Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune

The Titanic sails at dawn...

I. Two Books That Are Rocking My World

One is Sam Treiman’s The Odd Quantum, a conceptual overview of quantum mechanics which, unfortunately, I can only recommend to those who’ve taken some post-calculus math. (Any experience of operator theory or partial differential equations will just make this an especially fruitful read.) Previously, I’d been able to parrot what physicists like Stephen Hawking wrote about strange quantum phenomena, but this book is giving me the context to really understand why they should be the case. I’m more excited than ever about taking the Quantum Mechanics course next semester!

The other is the collection of John Paul II’s lectures on the “Theology of the Body”, it’s brilliant, and I think I’m reading it at the right time of my theological development. I’ve in the past been a bit of a rationalist or empiricist even within Catholic theology, discounting mystical explanations in favor of natural-law ones. But of late I’ve been undergoing a change of the basis on which I understand all of this (take for example my recent fascination with earthly things that are images of heavenly things), and I’m hungry for more insight. John Paul the Great has that insight in droves, exploring revelation with a perspicacious eye.

N.B. Since the basis for my theology is changing, while the object of it (fidelity to God through His Church) remains the same, I’m saying things now that I soon realize to be faulty, because I’m speculating on territory that’s newer to me. I think I’ve written some foolish things here and elsewhere; as always, my mistakes are mine and not the Church’s.

II. Great Joy in Hillsdale, IL

It’s with great pleasure that I found I can attend Erik and Katherine’s wedding after all. Marriage is always a great and beautiful sacrament, and such a couple deserves all our congratulations, rejoicing and prayers.

In other news, I’ll be in Chicago by Thursday evening, for the first time since I graduated. Hurrah!

III. You Know You’re A Catholic Nerd When…

I rarely have nightmares (or perhaps, I just rarely recall them), but recently I dreamed that I was involved in a horror-movie plot with grotesque supernatural agents out to kill me (unless, if I recall correctly, I completed their impossible scavenger hunt of sorts). I wasn’t afraid of death in the dream, but I was very diligently trying to find a priest to hear my confession before the fiends caught up with me.

UPDATE: My Real Education When I'm Home
It's amazing at times to watch TV shows I liked as a kid. Some of them are embarassing in the light of adulthood: Saved by the Bell, for example, is a plodding and skilless comedy held together only by the voice of Screech. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, by contrast, is smartly written, acted with real comic timing, and it only gets better as I get older (today I caught the episode where Carlton's guardian angel turns out to be Tom Jones, replete with a plot-advancing duet of It's Not Unusual. Stellar.)

Ditto with Pinky and the Brain, incidentally.

It is I, Don Cerebro, the mouse of La Mancha
I'm blessed with a huge frontal lobe
For a mouse with my power, it won't take an hour
I plan to take over the globe...

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

No comments: