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Took a Day Off Yesterday – Needed the Rest

The work of human thought should withstand the test of brutal naked reality.  If it cannot, it is worthless.

Czeslaw Milosz, in The Captive Mind

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Thinking itself is not sufficient except that one seeks and seizes the truth that stands in front of them.

You may judge a society by its capacity to see truth – especially when it is unpleasant.  Those who accommodate truth as it is presented are the strongest and wisest among us.

Most truths have been recorded in the recorded works of human history.  But do we teach them?  Not particularly.

Too often today, people try to create their own lives and their own “truths.”

In many instances the repeat of untruths are designed to attain the status of a trusted truth of the ages.  In weak and decaying cultures those repeated untruths are accepted or adopted and in the doing the culture and nature of human experience is fundamentally changed and the culture declines.  The more untruths that are given the hallowed status of truth the more rapid the decline accelerates.  In such a time only the brave speak of truth.

Yes, I am living through such an accelerating time.  The plunge is astonishing in its speed, depravity, chaos and destruction.

The way of truth is like a wide road.  It is not difficult to know it.  The evil is only that men will not seek it.

Mengzi, 372-289 B.C.

Shalom.

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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.

 

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

Aristotle

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Throwing money at institutional “education” has set us back in that last five or six decades.  Yes, education of the mind and not the heart presents us with not whole people but slivers of indoctrination – in our case … with small-mined ideologues, life un-examined.

The heart.  The heart.  The heart.  We are more than a brain – which is but a secondary organ.  People survive brain injuries, no one survives without a heart.

Wonder why you see the sights and hear the sounds you hear in contemporary media and culture?  We have poured dubious ideas into college students but little to reveal what Aristotle knew 300 years before Christ.

Great damage is done by those who have not done the work of understanding who they are and what the purpose of a lived life is.  When we neglect the mystery and truths about mortal life, when we ignore what has been complied on this subject in the last 2500 years and in many cultures all along that time line – we are far less “educated” than we reckon.

Such is the cause of the nonsense we see daily … of the foolishness and hostility of those who vie to lead this nation, influence others, advocate all manner of mischief.

Best you see where we are and how we have missed the mark very substantially.  And better yet – best we are to listen critically and discount all those whose sing-song rhetoric does not witness in the speaker wisdom of a life fully lived and the humility and calm that such experience generates.

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.

Back after a day of travel …

So long as men and women believed themselves to be responsible beings, called to choose, and accountable to God for their choices, life might be tragic, but it is not trivial.

Sydney Cave, in The Christian Way

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Ah, yes … and when Christianity is attacked, shunned and meant to be made unimportant how will we avoid the creation of tragic and chaotic circumstances and horrendous deeds – like infanticide, opiate use and producing early death, or random murders, preying on the innocent, the stripping of all that is in human sexuality and destroying the family?  And who among you understands the relationship between freedom and responsibility?

Who in the public eye connects faith and responsibility.  Surely not the Socialist whose view of God is much like that of a Communist – namely, that God neither matters nor exists (translation – God is an unwelcome competitor to those who desire all power reside in them so they might be gods and goddesses.)

When a culture departs from individual responsibility in favor of the scapegoating of a select group (“old White men,” capitalists, people of faith … etc.) it ushers in an age of terror and precipitous decline … as we see now in Venezuela … and the Democrat Left’s embrace of infanticide and the abolition of Constitutional freedoms long ago clearly defined.

Shalom.

 

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

Lao-tzu

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In politics and in the visual-image culture we have – gaining the approval of others is a common and prominent goal.

When you think about it – this is an invitation to deception … it inevitably has one mask who they are and what they think.  In this, discourse is false – a charade … words are abused, images shaped and the individual contorted.

In politics, as in advertising, we are purposely deceived.  Campaigns for political office are quite the same as ad campaigns for hair coloring, soap, a snappy new auto, etc. – all nonsense.

Tragically the sleepy guardians of truth – the news media – has long ago abandoned ship.  They, too, reflect and protect the phony image of their choice.

Deep down inside the approval-people are shallow.

This would all be fine if the consequences were only that of a farcical French comedy but alas we live in a dangerous world where others aspire our death and destruction and where real, finite material measures like national debt and national security exist.

So now we come to reports of Cuban troops and secret police in Venezuela in violation of international law – along with Russian, Chinese, Turkish and terrorist presence, and the decade long neglect of our military (particularly during Mr. Obama’s occupation of the Oval Office) and the inexcusable billions of dollars give-away to Iran authored by Misters Obama and Kerry.

The point?  Conforming one’s life to approval makes you a prisoner to what is untrue, false and hence destructive and befuddled.  In contrast, a person who is confident and competent is one who seeks not the approval of others but their trust and respect.

Since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan fewer and fewer public figures have earned our trust and respect.  Approval never trumps candor and competence and is but an opaque screen designed to deceive for personal gain.

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.

… Jung’s system … functions as a religious path … fragmentation and wholeness are the pairs of opposites at the center of the religious quest.  (Emphasis added.)

Curtis D. Smith, Ph.D., in Jung’s Quest for Wholeness

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I am a religious guy.  Faith is, and always has been, important to me.  I studied theology at the University of Notre Dame after years of law practice.  I lived as a vowed religious for close to ten years.  I am, one might say, someone interested in religion, one who believes that religion plays a vital part in the life and well-being of a human person.

That said, but for one very helpful and insightful person I met in my vowed religious life (Br. Tom Moser, C.S.C), I see no one who makes the point that our psychological health and contentment (along with our spiritual development and happiness) is dependent on our journey to wholeness as Carl Jung, M.D. so brilliantly describes.  

I can only imagine what society would be like if more people were whole and contented, and understood themselves and others more fully.  I can imagine in such a state – greater calm, wiser individuals and institutions, more humane behavior, less division, hostility and chaos – more fellowship and unity that breached all these artificial divides created by others so they might “reign” and enjoy an elevated status, power, health, fame and adoration.

Think for a moment about the disorder you see around you and the antagonism that flourishes in the public square.  Is it not utterly unnecessary?  When you have fully developed men and women – my assertion is that it is indeed unnecessary.

I pray that we will take on the task and sacred duty to grow in fullness.  Yes, a whole person is happier than one who is fragmented (broken) and divided within and as manifest in their outward conduct and troublesome disposition.

Shalom.

Talk About Fragmented – According to news reports a California politico is apparently confirming that he had and extramarital affair with Democrat U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.  Ms. Harris has not denied this report.  Do we need more immorality, greater destruction of the family and marriage?  Have we not had quite enough of this in public life?

Abortion Pays – Planned Parenthood had a profit of over $200,000,000 last year (according to news reports).  And we subsidize this tax exempt organization!  This is the Left turning life upside down.  Is this the best we can do?

It is reported that Governor Cuomo, Democrat of New York signed a bill making it lawful to abort a child up to the day of the child’s birth.  Scruples?  I guess not.

 

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.

For some reason the post for January 23, 2019 appears under the Title Heading of the Blog and is identified thus Firm in Courage and Faith.

Difficult winter weather demands a great deal of attention when you live on a ridge in a sparsely populated area.  My mornings and some part of the afternoon are taken up with winter in the wilderness.  Hence my postings are often done in the mid-to-late afternoon … but they are done daily as they have been dating back to 2011.  Now in year eight.  Tally ho.

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Many of our young are uprooted.  They no longer believe in the traditions of their parents and grandparents, and they have not found anything to replace them.  Spiritual leaders need to address this very real issue … They have not been able to translate the deepest values of their traditions, perhaps because they themselves have not fully understood or experienced them.  (Emphasis added.)

Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ

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If our children are lost it is because we have failed them.  The elders have disappeared.  In their place are un-accomplished cosmetic, confused figures who thirst for power, notoriety, fame, wealth, celebrity, fulfillment of their own (and hence) selfish desires.

You cannot call these figures anything less than misinformed, ignorant, craven, selfish, wrong and destructive – the least accomplished of an over-indulged and over-educated generation.  Their failure is plain in themselves and in the lives of young people – from teen years to their 20’s and beyond.

Many of our children are aimless, impractical and rootless.  They know neither history nor themselves.  Tradition is a stranger to them – they are cut off from their past and many exist without ambition and initiative – in a sea of ease, affluence and institutions that cater to them and expect little of them.  Such softness breeds contempt and challengers none to excel, to exceed the hardships and errors that all life brings.

The young now threaten our collapse.  We own this bitter harvest.

Those who do not know the past know neither the present nor the future.  These young men and women like their priests and elders fail to acquire the experience of human experience.  In this: all is immediate or not at all.  Nothing is past, nothing is tomorrow.  All is now or a vague dream with no concrete avenue nor action to realize its accualization.

We have left them without a map, a charter, without access to wisdom and with but avant guard failed “isms” of the Left – pipe dreams with dissipating smoke soon dissolved into failure.  In high station we have a Jelly Bean Cleric and the Sex Scandal Band.

In the dock stand the men and women slightly younger than me.  “Our body ourselves” has failed as well it would and our children are lost … the shame is on us.  But no one takes the blame.  Honor is not in them.  And down we go.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

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