On Theological Method and Theoretical Physics

On Theological Method and Theoretical Physics

Posted on:Jul 30 2009
Captured by:

As time passes it grows clear for me how I should pursue my theological reflection. While some scholars focus on historical and linguistic exegesis, I prefer to approach the text differently (though preliminary exegesis is often necessary). Indeed, I make the most progress by simply identifying what is plain within the text and then contemplating its patterns and their fuller implications. This can lead to fresh (sometimes revolutionary) personal understanding. This approach reminds me of theoretical physics, or of Einstein’s thought experiments.

This method is not something I determined, but rather something I have developed over a period of years. I am not saying it is the best way, but I like tentatively beginning with a simple meaning, then, I love the unfettered, soul-soaring experience of reflecting on this meaning using limitless operators such as these: “either or,” “if then,” or “what if.” I do not engage this method in order to develop absolute positions, but rather to lose myself in pure worship.

July 28, 2009

Genesis 1

Observations/Reflections: On Genesis 1
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 07/28/09
Written: 11/09/06
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

As I meditate on Genesis Chapter 1, it appears as though I don’t really need many more management books than this one. I see, immediately, some insights. But I sense much more – a depth of insights yet to be plummeted. Here are some examples:

  1. I am not the first to notice it, but it still feels original. This is because it is speaking to me where I am at in my own journey. The enormous emphasis on the fact that God saw the creation was good needs to be considered. The phraseology is very clear in the Hebrew. Can I interpret this phrase as indicating that God enjoyed the creation? At the very least, I can note that He was engaged in three activities: He built, He reviewed, and perhaps, He enjoyed. I wonder how much of our attitude towards business is culturally tainted. Business or not, I think we should be more grateful for the opportunity to create, to review, and to enjoy.
  2. In the first two days of creation (verses 1 through 9), God let things “be” (come). But on the third day He commanded the creation to produce. There is a sense here where the resources are created to somehow support the living. There is a categorical difference between how God speaks of and speaks to these elements. The former is charged to “be”; the latter is charged to produce. The nature of this production is also delineated. The former is told to teem, to fill, to increase, to multiply, and to be fruitful. In this phraseology I sense a charge to do more than duplicate, but rather to duplicate in spades. Moreover, the text stresses the phraseology according to their various kinds. From these two insights, we might say that there are at least two aspects to this production: likeness and abundance.
  3. One could spend the rest of his life speaking of significance here in verse 27, God created man in His own icon/image. The implications are overwhelming. One cannot accuse the Christian God of being anthropomorphic, but rather the Christian man as being “theomorphic”. More should be said, but this will be tasked for other observations.
  4. In verse 29, there is a clear “handoff”. One cannot deny the implications for stewardship, and for Kingdom theology in verses 28 through 31. Again, we have the injunction to be fruitful and increase, to fill the earth, but to the sixth element, man, there is an additional injunction: to subdue the rest. I think we could move past the Aristotelian-based classification systems. There are distinct categorical differences in the creation to be found in this first chapter. These categorical differences may be detected by paying close attention to the language of Elohim.

These few insights are offered only as an experiment. I was wondering if I could read twelve to fifteen chapters at a time, but I find it so difficult to breeze past truths. I could spend the rest of the year on Genesis 1. I need to strike a balance between the macro and the micro.

July 27, 2009

The Physical Expression of God’s Glory

Observations/Reflections: On the Physical Expression of God’s Glory
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 07/27/09
Written: 05/04/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

In keeping with my recent reflections upon Genesis 1, I continue to see the importance of the physical expression of God’s glory.

In some way, my deepening understanding of this point makes my work in the theology of entrepreneurship only incidental.

The entrepreneur is engaging in the physical expression of God’s glory.

July 20, 2009

Teaching as a Driver of Philosophical/Theological Breakthroughs

Observations/Reflections: On Teaching as a Driver of Philosophical/Theological Breakthroughs
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 07/20/09
Written: 02/09/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Some of the greatest of philosophical/theological breakthroughs occurred in the service of teaching. Consider the Puritans, whose pastoral orientation influenced their theological works, and Kahane, whose pedagogical motives inspired his formal work. Teaching, while seeming to take time from research is often the impetus for breakthrough.

July 8, 2009

The Incarnation Model and the Scriptures

Observations/Reflections: On the Incarnation Model and the Scriptures
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 07/08/09
Written: 05/17/07
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

If we assume that the Incarnation model and the scriptures are reliable, then we must assume that despite the many challenges there is a form of communication that is sufficient for expressing the inexpressible. The incarnation affords me a measure of peace. From the incarnation, I can conclude that there is a way forward.

July 6, 2009

Knowing Little

Observations/Reflections: On Knowing Little
Status: Transcribed and Reviewed
Published: 07/06/09
Written: 07/12/05
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

When I walk through the halls of the great libraries, I am impressed with how little I know. Part of me strains to be able to know more, to be able to claim I know more. When this striving reached his apex, I can only find relief by admitting to myself that I know very little.

There are two ways about thinking about knowing very little. When I claim to know very little I can do so relative to the amount of knowledge that is to be known, or relative to the knowledge by other men. Sadly, I know that I know very little in comparison with other men.

July 2, 2009

Improving the Conversion Sequence

Observations/Reflections: On Improving the Conversion Sequence
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 07/02/09
Written: May 2009
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

The conversion sequence is actually a function of understanding the offer. We are not optimizing the product, we are optimizing the offer. As such, we are focused on two aspects: the content and the presentation.

It may be possible to devise a heuristic wherein the optimization of the content is essentially an explanation of value proposition; and then the optimization of the presentation is mitigating against three negative factors: Confusion, aggravation and anxiety.

I have a feeling that we are close to developing something far more potent than our already successful approach.

June 29, 2009

Affirming Truths that I Have Learnt from My Study of the Puritans

Observations/Reflections: On Affirming Truths that I Have Learnt from My Study of the Puritans
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 06/29/09
Written: 02/14/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

In my recent study of the Puritan pastors and their theology, I have noted a number of truths that resonate with my own practice. Some have spurred me to intensify what I am doing, some have encouraged me to do something new, but most have simply affirmed my direction.

I will list some of these randomly from memory, later I may go back and make a more exhaustive list.

  1. The Puritans emphasized the Glory of God.
  2. The Puritan leaders were pastors and thus pastoral in their approach to theology.
  3. The Puritans viewed this life as a journey, and Christians as pilgrims in an alien land.
  4. The Puritans stressed expository analysis, followed by intense applicatory preaching.
  5. The Puritans accepted the fact that their movement had been distorted by their popular enemies.
  6. The Puritans viewed salvation as both event and process.
  7. The Puritans viewed the heart of a man as a court (this requires explanation and I will give that explanation later).
  8. The Puritans saw the whole of life as sacred.

June 24, 2009

Gerard Manley Hopkins and His Narrative Prose

Observations/Reflections: On Gerard Manley Hopkins and His Narrative Prose
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 06/24/09
Written: 04/27/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

I have been studying Hopkins in depth. As I reflect on the way he uses meter and sound, it occurs to me, yet again, that my endless project to enfold narrative with poetic rhythms and structures is still possible.

There is a way to bring rhythm and rhyme to this structure of prose. It must be subtle enough to avoid surface detection, but powerful enough to evoke the sublayers of pathos.

Hopkins’ experimentation with sound and meter encourages me.

June 21, 2009

The Conjunction of Vectors

Observations/Reflections: On the Conjunction of Vectors
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 06/21/09
Written: June 2009
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

If we think of basic quantities like N1, N2, N3 as representing or delineating a line element or vector, rather than a hyperplane or vection, we can begin to trace out how Grassmann’s algebra helps us to envision the idea of the plane element.

April 29, 2009

The Difference between Specialized Knowledge and High Intelligence

Observations/Reflections: The Difference Between Specialized Knowledge and High Intelligence
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 04/29/09
Written: 02/02/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

One must be careful not to confuse specialized knowledge with high intelligence. It’s easy to be impressed with a dense document, detailed with specialized language and concepts (particularly if they are mathematical). One might read this document and assume that the writer is highly intelligent but this is not always the case. There is a substantial difference between one with specialized knowledge and one with high intelligence. There is an ever greater difference between one with specialized knowledge and one with creative intelligence. One must learn to detect the distinctions.

April 24, 2009


Observations/Reflections: Observation on Beauty
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 04/24/09
Written: 03/10/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

If beauty is related to proportion as Aquinas and others would say, then it necessarily involves priority. For proportion is only possible through priority of dimensions.

If we then take the concept of priority, and relate it to the notion that beauty is a whole, we must recognize that there are internal aspects of beauty which may take priority over external aspects. These simple propositions reconcile much of the tension between the internal and external beauty of form. For instance, they may reconcile – to some extent – an Edwardian version of beauty with a Catholic version of beauty (Aquinas’ perspective).

April 22, 2009

Jonathan Edwards and the Concept of Beauty

Observations/Reflections: On Jonathan Edwards and the Concept of Beauty
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 04/22/09
Written: 12/15/2008
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Edwards, I think, tapped into this concept of beauty that is driving my theology of delight:

    The first instance that I remember of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words, I Tim. i.17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. As I read the words, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being seemed to diffuse my soul; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before. Never any words of scripture seemed to me as these words did.

I was reminded of Gerard Manly Hopkins’ poem, “The Windhover,” where he sees in a bird’s flight, the ecstasy of divine creation:

    I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
      dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
      Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
    High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
    In his ecstasy!

Hopkin’s stanza echoes Edward’s emotions:

    I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him forever! I kept saying, and as it were singing, over these words of scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy him; and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do, with a new sort of affection. But it never came into my thought, that there was any thing spiritual, or of a saving nature in this.
    From about that time I began to have a new kind of apprehension and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ, on the beauty and excellency of his person, and the lovely way of salvation by free grace in him. I found no books so delightful to me, as those that treated of these subjects. Those words Cant. ii.1, used to be abundantly with me, I am the Rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. The words seemed to me sweetly to represent the loveliness and beauty of Jesus Christ. The whole book of Canticles used to be pleasant to me, and I used to be much in reading it, about that time; and found, from time to time, an inward sweetness, that would carry me away, in my contemplations. This I know not how to express otherwise, than by a calm, sweet abstraction of soul from all the concerns of this world; and sometimes a kind of vision, not of fixed ideas and imaginations, but of being alone in the mountains, or some solitary wilderness, far from all mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and wrapped and swallowed up in God. The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my heart, an ardor of soul, that I know not how to express. — Works, 1.xiii.

March 18, 2009

Abiding in Christ

Observations/Reflections: Abiding in Christ
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 03/18/09
Written: 12/18/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

I sense there is a way to achieve a more profound serenity. This serenity requires a deeper understanding of the meaning, “To abide in Christ.” In my own experience, I have discovered a pervasive peace. Still I think this serenity is fuller, richer.

There is a danger; however, in that one must distinguish the difference between serenity and passivity.

A certain level of anxiety can stimulate an important proactive response. If one eliminates that internal tension, then one faces the danger of complacency, encouraging delayed, and therefore dangerous, action.

Pain has its critical place. It stimulates the survival response. If I touch the hot stove, pain protects me from extensive burns. So one must know how to embrace pain and yet maintain serenity.

March 16, 2009

Deep Connections to My Church’s Past

Observations/Reflections: On Deep Connections to My Church’s Past
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 03/16/09
Written: 01/09/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

As I work back through the various streams of Church History, it’s fascinating to discover the deep connections between my present and the church’s past. I am experiencing a deeper awareness of my puritan roots. And yet, I find a close connection to the Desert Fathers.

There are aspects of Eastern Orthodox theology that connect deeply with the longings of my soul. Bonaventure, the Catholic saint, with his deep appreciation for the diffusion of love throughout creation, can bring me to tears. The Collations have stirred me as the Philokalia.

This evening, it has been John Garry, a puritan reflecting on puritans, who has touched me deeply. It does seem that, despite my connection to these various streams, I have a special relationship with my puritan brothers.

March 6, 2009

Coping with Uncertainty

Observations/Reflections: On Coping with Uncertainty
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 03/06/09
Written: 02/08/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

    What Shall It Profit?
    By William Dean Howells
    If I lay waste and wither up with doubt
    The blessed fields of heaven where once my faith
    Possessed itself serenely safe from death;
    If I deny the things past finding out;
    Or if I orphan my own soul of One
    That seemed a Father, and make void the place
    Within me where He dwelt in power and grace,
    What do I gain by that I have undone?

Howells poem reminds me of my own journey…

When I was a child, in a moment of personal crisis, I etched out these words: “Everything is uncertain.” Then I crossed out the word “is.” Then I crossed out the word “everything.” Then I laid down my pen and wept. In time, it occurred to me that the notion of “everything” and of “is” represented some form of being and of doing (subject/predicate). From there, I concluded that I am “being” and that my effort to ascertain is “doing”. Eventually, I restored all three words of my simple sentence, and in a way, I have never moved past them. It is true I have embraced a life of faith, but not from the victory over uncertainty, but rather because of it.

February 23, 2009

Using N.T. Wright’s Theological Approach to Help Define Offer Response Optimization

Observations/Reflections: On Using N.T. Wright’s Theological Approach to Help Define Offer Response Optimization
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 02/23/09
Written: 08/11/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Could I apply Tom Wright’s approach to theology as story, his perspective on Worldview, and use it to define my approach to Offer Response Optimization (O/R=Oz)? I think there is significant possibility with this concept. I could view the cognitive science approach as story within story. I could then use the story to create heuristics.

How would this effect my outline for the O/R=Oz book?

Current approaches…

  1. Usability with Literature Review
  2. History
  3. Summary of Approaches
  4. Weakness
  5. The Proposal for a New Approach
    1. A Theological Perspective
  6. The Approach Applied
    1. Heuristics
    2. Field Tests
  7. Suggest areas of research


  1. Why would one use theology? It offers a theory of behavior, which is essentially what is needed…
  2. Could I do this in a year? Is it possible?

I think there is something profound as thinking of O/R=Oz within the context of story.

February 13, 2009

Engaging in a Deeper Level of Prayer

Observations/Reflections: Engaging in a Deeper Level of Prayer
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 02/13/09
Written: 01/08/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

It occurs to me, on the continuation of the intensity of my prayer life, that despite the hours I am currently spending in prayer, I am not engaging at the level I could be. I perceive that my prayer could be more focused. I pray for my family every day, but I do not believe I am spending the concentrated prayer for each child that I should.

February 11, 2009

The Difference between Proper Basic Understanding and more Advanced Understanding

Observations/Reflections: On the Difference between Proper Basic Understanding and more Advanced Understanding
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 02/11/09
Written: 12/22/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

It would seem that there is a kind of proper basic truth that is readily grasped by ordinary thinkers. On the other hand, there seems to be a much more complex understanding of truth that is grasped by great thinkers like Edwards or Augustine.

One must ask whether or not the deep exploration of truth that yields greater understanding provides adequate return on energy. Now the whole notion of an adequate return of energy implies a certain kind of ethic. But if we warrant, for now, that one’s life must be dedicated towards some significant achievement/output, then we might ask whether or not a satisfactory grasp of the proper basic truth is enough.

My inclination is to delve deeply, but I must wonder as to whether or not all this “delving” will yield a return that will justify its cost. In any event, I can’t stop…

February 10, 2009

Differing Opinions and the Search for Truth

Observations/Reflections: On Differing Opinions and the Search for Truth
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 02/10/09
Written: 01/08/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Among the multiplicity of differing opinions, there should be at least a general agreement that there is a multiplicity of differing opinions. Everyone does not agree. Further, most would agree with the proposition that, in some form or another, the different opinions are mutually exclusive. At least, in some ways, the two contrary positions cannot both be true. While there are those that disagree with my point, their argument is mostly negated by the fact that we disagree on this very point (pettito principi).

February 9, 2009

Deliberate Mediocrity

Observations/Reflections: On Deliberate Mediocrity
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 02/09/09
Written: 01/15/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

In some cases, in the relationship between a father and a son, it is better for the father to achieve no more than mediocrity in certain fields. His unparalleled excellence in a single field could serve as an impediment to his son.

If, however, he limits his personal achievement, he is able to gain his son’s interest in a particular field, and then give his son the opportunity to surpass him. So in some ways, and at some times, it may be best for a father to hold himself in check.

February 6, 2009

The Purest Philosophy

Observations/Reflections: On the Purest Philosophy
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 02/06/09
Written: 01/15/09
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

People at their moments of greatest joy, and especially at their moments of deepest grief, break out spontaneously in to the most profound of philosophies. It is after a great loss that you hear a person, who is normally absorbed in the day to day grind of activities, suddenly break into a profound soliloquy.

All of us are philosophers. Philosophy is how we cope. Philosophy is how we survive.

January 20, 2009

Edwardian Vision for the Glory of God

Observations/Reflections: Edwardian Vision for the Glory of God
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 01/20/09
Written: 12/23/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

As I am contemplating the various aesthetic systems, it grows increasingly clear that Jonathan Edwards, in his much overlooked work on beauty, offers a nuanced and profound understanding. His work linking the Glory of God with Beauty mirrors much of my own. I believe there are depths here that remain unplumbed. Further exploration could yield a seminal basis for my work on business and worship.

January 19, 2009

The Nature of Worship from a Whiteheadian Perspective

Observations/Reflections: On the Nature of Worship from a Whiteheadian Perspective
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Date: 09/04/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin
Bibliography: Whiteheadian Thought as a Basis for a Philosophy of Religion by Forest Wood, Jr. http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=2736&C=2475

A far better view is found in Hartshorne’s suggestion: “Worship is the integrating of all one’s thoughts and purposes, all valuations and meanings, all perceptions and conceptions.”3 Worship is a consciously unitary response to life. And God, the object of worship, is”…the wholeness of the world, correlative to the wholeness of every sound individual dealing with the world.”4 The term “individual” in his comment applies not only to people but to any entity whatsoever: “Any sentient individual in any world experiences and acts as one. . .”5 These ideas of Hartshorne’s do not stand in isolation; rather they are part of a Whiteheadian world-view in which each individual entity is an integration of parts into a whole. Whitehead’s principle is “The many become one, and are increased by one.” (Process and Reality, Corrected Edition, ed. Griffin & Sherburne, New York: The Free Press, 1978, 21)

Hartshorne makes another major contribution to our understanding of worshiping and serving God. The insight is a surprising one. Hartshorne argues that people (and other things) contribute”…value to God which he would otherwise lack.”6 God is a real recipient of our actions. This notion is consistent with the Whiteheadian metaphysic that each entity contributes value to other entities. Each entity in the universe (including God) is internally related to other entities. That people (and other things) contribute value to God gives real meaning to the lives of people and the events of the world.

January 9, 2009

Baye’s Theorem

Observations/Reflections: Baye’s Theorem
Status: Transcribed and Reviewed
Published: 01/09/09
Written: 04/04/06
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

My micro-testing research indicates an opportunity to maximize the testing potential in those cases where one has some probability established for the test results of a given variable.

In this regard, the Bayesian Theorem may provide simpler ways to achieve a result.

This needs more research.

January 7, 2009

Conflating the Two Concepts of Convergence Theory and Enterprise Locus

Observations/Reflections: On Conflating the Two Concepts of Convergence Theory and Enterprise Locus
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 01/07/09
Written: 02/27/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

I am conflating two concepts: convergence theory with enterprise locus.

Transformation assumes an external force working against an entity. In the event that force is being applied to an entity in a given dimension, the force must be channeled. In those cases where the energy itself is the only force, then the energy is all that is necessary. Nevertheless, if there is an item, such as a message being delivered, then you will have the content and the energy. The means of reaching the entity becomes the distribution. One might argue that is not the means, but rather the action of distributing the energy. Nevertheless, energy by its very nature distributes. It implies motion. Thus, one might be able to unify content distribution and energy as a single factor, depending on certain circumstances.

January 6, 2009

The Principle of Financial Management applied to Energy Management

Observations/Reflections: On the Principle of Financial Management applied to Energy Management
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 01/06/09
Written: 11/17/07
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

As I struggle to allocate my energy resources, it occurs to me that the primary principals of financial allocation could be relevant. I need to allocate my time/energy in accord with certain of these principles. I have said it before, “if Warren Buffet is an expert at capital allocation, I want to be an expert at energy allocation.” Still, as time passes, I grow more cognizant to the fact that I can adapt the principles of financial management to the realities of my energy management. I will write more on this later.

January 5, 2009

Being Called into the Depths

Observations/Reflections: Being Called into the Depths
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 01/05/2008
Written: January 2008
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

What does it mean to be called into the depths? Perhaps it involves pursing the truth that can hardly be expressed to those around you. Perhaps it involves living deeply within the profoundest moments of your life. Perhaps it involves offering only the slightest hint to those who might have a potential to care…

Tis of the essence of life here,
  Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
  That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
  Thus are we wholly stipped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
  Bearing it crushed and mystified.
– Robert Frost

Achilles to Odysseus, in the underworld: “I’d rather be a slave on earth than rule here, among the breathless dead.” Translation: Quit longing for the glory days of war and go home to deal with your family and your kingdom.

December 17, 2008

Further of Revisions to my Thinking on Categorization

Observations/Reflections: On Further of Revisions to my Thinking on Categorization
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/17/08
Written: 10/18/07
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

In previous observations, I have considered how one might approach a planning issue. I have suggested that there are principles and applications. The applications can be divided into entities, actions, and emphasis. I have suggested that emphasis allows for intuition and perception.

I think my plan needs to be further refined. I think I need to add environment.

Essentially you have an entity, but that entity is acting within place. To think of the entity apart from place is a mistake. So then, I am thinking about principles and applications. Under applications I am thinking about entities, actions, locations or environment, and emphasis.

December 15, 2008

Living within the Partial

Observations/Reflections: On Living within the Partial
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/15/08
Written: 11/25/07
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

There are times when the multiplicity of thoughts, the problems with living within the partial, the incomplete, and the flawed is too much. I feel as though I will burst or burn. God, give me grace to endure the temporary.

December 12, 2008

Disraeli on Commitment

Observations/Reflections: Disraeli on Commitment
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/12/08
Written: 10/20/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Amidst the challenges of the 2008 economy, a leader cannot afford to attack cost structures with tentative measures. Hesitation is lethal.

“The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.” – Benjamin Disraeli

December 11, 2008

Joy as the Ultimate Antidote

Observations/Reflections: On Joy as the Ultimate Antidote
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/11/08
Written: January 2008
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

It occurred to me, today, as I was worshiping in a small church in the mountains in North Carolina, that the ultimate antidote for this deep futility I experience is in joy itself.

Joy is not the result of finding an antidote. Joy is the antidote.

The Scripture says that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. Over the years the meaning of this phrase and its many layers has materialized in my soul. But the older I get the more desperately I need it. All around me I see the results of evil. There is decay and desperation.

The horror of the human condition could overwhelm me. Yet, I see somehow that the answer to this dilemma is in joy itself.

December 10, 2008

The Need for a Meta-Theory of Optimization

Observations/Reflections: On the Need for a Meta-Theory of Optimization
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/10/08
Written: 12/10/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Is there a general underlying theory of optimization that will allow you to improve results regardless of the medium or the business category? Isn’t there more to optimization than learning a set of rules? How can we gain a deep understanding of the optimization process? Is there some way for the average marketer to quickly identify the core psychological problems signaled by an underperforming page?

Optimization experts are proliferating. Books on the subject are multiplying. But as one philosopher observed, “the more words, the less meaning.” We are alternately reprimanded, or encouraged, to religiously apply the new “irrefutable laws of optimization”: Left Nav is the best Nav, use Alt tags with your images, keep the call to action above the fold, minimize the number of required field forms, ad nauseum.

At first, this growing body of knowledge is impressive. And in recent months, I have noticed that my students begin their certification training with a better grasp of the fundamental concepts. One might easily conclude an increase in expertise.

I beg to differ.

Knowing the “what” does not mean that you know the “why”, and if you do not know the “why,” you may not know the “when” – that is you may not know “when” a given rule applies in a given situation. Specific, tactical guidelines are applicable only to specific, tactical problems. Their limitation is in their adaptability. It is not enough to grasp a handful of common rules and then fling them at a poorly designed page. We need an theory that imparts the universal meaning beneath the “rules.”

December 9, 2008

The Possibility of the Unlimited

Observations/Reflections: On the Possibility of the Unlimited
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/09/08
Written: 09/28/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

Consider this: there are many things I cannot know. And because I cannot know them, I conclude that I am a limited being. The knowledge of my limitations motivates me to consider the possibility of a being that is virtually unlimited. In this way, I discover the possibilities of the Ultimate (god) – through the impossibilities of the incipient (myself).

Now I experience a kind of conflicting emotion. It is one part awe, and one part fear. The more I consider the possibility of the Ultimate, the more I experience awe. This awe leads to a kind of fear. I am helpless. What if the Ultimate is against me?

This questioning is accompanied by the recognition that I may not be asking the right questions and that my range of responses may be meaningless, but this does not dissuade me from reflecting further. It only underscores a certain sense that I cannot know for certain. It seems true that I might know in the temporal sense, but it also seems true that this “knowing” is strictly limited in the absolute sense.

Thus, it is my very limitation which points to the possibility of the unlimited. It is the possibility of the unlimited that provokes a kind of visceral response – in my case, fear.

December 5, 2008

Hammurabi’s Strengthening of the Center

Observations/Reflections: On Hammurabi’s Strengthening of the Center
Status: Dictated but Not Reviewed
Published: 12/05/08
Written: 09/30/08
Dictated By: Flint McGlaughlin

In 1792 the Amorite chief of Babylon died. He was replaced by a son, Hammurabi. This new leader was trapped between two major kin

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