Sunday, April 7, 2013
Thoughts on Subverting the Norm 2--Layer 1: meeting the unknown
I got back home at 1:15 a.m. this morning from the Subverting the Norm 2 conference in Springfield, MO. My heart and mind are full, and I am trying to process what happened to me. There are so many layers to my experience there, it will take awhile to unpack. This has fueled a desire to begin blogging regularly. More on all of this later. I'll try to post a blog every day until everything I want to say is out.
But to kick it off, here's a story.
The reasons I went to the conference are numerous. The practical purpose of being there was to help set up and run the audio/video equipment and record the sessions that occurred in the ballroom.
On Friday, between two of the sessions, as I was fiddling with the audio equipment, a cute little old man came up to me and asked if he could plug his phone into the powerstrip by my feet. Of course I said yes. He chatted with me about almost forgetting his phone before leaving, and how absent-minded he could be. I empathized with him, stating that I, myself, had forgotten important items more often than I care to recall. I said, "I just console myself by saying, 'I'm not stupid. My mind is just on higher things!'" He chuckled. I then took a tangent and told him that my grandfather is a handwriting analysis specialist, and one of the things he has said is that people whose handwriting is low and round are often practical people who do well at handling material details, while people with lots of upward points in their handwriting enjoy probing "higher" mental realms. My charming conversation partner said he thought that was interesting, and said, "You should see my handwriting." Then he wandered away, and I went on with my work.
I did not find out until a couple hours later that I had been chatting with the super-rock-star of the conference... Jack Caputo! (Not sure why everyone called him "Jack" Caputo, when it's "John," but whatever.) I thought that was kinda fun, and I was actually a little embarrassed when I realized what had happened.
This experience brings up a few ideas for me.
First, a question. If I'd known how influential and famous he was, would I have interacted with him differently? Hell, no. I'm not a star worshipper. I believe firmly in the equal "profanity" of all human beings. In fact, if someone is famous, I immediately have some visceral suspicion towards him/her. (More on this later, this is one of the layers I need to unpack).
Second, might this experience be a kind of metaphor for how humans might relate to godde/the ineffable? We don't know it was "a godde thing" until after the fact. Meanwhile, it's just part of going about our normal lives. (The Matthew 25 story about people not knowing they were serving Jesus when they were serving their neighbor, and blah-de-blah-de-blah...) The sacred is infused into everything.
That's all I have time for right now. More to come.... Thanks for reading.