Friday, May 30, 2008


Today is Christian's graduation ceremony. This calls to mind a speech he gave a couple of years ago about the stacked and recursive nature of liminality. "Stacked" due to the fact that waiting at the finish line of one set of preliminal, liminal, and postliminal phases is a completely new set. "Recursive" because any individual phase could also contain a preliminal, liminal, and postliminal phase.

He used college to explain:
  • preliminal -- separating yourself from your every day, deciding to embark
  • liminal -- taking classes, learning
  • postliminal -- graduating, integrating back into the world as a changed person
The graduation ceremony, part of the of the postliminal phase of going to college can also be dissected into three phases:
  • preliminal -- separating yourself from your every day, donning a gown
  • liminal -- walking, receiving your diploma
  • postliminal -- being introduced to the world as a graduate

Today was a great example.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Open mindedness

I proudly labeled myself open minded at an early age. As with many of my young peers, each passing year brought new knowledge and understanding. Inevitably, this new vantage would turn my definition of open minded on its head. I would smugly comment on my recently younger self, "Ha! Back then I only thought I was open minded" confidently adding, "But now ... now I actually am."

Rinse. Lather. And repeat.

Although I'm often not intelligent enough to avoid entering into patterns, I can sometimes recognize the patterns I fall into. It took some time for me to recognize this one, and now I know -- I like to think of myself as open minded, but I'm merely a work in progress.

I've come to believe that one's level of open mindedness can be measured by the nature and breadth of stories that cross one's path. As an adult, I find individuals sharing their life beliefs with what appears to be little reservation. However, I have no doubt that what people will be willing to share with me 10 years from now will help me look back and understand how much people are currently holding back.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stranger to a stranger?

When I walk out into the world among strangers I forget I am an unknown quantity. Although I know how to wear my heart on my sleeve, I don't know how to wear my history or my story.

For one thing, something about the way I look elicits a story about me out of people -- but it's a story that has nothing to do with me. Instead, it has to do with some "exotic" culture that I have no knowledge of.

By looking at me, there's no way one could tell what my relationship with my parents is like. Nor could one tell that I am educated, have a fondness for double entendre, believe at the core people are good, or a number of other things about me.

Despite this, for some reason, I forget that I am just as much a stranger to a stranger as they are to me.


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