Sunday, January 06, 2013

One Realization That Leads to Another

Today is the Feast of Epiphany, according to Western Christians. According to Wikipedia, the feast day commemorates not only the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem, but the “revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.” I’ll buy the Magi’s arrival; it’s the manifestation of God part that stretches the date’s credibility. Not that there is anything wrong with it. It just isn’t for me.
The same Wikipedia page has a link to the page for “Epiphany (feeling).” Which credits James Joyce for possibly coining the usage of epiphany to mean “an experience of sudden and striking realization.” His stories in The Dubliners all involve characters coming to some realization that alters their view of themselves or the world around them. It is conceivable that large doses of beer and whiskey may have had something to do with those “striking realizations.” Interestingly, for me, anyway, the author of this particular page also equates William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch as a terminology of epiphany, as well. How do Christians feel about having a word so closely associated with the first big feast day of the year secularly implying “drug-influenced state(s)” and beer-soaked revelations? Then again, the Magi brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh are both popular for use in incense, and we know who burns most of the incense, don’t we? Let’s just say many of us stop “burning incense” when we get out of college.
Perhaps, in a related vein, back in 1974, Tom Scholz was burning incense when he had an epiphany in his basement in 1974, and the song “More Than a Feeling” manifested itself in his mind. Boston, my favorite band EVER, released the song on their 1976 debut. I am certainly not trying to equate Tom Scholz with the Son of God. Nor am I implying that “More Than a Feeling” is a song of anything more than mild musical significance. It just happens to be where my mind took me on this particular intellectual exercise.
Maybe more significantly, today is also the birthday of Jeanne d’Arc, according to some sources. Being an inveterate skeptic, I suspect that her birthday is more than likely not on January 6. It just seems too coincidental that the day that the (arguably) second most famous Christian martyr (sorry John, the Baptist) was born on the same day as the manifestation of the first most famous martyr as a human being. Then again, if one negates the manifestation of the Son of God thing (see paragraph one), Joanie’s birthday is a bit easier to swallow. At any rate, Joan was a fascinating young woman--most likely delusional, but fascinating nonetheless. And without her inspiring and tragic tale, we would not have one of the most beautiful silent films ever (The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)) nor one of the best-known Smiths songs (“Big Mouth Strikes Again”). Granted one might argue that the Smiths couldn’t have written that song without the invention of the Walkman, either. You might also argue that they might have written the song even without the allusion to Joan (or a Walkman), but that just wouldn’t be the same song, would it. At any rate, wouldn't it be sad if the Smiths were most well-known simply for "Girlfriend in a Coma." Seriously.
Most unfortunately, however, today is the final day of Winter Break for kiddos in this neck of the woods. Tomorrow, we will be back to shaping young minds. And I hope to find more time to keep up with this blog, albeit with a new focus. Instead of Central Standard's traditional, unfocused, hard to maintain ramble from random thought to random thought, I hope to focus on today's tone of edification and the loose division of fact and opinion to create a regular discussion of topical current and historical events.  If anyone has any ideas for topics, leave a shout in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by!

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