This category is for posts that raise or discuss issues related to spiritual development or its study.

Right vs. Left, revisited

Submitted by frlarry on Tue, 08/21/2018 - 18:58

In more than one video, I've heard Jordan Peterson speak of a right/left divide in what strikes me as simplistic terms. For him, the right is characterized as preferring the efficiency of hierarchy, while the left prefers to advocate for those at the bottom. I've also heard him say that no matter what system of individual value you set up (whether based on IQ, on skill, on education, on the "purity" of "political correctness"...) any system you set up will naturally evolve into a hierarchy. We have, of course, seen this in every government system in recorded human history. The end of history described by Marx and Engels was, according to this view (and all human experience) pure fantasy. We can recognize the truth of this, in part, by acknowledging the point that all systems develop a hierarchy.

Do you feel "put off"?

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 08/12/2018 - 11:28
Topics

One of the more amusing characters from the Popeye comic strip (created by E. C. Segar in 1934, called then the "Thimble Theater") is a hamburger ravenous fellow named J. Wellington Wimpy (although usually just "Wimpy") who is a sort of charactature of an intellectual con-artist. His famous tag line is "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Surprisingly, he seems to be impossible to find on Tuesdays.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Submitted by frlarry on Thu, 07/26/2018 - 10:26

Jeremiah was a prophet of the Kingdom of Judah, prior to, during and after the conquest by the Babylonians. He was, so to speak, a "gadfly on the wall" as great tragic events swirled around him, events that were inevitable as the people, especially their leaders, abandoned faith in the Living God. Instead, they sought refuge in all the wrong places. Their leaders even fled to Egypt to escape the Chaldeans (whose capital was Babylon)… Yet, their alliance with Egypt proved fruitless.

What is Fascism, really, and why is it regarded as "right wing"?

Submitted by frlarry on Thu, 07/05/2018 - 09:44
I find it puzzling that serious intellectuals can find it so difficult to recognize that fascism has nothing to do with either conservatism or liberalism. Indeed, calling it extreme right-wing shows a fundamental ignorance of the fact that political ideology is inherently a multi-dimensional phenomenon. A more accurate assessment would be that fascism is not even on the same multi-dimensional axis as liberalism vs. conservatism. Indeed, fascism is a form of idolatry, it worships the power of the state, and finds that power to be the highest good.

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

Submitted by frlarry on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:32

God taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do we really understand what this entails?

Let's start with today's first reading, from Leviticus, chapter 19 (verses 1-2, 11-18). Here we find the injunction…

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

A day for remembrance and reflection

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 09/17/2017 - 12:10

Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.

The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.

William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.

On the postmodern hubris of meta-level thinking

Submitted by frlarry on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:40

Ever since computer games developed significantly beyond the PACMAN stage, and imagined realities took on three dimensions and other attention absorbing features, our inveterate game players have come to think of reality itself as a kind of programmed virtual reality, and, as such, that it could be reprogrammed. This may strike someone who entered adulthood before PACMAN went viral as delusoinal. Reality, we might say, is a given. Our capacity to shape reality is very limited, and subject to unforeseen consequences. We might even wonder at the sanity or the cluelessness that this almost godlike attitude seems to imply.

What Matthew 24:28 says about government programs and their architects

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 05/28/2017 - 20:00

What is the fundamental cause of the subprime mortgage crisis and the crash of 2007/2008? If you don't know the answer to this, you haven't been paying attention. The fundamental cause was that lending institutions were forced, by government mandate, to take on high risk mortgage lending.