Friday, May 15, 2009

Some Thoughts for the Day

Some things I'm thinking about. 

Rosetta Stone. 
I really like Rosetta Stone. It makes me happy. 
I'm working on it to bolster my Spanish. It's interactive software that teaches you the words for things without using English at all-- it's like immersion learning. You speak and listen and type and it does grammar somehow, I'm amazed. All the pictures are really beautiful and I want to go to the places in them. I'm amazed at the artistry of some of the photos-- one of the "la puerta" pictures is a blue door with a brown wall and it's gorgeous. All the color photos are cool textures that they took with a camera with a lot of megapixels, pictures of feathers or elephant skin. They didn't have to be so creative with everything, but they are. I wonder if that helps you to remember somehow-- if it stops you from associating with the thing itself. If I saw a grey square, maybe I would translate it into English. But if I saw some elephant hide, maybe I wouldn't? I wonder about the people whose jobs are to take the pictures for Rosetta Stone. Where do they live? Do they get to travel to all the places, or are there photo contributors everywhere who send the pictures in? How long does it take to get all the photos? How many photographers are there? It's fascinating to me. How do they choose which pictures to use? And then, this is the coolest, they have milestone exercises at the end of the lessons where you actually have conversations with people (not real other people). And these pictures are the most dynamic-- you feel like you're in a movie. My adrenaline gets going when I can't automatically think of what to say back. I get into it! I want these people to be my friends. They are all so happy. Everything is nice in Rosetta Stone world. lol. This is the way to learn a language. 

I could start this one the same way: I really like books. Books make me happy. 
I went to Barnes & Noble today, and I think I could live there. I like finding good things. that you didn't know existed. Without thinking of any books beforehand, I could go into B&N and find ten things that I wanted to read, probably most from the fiction section. Today I bought Peace like a River (Leif Engar) and No Man is an Island (Thomas Merton), both were recommended by a friend who also likes reading and spiritual things. Here's a clip from No Man is an Island's "Author's Note" that I liked: 
I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern. The spiritual life is oriented toward God, rather than toward the immediate satisfaction of the material needs of life, but it is not, for all that, a life of unreality or a life of dreams. On the contrary, without a life of the spirit, our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory. The life of the spirit, by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest possible contact with reality-- not as we imagine it, but as it really is. It does so by making us aware of our own real selves, and placing them in the presence of God. 
Merton was a Catholic monk/theologian(?) who wrote a lot on contemplation. The books calls him a "world-renowned religious philosopher." He wrote poetry, too. I think we would get along great. 

That's all for now 

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