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Solo piano on a Sunday afternoon.  Fitting for one of many decades – when Dear Ones are lost to mortal time yet linger in the clouds, and the sky, and the sun and shadows, and the open fields and spring breeze, in the green of it all and in the silence broken only by singular notes of the soloist at play.  

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Books are a storehouses of human ideas.  The three great religions which come from the Middle East centre their practice on a sacred book and indeed are frequently known as Religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Diarmaid MacCullough, in Christianity the First Three Thousand Years

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Our faith is a faith of ideas – ideas that led to Western Civilization, its structures, its culture, its law, the nation state, our respect for individual liberty and for freedom and democracy, trade and the free market, prosperity, greatness in education, in the arts and science, and in human existence itself as it flourished.

MacCullough reminds us the the early centuries of Christianity were spent wrestling with difficult questions, with the understandings of Graeco-Roman philosophy and Judaism.  Further, he reminds us that social and political history is derived from ideas that appear in Judaism and Christianity and in our Greek and Roman forbearers.

The truth of the matter is that social and political history is dominated by theology.  But alas this is something that we scantly recall today.  Now we have those in authority who have no earthly idea of what the Oxford Professor MacCullogh knows so well as one of the world’s leading figures on the history of Christianity.

Now we have among us childish people who wish to tear down what centuries have produced – tear down without an inkling of knowledge of the past as it generously protects us today in our institutions, attitudes, structures, default settings, common language and long-accepted ideas.

Today the ideologues on the Left and the upstart dolts in the appropriately named “genreation x” desire a scorched earth and the destruction of common and critical institutions and relationships such as between man and woman, mother and child, husband and wife, adult and child, as to biological identity and what have you.

Ignorant destruction is NOT a pretty thing.  And its sweeps can occur in far shorter a time than it took to create what will be destroyed. 

Let’s be very plain – those who pursue radical ideas – who advance radical and immediate fundamental change disclose to us that they are not smart enough to manage even the simplest tasks or intellectual activity.  If you doubt this, I recall two simple statements of our most recent past President who boasted that he would “fundamentally change America” and welcomed himself on the public stage by saying “We are the people we have been waiting for.”  Only a man with no accomplishments in his life can lay claim to such nonsense … as in “I’ve done nothing to date – but will undo what many people before me have done at great price … ”

Yes, turn your back on Christianity, and on old white men, and history and free markets and our Constitution, on the liberties it protects, and on this Representative Federalist System of autonomous states and individual freedom and expect barbarism and tribal conflict amid the unjustified destruction and chaos that befalls the anger and ignorance we see and hear now.

Some are odds with who we are and what good its conveys.  Beware.

Shalom.

It is living in the naked moment, the “sacrament of the present moment,” that will teach us how to actually experience our experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, and how to let them transform us.  Words by themselves will invariably divide the moment; pure present lets it be what it is, as it is.

Richard Rohr, in The Naked Now

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There are many things in our present culture that day by day, hour by hour keep us from the full experience of the human experience.  Yes, words can distract and the voices of ideologues always do damage – as do the torrent of visual images present in our lives and relentless intrusion of technology and all things digital taken to extremes.

Life is far simpler.  Not all meals need be excessive indulgences that morph us into shapes and sizes heretofore not known in human history.

Fix you eye, and heart and mind on the experience of human experience as known throughout the ages by mystics and peasants alike.  Stay in the moment, beware of all the yesterdays in your life and in time that hath come before us … yes, those moments long before your mortal birth and all that awaits you beyond this mortal life … be at peace – angelic peace prevails and sits above all that is digression and divisive, alienating and destructive of self and others.

Shalom.

The Seduction of Unreason is a wide-ranging yet subtle consideration of the intellectual’s abiding fascination with absolutism, and as such it is a perceptive, compelling and invaluable document.  His (Author Richard Wolin’s) indignation at the folly and perversity of so many major European thinkers is wholly justified and peculiarly invigorating.  (Emphasis added.)

John Banville, in The Irish Times

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This is unusual.  For the first time in eight years of writing this blog, I begin with a quote from a book review … a review of Richard Wolin’s The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism.

Why would I do this?  There are several reasons.  First, we live in times in which the Left calls the Right fascist and the Right calls the Left fascists … and no public commentators seem to have any insight reflective of Wolin’s keen observations that history shows us that intellectuals in the West over the last century or so have flirted with fascism.

Secondly, in contemporary America very few have come to the justifiable conclusion that it is the post-modern American leftists who, across a very broad range, have manifest an alarming fascist orientation.  (We saw an example of this just yesterday when Members of the House of Representatives could not resolve that a Member of that body displayed a rather plain hatred of Jews.  And we see routinely on college campuses how the exercise of responsible speech is under assault.)

What Wolin (a Professor on Intellectual History) is telling us is that modern liberals show contempt for the values held dear by classical liberals who favored protection of individual freedoms and limited governmental power.

We see, for example, just this year the Democrats dismantle, in the Kavanaugh Hearings, the presumption of “innocence” until proven guilty.  Likewise we see the implicit tones of fascism in identity politics which divides us and beckon displays of hatred.

We see attacks on freedoms in the U.S. Constitution and preposterous notions like the Green New Deal which is destined to destroy wealth, explode our nation’s debt, and abandon our uniquely free market economy.  And we see more of Wolin’s observations confirmed in the careless morphing abortions into infanticide, and the astonishing corruption in the federal justice system with its selective prosecutions and politically motivated inquiries.

So why bring this up?  Wolin is a student of intellectual history – of the ideas that govern us and challenge us … and at present we see a multitude of destructive ideas and “causes” advanced by the Democrat Left and virtually no informed analysis of the nature or consequences of what is being proposed or pursued.  This is NOT a good sign.

Applying Wolin’s critique to today would be helpful.  Alas we have few so well read or informed.

Shalom.

Postscript – The Congresswoman who stirred Congress up with her anti-Jewish comments is Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. Ms Omar is a Muslim native of Somalia.  Members of Ms. Omar’s extended family held positions in the former Somali government that blended Marxism with Islam.  She and her family members fled that country and ended up gaining admission to the United States.  Ms. Omar brings a blend of Marxism and her Muslim faith to her politics.  It is little wonder that she is anti-Israel, hostile to Jews and a Leftist.  This is the Democrat Party of the Left today.

 

Joseph Campbell reacquaints Christians with the aura of meanings that hover about the religious incidents and stories of the New Testament.  As in treating Jewish history, it is in this aura – that is, in the connotations that by their nature blossom out of metaphors – that the deepest significance of the stories of Jesus’ life and work are to be found.

Many elements of the Bible seem lifeless and unbelievable because they have been regarded as historical facts instead of metaphorical representations of spiritual reality.

Robert Kennedy, Ph.D. in the Introduction to Thou Art That

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Census and almanacs, polls and quantification, ideologies and mere personal opinion or advocacy of one’s fetishes and fancies dominate dialogue today – that is, dialogue from radio, to the television, the internet, the college classroom, graduate schooling, to news print and newspaper editorial boards and political discourse (such as it is).

The point as to the above?  We know little and routinely misinform. Gibberish and nonsense pervades and too often prevails.  Chaos and decline follows – at enormous costs.

The problem is simply this – we understand nothing of depth in our ancient stories and the record of human history.  Hence, we live poorly, in a shallow way – in ignorance and without meaning.  Yet, we proceed unchecked, without pause as if all is well and what is said is true.  Yes, we drive with ears plugged and eyes closed.  Disaster tumbles out effortlessly – the byproduct is toxic … deadly.

Absent spiritual development – we are doomed to fail … and the absence of spiritual growth at high levels of authority produce greater problems than can be imagined.

Shalom.

 

 “… a myth is not a lie.  A mythology is an organization of symbolic images and narratives, metaphorical of the possibilities of human experience and the fulfillment of a culture at a given time.”  (Emphasis added.)

Joseph Campbell, in Thou Art That

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This is an excerpt from an exchange the comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell had with a young radio interviewer who insisted a myth is a lie.

As Campbell tells the story since his host seemed not to comprehend what a metaphor was he asked the young, snappy, “educated” radio host to give him an example of a metaphor.  The host resisted but eventually responded, “My friend John runs very fast.  People say he runs like a deer.  There’s a metaphor.” To which Campbell replied, “That is not a metaphor.  The metaphor is John is a deer.”  The interviewer shot back, “That is a lie.”  And Campbell said, “No, that is a metaphor.” 

I look around and see a fake American Indian Princess running  to become the President of the United States, and a female adulterous fornicator doing the same  … and Senator Spartacus – a 49-year-old man with the same aim who has never been married or raised a family who seems to be a religious bigot, a Virginia Governor and Attorney General who dressed in “Black face” and a Virginia Lt. Governor who has been accused by two competent adult women to have sexually assaulted them.  And, then we have the fanciful, young up-start, done-nothing socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the 70 Congressional Co-Sponsors of her insanely zany Green New Deal proposal … and I ask myself: “How the hell did we get here with these loons?”

Surely part of the answer is contained in the Campbell “metaphor” story.

We have lots of very poorly formed and poorly educated people in positions of authority.  They are, like the radio host Campbell encountered, none-too-bright, and dangerously unrestrained in the exercise of their ignorance.

Yes, these people are in public forums – on television and radio, in the print media and among the technological and Hollywood elites and a good majority of politicians – yes, we are surrounded by nut-cases each of whom has an erroneous collection of “popular” but wrong-headed views – like the world is not “fair” and it must be, or inequality exists and it mustn’t.  These people are the snappy (but ignorant) radio interviewer.

Across a broad spectrum – these people and their childish views have become far to politely welcome.  Yes, they lead us down the dumb road of the un-examined foolishness of the Left, the “progressive,” the socialist, the Communist.

It seems to me we are more than adequately warned that there are many wrong-headed people among us with limited ability and preposterous ambitions.  Who among you wishes to allow any one of them to loose their pathology on you and the innocent children of this country?  A myth is NOT a lie.

Shalom.

A sane person in an insane society must appear insane.

Kurt Vonnegut, in Welcome to the Monkey House

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An insightful and very good and funny guy I grew up with in Boston called to today and amid the multitude of laughs he asked me: “What can we do to rid ourselves of the insanity in Washington?”

The last time we talked he asked me what I thought of term limits?  I responded I was for them and he asked what about two terms in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate?  My answer, “No I’m thinking more like 36 hours and then you’re out.”

After a hearty laugh he asked – “Why 36 hours?”  I responded “Clown Car Rule.”  “What?” he asked.  “Ya, you’ve been to the circus and seen the small clown car with a dozen clowns who climb out.”  “Ya,” my pal says.  I explain, “They never let those twelve drive the car coast to coast.  The Congress is a clown car.  Few hours and you’re out – can’t cause much trouble that way.”

Now I add this: Members of Congress ought to be issued large rubber feet, red bulbous noses and seltzer spray bottles.  Yep, look at these people – one guy wears his glasses in the tip of his nose and thinks this is normal, another guy has a grotesque hair-plug job, another has a brother who is an Orthodox Jew living and Israel and he is surprised that his family of origin is Jewish!  Good gosh!  Then you got a phalanx of angry women who make ‘war” on men – all men.  Now there are religious bigots piping up.  And you got the “free everything” people … absurd, ridiculous … and the Socialists who have never held a job in the private economy!  Loons – the insane thinking the sane are insane.

So today my pal asks – “How do we fix this Washington mess?”  My response?  “You can’t.  The culture is sick – you replace one screwball and there is another … an endless supply … Tell you what, we’d be better off if we closed universities for a decade – we might then begin to see people return to a somewhat even keel … maybe … after all, life is counter-intuitive – less ‘education’ smarter people.”

That’s what Washington looks like these days.  Lotta’ whack-jobs running loose.

Shalom.

The more powerful and independent consciousness becomes, and with it conscious will, the more the unconscious is forced into the background.  When this happens … the conscious structure (is) detached from the unconscious images.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Collected Works, 13 Alchemical Studies 3.

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What Carl Jung is telling us in these words is that we are less whole and more prone to function poorly and erroneously when our conscious mind and the will that flows from it is a mighty (although incomplete) power that stirs us (unbalanced though we are) in what is likely a wrong and injurious direction.

Making this plain in normal terms, if one is divorced from their unconscious realm they will operate at far less than an optimum level.  I hazard to say that it appears that many a political person, professional and even pastors and others function in precisely this way.

Think about it.  How many people do you know who impress you as being in their acts, discourse, thinking and disposition as possessing a whole and complete development and the stability that flows from that wholeness?  My guess is: not many.

Jung comes to this from having taken a very serious look at Richard Whilhelm’s excellent book on Chinese Taoism entitled The Secret of the Golden Flower published in 1933 from which Jung began to see in a comprehensive way the form of psychic wholeness.

In short, what Whilhelm did with this discussion of Taoism is provide many of the same symbols Jung encountered in working with the dreams and fantasies of his patients.  He saw in this the symbols in the psyche’s process that led to human wholeness.  A most significant development!

Where does this leave us today?

Probably here: we do little to equip ourselves to understand the nature of human existence and the quest for human wholeness … and as a result in daily personal life and in the world of mass communication we are left to encounter a whole lot of people who are far from healthy development and stability.  Indeed, we counter all sorts of people who push their ideas and desires without themselves possessing anything close to a wholeness that might give them modest “authority” to claim being heard and much less followed.

The moral of story: you are made for full development – and stay away from those who are far from that destination unless you want chaos, confusion and calamity.

Shalom.

Boys and girls, lads and lassies – it all comes down to the search for the Divine which requires you to come to know fully who you are … in that task you find God.  Remember Christ said: pick up your Cross (the life you have been given) and follow me.

Postscript – For those with interest, I recommend Curtis D. Smith’s Jung’s Quest for Wholeness: A Religious and Historical Perspective.

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity …

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sovereignty, loyalty and solitude.

Georges Bataille, in The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge

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You want to know why the Brits favor leaving the European Union – it’s because they favor simplicity and their own sovereignty … to the rule of a distant, obtuse political class that lives and governs beyond their borders.  Yeah, they know instinctively and by life experience that he who governs lease governs best … and they have seen up close and personal the nonsense, waste, destruction and foolishness that large-and-expanding government inevitably brings.

What some examples?  “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”  The bankrupt Golden State of California is so broke that it is contemplating taxing text messages.  We live in a system that the government can lie to you without punishment and we can be prosecuted for a felony for lying to it … and they’ll even trick you into committing the felony!  Our Peanut farming former President brought us the Department of Education and education has gone to hell sooner that one can say “Y’all.”

Just about everything the government and those loons who seek more of it do makes matters more complicated, convoluted and corrupt.  When you think of government as it now exists think too things: simplicity (forfeited) and sovereignty (lost).

By the way, isn’t God sovereign?  Does God not make us so?  Is God not more direct and simpler than government … say, the IRS for example?

Want to understand riots in Paris?  The English voters decision to ditch the clowns of Brussels, the election of Donald Trump and populism arising in other Western countries? Just look at the nonsense of the “governing class.”  Only a jackass would want more of this.  Jackass?  Hey don’t the Democrats have such a mascot?

Simplicity and sovereignty … best when government is small and unobtrusive.

Shalom.

… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for the child that has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Matt 1: 20

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Some ask, why is it that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph separately from Mary?

In religious narrative there are always common, good lessons to be learned – many, in fact.  Here we see that God wishes a commitment from each of us individually.  Yes, God desires that each of us grow in faith and in relationship to Him so that we might be fully grown and have stability and certainty amid life’s chaos, confusion and corruption.

What was true then is no less true now.

Think about the cost imposed when we neglect the Truth of religious narrative.  In doing so, it is really quite shocking that in the present day when there are many in the West who wish to destroy the gift of civilization that we possess –few public figures have the intellect to discuss the precious value that is in Western civilization and the disaster that would be its deconstruction.  Nor, I add are there competent discussions about the rise of China as the global power to replace the United States and its allies as the source of global strength and stability.

Suffice it to say – that lacking faith and quality education, we have ignorance and chaos – leaving us without the personage capable of leadership when we most need it.

Indeed, the election of a non-politician as President reflects the poverty of the “educated elites” and the raw fact that the average citizen sees the problems of the day when the privileged do not.

Could it be that those closer to faith are closer to wisdom and courage?

Shalom.

Dismal Elites – The idiotic statement by Chief Justice John “Short Pants” Roberts just confirms again the foolishness of the privileged “elites.”  The notion that there are not Judges with political portfolios and disposition (nay, bias) is a ridiculous claim for the Justice to make … then again he “thought” that the unconstitutional Obama “Care” mandate was a “tax.”

Lesson to be learned – the elites like to remain part of their herd … ridiculous things are said on behalf of preserving one’s place at the top of the pyramid.  Well, la-di-da!

 

Hateful to me even at the gates of Hades is he that hideth one thing in his heart and uttereth another.

Achilles, in Homer’s Iliad

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Who would have thought Homer could have seen the long lines of political partisans, Washington “consultants,” crooked lawyers, “activists,” Lefties, lobbyists, talking media heads, shrinkingand celebrities at the gates of Hell ten centuries before Christ’s birth?

Truly amazing, that fella Homer!

Time to reflect on the state of America and the character of our citizens.

Long about the 1950’s we did live rather well.  Then the 1960’s.  Things went south and the fall continues.

You’d be wise to ask: How did we behave in the 50’s and what might we wish to recover that made us a better people, a happier, more cordial, faithful and pleasant lot?

Shalom.

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