Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Second Thoughts on A New Paradigm? (part 7)

Kojo No Tsuki” (Rentaro Taki), performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Michio Mamiya, & Patricia Zander, from the album “Japanese Melodies” (1990)

And, two thousand years on, Abraham’s descendants murdered God’s Son. So much for keeping the covenant. A couple of thousand years more and schoolyard bullying in the Vatican seems pretty small potatoes compared to murdering God’s Son. So what about our trials, pains, and insults?

This is Christ’s Church. No “Ifs”, “Ands”, or “Buts”. Claims to the direct inspiration of “the Holy Spirit”, unverifiable by objective constraints and controls, easily lure us into the servitude of a religion manufactured by man. We have plenty of those around already and proliferating like Topsy, these heterodox social clubs are almost as popular, and profitable, as golf and country clubs.

Father Hunwicke again: (I love that man)

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The old Liberal Protestant superstition, such a comfort to the anti-Catholic mind, was that the Eucharist started as a simple fellowship meal which, probably under the influence of Hellenistic Mystery cults, was perverted into the Catholic Mass. (ed. bigotry by any name smells the same)

Rabbi Professor Dr Jacob Neusner, on the other hand, was free to follow the obvious track which leads from the ‘Cleansing of the Temple’ (in which Christ emptied the Temple of those who, by changing money or supplying certified animals, enabled the Temple cult to be fulfilled) to the conclusion, documented from his profound knowledge of first century Judaism, that Jesus of Nazareth saw himself as abolishing that sacrificial cult on the Temple Mount because of His intention, on Maundy Thursday, to erect in its place the new sacrificial system of His Eucharistic self-oblation in His Body and Blood.

And, during this Holy Week, let us continually bring back to our memories the self-identification the Lord made of himself with the Temple. “Destroy this Temple, and in three days …”. But he had made this identification during his Galilaean ministry. He forgave sins! Who indeed, as the watchers absolutely correctly asked themselves, can forgive sins but God alone? And where does God do so, if not in the Place of Sacrifice, the Temple?

So … who … what … is this Man?

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What about our own Fears, Uncertainties, and Doubts? What about our doctrinal controversies? These trials and pains seem, at times, to be tailored to exactly those aspects of our life which we are most attached to, like our opinions, of subjects arcane and common, of other’s opinions, and ourselves, always larger than life.

Raymond Arroyo with Mother Angelica

Raymond Arroyo with Mother Angelica

A couple of weeks ago, on the EWTN network, Raymond Arroyo incurred the wrath of the “Borgoglionistas” for running his Papal Posse over some shenanigans from some Vatican representatives.

How dare Raymond and his team question the “Hypersuperueberpapalist” team when they have been ordained directly by the Holy Spirit to change church doctrine … or so they claim.

So what? Well, that claim is sort of a big deal in theological circles … Others have written: 

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 “At Chalcedon, the Fathers greeted the Tome of Saint Leo, not with cries of “Christ himself has spoken” or “This is the utterance of the Holy Spirit”, but (after carefully examining its text) Peter has spoken through Leo.

Father Hunwicke

Father Hunwicke

This is profoundly in accordance with an Irenaean ecclesiology, whereby orthodoxy is witnessed by the identity of the teaching handed down from generation to generation in the particular churches, more especially in those of Apostolic foundation, and most normatively in the Roman Church. …   Does this matter?

I think it does matter, and does make a great deal of difference …  claims to the inspiration of “the Holy Spirit”, unverifiable by objective constraints and controls, can lure us into the servitude of a religion manufactured by man, a cult of “Let’s Make It Up For Ourselves”.

This cult is ultimately fashioned upon the model of the old religion of the Gnostics, who created their own fake alternatives to the Tradition received from the Apostles because they felt they knew with such certainty that the Church’s Tradition was wrong. … (read the rest at: Madmen –  it is worth the time)

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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia speaks at the Major Seminary of Queretaro, Mexico on March 17, 2018. Matthew Cullinan Hoffman / LifeSiteNews

So, again,  the Bergoglio clique keep on about the Holy Spirit; how He desires us to accept constant surprises; how He speaks to us through the very lips of the Roman Pontiff … particularly the present one.

So what? Well, it would seem that this is not going to go away quietly and discretely …

Now, on March 17th, the latest FLASH news: Apparently someone called Paglia is going around shouting at people that the time has come to stop discussing Amoris and just to receive it.

Again, Father Hunwicke opines:

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like Edgar Alan Poe’s nocturnally silent dog, the Holy Spirit seems absent from places one might expect Him to be. Vatican I tells us that the Holy Spirit does not inspire the Roman Pontiff with new teaching but simply helps him to plug the old stuff.

Ecumenical Councils do not routinely suggest that the Spirit is guiding them in their new articulations of doctrine. Anti-Gnostic polemicists such as Irenaeus find guarantees of pure Teaching in the historical succession of orthodox bishops from the time of the Apostles, not in the activity of the Spirit …  In Saint John’s Gospel, the Lord says, indeed, that the Holy Spirit will lead his disciples into all truth: but I discern no evidence that this refers to anything beyond the ambit of the Gospel Narratives themselves.” (read the rest here)

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But, “... for the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter NOT so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles(Vatican I).

This would seem to overrule any notions of a “New Paradigm”, regardless of the perambulations of the Vatican Secretary of State in his “dialogue” with the secular media and other interested parties.

At times, these times, in 21st century Rome, its as if, after 500 years of watching the rebels, the followers of Luther’s “New Paradigm”,  enjoy themselves, the 60’s “Me” generation dressed up in clerical collars and cassocks and dove into an orgy of “Me Too!” in the name of ecumenicalism. What’s next? Let’s see … married clergy … women-priests … a necrotic transition from orthodoxy to a heterodox social club? Looking more and more like a duck from here.

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

I wonder what’s in it, this “Me Too”,  for the real Roman Catholic Church, the traditional Roman Church, not the progressive heterodox social club in Rome?

Of course, anyone who doesn’t agree with the social club, The Faction, is an idiot. As I have posted before, I believe that the rise of Bulverism in any group is a sure sign of the decay, the rot, within said group.

I have referenced Bulverism in a couple of previous posts but Bulverism is indeed THE sure sign of a weak and immoral argument and a failed entity, whichever and wherever they are found.

Progressives, Communists, Clerical Socialists, Liberation Theologians, all cut from the same cloth, dyed black or red or denim, whatever, and all serving the same master, shoveling coal for Satan.

The method of Bulverism is to “assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error”. So too the Liberal wing of the Catholic Church … their opponents are “obviously” wrong and “out of touch with the times”. The Bulverist assumes a speaker’s argument is invalid or false and then explains why the speaker came to make that mistake, attacking the speaker or the speaker’s motive.

The term “Bulverism” was coined by C. S. Lewis[1] to poke fun at a very serious error in thinking that, he alleges, recurs often in a variety of religious, political, and philosophical debates. Similar to Antony Flews “Subject/Motive Shift”, Bulverism is a fallacy of irrelevance. One accuses an argument of being wrong on the basis of the arguer’s identity or motive, but these are strictly speaking irrelevant to the argument’s validity or truth. But it is also a fallacy of circular reasoning, since it assumes, rather than argues, that one’s opponent is wrong.

I find myself wishing with Frodo: ““I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. ”  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. (Gandalf, “Lord of The Rings”)

The modi operandi of the Modernist camp after Vatican II was to behave as if they had won the battle against the past, the past of tradition, doctrine and dogma, against the heritage of the magisterium, and that the outcomes of V II were what they wanted.

They ignored the intentions and actual documents rising out of the council and moved forward implementing “reforms” and “fundamental changes”, “in the Spirit of Vatican II”.

Pope Saint John Paul the Great

Pope Saint John Paul the Great

By the “spirit of Vatican II” is meant the teaching and intentions of the Second Vatican Council but interpreted in a way that is not limited to a literal reading of its documents, or even going so far as  interpreting in a way that contradicts the “letter” of the Council.

So, these days, these wretched days, in the first decades of the 21st century, one might be tempted to despair.

Paraphrasing Kipling, in these later days there is a real premium on keeping your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; on trusting yourself when all men doubt you, but making allowance for their doubting too; waiting and not being tired by waiting, or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, on “being Christ”, being a real member of the body of Christ.

It seems, in hindsight, that the “Spirit of Vatican II” is still alive and well in the church bureaucracy despite 30 years of the best efforts of Pope Saint John Paul the Great and Pope Benedict XVI to cure the cancerous heresy of modernism in the 20th century Catholic Church.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

After Vatican II Traditionalist Catholics such as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre distinguished between “Catholic Rome” and the actually existing Rome, as he declared in 1974 that, while he and his followers are faithful to “Catholic Rome”, they refuse to follow “the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it” (in the Spirit of Vatican II).

A priest of the Lefebvre-founded Society of St. Pius X similarly declared in 1982 that “Rome is now the headquarters, not only of the Catholic Church, but of the Modernist Mafia which has invaded and subjected it”, and that “the multitudes of ex-Catholic shepherds and their sheep who have either defected or drifted into a new religion” might well be called “Roman Protestants”. (the Spirit of Vatican II in action – ecumenical catholicism or small c catholicism).

But all is not lost … stiff upper lip and all that … and after the darkest night, the Son rises … we always have to remember that “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir” …

Cheers

Joe

 

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The Inner Struggle

Attachments and Reality …

Inner Thoughts”  Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

16th-century fresco depicting the First Council of Nicaea, (325 AD)

16th-century fresco depicting the First Council of Nicaea, (325 AD)

Souls, occupying no space, do not exist within material reality, that is to say they do not have material properties and cannot be sensed or measured or detected by methods and devices limited to the physical plane (by science).

We are familiar with our Creed in which it is stated that God is the Creator of all things, “visible and invisible”.  (pretty much every Christian denomination has a version of the Nicene Creed, whatever their political and social affiliations and beliefs)

C.S.Lewis "Abolition of Man"

C.S.Lewis “Abolition of Man”

The soul, my soul, is found in the domain of invisible creation, along with Angels and Demons and Satan, and so on, all that part of creation which “science” cannot acknowledge, because it cannot measure it, or prove anything about it.

So modern “science” in its sophistication (root “sophistry“), simply denies that that part of creation exists, a schism of science’s own creation (Link 1), since historically all “science” is rooted in the churches and in the science of First Things. (Link 2).

Link 1 and 2 give some sort of background to the notion that modern science is functionally bankrupt when discussing “reality”. “Modern” “Science” is really all about power and money, namely who has it and who makes it.

This denial of reality in support of a favoured hypothesis is a fairly “modern” phenomenon in the history of man. In modern usage, sophism, sophist and sophistry are redefined and used disparagingly. A sophism is a specious argument for displaying ingenuity in reasoning or for deceiving someone. A sophist is a person who reasons with clever but fallacious and deceptive arguments.

What I want to say is that I believe souls exist within a material creature but outside the material universe, that is, not subject to the laws of the material universe observable by “science”. It exists as created outside that realm of vibrating bits and parts, and measurable energy, which realm is filled to overflowing with all created material beings and lots of “stuff”, the “things of this world”.

These “things of this world” which are respectively made up of agglomerations of parts, in ever decreasing size and ever increasing simplicity each material “thing” being simply the sum of its parts and all of it created by the Creator, our Prime Mover, so to speak, our God, The God, and I believe this because it is “revealed” Truth.

So … “detaching” from “stuff”, which attachment is the foundation of all my misery, my frustration and my anxiety, my regrets, my sin, detaching from “all this”, this is the task. Mission Objective: detaching the “Self” from all the “stuff” which fills up my “self” and leaves no room for God to fill me up with Himself, which leaves no room for “Union with God”.

In order to detach from “the things of this world” it is necessary for me to become comfortable thinking about everything from the point of view of my soul, which is in no dependent way connected to the material universe in which my parts reside, but rather to begin to routinely, as a matter of habit, look at all material things from “outside” so to speak. Only in this way can I start the process of detaching my “self” from the material existence that the “self” has lead throughout my material life.

So, what do I think about “Spirit”? I am told that God is a “Spirit” and it seems that the only way to approach intimacy with God is to understand and accept reality as “spiritual”. I can only approach the “spirit” God” as a “spirit” person. As long as my total reality is centered in the material universe as the only reality, I seem to experience extreme difficulty detaching from the things of this world, with a concomitant difficulty growing closer to God.

When material parts are regarded from a perspective outside material reality, from a soul’s point of view, a spirit’s point of view, the material parts are rendered less essential to existence and less essential to reality. The parts, the worldly goods all become merely unessential artifacts, experiences and feelings which become easier to set aside since they are no longer the center of our physical universe, the objects of desire by the “self”.  The “things of this world” when observed as “soul” are merely observed to exist in the physical plane.

When material reality is observed from outside the material plane, as a spirit observes the material universe, objects in that plane become dramatically less important than when the material is the center of my existence and the essential center of my life. When my self identifies itself with it’s material possessions and it’s status in the material plane it is hugely difficult to “give up the stuff”.

None of the “stuff” has anything to do with God and it fills up that place in me which God would like to fill, in fact, asks me to fill with Him.

Cheers

Joe

The closer I get to “the end of all things” the easier it is to contemplate detachment and even to actually start detaching from created “stuff”.

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The Inner Struggle

“Spirited Away” and living a lie … part II

So, here is  the rest of  “Spirited Away” and living a lie …

…  back to the discussion of movies in popular progressive culture. We were talking about a secular humanist review of the movie “Spirited Away”, which describes as “a refreshing and unusual characteristic” (of this animated feature by Hayao Miyazaki) is its refusal to set up a dualistic battle between the little girl and an evil adversary. (Seriously folks, is it really “refreshing and unusual” not to differentiate between good and evil?).

All the central characters have both a light and a dark side (is this not an essential characteristic of being a human, of being a member of “Mankind”). Our heroine must overcome the forces of fear, entitlement, selfishness, gluttony, and greed within herself (aren’t these part of simply being a human being, that is possessing these evil characteristics?) as part of the blooming of her soul. (But where did the soul come from? Who created the soul?)

Little Chihiro does what spiritual seekers (humans on the path of actualizing or developing their “self”) will recognize as “shadow work” — taking back her projections (evil is just a projection), and learning to love all parts of herself, including those mirrored by others — healing both herself and those around her in the process (no God needed here since we are the pinnacle of perfection already, all we have to do is “heal” ourselves). (This is just more of the psychobabble described in C.S. Lewis’s “Bulverism“.)

The film “Spirited Away” is a follow-up to Miyazaki’s extraordinary “Princess Mononoke” (1997). Once again he has fashioned an animated feature which transports us to a mysterious and always surprising world of spirits. In Shinto folklore, everything in nature has a god living within it. For the purpose of this discussion we ask “Is the deprecation of Christian Truth as “Exclusive” supported by the mere existence of another spiritual tradition in another culture?

How do the beliefs of “Shinto” discredit the Truth of Christianity? Why is the Shinto based model for an animated feature film presented as an argument for moral relativism and against Absolute Truth? What is transcendentally “good” about beings and characters in an animated feature film being presented as vulnerable to the excesses and defilements of (presumably religious) humanity?

Yes, this film is a touching story, but in the hands of this reviewer, like a computer virus, it is hiding a deadly payload of doubt, doubt about the importance of Truth. The story of “Spirited Away” begins as Chihiro (voiced by Daveigh Chase) and her parents (Lauren Holly, Michael Chiklis) are driving to their new home. She is sulking in the back seat,  anxious about the future.

Her father takes a wrong turn, and they wind up driving through a bumpy forest road to a hillside tunnel. When her adventuresome parents decide to explore the place, Chihiro is frightened and doesn’t want to go ahead. But she follows them, and they enter what her father decides must be a deserted theme park.

When her father smells the odors of food, they follow the scent and come upon a row of restaurants and one empty one where food is piled high on the counter. Chihiro’s parents begin devouring the fare and, to their daughter’s dismay, are turned into pigs. Chihiro flees this scene and soon realizes she has stumbled into a world of spirits. A strange boy named Haku (Jason Marsden) comes to her assistance, shows her how to keep from becoming transparent in this world, and how to cross a bridge without being detected as a human.

Still, Chihiro is pretty scared. Then comes the bit when Haku has just taken Chihiro/Sen to see her parents in the pig stable, and he gives her a rice ball to eat, and she starts tearing up as she takes the first bite, and then halfway through finishing, just begins bawling from all the trauma she has accumulated over the past 16 hours or so, the overwhelming “reality”. 

This overwhelming reality is one of realizing her true situation, her true nature, and is, in reality, a vivid metaphor for man’s realization of his true relationship to God.  Truth is overwhelming. The understanding of Truth brings tears to the person that sees Truth! This is the natural reaction of every person who encounters God. It is important to understand this great little anime film is NOT about the superiority of moral relativism, it is actually about the inadequacy and unworthiness of man and about meeting God.

But in the skilled hands of this reviewer we easily lose that glimpse of Truth as we drift away into a Shinto based human centered alternate reality. Haku tells her that to save herself and her parents she needs to seek employment in a huge bathhouse that caters to all kinds of strange-looking nature spirits.

He sends her to the boiler room where the keeper, Kamaji (David Ogden Stiers), is assisted by hundreds of little soot-balls that carry coal to the furnace. They take quite a fancy to the human girl. Eventually, she meets Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), the greedy and selfish sorceress who runs the bathhouse.

This dominating woman puts her to work as a bath-attendant but not before taking away her name and giving her a new one, Sen. She is assigned to Lin (Susan Egan), another human. Their biggest challenge comes when they must deal with the “Stink Spirit,” an incredibly foul smelling being.

Only after his bath do they discover that he is a once noble and proud River God who is filled with sludge and worthless junk. Sen also proves her mettle in her relationship with Kaonashi (or No-Face), a lonely figure who follows her around and eventually brings havoc to the bathhouse spirits by drawing out their yearning for gold.

The Japanese version of “Spirited Away”, was the most successful film ever to play in Japan, and won the coveted Golden Bear Award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival. The English language version, which uses the same animation, was guided by executive producer John Lasseter of Pixar Studios (Toy Story), director Kirk Wise, and producer Don Ernst.

Similar in spirit to “Princess Mononoke”, this animated feature can be thoroughly enjoyed by both adults and children. This anime is truly a great little film but it fails utterly when used as a pedagogical tool teaching the religion of modern secular humanism. “Spirited Away” is a masterpiece that takes us to an unfamiliar world where we see familiar things with fresh eyes. Miyazaki provides an ongoing commentary on contemporary society in Japan with the characters of Chihiro’s gluttonous parents who are turned into pigs; Yubaba’s gigantic baby, a spoiled brat who gets whatever he wants; and lonely No-Face whose efforts to use his wealth to make others like him backfires.

But the film fails as an exercise in humanist apologetics because it is not intended for that purpose. Unlike Abrahamic religions this film is actually and truly intended as simply entertainment and viewers ARE an audience, not a Congregation of Believers.

The transformation of Chihiro from a sulky, clinging, and fearful little girl into a resourceful, loving, sensitive, and respectful person is a marvel to behold. Her most magic moment comes when she embraces Haku’s dark side which manifests as a dragon. Seriously folks? Embracing the dark side is a “magic moment”?  This feels like a desperate leap to justify a desperate lie. Oh, absolutely, Darth Vader is really just misunderstood, and I guess so were Stalin and Pol Pot. “Useful Idiots” sure seem thick on the ground around here.

In this “magic” moment, instead of turning against him, she reaches out to help him in his mission to discover his true identity. That’s what is so remarkable about Spirited Away, it acknowledges the shadow elements in everyone and works with these warps as part of the process of soul-making.

The problem with this is that we DO NOT make our own soul. Our soul is a created gift from God at the moment of conception which establishes us as human creations with person-hood. Instead of working to fix the warps the reviewer rationalizes them as normal parts of everyone. The reviewer has intentionally twisted the message of the movie. We, all humans,  are conceived with souls, they are not made by our own process of growth. The soul is what makes us human from the moment of conception and it is created by God out of his infinite love for mankind.

According to the reviewer, “Spirited Away” frees us from excluding anyone from our world and helps us to see that we are all in this together — human beings and spirits, ghouls and benevolent ghosts, dragons and No Names, good and evil, are all the same under the skin. But what about those poor benighted human beings, those poor ignorant souls who disagree with the reviewer and are still stuck in the old fashioned simplistic exclusionist paradigm where the difference between good and evil matter?

I guess it’s just “too bad, so sad” for them, right? Those poor ignorant exclusionists are just so “yesterday”  As John R. Mabry has put it: “We must not despise the rough, the dark, the empty, the flawed or the crooked. It is a package deal.” I guess we just have no choice but to take the evil with the good because they are only a difference of opinion and are really all the same.

But on what authority do we base this belief? Who says it is so, that this is truth? What about Good and Evil? What about God? What about hating the sin and the evil but loving the sinner? What about Christ on the cross, forgiving his enemies and keeping them in existence even as they were murdering Him?

I don’t know how anyone else reads this, but I find this review of “Spirited Away” deeply disturbing in its appealing attractiveness. Am I alone in seeing this review of “Spirited Away” as a covert subversion of the Truth of a Divine Source of all Good, of all Natural Law, the truth of  God as the creator of all and the source of all good expressed in His creations? Is this review not actually a hymn to the supremacy of Man as the source of truth, as the natural pinnacle of all good and the arbiter of good and evil as man’s opinion and nothing else?

Another remarkably jarring thing about this film, and the reviewers interpretation and gushing praise of the film, is that it normalizes references to the “Dragon” as a “good” entity. But in the Abrahamic Catholic tradition we have Revelation 12: 1-17:

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1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

The War in Heaven

7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

The Dragon Persecutes the Woman

13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

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In Abrahamic religions the dragon is the personification of Satan, the personification of evil, and the father of lies. Color me Curious about Truth. What do I see when contemplating Truth … This modern, man centered, view of reality, this vision of man as the penultimate being and arbiter of all value, this big lie is only possible for persons who have never experienced anything greater than themselves, who are totally wrapped up in self love. And the Dragon is the Father of Lies.

This modern religion of “worship of man” is characterized and evidenced in the fundamental sterility of the modern world, and modern culture, where creativity is measured in utilitarian terms and beauty is relatively worthless except to be commoditized or weaponized.

Where are the Mozarts of the 21st century, where are the Raphaels and the Boticellis, where are the Leonardo da Vincis, the Caravaggios, and  the Rembrandts,  where are the designers of Notre Dame and Saint Peter’s, where are the modern Donato Bramantes, Michelangelos, Carlo Madernos and Gian Lorenzo Berninis?

Where are the modern secular humanist artists, musicians, and architects? Who have we got that give our secular culture greatness to rival all the greatness of the historic masters?

All the greatest achievements of history were acts of worship rendered to a greater power, a Supreme Being, who was the creator of all and we, his creations, offered our best in praise of Him. There are very few places now where man can go to experience Power and Majesty greater than himself, to gain understanding of our true place in the universe, in “creation”. One of the few remaining places is the sea, that great blue water covering most of the planet.

The sea is a place of real hunger, real thirst, real death, and real spiritual combat, one is manifestly in the hands of a greater power, a Supreme Power. It is impossible to ignore the overwhelming power of the sea and by extension, it’s Creator. In the arms of the sea man is but a puny weakling and a pompous trespasser, held in existence only by the mercy of God.

Once one has survived a hurricane in a tiny 300 foot vessel one has no doubt about man’s place in the Divine scheme of things. A hurricane at sea is the ultimate reality check and no atheistic progressive survives a hurricane at sea. Blue water sailors are believers, without question or pause.

It is vitally important to understand the sea as a place to combat the dictatorship of the secular world which is filled with idols of technology and material goods, idols of convenience and comfort, the dictatorship of the secular world dominated and manipulated by the media and relativism, a world that flees God by taking refuge in distractions and noise, in effusive self worship. In the isolation of the sea we find the Chiaroscuro between silence and noise draws out and gently reveals a vision, an image of God.

The sea is silence and isolation, a blue water sailor is a long way from safety and the comforts of home and there is no one to call when things go wrong. The experience of the sea is necessary, in order to survive this modern world and to see it for what it really is, it is absolutely necessary to have the experience of the great blue sea.

There, at sea, we get some distance from everyday events, some proper perspective about what is important, especially our own personal importance. We can flee the noise and the superficiality of a relativistic world where the self comes first. The sea is a place of the Absolute, a place of freedom.

It is no accident that the sea is a place where monotheism predominates. There are no syncretic modernists, no atheistic humanists at sea. The sea is Abrahamic and monotheistic. The sea preserves us from the multiplicity of idols that men make for themselves. In this sense, the sea is the domain of grace. Far from his preoccupations, man encounters there his Creator and his God in all His Mighty Majesty.

Great things begin and are found at sea, in silence, in power, in abandonment to a force greater than man can ever be. The sea is where God leads us in order to speak to us in a heart-to-heart conversation. A heart to heart conversation within the silence of our souls echoing the great silence of the blue sea.

Cheers

Joe

Canadian DDH in Heavy Weather

Canadian DDH in Heavy Weather

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The Inner Struggle

“Spirited Away” and living a lie …

So, in the interest of removing distraction and helping “silence” (see my last short post about silence and distractions) I am not including music tracks or pictures in this post.

In my ongoing thoughts about this life, this world and this society in which I find myself living, I have gradually become aware of the importance of not “living a lie”. I have become aware of the importance of understanding my true place as a human being in the universe, amongst everything visible and invisible, for all eternity, of understanding what constitutes my “reality”.

I will look first at what I perceive to be the “common”, that is “generally accepted”, morality of our modern progressive society, that is the “normal world” which we “advanced” westerners live in. What I am “on about” in this post is my understanding of the perceived logical inconsistency, the inherent lie, of the popular Modernist Progressive western worldview, namely, that all morality is nothing more than a difference of opinion.

Lest I be accused of doing the “Straw-man” thing here, let me be clear that what I understand as the Progressive world view is the view espoused by the self described “Left” or “Liberals”, based on almost everything I hear and read these days from mainstream media communication and news, and everything appearing on Social Media these days such as Facebook (as an example, check out the Facebook page “Being Liberal”).

As a result of these observations, it seems that the Progressive world view can be summarized as:  “We, the sophisticated modernist progressives (self proclaimed Brights) believe that our point of view is correct, and all others are wrong … our opinion is the right opinion, …  because we say so,  and if you disagree with us then you are obviously stupid, and perhaps, absent provable stupidity, then even evil“.

If that summary of the Leftist view, as I understand it to be, is not the current common belief of all Progressives everywhere then I have failed utterly to find any evidence of something different. So, since the accepted view seems to be that “all morality is relative”, and I have a different view than the current Liberal mainstream, I am faced with a logical contradiction, namely that I am either OK with having different views because all views are of the same value, or I am stupid or evil or both because my views are different from the mainstream.

I don’t think that I can be both right and wrong at the same time for any particular values of right and wrong, because these two positions are logical opposites and I manifestly cannot be both “OK” and “not OK” at the same time. Moral relativism holds that anyone who believes that others are wrong are themselves wrong by that very definition of moral relativism.

Therefore I cannot be stupid or evil because I disagree with the manifest view of mainstream morality, in fact I must be at least as “right” as anyone else, whatever their views, right? Did I miss something there? …  Anyone? … Anyone? I think C.S. Lewis touched on this in his article about “Bulverism“.

So can I assume that I am alright with my understanding of the current modern worldview, that is, all moral views are simply a difference of opinion, and I am OK, right? If there is something else besides “I’m OK, You’re OK” in modern morality then I guess I totally missed it somewhere along the path. If I did miss something important, if that is the case, then “My Bad” and please point me in the direction that shows something different.

Otherwise, on with the discussion of why it’s a mistake to accept logical inconsistencies, and even outright lies as the basis for one’s life. The 2 items of interest here are the area of popular entertainment (most of the post), and the area of abortion (as a short case study in illogicality).

First lets look at popular entertainment. The subtle misdirection and illogicality of this review of the film “Spirited Away”  might be missed in the beauty of the film itself, but is actually a gentle effort to direct us away from Truth towards the worship of man as the summit of all and sole arbiter of what is good. Because of the subtlety it is all the more dangerous, layering humanist philosophy onto a beautiful entertainment.

Often our modern adventure movies are set in strange worlds and climax with a battle between the forces of good, represented by the hero or heroine, and the forces of evil, represented by the stranger, the odd, or the mean-spirited — for example, a witch, sorcerer, power-mad ruler, or someone else who uses their power inappropriately (for example the Star Wars series or Marvel’s super hero films). The “common man” (that would be us) seems to have little difficulty with being “for” good, and “against” evil. It just seems like common sense, right?

The modern intellectual view, however, seems to be that these scenarios make it all too easy for filmgoers to cheer for the good guys (with whom they quite naturally identify) and boo the bad guys (stand-ins for everything they don’t approve of). The assumption appears to be that it is somehow wrong or misguided to cheer for good and boo evil because there is no intrinsic difference between good and evil.

The sophisticated view seems to be that to indulge in this sort of partisanship is simplistic and the refuge of the deluded. In this purportedly flawed view of reality, the world is seen as the stage for dueling dualisms, an “us” versus “them” narrative where it is perfectly acceptable for one side to completely obliterate the “other”.

Ironically, this seems to be especially true of reviewers and filmgoers who are opposed to any discussion of the existence and manifestations of evil, (the absence of good) all around us every day and in our own lives and the lives of others. They seem opposed to any divergence of opinion which might threaten their view of man as the pinnacle of all things and the sole arbiter of the “good”.

This error is rooted in the greatest and the favorite lie of all the modernist, progressive lies, and the fundamental evil of our modern western world, the moral relativism of “I’m OK, You’re OK”. In this deception, any “evil” is given a pass in the guise of being of being simply “different” cultural values, rather than being the object of legitimate discrimination between evil and good.

This results in the dressing up of a variety of deviance, perversion, criminality, or simply “evil” activities as nothing more than the “other and the “different”. It is definitely NOT all about differentiating between “good” and “evil”, and of course, only the ignorant and unenlightened would object to important causes such as the de-facto defence of NAMBLA, or perhaps the “Right to Choose” option championed by “Planned Parenthood” under the supposedly constitutional sobriquet of “Freedom of Choice”.

When this “view of reality”, this “moral relativism” is expressed in a popular movie is this just harmless entertainment? Or does this plant the seeds of doubt about the acceptability of moral relativism. Is calling entertainment which draws clear lines between right and wrong “simplistic storytelling”  that is contributing to the creation of “hostility” a truth of a fabrication?

Doesn’t this vilification of clear moral delineation actually support the modernist worldview that prejudice and hatred (of evil) are two diseases of the mind in which we project our feelings of fear, resentment, self-disgust, anger, alienation, and paranoia on others whom we perceive to be different (especially strangers). In other words is knowing the difference between good and evil actually an evil because in actuality there is no difference that matters. Because in this progressive modernist morality, good and evil are just different points of view!

Does not the presentation of “hospitality”, “empathy”, and “self-esteem”,  as antidotes or as “spiritual practices” depreciate the true spiritual virtues of “compassion”, “sacrifice”, “forgiveness”, “charity”, and “love of neighbor” and in reality render worship to man, and man’s “common decency” as the defining measure of good and evil.

Doesn’t this slight of hand, this lie, overturn the actual roots of man’s “common decency” illustrated in the two thousand year old religious understanding of the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity or Love, and compassion and love of neighbor all of which are tied up in “sacrifice of self” and are anathema to the Modernist Progressive view of morality.

To turn things on their head and acclaim a movie as “sometimes a movie gets it right”, and point to a godless celebration of humanist values like the movie “Spirited Away” is a perversion and a lie. Because “Spirited Away” is, in fact, an excellent movie and an excellent story. This is an English-language version of a Japanese animated film by acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. In the film a ten-year old girl named Chihiro becomes lost in an alternate universe and must find within herself the pluck and the love to endure a series of dangerous tests before she can go home.

The wonderful story in “Spirited Away” is the sugar coated distraction on the pill of evil contained in the explanation of “good” springing fully formed from the human being. To claim that “It will remind some viewers of Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (because) “it is nothing short of wonderful to have a female protagonist on screen who engenders our empathy and support” deprecates and ignores the importance of the satire in the original work “Alice in Wonderland”, and “The Wizard of Oz”, ignores the true intent of these works and replaces the message of the originals with some shallow reverence to some “superior” politically correct progressive feminist ideal.

This is the fundamental error of believing that “all religions” are the same, also known as “Syncretism” and of equal relevance to the modern sophisticate, that is to say, not relevant at all since we now worship ourselves as the summit and sole arbiter of what is good and what is evil, and of course whatever we like or desire is the good and anyone who disagrees with us is evil or “not good”.

This flies in the face of the previous exposition regarding “judgement” and “discrimination”, the progressive’s immediate prequel condition that prejudice against any “other” or any “different” is in fact evil is immediately thrown away as they then dive into a rationalization of why they are the exclusive purveyor of what is “good” and all others are “evil.

The trap inherent in Syncretism is the denying of absolute truth, or of any truth, the oft misquoted Pontius Pilate “What is truth?” other than whatever I say it is. According to the Gospel of Wikipedia, some religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems often frown on applying the label, especially adherents who belong to “revealed” religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach. (the implication being here is that Abrahamic Religions are “exclusivist”and therefore questionable at best).

Such adherents (presumably to the Abrahamic religionssometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth. By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true. Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word “syncretism” as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system actually distort the original faith.

The consequence, according to (The Authority) of Keith Ferdinando, is a fatal compromise of the dominant religion’s integrity.[1] If one is unfamiliar with Professor Ferdinando then this reference, in this context, might be an acceptable appeal to authority for the validity of Syncretism, but even a passing acquaintance with his work would give this the lie.

Non-exclusivist systems of belief, (like modern progressive humanism)  on the other hand,  feel (reasonably) quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own whenever and however it suites their desires. In other words, adherence to revealed traditional Truth is a quaint superstition now superseded in our modern secular society.

Within that secular modern progressive society religious innovators often create new religions syncretically (New Age, Masons, some Protestant sects, Wicca, Pantheists, Scientology, Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now” movement, etc.)  as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity (seriously?), often with the at least partly intended effect of offending the original religions in question (but who cares about those superstitious savages).

Such modern religions, however, do maintain appeal to a less exclusivist audience (like we modern sophisticates where all Truth is merely fashionable opinion). Even the use of the term “audience” relegates religious belief to the sphere of “entertainment”. In other words, it is evil to point out the evil in the “other” or the “different” unless it is we the “good guys” pointing out the evil in those who disagree with us.

This “syncretic entertainment” argument employs the same logical subterfuge as the argument for “choice” enabling the rationalization of murder under the guise of abortion and the mother’s “right to choose” because the fetus is not a human but simply a piece of undifferentiated tissue. The big lie surfaces again with the case for abortion, in which it is an article of faith that “something” is “not something” unless and until we make an exception when we need it to be “something” rather than “not something” so that we can make handsome profit selling the “something”.

But at the same time as the child is described as “simply tissue” the abortionist is very careful in dismembering that child to insure recovery of undamaged organs which same organs are are then sold on the market to the highest bidder as “Human” organs of great value and for great profit for the abortionists and their companies.

That wonderful logical reality slip is where pointing out evil, drawing attention to evil is itself evil in the form of prejudice. Except that this sin is just A-OK when it is the progressives themselves painting all who disagree with them as evil, then it is all just fine, just like the explanation of the murder of a child as “simply the disposal of a piece of “undifferentiated tissue” which somehow miraculously becomes a few moments later, by some transubstantiation of the satanic abortion industry, a “human” organ for sale to the highest bidder.

This is the signature work of the Prince of This World, and his children follow his ways … “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44),

And this big lie, dressed in many little truths and facts, but twisted at the end into this perversion of logic, this ability to say one thing in support of one’s views regarding what that person finds desirable, and then immediately turn it all on it’s head and say the exact opposite a moment later as if somehow there is no connection, no logical connection, between the one and the other is the signal sign of the work of evil and the is the fundamental platform of the humanist progressive worship of man as the pinnacle of all things.

Well, that is quite a bit for now so I will move the rest of this to the next post – part II of

 

Cheers

Joe

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The Inner Struggle

Seeking Truth …

Inner Thoughts”  Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Mgr Lefebvre writes: ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it!

These religions … can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.

C.S. Lewis writing at his desk

C.S. Lewis writing at his desk

C.S. Lewis writes (in The Last Battle):  “… He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. …  I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

In “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , writes: ” … The soul is never alone in its efforts to attain union; God goes to meet it, giving it His helping hand and drawing it to Himself by means of the holy inspirations which enlighten its mind and the interior touches which inflame its will.

These inspirations and divine touches are none other than the actuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, by which God directs the soul and works within it, first to purify and dispose it for union, and then to unite it effectively to Himself by love.

It is most consoling to consider that this wealth of divine help enters into the normal course of the development of the life of grace, and hence is encountered even in the ordinary way of holiness. This is the heritage which God has prepared for every soul, provided it is generous in giving itself to Him.”  Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition.  meditation 363 “Divine Assistance” pp 1063.

That is the point of this post. That these holy inspirations and divine touches are the heritage which God has prepared for every soul, provided it is generous in giving itself to Him. All souls are loved by God and all souls can aspire to divine unity and heaven regardless of their faith or lack thereof, so long as they are willing to surrender their self worship for the worship of God and submission to the will of God.

Cheers

Joe

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.(Matthew 11:28–30)

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Of Trolls and False Believers …

“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Even as thou seekest the truth, the truth that thou seekest thou shalt find.  So finding a relevant post while considering the mocking commentary of the trolls whenever I include some portion of “Divine Intimacy” in my posts I herewith re-post from Fr. Hunwicke’s site:

*****

Continuing to consider Archbishop Lefebvre’s book, from my own background in Catholic Anglicanism, I discern in it more than a whiff of that admirable Anglican Ulsterman, C S Lewis. Not that Archbishop Lefebvre, I am sure, will have read him; but because first-rate Christian thinkers so often, laudably, converge.

Take a particular tricky theological problem: explaining how souls rooted in a false religion may find their way to God, without asserting – or leading others to think you mean – that all religions are more or less as good as each other: ‘syncretism’ or ‘indifferentism’.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

Mgr Lefebvre writes ” … in the false religions, certain souls can be oriented towards God; but this is because they do not attach themselves to the errors of their religion! It is not through their religion that these souls turn towards God, but in spite of it! Therefore, the respect that is owed to these souls would not imply that respect is owed to their religion”.

And: ” … these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.

But none of these values belongs in its own right to these false religions … The wholesome elements that can subsist still belong by right to the sole true religion, that of the Catholic Church; and it is this one alone that can act through them”*.

I think this is admirably expressed, and it reminds me strongly of the penultimate chapter in Lewis’s The Last Battle. A young Calormene, brought up in the worship of the false god Tash, meets the Lion Aslan, the Christ-figure in Lewis‘s rich narrative. “Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days, and not him. …

But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.

He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true … that thou and Tash art one?

The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. … Dost thou understand, Child?

I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I also said (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek”.

*****

Note: “…these religions [he has just mentioned Islam and Hinduism] can keep some sound elements, signs of natural religion, natural occasions for salvation; even preserve some remainders of the primitive revelation (God, the fall, a salvation), hidden supernatural values which the grace of God could use in order to kindle in some people the flame of a dawning faith.”

Truth-teller:

Truth-teller: At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, historian Robert Conquest had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment

But what is one to find in the worship of self and the corollary deprecation of all others of all religions which might kindle a “flame of dawning faith”? What can one find in Atheism, the ultimate worship of self, which might kindle the “flame of faith” in the Divine?

Back in the day, there was a term in use in some quarters which precisely described those who sincerely believed a ideology or philosophy which was empirically provably wrong. That term was “useful idiots.

Robert Conquest was the principle proponent of of this “Useful Idiot” terminology to describe the “Brights” of his day.

“In 1968, when Worcestershire-born Conquest first published his ground-breaking account of Stalin’s atrocities, the world was a very different place.

Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear. It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War (WW III) seemed. Across the Western world, many (including most in the military) doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.

The Trudeaus and Castro

The Trudeaus and Castro

What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) (and coincidentally one of Pierre Eliot Trudeau’s professors during PET’s time at the London School) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the (Soviet) regime whenever it was criticised.

Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood. It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.”

*****

So too in the spiritual realm, the “Useful Idiots” uphold the narcissistic adoration of self as the “ultimate good” and consider man as the pinnacle of all things.

These poor benighted souls are the useful idiots of the spiritual world, those unknowing followers of the dark one, the “Father of Lies”, who has existed for all of man’s history and never ceases to strive to drag all souls down to his realm of darkness.

Perhaps one of the best  portrayals of how this process works in the spiritual realm is C.S.Lewis’s book: The Screwtape Letters” .

The principle tenant of the doctrines of communism, socialism, fascism, secularism, and all the currently fashionable “isms” of the progressives is that man is the measure and pinnacle of all things, in other words “self worship”.

This is THE fundamental plank of the platform, the defining characteristic of all secular progressives and a defining characteristic of all those who mock believers of every stripe, lumping all who do not share their religion of self worship into the single pot of “those superstitious fools”, not the enlightened elite like “We Brights” who have put aside the “crutch” of religion.

This “crutch” is in reality a “life-ring” in a sea of desolation, and this action by the worshipers of self is a blessing for traditional religious believers, namely all those who believe in a Supreme Being above man, because:

“… The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. …

This mockery of the “Brights” strikes directly to the roots of pride in ourselves, our attachment to esteem and the respect of others, hence the blessing in such mockery. Our attachment to the things of this world must be ripped up root and branch and replaced with attachment to God.

Cheers

Joe

patience and charity in all things …

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

The Ride of The Poltroons … revisited because what happens in Vegas truly does not stay in Vegas

Ride of the Valkyries”, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, from the soundtrack of the movie Watchman, (2009)

Really feeling much less understanding and contemplative today … so lets look at things in the news: 

Poltroon: An ignoble or total coward; a dastard; a mean-spirited wretch.  Word Origin & History: poltroon “spiritless coward,” 1529, from M.Fr. poultron “rascal, coward,” from It. poltrone “lazy fellow, coward,” apparently from *poltro “couch, bed” (cf. Milanese polter, Venetian poltrona “couch”), perhaps from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. polstar “pillow,” see bolster).

Read a post by David Warren yesterday about “closure” that wonderfully evocative emotional “thing” which Progressives confuse for  compassion and charity.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01: People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Withstanding the media and political tsunami of tears and wailing from all the usual sectors is exhausting and breeds depression and before I drown in my misery while seeking closure about the tragedy in Vegas I decided to reprise a post I made back in mid 2016 after the Orlando shootings. Make no mistake about it, the Vegas event WAS A TRAGEDY, but all the subsequent noise and posturing and virtue signalling completely missed the point and the essence that is tragedy.

The big tragedy is the private hell of all the undeserving folks who were victims of the shooter in Vegas. The little daily tragedy is that the survivors are being exploited and abused by all the usual suspects for all the usual agendas without the slightest concern for the real needs of the survivors and families of the victims and those very victims who were lucky enough to survive the event.

And the real perpetrators of tragedy give themselves a pass, they give themselves cover on all their virtue signaling by being sure to mention just how great the first responders, firefighters and police behaved! Gee what a tragedy! Time to ban guns! Blah! Blah! Blah! Knees just jerking all over the place and drooling gibbering emoticons in suits babbling about how they have to control people for their own good.

Hillary slammed for ignorant gun remarks after Vegas tragedy

Hillary slammed for ignorant gun remarks after Vegas tragedy

What about the much talked about fact that the bad actor had absolutely NO religious affiliations – NONE!  Can anyone remember what this sort of behaviour used to be called? “Possessed by Demons”, really, not just some Hollywood horror script. Yes Virginia, demons exist and are happy to insert themselves into human affairs at every opportunity. Especially easy targets are amoral drifting humans with no religious affiliation.

The modern predilection for denying the existence of God and the supernatural really doesn’t mean that God and the supernatural stopped existing suddenly when “all that stuff” went out of style. I happen to believe in the existence of demons and the demonic. It does offer the only way that I am aware of to explain or account for acts which all the talking heads and politicians brand “senseless”.

Visiting a great blog site called (appropriately) Internet Monk we  find:

C.S. Lewis writing at his desk

C.S. Lewis writing at his desk

Whenever we consider the subject of demonology, it is hard to ignore the contributions of C.S. Lewis. In the modern era, few have stimulated the imagination with regard to the spiritual realm as much as the author of The Screwtape Letters. The book, dedicated to his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, begins with two quotes:

“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” (Luther)

“The devill . . . the prowde spirite . . . cannot endure to be mocked.” (Thomas More)

This Lewis proceeds to do in masterful literary fashion. Through witty epistles, he captures the cleverness and wiles of Satan’s agents as well as their ultimate shortsightedness and folly.

This series of letters and memos comes from a senior demon (Screwtape) to a younger protege, his nephew Wormwood — a “Junior Tempter” — regarding Wormwood’s assignment to damn the soul of a human being known only as “the Patient.” A portion of one of the letters pertinent to our discussions this week deals with modern humanity’s view of the existence of spirits and the Devil.

Here is Screwtape’s counsel about how to best exploit that.” … :

from the C.S. Lewis book “Screwtape Letters” chapter VII :

*****

My Dear Wormwood,

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient (that would be humans) in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command (that would be Satan). Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves.

Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis

Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis

Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet.

I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy (that would be God).

The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work – the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits” – then the end of the war will be in sight.

But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.”

Chapter VII

*****

So, yeah, demons and demonology do in fact provide a “sensible explanation of “senseless” events and actions, although, at present, such beliefs are seriously out of fashion amongst the “intelligentsia” and the “proles” of our Secular Progressive Modern “Enlightened” society. Why, of course we no longer believe in demons and demonology. We are so much more sophisticated than those primitive superstitious peasants of the European Middle Ages or Medieval Period.

The Medieval age, “The Dark Ages”, began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Medieval Period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century – like, man, that’s about a thousand years, eh? Gee, we moderns have only been believing what we believe for about a hundred years or so, right?

Our Lady of Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our Lady of Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina

I sometimes wonder if the occasional mass murder spree by some lone wolf perp with no discernible religious affiliation is the Demonic equivalent of the Divine apparitions like Our Lady of Fatima and other such Divine apparitions.

It’s not much of a stretch, once you think of it, to imagine Demonic apparitions demonstrating the power of the Devil to counter the Divine apparitions such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico, Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, Our Lady of Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Poland, and so on, many such Divine apparitions are reliably recorded but mainly ignored by our sophisticated mainstream society. A pretty complete list of Marian Apparitions is located here.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico

So think about it for a moment, a Demonic apparition to counter all the many Divine apparitions? It’s not really so far fetched as one might first think. Is there any slightest possibility that a thousand years of experience might have given the Medievals a more realistic, in depth, understanding of the supernatural?

I mean, really, the so-called “Dark Ages” weren’t really very dark. Some of the brightest minds in history flourished in the “Dark Ages” and did a much better job, under much worse conditions, of keeping Western Civ alive and well than our current crop of brilliant “Brights”.

Like, man … what’s the difference in believing in the supernatural and believing in “science”. Except for the various flavours of magicians it’s all just magic anyway for the mythical man in the street, right? Can any of you explain how an integrated circuit or a radio telescope works – nope?  There ya go, just magic again, on to the next 30 second sound bite, the next Tweet, the next Facebook post. David Warren has an interesting little post concerning how the Devil makes use of humans, so go and read the whole thing here.

Prophecy” Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Feather and Skull”, (2013)

Meanwhile, back to my previous post from June 18th 2016

*****

We are blessed to live in an age where for the first time in history the poltroons are running ALL government and media channels and the progressive narrative is poured over us 24/7, world without end, amen.

When faced with evil we are confronting a binary choice – do something about it, or don’t do something about it. Doing something about it requires guts, brains, courage, grit, self sacrifice, willingness to speak truth to power, willingness to die for what we believe in, the list is endless. All of the above qualities and talents are utterly lacking in the denizens of the government universe and the media universe.

Therefore we get the second option – don’t do anything about it. But that creates a quandary for management because; by every definition “leaders” have to be seen to be “doing something”. So the question becomes “How do we do nothing while appearing to be doing something?”

The answer is “Hell!  Let’s focus on the implements of destruction!” Because we all know the proles are just scared know-nothings who will believe that all crimes of violence are actually committed by “Autonomous Self Propelled Seeker Drones” called “Assault Rifles“.

WHOOOO!  The modern bogyman we can use to push our agenda on all the innocent because we are too weak to actually do something about the guilty evil actors. Because if we ever once acknowledged evil we would logically have to include ourselves in that category and we sure don’t want to do anything to hurt ourselves, right?”

Except where noted, the rest of this I lifted wholesale from here. Please go to the site and read the whole piece. The author makes perfect sense, not that that has ever had any impact whatsoever on the Progressive Brights who have the knee jerk  “Ban Guns” response every time the media start frothing about the latest (and rare) murder committed with guns.

Favorite-Tactical-Rimfies-Review-11

****Tactical Style .22 rimfire “Assault Rifles”. A .22 cal Àssault Rifle for assaulting gophers … OY!

” ... If the cosmetic features used to define an “assault weapon” in the 1994 law strike you as really stupid ways to define an “assault weapon,” it’s because the 1994 law was a stupid law with stupid definitions written by stupid people.

(Blog Note: and while we are on the topic, I have never heard anyone who knew anything at all about guns ever suggest that a .22 cal rimfire was a reasonable facsimile of an “Assault Weapon”, as in something one could use in an actual assault on a defended stronghold.  We use .22 for varmint popping, it`s for children’s toys.

In the real world the term assault rifle implies a caliber of at least 5.56 x 45 in a Bullpup Assault rifle or, even, preferably 7.62 x 51 in an FN C2A2 or even, possibly, a civilian 308. But a .22 rimfire assault rifle – don`t make me laugh)

And not only was it a stupid law, it was a stupid law that didn’t even accomplish its stated goal. How do we know? Because today, more than a decade after the law’s expiration, the number of people murdered by rifles is 36 percent lower than it was during the last full year the assault weapons ban was in effect.
redneck_assault_rifle

ISIS Islamic Warrior or member of NRA – GEE they all look the same to me. Quick! Better ban guns!

The law expired in September of 2004, making 2003 the last full calendar year in which the law was in effect.According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics, 390 people were murdered with rifles in 2003, making rifles the weapon of choice in 2.7 percent of murders that year.

 But in 2014, more than a decade after these vile weapons of war flooded American streets, the number of rifle murders surely skyrocketed, right? Not so much. Quite the opposite. In 2014, the most recent year for which detailed FBI data are available, rifles were used in 248 murders.
 
And not only are rifles used in far fewer murders over a decade following the expiration of the 1994 gun ban, they’re also used in a smaller percentage of homicides. In 2003, when the gun ban was in full effect, rifles were used in nearly 3 percent of murders. In 2014, they were used in barely 2 percent.
 
That’s the exact opposite of what gun banners said should happen. After the assault weapons ban, guns were supposed to flood the streets and just start killing people. Crime was supposed to skyrocket. But that’s not what happened. Yes, Americans bought a ton of rifles after the law expired, but rather than going up, the number of homicides in which rifles were used drastically fell. There were way more guns, but way less crime.
 
She cut off their tails with a carving knife ...

She cut off their tails with a carving knife …

Are you ready for a mind-blowing statistic? In 2014, you were six times more likely to be murdered with a knife than you were with a rifle. Knives were the weapon of choice in 1,567 murders in 2014, according to the FBI. It gets crazier. You were also nearly three times more likely to be killed by someone’s fists or feet than you were to be murdered with a rifle. In 2014, 660 people were murdered with what the FBI calls “personal weapons”–hands, fists, feet–compared to 248 with rifles.

 In the United States, knives are more deadly than rifles. So are fists. And feet. This is not my opinion. It is an incontrovertible fact. And it’s a fact that highlights a point that far too many people refuse to acknowledge: the human desire to kill is far more deadly than any weapon. Weapons do not of their own volition and agency decide to kill people. That requires human intervention. Humans hell-bent on death and destruction will get their hands on whatever tools they need to wreak their desired havoc. Restricting the use of those tools by innocent people who only want to protect themselves and their families is delusional madness.
 
Yet here we are. Rather than blaming individuals and ideologies, the leading lights of American society have decided to demonize inanimate objects. Despite the fact that the terrorist in Orlando was a radical jihadi who pledged allegiance to ISIS, (and the shooter in Vegas was not affiliated with any religion) our Progressives have decided to blame the NRA for what happened. Even though the terrorist was registered to vote as a Democrat, (and the Vegas shooter had no known political affiliation) …  Democrats have decided that Republicans are the true culprits.
 
This is apparently how 2016 is going to go. If a boy tells you he’s a girl, then he’s a girl. If an Islamic terrorist who pledges allegiance to ISIS tells you he’s killing for Allah, then he’s probably a Republican with a lifetime NRA membership. After all, Islamic terrorists don’t kill people; peaceful, law-abiding citizens who believe the Second Amendment means what it says kill people. And lone wolf, demon possessed murderers who kill themselves when they suddenly understand the horror of their own actions are obviously right wing nut jobs – BAN GUUUUNSSSSSS!!!!!
 
Collective leftist denial about the existential, radical Islamic threat facing America is not going to prevent Islamic terrorism. Gun bans that ban guns based on nothing more than scary-looking cosmetic features are not going to prevent radical Jihadis from murdering innocent people. Pretending that Republicans and the NRA are the real villains is not going to prevent ISIS from killing more Americans. Ignoring the fact that these attacks seem to only happen in gun-free zones won’t prevent violent psychopaths from waltzing into those gun-free zones and gunning down the unarmed civilians who congregate there.
 
But all those things will make progressives feel better about themselves, and who are you to deny them that right?
*****
quote-we-don-t-let-them-have-ideas-why-would-we-let-them-have-guns-joseph-stalin-28-6-0671

We don`t let them have ideas, why would we let them have guns

But not one item of fact will have any affect on the decisions made and directions pursued by the Progressive Poltroons making political hay or the media talking heads babbling on and on calling for gun bans.

Because they are most afraid of guns – in the hands 0f their own citizens! The Poltroons are most afraid of we the people … that would be … US!  Their own law-abiding citizens are their worst nightmare. What’s next?  Banning Assault Boots?

Quoting from the above article: “Are you ready for a mind-blowing statistic? In 2014, you were six times more likely to be murdered with a knife than you were with a rifle. Knives were the weapon of choice in 1,567 murders in 2014, according to the FBI. AAAAAGH!!! BAN KNIVES! (AND WHILE WE ARE AT IT LETS INCLUDE FORKS AS WELL, THEY LOOK KIND OF DANGEROUS WITH ALL THOSE POINTY PARTS!)

Assault Boots (aka Black Combat Boots)

Assault Boots (aka Black Combat Boots)

It gets crazier. You were also nearly three times more likely to be killed by someone’s fists or feet than you were to be murdered with a rifle. In 2014, 660 people were murdered with what the FBI calls “personal weapons”–hands, fists, feet–compared to 248 with rifles.” Gee Wiz! Assault Boots are black, with heavy cleats, and laces, and are provably three times more dangerous than Assault Rifles! Who KNEW! AAAAAAGH!!! BAN ASSAULT BOOOOOTS!!!!!!

Cheers
Joe
Lichtenstein-CastleFrom where I sit, logic and facts have no place in the progressive narrative. I sometimes wonder if this cognitive dissonance I am experiencing, this pervasive unease, is how the regular folks in the Roman Empire felt around 475 A.D. just before Romulus, the last of the Roman emperors in the west, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, the first Barbarian to rule in Rome, and who ushered in those mythical Dark Ages our modern sophisticates so enjoy mocking.
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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Justice … part 2 … do we actually want Justice?

Hamabe No Uta” (Narita), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

We sometimes speak of the “old order” in a disparaging way, the old order of “Dead White Males” comes to mind, or “Victorian” is another variation on the same sentiment. What we are really talking about when we refer to the “old order” is the philosophical root and foundation of our Western Christian Civilization from which ALL our notions of right and wrong and morality derive.

Did the abandonment of the old order really set us free to realize the full potential of humanity, the Ubermensch, the Overman, Overhuman, Above-Human, Superman, Super-human, Ultra-human, Higher-Person, Higher-Being. The previous are just a few of the myriad variations of the new Narcissism of the 20th and 21st century. What can sincerity and justice mean in a society where I am all and where all truth is relative to and related to my desires and appetites, my self image, my ego?

The lipstick of “moral relativism” doesn’t turn the pig into a beautiful person … a pig, is a pig, is a pig, no matter how much makeup we slather onto it. Moral relativism is simply “license to behave anyway I want” dressed up in a tux and ready to party. License is related to licentiousness – graphically – hmmmm.

Generally, in our current culture, people end up believing nothing—or holding that nothing is certain, even in matters relating to Natural Law, which all people know through the use of their reason alone. Everything that happens now gets attributed to some sort of “Karma” with no responsibility, express or implied, on any side by any party. No respect, rights, obligations, duty, responsibility means … what exactly?

These days we even have the mythology of the Buddha allegedly saying: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” This is a very bad translation of the Kalama Sutta — so bad, in fact, that it contradicts the actual message of the Sutta, which says that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth.

Mohandas Gandhi

Cool quote!  From a cool guy! That’s what I read …  Is it true? Did Gandhi actually say this? How do I know?  Waddya Talkin About?  I saw it on Pinterest!  It MUST be true … Huh?

So this culture, this society of Secular Humanist Progressivism, this new normal of moral relativism, is a direct result and morbid offspring of private interpretation of “Truth”,  just one more of many “I will not serve!” moments in both angelic and human history.  And with totally predictable consequences … for if a person has a right to decide for himself what the Truth is, this says, in effect, that he is his own personal doctor of truth, (“Doctor of the Church”) whatever one’s theological and moral training, and of course we have Pontius Pilot’s question: “What is Truth?”.

We find ourselves replying that “Truth” is whatever we say it is … because we are the sole arbiter of truth, right?

If a person has a right to decide for himself what the Truth is, this says that every person has a personal right to choose whether he will believe or not believe certain teachings. Given this starting point the individual easily slides into the position that he has a right to believe anything, or even nothing at all. This might well have been the start, the wellspring of the slippery slope of “rights” without “responsibilities”.

On the one hand, our modern society MUST concede every person a civil right to reject religious or moral truth, as far as he individually is concerned, only because both religion and society must allow a person to exercise his free will and to choose for himself whether he will accept or reject God’s Revelation and/or Natural Law, and/or criminal law and provincial law and municipal law for that matter, because as we all acknowledge, every human being is endowed with free will from the very moment of conception.

Canadian Figurehead

On the other hand, he, (or “she” or even “it”) – mustn’t get too politically incorrect here lest we offend some entitled rainbow singularity –  the ONE who rejects the truth must unfortunately, unavoidably and  personally bear whatever evil consequences result from his, hers, or it’s own personal choice of the magical fantasy which is their personal reality. Thinking things like “Drinking and driving” won’t have bad outcomes for me ’cause I’m special, “doing drugs” won’t affect my job and my family because I’m special, “building my home on a flood plane” won’t have bad outcomes ’cause I’m special … and so on and so forth.

Worshiping at the pool …

For those accustomed to indulging in “Magical Thinking” it is sometime a shock to discover that actions and beliefs have consequences in the real world. We believe that it can’t possibly be our fault, that the outcome in question can’t be the result of our own bad choices, NO WAY EH! Hence the almost universal predilection for playing the blame game, we blame circumstances, or other people, or the economy or the politics of the day, FOR MAKING US “FEEL” BAD about the inevitable consequences of our own bad, ill-considered choices and actions.  All in order to permit perpetuation of our well loved, familiar, comfortable, personal fantasies which are crippling us and preventing the existence of Justice .

For some, this view may be difficult or offensive because they are unaccustomed to hearing other views which differ from the generally accepted mainstream view. The “I’m OK, Your OK” generation and their children and grand-children are especially sensitive to being reminded of past failures and disasters and having current failings remarked upon. They don’t want to hear anyone commenting on the likely outcomes obvious with even a cursory examination of the reality on the ground.

We have “become as gods” and will brook no objections or interruptions to our worship of the image in the pool. But …

C.S. Lewis Quote

In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, if there is to be any hope of long term survival, it is critically important at this point in history, to reflect on what has gone wrong. Can anyone seriously believe that we live in the best of all worlds, the promised land of the Enlightenment?

American Figurehead

Without Truth and Sincerity how can there be Justice? Who do we believe?  Do we turn to our figureheads for guidance? It always seems that our Great Canadian Societal Figureheads prattling on to the media and all the talking heads doing interviews with our Canadian versions of Rock Stars … always seem to be selling some version of “What is Truth?”

This dystopian emotional wasteland, this distilled “Canadianess”, produced by our daily confrontations with reality in our polite society is the meat of the “Cognitive Dissonance” part of “Cognitive Dissonance in a Progressive Tyranny”.

For want of sincerity and a concomitant want of justice we have adopted “politically correct” niceness as our defining national characteristic.

Canadian Figurehead …

As David Warren writes:Compliant, complaisant, acquiescent. Docile, submissive, ingratiating. Servile, tractable, obsequious. Ever deferential, glad to be of use. This is what my fellow Canadians have become, though we were not in the past, according to my elders (now mostly dead). When unreasonable demands were made upon them, their inclination was to stiffly resist. Ours is to be chumps, patsies, dupes, treacle saps. In our vanity we think that we are “nice” people, and celebrate our own gormlessness.” “What is Truth?”

American Figurehead …

Lest we forget, or maybe we never knew it, but the generation that fought and died at Vimy Ridge was in no way “nice” and “gormless”. The generation that sang: “D-day Dodgers knew everything there was to know about push-back against gormlessness (great series of YouTube videos at this link – none of this shows up in Social Studies, does it?).

Lest we forget, Canadians were not always a mob of gormless poltroons. Where are they now? My elders (now mostly dead). Realization dawned one day in the midst of World War III, that the real enemy was not, most undoubtedly not, the young kid clinging on to the Soviet frigate 100 yards away. He was me.

Canadian Figurehead

The real enemy was back home in the comfortable office towers and media redoubts taking pot shots at the ones doing the bleeding.  The real enemy was back home in the Kremlin, and in Washington, and in Ottawa, and in London. The real enemy was the figureheads and their agenda of “What is Truth?”

Just in case we missed something and mistakenly understand “gormless” as synonymous with “nice” we can look at a definition of sorts: “Gormless began life as the English dialect word “gaumless”, which was altered to the modern spelling when it expanded into wider use in the late 19th century.

The origins of “gaumless” are easy to understand; the word derives from a combination of the dialect noun gaum, meaning “attention” or “understanding,” and the suffix -less. “Gaum” also functions as a verb in some dialects, where it means “to pay attention to” and “to understand.” An unrelated verb gaum means “to behave in a stupid or awkward manner.”

There’s also a noun gaum, meaning “a stupid doltish person.” But none of these are as commonly used nowadays as “gormless”, which itself is most frequently seen in British English.

Canadian Figureheads

True synonyms would be: airheaded, birdbrained, bonehead, boneheaded, brain-dead, brainless, bubbleheaded, chuckleheaded, dense, dim, dim-witted, doltish, dopey (also dopy), dorky [slang], dull, dumb, dunderheaded, empty-headed, fatuous, stupid [chiefly British], half-witted, knuckleheaded, lamebrain (or lamebrained), lunkheaded, mindless, oafish, obtuse, opaque, pinheaded, senseless, simple, slow, slow-witted, soft, softheaded, thick, thickheaded, thick-witted, unintelligent, unsmart, vacuous, weak-minded, witless.

Now don’t I just feel SO much better in my nice Canadian gormlessness … sigh. “What is Truth?”

And what about Gratitude? Is there really anything to be grateful for in a polite society lacking in sincerity and justice?  (more to follow on gratitude – we need more of it)

Cheers

Joe

After Darkness comes the Dawn …

 

and Breakfast …

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Sincerity …

Hamachidori“, by Ryutaro Hirota, played by Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra & Kazumasa Watanabe, from the album “Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)

Lately I’ve been thinking about Justice, Gratitude, and Sincerity. We are observably running a serious deficit in these important virtues in our polite, politically correct, Canadian society.

I recently finished a decent little book by an author named Mark Manson. His book is all about the delusions we suffer under through caring too much about too many things and having values which are disconnected from our reality, which disconnect Steven Covey used to call our “circle of concern” versus our circle of influence.

In his book, Mark Manson makes a reference to the differences between Russian culture and Western Anglo culture. I think it is on or about page 166 and 170 or thereabouts. Anyway, here is an (longish) excerpt which perfectly encapsulates my observation about our progressive, politically correct, Canadian society:

*****

Mark Manson, 2016

Mark Manson, 2016

In 2011, I traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia. The food sucked. The weather sucked. (Snow in May? Are you f**king kidding me?) My apartment sucked. Nothing worked. Everything was overpriced. The people were rude and smelled funny. Nobody smiled and everyone drank too much. Yet, I loved it. It was one of my favorite trips. There’s a bluntness to Russian culture that generally rubs Westerners the wrong way. Gone are the fake niceties and verbal webs of politeness. You don’t smile at strangers or pretend to like anything you don’t.

In Russia, if something is stupid, you say it’s stupid. If someone is being an asshole, you tell him he’s being an asshole. If you really like someone and are having a great time, you tell her that you like her and are having a great time. It doesn’t matter if this person is your friend, a stranger, or someone you met five minutes ago on the street.

The first week I found all of this really uncomfortable. I went on a coffee date with a Russian girl, and within three minutes of sitting down she looked at me funny and told me that what I’d just said was stupid. I nearly choked on my drink. There was nothing combative about the way she said it; it was spoken as if it were some mundane fact—like the quality of the weather that day, or her shoe size—but I was still shocked. After all, in the West such outspokenness is seen as highly offensive, especially from someone you just met. But it went on like this with everyone. Everyone came across as rude all the time, and as a result, my Western-coddled mind felt attacked on all sides.

Nagging insecurities began to surface in situations where they hadn’t existed in years. But as the weeks wore on, I got used to the Russian frankness, much as I did the midnight sunsets and the vodka that went down like ice water. And then I started appreciating it for what it really was: unadulterated expression. Honesty in the truest sense of the word. Communication with no conditions, no strings attached, no ulterior motive, no sales job, no desperate attempt to be liked.

Somehow, after years of travel, it was in perhaps the most un-American of places where I first experienced a particular flavor of freedom: the ability to say whatever I thought or felt, without fear of repercussion. It was a strange form of liberation through accepting rejection. And as someone who had been starved of this kind of blunt expression most of his life—first by an emotionally repressed family life, then later by a meticulously constructed false display of confidence—I got drunk on it like, well, like it was the finest damn vodka I’d ever had.

Canals of Saint Petersburg

Canals of Saint Petersburg

The month I spent in Saint Petersburg went by in a blur, and by the end I didn’t want to leave. Travel is a fantastic self-development tool, because it extricates you from the values of your culture and shows you that another society can live with entirely different values and still function and not hate themselves.

This exposure to different cultural values and metrics then forces you to reexamine what seems obvious in your own life and to consider that perhaps it’s not necessarily the best way to live. In this case, Russia had me reexamining the bullshitty, fake-nice communication that is so common in Anglo culture, and asking myself if this wasn’t somehow making us more insecure around each other and worse at intimacy.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg

I remember discussing this dynamic with my Russian teacher one day, and he had an interesting theory. Having lived under communism for so many generations, with little to no economic opportunity and caged by a culture of fear, Russian society found the most valuable currency to be trust. And to build trust you have to be honest. That means when things suck, you say so openly and without apology. People’s displays of unpleasant honesty were rewarded for the simple fact that they were necessary for survival—you had to know whom you could rely on and whom you couldn’t, and you needed to know quickly.

But, in the “free” West, my Russian teacher continued, there existed an abundance of economic opportunity—so much economic opportunity that it became far more valuable to present yourself in a certain way, even if it was false, than to actually be that way. Trust lost its value. Appearances and salesmanship became more advantageous forms of expression. Knowing a lot of people superficially was more beneficial than knowing a few people closely.

Shopping in the West ...

Shopping in the West …

This is why it became the norm in Western cultures to smile and say polite things even when you don’t feel like it, to tell little white lies and agree with someone whom you don’t actually agree with. This is why people learn to pretend to be friends with people they don’t actually like, to buy things they don’t actually want. The economic system promotes such deception.

The downside of this is that you never know, in the West, if you can completely trust the person you’re talking to. Sometimes this is the case even among good friends or family members. There is such pressure in the West to be likable that people often reconfigure their entire personality depending on the person they’re dealing with.

Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 166-170). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

*****

Hamabe No Uta (Narita), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

So, if you got this far then we can get to daily life here in the Anglo west. How do we deal with Justice, Gratitude, and Sincerity? Well, it seems that mostly we don’t. Oh, we talk a lot about it, especially Justice, but when it comes right down to it we shy away from the reality of these virtues, preferring to dodge in favor of some direction that either makes us look better, or feel better about ourselves, or influences the other in a direction beneficial to ourselves. Distinctly the opposite of Justice, Gratitude, and Sincerity.

It seems, on consideration, that we, as a nation, are just more comfortable lieing about reality – or as I have written before: “Joe, I don’t care about your damned facts, and your damned truth, I just want to have a pleasant conversation with my friends”. I think the foundation of these three virtues is really Sincerity. And it seems that the only thing which invokes sincerity these days is the destruction and discrediting of anyone who disagrees with us.  C.S. Lewis said it well in his little essay about Bulverism a (shortish) excerpt of which appears below from one of my previous posts here:

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Until Bulverism is crushed, reason can play no effective part in human affairs. Each side snatches it early as a weapon against the other; but between the two reason itself is discredited. And why should reason not be discredited? It would be easy, in answer, to point to the present state of the world, but the real answer is even more immediate.

The forces discrediting reason, themselves depend of reasoning. You must reason even to Bulverize. You are trying to prove that all proofs are invalid. If you fail, you fail. If you succeed, then you fail even more – for the proof that all proofs are invalid must be invalid itself.

The alternative then is either sheer self-contradicting idiocy or else some tenacious belief in our power of reasoning, held in the teeth of all the evidence that Bulverists can bring for a “taint” in this or that human reasoner.

I am ready to admit, if you like, that this tenacious belief has something transcendental or mystical about it. What then? Would you rather be a lunatic than a mystic?

*****

And so we now see that virtually every “debate” extent today in all venues and all media is simply some variant of “Bulverism” which we are now calling “Social Media” and “Fake News”. For the powers of reason have been abrogated by the legions of  the thoughtless – Truly Truly I say to you – a Zombie Apocalypse. So what about Justice, Gratitude, and Sincerity, especially Sincerity?

Why is Sincerity the foundation of the other two, the foundation of Justice, and Gratitude? Well, lets take a stab and see if I can get it out. What I say here is informed by a fervent belief in God and the absolute Goodness, that is, the absolute Truth of God. To grow to adulthood we must continually search to possess truth in our hearts, in the core of our being.

We have to know ourselves as we really are, we have to know the absolute truth about ourselves, without any trace of disguise and artificiality. This means that we have to know and accept not only the truths about ourselves which please us, but also all those truths which are painful and wound our pride and self worship by exposing our faults and evil tendencies.

A Sincere adult never avoids or dodges these painful truths, but rather treasures them because the humiliation of these painful truths is worth more than illusion, which flatters our pride and builds up our self worship and keeps us steadfastly on the broad road to perdition.  Even our society’s denial of the broad road is just another illusion to which we cling because we would rather take the easy path regardless of the long term cost. People would literally rather die than change their behaviour. People seem to spend all their precious time searching for the quick fix which will permit them to keep on indulging their fantasies and gratifying their appetites and egos.

Daily we encounter contradiction in the course of going about whatever makes up our lives, and as often as not that contradiction gives rise to anger, rebellion, selfishness, and continuous pressure to indulge our fantasies, palliate our flaws and faults and to continue to cling to our illusions about ourselves and the world we live in.

Any growth requires the courage to acknowledge our faults, accept our faults and the effort of will to change our behaviors and beliefs to conform with empirical reality. If instead we blame circumstances, or other people, or the economy or the politics of the day then we perpetuate the fantasies which are crippling us and preventing the existence of Justice, Gratitude and Sincerity. But it all starts with a sincere appraisal of the truths of our inner self, the inner self to which we are so attached and which we worship.

To be sincere our words and actions must correspond to our thoughts. To be convinced of one thing but to affirm something else for the sake of expediency or to avoid hurting the “feelings” of another person is contrary to truth. Shorn of all make-up it is “living a lie”,  for the sake of gaining an advantage over another. That said, sincerity does not require that we reveal all that we think and know to everyone, this is contrary to prudence (another virtue). Sincerity does, however, demand that everything we do reveal by word or action or even by silence, corresponds to truth.

Cheers

Joe

Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

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Politics and Economics

It’s the Economy Stupid …

Ballad Of A Thin Man”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Highway 61 Revisited” (August, 1961)

Reviewing our Year End financials prior to discussing it all with our accountants. It appears that we lost money this year, the first year we have made a loss since year one of this pilgrimage.

Fortunately it is all still in the “paper loss” part of the ledger where the amortization of assets exceeded the net profits for the year. So far we can still pay the bills and put food on the table.

Alberta Premiere Rachel Notley

Alberta Premiere Rachel Notley

Two years into an classic NDP economic massacree and looking down the road I wonder how many more years of losses we will have to face while Rachel and her merry band of communists do their level best to destroy any semblance of an economy in Alberta, which Province once supported the healthiest economy in Canada.

One wonders what the “have not” Provinces will do (under Canada’s generous re-distribution scam) now that the Province which they were sucking the blood from has become a have not Province as well.

There is no Province left in Canada with a positive economy (that is, an economy in surplus) so is this the place where the Socialists discover that taking other peoples production only works as long as there is someone producing. Anybody? Anybody?

Move over E.U. and Venezuela, we need some room on the Group W bench for Canada. It should be an interesting time watching the biggest spending government in the history of Alberta implode as it tries to come to grips with running out of other peoples money. Interesting, that is, as in May you live in interesting times.

Carbon Tax, Electrical Generation Companies closing half their generation stations, Oil industry departing for more favorable venues, “Might as well move to B.C. now,” I heard one oil exec say. “If we’re going to get screwed, at least we’ll have an ocean view.”, royalty reviews, higher taxes on business. Hello, Saskatchewan and North Dakota, said the oil companies to Alberta — don’t let the door hit you in the face on our way out.

Now, let’s look at expenditures. There’s already $103 million to education, plus a reversal of all cuts announced by the Tories (much of this goes to pay teacher salaries, the highest in the country for the lowest quality of education). Then there’s keeping open the costly young offenders’ centre in Calgary, which, will now leave two half-used, expensive facilities staffed with government employees.

4 horsemen of the ApocalypseAnd then there’s the restoration of 1,600 were-soon-to-be-laid-off employees of Alberta’s health-care system (the most expensive, and among the worst performing in the country). And 2 years of new NDP hiring all taken together is heading past the 3000 new government jobs level. That’s why Edmonton booms while the rest of Alberta is in it’s death throes. But that is where the votes are, right Rachel?

That’s just the start of the many campaign promises now being fulfilled on the backs of producers. These include tuition freezes, lunch programs, smaller classes, more health-care coverage, a cut in school fees, more beds, more home care in case you don’t want those beds, job creation for unemployed youth, support for wind power (German Companies are singing) and small breweries (AUPE loves their beer, right?) — just basically more of everything.

What’s noticeable about this equation? The ones who generate the wealth, who take the risks, and make the investment — those on the black part of the balance sheet — are in the dumper, while the gains are all to the mainly unionized, revenue-draining red side of the balance sheet.

AUPE is running Alberta. Does this all sound like the kind of expenditures you would make when all the economic indicators the rest of the universe uses to make smart decisions about budgetary issues are all pointing in the other direction? Obviously, it is easy to spend other people’s money and of course, maybe, maybe, even the Socialist NDP sincerely believe they are helping people …  they take their collective actions all “with the best of intentions” … but as C.S. Lewis opines:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
– C.S. Lewis

Not exactly the 4 horsemen but for a modern western economy, totally dependent on energy and exports it is about as close as one gets.

Cheers

Joe

Blind leading the blind over the cliff edgeStupid is as stupid does

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The Inner Struggle

Naked came I …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

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20naked JobThen Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped,

21And said: Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.

22In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God.  Job 1: 20-22

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From Job 1: 20-22 Old Testament to Luke 22: 1-13 New Testament

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SatanThe treason of Judas. The last supper. The first part of the history of the passion.

[1] Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the pasch, was at hand. [2] And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death: but they feared the people.

[3] And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. [4] And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them.

[5] And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. [6] And he promised. And he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude.

[7] And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed. [8] And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go, and prepare for us the pasch, that we may eat.

[9] But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? [10] And he said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he entereth in.

[11] And you shall say to the goodman of the house: The master saith to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? [12] And he will shew you a large dining room, furnished; and there prepare. [13] And they going, found as he had said to them, and made ready the pasch.

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All is gift, and nothing have we here which we deserve or earn but by talents and abilities given us at birth by God the Father. And all that we earn is apportioned in goods of this world, all of which have their origin in God the Father. We do not create anything but rather are more or less talented manipulators of what the Creator made or set in motion.

Jesus betrayed by JudasSt. Luke directs our attention to the actions and motivations of Judas Iscariot, and points out that  Satan entered into Judas. Satan made use of Judas’ free will and his natural human propensity for self interest and evil.

All that follows is orchestrated by Satan using his “minions” and “useful idiots”.  The conduct of the humans  in this account and in the affairs in this world down through the ages reveals clearly what Satan desires.

Destruction, dissension, selfishness, suffering, dishonesty, suffering and misery, all the clear outcome of Satan stirring up all that is evil in the human heart.

And yet Christ has intimate and detailed knowledge of all that is to come, and Satan and humans, all creatures of the Father, have free rein because the omnipotent Father and the Son embrace that freedom in their creatures.

Satan and Judas freely decide to betray Jesus and Peter and John freely decide to obey Him. And all four of them equally prepared the Passover  in accordance with God’s will.

C.S. Lewis calls these aspects “simple good” and “complex good”. The obedience of John and Peter is simple good, the good that comes out of the evil of Satan aided by Judas is a complex good, in other words good wrought by God out of the evil of mankind.

We are all of us faced daily with exactly this choice, to obey, or to disobey, and thereby choosing our path and the next set of choices we are faced with.

Cheers

Joe

Desert walkIt is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Tolkien, “The Return of the King

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