My CMS The View from a New City

May 22, 2016


Filed under: daily — metamind @ 8:49 am

Last night my wife, the Edingtons and I saw a movie called “The Man Who Knew Infinity.” It was a biopic about the Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who got his mathematics by direct revelation, and his mentor at Trinity College, England, G. H. Hardy, who got his by shear plod. The impression I got from the movie was that Hardy was playing to his peers and saw as the highpoint the elevation of Ramanujan to the Trinity College Fellowship, while Ramanujan saw as his purpose the bringing of something new and beautiful into the world.  It caused me to reflect on how the progress of knowledge is often hindered by peer review, rather than advanced.  The other case that comes to mind is the failure of scholars to decipher the Mayan language until the death of the leading scholar in the field, whose prevailing theories were all wrong.


May 15, 2016


Filed under: daily — metamind @ 1:15 pm

I would have posted from our hotels in Jericho and Jerusalem, but the internet connections were very bad. Obviously there were many sights and events to comment on during our visits to the Jordan River, Masada, the Dead Sea, and the many sites in Jerusalem.  I will comment on only one here: In Jerusalem, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is built on the traditional site of Jesus’ burial.  The Church is administered by at least three different Christian religions and is very old, although it has been destroyed and restored several times.  The grave site has been chiseled away and replaced by an enclosed shrine in the middle of the church.  The only part of the original grave remaining is the stone floor.  The inside of the shrine is very small, accommodating only four persons at a time. The walls are covered with pictures and icons from the middle ages. To enter the shrine, you had to wait in a long line. In front of us in the line were several ladies who were obviously devout and appeared to be from an eastern European county.

The reason I mention all of this, even though I tend to agree with those who hold that this is not the site of the actual sepulcher where Jesus was buried, is to reflect admiringly on the priest who sat at the opening to the shrine, admitting only four persons at a time. He had the unenviable task of encouraging the four persons in the shine to leave after what I estimated to be about twenty seconds. The next four could not enter until the last four had left. Devout ladies who have traveled a long distance and endured a long wait and who are finally worshiping prostrate before the stone floor must be convinced to leave the shrine. The priest carried out his office with the perfect blend of authority and kindness. I could imagine him there hour after hour, day after day, maintaining that perfect tone for an everlasting line of visitors who are perfect strangers to him. A miracle for which any who wish to visit the shrine in the future should be grateful.


May 1, 2016


Filed under: daily — metamind @ 12:39 pm

We sailed on the sea of Galilee this morning.  One of our passengers jumped in.  We visited Magdela where a tall attractive woman minister showed us the recently discovered synagogue where Jesus undoubtedly taught and enacted for us the reading of the verse from Isiah where Isaiah describes the Messiah as one who frees the captives.  She sang it is Hebrew.  She was standing’s  in the remains of the synagogue where Jesus taught and singing the verse.  It was marvelous. She also described the alter where the chariots of fire are depicted as four wheels.  But the best thing she did was show us the ancient Mikvah where the Jews were ritually cleansed by immersing in water. She  said that this pre-christian ritual was described by the ancients as a tomb and a womb, and was common long before john the Baptist. No Mormon could have preached a better baptism by immersion sermon.

We then visited Capernaum where Peter and Jesus lived. Dan Peterson described it as the headquarters of the Church in its small provincial beginnings, much like the latter-day Church.  We talked about Peter’s transformation from a small town fisherman to a world force as a testimony of Peter’s conviction that Jesus truly was the Savior of the world.  I couldn’t help comparing it to the transformation that Brigham Young experienced.

We are now in a Hotel in Jericho which is in the sector controlled by the Palestinian authority.  I remember the day in New York where I invited the Palestinian representative to the UN to come as our guest to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the Iranian Ambassador, who was standing there saying that he too would like to come, which I then also arranged and they both came.





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