Saturday, November 19, 2011

A letter to Lance

On what would have been my father's birthday, I took a break from reading and wrote a letter to Lance.

Dear Lance and the livestrong team,

Hope it’s OK to call you Lance, as Mr. Armstrong doesn’t seem to fit
among fellow cyclists.

I’ve been meaning to write to you for many years, but never gotten
around to it, knowing that you must get like a million messages, but
here’s one more.

On the day that would have been my father’s birthday I want to thank
you, you’d been an inspiration for me and my family in more than one way.

The first and most obvious is the cycling part. About the same times as
your first come back in 1999 I started to take cycling more seriously
with club level racing. Trying to emulate your style of riding with a
high cadence and loving long climbs.

Some five year later comes the second and third reason to thank you for
your inspiration, as my wife and I had trouble getting a child. In the
midst of the on setting despair I said to my wife “If Lance made it
through this so can we”. Just a few months after we began our treatments
(IUF and IVF), my father (also an active cyclist) was diagnosed with
lung cancer.
Once again I said, this time to my dad, “If Lance made it through this
so can you” and he did, or much longer than the one year the doctors
said he would. Four years he lived strong and active, volunteering at schools and
raising funds as a Rotary regional governor, until he probably felt his
job was done. The day after he died was also the day I took of my yellow
band, not that I gave up on the fight against cancer, but to focus on
the memories of my father before the illness.

Two years later we adopted our daughter, she never got to meet her
granddad, but she shares the family passion for cycling. When she grows
up, she wants to be a triathlete and reach for the sky when she crosses
the finish line like the cycling boys on TV.

Riding around on your bike really can make a difference. Thank you!

-roger & family

Dad's Texan card

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Road signs

Next up is the question of symbols, extensively explained through the example of numerals and numbers. Numerals like 1,2,3.. or I, II, III are not the same as one of something, two of something a.s.o. I like to illustrate this with this Buddhist proverb:

Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?

The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng of the Zen sect
This is quite clear to all, but this is also where I hit another problem I have whit many religions. Here I refer to the many holy scripts, that are taken as "the words of God".

Many readers of these scripts are so concentrated on the story that they miss the plot altogether. The plot is great "Be compassionate towards each other", for simple folks of ancient times this was probably to abstract. The stories needed to be more concrete examples and advice for every day life at the time, and that they still are. But this doesn't make the letters (the symbols for a pronounced sound) the words of God.    

This is like taking the finger for  the moon, or the road signs for the town it points to.

Likewise, the act of doing good, being compassionate, is not the good, it's the result of  doing good that is the good.  That makes evil the result of the absent of compassion and as I stated in my previous post,

Only where and when there are beings capable of compassion, can God exist
One further danger to take the letters for the words of God, is the fact that these stories has also been used as objects of power to direct and control the actions of the subject and thous the stories have most likely been adjusted or interpreted to suit the needs of the rulers along the decades since the actual events depicted happened.

As a final note about part II of the book, reading 17th century text is hard for the untrained reader.

Now on to part III, epistemology.