MY BRIEF TESTIMONY

BRIEF 5 min. PERSONAL TESTIMONY - BARRY BALLARD

On a warm summer day in Washington D.C., I sat in a small movie theater listening to a re-broadcast of a Billy graham crusade that had been previously given elsewhere. I was attending with a Christian group who ministered on the air force based where I was stationed, "Andrews Air Force Base". At the conclusion of the presentation, there was an invitation given to receive Christ and counselors were standing up front to pray with those who came forward. The house lights went up and I went forward and prayed to receive Jesus Christ into my life. This was not the moment of my true conversion, this was "preparation-of-heart", part one.

On a humid pitch-black night in 1969, my plane touched down on the Saigon airfield that was currently under rocket attack. Black-out conditions were in effect and we were rushed to trucks and then transported to our barracks and its inclusive bunker for protection. I was assigned an m16 rifle, two clips of ammo, and given a helmet and flack-vest. I spent my first night in Saigon standing in the bunker, wondering "why?" I was even here. I understood none of it, except that supposedly it had to do with communism and we were protecting democracy. But, I just felt abandoned to the most bizarre and remote assignment I could imagine. I worked "support", so I do not want to give the false impression that I was "combat"; but I did serve some time in the jungle. Only one man died in our group during the year I was there; and he told me beforehand that he wanted to die and never return home. He had received his divorce papers in the mail about a week before my arrival. He was shot down in a helicopter "one" day before he was to return home. My one year in Saigon was a lesson in the deterioration of the human spirit and soul. Eventually, I also learned to hate myself and "living" and could care less about what might lie ahead. I was returning to the states with a crushed human soul, devoid of all optimism. This was "preparation-of-heart", part two.

On a humid gray-dusk-like-evening, I found myself, in 1970, driving through the main gate of Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. I soon settled into my tasks of working in the 7th bomb wing headquarters, in support roles again as usual. I also served on the honor guard for special occasions for fallen veterans funerals, or award ceremonies. Even though my personal psyche was "wasted“; I was considered an admirable employee and respected for my abilities. My inner life however was an absolute disaster that I did not "share" with anyone. Strangely enough; I was visited by representatives of the "Navigators"; the same Christian organization that had approached me in Washington D.C. I began attending bible studies two nights a week and felt a little better about life by receiving this follow-up. I'll call this "preparation-of-heart", part three.

During my term of service at Carswell, I met my wife to be, Beverly, who invited me to her church in River Oaks, "Trinity Baptist Church". They had a young pastor, John Hatch, who was just finishing his doctorate at Southwestern and the atmosphere attracted me. It was in 1973, “4” years after that initial "preparation-of-heart"; that I made an honest commitment to Jesus Christ and immediately followed that with baptism.

From there, the road did not get any smoother, but my “soul” began a healing process that eventually went from healing to true "Wonder and Discovery". The first thing that was revealed to me was my spiritual gift, which is "Teaching". While at Trinity, I ended up writing three commentaries: James, Colossians, and Philippians. All three helped me grow in my commitment to Jesus Christ.

True conversion was preceded by three moments of "preparation-of-the-heart" in my case. Over a four year stretch of time, God never gave up on me. I think the strength of my testimony must be given to the strength of God's loving patience; to lead me along the final path that would secure my faith. Thank You.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

RICOEUR: AND THE WORK OF "FORGETTING"

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/ayyw7mgh99348ik/ricoeur4b.mp3

VOLUME THREE:  “FORGETTING”
The over-arching intent of Ricoeur’s phenomenology is to outline the significance and demand for each individual to be involved in writing the “truth” of the intentionality of history.  Therefore he posits “forgetting” as the third moment in his triad because it designates the moment of “return” and the demand to revise our discriminations, in order to write a better posited model that specifically addresses the need to overcome human guilt; which Ricoeur perceives as the fundamental problem facing humanity.
Therefore, in this volume, Ricoeur first takes us through the moment of “reflexive-return”, which wants to correct a “LACUNA”, a “gap” in the collective of traces that has been grasped.  But before we return to re-evaluating “traces “and revising our model; we must first pass through the unconscious “body-state” that is undergoing its own “odyssey of development”. (Yes; we must continually tune our hearts). 
Within the “explored” or “active” unconsciousness, we can evaluate this motivational body-state, and its desire for reaching “FORGIVENESS”; which means our on-going “mournful-struggle” of the work of writing history in a way that will transform other selves into overcoming their guilt and loss-of-self against the uncertainties of living today. 
This “forgiveness” has content and an absolute referent:  Ricoeur is a Christian.  Therefore the absolute referent is the kerygma-of-Christ; but without the necessity of formal church or religion.  And is crystallized in the categorical imperative “to love”. 
When the self takes-up this motivational-base of “LOVE”, it is ready to enter the “reserve-of-forgetting”.  That’s right:  previous culling and filtering has been retained in memory.  Nothing has been permanently discarded.  We can still re-evaluate previous motivational-work.  We do so through three layers of traces:  the material, the structural, and the psychical trace. 
We end up with a new assortment of revised “images”, and can then re-engage ourselves with the semantic work of writing the trajectory of the truth of history.  The cycle continues; because history always interrogates us; and human-guilt always confronts us as the key existential problem. 
In a way, volume three was the most enjoyable for me.  Volume two probably gave the reader the most “content”, but volume three and its centeredness on “motivation” is a challenging treat. 

This book is a challenging venture for graduate-level or post-graduate level interest.  But, it should not be ignored.  Ricoeur died in 2005.  These were his dying-words and his legacy.    5 stars for certain.  Good luck on your reading.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

RICOEUR: "HISTORY"; OR WRITING THE TRAJECTORY OF HISTORY

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/qfcvsyt03c4ullg/ricoeur3.mp3

A GLOSSARY FOR PART “TWO”  OF RICOEUR’S PHENOMENOLOGY:  “WRITING PHILOSOPHY FROM AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ; OR “HISTORICAL-GAZE:  “8” concepts:

1.  "KOROS-KATOIKEO":                "inhabited-space" of verbal testimony is defined as an atomic unit of meaning.
2.  "OIKOUMENE":                           "inhabited-world" of verbal testimony is defined as a compound unit that combines "inhabited-space" and “cosmic-time”; and then enlisting the motivation "EIKON" of the self to form a "historiographical thought-picture of the truth of verbal testimony.
3.  "METREO":                                    "being measured by one-another at the dokounta communal threshold.  Where intersubjective critical questioning results in labeling the proposed content as
"Accredited" and then “thought-materials" are ready for shaping into the "atomic-archival-document".
4.  "ISORIKOS-BIBLIZION":            "historical-document" as written document. 
5.  "PHARMAKON":                         "pharmacy-mixture" of a "remedy".  Intentionality of document is copied to consciousness with its praxis possibilities.
6.  "ATENIDZO-PRAXIS:  "GAZE".  Very important for Ricoeur and all post-modern phenomenologists.  The GAZE is the self's point of view while “standing-in” at the "composition-threshold" where the proposed written "book" will be written.  Atomic-documents assembled into compound-unit-book.
7.  ATENIDZO-SYLLOGIKE':            "INTERSUBJECTIVE-GAZE".  This is what shapes the configuration of "logos" at the historical level.  Everyone has their own "scale" that is applied to their evaluation of events of history.  Borrowed from cartography or map-making.  These various "scales" or modalities and points-of-view can contribute to a "collective" of traces (as in his discussion of memory.  He is remaining consistent here).

8.  BIBLION - BOOK:                         the final representation is to be critiqued by the categorical imperative of "JUSTICE"; and the criterion to define the "being-of-identity".  But we are not finished.  Because the self has raised the structure of history to scholarly written discourse.  And it needs to run through the process again and again.  So we never really finalize the process.  History continues to be interrogated for its meaning.  The end!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

RICOEUR'S SYSTEMATIC PHENOMENOLOGY, VOLUME ONE

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/gsd6d8bhk44yi8w/ricoeur2.mp3

RICOEUR'S SYSTEMATIC PHENOMENOLOGY: IN 3 VOLUMES:
This singular book is actually an inclusive three-volume set of Ricoeur's entire phenomenology. I will review the volumes in order:
VOLUME ONE: MEMORY:
In this volume Ricoeur takes the reader through a second journey through his phenomenology, after its first presentation in the 1976 volume by TCU PRESS on "interpretation theory". Therefore we are dealing with the "remembered" on this second journey. And that is why volume three addresses "forgetting".
Beginning in the unconscious, Ricoeur tells us that we are initially engaged in "PATHEMA", OR ENDURING THE SENSATE LIFE AND ITS PRESENTATIONS. Our goal is to eventually form a tupos-model of ideation that can be imprinted within the self and actualized through praxis-based positing. We get a little assistance from counter-blow (Hegel's term) of returning influence from previous phenomenological and semantic experience. Ricoeur calls this the body-state "iconicity". The "EIKON" is rarely let loose of by Ricoeur; and as a body-state, that is experientially the case.
We next move on to "GRAPHE", which is the inscribing of the self with the "pathe-enduring" as a "thought-picture", as a "PHANTASMA" founded on the influence of "EIKON". But it represents a singular kinetic-event.

Up we go to the communal influence next, to the "dokounta-threshold", where the encounter of a succession of kinetic-events is considered. There is the "arising" of a deeper encoded descriptive-model as a result.

Entering into the realm of "volition" and true-subjectivity; we first reach the actual "imprinting of the "TUPOS", as "virtual-ideal-notion". In other words, signs have been named. From here, we "copy" the ideal, while at the same time acquiring the praxis-based possibilities for a "practical-tupos".

From here we enter the cognitive consciousness and the work of semantics. The key moment to realize here is Ricoeur's invention of the concept of "logos-of-indebtedness". We owe those who have gone before us. This underlies all semantic positing and return. The second key aspect of the semantic work is the concept of "collective-consciousness", which constitutes the "surpassing-moment" of transcendence. This is our stepping-up to the "composition-threshold", where we acquire the collection-of-traces" from shared "witnessing-of-truth". Propositional-content & illocutionary-form are exchanged; the "self" is refined to a greater level of understanding. We are ready to return to the unconscious-EIKON and begin again.

Ricoeur's 8 Greek moments of Memory are: 0. [ EIKON ] 1. PATHEMA. 2. GRAPHE. 3. PHANTASMA. 4. TUPOS-TECHNE. 5. TUPOS-PRAXIS. 6. ORTHOS-LOGOS. 7. OPHEILOS-LOGOS. 8. SULLEGO-ICKNE'.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MAX SCHELER: EMPIRICAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR HEIDEGGER'S POSITION

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/c1ryipm3ndbxbfo/schelerpm.mp3

SCHELER’S “GESTALT-PSYCHOLOGY” TRANSFORMED HEIDEGGER:
We all know that Husserl radically mentored Heidegger’s thought and caused Heidegger’s radical reading of Hegel. But for Heidegger, the overwhelming drive to stay centered in the unconscious and sensate existence, goes to Scheler. Scheler proposed that the existential hermeneutical range of “exchange, transformation, and metamorphosis” all can be understood by examining “lower-being” as it, itself climbs up through “higher-being”. And not the other way around where higher-teleology influences lower-being. There is no teleology for Scheler. Heidegger adopted this in full force.
Therefore, since Heidegger has almost been universally adopted by post-modern thinkers (especially in France); it is imperative to understand Heidegger’s own emergence. That means understanding SCHELER.
EXCHANGE:
Scheler moves through the unconscious in moments of “ecstatic-impulsion” that display “force-centers” like expression, instinct, and association. This leads to an evolving “world-open-self” as a proto-subjectivity. “Spirit” makes its first appearance here. The existential-self engages in transforming environment for the first time; by forming a spirit-centered thought=picture where feeling-percepts are arranged in a first-value-order.
Scheler next moves to the dokounta-threshold of “a-priori-insight” and “turning”. We turn away from the sensate world and toward intersubjectivity. “essential-aspects” of the first thought-picture” are refined, by referring to a-priori essential ideas that we already carry, in our being “human”.
TRANSFORMATION:
When Scheler copies the dokounta-image to the axis-threshold, he announces the triad of negation, conversion, and ingathering. In “negation”, the existential- self unveils the essential categories of value in the current model which seeks conceptualization and positing. In conversion, the partitioned concepts are constrained and concentrated to create the “ascetic-ideal”. In “ingathering”, spirit becomes “manifest”; the “notion-of-the-true” is ingathered within the self’s realm of ideation; ready for positing. But this “notion” is a “subjective-steering”, not an “objective-teleology”.
METAMORPHOSIS
Welcome to the self’s work of cognition:
“Positing” is “posited-steering”; where value-structure is posited in front of the sensate “life-of-drives”
“logos” is equated with “sublimation”; a temporal “gestalt-pattern” of emerging spirit makes itself known in subjective phantasmic-vision. Vision is coupled with “steering” and positing is directed toward this entrance-node in the emerging-event. The result is the presence of an “idea-conditioned” drive-driven-tendency”. Or LOGOS
“absolute-turn of metamorphosis” is the spirit-centeredness when drive-driven-tendencies are enchained into a greater whole. Sensate-world “turns” to service of “structure-of-life”.
HEIDEGGER LOVED IT; AND OPENLY PRAISED IT.
This was written in 1928, toward the end of Scheler’s life. A Brief departing monograph of “brilliance”.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

PAUL RICOEUR: SYNTHESIZES WITTGENSTEIN AND HUSSERL

click link:  http://www.mediafire.com/listen/ac96cbeq4q9r8i3/ricoeur.mp3

RICOEUR SYNTHESIZES HUSSERL AND WITTGENSTEIN:
From 1976, when post-modern thinking was emerging like a volcano; Ricoeur developed the unique position of combining phenomenology with linguistics. This is similar to Badiou’s reading of Wittgenstein, which also helps to inform this text. Ricoeur pivots off the axis-threshold, but does not rely almost exclusively on the dokounta-threshold of unconsciousness. Instead, he introduces a healthy balance of the composition-threshold of consciousness. And you will appreciate his attentiveness to “LOGOS”. He offers a profound articulation of the three key aspects of “logos” that allow it to be rendered “objective”, and not merely “subjective”.
His treatment of “counter-blow”, or Husserl’s “fringe”, as a contribution during the initial acquisition of atomic-propositions, is significant also. The “balance” within Ricoeur’s work allows it to excel in post-modern offerings. With all of the emphasis on “writing” today, concerning the composition-threshold, and the desire for “recognition”; Ricoeur addresses: RANGE, SIGNIFICATION, GENRE, and METAPHOR as essential aspects to cover at the threshold when “speech-act” transitions to “writing-act”. Given at Texas Christian university, from the lecture halls of Brite Divinity School; you will find these essays accessible, enlightening, and inclusive for defining Ricoeur’s position. 5 stars for certain. These lectures remove a great deal of ambiguity concerning the author’s position.