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Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking.  One but the shadow (i.e., the opposite side) of the other.

Carl Jung, M.D. in “On the Psychology of the Unconscious,” Collected Works 7

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When you look out on the landscape of culture today, it good to have some familiarity with those like Carl Jung who have made a concentrated and sustained life effort to understand the nature of human existence and the path to a healthy and meaningful life and culture.

I supplement the above with these additional quotes from Dr. Jung:

Man is not only governed by the sex instinct; there are other instincts as well … in biology you can see the nutritional instinct is just as important as the sex instinct … in … civilized societies the power drive plays a much greater role than sex … (Dialogue with C. G. Jung, ed. by Richard Evans)

It takes much energy to be in love.  In America, you give so many opportunities both to men and women that they do not save any of their vital force for loving. (Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, ed. by Wm. McGuire and R.C. F. Hall)

These passages make one think of those in power, of the feminist movement that seems driven by the desire for political power and some of their female disciples who seem narrowly focused and limited developmentally as a result – and, of course, these words bring to mind numerous male counter parts.  Yes, it makes me think that power has its GREAT price and that power seekers often have little fullness or balance and as such are very likely NOT the people that you would want to have power and surely not influence over you, your children, others and this nation.

I dare say politics today shows us that far too many people in power (especially those who live their entire adult life in politics and public office and high level government executive positions) seem to be rather unbalanced and possessed by myopic views, narrow insights, and little to no wisdom.

Jung and others, like the late father of comparative mythology Joseph Campbell, are truly a treasure when it comes to explaining how we are, what we see, what we are living and understanding the disorder we experience in today’s exclusively secular culture.  Both Campbell and Jung can impart valuable insight which opens one up to the truths so obviously presented in religious narrative over the ages – an area by the way of which we have grown pathetically ignorant … and done so at enormous and unnecessary cost.

Time to put down the “smart” phone and the i-pad and put the tattoo money to some good books with insights that can shape and save your life and Western culture.

Shalom.

 

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As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.

Leonardo da Vinci

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We are a badly divided nation.  We can thank the liberal social critics who have flourished like crab grass in the post-War 60’s through to the present day.

Yes, we are done in by division – by identify politics which by it’s very nature divides and makes one the enemy of another.

Who you asked has done this?  The Leftists who oppose our Founders gift of a Federalist representative democracy and a Constitution that weds liberty with religious belief and  makes us one.

The dividers?  The perpetually disgruntled Democrat Party that cannot but find reason to complain, divide and destroy.  Indeed, look today at the childish displays at the Senate hearings on the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice.  Democrats take adult moments and turn them into childish tantrums – showing adults as snotty preschoolers – Democrat Senators included.  Divide and destroy is their mantra.

This conduct kills relationships and incites conflict, disorder and discontent.

Then there are the university professors and administrators who profess not faith but ideology – Marxism, and totalitarian socialism.  Such talk is painless on “easy street.”

And then we have the race-baiters who see color but not their neighbors and God’s children.  And there are misguided heirs of the 1960’s “sexual revolution” that separates man from women, and diminishes both and family by doing so.  Hedonists to be sure.

And let’s not forget the pagan abortionists who value “choice” more than child.  Life is not sacred for them.  Could anything be more damaging and demoralizing to the human psyche, in the individual and the aggregate, than desanctification of life itself.

Sadly the “sexual revolution” has entered Christ church were homosexual misconduct is hidden, protected and excused.

So too we have wealthy athletes who hold no gratitude for flag or nation, or for those who (unlike themselves) have served in the military, or died in defense of country,  foreign innocents and their fellow citizens.

By God’s design – we are given the impetus to be united – one, One in God.  Faith, first and love of country and others follows.  The division we see manufactured today breeds our destruction.  Build on God’s truth and restore a love of nation – we are blessed.  We need not be mired in division – better to be unified in thanksgiving and love of one another.

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

Winston Churchill

We are safer, happier and more prosperous when we are united and our unity begins with God.

Shalom.

 

Socialism … cannot not be brought into harmony with … the Catholic Church … the reason being that it conceives human society in a way utterly alien to Christian truth.

Pope Pius XI, in Quadragesimo  Anno

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With today’s loose talk about socialism, it is wise to ask those who speak in its favor several questions, to wit:

  • What are the consequences (under socialism) to the life of the human person and his and her experience of what it is to be human?
  • What effect does socialism have on the spiritual life of a person?
  • How can the centralization of power in the socialist state keep from crushing the autonomy and sacred nature of the human person?
  • How can socialism fail to concentrate power in the hands of a small and privileged ruling elite while turning all others into mere slaves of socialist policy?
  • How is socialism consistent with the sacred nature of being itself?
  • Why does socialism discredit religion and exile God when it gains power?

Strange as it may seem, Thomas Merton helps orient us to these questions in a chapter entitled “The Inward Solitude” in his book No Man is an Island.

In that chapter he writes of the sanctity of each human being and reminds us as individuals and, by implication, as a society that we are to respect in others their autonomy, their privacy, their loneliness and solitude for there each person is unique and there each comes to know God and themselves – made just as they are by The Divine Creator.

While Merton is talking about one’s spiritual life and psychological well-being, his words are the essence of individual liberty, independence, privacy and sanctity which are all threatened by the centralized socialist state that always and everywhere is at odds with faith, religion, God and economic freedom for the secular, socialist state courts no rival – neither the free and sacred person, economic freedom, nor God.

The socialist state is godless and seeks to separate the person from the Divine.  Aside from socialism’s historically established economic and social failures – it alters the essence of the experience of human life such that it imprisons the Spirit of each who yearns for fullness and for meaning, for God, peace, community and prosperity.

Think about it.  Those who promote socialism are UNABLE to justify its conduct and the barren end it produces.  This is what Pope Pius XI is saying.

To comprehend socialism in practice – look at socialist Venezuela today with its starvation, poverty, state corruption and heavy hand.

Venezuela: a once prospering and wealthy democratic state turned to ruin.  Voter beware.

Shalom.

Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do, and you shall have peace.

Epictetus

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Hear the words of a man who lived 100 years before Christ.  Once a Roman slave, he gained his freedom, studied as a Stoic and devoted his life to philosophy – not as a theoretical proposition but rather as a way of life.

What he says here is good for today.  No doubt you have seen the chaos and dreadful conduct of many.  Indeed, you may have said to yourself or others –“the high tide has come and with it damage … it shows no signs of subsiding … when it leaves it will take many things with it – some very good things.”

Epictetus would have us not be so discomforted by these things over which we have no control for he saw that life is like that – with disorder and damage that we are powerless to avoid but that we will our self to peace notwithstanding.

We live in difficult times.  Disorienting times.  The air is flush with strange notions and odd ideas, and acts decry fetishes and self-destruction.

Yes, we live in rare times where wisdom and ignorance collide and good and evil struggle face to face.  Epictetus is ripe for these times.  Indeed he has lived throughout the ages in the head and heart and works of others.

He has been tutor to many.  Think of Marcus Aurelius and his Meditations and of contemporaries: Tom Wolfe (A Man in Full), V.S. Naipaul (A House for Mr. Biswas), James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey).

Words of ancient men from distance cultures do not survive the centuries but that they carry truth and have utility.  Yet, we neglect these gifts … and the voices of the unwise: the special pleaders, children, advocates, talking heads, ideologues and those who thirst for power and celebrity spoil the air we breathe.

… peace notwithstanding … that is our task.  Epictetus awaits.

Shalom.

 

Posting late on a lazy summer day.  For the first time since I retired some years ago, I have come to enjoy life as if I am “on vacation” – no need to charge out of bed like a man responding to an emergency.  I even slept late.  This must be what living feels like.

It is my earnest belief that everything we see before us today is more or less polluted, diluted and devalued.

Karl Barth, in Community, Church and State

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Theologian Karl Barth makes his point at the height of America’s success – having been victorious in World War II.  The year was 1946.

One wonders what he might say today when looking at Washington, the Justice Department, the F.B.I., the press and media, the apparent double-standard that once was the justice system where the law was equally applied to all, etc.

It is hard not to conclude we have been corrupted and where impartiality is required favoritism is applied.  Yes, this is alarming.  Nations disintegrate when such things occur.  Divisions of this sort are quite deadly.

In thinking about Barth’s words today, I am reminded of Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples and saying to them “Unless I was you, you will have no part with me.”  (Jn 13:8)

His point is simple and it holds today – like Him, we are to serve others rather than ourselves and our pride.

I am always on-guard when I hear here in Washington that X is an impeccable person, that he is the most honest and trust-worthy man to be found anywhere.  Gang, this is Washington and the culture does not often produce such a species of man – this is a “go along, get along” town – where people advance their own interests while serving the needs of those who can most likely help them climb up the ladder.  Not a lot of feet-washers here.

Strange as he is, President Trump is perhaps the only candidate for the Presidency in my life time that has identified what a great number of citizens around the land have figured out: Washington isn’t heaven … its not even Iowa.

What Barth saw, many now see as well.  Need I say we desperately need more of Christ and far less of self … Would that not be a proper perscription for what ails us?

Very much time to pray for this Nation.

Shalom.

A gracious woman attains honors, and ruthless men attain riches.  The merciful man does himself good, but the cruel man does himself harm.  The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.

Prov 11:16-18

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HonorMercyRighteousness.  Does this describe you?  Describe those you meet?  Those you admire?  Those you listen to?  Those who have public authority?  Those who wish to lead you?  Those who claim to serve justice?  Those who comment on public affairs?  Those who preach and baptize?

If not, why not?

There is no time in my life that I have seen what I now see: namely, the absence of virtue and the virtuous.  It is as if we have stopped teaching men to be gentlemen and women to be ladies.  More to the point we seem like we emulate Sodom and Gomorrah.  And, it seems that ruthlessness, cruelty and the acquisition of extraordinary wealth and power no matter the cost to our character are just fine by us.

Make no mistake – the human heart longs for what is good, and just, and true and merciful and not what is bad and unjust, false and merciless.

We had best restore the best in us – or bye, bye birdie.

It all starts with you – and it starts now, today!

Shalom.

 

 

Then they set out along the black top in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.

Cormac McCarthy, in The Road

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McCarthy writes of a father and his most beloved son who walk under the grayest of skies in a burned out and broken America.  It is both a compelling book and extraordinary movie.  In both I am struck by the love of the father for the son and the son for the father, and by the grayness of the sky amid the ruin.  The latter reminds me of the verbal and video landscape of the present days where hostility is thick as fog and division seems the only objective of the public voices we hear and where each day brings stories of death, cruelty, hatred and the commentaries of the C- and D+ scribes and talking heads whose range of thought is a tad lower than that of a carnival barker.

In a most extraordinary land darkness has descended.  What was once one is now fragmented into many bruised parts .

He could not construct for the child’s pleasure the world he’d lost without constructing the loss as well and he thought perhaps the child had known this better than he.  He tried to remember the dream but could not.  All that was left was the feeling of it … he could not enkindle in the heart of the child what was his own ashes.

This father like me had lived a dream – a dream in better times.  I was conceived when the Second World War was near its triumphant end.  My childhood was spent on a street of veterans and their families – remarkable men and women whose childhood commenced in the Great Depression and turned then to World War – its millions dead, others murdered in Stalin’s gulag.

How does one speak of what we had and lost?  How does one make that the known experience of an adult son?  Give him the optimism purpose and meaning I, poor as we were, knew so well?

How do my grandson or my granddaughter gain what had been, but now is so damaged?  How can my ashes live to sign their forehead?

The Road.  Where this father and son had the dark shadow and penetrating cold of a dying orb – they at least had silence.  We have the unstoppable voices and words of those whose lips bring darkness and cold.  They are now our dismal cover.

“You have to carry the fire … It’s inside you.  It always was there.  I can see it.”

So says the father to the son.  So say I to you, this day.

Shalom.

News as Soap Opera – This is where we are in a superficial mass communication, digitized social media culture.  We interview people with no achievement or proclaim and, in doing so, cannot distinguish people of substance from people who have no particular accomplishment.  We are more soap opera than not.  We can no longer tell the difference between depth and shallow, or what is substantive and what is not.  A real astonishing decline.

… (the) psychological state of affairs had … changed.  For them (George Orwell and Czeslaw Milosz), the state threatened to become not only militarily and politically triumphant, but psychologically so: the custodial Superego for millions, their Id effectively enthralled, their Egos an instrument, pure and simple, of the state’s bureaucratic manipulation. (Emphasis added.)

Robert Coles, M.D., in A Secular Mind

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The state or political party coming to control a person’s thoughts and psychological disposition … Yes, the state control of its people – their ability to control the thinking of its citizens can literally alter the fundamental experience of being a human being.

In the mid, late last century that is what Orwell and Milosz and other prominent intellectuals and writers saw as a major change in the West, in democracies, in culture and universities.   They saw this as a real threat.

In our present mass communication society of Left-controlled social media giants and once-venerable newspapers, this is precisely where we are.

Indeed, the politics of identity and Marxist ideology has changed how we look at ourself, others and the nation.  They have divided us, made us hostile and violent as to those the Left deems their foes … and, indeed, hostile to the ideas upon which our Representative Democracy, Federal system and concept of liberty enshrined in our Constitution was founded.

The more the state grows and media is titled Left – the more Orwell and Milosz’s fears are confirmed.

That is where we are now.  You see it. I see it.  Language is no longer evidence of freedom but subject to state punishment, social exclusion and the like …

As to Orwell, he concluded in his novel 1984 that language, the reading we choose, what we are taught to learn from our “education” has everything to do with the rise of Fascism and Communism and the state’s encroachment on (our) private life.

To make this current – think of the language “rules” surrounding sexual identification and pronouns used to supplant male and female, etc.

Make no mistake the Leftist and the Leftist state is intent on changing who you are, what you think, how you feel, your existence and experience of life.  Most noticeably their view has no God or worship in its agenda.  Beware.  We have met the enemy inside the gates of the castle.

Shalom.

Politically “Correct” –  “Politically correct” by whose standard?  If you do not speak what is on your mind, you have forfeited your freedom.  Free speech allows you to have your views and express them but it does NOT guarantee that others must listen to you.  If only the Left realized that !!!

I would think of myself as something special, and that … would make me feel isolated.  It is the sense of separateness that isolates us from other people … this arrogant thinking creates … loneliness and anxiety …

Dalai Lama, XIV in The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

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We do not often think of “separation” and its consequences.  That in itself is interesting since we are social creatures and Christianity presents to us a God who calls us to Him and one another.

When you begin to think about separation in today’s America you see immediately the common presence of both radical individualism and radical egalitarianism in our politics and its particular place among the godless Left.  Likewise you see how the judiciary is often presented with questions of “equality” and individual “rights” and how ill-prepared judges and courts are regarding these long-standing questions in human existence and well being, and the consequential nature of connection and separation.  Indeed, look no further than divorce – see children without fathers, children born out of wedlock – see the results in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles and other cities where fatherless boys and girls and homicides are so common.

See, too, suicides which have exploded and are more common than homicides.  And homelessness, and drug and addiction, mental illness, narcissism, adultery, predatory sexual behavior among men and even female teachers as to their students.

No longer are we connected to family, faith or nation. Yes, the loss of connection is separation and its sufferings, sickness and deaths.  That is where we are and where secularism, liberalism and godless Leftist ideology has taken us.  We are dis-integrating and doing so rather quickly.

Shalom.

For a provocative read – Allan Bloom has an interesting chapter on “Relationships” in his excellent book The Closing of the American Mind.  I suggest you take a look – but more importantly I urge you to think about the tragic costs of radical individualism, radical egalitarianism – the separation they have produced, and the extraordinary damage that has been done our citizens and this nation.

“When you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of the Light.  These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.”

Jn 12:36

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There are endless lessons to be learned in Scripture.  The above is an example.

As “literalists,” we understand the easy lesson here: believe in Christ and become the sons of the Father.

But there is another extremely important lesson here as well and it is this: give yourself private time, time alone – in quiet – in solitude for that is precisely what Jesus does … he retreated from people, from the crowd, to be alone in quiet for prayer, rest and contemplation.

As to this point, let’s be deadly serious: we live in a troubled land with many disordered people and disordered ideas and a great deal of stress, conflict and destruction.  People are very limited in their own development and have anchored themselves is selfishness, foolishness, fantasy and what is false, fraudulent and wrong.  Evil has been passed along as good.

We are, in many real ways, a disintegrating society.  There are those ideas and people among us who push us more and more to our destruction.  Yes, things are that disjointed and out-of-control.  Even institutions like the Church show these signs.  Fortunately as Christians, we have Christ and His teachings and He and His teachings are all the more indispensable to us in this time of chaos and conflict.

For you I say only this: pay attention to Christ and keep some time for being alone in quiet, rest, prayer and contemplation.  Do not immerse yourself totally in culture or labor.  Read Scripture and see so plainly what is before you: many are lost and forces present attempt to push us to extinction.  That is what godlessness brings – evil deeds and the assault on what is Good, life-giving and eternal.

Stay strong and tough.  Be wise.  The Light is your guide.  Stay in the Light.

Shalom.

If today’s message is helpful, please pass it along to others and welcome them to share it with those they know.  We are in this together.  All in one boat.

As always, comments are welcome and helpful.  Peace be with you.

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