Friday, November 30, 2007
from Donna at Quiet Life
1. All I want for Christmas is.... for others to enjoy themselves.
2. My favorite holiday cocktail.... a glass of merlot.
3. My favorite holiday party hors d'oeuvre.... brie en croute (baked with fig preserves and roasted pecans)
4. The average price I spend per gift.... $25
5. My favorite gift to give during the holidays .... something *I* want ;)
6. Something overrated about the holidays .... fruitcake!
7. Something I must have before Christmas .... Thanksgiving.
8. One thing I always do during the holidays ... attend a Lessons and Carols service.
9. Where I love to shop for the holidays ..... before the crowds get there.
10. A holiday tradition I have .... to give my daughter’s charms for their bracelets.
11. One thing you won't find me doing during the holidays... going to the mall.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Chapter Six of Ideas Have Consequences
"Incriminating" is the adjective that came to mind when I wanted to summarize Weaver’s essay. Or “Guilty as charged” fits the description, too.
As Weaver delineates his impression of man’s *brat* behavior, it is easy to identify with his examples and it would be easier still to turn this synopsis into a parenting guide, like I did here.
But that’s not where Weaver is headed as indicated by the opening quote from Hermann Rauschning (1887-1982).
Wherever the typical mass character becomes universal, all higher values are as
good as lost.
This German conservative and reactionary became an opponent of Naziism and Hitler and fortunately lived to write about it, although his repuation is somewhat scarred. The quote is possibly from his book The Revoloution of Nihilism, published in 1939, and was a warning to the West against the anti-cultural, anti-Christian, philosophy of the National Socialists. It is interesting to note that Herr Rauschning died a farmer in the Portland, OR area.
So, while I find it easy to pick out the individual personality traits and characterisctics described by Weaver in the people I deal with everyday (not just my own children), I believe Weaver wants us to take a few steps back from the pages and look at the entire world from a national (mass) character point of view.
The author begins by surveying the landscape and reminding us of the development of national personality types in: Plato, Aristotle, the Renaissance, the Bourgeois, Thomism, and our current Middle Class. I cant get out of my head the image of the Wizard of Oz as the Stereopticon telling us what to think, where to live, what kind of work, where to worship, what to eat. But if we had a wide enough perspective, we could see these personalities in the various countries of the world. For example, Mao Tse Tung's vision for the Chinese.
Weaver blames urbanization for many of society’s ills because cities encourage man to believe he has superiority over nature, especially with the benefits of modern science. Because a person is separated from nature it makes it easier to forget the presence of something greater than himself. Good point. But being a suburbanite myself and grasping Weaver’s ideas and consequences, I am just a little resentful of that broad generalization. I like to think that I appreciate comfort appropriately and could live without the many which I have.
So, let’s acknowledge from the outset what Mr Weaver admits on p 114,
“If all this had been couched in terms of spiritual insights, the case would be different.”That means no religious solutions count in his logical argument.
Weaver’s “big question” pg 121 is whether this spoiled-child psychology has made us unfit for the political struggle which now seems to loom before us. He identifies the balance of power between the East and the West, or the bourgeois liberal democracy and Soviet communism, but I’m sure we can easily name the current tensions or polarities, like Hilary Clinton as President! I assure you she has visions of a certain type of national character.
It was a surprise to learn that some of Norman Rockwell's famous drawings were commissioned to illustrate FDR's Four Freedoms Speech.
IMO FDR was the ultimate Stereopticon with his ABC government programs perpetuating the modern man's idea that the world/state/father owes him a living.
I had to laugh when Weaver proposed his whimsical solution of having the opposing philosophers duke out the world's problems with the winner’s solutions being adopted by the losers.
Can you imagine?
I do agree that discipline, hard work, and distancing one from the Father/State are key to maintaining the desired culture. Read Cindy on discipline.
So, despite the fact that Cindy refuses (wisely) to use logic when *arguing* with her sons, in this case, we are called to don our intellectual caps and employ the powers of deductive reasoning in order to apply Weaver‘s knowledge to our humdrum existences. Perhaps tomorrow I will post a few stories of how the spoiled-child psychology rears it's ugly head in a small town family practice where my DH works long hours to serve man and his family.
Suffice it for the moment, however, that if you read nothing else today, read chapter six of Ideas Have Consequences. The more people who understand this warped mentality and can thwart it, the better chance we have of correcting our nation’s mass character and restoring its intrinsic value.
Better yet....buy one and give it as a gift.
But remember, because the recipient is a spoiled brat, you will probably have to read it for him/her, tell him/her what it says, AND then explain what that means!
Just dont get bitter about it, as Carmon says.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
One of the very important and much neglected verses of Scripture is Mark 4:28: "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." Our Lord tells us (Mark 4:26-29) that the Kingdom of God, as it develops in history, has a necessary growth and development. No more than we can plant grain and then expect the harvest at once, can we expect quick or immediate results in the growth of God's Kingdom. If we plant grain, we must cultivate it, often water it, tend to the field, and, only after much labor, reap a harvest. To expect otherwise is stupidity and foolishness, whether in farming or in the work of the Kingdom, In fact, our Lord describes quick growth as false (Matt. 13:5 6, 20-21).
The expectations of most people nowadays run contrary to our Lord's words. They demand immediate results, and then wonder why their harvests never come.
Within the church. this demand for immediate and spectacular results is commonplace. We need to remember that in church history sometimes the most successful preachers over the centuries have been heretics and compromisers. Carl E. Braaten has rightly observed, "John Tetzel was surely a popular preacher. He told people what they wanted to hear and sold people what they wanted to get. He was a preacher of indulgences, and lots of peoples swarmed to hear him and bought what he had to offer." (Currents in Theology and Missions, vol. 14, no. 2, April 1987, p. 111 f.) Today, even the Catholic Encyclopedia speaks of Tetzel's "unwarranted theological views." However, we need not go back to Tetzel, Today preachers of all sorts, and laymen too, believe in and demand of God instant results: sow the seed and stand back while the harvest pops up at once! As a result, such men often do better at growing weeds than grain.
This mentality is common in all circles, modernist and fundamentalist, socialist and conservative. During the 1930s, I recall spending a futile dinner hour trying to persuade a fellow student out of quitting his university training. A passionate and devout leftist, he was convinced that, very shortly, the forces of international fascism would conquer the world. It was therefore necessary to go underground with the party of world revolution and work for world liberation. He was totally convinced that, once the forces of world fascism were broken, peace and plenty would flourish from pole to pole and sea to shining sea. I believe that on that occasion I first made serious use of Mark 4: 28, but it was futile.
In the 1960s, great numbers of students all over the world fell victim to the same wild delusion. They believed that, with a little action, the full ear of corn could be reaped at once. One group held that only the reactionaries prevented the immediate dawn of an automated, work-free, and war-free world. When a reporter asked one girl in the group how a work free world could produce food, she answered with haughty contempt, "Food IS!" The student movement commanded superior minds academically, but it lacked any sense of historical development and growth. God can produce instantaneous results; He created all things out of nothing. But the Kingdom of God in history moves, our Lord tells us, in a different way, even as "the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear. after that the full corn in the ear" (Mark 4:28).
In the past ten years, I have been involved in many court trials defending the freedom of the church, the Christian School, home schools and families. It regularly amazes and appalls me that so many Christians, before they have fought a court case or voted (so many still do not vote), are ready to give up hope or to think of extreme measures and flight. (In this, they resemble the students of the 1960s.) Only yesterday I talked with a fine veteran of Viet Nam whose pastor sees no alternative to total obedience to the state except revolution; since he opposes revolution, he insists on total obedience as the Christian duty. He overlooks the vast realm in between, i.e., voting, pressure on legislatures, the education of Bible believers (of whom 50% do not vote), and so on.
It is important to recognize that this inability to see the necessity of growth is a modern failing, and also to see its source. The church fathers by and large tended to neglect Mark 4:28; but Calvin noted that the parable has as its purpose to make us diligent and patient "because the fruit of... labour does not immediately appear."
It was the Enlightenment and Romanticism which produced the new mentality. According to Scripture, man's problem is himself: he is a sinner. His original sin is his desire for autonomy, to be his own god and law, determining good and evil for himself (Gen. 3:5). However, there is nothing man wants less to face than the fact that, whatever other problems he has, he, his own nature, is his main problem. In fact, man rejects radically and totally the idea that God's indictment of him is correct. He may approve of the motto, "In God we trust," but he lives in terms of the premise, "In myself I trust."
The more man develops in his sin, in his evil will-to-be-god, the more he believes that his own fiat word can make reality. If statist man says, Let there be prosperity, there should be prosperity. If he says, Let poverty, hatred, and oppression be abolished, these things should disappear.
But, the more he pursues this course as god and creator, the more the evils around him increase. As James tells us, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1). Men create evils and then blame God, their environment, and other men for them.
How many politicians are ready to say, "We, the people, are responsible for the mess we are in. We want something for nothing. We want to eat our cake and have it too. We have despised God's laws concerning debt, and much, much more, and we deserve the judgment God is bringing upon us." Man himself is the primary problem, and man insists that the blame must be laid on someone or something else. As a result, his problem is compounded.
The Enlightenment and Romanticism deny the Biblical answer. According to the Enlightenment, man's Reason is the solution to the problem, whereas Romanticism locates the answer in man's will. In either case, man is the answer, not the problem.
Such thinking placed the modern age (in Europe, after c. 1660 especially) in radical disagreement with orthodox Christianity. The modern era exalts man and his needs, and it is at total war against the faith that declares man to be a sinner. The epitome of a God-centered faith is the Westminster Shorter Catechism's opening statement, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."
The logic of such man-centered thinking in the Enlightenment and Romanticism led to Revolution. John Locke, after Aristotle, insisted that man's mind and being is a moral blank, neutral to good and evil. The premise of modern education is Locke's assumption: education then becomes the conditioning of the morally blank child.
But what about adults who are no longer morally blank but have been conditioned into an evil outlook by Christianity, family and capitalism? (This, for modern thinkers, is the great trinity of evil, Christianity, the family, and capitalism.) How are these peoples and cultures who have been conditioned by evil going to be changed? How can they be dealt with?
Revolution is held to provide the answer. Revolution is seen as personal and cultural shock therapy. We should not be surprised that psychiatrists turned for a time to electro-shock therapy: it is a form of psychological revolution. All old patterns are supposedly destroyed in order to clear the mind of past beliefs and habits; then the new, revolutionary changes can be instilled. Such a "therapy" has proven to be a dramatic failure; the moral nature of the man remains. It is not that which comes from outside which pollutes and warps a man but that which comes from within.
Political revolutions rest on the simple-minded belief in shock therapy. The French and Russian revolutions, and the Spanish and other revolutions, have all believed that destruction will free man from the chains of bondage, but all these revolutions have only enslaved man all the more. The more modern the revolution, the more destructive and vicious it becomes. The Russian Revolution murdered priests wholesale, worked to destroy the family, and confiscated property. The murder of priests became even more savage and intense in the Spanish Revolution.
The belief has been that the murder of man's past is his liberation into a glorious future. The results have been hell on earth, but the mentality of the past which is to blame. Gorbachev, to "reform" the Soviet Union, has intensified the war against Christianity.
Modern man refuses to be earth-bound. The proud American boast after the first space flight showed an astronaut as a newly born baby, and his umbilical cord tying him to earth being cut. Man now was supposedly transcending the earth to enter into a "space age" of freedom. With this new, god-like status, man, some held, would guide his own evolution, clone himself, and overcome space, time, and death.
Is it any wonder that even churchmen have neglected Mark 4: 28? Our Lord is very clear: the pattern of the Kingdom of God is like that of the earth which bringeth forth fruit of itself. There is an order and a progression from the seed, to the first green shoot to emerge, to the cultivated growth, and finally the harvest. Both time and work are essential.
I still recall my pity and revulsion for a prominent American pastor who, after World War 11, wanted people to spend their time praying for a speedy Second Coming of Christ. He was arrogantly contemptuous of all Kingdom building as wasteful of time and money. He agreed with another prominent preacher who dismissed all efforts at Christian Kingdom action as "polishing brass on a sinking ship." Such men do not preach on Mark 4:28.
I recall also, sadly, a very fine man, a very wealthy man, who called me to see him not too long before his death. His family and the firm's director were now fully in charge of all his wealth. About seven years earlier, I had suggested to him that, if he had as his intention turning America around to a better direction, starting Christian Schools across the country would do it. He rejected my answer sharply. Now, near death, he called me in to say that if he had spent the millions he did seeking a "quick victory" on Christian Schools instead, the country would indeed be different.
That man was the antithesis of everything revolutionary. He had funded generously a number of anti-Communist causes. He loved deeply the more simple America he had known in his youth. He loved the one-room schoolhouse of his midwestern youth, and the country church with its kindly, neighborly believers in the old-time religion. He was a simple, honest, hard-working, old-fashioned American Christian.
At the same time, although he did not know it, and would have been outraged at the suggestion, he was a revolutionist. However much old-fashioned, he had something in common with all revolutionaries, namely, the hunger for and the belief in a "quick victory."
Millions of American conservatives demonstrated, shortly after Reagan's election in 1980 that they too were believers in the myth of victory by revolution. They acted as though the millennium had arrived with Reagan's victory! Conservative political action groups saw an alarming decline in monetary contributions. Reagan was elected, the war was over, the troops were leaving to resume life as usual in their now peaceable kingdom.
The mentality of instant results is all around us. It is the mentality of the modern age, and of revolution. It is the belief that the problem is not ourselves but something outside of us which an election, revolution, money, education, or some other like measure can alter tomorrow. Meanwhile, we ourselves see no need for change where we are concerned! We can maintain our modern lifestyle and make God happy with a few dollars tossed into an offering plate.
But God says to us, as His prophet Nathan said to King David, a better man than all of us, "Thou art the man'' (IISamuel 12:7). The turn-around begins with us. Then, we work in terms of God's order on earth for His Kingdom: "First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."
Rousas John Rushdoony
Reprinted from Chalcedon
P.O Box 158. Vallecito. CA 95251
Have you ever sung this hymn?
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be numb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!
by John Greenleaf Whittier
These verses represent the latter part of a longer poem. Here's an interesting (short) explanation of the poem and it's inspiration: The Brewing of Soma!
Soma (in case you didnt know) is the name of a prescription muscle relaxer commonly prescribed today.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
There is a center island in my kitchen and we start at the upper left hand corner with the meat and gravy and circle around serving up sidedishes.
This photo shows the serving arrangements for our meals, not just holiday ones but everyday ones.
Roasted Turkey, Gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato Souffle, Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Onions w/artichoke spread, and Cranberry Sauce.
Then we take a place at the table where we say a blessing, unless there are two rooms of diners in which case we gather around the food and pray then.
That's a Black Swan Shiraz/Merlot which we enjoyed.
It's always a challenge to find a red that doesnt clash with the cranberry sauce.
This one worked.
And thinking of leftovers, I bought two bottles.
Now the challenge is to remember this label next year.
Dessert was compliments of Sam's. This pecan pie was perfect a la mode on an antiques glass dessert plate. (See my FAF entry here.)
And yes, my family thinks I'm a little nuts with all this photo-taking.
But I'm thinking family cookbook complete with illustrations.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Subliminal is the one word I would use to describe chapter five of Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver. Here's the dictionary definition:
existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing
stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being
or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the
behavior of the individual
Weaver's greatest concern is not just the subliminal messages that come through the newspapers, radio, television, movies, and now world wide web and bombard our consciences, but he draws attention to the filtering agent or the Great Steriopticon, which he believes exercises more control than we realize over our thoughts and actions.
Weaver words communicate no lost love for journalists, public relations officers, or press agents, and movie producers. Today we all know them as spin meisters. Weaver addresses the art of writing, the skilled use of propaganda, and the unique opportunities available in the transmission of the human voice. He gives us valid examples in Plato, Thomas Jefferson, the Russians, the US Navy, and advertising (laxatives!).
However, Weaver is not just concerned about these disseminators, but more so about the harm created on the Western mind by the filtering agent. And he looks for the fundamental source:
The operators of the Steropticon by their very selection of matter make
horrifying assumptions about reality.
He believes they are overly influenced by a sick metaphysical dream. Weaver laments:
Somewhere, moreover, the metaphysicians of publicity have absorbed the idea
that the goal of life is happiness through comfort. It is a state of
complacency supposed to ensue when the physical appetities have been well
satisfied. Advertising fosters the concept, social democracy approves it,
and the acceptance is so wide that it is virtually impossible today, except
from the religious rostrum, to teach that life means discipline and
Thank goodness for that religious rostrum! It is our saving grace. And
our privilege to educate our own with the proper perspective to filter all this
So, while Weaver acknowledges that some of us realize that we have been misled, he wonders if we (common men) have sufficient analytical powers to assess information. He sees a small ray of hope in serious writing (Saint Exupery and Hemmingway) because they have exhibited a more genuine contempt for materialistic explanations (to life). He mentions Yeats again in the chapter (Cindy likes Yeats.)
I wonder what he would think of the new movies Bella or Beowolf.
In the end, Weaver seems to toot his own horn (that of the philisopher). These blasts of information (knowledge) from all these different sources is too fragmented and discourages composition, which in turn prevents the simultaneous perception of successive events, which is the achievement of the philosopher. (pg 111)
Again, I just cant argue with his assessment.
Thus, absence of reflection keeps the individual from being aware of his former selves, and it is highly qustionable whether anyone can be a member of a metaphysical community who does not preserve such memory.
But we know there is hope because we (some) are members of a metaphysical community and we remember.
The man of culture finds the whole past relevant; the bourgeois and the barbarian find relevant only what has some pressing connection with their appetites. Those who remember alone have a sense of relatedness, but who has a sense of relatedness is in at least the first grade of philosophy.
Well, ladies. I guess that makes us philosphers. And I dont mind being in the first grade because all I need to know I learned in kingergarten.
So, now in the style of Edith Schaeffer, let us prepare our homes and our relations for a great tradition - gathering together and giving thanks. Here's an opportunity to remember who made you and for what purpose.
That filter will shine the proper light on the images in your path.
Oh! Here's Kelly's (Badgermum's)
cup of tea
awaiting her arrival so we can finish our discussions.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Source-n*zi that I am, I couldn’t really get very far in my comprehension while reading Chapter Five of Ideas Have Consequences until I had investigated the title and the quote. Believe me, I tried to skip that step. So, now I share with you the answers to my queries and save you some time.
Without looking it up, I thought *The Great Stereopticon* was a word made up by Richard Weaver along the lines of Tolkien or Lewis.
But I came to find out three things: that a stereopticon is a real word (a 19th century invention), that I’d seen one recently (think Frandsen‘s magic lantern show in Sweet Land), and that my family owns one (photo illustration)!!
In addition, the entire chapter made more sense , when I realized that we all have stereo vision. Each eye sees a slightly different image that then blends to create what we see. Things are becoming more clear now, huh?
Mr. Weaver states that the “vested interests of the age... have constucted a wonderful machine whose function is to project selected (emphasis mine) pictures of life in the hope that what is seen will be imitated. There are three parts to the machine which he calls the "Great Stereopticon” (think the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz). The components are 1) the press or newspapers 2) motion pictures and 3) radio.
Granted we 21st-century- types might not think much of radio, but in 1948, when Weaver was writing radio was enjoying a tremendous impact. I dont know what you think of talk radio today, but there’s a connection. However, to get a better sense of this, I asked both of my parents, who grew up in the Forties, to tell me about radio in their families. My father remembered listening mainly in the car, whereas my mother remember sitting around a large, table-top radio listening to programs like Let’s Pretend.
Now for the distasteful part of my research - the quote which is an obvious slam at the first part of the Great Stereopticon’s image-creating monster.
“Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th century philosopher and mental case, wrote a book Thus Spake Zathustra: A Book for All and None. It contains long passages of poetry and song, mocking Judeo-Christian morality and tradition. The most famous line from this book is “God is dead.” I read Nietzsche in college and didnt like him or his Ubermensch then or now. His Zathustra is a reference to an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet, also regarded as a prophet in Islam.
My final research covered “primordial synthesis.” What the heck is that? Those are the fifth and sixth words in the opening sentence of the chapter. Did you know what that is? I didnt. Most of the google searches involved physics and formulas. Thinking that didnt quite fit, I searched my Britannica (2003) and found an answer: it’s related to the study of religions.
From Britannica I gathered that the history of religions on a cross-cultural basis, though it has quite an ancient pedigree, came into its own in a modern sense from about the time of Max Müller (late 19th cent). During this period, various lectureships and chairs in the subject were instituted, being located in The Netherlands, Western Europe, Britain, and the US (Harvard and Chicago).
There’s our link.
Our author was a professor at the University of Chicago and this academic area of study, the Science of Religion, enjoyed popularity under Joachim Wach (died 1955), who studied how religious values tended to shape the institutions that expressed them but whose time obviously was over by 1948, when Mr Weaver talks about the disappearance of primordial synthesis (or the blending of these basic assumptions across cultural lines.)
Well, there you have the background needed to finish reading and understanding chapter five of Ideas Have Consequences.
Surely there were some things you didnt recognize right away.
Come on...tell me.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
What was your first “real” job?
After a very successful babysitting career beginning at age 10, I *quit* at age 16 and signed up as a clerk at a retail department store (Rich’s). Working there taught me a lot about customer service and uncomfortable shoes. I stuck with that career route through highschool and college. The best part was the extra 10% discount on purchases.
Where do you go to spark your creativity.
The refrigerator. Here's what happens when I do.
Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…
I say the wrong thing. I have done this so many times, you would think I could learn. It's embarassing!
What values did your parents instill in you?
I cant think of a value they didnt instill in me. They are excellent parents. They even tried to teach me to *think before you speak!* Read here my list of parenting pet peeves all of which I learned from them.
Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
That would have been 1971 - 1977..........hmmm.
Seeing that I’m not very fad-conscious (that means, I’m always behind in figuring out what the fad is - note the previous post as support for my claim), I find this question difficult to answer.
In addition, I am still trying to chose one book that changed my life, a question Donna's Friday Five has asked before and I skipped answering even then.
Plus I cant remember.
It's embarassing :)
Friday, November 16, 2007
Focus on the paisley skirt.
I've worn it off and on since 1993, with various blouses, sweaters, vests, or turtlenecks. sometime green tights, even red!
Today I challenge my readers to look deeply into your closets for an article of clothing that you can dress up/down/update/alter to create a new outfit. Call it thrift shopping at home.
Then post a picture. I suppose that it's ok, if you're not in the photo as most of my Fashion posts do not include me :)
Leave me link.
If we can post pictures of our desks, showing a bit our personal sides, surely we can smile for a fashion foto!
I must be crazy to post this picture of myself, especially since I forgot to remove my cheaters.
Ok, so you've read this far and refuse to participate?
Then your job is to re-read Mrs. Schaeffer's chapter 12 on clothing in The Hidden Art of Homemaking.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Here's the menu that's rolling around in my head.
Green Beans 'n Tomatoes
Pecan Pie vs Italian Creme Cake
This would be a slight departure from previous years's menus, but I'm ready for it. There wont be a crowd at my house this year, but we are expecting special company.
Isaiah 12: 4-6
Give thanks to the Lord,
call on His name;
make known among the nations
what He has done,
that His name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord,
for he has done glorious things
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy,
people of Zion
for great is the Holy One of Israel
Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken
Hymn 269, Blue Trinity Hymnal
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
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.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Ignoring the quote at the beginning of each chapter of Ideas Have Consequences is a mistake. Hence, today I take some time to write about the author of the one which frames chapter four, Egotism in Work and Art.
There’s more to the quote and I challenge you to re-read it. I did several times and could not recall it from my limited Hawthorne exposure in The Scarlet Letter or The House of Seven Gables.
All persons chronically diseased are egotists.
However, just those six words alone are pregnant with meaning and I'm sure I can tie them into Cindy's recent posts about parenting and discipline. But back to my framing of chapter four.
The first sentence grabbed me on several levels, not the least of which was my connection to the medical field. But that’s not where Weaver or Hawthorne were going with the thoughts. These few phrases are clipped from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, "Egotism or The Bosom Serpent" published in 1843 and nowadays readily available in a book of his short stories. Perhaps I should read it in my preparations for synopsizing and applying chapter four.
A little background on Hawthorne (1806 - 1864) from my college professor, Dr Russell Kirk, who names Hawthorne as one of his ten "most exemplary conservatives." It is significant that “on the eve of the Civil War, the two most interesting conservative thinkers (Nathaniel Hawthorne and Orestes Brownson) were men of letters (note connection to IHC chpt 3), rather than politicians. Unfortunately, they could not prevail against Abolitionists and Fire-eaters."
Furthermore, Kirk recommends reading Hawthorne as necessary in the development of the moral imagination (an Edmund Burke phrase mentioned in IHC’s chapter one - remember?). Kirk divides the reading of Great Books into four categories, which levels address the formation of the normative conscious. Hawthorne falls in the narrative history category.
Today Carmon is highlighting a noteworthy film because of its virtuous message, and I indeed hope to see Bella. In addition, however, I’m adding some Nathaniel Hawthorne to my reading list, so that when I run across him in the future I will recognize him and his influence.
I leave you with another Kirk quote:
Great books do influence societies for the better, and bad books do drag down
the general level of personal and social conduct.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Cindy in her jolly, winsome way entreated us to join her in listing the things that really bother us about the parenting skills/methods of others.
Now I hestitated to comment on her post, but somehow Cindy has power over me and I did.
I agreed with her on everything :)
Actually, I didnt stick my neck out as far as I should/could because I thought *Surely you will offend people. And remember, Dana, there IS (read “IS” as defined by Mr. Clinton) more than one way to skin a cat. ha ha!*
But here I am, fragmenting myself from the group and obsessing over my own vocational skills, being the egotist that I am, and posting my comments on my own site. After all, negativity garners attention. It sells. Cindy says so! Think the Simpsons will get me some comments?
At any rate, here’s my list based on some vocabulary in Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences, which a few of us area reading together.
IDEAS - It really bugs me that most parent have no idea where they are going and what they are doing. Having no (or low) expectations of themselves, they cant possibly project positive expectations of their offspring.
CONSEQUENCES - Parents conveniently overlook the consequences of the actions of their children creating a never-ending ripple effect of (perhaps more serious) consequences for a single easily corrected action/idea.
SENTIMENT - Most parents today lack the correct sentiment. I’ll extrapolate Weaver’s cold logic and let you know exactly what I mean: many parents dont see themselves the way God sees them.
DISTINCTION - Distinction, differences, discrimination are all healthy skills that parents should teach their children. These all are easily identified within the family unit and can be modeled simply in every day life. Higher educational degrees are not required. It is common sense, as Cindy decries. I claim that we do our children a disservice when we dont make things perfectly clear.
HIERARCHY - Stopping short of addressing parents as His Highness and Her Highness, I believe in delineating the roles of male/female, mother/father, parent/child, teacher/student, et cetera with a clear authority structure. Whether parents like it or not, this is the way the world functions because God set it up that way.
FRAGMENTATION - Here I see a lack of emphasis on the family as a single unit taking precedence over the fragments (individual children). There are some (many) things which we do together as a family because we are a family. That means that not everyone gets to do what s/he wants all the time. And furthermore, there may be lots of things we choose not to do because it fragments the family. Like not worshipping together at the same church (or even divided services) or like the preppy trend to enroll a child in the school which suits him/her best, even if that means the mother is driving to several schools.
OBSESSION - Here the idea follows that the parent is so over involved in the details and micromanagement of a child’s life that s/he cannot see the bigger picture and make wise decisions. It’s just crazy. Quit racing forward, acting as if you are progressing. Take two or three steps backwards and assess the situation from a wider perspective that doesnt just focus on the needs of one child. Balance is Cindy’s word and moderation is Carmon’s, if I remember correctly.
EGOTISM - Oh.my.goodness. Aren’t we all so stuck on ourselves that we can’t see clearly. It’s even worse when we can’t see our children clearly, and therefore, can‘t be exemplary models. EGO, ID, whatever you want to call it, it’s just plain distasteful, especially in mothers who stroke this inner monster and stunt growth.
WORK - This word makes me think of mothers who do everything, unable to enforce her own rules and afraid to delegate tasks. She works hard, seven days a week, but for some reason this ethic is not transferable (or transferring) to her children. So much more could be said here, but I’ll leave you with a favorite phrase of mine: God said “Six days shall you labor and do all your work.” And that command is addressed to all His creatures.
ART - Aesthetics doesnt have to be high brow. Here I will simply refer my readers to one of my favorite books - The Hidden ART of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. She addresses the ways in which we overlook this area in every day living and makes valid suggestions for incorporating drawing, writing, and music into family life.
Let me know if you're looking for more specific information. I have more examples than you want to hear or than I should tell.
Friday, November 09, 2007
We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand.
Researching for my FAF entry, I stopped by Artcyclopedia for some details and noticed that topping the list of favorite searches is Mr. Picasso. Not one of my favorites at all, in fact I eschew him, today I highlight the phrase at the top of his Artcyclopedia page and entreat you to read a longer quote at the end of my entry.
While I might warm up to some of Picasso's art by visiting the museum in Madison, GA to see a signed print, I cannot seem to erase from my mind Picasso's political persuasions. I guess I should be glad I dont know too much about the backgrounds of other artists or I would like none.
As many of you know I'm reading (slowly) Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver. It is very thought-provoking. It was published in 1948. The following Picasso quote dates from 1952. The two have a connection.
From the moment that art ceases to be food that feeds the best minds, the artist can use his talents to perform all the tricks of the intellectual charlatan. Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation and exaltation from art. The refined, the rich, the professional 'do-nothings,' the distillers of quintessence desire only the peculiar, the sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art.
I myself since the advent of Cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my mind. The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated, and very rapidly. For a painter, celebrity means sales and consequent affluence. Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the world: Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya were great painters.
I am only a public clown - a mountebank.
I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries.
It is a bitter confession,
this confession of mine,
more painful than it may seem.
But at least and at last it does have the merit of being honest.
For sources-nazis like myself, this quote is clipped from the publisher's letter page of Plein Air magazine, Oct 2005 issue. The comments were titled "Weapon of Indifference."
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
This photo is my favorite of the two dozen I took while hiking this past Saturday.
I took a *long explore in the woods* and enjoyed myself immensely. The drive there and back was beautiful as I think the leaves are at their peak right now in north Georgia.
Carter's Lake is only an hour's drive from my home and there are at least five more trails I could walk without repeating Amadahy's and Tumbling Water's. And those alone are worth multiple visits this year and in the future.
Comment and leave your email, if you want to see the album.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Here's a sunset view of the lake I hope to circumambulate today. Thankfully, I located a trail which is not open to hunters, so I wont have to worry about getting shot. My faithful readers expressed their concern and I heeded their advice by looking for another site to explore.
Hope to post more pictures next week.
Blessings on your Saturday.
Friday, November 02, 2007
and the like
my favorite colors.
So, this jacket/scarf combination are perfect for my wardrobe.
It's hardly cold enough here in GA to wear this jacket routinely, but on the days when it is chilly, I am prepared. :) Furthermore, I get good use of it when I travel to Michigan, where three of my daughters are.
I may even wear it on my Saturday walk, since the trail I'm planning to explore requires *hunters orange*.
Think it will qualify?
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Chapter Two of Richard's Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences is just too chock full of references unfamiliar to me to ignore. So, today I will reveal some of my ignorances and tell you what I have been researching.
First, my query at the end of my first post about Richard Hertz.
Mr. Hertz is the author of a book, Man on a Rock: Why the World is the Way It is - Resentment. It was published in 1946, by the UNC Press, Chapel Hill, NC and readily available for purchase (used copies) at A Libris. The author contends that universal resentment was the cause of the mid 20th century's barbarism and that the responsiblity for it was shared by the whole of Western Civilization. Remember our Weaver was North Carolina born.
Second, I was intrigued by the word *hierarchy* and read about Maslow's Hierarchy of Design. I have contended in comments section of our book club discussion that Weaver is reacting to scientific rationalism, so it was interesting to me (born after 1948) to find this image:
Today (11/23/07) I include a link to an Jay Adam's essay about being *overly critical* I was tickled to note his reference to Maslow's pyramid.
Third, the phrase *ladder to high design* was not one I used routinely, but I understand the meaning in the context of the chapter. Nevertheless, Weaver uses it so freely, I'm thinking where did he get that?
It is a quote of Ulysses' from Triolus and Cressida, in which the Hero explains the mishaps of the Greeks before Troy as resulting from their neglect of "order" in plan and attack.
O' when degree is shak'd
Which is the ladder of all high designs,
The enterprise is sick. How could communities,
There is more the that last sentence, but isnt that cool? There's our reference.
I've never read that story. Have you?
Last but not least (and not really the last one I investigated, but the last one I'll write about) is *The Thomas Jefferson Education*. Funny how this guy who penned the *all men are created equal* spent so much time and energy denying it in his educational methodology.
Do you own or have you read Oliver Van Demille's 2006 book?
Well, Cindy? Are we moving ahead to reviewing Chapter Three: Fragmentation and Obsession?
Set the date.
I'll be ready.