The Prism Has Many Faces

I have found often, as a somewhat obsessively reflective and philosophical observer of life, that often what appear to be different problems are interrelated and interconnected so that the problems cannot be solved in isolation but must be tackled together.  It would be much easier if they could be taken in isolation, but life is often full of such turbulent and overdetermined problems so massive that they cannot be ignored.

Instead of seeing the problems this blog (or its author) addresses as two-dimensional problems addressed in isolation without any context, it is best and most profitable to understand that the problems I deal with are generally so massive that they cannot be dealt with in a single pass, but must be examined from different perspectives, like the different faces of a prism.  As the light reflects slightly differently through its many faces, the same problem can look unfamiliar when examined through its many faces.

This blog, despite the massive number of posts and the seemingly disparate topics addressed in it, really deals with only a few subjects from a broad approach, encompassing fields as widely separated as textual analysis, speculative philosophy, and even creative fiction to tackle a small but critical set of massive problems.  It is the purpose of this particular note to give an overview of one of the most essential and complicated problems that this blog deals with and that gives the blog its name.

Though I have commented in other places about the title of this blog, Edge Induced Cohesion [1] [2] [3], I thought it worthwhile to examine why the problem is so important that it gives its title to the blog and serves as the touchstone to so many of my posts, providing a subtle context for the discerning reader as to the importance of the subject and its relationship with my body of writing within this blog as a whole, as well as my own personal life that inspires and informs my work.

To change metaphors midstream, the biggest topic I deal with is the problem of a shattered mirror–trying to find out how it shattered, whose fault it was, and whether the mirror can be repaired or whether it must be replaced altogether.  Rather than one mirror, it is a set of interrelated mirrors.  Some of these mirrors are personal–the breakup of my family, my own deeply scared heart and spirit.  Other mirrors are about larger societies, such as the division of churches, the breakup of cultures, or the secessions and rebellions of nations.  My interest in the Civil War, an interest fostered by my father and deeply related to my own personal upbringing and savage childhood, as well as my interest in uprisings and secession movements around the world, as well as my interest in the asabiya black hole of the Church of God (whose crises in 1995 and 2010 have been rather critical to my own personal life) and the analogous asabiya black hole of Somalia are all related to the larger aspect of separation and divorce, of the absence of legitimate authorities or the abuse of the helpless by those who present themselves as legitimate authorities that has made my personal life so fraught.

These problems are of a deep and urgent nature.  I long to enjoy the love and unity of a caring family.  I wish to marry and have children someday.  I wish to be a part of God’s family, to be a part of a virtuous culture and a godly nation.  And yet I have seen very little in the flesh of what I want to enjoy for myself.  I have seen some, enough to have some hope that I may break the vicious cycles that have marred my own life, but not enough to feel as if the task is a cakewalk by any means.  That which I desire to do is ambitious and worthwhile, so of course it would be daunting, as it could hardly be any other way.

To return to the original metaphor, the prism I spend so much time examining is complicated because it deals with essentially important matters.  Ultimately speaking, the questions of love and belongingness, of legitimacy and abuse, deal with the purpose for the institutions of family, church, and nation, as well as with the relationship of human beings and the law of God.  It just so happens that, unusually, I have an interest in the many different angles of these dark struggles, from the analysis of obscure biblical laws and their interpretations to the dark repercussions of abuse and tyranny in families, churches, and nations to the longing to help create and develop what has rarely, if ever, been seen on the face of the earth.

Since we are to develop the character of God through obedience to Him and through loving Him as our Father and loving our fellow brothers and sisters on this earth, we must seek to understand both His law and His love.  Since God is sovereign over all realms–whether thought or deed or action, whether the individual, the family, the business, the congregation, the community, the nation, we must understand the laws and principles that govern our behavior in these different spheres of human activity, lest we mistakenly and foolishly consider ourselves to be without guidance or instruction in any of these matters.

And so I turn the prism and examine the problem from one angle and then another, at this point taking a broad brush and sketching out the contours of the cosmic scope of the problem, and at another time patiently and slowly and obsessively drawing in the precise details of one face, and then another, of that leaf or branch, or of that flower or cloud or stream, or of that corpse or those gloomy ruins.  For those who join me in this quest, whether it is for a moment or for the long haul, I appreciate the company.  I could not hope to begin to accomplish the task without the help of others.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/lines-drawn-in-the-sand-the-process-of-edge-induced-cohesion/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/from-one-many-musings-on-ethnogenesis/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/an-introduction-of-sorts/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American Civil War, American History, History, Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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