April 12, 2018

Comment Response

by William Goehler (author's profile)
This post is in reply to comments on:  Untitled thumbnail
(Jan. 10, 2018)

Replies (4) Replies feed

Calhoun25 Posted 1 year, 8 months ago. ✓ Mailed 1 year, 8 months ago   Favorite
Hey William,

Good to hear from you again!

Your description of your drawing taught me details that I had not explicitly picked out. I overlooked the stop sign around your head, and the octagonal shape of the hive in the background. Perhaps my mind unconsciously picked up on those features, interpreting them to give an overall impression of calm and peace. You’ve put a lot of meaning in that drawing, filling even the details with significance. As with all good art pieces, revisiting and relearning them proves worthwhile. I think carefully studying careful art like yours helps mature the soul in all sorts of directions—our ethical and aesthetic sides, for instance.

I don’t think I could fully imagine twenty years in a concrete tomb, having to interpret reality through a coffin lid. The miracle you speak of, and try to realize in others, seems to be the possibility of transcendence despite being buried alive—or as a weathered hermit might say, because of being buried alive. It sounds like the only good option you had was to break out of the fetters of “Mediocrity”, as well as to aid and abet others in their escape from “Zeitgeist”. (By the way, your phraseology of “MIA-smic” is brilliant. Might “MIA” stand for “missing in action”?) Forgive and correct me if I am misrepresenting your mission in these respects. I still have a long way to go on the quest for growth.

Your thought about truth depending on usefulness reminds me of the postmodern strain in philosophy. During the 20th century, some philosophers argued that an accurate conception of truth is one which makes it depend on societal or individual usefulness. This strain of thought clashed with some more traditional accounts of truth. I find it fascinating to hear you bringing up the idea as well. Some find postmodernist ideas more intuitive than the traditional ones.

Calhoun25 Posted 1 year, 8 months ago. ✓ Mailed 1 year, 8 months ago   Favorite
You raise a very deep question about our spiritual essence. I’m not sure I know very much about it. But I do hazard a guess every now and then. I think you are right that we almost always fail to “cultivate” our most valuable potentials. Almost all of us could become better, across various dimensions of value, if we only seriously tried: learning sculpting, developing altruistic kindness, growing a passion for scientific knowledge or spiritual truths, becoming a good singer or composer, cultivating tolerance and compassion, and the like. I am worried that almost all of us are beholden to superficial pursuits that lack spiritual and intellectual depth. Although entertainments such as televised sports and blockbuster films have their place in a happy life, providing relaxation every now and then, they shouldn’t be the source for one’s meaning in life. Rather, we should find meaning in the spiritual and intellectual aspects of life. We should break free of the superficial and artificial, and instead break for the truth, in this sense trying to stand heroically without fig leaf. Once we do so, we might begin to realize the multitudinous possibilities that you have us imagine.

I think your latest comments about the “insanity of a consumer society” might also link up here. Consumerism is spiritually and intellectually distracting. Even though the existentialist philosophers were divided on many fronts, they all more or less agreed that contemporary society has been led astray by the false currency of complacency. The individual’s appropriate response to society is to authentically seek herself out. For Kierkegaard in particular, this amounted to a deeply subjective and personal relationship with God. You might like these two slogans from Kierkegaard: “Truth is subjectivity”, and “Subjectivity is truth”. (Wonder why he splits them up?) You might be able to connect with these thoughts of his.

Calhoun25 Posted 1 year, 8 months ago. ✓ Mailed 1 year, 8 months ago     1 Favorite
I will try checking out “Becoming Ms. Burton” sometime soon. It sounds like it will be a very informative and deepening read, something to meditate on. Speaking of which, I’ll try checking out “prisonyoga.com” as well. Nice tips, William.

I typed “Damian Kevitt” into Google, and found a couple of articles on his “Finish the Ride” project. I’m pretty sure he’s the same individual that you mention. You can let me know if I’m talking about the same individual. Apparently, while on an ordinary biking trip, he was almost killed in a hit-and-run! Though his leg was amputated, he survived with spirit more than intact. He continues to cycle, hosting a “Finish the Ride” bike race in L.A. The race seems to be focused on raising awareness for bike safety, calling upon lawmakers to make roads bike-friendly, and nurturing spiritual strength and character in the face and aftermath of unexpected adversities. I admire Kevitt’s perseverance and courage in rebounding after his accident. He took his tragedy as an opportunity to spread love to others. Amazing. It sounds like he might be one of your inspirations for bringing mental collectedness and wholeness to your fellow inmates.

A quick update on my front: My birthday was about a week ago, at the time of writing this letter. One of my good friends got me a book called “Logicomix”. It’s a comic about Bertrand Russell, who was one of the foremost logicians, philosophers, and mathematicians of the 20th century. The comic has been a fun read so far. It details the personal journey of the man himself, one of the few who could justifiably claim the title to “Most Interesting Person”. But the comic also introduces the fundamentals of logic and mathematics to lay audiences. Perhaps works like “Logicomix” are a good way to stimulate intellectual and spiritual interest in contemporary consumerist culture.

Alright, that’s all for now. I will talk to you later, William.


William Goehler Posted 1 year, 7 months ago.   Favorite
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