Archive for March, 2011

Why I read the newspaper

It’s sad that I mostly still get the newspaper so I can grow my rubber band ball (3 yrs in the making, more than 1000 rubber bands).

I do like the business section and the comics.  The rest I can pretty much get on yahoo news or Huffington Post.  At what point will papers stop delivering paper?

Daemons and Genius

Wow, try to connect the dots on this one.

So I’m reading the book Linchpin by Seth Godin, and in that book, he references a TED presentation by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) on Nurturing Creativity (, which really is a presentation on the pre-Renaissance idea of inspiration coming from an outside source.  Gilbert’s ideas come from multiple sources, but Seth Godin states that her main source is from The Gift by Lewis Hyde.  I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if this is correct, but I just ordered it… and I’ll let you know soon.

Anyway, the Greeks called this outside force a daemon (a term I know from SunOS/UNIX programming – their Daemon lives in a box!).  This Daemon, not to be confused with a demon, was some form of divine inspiration that would interact with a person from time to time, allowing that person to do extraordinary things.  The Romans called their “spiritual sprite” a genius (from where we get the term Genie).  Their Genius lived in the walls of an artist’s studio and would come out from time to time to inspire the artist.

To me, this is a lovely notion because it means that if you do something extraordinary, you can’t take the credit for it because the extraordinary bit was done by your Genius.  It wasn’t until the Renaissance, when man became the center of everything (Humanism) that men became geniuses, rather than interacting with one.  Pre-Renaissance, men and women had a Genius; post-Renaissance men and women (where we are today) were the Genius.  Like Elizabeth Gilbert, I believe that the pre-Renaissance idea of having a Genius is a nicer notion.  It keeps artists humble, knowing that they are not entirely responsible for their work.  It also keeps depressed artists from killing themselves because the burden of being a genius was too much for them.


Get the genie out of the bottle!

Release your genius and get unburdened!

You are not the center of the universe!


Genius comes and goes, but if you are tenacious and do your part (show up and work), a genius will occasionally visit you and you’ll do extraordinary things.

Now, I am an unabashed Christian.  I know where my “genius” comes from.  It’s God.  God inspires me on occasion to do good work.  It’s not a genie or a daemon; and hopefully not a demon that does this.  God grants gifts to people, and these gifts are on loan.  The possessor of these gifts may feel like they own them, but they do not – that’s simply post-Renaissance ideology talking.  No, when I am inspired, I give praise to God because I know that He is the source of my “genius.”  And like the Greeks, the Romans, and Elizabeth Gilbert, I speak to my Genius; in my case, through prayer; recognizing that he is more than a spiritual sprite, he is the creator of all things.

Don’t worry

God requires us to have faith, to love, and to endure suffering. These three should be enough to keep us delightfully busy. We should deal with everything else as it comes along and let God worry about how it all turns out. If we don’t want to listen to what God says in his Word he punishes us by simply letting us torment ourselves for no good reason. — Martin Luther

Here’s God’s word on the matter (using the Message version of the Bible)

Matthew 6:25-34

25-26“If you decide (you are) for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

In the immortal words of Bobby McFerrin, Don’t worry, be happy (in God!)


My first day back at the old job

Yesterday I (re?)learned that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

Also, no surprise to anyone, but work can really get in the way of those things you find significant if work is not the thing you find significant.