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The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.

Vaclav Havel

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Salvation.  The heart + reflection + meekness + responsibility.  So observes Vaclav Havel.

Don’t see much of this around Washington these days.  Salvation is a word rarely heard since we began barring God from public conversation.  We can thank the marshmallow middle and the strident Left for that basic act of dislocation – as to the latter their inevitable preference for error.

Heart, reflection, meekness, responsibility.  Little of this here today.  Heartless is more the form.  Reflection, like thoughts of salvation, appears permanently shelved in favor of the instant news cycle where comments issue as frequently as pulse beats as politicos and “talking heads” tommy-gun out the “latest inside scoop” replete with “unnamed sources” (a delightful name for twins today, by the way).

Meekness, my God!  None of that here.  Washington is more a mob at Filene’s Basement tearing the bargain “name brand” apparel from one another in a melee resembling Wrestle-Mania gone mad.  Meekness, it seems, is too orderly and vulnerable for Washington today.  Gone is the obvious power of a calm and measured voice.

It follows there are few signs of responsibility – at least among the those who daily carp and complain, and report and exploit.

We could use some Vaclav Havel.  Inmates running an asylum never works well.

Shalom.

Footnote – Vaclav Havel is among the most interesting figures of the late last century and early 21st century.  A writer, philosopher, political dissident and politician who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1902) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1903-2003).  A widely-esteemed and admired man or faith, courage, talent, heart, thoughtfulness, insight, humility, service and responsibility.  Don’t you wish we had such a presence here today. ‘Tis time to tell the children to be quiet.

” … to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant, and that to aspire is better than to be blindly impotently happy

Edwin A. Abbott, in Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

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Listening to the comments and opinions of those on the Left, I am called to this observation above.  They are so self-assured, so blind without knowing they cannot see and so ready to force their distorted vision on you and failing to convince prepared to throw a hissy-fit.

They are most unfaltering, often childish and incoherent and some even “vile and ignorant.” They display this in all manner of discussion from illegal immigration to toilet access.  Yes, they are consistently wrong.

In the context of Abbott’s neat little book they are living in a one/two-dimensional life when others exist in a three (or more) dimensional experience.  Seeing this in many others in a culture that touts education is both shocking and annoying.

What to do?  My best advice: listen only to people who make sense, seemingly informed and appear stable.  Flatlanders are to be avoided.

Shalom.

The problem of living … begins in the relation to our own selves, in handling our physiological and emotional functions.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, in Man is Not Alone

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Rabbi Heschel makes a very important point: to live well – to live in a healthy and stable and contented manner – we must confront ourselves.  The task of living is personal.  Yes, even sacred – especially sacred.

Called into being, it is best to know why you are here and how you are called to be – not in a vocational sense, but rather in the fullest manner of human existence, which is in essence spiritual existence.

When you think about the absolute importance of this task of intimate knowing of self (and in the doing – knowing of God our Creator and Initiator) you might look around and ask: if we are to know our self, how is it that so many focus on knowing themselves by being part of a group?  A political group?  A herd of one sort or another?

Are we just feminists?  Homosexuals?  Democrats?  Socialists?

Are these identities not just superficial?  Are they not reductionist?

Do they not say so much less about us than what we might actually and accurately say about our self by simply saying: I am a human being, a spiritual being?

American author Midge Decter commenting on feminism offered that freedom created the contemporary “women’s movement” insofar as the broad range of freedom and opportunity in American society “frightens … [today’s woman] and disorients her and burdens her terribly … (and that) the movement offers her the … escape contained in the idea that she is not free at all.”  [Emphasis added.] (See: “You’re On Your Own, Baby,”  The Women’s Quarterly, Winter 1996, p. 4.)

If you think Ms. Decker is wrong, ask yourself this simple question: Is it not the case that the disordered people you know frequently have ignored knowing fully who they are in favor of some concocted notion of a life image that they alone design – a false and unexamined identity, frequently a “herd” identity?

Is not our age one in which people avoid the hard work of critical and honest self-examination in favor of group identity?  Do we not from this see the reduction and destruction in “identity politics” and all the idiotic and childish folly and division that such hollow, plastic, much-to-do-about nothing “identity” discourse brings us?

Neglecting the task of knowing self has its great costs – and they are personal, interpersonal, familial, and societal.  We seem to live in age of foolish and sick distraction.

Think about it.

Shalom.

Thinking about America and a New Presidency

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Mrs. Clinton is depression: you know exactly who she is, what trouble she brings – she always brings a sack of scandal – and she won’t make anything better. (Emphasis added.)

Peggy Noonan, in The Wall Street Journal, September 3-4, 2016

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If one is concerned about Donald Trump as our President, one must also pass an eye over his opponent.

Ms. Clinton is the face of the Democrat Party of the Left.  She and her husband have a long and spotted public record.  Democrats own her, and all that comes with her.  Yet, their inability to look critically at her discredits their collective hysteria over Mr. Trump.

To commence a new Presidency requires a recall of what we have just experienced in his opponent.

I cite just a few things.

The FBI flies on Ms. Clinton’s softball, not-under-oath interview (made public the Friday before Labor Day) show she could neither “recall” nor “remember” details or events as related to 27 specific questions.

Recall, if you will, that in March 2015 she claimed she used one digital device “for convenience.” Yet, the FBI determined she used 13 – including five iPads which were thought to be exposed to others without authority to see them.

Ms. Clinton, by the way, had been formerly advised by the appropriate State Department personnel of the daily threat of computer hacking by foreign agents. Multiple devices just multiplies the risk of having foreign agents secure national secrets.

The FBI determined Ms. Clinton sent or received hundreds of emails marked as classified or confidential while outside the United States where the risk of being hacked by adversaries multiplies again, and becomes a virtual certainty.

Of course we know Ms. Clinton used an unsecured computer server and that the FBI investigation suggested that she had done so to evade accountability.  Of course, to “evade accountability” raises the prospect that one might wish to conceal what they were doing.

Some people have expressed concern that Ms. Clinton intended to keep others from reviewing the degree to which her work as Secretary of State collided with the ongoing activity of the Clinton Foundation.  Apropos, the FBI identified some 17,000 plus emails (not turned over to them) that seemed to contain both personal and work material.

FBI Director James Comey called Ms. Clinton’s behavior “extremely careless.”

It has been a strange year for the letter “C.”  Comey, Clinton, careless, computer, classified, confidential, corruption.  “C”,” mind you, comes before “D.”

Gripers might remember that. “C” before “D.”  Clinton before Donald.

Shalom.

Footnote – There is no pleasure per se and commenting about politics except that we live in a political society and public figures and the public discourse tells us who we appear to be and in that is a measure of faith.  In public matters do we see virtue?  Morals?  Truth? Excellence?  Honor?  Service to others? Or self-gain?  Division?  Confusion and worse?

We face up to awful things because we can’t go around them …

… it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain and misery …

Annie Proulx, in The Shipping News

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Today, east over the mountains I see gray clouds and a dark pink sunrise.  Gray and pink against the faintest of pale blue-gray sky.  Another day of hope and promise.

Last night I watched The Shipping News – good book put to film.  It reminded me of many things.  How stories teach.  How we each are made good and bad, and how the hurt we suffer or inflict settles a sadness deep within – next to God.

How those who hurt us loose in the end as their glass shatters.  How often small towns can give us the shelter of caves before death and in those shelters we might – just might – heal the curses previously inflicted.

I saw in this story that nothing is more evil than nailing a man to a tree and that doing so brings in a blood thick fog, until a pure unpainted face appears to smile so we might see the ocean, its living waters – deep, endless, timeless as God who makes the gift of love for each of us.

How good women can rescue men, and men inexplicably, modestly reciprocate without understanding how.

How men do not cry for the treachery they see and know.  How this is our excursion and how we face it all without fear.  How children worry about death but men do not.  How those who loved us never die.

How a woman’s face can be warm when she is but a woman.  How her delicate fingers touch the world and the hearts in it so carefully.  And how darkness can exist within some and make warmth deathly cold, snaring and hard.

How living waters make us all “water people.”  And how story is life and life is story.

Shalom.

 

Know Thyself

The Inscription at the Entrance of the Temple of Apollo

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In his book The Mastery of Self, Toltec Indian Master Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr. describes a scene where all about you are in a state of inebriation – some in a drunken stupor, others on their way to that state, and still others happily swirling about, carrying on and loudly chattering all sorts of nonsense.

He sets this scene to introduce the reader to the proposition that we must seek to know our self and not get caught up in the things that keep us from ourselves and the peace, happiness and stability that self-knowledge brings.

Ruiz tells us that when we attach ourselves to something that is not a part of us as we are made to be, we make an emotional and energetic investment that attaches us to objects, beliefs, ideas, and roles that are false – not natural to us – not indigenous to us and hence they breed sickness and disorder.  

Likewise, he notes that a similar disorientation occurs when we are presented a regime in which rewards and punishments commit us to beliefs and behaviors that are false and disorienting.

In my view this is precisely the circumstances presented by identity politics and by ideologies in a secularized culture.  Each disposition being the central sickness of Democrat Leftist worldview and politics and those who ignore the truth of religious narrative.  In these we are, you see, reduced to less than who we are when we are only a Black person, or a feminist, or a socialist, etc.

In actuality we are more: we are a sacred being – more than a human being, we are a spiritual beings … and all that defines us as less destines us for sickness, obesity, addiction, confusion, disorder, intimate failure, immorality, child sacrifice, divorce, unhappiness, hostility, fear, anxiety, depression, despair, self-destruction.

Quite honestly, public figures and public discourse shows us this daily.  Look at former President Clinton and President Obama – each of shattered, sick family histories – the most peculiar breeding grounds.  Look at virtually any “celebrity.” Same thing.  Look at the guests on interview television.  I think of poor, confused Lauren Duca in her recent conversation with Tucker Carlson.  Folks, we are at the gathering that Ruiz describes.

Throw a rock in the Congress and you’ll hit a Lizzie Warren or some such.  Such is the condition of secularized America.  Lots of individuals generating discord and calamity.

Best to recess.  Reject what makes you sick.  In quiet seek to know thyself.

Shalom.

Note – Disorientation has its national security hazard.  Think radical Islam.  They attack the West now as we are vulnerable.  They believe.  We do not.  We can thank secularists, the Left, the Democrats, ideologues, anarchists, atheists, abortionists, feminists, etc. for hastening our vulnerability. Disorientation divides and weakens.

Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking.

Carl Jung, M.D., in On the Psychology of the Unconscious

… we are right to open the eyes and ears of our young people to the wide world, but it is the maddest of delusions to think that this really equips them for the task of living … no one gives a thought to the necessity of adapting to the self, to the powers of the psyche, which are far mightier than all the Great Powers of the earth.

Carl Jung, M.D. in The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man

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I have taken to reading the biographical details of public commentators so to become familiar with who these people are and what their journey has been. Likewise I do the same thing to those who occupy positions as major political donors and various “think-tanks.”  Doing so, I am often under-whelmed.

Jung, in his words above, would remind us that those fixated on power cannot and do not love.  Additionally, he would have us learn that education is a lesser achievement than is knowledge of self and psyche.  Indeed, knowledge of self and psyche is (in Jung view) central and indispensable to human health and wholeness.

I might add that knowledge of self and one’s psyche breeds patience, understanding, compassion, wisdom, and is essential to leadership.

We live in a culture that “educates” and values power, while it neglects love (especially in the dispatch of religion, religious narrative, faith, God and spiritual development), and knowledge of self and psyche.  Indeed, these deficits endanger each of us and our nation.*

Look carefully at those who claim to lead.  Listen carefully to those who speak. Assess what is more important “education” or knowledge of self or and one’s psyche.  They may not possess the requisites in human or spiritual development to warrant your attention.

In this we might find we are far from health, truth, safety, one another and flourishing.

At stake is something simple to state and vital to our well-being: the accumulated wisdom of the ages.

Shalom.

* By the way, we can do without “progressive” ideas and think-tanks; their drive is for power and this breeds constant conflict and division – the exact opposite of the fruits of self-knowledge and the best of one’s psyche.

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