instructs the reader to substitute Adonay or Elohim for Yehawweh, and to avoid trying to pronounce the latter – and our common English versions reflect this instruction faithfully.

Yet the same reading tradition makes it possible to know, and to reconstruct correctly, the original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. Its pronunciation was never lost – only kept hidden. Of course the original meaning was never lost either, as it is clearly translated in both Testaments (“the Eternal” is an effective one-phrase rendering).

I am jumping ahead of myself here in giving the pronunciation Yehawweh, because while the famous academic consensus, Yahweh, is valid biblical Hebrew, it is not correct biblical Hebrew – for reasons I shall explain. What I mean is while the ancient Hebrews could have used Yahweh, because it follows the rules of their language, the evidence is they actually did not use Yahweh – but used Yehawweh instead.

My first clue in unraveling the mystery came thanks to the work of the late Suzanne Haik-Vantoura (hereafter SHV), The Music of the Bible Revealed. The Hebrew Masoretic Text contains not only consonants, but vowel-points and melodic accents, which together preserve its “reading tradition”. “Letting the Bible interpret the Bible”, SHV not only deciphered the original melodic meaning of the accents, but inferred that the melodies they preserved were as old as the words and were created by the same authors. This means we must pay close attention to how (יהוה) is accented, for the accents – particularly in Psalms 96:10 – imply a specific number of syllables and what kinds of vowels should be used as well. Originally, (יהוה) had three syllables, not two, and also had a vowel pattern related to those of Adonay and Elohim which substitute for it (short-long-long). This rules out the academic inference Yahweh, and it also rules out any and all other inferences which refuse to take the Masoretic “reading tradition” as ancient and authoritative.

My second clue came thanks to an out-of-print book, 201 Hebrew Verbs (Barron’s Educational Services, Inc.), by the now-deceased Prof. Abraham S. Halkin. In his table of conjugations for the root *hayah, we find the following:

*Hayah in Modern Hebrew (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

*Hayah in Modern Hebrew (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

In two stems of the verb root, the masculine 3rd person singular gives us exactly the vowel pattern we need to be consistent with the accents. Which one should we choose: yehawweh (Pi`el stem) or yehuwweh (Pu`al stem)?

*Hayah - Pi`el and Pu`al forms (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

*Hayah – Pi`el and Pu`al forms (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

Pu`al is reflexive, and would make (יהוה) a created being. But (יהוה) is the uncreated Creator – so the intensive Pi`el is what we should accept. But I wondered if Prof. Halkin read rather too much into both verb stems. Surely it is the context, not the verb stem itself, which makes (יהוה) out to be the Eternal Creator God. Besides, it is freely acknowledged that the real root of (יהוה) is the older form *hawah. The conjugation of the Pi`el stem, were *hayah the actual root, would be notably different. It would have the letter yod, not the letter waw or vav, in the middle of any resulting verb form.

I learned this last fact much later from a book published by the same company, 501 Hebrew Roots by Shmuel Bolosky. The Pi`el stem of *hayah appears in Mishnaic Hebrew, and its masculine 3rd person singular would be yehayyeh, as given below. Prof. Bolosky notes its meaning as “bring into existence, produce”, which sheds light on why Prof. Halkin took yehawweh to mean “form, constitute”. But again, given the biblical context, surely God’s eternity is stated directly by the word, and only by context His capacity as Creator. Or is there something more than the verbal context that may be considered?

Yehayyeh - Mishnaic Hebrew (c/o Shmuel Bolosky)

Yehayyeh – Mishnaic Hebrew (c/o Shmuel Bolosky)

First, let us take (יהוה) as it appears in Psalm 96:10 – where the accentuation required is completely beyond dispute – and re-point it so that the word may be pronounced according to its original Pi`el stem:

Yehawweh - Pi`el Stem With Accents (Based on Psalms 96:10)

*Yehawweh – Pi`el Stem With Accents (Based on Psalms 96:10)

Some years ago, after I got this far in my research, I gave a presentation in London on SHV’s work. Before I spoke, Jill Purce, a specialist in the art form called “overtone chant”, demonstrated various applications of the art, including the series of vowels which alone give the entire ascending harmonic series in its results. Jill linked this series of vowels to Yahweh, which of course is the academic consensus. I explained to her, and to the rest of my audience, that Yahweh doesn’t have all the vowels required for what she did – but that Yehawweh does. In effect, Yehawweh is a transcription into Hebrew of a specific way of producing the harmonic series.

Another Jewish author and mathematician, Stan Tenan, showed me years ago a thesis: what scientists call the “Big Bang” may be described mathematically as an impulse generating the entire harmonic series (and, I presume long after the fact, the interactions of these waves). After hearing Jill’s presentation, I remembered what Stan told and showed me.

On the basis of all of the above, I submit that Yehawweh is the most “onomatopoeic” word known to man. Its sound represents the creation of all things by an Eternal Creator God, and thus who and what God fundamentally is.

But let us turn the question inside out. This multiple “coincidence” between sound, meaning, and location in Hebrew grammar, so far as I can see, could only happen if the root system of Hebrew – indeed, I suspect, of the whole Semitic language family – originally was constructed with the sound transcribed by Yehawweh as its ultimate basis. This means that Yehawweh – which, incidentally, would have been spelled Yehawwey (יהוי) in old Hebrew – is older, far older, than Hebrew itself. According to the Bible – by implication at least – it likely was the first or second word Adam heard from another. “Who are You?” was perhaps his first question to that Other. “(I am) Yehawweh” is the obvious answer. That name would have indicated to Adam its meaning by its very sound, whether or not Adam then had the capacity to understand its full implications.

The name Yehawweh, then, is itself positive evidence of His existence, eternal power, and Godhead. It points to who and what He is: the Eternal Creator God. His signature is written in mathematical and acoustical law, as it were. Yet so much more important to Him is the meaning of His name than the phonetics of His name that He hid the latter in plain sight from us in the Hebrew Masoretic Text – even while making sure the meaning of His name was never lost from view. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Hebrew, Language, Music | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS: INFJ PARANOIA

Original Photo c/o The Official Grumpy Cat

Original Photo c/o The Official Grumpy Cat

Yes, the INFJ I’m courting – who is a huge Grumpy Cat fan – agrees this is true. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Grumpy Cat, Humor, Internet, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“DRAMA” IN THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD

Siberian Tigers Fighting (c/o Google Images)

Siberian Tigers Fighting (c/o Google Images)

2016-01-22 @ 11:00 CST

My apologies for the length of this post—I hope it will make the content more useful to the reader, not less.

The online Urban Dictionary is one of my “resources of last resort” in searching out information on our popular culture. I don’t recommend using that resource except as such a “last resort”. Its content reflects the increasingly vulgar, antisocial, and unspiritual nature of modern American society. That said: the fact that people “on the street”—sometimes, as it appears, with rather impressive credentials and/or positive life experiences—contribute anonymously to its definitions can make the resource unexpectedly useful at times.

At this writing, what “drama” means in our society, and how one should respond to it, has been the focus of conversation in some corners of Facebook. Ironically, Facebook is one of the best tools there is for breeding and transmitting “drama” such as the Urban Dictionary defines it. Not for nothing does a pastor I know, citing direct experience, call Facebook “Two-Facebook”. Users of Facebook acting one way In Real Life and another on Facebook, or two different ways on different parts of Facebook, pose one of Facebook’s most common problems.

At any rate, in hopes of lending clarity to the discussion of “drama”, I give the Urban Dictionary’s best “take” on the word. Now please understand: the following definition, useful as it is for understanding “drama” and related words in popular culture, is not to be applied to anyone who has genuine, deep problems—either by the person with such problems or by any onlookers.

DRAMA
A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or greatly exaggerates the importance of benign events.
Typically “drama” is used [that is, applied by or engaged in] by people who are chronically bored or those who seek attention.
People who engage in “drama” will usually attempt to drag other people into their dramatic state, as a way of gaining attention or making their own lives more exciting.
Common warning signs/risk factors of drama or a dramatic person are:

1. Having one supposedly serious problem after another.
2. Constantly telling other people about one’s problems.
3. Extreme emotionality or frequently shifting, intense emotions.
4. Claiming to have experienced negative events that are highly implausible.
5. A boring job or mundane life.
6. Making claims without sufficient evidence or a lack of detail about supposedly serious events.
7. A pattern of irrational behavior and reactions to everyday problems.

[Examples of use of the word “drama”, or of what that word represents, as given by the contributor:]

Sarah had a slight fever and mild cough. She decided to use drama, in order to receive sympathy and attention, so she told everyone she was deathly ill.
Debra lost her keys then spent four hours crying and yelling at her husband.
Mary did not answer her cell phone for an hour, so John feared that she had died in a horrible car accident.
Someone stole Steve’s can of Coke from the break room fridge, now he believes that someone at work is trying to destroy him.

by AgActual December 23, 2009

Others on Urban Dictionary, trying to explain what “drama” means in popular culture, note that 1) backstabbing, gossip, blackmail, and related negative social actions are very frequently involved with what our society calls “drama”; 2) women and teenage girls in our society increasingly thrive on that kind of “drama”; 3) there is a strong element in such severe “drama” of trying to get someone else involved in whatever argument is going on, and to get that other person to take one’s side against the other person in the argument, with partiality; 4) some contributors say sarcastically that one should “seek professional help” for an addiction to causing such “drama”, or “if all else fails”, one should “grow up”. (Radical immaturity certainly is associated with “drama” as our popular culture defines it—hence both the pieces of advice in point 4).)

There is a strong bias in the contributions as nobody singles out men as being “dramatic” in this way. But far too many men are. (Some of them are running for President this year.)

Nobody giving input to the Urban Dictionary calls trying to help others in a legitimate way, dealing with real crises in one’s life or the lives of others, telling others about a long chain of legitimate problems, or anything else which a Christian should do with or to other people, “drama”. Such edifying actions are not part of the popular definition of the word—that much needs to be made crystal clear! And while there are warnings in the Bible against getting involved—at least improperly—with that kind of “drama” in others, there are also examples and forms of encouragement for those who can make peace in such situations. I want to study those various passages to get a fuller picture before saying anything more about the biblical teaching and example.

But going beyond what the Urban Dictionary talks about, there is such a thing as denigrating the real problems of others—as if the problems were “all in their head”, being exaggerated for the sake of attention, and so on. Unfortunately, these days I hear plenty about that sort of denigration, especially by people who don’t understand anything about those who suffer from depression, PTSD, or other psychological problems. Such people often mistake the symptoms of some or all of these problems for the symptoms of immature, self-serving “drama”.

But let’s stop and think, using both “head sense” and with “heart sense”. People who are “dramatic”, in the way the Urban Dictionary would describe the problem, are so because they want to be—but nobody wants to struggle all their lives against the effects of a trauma. But to struggle against the effects of trauma is not immaturity—it is courage of the first rank. It is the human mind using its God-given capacity to seek internal balance against all opposition.

In particular, speaking of those who are traumatized through bad family relationships, the way they understand and interpret parent-child relationships especially is compromised. (I speak as a student of personality type models—this is the consistent observation I’ve made to date, about people who suffer from PTSD of this sort.) Frequently this compromises how such people deal with God on the one hand and legitimate human authority on the other, unless God intervenes. This is not immaturity—it is normal reaction to abnormal conditions.

I think that one of the ongoing crises among the faithful will be telling the difference between people with deep, legitimate problems and people who are addicted to immature, self-serving “drama”—and knowing what to do with each class of people.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Google, Internet, Urban Dictionary | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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