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

We secretly seek ourselves in everything we do …

“River Flows In You”, Yiruma, from the album “Yiruma Piano Collection” , (2001)

Schloss BernhartLooking out from my library windows over the windswept chilly world around me after a night of violent storm and a lot of rain. Trees down, roofs stripped of shingles, walls bare of siding, across a wide swath of our fair land.

Today I am ruminating about “suffering” and the source of same. It seems that suffering would be significantly reduced if only we focused more on improving ourselves instead of focusing on correcting the perceived faults of those around us.

Focusing on ourselves and our own faults we would not be so disturbed by the resistance of others to our opinions and desires. But, often something inside or something outside draws us along and we secretly seek ourselves in everything we do.  And yet we are mostly oblivious to that.

We continue peacefully along when everything unfolds and is done according to OUR will and as WE judge, but if things turn out against OUR will, we move quickly, almost reflexively, to dissension, strife and unhappiness.

Differences of opinion and thought are the most common source of all dissension, strife, unhappiness and, frankly, suffering, arising out of disputes between family and friends and groups of otherwise sincere and well meaning folks.

Old habits of thought are difficult to put aside and much suffering arises from our clinging to old narratives, and old modes of reacting to perceived wrongs. No one is willing to go further than they see or are happy with. Any dissenting voice gives rise to “suffering”.

But, If one relies only on one’s own reason, thought, and work one seems unlikely to achieve peace, falling rather into self-justification and recrimination. Enlightenment and happiness appear further away than ever.

firedragon found on Pinterest - no attribution

Dragon of Self

It seems, simply, that if one cannot put aside the “self”, then, inevitably, much suffering will be one’s lot in life. The fatal trap is “self”.

The death of “self” is freedom and the gate to peace, but Oh what a monster is “Self” and so difficult to slay, rather like performing surgery on oneself without benefit of anesthetic.

It proves insidiously difficult to tell the dragon of Self: “You Shall Not Pass!”

The commonest reaction to this suffering of dissent seems to be to get upset, excited and angry or annoyed and to fight against the suffering and the dissent, to assert the rightness of one’s own position and necessarily the wrongness of the positions of others. In other words, we focus on the suffering and struggle against it in any way we can.

The effect is that the dissent and the suffering dominates our every waking moment and that, added to self pity, increases our suffering hundreds of times. Fighting against the suffering makes it a LOT worse. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own exceeding impatience, our refusal to accept it. This irritation with dissent increases our suffering tremendously and robs us of our peace, and our energy, and of our ability to focus on and to get on with life.

Over a year ago I posted about embracing suffering as a way of overcoming suffering in the same way one can embrace fear as a way of overcoming the fear. I find, after a year of trying, that the techniques I learned for overcoming fear don’t work quite as well when applied to suffering.

It seems that it is relatively easy to identify the locus of fear, the germinating grain from which the fear arises within oneself and thus come to grips with fear as an aspect of self, and self control.

Suffering, however seems another beast entirely, less reflexively identifiable as originating within the self and more easily experienced as originating from without, the fault of something or someone outside our self, and therefore outside our self control.

I begin to believe that a more “granular” approach is required to “deal” with suffering, that in fact it is not the fact of suffering one has to deal with but rather how the self reacts to that suffering that is problematic.

This journey doesn’t get easier as one goes along. It is not that it gets harder exactly but rather that things always seem to be more complicated than one first assumed when first confronting the windmills.

Cheers

Joe

desert walkAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, and never take yourself too seriously”

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Peace of Mind … part trois

Casting Crowns, House of Their Dreams,

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Three universal aspects of human nature upon which so much is built, including the entire information technology industry. Just witness the massive duplicitous push by Microsoft to force users to adopt Windows 10. It beautifully illustrates FUD on both sides of the transaction. Where oh where is my miraculous woodpecker which will bring the entire edifice of FUD crashing down on the heads of the multitudes of con men and legions of quivering innocent ignoramuses? I have a bad case of Sampson Syndrome in which I feel like pulling the whole temple down on us all.  Good thing I can’t act on that feeling. In fact, it’s a damned good thing I have no power at all to make any of the changes I think are needed because I lack God’s mercy and God’s long view (as do we all).

So we loose our peace of mind, not necessarily because pain and fear affect us personally but because of the behaviour of individuals or groups who hurt us or preoccupy us. We are unsettled by something that is not directly ours, but which we are concerned about. often it is simply getting irritated when one close to us behaves in a manner unacceptable to us, in a way we feel they should not behave.

The only way to peace from there is to want and desire things which are good in and of themselves, that is, they are intrinsically good, and perhaps even more importantly, to want them in a good way, to pay attention to both what we want and how we want it.

Fanfare For The Common Man

FLASH!  My construction crew has arrived.

Today I feel a little like how I imagine the guys holding an outpost alone for 6 years on the frontier feel when the cavalry finally show up and take over the heavy lifting. I stand relieved, thankfully, and just a little anxious.  Once again things might get spotty over the next 6 weeks, or maybe I will have more time than I ever had before, hard to tell at this point. I hope the latter is how it works. And, God willing, in six more weeks I can throw away my multi-page to do list because everything will be done. Now all I have to do is come up with the money to pay for it all.Oh well, no one ever said it would be all roses.

But right now there are a bunch of little things to get wrapped up and out of the way so the crew can get rolling.

Cheers

Joe

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“When going to a Party with wine, women, and song. Always ascertain the vintage of the first two.”

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Peace of Mind … part deux

Annie Lennox, Into the West, LOTRANNIE-LENNOX

I posted a couple of days ago about the serious shortage of “peace of mind” in our culture. It’s election time and idiots are thick on the ground and loud. I must be more than a little nuts to think about these things in the context of a Canadian election campaign.

We move through life with a lurking certainty that all is not well and waiting for the other shoe to drop, the axe to fall,  with bated breath.  A sense of foreboding has deepened across our land … Spiritually, socially, politically, economically, the fierce consequences of our choices as a nation whirl around us and threaten us with catastrophe.

The storm clouds gather; the thunder rumbles; the darkness descends. While the tempest approaches, many are asleep. Others sense danger in the air but are uncertain of its source and scope. This all sounds like the intro video for a new online game “Storm Clouds Gather!” BWAHHAHAHAhaha!

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

But where is this much desired peace of mind we are all looking for, this holy grail of the psychologists and pharmaceutical companies and advertisers? We are agitated and disturbed because we are trying, without much success, to resolve everything, every issue, by ourselves, for ourselves, with no thought to the prevalence of our passions and appetites, our shortcomings and failings, our faults and flaws. It is like trying to carve a master work with a broken knife, or trying to see a reflection in a lake that is full of ripples and waves.

In addition we are continually at war with enemies whose existence we continue to deny regardless of the evidence and influence which they present, namely cosmic powers of dark and evil, not merely human enemies. We expect peace according to the reasoning of the world and with the motivations and desires that align well with the current cultural mentality that surrounds us. If everything is going well, and we are not experiencing any annoyances, any discomfort, and our material desires are satisfied, then it is certain that we will know peace. And yet it is not so, no peace, or no peace for long, our peace is only of a short duration at best.

“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

And so we are faced with a situation continuously anticipating peace, but never quite arriving at our destination. Maybe others can assure us, eh? Harper, Trudeau, and Mulcair. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The Three Stooges. The Three Horsemen of the 21st Century Apocalypse. Our own human resources and wisdom, with their expectations, precautions reservations and assurances of all sorts certainly do not suffice.

The most common reason for which we loose our peace of mind is fear, caused by situations which touch us personally, and in which we feel threatened, apprehensions in the face of present or future difficulties imagined or real, fear of lacking something important or loosing something we already have or failing in an enterprise. These fears are myriad and touch every single aspect of our lives.

The Return Of The King, LOTR

“I don’t like anything here at all.” said Frodo, “step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.”

“Yes, that’s so,” said Sam, “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo, adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say.

But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on, and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same; like old Mr Bilbo.

But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

“I wonder,” said Frodo, “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

In every case these fears concern a good which is variable, material goods, money, health, power, or goods that we desire, or consider necessary, and are afraid to lose, or not acquire, or which we lack. This all conspires to rob us of our peace, the restlessness so generated by FUD causes us to loose any trace of peace we may have gathered to ourselves.

Who can guarantee him or herself the assured possession of any kind of good, whatever it may be, whatever it’s nature. Man is never assured of anything, and everything which he holds in his or her hands can easily slip from one’s grasp from one day to the next; there is no guarantee on which anyone can count absolutely except the continued existence of an eternal war against evil.

And mark my words, we are truly in it, this daily war against evil, every day, and every way, every decision, every “choice”, or even not making a decision or a choice.

“The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. If he would not rather have stayed there in peace. (This) War will make corpses of us all.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

We might even say that the surest way to loose one’s peace of mind is precisely to try to assure one’s own life solely with the aid of human industry, personal assets, personal projects and decisions or by relying on someone else.  Because of FUD, and the “sum of all fears” WE end up with our current choice, to decide who will decide for us, an old Charlatan, a younger Poseur, or a raving Lunatic. This is truly the definition of insanity, revisiting the failed dance of political cycles yet again in the hopes that we might get a good result this time. We will never find a solution to all our fears and anxieties by continuously ransacking the outhouse basement for a missing answer. We should sell the outhouse to the Socialists, sell the midden to the Conservatives and move onward to the call of the horns, higher up and further in, across the ravaged landscape of our dreams to the green fields beyond and a quick sunrise.

“PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Cheers

Joe

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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