Category: Philosophy a la kokkie

On choosing me

My sister and I were very much church brats growing up. We weren’t pastor’s kids, but my first ever friend (and, for a few weeks in the fourth grade, fiancée) was. My father was head of the Sunday School (by second grade it was my job after church to run across to the school whose premises we used for Sunday School and unlock the classes before the others arrived) and organised all the church youth camps while my mother cooked for them. My first bee sting was at one of those camps.

The second Wednesday of each month was spent playing on the church office floor while my mother received the offerings collected by the deacons during home visits the previous week. Sunday mornings I sat with my dad among the elders, and my sister sat with my mum in the choir gallery.

This is going somewhere, promise…

On the power of small things

Wow!  Two posts in one day.  I know, right?  But I saw this and it was simply too good not to share immediately (and not just because it features one of the most spectacular pieces of music ever composed).

So, it’s an advertisement for a bank (they call it an homage to their city…sure) and the bit with the girl was probably set up, but that does not make this video any less powerful.

Because the truth is, the smallest of gestures can often put great things in motion.  A smile.  A kind word.  A miniscule act of self-sacrifice.  A moment of putting another first.  An instant of compassion.

There’s this thing called the law of unintended consequences, usually applied to economics or politics, but it has bearing in our everyday lives as well.  That small act that you deem insignificant, that you maybe not even perform intentionally, can potentially have consequences that are infinitely bigger than the original act.

You might never see those results, but trust that your actions do have consequences, even the little ones.

So start paying attention to those little things you can do every day to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.  You might just be surprised at the result.

On Marriage

Hands with wedding ringsThey say there are three rings in marriage:  the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.  Four years ago today the wife and I exchanged the second of these rings.  The third started much, much earlier, but that’s a post for another day.

I consider this an accomplishment for which we’ll welcome congratulations, as many people don’t even make it this far.  In most of the Western world it is known that between forty and sixty percent of marriages end in divorce.  I once read that a very high percentage (I cannot remember the exact figure) of these marriages that fail, fail within the first two years.  That tells me the wife and I have already beaten some considerable odds to get where we are today.

And it hasn’t been easy.  There have been days where neither of us have spoken a word to each other.  There have been days when I stood at our fourth-storey window, not admiring the view, but measuring the distance to the ground and calculating whether it is high enough for a lethal fall or whether I should try and lure her onto the roof.  I’m sure there have been days where both of us simply wanted to walk out.  But we didn’t, and for that I am extremely grateful. Continue reading “On Marriage”

On owning your words

Words are important.  Since ancient times people have realised this.  

In the Judeo-Christian tradition it is believed that God spoke creation into existence.  From the ancient Jewish texts specifically grew Kabbalistic mysticism, which believed that the letters in the Hebrew alphabet had actual power to influence creation.  The most well-known manifestation of this is in the golem-myth.  Golems were creatures crafted from clay and, so the legend goes, brought to life by words inscribed on their foreheads.  And did you know the standard incantation for stage magicians, “Abracadabra“, is derived from the Hebrew words meaning, “I create what I speak”?

In Japan there is the belief called Kotodama which teaches that mystical power dwells in words and names.  And we can find similar beliefs in in the ancient Egyptian and Babylonian religions, as well as the more mystical branches of many modern-day religions.

The idea has also been used in fiction. Continue reading “On owning your words”