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

cdn-ddh-heavy-weather-87471.jpg

Standard
The Inner Struggle

Duty … Virtue … and especially Suffering …

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

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

Marcus Aurelius – was Roman emperor from AD161 to AD180,

When searching for answers about “what constitutes right living?”, and “how does one know when one is following the right path?” one is really asking oneself “How do I know with certainty what is the will of God?”  Understanding the perfection of love, that is “love of another besides myself” consists in striving towards the perfect conformity of my will with the divine will.

I think it is sitting right in front of our face and residing in our soul of we are honest with ourselves. It is expressed  simply in a concrete and detailed way in the duties of my state and the various circumstances of my life. The “duties of my state” determine particularly how I must act on a daily basis so as to be always in conformity with the divine will.

Those duties are expressed in the commandments of God, known in “natural law” to all men, in all times, in rules and customs, commands of superiors, and tasks imposed by obedience, my duties are those required by my family life, my profession or occupation, my social activities, and by good citizenship.

And so, as is known in “natural law” to all men, in all times, Marcus Aurelius reflects on Duty: Our duty is to Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.

On Virtue: But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me, not only of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in the same intelligence and the same portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him,

On Suffering, : For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.” going forward in duty by virtue regardless of the consequences and violence we might suffer whenever the all too human tendency to refuse co-operation, to insist on doing things our own way, to work against each other and to experience the suffering inherent in human relations whenever the reality of selfishness and self worship impact the smooth exchanges of daily relations.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Two.

We understand, from reading the “ancients”, from reading the “classics”,  that “natural law” is knowable and known, to all men, in all times, since man began. And God’s will, as discerned in natural law, is also marked out for me by the circumstances of my life, whether it is important or not, down to the very smallest detail, in health or sickness, wealth or poverty, interior joy or aridity and emptiness, success or failure, struggles, misfortunes and losses.

From time to time I am presented with tasks – special tasks – of patience, generous activity, love, or renouncement, detachment, submission, and sacrifice. These tasks may come to me through the actions of my superiors, governing bodies, professional organizations, family members, or some combination of the actions and consequent fallout of such actions involving some or all of the above groups.

But everything is permitted by God, “To them that love God, all things work together unto good” (Rom 8, 28), so it remains to me to discover what the divine will may  be in each task with which I am presented. Sanctity does not consist in doing extraordinary things … sanctity is reduced to simply the fulfillment of duty … therefore it is most definitely possible for me to attain to sanctity regardless of how insignificant I may view my role in the tapestry of life.

Therefore I must be persevering and punctual in the fulfillment of my duties, diligent, being careful in my actions, accustoming myself to see the expression of God’s will in every one of my duties, no matter how trivial. I must fulfill my duties not only when I feel great fervor but also when I am sad, tired, frustrated, or in a state of spiritual aridity. I must express constancy with generosity.

It may feel small and insignificant but it takes uncommon virtue to fulfill all one’s duties without carelessness, negligence, or laziness, to avoid the pitfall of giving everything a “lick and a promise” or just going through the motions in order to “get it done”. It takes uncommon virtue to put the effort into attention, piety, and spiritual fervor, to pay attention to the details, for the whole combination of ordinary duties which make up my daily life. The details matter.

I must not be discouraged by failure, either resulting from outside forces or from my own failure of attention or lack of competence – my mistakes and forgetfulness and so on and so forth. Always acknowledge faults and failures, take ownership of them and begin again with renewed commitment.

What else is there to say about “duty”? It seems something of a truism that in our great self-regard we find it easier and more attractive to identify the duties of others than our own, and inversely, there will always be a plenitude of folks more than willing to tell us what our duty may be should we find ourselves momentarily unfocused and apparently idle.

Well, I suppose that might just be enough for one post – I will continue next post with thoughts a about virtue and how one employs virtue to carry out one’s duty and perhaps then into how this persevering way of life, constantly doing one’s duty by exercising virtue results in suffering …

Hmmm

Cheers

Joe

 

Standard