"Becoming, Evolving, Ascending"
[Monday, September 21, 2015]
Micha Bautista was walking to
his Smart Decarceration class when
he felt a sudden urge to commit tikkun olam
on every piece of litter within his reach.
It was warm and bright, his everyday sense
of divinity suddenly enhanced, as if the sun
had come out from behind the clouds.
So he took advantage of the gift
while he could, picking up litter
and stuffing it into garbage cans
or recycling cans as appropriate.
The feeling flickered out, and
Micha realized that he was
going to be late to class.
He didn't mind too much,
though, because the Divine
would be happy to see the world
put back in order, at least a little bit.
As Micha hurried to class, he thought
about what he had felt and why
it might have happened.
He'd taken enough classes
that touched on superpowers
to make him wonder if that
could be the cause of it.
He had no proof, though,
just a theory, so he had
to set it aside for now and
focus on Smart Decarceration.
It kept plucking at him anyway,
and Micha found himself jotting down
ideas about how former inmates could
fix the world and themselves with it,
like picking up litter to recycle.
After class, he walked back
to the same spot, but it didn't feel
like anything out of the ordinary now.
[Thursday, October 1, 2015]
It took over a week of wandering
around the University of Chicago
before Micha stumbled across
that beautiful energy again.
The Get a Life Club was
milling around in chaos
while a silk-clad girl tried
to shoo them away.
This time Micha managed
to identify the source of
the sweet energy.
It was pouring off of
a young man who had
warm brown skin and
"Hi," said Micha.
"Can I sit with you?"
What he really wanted
to do was run to the airport
and make a pilgrimage to
somewhere sacred, but that
wasn't practical at the moment,
so he set the idea aside.
"If you like," the man said.
"My name is Dazhawn. "I'm
sorry for the, uh, distraction."
"I'm Micha," he replied, then
held out a hand as if feeling
the heat from a fire. "That's you,
isn't it? What a wonderful gift."
Dazhawn ducked his head. "Yeah,
it is, but I can't seem to control it. They
say flickering is like that. Last time I
managed to get away from people,
but today I'm too tired to hustle."
"Would you like some help?"
Micha offered. "I've got
experience in counseling.
We could try prayer or
meditation or relaxation --
whatever works for you."
"Not prayer," Dazhawn said.
"I'm Christian, but praying just
makes the effects stronger."
"Ah, you're opening yourself
to a higher power and that makes
your energy spill everywhere,"
Micha deduced. "Then what
you need to do is focus on
the material world instead."
"That's how this all started,"
Dazhawn said, "picking up litter."
"I know. I was there," said Micha.
"I've been hoping I could find you again!
Are you sure that's what happened, though?
Because I was thinking of tikkun olam,
making the world a better place."
"Oh ... I guess I was," Dazhawn said.
"I hadn't even realized that before."
Micha looked around for inspiration
and spied a stone wall. "Come here,"
he invited. "Touch the stones. Feel
how calm and solid they are."
Dazhawn drew his hands down
the face of the wall and smiled.
"This is sandstone," he said.
"It feels just like sandpaper."
"I hear you can use it that way,"
Micha said. "People used to polish
pews and other benches with sandstone,
before they learned to put sand on paper."
"That's neat," Dazhawn said. "Oh look,
here's a fossil -- some kind of snail."
"The snail's shell makes a spiral,
like a galaxy," Micha said.
"As above, so below."
Dazhawn heaved a sigh.
"I think the energy is fading now.
The reader I saw at SPOON had
never seen anything quite like it --
she called it Projective Altruism."
"Yes, my travel urge is dropping
back down to normal," Micha said.
"I'm sorry I bothered you," Dazhawn said.
"Don't be! It's lovely," Micha said.
"I really have been looking for you.
I wanted to feel that again."
"You should take him up on it,
Dazhawn," said the silk-clad girl
as she came over to join them.
"I got the innocent bystanders
out of the way, but you're going
to need practice partners."
Micha raised his hand.
"I volunteer," he said. "I'm
a divinity student. These things
fascinate me. I've even taken
a few classes on superpowers."
"Like what?" Dazhawn said.
"Personality and Superpowers
as an undergraduate," said Micha.
"It covered the psychology of
costumes and cape names."
"That sounds cool," said the girl.
"I'm Arefa, pleased to meet you."
She had a crisp Britannian accent
but didn't look Britannian at all
with her tinted skin and a veil
hiding the lower half of her face.
Micha decided not to pry, though,
merely introduced himself to her.
"You helped me turn down the flicker,"
Dazhawn said. "I have a soup mentor,
but Arefa is right, I need practice partners,
and having another friend is always good."
"Gladly," Micha said. "I like helping people.
After I graduate, I want to get a job as
a chaplain doing interfaith work."
"The world needs more tolerance,"
Dazhawn said. "So what brings you
out today? I hope I didn't make
you late for a class or anything."
"Not today," Micha said. "I'm out
looking for inspiration. I need to write
a paper for independent study, comparing
spiritual projects by other students. I have one
on prayer and infertility treatments, but that's it."
"For a Divinity class?" Dazhawn said. "I went
to a Christian college for my undergraduate degree.
Today I was doing a study of interfaith pilgrimage
and its potential for increasing tolerance."
"That could work," Micha said.
"I've got a project on the usefulness
of spiritual arguments in reducing
human rights violations," Arefa said.
"That sounds promising too," Micha said,
then looked at his vidwatch. "I do have
a class soon, but could we meet again?"
"I'd love to," Dazhawn said. "Tomorrow?"
"I have Disability Through the Lifecourse in
the morning, and Curating an Interfaith Library
in the afternoon," Micha said. "Other than
those, I'm free. What about you two?"
Neither Dazhawn nor Arefa had
as heavy a schedule as Micha did,
because he needed so little sleep
that taking four or even five classes
at once was no hardship for him.
Soon they found a midday slot that
worked for everyone, and they all had
high hopes the project would pan out.
They arranged a second time for
working on Dazhawn's superpower.
Micha really looked forward to that.
It was strange, sure, but he wasn't
put off by unfamiliar things. He liked
learning new things about the world
and himself, and the way this energy
opened him up was so beautiful.
"I still don't know why you want
to help me with this," Dazhawn said.
"It feels good," Micha said. "Sure,
I love helping people, but your power
is just amazing. It makes me feel ...
more like myself, and I can sense
the Divine more clearly too. You
touched me in my vocation."
"Yeah, it's supposed to be close
to Soul Powers and Divine Powers,
even though it's not quite either
one of those," Dazhawn said.
"My soup mentor's an empath.
All of this still feels weird, though."
"Epiphanies often do," Micha said.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Dazhawn asked, tilting his head.
"An epiphany enables you to sense
creation not as something completed, but
as constantly becoming, evolving, ascending,"
Micha said. "Flickering is like that too."
"Wow," Dazhawn said. "That fits.
"I just hope I can get a handle on it."
"Maybe you will, or maybe you're
not meant to," Micha said. "Think about
what's happening. This transports you
from a place where there is nothing new
to a place where there is nothing old,
where everything renews itself,
where heaven and earth rejoice
as at the moment of creation."
Arefa nodded. "It will be as
God wills," she said. "Do not
try so hard that you hurt yourself."
"What did I ever do to deserve
such good friends?" Dazhawn said.
"You make everyone around you
want to be a better version of ourselves
and work make the world a better place,"
Micha said. "Of course we love you for it."
* * *
Micha Bautista -- He has ochre skin, black eyes, and wavy black hair cut short. He wears glasses. He is currently 26 years old. His mother is Jewish and his father is Catholic Hispanic. Micha has no particular faith of his own, just a devout reference for divinity without trying to put human labels on it. His parents live in the Skokie suburb of Onion City. Micha speaks Biblical Hebrew, English, Esperanto, French, Koine Greek, Qur'anic Arabic, and Spanish. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago with a major in Psychology and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He started work on a Disability Ethics Certificate. Next Micha earned a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration with a Clinical Concentration and specialization in Trauma. He is currently studying for a Master of Divinity at the University of Chicago Divinity School with concentrations in Bible Studies, Religions in America, and Religious Ethics. He wants to become an interfaith chaplain. Micha belongs to the Onion City chapter of Chaverim International, an organization of Jewish amateur radio operators. He provides spiritual and self-help content.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Amateur Radio Operator, Good (+2) Compassion, Good (+2) Needs Little Sleep
Poor (-2) Nearsighted
Esperanto is a world language in Terramagne. It is spoken in over 120 countries and is an official language in Altenberg, Hungary, Insulo de la Rozoj (Rose Island), and the Republic of Molossia. All the personal documents sold by the World Service Authority, including the World Passport, are written in Esperanto along with several other world languages. It's also one of the most popular languages of the soup community, especially supervillains. You can learn it for free online.
DHD 408. Disability Through the Lifecourse. 3 or 4 hours.
SSA 47452 Smart Decarceration: A Grand Challenge for Social Work
(T-American) RLVC 40801 Curating an Interfaith Library
PSYC 21510. Neuroscience of Communication. 100 Units.
(T-American) PSYC 22075 Personality and Superpowers
University of Chicago Major in Psychology (undergraduate)
Program of Study
Psychology is the study of the mental states and processes that give rise to behavior. It seeks to understand the basic mechanisms and functions of perception, cognition, emotion, and attitudes in guiding behavior.
Psychology majors are required to complete PSYC 20100 Psychological Statistics and PSYC 20200 Psychological Research Methods by the end of their third year.
MATH 13100-13200 Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (or higher) † 200
Total Units 200
One of the following: 200
PSYC 20100 & 20200
Psychological Statistics and Psychological Research Methods *
Four of the following: 400
PSYC 20400 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 20500 Developmental Psychology
PSYC 20600 Social Psychology
PSYC 20700 Sensation and Perception
Six electives + 600
Total Units 1200
PSYC 21510. Neuroscience of Communication. 100 Units.
PSYC 21950. Language, Culture, and Thought. 100 Units.
(T-American) PSYC 22075 Personality and Superpowers
This class explores the personality of people with superpowers through their use of costumes and assumed names. Students will read essays by prominent psychologists debating whether the identities are truly separate, simply professional affectatations like stage names, or somewhere in between. The final paper requires students to compare and contrast a superhero with a supervillain, both of whom must have used costumes and assumed names in the past but whose legal identity is now public knowledge.
PSYC 23000. Cultural Psychology. 100 Units.
PSYC 23820. Attention and Working Memory in the Mind and Brain. 100 Units.
PSYC 23860. Beyond Good and Evil: The Psychology of Morality. 100 Units.
PSYC 24055. The Psychological Foundations of Wisdom. 100 Units.
PSYC 25101. The Psychology of Decision Making. 100 Units.
Minor Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
The minor program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies provides students majoring in other disciplines the opportunity to become familiar with selected aspects of Latin American and Caribbean societies, cultures, histories, politics, and economics through one or more of the social sciences as they deal with Latin American and Caribbean materials, and one or more major language of the region.
Students must complete the general education requirement in civilization studies with LACS 16100-16200-16300 Introduction to Latin American Civilization I-II-III
The minor requires two courses in Spanish at the level of the second year or beyond. Credit may be granted by petition for one of these courses.
The minor requires three courses with an emphasis on Latin American and Caribbean themes. Students may find listings of quarterly Latin American and Caribbean–themed courses on the Latin American and Caribbean Studies website at clas.uchicago.edu.
(His research paper compares and contrasts the religions of Latin America.)
Students must submit a research paper treating a Latin American and Caribbean topic for one of their Latin American and Caribbean content courses.
One of the following sequences: * 200
SPAN 20100 & 20200
Language, History, and Culture I
and Language, History, and Culture II
Three courses dealing with Latin America or the Caribbean 300
Total Units 500-600
LACS 16100. Introduction to Latin American Civilization I. 100 Units.
Autumn Quarter examines the origins of civilizations in Latin America with a focus on the political, social, and cultural features of the major pre-Columbian civilizations of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec. The quarter concludes with an analysis of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest, and the construction of colonial societies in Latin America.
Instructor(s): A. Kolata Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 36101, SOSC 26100, LACS 34600, HIST 16101, ANTH 23101, CRES 16101
LACS 16200. Introduction to Latin American Civilization II. 100 Units.
LACS 16300. Introduction to Latin American Civilization III. 100 Units.
LACS 24706. Science in the South: Decolonizing the Study of Knowledge in Latin America & the Caribbean. 100 Units.
LACS 25117. The Audience, The Archaeologist, and the Art Historian. 100 Units.
Disability Ethics Certificate
Explore bioethics and the complex ethical questions associated with disability
Our society is making strides in the support of people with disabilities.
Courses to expand your perspective
This certificate is a cluster of four 3-credit courses for a minimum of 12 total hours, designed to develop independent scholarship and critical thinking. Most students complete all the required courses in two to four semesters.
DHD 401 Foundations of Disability and Human Development 3 hours
DHD 514 Ethical Issues in Disability 3 hours
DHD 517 Ethics and Disability: Contemporary Problems 3 hours
Independent study (DHD 596) or Elective
Develop a paper, research project, or other activity that allows you to apply what you’ve learned in previous courses to critically address a current issue in disability ethics
DHD 101. Disability in U.S. Society. 3 hours.
DHD 445: Topics in Disability Studies: Counseling Considerations. 3 hours
DHD 445. Topics in Disability Studies. 3 or 4 hours.
DHD 408. Disability Through the Lifecourse. 3 or 4 hours.
DHD 596: Independent study
The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Master of Arts
The Master's Program
The SSA Master of Arts program prepares you to be a leader in the fields of clinical social work and social administration practice. The AM degree, artium magister (master of arts), from SSA is equivalent to an MSW, but with a broader educational and experiential foundation that combines direct social work practice with policy development, interdisciplinary research and social science theory.
• Clinical Concentration – Learn the major prevention and treatment approaches of direct clinical practice and engage with real clients through clinical fieldwork in hundreds of agencies and organizations across Chicago.
Total 24 courses
THE CORE CURRICULUM
The core curriculum is central to the educational program at the master's level. It brings together all students, whatever their career interests, for a solid introduction to the fundamentals of social policy formulation and program implementation, social research, and direct practice.
Social Intervention: Programs and Policies (SSA 30000).
Social Intervention: Direct Practice (SSA 30100).
Social Intervention: Research and Evaluation (SSA 30200).
Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SSA 32700).
9 named classes
44122 Self-Awareness and Social Work with Diverse Populations
(The T-American version of this class includes all three exceptional dimensions: disabilities, intellectual gifts, and superpowers.)
43300 The Exceptional Child
47452 Smart Decarceration: A Grand Challenge for Social Work
Students who elect the concentration in clinical practice take the following courses:
1. A two-quarter course sequence in one practice method, one course emphasizing conceptual foundations and the other course emphasizing applications.
2. A one-quarter course in a second practice method.
The Practice of Group Work (41500)
3. One research class:
44501 Clinical Research
His research project for this class was evidence-based spiritual practice comparing and contrasting three projects by other students: Arefa Nu's study on the usefulness of spiritual arguments in reducing human rights violations (one-quarter reduction), Dazhawn Alvarez' study of interfaith pilgrimage on improving tolerance (triple score on tolerance tests), and another on the efficacy of prayer in improving conception during infertility treatment (double success rate).
4. One human behavior in the social environment (HBSE) course. For most students, this will be HBSE 32700
5. A clinical field placement intended to provide students with an opportunity to develop, apply, and test practice knowledge and learn practice behaviors by working under the guidance of a supervisor in a clinical practice setting. Field instruction involves a minimum of 640 hours, usually 24 hours a week.
Students have the opportunity to take elective courses in areas of special interest.
Intervention Theories and Practice Methods
Clinical practice students are required to take a two-quarter course sequence in one practice method, one course emphasizing conceptual foundations and the other course emphasizing applications and at least one additional course in a different practice method.
3. Practice Method: Psychodynamic Approaches
Foundation 41000 Psychodynamic Practice Methods I
Applications 41100 Psychodynamic Practice Methods II (Students must take 41000 before 41100)
61732 The Therapeutic Relationship in Contemporary Psychodynamic Practice
Psychodynamic Therapy By Jim Haggerty, M.D.
Electives & Programs of Study
SSA's Master of Arts program prepares you to be a leader in the fields of clinical social work and social administration practice.
Examples of self-designed elective coursework sequences include, but are not limited to:
Evidence-Based Therapies for Treating Trauma in Adults
Clinical Practice with Survivors of Torture and Political Violence
Child and Adolescent Trauma
Treating Complex Trauma: A Skills-based Approach
Practicing with Integrity in Trauma-Informed Care
Dying, Death and End-of-Life Care
(Because Micha has documentation that he needs little sleep, he has permission to take 5 classes every quarter.)
A full-time course load is three or four courses per quarter; the tuition is the same in either case. Over the typical four-year program (i.e., twelve quarters), a student who registers for six four-course quarters and six three-course quarters will successfully reach the 4200 units of credit required to graduate.
Students who wish to take a fifth course in a given quarter, pushing them over 400 units of credit, must formally petition the Dean of Students in the College for permission to do so.
44 classes in Divinity
24 classes in Social Services Administration
7 classes in Disability Ethics Certificate
3 years, 4 quarters (plus summer) per year, 5 classes per quarter =
maximum 75 classes
Do majors sequentially, spread over 5 years = maximum of 125 classes
Master of Divinity at the University of Chicago Divinity School
Students complete a minimum of 29 courses, including Theology in the Public Square, scripture and/or history of the student’s chosen tradition, weekly reflection seminar, and The Arts of Ministry sequence.
Dual Degree Programs:
MDiv & Master of Social Work (MSW) with The University’s School of Social Service Administration
Areas of Study and Committees of the Faculty
The Divinity School curriculum is organized into eleven areas of study in relation to three broader committees of the faculty.
The University of Chicago Divinity School
Religions in America is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on religious ideas, practices, institutions, and movements in colonial North America (1600-1787) and the United States (1787-present). The program is interdisciplinary, bringing together faculty and students with historical, sociological, ethnographic, comparative, and theoretical interests in American religion.
Anthropology and Sociology of Religion (3)
AASR 30501 Magic, Science, and Religion
AASR 43202 Revelation or Revolution? The Question of Interior Worlds
AASR 42514 Witchcraft
Bible Studies (5)
BIBL 33900 Introductory Biblical Hebrew 1
BIBL 34000 Introductory Biblical Hebrew 2
BIBL 35100 Introductory Koine Greek 1
BIBL 35300 Introductory Koine Greek 2
BIBL 42010 Ancient Sexualities and Early Christianity
BIBL 44602 Song of Songs
Divinity School (1)
DVSC 30400 Introduction to the Study of Religion
History of Judaism (3)
HIJD 44612 The Occult in the Islamic World
(In T-America, this course focuses on their historic figures, not fictional ones.)
HIJD 35113 Jewish Superheroes
HIJD 35500 Introduction to Kabbalah
History of Religions (4)
HREL 43410 Buddhism in the Americas
HREL 33210 Spells, Talismans, Alchemy, Zen: Language and Religious Practice in China and Japan
HREL 46410 Origin Stories: Religion and Science Narrate the World
HREL 40301 The Discovery of Paganism
Islamic Studies (3)
ISLM 30100 Introductory Qur’anic Arabic I
ISLM 30200 Introductory Qur’anic Arabic II
ISLM 43300 Comparative Mystical Literature: Islamic, Jewish and Christian
Ministry and Religious Leadership (6) for major requirements
CHRM 30700 Introduction to Ministry Studies: Colloquium
CHRM 32500 Theology in the Public Square
CHRM 35102 Arts of Ministry: Ritual, Worship, Preaching and Teaching
CHRM 35202 Arts of Ministry: Spiritual Care and Counseling
CHRM 35300 Arts of Ministry: Community, Leadership and Change
CHRM 42800 Senior Ministry Thesis Seminar
Philosophy of Religions (3) for major Divinity Practice
DVPR 30201 Indian Philosophy I
DVPR 38505 What is Transcendence?
DVPR 40201 Pantheism and Atheism in Philosophy: Spinoza, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer
Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture (2)
RLVC 36000 Novel Traditions: English & African-American
RLVC 40801 Curating an Interfaith Library
This course introduces basic concepts of library science in a spiritual context, with attention to the selection of religious fiction and nonfiction. It explains how to assemble a useful collection of books for a bookshelf, reading room, or institutional library serving diverse religions. The first paper details the student's personal perspective on interfaith reading materials. Later sessions include a tour of important topics with recommended reading lists. Students then compile their own reading lists on topics of interest to them. The final project involves choosing an organization that would like to have an interfaith bookshelf and creating a collection of 25 books tailored to their needs. Books may be purchased or taken from a donation box.
Religions in America (5)
RAME 39402 Race and Religion in the U.S. in the 20th Century
RAME 42901 Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619-1865
RAME 43301 Religion in Modern America, 1865-1920
RAME 46404 The Long 1960s: Religion and Social Change
RAME 50303 Women, Gender, and Religion in America
Religious Ethics (5)
RETH 50800 God and Morality
RETH 44802 Contemporary Political and Social Ethics
Richard B. Miller TH 2:00-4:50 S200
RETH 50700 Concepts and Problems: Life, Will and Value
RETH 42604 Collective Guilt, Shame and Responsibility
RETH 47750 Virtue Ethics
THEO 31600 Introduction to Theology
THEO 41101 Being Human
THEO 42610 Theologies from the Underside of History
THEO 46006 Approaches to Suffering: Theological Perspectives and Contemporary Meditations
* * *
"An epiphany enables you to sense creation not as something completed, but as constantly becoming, evolving, ascending. This transports you from a place where there is nothing new to a place where there is nothing old, where everything renews itself, where heaven and earth rejoice as at the moment of creation."
-- Abraham Isaac Kook
Tikkun olam means "world repair" and spans various activities such as recycling.
The Get a Life program assists creative youth in personal development. It offers tour guides and travel programs at two levels, one for people who want to travel between high school and college, the other for those who want to do it after college; and participants may do both if they wish. It includes many options ranging from two to three month summer sessions on up to full year sessions. Some travelers choose a regional destination and meander within it; others cover the whole globe. In the year-long package, it's common to choose three or four different continents and move from one to another. Themed packages are available for people who wish to study particular subjects such as architecture, crafts, literature, or the environment. Another popular option is to visit multiple countries all sharing a world language, such as Spanish or French. The formal packages customarily include at least one "serendipity" stop, and travelers may choose more if they wish, up to selecting the entire iterary at random. Get a Life also offers support for people 18+ who wish to backpack or otherwise travel on their own but still have access to the group's hostels, maps, lesson plans, and other resources.
The program attracts primarily writers, artists, and musicians but also dancers, sculptors, computer programmers, and various other creative types. It upholds the principle that in order to make great art, you need to experience life. Traveling around the world is a terrific way to cram a lot of experience into a relatively short span of time. Often participants find a culture or career they love, which shapes the rest of their life and work. College-age travelers are more likely to find a life partner. (Participants are encouraged, but not required, to use a long-term form of birth control while traveling, so that is available to everyone at no extra cost.) The program also supports travelers in finding places to live and work after returning home, with ties to a wide range of publishers, galleries, and performance art companies.
Prices vary depending on destination and length of session. However, Get a Life is heavily subsidized both by the National Foundation for the Arts and the Department of Education. Another major source of funding comes from their own graduates. Most successful graduates fund at least one new traveler; many have set up ongoing scholarships. Those who can't afford to contribute such sums can choose between a general scholarship fund supported by graduates, or one open to the public at large, both of which offer a variety of categories in which applicants can qualify.
Get a Life is so effective at improving maturity, tolerance, diversity, and excellence in its participants that many high schools recommend it to creative seniors instead of going directly to college. Conversely, most colleges -- and almost all fine arts schools -- view it more as alternative education than as a vacation in terms of accepting applicants. Often they let high school seniors apply and then defer enrollment in college until after completing their Get a Life tour. College seniors may announce plans to travel after college, and use that to gain admission to classes that will help them in that endeavor. This results in a higher level of artistic quality and cultural awareness in Terramagne.
* * *
This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series. The litter pickup is on Monday, September 21. The next encounter is on Thursday, October 1.