Monday, March 23, 2009

Surprise. No, Really, Surprise!

We all know that body language carries most of the conversation. Apparently, according to communication specialists, we communicate much more with our posture, our gestures, our mouths and even our eyebrows than we do with our words. (Which makes the life of a writer like me a lot more difficult. You can feel sorry for me now. Seriously =(! See, now you do. )

I have learned recently that all these non-verbals, especially this muscular contortion of the strange monitors in our heads we call "facial expression", may serve a second purpose. To explain, I recommend an experiment. Find a snotty-nose kid with an expressive face and a lollypop at the nearest public park. Walk up to him, and yank that sucker right out of his head. Now notice his eyes become like little squinchy slits right before they start to leak fluid and he starts screeching for his mommy. That little commotion with his eyes happened for a purpose. In this case, anger actually limited his field of vision. "Angry face" tended to eliminate all irrelevant detail for Johnny and allowed him to focus. It also communicated to you very clearly that little Johnny was not your friend at that moment.

Notice what happens next. You turn blithely to explain to the kid's mommy about your little physiognomy experiment and -- realize that it is actually his extremely disgruntled 250-pound ex-con father who is already upon you. And he is swinging a baseball bat. Your eyes suddenly become wide, and your pupils dilate. Your eyebrows jump up, and your muscles go very unfortunately slack, causing your jaw to to drop, completing overall a very embarrassing picture in the history of your life. You take a quick, in-breath of air and you prepare to be squashed. In other words, you are surprised.

Whereas some non-verbals, such as posture, gestures, and so-called "angry face," may be very helpful in communicating information to others, other non-verbals can be very critical in receiving information from the world. Surprise, for instance, obviously helps us take in new information about our surroundings and become even more alert. With its bugged-out eyes, soaring eyebrows, and dropping jaw, surprise is actually a very healthy emotion and a healthy facial expression. (Try it with your face right now. It even feels good!) And I don't think we experience enough of it. Why? Not because we are too decent to be out harassing little Johnny's in the park, but because we are chronic control freaks. Our entire lives are scripted, we rehearse every moment. We strive for mastery. We even expect our own friends to consult with us before buying our birthday presents.

So what can surprise us? I think tragedy can. [...]

By: Chad

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


consistently my mind has been drawn to the wisdom woven into the proverbs of solomon. maybe it is that solomon and i are both collectors of punchy sound bites, or maybe the clarity of his axioms frequently haunt me.

in proverbs 22:8 solomon contends that the person “who sows iniquity will reap vanity”.

a possible paraphrase could be, “the person that plants disobedience to God will harvest a meaningless life”. when i step outside of my circumstances and consider my actions, when i critique the choices that i am daily planting, i am forced to wonder ... will my life harvest emptiness.

By: David

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nothing is Real or a Lie...

One of most interesting new shows on TV is Lie To Me on Fox. It has a unique premise. The show is about a group of professionals that help various government agencies and individuals solve cases by analyzing whether people are telling the truth. I think the fifth show has aired now, and for some reason, it really intrigues me every week. The characters on the show observe things such as facial expressions, body language, verbal tone, and even the speed in which someone says something to find out if people are lying. I don't know why I am attracted to this show, but I find that after watching the first minute, I have to watch to the end.

I was watching the show last night and found a really strong worldview clip. Thanks to Hulu, I can share it with you all and see what you think.

(Here's a tip, if your bandwidth is as slow as mine, pause the clip for about 15 seconds to buffer before you watch it, so that it doesn't freeze on you.)

The prisoner character in the clip shares a very popular life philosophy. He says, "Nothing is real or a lie. It all depends on the color of the glass you're looking through." Relative morality is prevalent in today's society. I believe this is an example of that concept. Within the AXiS presentation, we put this concept within both the Naturalistic and Spiritualistic worldviews. Each of these belief systems, however, come to this conclusion for various reasons.

What do you all think of this clip? How often have you heard this statement? What would your response to this statement be if someone said this to you?

By: Jeremiah