File:Almeida Júnior - Saudade (Longing) - Google Art Project.jpg

Saudade: José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior (1850–1899)

The rationality of a particular person’s emotional response to a stimulus is what is being presented as the alleged inability of a person to elicit an emotional response from another person. It is generally accepted that there are basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise; Paul Ekman, 1972) whose existence surpass the bounds of culture and literacy. In essence they are not learned behaviors. Emotions such as the schadenfreude in German and saudade in Portuguese are commonly expressed as emotions in their respective languages, but lack an English equivalent.

Take the Portugese word saudade, often interpreted as “the love that remains”. The argument that a person can choose to have this particular emotional response to a loved one’s passing has no basis in reality. The event of that person’s passing whether in death or otherwise, affects a response. The emotional investiture of your relationship with that person can determine the sociological rationality for a particular response to that event. In fact, the lack of a sociologically acceptable reaction by a person who has experienced something that should cause an emotional response is considered a pathology (blunted affect, alexithymia) . The reaction to that emotional response is a choice, suicide, closure, etc. But the emotional response itself is real and uncontrollable, it is not a learned behavior or a choice. The choice comes in our response to the effect of the event that caused the emotion. If you subscribe to the Lovheim cube of emotion then the emotional response is derived by the release of three signal substances (dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin) resulting in eight basic emotions (shame, contempt, joy, fear, distress, surprise, excitement, and anger). In other words you can no more control the emotional response to an event than you can choose to release a particular neurotransmitter from a set of neurons in the autonomic nervous system. What does affect the transmission of these chemicals into a person’s system is that person’s physiological and psychological state at the time the event is experienced. There may be a level of choice in these characteristics of a person’s state.

With respect to trust, yes there are strings attached. Of course there are strings attached. The definition of trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Trust is a heuristic approach to dealing with the problem of stability in a relationship. It is based on the belief that a person will behave within a set of expectations resulting from one’s experience with that person or thing, or things of a similar nature. If I said “I don’t trust that dog” what I mean is I believe it is unpredictable – it is difficult to anticipate its behavior; its behavior is unexpected. The same goes with people. If I say I don’t trust people, what I am trying to say is that, in my experience people do not behave the way I expect them to. In that sense, expectations could be called strings. And they are my expectations, which may differ from another person’s expectations. But there are society wide expectations that are applicable to everyone who, by virtue of living in that society are bound by that society’s social contract. Social morays are one example. These expectations may change over time as evinced in our own day and age.



saddle-horn2I have wanted to start a blog for several years and have held off due to a feeling of anxiety over what people might think of what I had to say.  In the end I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I’m disappointed to find out that I’ve constrained myself so much by the opinions of others.  I’m writing despite my own anxiety so if you have a comment, be gentle.

I have too many hobbies to really be able to label any of them hobbies.  Overall I just enjoy being outside with my family.  I enjoy dirt bike riding, horse back riding and any outdoor activity that involves working with dogs.  A while back we bought a fairly decent camera and I’ve  had fun pretending to know how to use it.  I hope to have some photographs included in upcoming entries, like the one attached here.  There seems to be a lot of help on the Internet for amateur photographers so if the first few pictures are not very good, there’s still hope.

Lately I’ve been looking for a place just to write down some thoughts in a setting a little more formal than what I have done in the past (I have several journals and notebooks).  Most of what I write on will likely deal with history, society, politics, religion, and physics. I enjoy learning about physics and attempting to apply its concepts and laws to other arenas of life. In the case that the post is not covered by one of the above topics, it will likely be concerned with nothing in particular. Nothing in particular may include horse back riding, dogs, coffee, the joy of living with my family on the plains of eastern Colorado, or the general oddity of life.  I don’t expect a lot of readers.  But I appreciate the opportunity to have a place to collect my thoughts.   I look forward to writing again.  Until later…

Society as Entropy

The following is a conversation that took place on a social media website following the first day of legal, recreational marijuana sales in Colorado. I thought the views expressed were interesting and I enjoyed participating in and reading the discussion. Ultimately, the comments resolve to a discussion of religion so for those who are uninterested in such things, you may want to skip this post. The names have all been changed and I, the author of this blog, represent one of the views expressed. I hope that’s not pretentious or self-aggrandizing. Continue reading

The Relativity Theory of History

HistorybooksThere are many running theories on how to appropriately record history for posterity’s sake. I would consider myself an armchair historian, not a scholar or professional but I have read or heard a lot of differing perspectives on the topic. I have recently finished two books on the history of the United States – the first “A Patriot’s History of the United States” by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, and the second “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn. These two lengthy volumes represent two very different perspectives on the history of the U.S. and the experience of having read both has got me to thinking. Which version is the truth? Which author is being honest? I have come to the conclusion that both accounts are true as opposed to the common view that reality  lies somewhere in the middle of the telling. The issue is perspective. Continue reading

Falling off the shoulders of genius – Part 1

Do you ever feel like you’re position in life is so precarious its as if you were perched up on someone else’s shoulders. Someone who really has no business holding anyone up but themselves to begin with. I have that feeling a lot. Except the position I am describing is intellectual and my supporters, giants! Continue reading


“Theology without action (praxis) is the theology of demons.”
~ St. Maximos the Confessor

When Jesus said, “You are gods,” “be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” or “the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” this is to be taken literally.

~ Translators note from Theosis: The true purpose of human life

This may seem a trivial reference when considering matters of faith, but in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End”, the pirate Will Turner says something to his friend Jack Sparrow that I think, sums up, at least at this point in my life, what is the primary deficit in my capacity for progress toward union with Christ.

Synopsis:  When Capt. Jack Sparrow learns the method of gaining command of the Flying Dutchman (by stabbing the heart of its captain), and in turn gaining immortality aboard the magical ship, he begins to have visions of sailing the high seas forever, “free from death itself”.  His plans however do not take into account the purpose of the Dutchman and her crew – to ferry souls to the afterlife, and Mr. Turner has to inform his friend, “You’ve got to do the job though, Jack. You have to ferry souls to the next world. Or end up just like [Davy] Jones.”  This may seem an odd metaphor for the Christian experience but bear with me and I will attempt to explain. Continue reading


I like Pelicans.  There are either several difficult to define reasons for this or maybe no particular reason at all. To be honest I am not exactly sure where the predilection originated, but I’ve read several things that give me a deeper appreciation for the animal due to my religious beliefs.  The pelican has Christological significance and was identified in the second century as a metaphor for the concept of sacrificial remediation.  Below is an excerpt from a another website regarding the appearance of the pelican in a book called the Physiologus. Continue reading