Stripping away all protective layers Richard Weaver exposes man for what he really is in chapter four of Ideas Have Consequences. Then he proceeds to detail how this inner self manifests itself in our daily lives through work (labor) and play (art).
Without delving into modern psychology, Weaver is addressing our ability to self-assess by identifying the ego (id and superego, too) and how man knows himself (epistomology.) Taking us back to the Renaissance, Weaver points to a split in the theory of knowledge, throws in a reference to forbidden knowledge, and then throws up his hands by saying
Nothing can be done until we have decided whether we are pimarily interested in
I concur with Weaver’s lament that man’s egotism has prevented him from realizing that he is an obligated creature. Once that concept is apprehended, work and play take on different meanings. Because most do not understand this concept, Weaver spends pages explaining how man has fallen from the ideal and created a big mess.
At this point, I highlight only one example from each category of work and play, not really ignoring Weaver’s references to the middle class mentality, labor unions and the institutionalized workforce or the artistic community of writers, musicians, and painters, but trying to cut to the chase.
In labor egotism rears its ugly head in the work of the homemaker. While Weaver does not specifically address this arena, I propose that his principles of interpretation apply because of the obvious general lack of appreciation for this valuable commodity within the current work force and market place. The fact that most men expect their wives to work outside the home is all the example needed to support my claim. It is a full time job to take care of the nuclear and extended family. Women understand this naturally, but suppress it (in rebellion). These jobs are work (labor) and have value (monetary). If men and women truly understood the “ideal of the task” in the work of the family (the basic unit of society), our culture wouldnt be in the state of decline that we are experiencing. I'll bet my blogging buddy, Cindy agrees with me on this point.
Allow me to propose a few questions at this juncture:
Who heads up the corporation called the family and who executes the plan? How do we propose to keep our large families unified in the future? Have you ever considered how you will gather (and finance) your family in ten years when all your children have spouses and children? Here's a taste of how my parents keep us together and are influencing the culture. I'd love to tell y'all more about it.
Next Weaver explains how egotism rears its ugly head in art. Let’s just focus on the modern.
In Impressionism which is the revolutionary event of modern painting the
movement has a variety of causes. Clive Bell is inclined to see it simply as a rediscovery of paganism. This meant the acceptance of life as good and
satisfying in itself, with a consequent resolution to revel in the here and
This assessment is undeniable in Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece, the Luncheon of the Boating Party (whose theme is La Vie Moderne). I wrote about this here when I read Susan Vreeland's book by the same title. Furthermore, I have recently viewed a fabulous exhibit of paintings where the theme is the reliance of the Impressionists on the Old Masters. As the Impressionistic works were juxtaposed with examples of the inspirational masterpieces, all of Weavers statements are visible as one regards these paintings and reads the curators program notes.
I find Weaver’s surveys enormously helpful in setting the stage and giving me a proper perspective for whatever form of work (homemaking) or play (reading/writing) I undertake.
In conclusion, how should we view this information?
Go back and make a vocabulary list from chapter four and incorporate it into your family's daily life. There will be consequences. I propose that they will be good.
It will help to clean up the mess.
Update: Don't forget to read Kelly's insights. And I'm looking for Carmon's next entry, too.