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“How full the days are, full of slow and quiet … Only here do I feel that my life is authentically human.

Thomas Merton

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Merton’s words in a journal entry of November 1964 when he moved into his hermitage – a place to dwell alone surrounded by nature.

In my solitude on the ridge I know what he means.  Never have I felt closer to reality, to God, to the ground of being … or more at peace.

I am away from disorder, chaos … and the flood of bad behavior, routine deceptions and the idiotic chatter – its self-destruction.

I think of ISIS.  North Korea.  The American Left.  The media, the press.  Iran. Russia’s global antics and Europe’s passivity and foolishness.

When good falls victim to evil has not the ground under you shifted?  Is it not wise to seek Eden once again?

In Eden there are no pagans, no herds of selfish people making unwise and suicidal demands.

Merton and the Ridge.

Shalom.

Remarkable Reception for President Trump in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis are to be applauded for the warmth and dignity they display.  This could be a significant turning point.  So much for the notion that President Trump is the Devil incarnate.

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… the state threatened to become not only militarily and politically triumphant but psychologically so: the custodial Superego for millions … their Egos an instrument, pure and simple, of the state’s bureaucratic manipulation.

Robert Coles, M.D. in A Secular Mind

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Dr. Coles, an esteemed research psychiatrist, is commenting on Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz’s observations in his book entitled A Captive Mind in which he explores the consequences of (Communist) centralized state power over the individual person.

Doctor Coles ends his book about the secularized mind by focusing on the apparent need for the modern state to secure social and psychological control over its population.  And, Coles focuses on the prospects of neurochemistry and medical science in doing so.

As to the latter point, Coles draws on advances in neuroscience, biology and medicine – particularly on developments in pharmacology – reminding us that Sigmund Freud thought that in time the mind itself might be reduced to simple matter and ministered to (and perhaps altered substantially) by medications. That is to say, that the experience of being human would change rather significantly.

This, by the way, has been a theme expressed over time by a number of people from Orwell, to Huxley, to Stanislaw Witkiewicz and others, and displayed in Phillip Dick’s 1968 movie Blade Runner.

The notion of centralized control over the person leads me to think more critically of the divisions between those who despise Donald Trump and those who voted for him.

In thinking about this I see Trump as an unimportant focus.  It is not he himself that matters but rather the significance of the divide between those who voted for him and those who are clearly threatened by him, and seem to hate him.

It seems to me that the divide is what is important.

That said, I think one can make a reasonable observation that the difference is in part the distinction between those who favor centralized power and those who do not.  In effect, we are talking about those who favor government control over the social and psychological nature of the human person and those who oppose the same.

Illustratively, the Left favors imposing their “views” on others – i.e., forced “tolerance.” Some in the middle ground default to continued growth in government to the extent that sovereignty and national identity and nation itself is devolved to international organizations and competing cultures (i.e., globalists).

In opposition to this, of course, are those who favor less government and preservation of nation, individual freedom and continued American economic prosperity and ethos, and constitutional Federalism.

We have simply stated: globalists vs. nationalists.

So the question today is not Trump but what underpins the divide?  Why his adversaries violently oppose him?  Why the hatred and effort to drive him from office?

My view is that it has to do with a very fundamental question: Will we live in a country where control over the human person expands as the power of the central government and international organizations expands or will we not?

Shalom.

… in order to integrate himself anew, man must submit himself once more to a higher power … We must now experience immanently what the Middle Ages experienced transcendentally.

Nicholas Berdyaev, in The Meaning of History

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Surveying the American political landscape can be pretty dismal.  The common liberal refrain is to say, “Ugh, Donald Trump” as if he alone warrants disfavor.

Good God: Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, Chuckie “Hair-Plug” Schumer, Slap-Happy Tim Kane, Susan Collins, Maxine Waters, Bernie “Never Had a Paying Job” Sanders, Little Harry Reid … The list is endless.

Is it any wonder that the policy process is disordered as it is?

Which brings one to Nicholas Berdyaev.

Berdyaev seeks the full development of the human person and includes in that his and her spiritual development.  He sees that asceticism plays a part in the fullness of the human person.

From his quote above, he sees that without a relationship with God, man cannot flourish. I would add: nor can peace be realized, community established and sustained, and wisdom prevail.

If there is one thing about the present political and cultural landscape that strikes me it is this: it is flat, material, quarrelsome, often foolish and distasteful, wasteful, counterproductive and utterly uninspiring.

Placing Berdyaev’s words on today’s landscape makes me wonder if those of us who are faithful might shift gears ever so slightly.  Our habit is to focus on The Father, and The Son – but less so on The Holy Spirit.  In the former we sit more materially than mystically.

Imagine the re-orientation if one and one’s culture and politics were to accommodate immanent experience.

In such a turn, people would live from the inside out – concern would shift from a collective culture of “free stuff” to desire that all might grow in individual responsibility and dignity.  Indeed we might pass from dependent serfdom to sacred being.

Imagine if each thought of himself, herself and others as sacred beings.  Yes, living in the The Spirit – life is recognized for the mystical experience that it is.

If you want to jump the curve from a nation of people who seek that others might care for their every need, accommodate their strangest infantile whim, ask yourself this: if we all felt that we were sacred beings responsible to live fully, in dignity and in joy, would we not cease the foolishness we now exhibit and enjoy the leadership of the wisest and most faithful among us?

Shalom.

The way to knowledge, and self-knowledge, is through pilgrimage.  We imitate our way to truth, finding our lives – saving them – in the process.

Paul Elie, in An American Pilgrimage

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Life requires patience and, hence, faith.  Done well, as an act of faith, perseverance, and growth, living assembles truths over time and stacks them like firewood to warm and make secure in the frigid moments we encountered.

Seeking the truth is a personal experience.  No one does the pilgrimage for you. You are called to this.  It is a sacred call to each.

Many defer.  They have their problems, their sickness and they create great discord, calamity and foolishness in their committed deferral.

They are the constantly confused, the addicts, the convicts, the inaugural protesters, the rabid ideologues with small minds and muddled thoughts, the serial adulterers, the perpetual drunks, the free-loaders, the scammers, the habitual complainers.  They live in the past and in their disordered thoughts, resentments and excuses.  They father children and flee their responsibility.  They live off of others and expect to be coddled, excused, catered to.

Pilgrims.

Those who defer destroy.  All are equal, yet some choose to deny the sacred call to life. That is their choice, and hence – their responsibility.  They know nothing of truth and their words are nonsense, devalued by their own choosing.  They elect their own state of inequality and then demand what others rightly gained.  Their words need no heed.

Only a fool or devil encourages sickness.  Truth and contentment come from the journey – often a hard and difficult but necessary and satisfying pilgrimage.

There are no good answers gotten on the cheap.

We are formed as pilgrims.

Shalom.

The separation of church and state, however interpreted, did not signify the separation of church from society.

To look upon religion as the ultimate source of morality, and hence of a good society and sound policy … pays religion – and God – the great tribute of being essential to the welfare of mankind … to man as well, who is deemed capable of subordinating his lower nature to his higher …

Gertrude Himmelfarb, in The Roads to Modernity

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The efforts of the press, televised news media and others to discredit President-elect Donald Trump before he assumes Office shows us that something as basic as culture and identity is at stake.

What do I mean?

The Left has had its way in this culture for almost six decades.  Their ideology has been planted in schools and colleges, in the judiciary, entertainment, in the media and in the newspapers, in Washington, the federal bureaucracy, some large cities and a few states. Likewise, killing children in the womb has received the protection of the Constitution and same sex “marriage” has been endorsed by the Supreme Court.

In the last six decades, Black families have been destabilized by federal and state laws and policies, federal and large state budget discipline has been lost, and the government has gained more and more control of the individual, private business and the economy and religion is held “suspect.”

It is fair to say that our culture has been changed, as has been our identity – individual and collective.

The recent national election has been a repudiation of the Left and what it has done and become.

Those on the Left (the newspapers, college professors, teachers unions, Washington insiders, televised soft news stations and people, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, the Democrat Party, etc.), accustomed to “getting their way,” are “throwing a fit.”

Today we engage a fundamental question: who are we and does our culture reflect favorably who we are?

Herein, the quotes from Ms. Himmelfarb.  We are defined not by the state or politics.  We are in the most basic, most truthful and profoundest manner defined by faith, its ethos, its morality.  Our identity and well-being rest there and when we live by this our culture reflects the good that we are and life gets easier as folly and conflict subside.

Properly considered, we are seeing at the present the opposition of the Left to the restoration of national health and prosperity.  Pretty fundamental stuff.  Big stakes.

Shalom.

Suggestion – You might want to be careful about where you get your news.  I used to read five newspapers a day.  I now read one, the Wall Street Journal.  I don’t watch much on TV. The best I can suggest – pay attention to your religion and grow your faith – the best guide to living well.

Our unwillingness to see our own faults and its projections of them on others is the source of most quarrels, and the strongest guarantee that injustice, animosity, and persecution will not easily die out.

Carl Jung, M.D., in Depth Psychology and Self-Knowledge

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A man is married to a woman who has two disordered parents who have neglected their own self-examination like it is fatal and in doing so proceeded, as is too often the case, to wrap themselves in a shell of rigid childish subversion of their faith.  The married woman, it does not surprise, is far from maturity and self-understanding.

Lost to her true self, the maturity and insight that is only secured by knowledge of self, the married woman is lost to others, insecure, controlling, passive aggressive, unable even to accomplish standard household tasks.

Without her redress the marriage and her parenting inflict disorder on her spouse and her children.  This is what Jung is talking about in the above passage.

Unwillingness to see our faults projects disaster, sickness and disorder on others. Make no mistake such people spread disaster and destruction to others – especially their children and those with whom intimate contact is due. Our silence in these matters sows the seeds of evil and unhappiness from generation to generation.

We are made in the imperfect image of God.  But having a faith narrative which tells us this should licence us, with confidence and courage, to come to know our life circumstances and ourselves – warts and beauty marks included.  Alas, too often faith is thin even in church-goers, and illness persists.

What Jung speaks of exists in groups – and is quite lethal, even more destructive there.

I give an example.  The Republicans wish to alter the Obamacare national health fiasco. They see the plan, not the Democrats who created it as the problem.

In sharp contrast, the Democrats oppose the alteration of their coveted shrine to the dubious “genius” of government and themselves and, without waiting for a review of the Republican proposals, they demonize those who wish to alter their prideful and extraordinarily flawed law and its policy.

In the Democrats, and particularly in Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, we have the unwillingness to see their own flaws and the subsequent projection of animosity and personal persecution on others.

Democrats are (and have been for a great long time as is consistent with the political Left) the Party of character assassination and personal attack.

Their identity?  The “devil with the truth” and what might makes sense, is cost effective, withstands independent analysis and evaluation, preserves economic freedom and America’s unique government and Constitutional legacy, does not impose by force a flawed law or policy on citizens and vital institutions, is ignorantly partisan, governs not for all citizens but only for their base donors and supporters.

The Democrats are the married woman in the first illustration.

They spread chaos and disorder because they are stubbornly unwilling to look critically at themselves – finding it far easier to attack others than discharge their duty to know critically who they are and act as mature adults with sufficient self-knowledge to possess humility while causing no harm to others and our precious and unique nation.

They are without a doubt the people and Party of tantrums and destruction.  They make, it follows, poor mates and foster disordered offspring from generation to generation.

Footnote – Let’s be honest – the hideous torture of a mentally impaired White teenager in Chicago by two eighteen year old Black boys and two Black young women (one 24 and a mother) has everything to do with the dismantling of the Black family by the Democrat Left and their policies at the federal level.  This destruction has been going on for decades and now we have fatherless (often amoral) children and behavior like this.  Very sad.  It must change.

Shalom.

Back after and unplanned day off-line as I had computer problems.

So sorry for the inconvenience.

The mass state has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the state becomes … (Emphasis added.)

Carl G. Jung, M.D., in The Undiscovered Self

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The Democrats lost in large part because of a Marxist ideological perspective they pursued for fifty-five years which depended on the divisiveness of identity politics that pitted women against man, Blacks against Whites, the “educated” liberal and celebrity class against the working class and made enemies of anyone who deigned to differ with them while, at the same time and consistent with their views, expanding government power into all manner of personal, economic, and social life and creating entitlements which have put our affluent Nation on the road to bankruptcy and grown a huge caste of those dependent on government (i.e., those of us who work and pay taxes) for their survival.

Yes, the “aggregate thinking” of the arrogant Left caught up with them.  People prefer being individual human beings rather than wards of the Nanny State or treated as “a basket of deplorables” by a bunch of privileged misfits who have demonstrated no particular maturity or achievement whatsoever.

As in all delightful human stories the Democrats destroyed themselves in pursuit of the Nation’s destruction.  Not to be undone in this human comedy of Democrat collapse, their Presidential candidate, her underlings and her husband by their actions and words added an implicit message that it was time to reject their idiocy and that of their Party.  Ah, all done in by their panache and deftness.

So where are we now?

We may have experienced a significant and fundamental turn in our culture – a return to a healthier state of being.  If so, we may have dispatched the ideological nonsense which has made life less full and each day more inane under Leftist politicians, their foolishness and intentional hostility.  Yes, we may have neutralized their destructive pathology.

As Jung notes we are individuals and social beings not a “basket of deplorables” owned by the State.  The mass Leftist state does not seek that you are free, prosperous and happy.  Perhaps their days and ways are now behind us.

Shalom.

Would any seed take root if he had not believed His promise when God said,

“Dears, I will rain.  I will help you.  I will turn into warmth and effulgence,

I will be the Mother that I am and let you draw from My body and rise, and rise.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

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If there is no God, how can these words from the 13th century survive, interest us, speak to us, make us think, perhaps alter our consciousness, orientation to daily life, and the meaning of our existence?

Aquinas thought that contemplation and solitude were among the greatest gifts we are given.  But alas we are very busy, and noisy.  So easily distracted, indeed to a state of exhaustion and impatience.

He became a Dominican monk and lived a vow of poverty with complete devotion to God.  Even in the 13th century this was a radical departure from what was.

His family kidnapped him and held him in isolation for two years in their castle to try to dissuade his choice of a monastic life.  This only strengthened his will and his faith.  In his solitude and forced imprisonment, he memorized Holy Scriptures.

Released he became a master at the University of Paris and focused his attention on Aristotle’s writings on metaphysics.  From this he learned how to make the profound seem simple to his audience.

In his studies his faith deepened and matters like the growth of a seed or the expanse of the human being came to form and to his understanding and he shared his insights with all.  To this day his words survive.

Are you not the seed promised life-giving water and eternal warmth?

Shalom.

Tomorrow’s Post: How the Democrat Left lost and Trump became President.

Religion and morals are the pillars of civil society.

George Washington

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Friends, Washington is not the only one of our Nation’s Founders to make such a statement.  It is not hard to understand and our present disarray ought to make the point.

There is nothing wrong that cannot be corrected by restoring the place of religion and morality in our culture.  Absent this, and decline is a certainty.

Perhaps, those on the Left might now realize why people are distressed with ideologues, the elites, globalism, and the present state of the Nation.

Shalom.

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving 

To … prove God’s existence is a very different thing from … thanking Him.

Soren Kierkegaard, in The Present Age

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I call you to give thanks for what you have been given.  I do so by sharing some of the things that I will give thanks for today:

+ for a Loving God and the grace I have been given to believe in God since I was a very small child

+ for God’s moral order and the strength and humility to adhere to it

+ for a loving family and a Mother who saved my life at the cost of her own desires and needs

+ for those who loved me and those I have been graced to love

+ for the struggles and challenges in life that have always taught be more than any education could ever have

+ for having been born in America and for our ancestors who built this great land of freedom and opportunity

+ for the men and women in the armed forces who have protected us at great cost to themselves and still do today

+ for my son and my daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren – Jack and Fiona

+ for my health and the health of friends and loved ones

+ for friends – so many, and so undeserved

+ for this beautiful land

+ for the recent election and the opportunity to repair the destruction we have brought upon ourselves by errant ideology, excessive pride in self, selfishness and unnecessary hostility toward others

+ for Christ and his sacrifice for us, all who have lived and yet will come to life.

God bless you all.  Rejoice today … and be glad.

Shalom.

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