Saturday, February 02, 2008

Where Memes Go to Die

I've recently been "tagged" with a meme.

Just in case someone has been living under a blog rock, a meme (from what I've been told) is kind of like a "flattering nod/chain letter/networking tool/fun thing to get to know people" blogging game. Someone starts something like "Name the last five sauces you've spilled on your shirt in a restaurant, and the relationship to the person you were trying to impress..." and then "tags" other people who have blogs, who are then asked to tag other people, who are then asked to tag their blogging friends.

Unfortunately, the Orthodox blogosphere is a small town. So, if you are like me and kind of like an Amway "downline", by the time a meme gets to my blog, 93% of the Orthodox bloggers that I read (and there are only a few from what I see in other people's links) have been tagged. The other 7% of Orthodox blogs are written by folks who were probably the kids who used to sit on the benches at recess and play chess instead of tag, red rover or dodge ball... their blogs are just not "fun" places and a meme on their blog would be like singing "Up From the Grave He Arose" during the Paschal liturgy. So they are meme-resisitant by nature. Anyway, what that boils down to is my blog is kind of like the elephant graveyard, meme's tend to migrate here to die. Like all things, there is a finite number of human beings on earth to tag with anything. Its like Amway: what happens when everyone in the world is a downline?

So, here's the meme that I've been tagged with by a couple friends:

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages). ("No cheating" was added by someone, probably so our inclination to either want to look smart, or humble or literate and peruse our library for an appropriate book that would present a good facade would be avoided).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I didn't cheat, but on the other hand I was tempted to cheat...I wish I could have reached for something less pretentious sounding than Vladimir Lossky, like maybe Mad Magazine's 50 Years of Don Martin. But, since I've been working on our latest radio program series on "Essence and Energies" this was the closest book to my research desk.

So here is page 123 of "The Vision of God" by Vladimir Lossky.
In the state of union we know God at a higher level than intelligence- "nous"- for the simple reason that we do not know Him at all. We have here the entry into darkness (skotos), an entry concealed by the abundant light through which God makes Himself known in His beings. Knowledge is limited to what exists; now, as the cause of all being, God does not exist, or rather He is superior to all oppositions between being and non-being.

And welcome to the Meme Graveyard.


Kenzy said...

speaking of!:]

Elizabeth said...

I have not read any Lossky.

Do you recommend this book for someone new to him, or is there a more easily accessible/understandable book you would recommend ?

James the Thickheaded said...

Fortunately by the time this meme got to me, you'd done this... not that I knew. But Lossky is difficult IN context... let alone OUT of context. I mean... just try to drop these sentences in as small talk somewhere other than a Theologians convention. For folks like me, small brains take Lossky in small bites. But consistent work at it... and we'll get through it. He is very good!

s-p said...

Hi James and Elizabeth,
I have some instructions for reading Lossky that I'll put up on the blog in a day or so that I think you'll enjoy. By the way, James... where the heck is your blog??? I see your comments posted all over the net, but your signature only links to your blank profile. Thanks!

James the Thickheaded said...

Got me. Don't have one, and don't think I'd know what to say on one if I did. I think it really helps to see someone else didn't start the dialog. You guys who do this... I've gotta hand it to you. Your radio show, too. So thanks more to you... and others... than you know, so many of us managed to wind our way into this Church. Thanks!

Katie W. said...

Hi Pithless Thoughts. I'm a longtime OLIC podcast devotee, and a recent Pithless Thoughts subscriber. So, here's my crack at meme-ing

Thanks for giving this "seeker" a safe, informative place to learn about the Orthodox Church...and other things, like Memes.

John said...

"would be like singing "Up From the Grave He Arose" during the Paschal liturgy"

A great big Chris Matthews-style HA!

You are best. Teach me, O Wise One ;)

Nicodemus said...

Man, I loved Don Martin! I especially liked how well he could phonetically spell out a sound effect, like "kkssshh" for breaking glass or "braaaap" for a classless belch (not that any are classy!).

Mind you, I love deep theology too, but I have to agree with Elizabeth, this was a bit heady for me. Looking forward to your "Lossky for Dummies" blog.