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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Condensation of Meaning

Sometimes I enjoy perusing the Serendipity Bible for stimulating questions.  In a study of the book of Psalms it poses the following question: “Are you a ‘detail person’ or a ‘big picture thinker’?  What evidence do you have to support this claim?” (10th Anniversary Edition, 845).  In response to this question I think of how we view children who are in some ways less than ideally situated.  When we view the face of a child in this circumstance we may be moved to tears.  Such sadness derives from seeing simultaneously the detail—the face of the child—and the big picture—the deadening hand of fate.  Joy also arises from perceiving detail and the big picture simultaneously.  On witnessing the birth of a baby, we shed tears of joy for both welcoming a fresh individual into the world and at the same moment sensing our own transience and mortality.  When we are transfixed observing the performance of excellence in music, we focus on individual mastery in concert with the fleeting nature of perfection.  While we can focus on detail or draw sweeping global views, the merging of the two gives us the fullest of perceptions—the sudden emergence of synoptic meaning coincident with stark detail.

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