THE OUTRIGHT FOOL

Modern man sees himself as a natural cynic and skeptic when it comes to all Higher Potential – be that Higher Potential Divine, or in himself, or concerning mankind as a whole.

He thinks this makes him appear sophisticated and urbane and much like a very worldly modern intellectual. And, of course, it does.

It also makes him an outright fool.

from Human Effort

DIVERSITY IS NOT NECESSARILY AN EVIL, BUT, OF COURSE, BY VERY DEFINITION IT DIVIDES UNION

Does Diversity Really Unite Us? Citizenship and Immigration

Edward J. Erler
Co-Author, The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration


Edward J. ErlerEdward J. Erler is professor emeritus of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.


The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 11, 2018, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Colorado Springs.

President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossers has provoked a hysterical reaction from Democrats, establishment Republicans, the progressive-liberal media, Hollywood radicals, and the deep state. What particularly motivated the ire of these Trump-haters was the fact that the zero-tolerance policy would require the separation of parents and children at the border. The hysteria was, of course, completely insincere and fabricated, given that the policy of separating children and parents was nothing new—it had been a policy of the Obama and Bush administrations as well.

Furthermore, where is the compassion for the thousands of American children who are separated from their parents every year as a result of arrests and convictions for non-violent crimes? Many of those arrested are single mothers whose infants become wards of the government until their mothers complete their sentences. No hysteria or effusive compassion is elicited by these separations, confirming that the object of the hysteria surrounding illegal border crossers is to force open borders on the nation under the guise of compassion for children.

President Trump’s preferred solution for ending the influx of illegal immigrants and providing border security is a wall; it is also the preferred solution of the American people. Zero tolerance is an interim policy that—if enforced—will help deter illegal crossers. The hysteria provoked by zero tolerance could have been predicted, but its magnitude and sheer insanity are almost breathtaking. Some prominent constitutional scholars have gone so far as to argue that the government has no constitutional authority to control the border. And this, which seems almost beyond hysteria, from the elite intellectual class that should be most immune to hysteria!

In the meantime, a Federal District Court judge in Southern California has discovered a substantive due process right guaranteeing the right to “family integrity” lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and has ordered all children reunited with their illegal immigrant parents. Obviously the judge expects the parents to be released from incarceration to join their children, but the Trump administration seems determined to keep parents and children together in detention centers until legal proceedings determine their fate.

More than a century ago, the Supreme Court announced what was considered the settled sense of the matter when it remarked: “It is an accepted maxim of international law . . . and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within [a sovereign nation’s] dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe.” This view was reaffirmed in the recent Supreme Court decision, handed down on June 26, that upheld Trump’s travel ban on foreign nationals from eight countries, six of which have majority Muslim populations.

Part of the complaint against the ban was that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because Trump had displayed “animus” against Muslims in speeches before and after the 2016 election. The plaintiffs argued that the national security reasons for the ban were merely pretexts for Trump’s thinly disguised contempt for the Muslim religion. Although the Court agreed that individual injury could be alleged under the Establishment Clause, the travel ban on its face was neutral with respect to religion, and it was therefore possible to decide the issue on statutory rather than constitutional grounds.

The dissenting opinion in this case would have invalidated the ban on constitutional grounds, based on the idea that the President’s campaign statements and those of his advisers proved that animus against Islam was the real and pervasive motivation for the travel ban. Had this dissenting opinion prevailed, it would have created an anomaly in constitutional jurisprudence. Conceding that the plain language of the travel ban was neutral and therefore constitutional, what rendered the travel ban unconstitutional was Trump’s purported display of animus in his public speeches. If signed by any president other than Trump, there would therefore be no constitutional objections. In other words, in the minds of the dissenters, psychoanalysis of Trump’s motives held greater constitutional significance than the intent of the law expressed in its plain language.

In any case, the majority opinion held that “by its plain language” the Immigration and Naturalization Act “grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States. The President lawfully exercised that discretion based on his findings . . . that entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the national interest.” Few limits have ever been placed on the President’s broad authority to act under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, especially when national security and foreign relations are involved.

***

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump appealed to the importance of citizens and borders. In other words, Trump took his stand on behalf of the nation-state and citizenship against the idea of a homogeneous world-state populated by “universal persons.” In appealing directly to the people, Trump succeeded in defeating both political parties, the media, political professionals, pollsters, academics, and the bureaucratic class. All these groups formed part of the bi-partisan cartel that had represented the entrenched interests of the Washington establishment for many years. Although defeated in the election, the cartel has not given up. It is fighting a desperate battle to maintain its power.

Historically, constitutional government has been found only in the nation-state, where the people share a common good and are dedicated to the same principles and purposes. The homogeneous world-state—the European Union on a global scale—will not be a constitutional democracy; it will be the administration of “universal personhood” without the inconvenience of having to rely on the consent of the governed. It will be government by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, much like the burgeoning administrative state that is today expanding its reach and magnifying its power in the United States. “Universal persons” will not be citizens; they will be clients or subjects. Rights will be superfluous because the collective welfare of the community—determined by the bureaucrats—will have superseded the rights of individuals.

Progressive liberalism no longer views self-preservation as a rational goal of the nation-state. Rather, it insists that self-preservation and national security must be subordinate to openness and diversity. America’s immigration policies, we are told, should demonstrate our commitment to diversity because an important part of the American character is openness, and our commitment to diversity is an affirmation of “who we are as Americans.” If this carries a risk to our security, it is a small price to pay. Indeed, the willing assumption of risk adds authenticity to our commitment.

In support of all this, we are asked to believe something incredible: that the American character is defined only by its unlimited acceptance of diversity. A defined American character—devotion to republican principles, republican virtue, the habits and manners of free citizens, self-reliance—would in that case be impermissibly exclusive, and thus impermissibly American. The homogeneous world-state recognizes only openness, devotion to diversity, and acceptance as virtues. It must therefore condemn exclusivity as its greatest vice. It is the nation-state that insists on exclusive citizenship and immigration policies that impose various kinds of restrictions.

Our progressive politicians and opinion leaders proclaim their commitment to diversity almost daily, chanting the same refrain: “Diversity is our strength.” This is the gospel according to political correctness. But how does diversity strengthen us? Is it a force for unity and cohesiveness? Or is it a source of division and contention? Does it promote the common good and the friendship that rests at the heart of citizenship? Or does it promote racial and ethnic division and something resembling the tribalism that prevents most of the world from making constitutional government a success? When is the last time we heard anyone in Washington talk about the common good? We are used to hearing talk about the various stakeholders and group interests, but not much about what the nation has in common.

This should not be surprising. Greater diversity means inevitably that we have less in common, and the more we encourage diversity the less we honor the common good. Any honest and clear-sighted observer should be able to see that diversity is a solvent that dissolves the unity and cohesiveness of a nation—and we should not be deceived into believing that its proponents do not understand the full impact of their advocacy!

Diversity, of course, marches under the banner of tolerance, but is a bastion of intolerance. It enforces its ideological liberalism with an iron fist that is driven by political correctness, the most ingenious (and insidious) device for suppressing freedom of speech and political dissent ever invented.

Political correctness could have been stopped dead in its tracks over three decades ago, but Republicans refused to kill it when they had the opportunity. In the presidential election campaign of 1980, Ronald Reagan promised to end affirmative action with the stroke of a pen by rescinding the executive order, issued by Lyndon Johnson, that created it. This promise was warmly received by the electorate in that election. But President Reagan failed to deliver his promised repeal. Too many Republicans had become convinced that they could use affirmative action to their advantage—that the largesse associated with racial class entitlements would attract minorities to the Republican Party. By signing on to this regime of political correctness, Republicans were never able to mount an effective opposition to its seemingly irresistible advance.

Today, any Republican charged or implicated with racism—however tendentious, outrageous, implausible, exaggerated, or false the charge or implication may be—will quickly surrender, often preemptively. This applies equally to other violations of political correctness: homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and a host of other so-called irrational prejudices. After all, there is no rational defense against an “irrational fear,” which presumably is what the “phobias” are. Republicans have rendered themselves defenseless against political correctness, and the establishment wing of the party doesn’t seem overly concerned, as they frequently join the chorus of Democrats in denouncing Trump’s violations of political correctness. Only President Trump seems undeterred by the tyrannous threat that rests at the core of political correctness.

***

In addition to the Affirmative Action Executive Order in 1965, there were other actions taken during the Great Society that were meant to transform America. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was sound legislation, authorized by the Fourteenth Amendment and designed to abolish racial discrimination in employment. But the administrative agencies, with the full cooperation of the courts, quickly transformed its laudable goals into mandates that required racial discrimination to achieve racial proportionality in hiring and promotion.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 similarly sought to ban racial discrimination in voting. It too was transmogrified into an act that required racial discrimination in order to achieve proportional results in elections. Proportional results were touted by a palpable fiction as the only reliable evidence of free and fair elections.

The Immigration Act of 1965 was a kind of affirmative action plan to provide remedies for those races or ethnic groups that had been discriminated against in the past. Caucasian immigrants from European nations had been given preference in past years; now it was time to diversify the immigrant population by changing the focus to Third World nations, primarily nations in Latin America and Asia. The goal, as some scholars have slowly come to realize, was to diversify the demographic composition of the American population from majority white to a majority of people of color. There was also some anticipation that those coming from these Third World countries were more likely to need the ministrations of the welfare state and therefore more likely to be captured by the Democratic Party, the party promoting the welfare state.

White middle-class Americans in the 1960s and 70s were often referred to as selfish because their principal interests were improving their own lives, educating their own children, and contributing to their own communities. They showed no inclination to support diversity and the kind of authentic commitment to the new openness that was being advocated by progressive-liberalism. They stood as a constant roadblock to the administrative state, stubbornly resisting higher taxes, increased immigration, and expansion of the welfare state. Once they were no longer a majority, they would be powerless to resist. Demographers say that sometime around 2040 is the day of reckoning when whites will no longer be a majority and will sometime thereafter have to endure the fate they have inflicted on others for so many years. This radical demographic change will be due almost entirely to the immigration reform that was put into motion by the Immigration Act of 1965.

Of course, it is entirely a fiction that the American political system has produced monolithic white majorities that rule at the expense of so-called “discrete and insular minorities.” Whites as a class have never constituted a majority faction in the nation, and the Constitution was explicitly written to prevent such majorities from forming. The fact that, among a host of other considerations, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by a supposed “monolithic white majority” to promote the equal protection rights of minorities belies the idea that it was a majority faction ruling in its own racial class interest.

***

President George W. Bush, no less than President Obama, was an advocate of a “borderless world.” A supporter of amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, he frequently stated that “family values don’t stop at the border” and embraced the idea that “universal values” transcend a nation’s sovereignty. He called himself a “compassionate conservative,” and said on several occasions that we should be more compassionate to our less fortunate neighbors to the south.

President Reagan used this same kind of rhetoric when he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided amnesty for three million illegal aliens. This was touted by Reagan as a way of “humanely” dealing with the issue of illegal immigration. In his signing statement, he said the Act “is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America.” The Act was supposed to be a one-time-only amnesty in exchange for stronger border control, but only the most naive in Washington believed that the promise of border control would be honored. In fact, illegal immigration continued unabated. The Act also fueled expectations—even demands—for additional amnesties, and delays in implementing new amnesties have been proffered as evidence by immigration activists (including Jeb Bush) that the American people lack compassion.

Any clear-thinking observer, however, can see that compassion is not a sound basis either for foreign policy or immigration policy. Compassion is more likely to lead to contempt than gratitude in both policy areas. The failure of the 1986 amnesty should be a clear reminder of the useful Machiavellian adage that in the world of realpolitik it is better to be feared than loved. Fear is more likely to engender respect, whereas love or compassion is more likely to be regarded as a contemptible sign of weakness. In 1984 Reagan received 37 percent of the Hispanic vote, but after the 1986 amnesty George H.W. Bush received a significantly lower 30 percent. Granted, Bush was no Reagan, but such ingratitude seemed to puzzle Republicans.

Republicans and Democrats alike are reluctant to consider serious measures to control illegal immigration. Republicans want to continue the steady supply of cheap and exploitable labor, and Democrats want future voters. Republicans are thinking only in the short term—they are not thinking politically. Democrats always think politically. President Trump wants to stop chain migration and the diversity lottery. Those who win in the diversity lottery also begin chain migration, as do all legal immigrants. Since 2005, more than nine million foreign nationals have arrived in the U.S. by chain migration, and when they become voting citizens, in all likelihood, two-thirds of them will vote Democrat. Trump knows how to think politically!

***

Birthright citizenship contributes to a borderless world. Any woman who comes to the United States as a legal or illegal alien and gives birth confers the boon of American citizenship on her child. In these instances, America has no control over who becomes a citizen. Constitutional law experts say it is a settled issue that the Constitution adopted the English common law of birthright citizenship. William Blackstone is cited as the authority for this proposition, having written the authoritative Commentaries on the Laws of England—a work that was well known to our nation’s Founders. What the proponents of birthright citizenship seem to ignore is that Blackstone always refers to “birthright subjects” and “birthright subjectship,” never mentioning citizens or citizenship in his four volume work. Under the common law, anyone born under the protection of the king owed “perpetual allegiance” to the king in return. Blackstone freely admitted that birthright subjectship was an inheritance from the feudal system, which defined the relations of master and servant. Under the English common law there were no citizens—only subjects.

The Declaration of Independence, however, proclaims that the American people “are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.” Thus, it is clear that the American people rejected the common law as a basis for citizenship. What is substituted in place of “perpetual allegiance” to a king is “the consent of the governed,” with the clear implication that no individual can be ruled without his consent. Consent—not the accident of birth—is the basis for American citizenship.

James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration and the Constitution and later a member of the Supreme Court, perfectly expressed the matter when he wrote: “In America there are citizens, but no subjects.” Is it plausible—is it even remotely credible—that the Founders, after fighting a revolutionary war to reject the feudal relic of “perpetual allegiance,” would have adopted that same feudal relic as the ground of citizenship for the new American regime?

The American people can, of course, consent to allow others to join the compact that created the American nation, but they have the sovereign right to specify the terms and conditions for granting entry and the qualifications for citizenship. Presumably the qualifications for entry and naturalization will be whether those who wish to enter demonstrate a capacity to adopt the habits, manners, independence, and self-reliance of republican citizens and devotion to the principles that unite the American people. Furthermore, it would be unreasonable not to expect that potential immigrants should possess useful skills that will ensure that they will not become victims of the welfare state.

Immigration policies should serve the interests of the American people and of the nation—they should not be viewed as acts of charity to the world. Putting America first is a rational goal. It is the essence of sovereignty. And the sovereign nation-state is the only home of citizenship—as it is the only home of constitutional government.

THE HEATLESS SUN

THE HEATLESS SUN (As a follow Up to the Ghostless Machine)

Francis is, by the way, and in my opinion the single worst pope I have seen in my lifetime. He might as well be a secular Western European politician or an American progressive liberal professor of religion.

He is no Man of Miracle and High Ambition, as was John Paul, or even a Man of High yet Humble Mind, as was Benedict.

Rather he is a devoted apparatchik and zealous liberal agent of that queer modern fusion known as political-religion – posing as a pope.

On the other hand he must be extremely comforting to the “modern Christian,” be he Catholic or Protestant. You know, the one who believes nothing (terrified of the very idea of miracles, or that they might stain themselves by being involved in one) and wants desperately to share that state of eternally mundane miasma with everyone, so that like a good Socialist Christian all are equally moderate in soullessness.

He is, after all, precisely what they are… how could they not be enthralled?

Pascal’s Fire & 8 Minutes Till Darkness

I had a long late breakfast this morning with a Catholic friend, a native of Baton Rouge who now lives in New England, but is in town visiting his family. When we sat down at the restaurant, I mentioned to him that I had seen this tweet from a very solid Catholic priest friend:

Fr. Matt Fish@matthewjfish

Gospel today: can we please stop talking about sharing the loaves? Instead: mountains and theophanies, new Moses, Passover meal, new Exodus, anticipation of eschatological banquet, sacrifice of the lamb, kingship of Jesus, miracle vs sign, all acceptable alternatives.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

To which I had responded (on Twitter) by quoting part of Blaise Pascal’s note at the end of a late-night mystical vision in 1654. Here is the entire quote from Pascal, for whom this vision occasioned a deeper conversion:

FIRE.

GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.

My friend shook his head, smiling sardonically. “I had the ‘miracle of sharing’ homily at mass this morning!” he said. He was angry about it.

This is a sad old joke for Catholics. When the Gospel reading is the story of Christ feeding the multitude with just a few loaves and fishes, some Catholic priests (like, um, this guy) are in the habit of downplaying the supernatural core of the event, and saying that the real miracle here was the “miracle of sharing” — the idea that the generosity Christ inspired in people’s hearts is what that story is about. The Catholic blogger Amy Welborn once wrote about this phenomenon (which some Protestants have had to endure too); the unnamed acquaintance in her story is me. I was still Catholic then, and had been at mass that day in St. Francisville, when I heard the priest give that lame homily. When I politely confronted him about it after mass, he pulled me out of his way.

The “Miracle Of Sharing” is shorthand among certain orthodox Catholics as a symbol for the desacralization of the faith by priests who don’t really believe in it, not as Pascal’s fire. My friend this morning said that listening to that lazy homily this morning at mass, with the meaning of the Cardinal McCarrick scandal weighing heavily on his mind, infuriated him. I blog here about our ensuing conversation with his permission, though I’m not going to name him.

“You remember how you had on your blog a couple of weeks ago that stuff about the final pagan generation?” he said.

He was referring to this post about how pagan Roman elites in the fourth century complacently believed that the old religion was going to endure. Even though the ground itself had shifted under their feet throughout the century, as Christian conversions continued throughout the Empire, they didn’t see what was happening around them. All the outward forms of pagan religion — the temples, the shrines, the public celebrations — were still more or less in place, even though the inner light of pagan belief was fast dimming. Then suddenly, paganism was gone. Historian Edward Watts, author of 2015’s The Final Pagan Generationwrites about how these elites turned out to have been the last people educated and formed intellectually in classical pagan culture. They did not recognize what was happening to their civilization. It had always been pagan, and always would be, they thought … until suddenly, it wasn’t anymore, and never was again.

Anyway, my friend said this morning that he agrees with me that Christians today — he was talking about his fellow Catholics in particular, but nodded when I said this is true of all Christians in the West — are like the Final Pagan Generation.

“It takes eight minutes for light to reach earth from the sun,” he said. “If the sun stopped exploding, if it went dark, it would be eight minutes before we knew it. I feel like we’re  living in that eight minutes now, about the faith.”

He explained that from what he sees around him, the Catholic faith is pretty much a dead letter. My friend is a deeply convinced believer, but the corruption in the clergy and in the episcopate has left him reeling. We’ve been friends for a while, and I know that he’s been undeceived for years about the real state of things in the Church. But the Cardinal McCarrick thing seems to have been a breaking point for him. He’s filled with disgust and anger at the Catholic bishops, doubting now how many of them have faith at all. How can you believe in Jesus Christ but facilitate so much corruption, sexual and otherwise? he said.

My friend is no Puritan. But he has hit a wall, and he has hit it hard. The “miracle of sharing” sermon stood out to him as a symbol of the total spiritual mediocrity of the Church in our time and place. The house is burning down around them, and sentimental priests can’t stop talking about that warm feeling in their hearts.

“They think they’re giving us mercy, but they’re not,” said my friend, who has suffered some serious setbacks in his own life in the past couple of years. “I’m desperate for mercy. I need it so much in my life. The hard truths that the Church teaches, that’s real mercy, not this fake stuff. Those truths give me what I need to bear up to all these trials. To live sacrificially when the world says the easy thing would be to give up.”

“To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever looked up to a priest as a spiritual father,” he continued. “I guess I had to learn a long time ago not to expect anything from them other than giving out the Sacrament.”

“Where I live, the Church is over. It’s done,” he said. “I was at mass a few weeks ago, and looked around, and my family were the only people there under 70. Nobody else is coming.”

It’s true that New England used to be the most Catholic part of the United States. Now it is one of the most secular. My friend says that when the grey hairs start to die off, very few believers will be around to replace them. And yet, there’s little sense of urgency in the Church there, he says — at least not the kind of urgency inspiring the clergy and the laity to search for Pascal’s Fire. They’re just content to fade into the mist.

It’s different in south Louisiana, he said — but this is little consolation. He grew up in this place, immersed in Catholic culture. “I feel like living in New England puts me ten to fifteen years ahead of y’all down here,” he said. “What we’re living through up north is coming here, but nobody seems to understand that.”

Far too many people in the South take comfort in the generally Christian culture here, said my friend. He wants me to understand that he’d take that over the spiritual desolation he’s living and raising his Catholic family in now, but it’s still a very serious problem, because it breeds complacency. Everybody’s happy sending their kids to Catholic school, going to mass on Sunday, hearing about the Miracle of Sharing, and consoling themselves that it’s all going pretty well now, and always will.

Meanwhile, he said, the faith is dying in the hearts of the middle-aged and the young.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of thing where it just gradually declines,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more like one of these things where people just stop showing up. It’s going to be abrupt. Nobody’s going to see it coming, but when it happens, they’re not going to be surprised, either.”

Of course I told him that this is not just a Catholic experience, but a general Christian experience today. It plays out differently among Evangelicals, for example, but it’s there. If it weren’t, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism wouldn’t be the true American religion. An Evangelical pastor friend told me recently over the desperation among so many Evangelicals, always looking for the Next Big Thing — praise bands! smoke machines! — to keep emotions high and the troops rallied, and to keep people from noticing that the churches have been hollowed out from within.

None of this is new with me, of course. My Catholic breakfast friend and I talk about this kind of thing whenever we see each other. What made today’s conversation stand out to me was the power of his “eight minutes to darkness” metaphor — that, and his visceral post-McCarrick anger at the hierarchy and clergy of his own Church. To emphasize: it’s not only about toleration, even encouragement, of sexual sin and corruption, but satisfaction with spiritual “mediocrity” (his word) general in the Catholic Church today. That last one is an accusation that could accurately and justly be leveled at nearly all of us Christians, Catholic and otherwise.

We Christians are living out the Eight Minutes Till Darkness. If we are going to have the ability to see clearly when the lights go out, we are going to have to start tending Pascal’s fire in our own hearts, our own families, our own Christian schools, and our own religious communities. This is what the Benedict Option is about. This, I think, is why people like my older Millennial friend visiting from New England, as well as young Catholics in Europe, are so enthusiastic about the Benedict Option: because they already live in once-Christian lands across which the shadow of night has fallen.

For American Catholics, the McCarrick affair is an apocalypse in the strict sense of the word — that is, an unveiling. Believe it or not, this can be a blessing. It’s better to know the truth, and to go forward undeceived, than to operate under false pretenses. As angry as my Catholic friend is about this corruption, and as little confidence as he has in the bishops and the clergy, he is still committed to the Catholic faith. Now he has to figure out where to go from here, as a husband and a father and a soldier who salutes the uniform of the officer class, but has little to no faith in their ability to lead.

I don’t want to leave you on an anti-clerical note. It’s understandable, given all the news about clerical corruption, and besides, nobody wants to be taken advantage of by bishops who say “we are one body, one body in Christ” as a way of leaning on the laity to pay off the debts the clergy have incurred for molesting children and (in the case of bishops) tolerating it for decades. However, it would be self-serving for the laity to blame the clergy entirely. I’m thinking as I write this of a very fine young Orthodox priest I know who is in a difficult position. He did not tell me this, but someone who knows him passed on to me that no matter what he has done to try to engage his fairly large congregation with actual Orthodoxy (as distinct from ethnic-festival Orthodoxy), they resist and try to shut him down. They don’t want to be bothered with it. They’re fine with Miracle Of Sharing™ Christianity.

A Mainline Protestant friend of mine’s father got mad at his pastor once, for what I was told was good reason. After that, though, the man fell into the habit of finding fault with every pastor the church had. It wasn’t that the old man was always wrong, I was given to understand, but that the old man (who wasn’t old at all when this started) did not compensate for the clergy’s failing by either finding another church, or redoubling his own spiritual disciplines. Instead, he griped about church, and stopped going; his wife went along with it. He told himself and his family that he didn’t need to go to a church building and listen to boring sermons to find God. So he quit going to church, though he told himself that if the clergy would ever get its act together, he might start coming again.

For decades this went on. The old man finally died. I’m told that today, you will find none of that old man’s descendants in that church. Would things have been different for that family had the old man and his wife met the crisis of clerical mediocrity differently, instead of lazily blaming the institution for all their own failings? Maybe, maybe not. But at least their kids and grandkids would have had a better shot at holding onto the faith. In that family, the eight minutes till darkness passed a while back. In my friend’s late father, I very much see the attitude that my own late, Christian but non-churchgoing father had: believing that the faith would always be here because it always had been here, and that the church was like a public utility: always there to make sure that the lights would come on.

He was wrong. It’s going to be like that for all of us, if we don’t kindle Pascal’s fire, and seek the face of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know, here’s what Pope Francis said today about the Loaves & Fishes reading Gospel reading:

Then, at the end of the account, when all were satiated, Jesus asked His disciples to gather the pieces left over, so that nothing would be wasted. And I would like to propose to you this phrase of Jesus: “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost” (v. 12). I think of people who are hungry and how much leftover food we throw away . . . Let each one of us think: the food that’s left over at lunch, at dinner, where does it go? In my home, what’s done with this leftover food? Is it thrown out? No. If you have this habit, I give you advice: talk with your grandparents who lived after the War and ask them what they did with leftover food. Never throw away leftover food. It’s re-heated or given to someone who can eat it, who is in need. Never throw away leftover food. This is advice but also an examination of conscience: what is done at home with leftover food?

Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, so that in the world programs dedicated to development, to supplies, to solidarity prevail and not those of hatred, of armaments and of war.

That’s the end of his six-minute homily, but it gives you the gist. If you want to listen to the whole thing, it starts shortly after the 3:00 mark, and the concluding passage above begins about 8:30:

THE GHOSTLESS MACHINE

THE GHOSTLESS MACHINE

Christianity, especially Ancient and Medieval Christianity is awash in the supernatural and in spirituality. And in a far more potent and real form than that of any historical branch of paganism. That’s one reason it replaced paganism, and worldwide.

It is the modern Christian who has castrated Christianity of all its inherent force and power to fix obsessively upon the much smaller issues of politics, culture, entertainment, society, and materialism.

As a matter of fact it is very hard to see where society ends and the church or Christianity begin. It is like a sow who has birthed a fat piglet. Place either upon the plate as cooked ham and without further information you’d be hard pressed to identify the source.

The trouble with modern Christianity in this sense (and there are almost countless problems with modern Christianity) is not that Christianity is not a far more viable and valid form of spirituality than paganism, it is that modern Christianity has no spirituality any longer, just as it has no magic, miracle, or salvific force. Not in the West anyway.

And that began (the abolition of miracles, spirituality, the Mysteries, etc.), rightly or wrongly with the Protestant Revolution. And some things concerning the Protestant Reform should have definitely happened and some things should have never happened at all. But still they did.

And as a result Christianity is now but shadow of itself and a mere machine without a Ghost, Holy or otherwise. Or should I just say it is little more than a mere cultural artefact and a religion Wholly Without a Ghost…

I recently visited the website of a popular company that sells products like deodorant and toothpaste with natural ingredients. Curious to learn more about the business, I visited their blog which was purportedly about the latest trends in health and wellness.

What greeted me was not what I expected. Rather than tips on exercise or healthy eating, the blog featured stories about the healing power of crystals and the benefits of tarot card reading. This was at once surprising and unsurprising, for new age and occult practices, in all their various forms, are experiencing a major resurgence, especially among millennials. But from a company that sells toothpaste?

It is no exaggeration to say that, despite the best efforts of the New Atheists, our culture is more awash in spirituality than ever before. One can hardly go anywhere today without seeing products, articles, and popular gurus encouraging practices like yoga, meditation, reiki—and now, tarot and crystals—as essential to a healthy lifestyle. In the realm of entertainment, hugely popular series like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones all draw on themes of magic and the supernatural.

What are we to make of this ?

Heresy…or Hunger

From a Christian perspective, many of these trends are undoubtedly suspect or downright heretical. And yet, we should think carefully before issuing anathemas, for while misguided, many of our culture’s flirtations with the occult really betray a deep hunger for the supernatural.

Theologian Alexander Schmemann once said, “To condemn a heresy is relatively easy. What is much more difficult is to detect the question it implies, and to give this question an adequate answer.” He was right. As Catholics, we are often in such a rush to point out what is wrong with neo-pagan practices that we miss the deeper questions they imply. And we certainly fail to give them a satisfying answer.

The truth is, our culture is starving for the supernatural. My generation has been raised to believe that we are nothing more than accidentally advanced apes on an unusually lucky space rock floating in a meaningless sea of nothingness in a universe that could care less whether we lived or died. It is despair inducing in the highest degree. Moreover, we have been told, nearly since infancy, that science has answered nearly all questions of existence, and if any remain unanswered, they will be resolved quite soon. For every question, there is an answer, even before you ask it. Existence is thus no longer wonderfully strange and awe-inspiring, but mundane and prosaic.

As a result, young adults today are desperate for an encounter with authentic mystery. Things like astrology and crystals are attractive because they are strange and defy the scientific-materialist paradigm. There are certainly explanations for how they work, but they require a level of faith. And despite what the pompous atheists claim, we want to have faith in something we can’t fully explain. We are fundamentally religious beings, and we instinctively know there is more to the world than meets the eye. We are hungry for magic and mystery and will embrace the first thing, rightly or wrongly, that offers it.

The Failure of Christianity

Now, you  may be reading this and thinking that Christianity, especially Catholicism, believes and proclaims the existence of supernatural realities, so why abandon it for neo-pagan practices? Wouldn’t their hunger for the supernatural be satisfied at their local parish?

Yes and no. Yes, because the supernatural mysteries taught by the Church do exist. No, because in practice we so often deny them.

We claim to believe in angels and archangels and a host of saints who join us in worship. Yet, we strip our churches bare and make them into beige-carpeted business centers, rather than holy temples.

We claim to believe that each Mass is a miracle that brings God bodily to dwell among us. Yet we make our liturgy a comfortable affair, eliminating anything that is difficult, disorienting, awe-inspiring, ancient, or mysterious. We sing cheesy ditties, hold hands, and pass out the greatest mystery of all, the Holy Eucharist, like a snack in a cafeteria.

We claim our priests have supernatural powers to consecrate, bless, and preach. Yet we water-down or change their sacred formulas, eliminate their rituals, and distribute their duties to laymen as often as possible.

We claim to believe in the Almighty, the Creator of all before whom the burning spirits veil their faces, yet we insist on dragging him down to our level to accommodate our needs and sins. We say we believe in supernatural mystery, but we do all in our power to destroy it at every turn.

If lex orandi, lex credendi is true, then we simply do not believe what we say we believe.

Christian Secularists

To be perfectly honest, we have failed to offer an encounter with mystery for some time now. The mass abandonment of the faith by young people is not so much a sign of their wickedness as an indictment of our own practical unbelief.

As Catholics, we long ago turned the faith into an intellectual game devoid of mysticism, priding ourselves on our clear philosophy and well articulated theological frameworks. But the letter without the spirit, philosophical theology without mystical encounter, kills. It is a head without a heart, and it cannot give life.

When the world walked away—tired of textbook answers and hungry for the Transcendent Mystery—we became not lessworldly but more worldly. We embraced modern, secular modernity, stripping our faith of nearly everything supernatural, and we lost any credibility we had left.

The truth is, most of us live like complete secularists the vast majority of the time. We claim to believe in supernatural realities, but compartmentalize them to one hour, one day per week—and perhaps not even that. Heaven is always somewhere out there, and never really upsets my daily existence. We aren’t taken seriously by modern men and women hungry for the supernatural because we don’t believe in the supernatural, despite what we say.

The Answer

I have been critical to this point because it upsets me to see countless Catholics practically deny the supernatural realities of our faith with banal liturgies and disrespect or even disdain for the holiest things of our religion, and then see the same Catholics criticizing the errors of wayward neo-pagan youth. Until we take our own faith seriously, no one else will.

But I don’t simply want to criticize; I want to offer a solution. The answer is not difficult to discern. It is simply this: Emphasize the supernatural reality of our faith at every turn, recover those traditions which preserve and honor this reality, and thus offer an encounter with what one theologian termed the mysterium tremendum et fascinans—the Great and Awesome Mystery—which is Almighty God.

For everywhere the Holy Eucharist is treated with awesome and painstaking reverence, everywhere buildings still appear to be and are treated like temples, everywhere saints are still venerated and angels called upon, everywhere priests are honored as the supernaturally-endowed mediators that they are, everywhere miracles are still believed in and occur, the faith is growing. And it is almost always young people who flock to such places.

If we want to be a viable alternative to neo-paganism, we need to embrace once again the supernatural traditions of our faith. Our sacred language. Our ancient and venerable rites and formulas. Our “superstitious” Catholic practices. Our symbols. Our mystical traditions of prayer. We don’t need only more catechesis, as if ideas alone could save us. We need more mystery, more transcendence, more ritual, more magic, for lack of a better word.

Every Catholic must become a mystic, in the sense that we live like the supernatural is as real as the air we breathe—because it is. Then, and only then, will we be able to speak authentically to a world hungry for the divine.

MODERN MAN AND THE TRAINABLE PIG

The only thing easier to subvert and influence with bad habits and instruction than a modern man is a trainable pig.

Then again you gotta work at training a pig. All you’ve got to do with a modern man is just drop him in the center of his supposed “culture” and most of them will reflexively absorb by osmosis every low social custom they come can possibly come into contact with.

Modern man is hardly known for his strength of mind and soul. He is, however, very well known for how easy he is to corrupt, pervert, and manipulate.

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

 

Over the past few years and up until recently (within the past few weeks) I have given up a number of things. As a result I have gained immensely in numerous other ways and, to be honest, I feel as if I have been reborn as a kid (teenager to my early twenties). Psychologically that is. And in my worldview and in my mental and behavioral outlook upon Life (and Death) and upon many other things as well – such as Work and Achievement and Enterprise and Industry.

Physically I am approaching 55 years old but the vast majority of the time I feel (in my body and how I can use it) like I’m about 30 years old.

Here are some of the things I have given up and what I have gained as a result:

Video games (gave them up years and years ago), haven’t missed them at all, they were a huge time-suck. Gain: Productive use of my time and an absolute revulsion for escapist entertainment. Feeling of being a kid again. To replace that kind of passive, escapist entertainment I took up real recreations again, including, but not limited to playing wargames and RPGs and board games with real people.

Cell Phone: as my family and friends will tell you I only use it for emergency and business communications. Or to take pics if I am vadding. I am untrackable otherwise and never turn it on. My wife and kids and even friends spent years trying to convince me to get one. But I’ve never liked the God-damned thing. (It is one of those pieces of modern technology that I can honestly hear God saying, “ah, that’s a real piece of infiltrating demonic shit son, and will only lessen your ability to truly Live, not enhance it. Burn the damned thing.” I can easily hear Christ saying that too, as an off-hand remark.) It has always revolted me. The idea of being traceable is also disgusting and unmanly to me. Nevertheless I keep it to please my wife and kids and for security reasons. Gain: Not using it or activating it means I always enjoy the Real World far more. I observe closely and easily all that goes on around mem as is my natural inclination. I haven’t had an auto-accident in over thirty years. Though I have avoided many. Time means nothing to me. I go where I wanna go and do what I wanna do. I talk constantly to strangers when travelling, often engage in and initiate conversations, or am engaged in or others initiate conversations with me. Nobody will bother talking to ya, nor do you bother meeting new people if you have a fucking phone stuck to your face all of the time or you’re so damned rude you think it more important than the actual people you’re in the company of. I don’t care for those shitheads and most others don’t either. Who would?

Eating: I gave up eating (doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my food, just don’t need much of it) any more than I really need to in order to sustain myself and to grow myself or repair damage during training. Gain: less weight, leaner, more muscle, better health, more energy, easy to fast.

Sugar: aside from chocolate (usually semi-sweet form) I take in none. Gain: Better energy, rarely tired (I can go to bed at midnight or one, arise at five or six AM and be good all day. Better health, hormone, and metabolic regulation. Rarely sick, injuries don’t bother me nearly as much as they used too. Rare pain unless I over-exert myself clearing land or training or boxing. Quicker recovery.

Soda: Gain: same as above for sugar. No advantages of any kind for sodas or processed sugar.

Bread: Gain: same as above. Occasionally I’ll eat flatbread or unleavened bread or antique breads.

Coffee: I drink this still, but very rarely now. Gain: better energy and metabolic self-regulation.

Junk Food: gave that shit up a long time ago. Gain: rarely sick, not fat, good diet and nutrition, take no meds of any kind (you’d be surprised how this shocks modern doctors and nurses and surgeons), good energy, train easily, little to no exhaustion, no desire to eat it. Taking in eating as a whole (diet, sugar, soda, bread, less consumption) my body is far better off, my mind is clear and alert, my concentration is superb, I dream and recall my dreams better, and my attitude is positive, optimistic, and happy.

Politics: gave this up about a six months or so ago. Aside from the necessary evils of my political duties (to thwart this world becoming a modern liberal, socialistic, Islamic, communistic, impoverished, tyrannical hellhole) I could give a shit less about politics and take no notice of it. Gain: nothing but positive, especially on my outlook and optimism. Also I got out of that modern, effeminate, unmanly, pussified habit of just talking about problems and politics ad infinitum (instead of acting on them) as if “consciousness raising” or “internet awareness” were some kind or form of valid problem solving. What a self-deluding, unmanly pussy pursuit. It is the political and social equivalent of modern Christians who say, “I’ll pray,” but never left their hands or can’t be bothered to actually do anything.  So I’m glad to be shed of that shit.

TV: gave up watching TV. Sent back DirectTV receiver and don’t watch local channels (haven’t done that for decades) and eliminated Netflix, etc. Gain: Don’t miss it. At all. Time I would have spent on that shit now goes to far more important things (like traveling, spending time with family, clearing land, my Work and Career, new start-ups, making submissions, networking, exploring, vadding, hanging out with friends, etc.) I also now spend a lot of time with my kids, cuddling and showing affection to my wife, more sex with her, etc. My self-education program flourishes. I stargaze more. My language acquisition programs have improved and advanced. Very much like being a kid again when I never watched TV. I was always far too busy doing things, learning things, having fun, and enjoying myself instead.

News: I gave up watching all TV news some time back. Gain: Happy, optimistic, not bothered by modern bullshit, not obsessed by disaster, doom, or politics (next to criminal and terrorist activity and entertainment and crack-whoring the lowest of all forms of human enterprise). Far less distraction.

Introversion: gave up any idea at all that I am a natural introvert. Yes, when it comes to Work I prefer to work alone, and always have, and likely to some degree always will. But with the kids now in college and having a free hand to maneuver my extroverted side has reasserted itself vigorously. So I have gone back to being what is my natural and true inclination, an Ambivert.  When working I am still basically an introvert, but when out in public or otherwise I am very much an extrovert, as my wife and kids can tell you. Gain: Immense.

Worrying About Money, or giving a shit about it: gave this up maybe two or three years ago. Something like that. Gain: better marriage, better family, increases in income, more time on Work and Career, easier money and time management, more saving and investments, more entrepreneurialism. Instead of giving a shit about money I now just say to myself: “what are my real momentary and monetary priorities, and knowing those I’ll get the money and constantly (over time) increase my income and Wealth.” If it is not really a priority then I don’t care one way or another. I am neither enslaved by lack of money, nor impressed by having it. And I feel more and more, even absolutely confident, that I will become incredibly wealthy over time. But I don’t give a shit for money other than what I can use it to do. (Build things, advance my career, take care of others, start businesses, invest, do charity and philanthropy, engage in science – do important things in the world.) Aside from what it allows me to do I am completely Stoic and entirely unconcerned about money. And I Sleep like a baby.

Professional Sports: I gave up watching professional sports decades ago, (almost three decades now) and college sports not long after that (reminds me far too much of pro sports).  To me they are merely vastly overpaid, spoiled, self-absorbed entertainers, and also they tend to be primarily urbanized Europeans in their mindsets (probably the result of nearly all pro-sport teams being located in big and degenerate cities, big city people never really understand just how naturally corrupting their urbanized environments and mindsets make them, but the corruption is deep even if rarely realized). I do not admire or respect most professional athletes and as far as their thin and anemic contributions to society I rank those right up there with other professional entertainers. Which means I don’t rank them very high at all. Not as a profession anyway, individuals vary, of course. I do not consider most to be manly in their natures at all. When a damned professional football game or team takes ten minutes to run a single play because of time outs and clock delays and men have to reset in huddle for an interminable time period lest they break a real sweat (or anything else) then to me that is the very height of pussydom and unmanliness, not sport. And there is nothing “professional” about that. That is the very opposite of professional when it comes to sport – which should be a test not only of skill, strength and of power, but of endurance, speed, toughness, reflexes, drive, determination, and exhaustion, and the effort to overcome weakness.  It isn’t any of those things anymore, it is an effeminate attempt to appear impressive yet preserve and coddle and overcompensate “assets” for purposes of entertainment. Also I won’t even bother to mention the effeminate nature of the politics that now also infect all professional and collegiate sports top to bottom. But I will say this, the modern politics of professional sports is the result of the decades long slide into effeminacy, over-concern with money and profit, and the obsession with appearance, not performance – or in other words, the effeminacy and unprofessionalism is not the result of the politics. That’s just a late stage symptom (and hopefully a terminal one). First came the decline in the full range of athleticism, then came the resulting political corruption, not the other way around. So instead I indulge myself in personal and amateur athletics – climbing, hiking in pack, weight-lifting, running (a little, not so much after I broke my wrist), boxing, exploring, outdoor activities, clearing land, using my axes and hatchets, etc. I will however watch little league baseball, or kids play soccer, rugby, football, baseball, etc. Because they are enjoying it just as sport, and as fun, and because they aren’t clogged and cluttered with endless rules and endorsements. Gain: great advantages to my own health, no time, money, or effort wasted on these meaningless distractions, and far better uses of my recreational activities.

Social Media and most of the Internet: aside from business purposes or aside from the fact of someone mentioning me on social media (don’t wanna be rude) or something truly important happening I don’t comment on it, respond to it, give a shit about it or use it. Social media might take two minutes out of my day, usually just to scan and make sure distant family and friends are okay. Many days, sometimes weeks go by, and I don’t bother to look at it. Also I am now far more naturally skeptical or anything and everything I see on the internet nowadays and many things tend to amuse rather than bother me. Gain: how do I list them, or how many can I possibly name? All that pointless, wasted time is now free for me to do as I wish, want, desire, or need. To spend on far more important things. And most everything in life is far, far more important. (Looking back upon it objectively now one of the worst sins of the baby-boomers was laying the groundwork for whole generations growing up on this bullshit and thinking it normal. Pathetic. Even bathetic. I hope one day when you kids grow past this pointless shit, and give it up too, you will forgive us… we really did a number on you. Not to mention ourselves.)

Other Things I have Gained as a Complimentary Result of my Revolt against all this Modern Bullshit: I spend more time with God, more time improving myself, I have more time to practice Christian Theurgy, more time for charity and philanthropic work, I spend more time praying and in meditation, more time at philosophy, and languages, more time writing (poetry, novels, articles, short stories, songs), more time learning music and playing guitar and piano, have more time for physical training, more time for inventing, I have gone back to the practice of Raja Yoga, more time playing wargames and gaming with people (RPGs etc.), more time with family, more time travelling, more time making new friends (in person, not on internet), more time outdoors and in nature, more time to pursue my more obscure interests and experiments, and I could probably go on and on in this vein.

In short, I haven’t lost a thing. Instead by giving up all of that otherwise unimportant, petty, modern shit and by fully enjoying the naturally resulting Gains thereof I am living like my ancestors, ancient ancestors, and a like Real Human Being again.
About bloody time…

FALLOUT IN THE NIGHT SKY

Went down to Greenwood with the family to watch Mission Impossible: Fallout, which was quite excellent, thanks in no small part to Henry Cavill (whom I suspect I would actually like as  a person) who stole the show.

The rest of the evening I will spend with my spotting scope and telescope watching Mars and the moon and star-gazing.

Excellent time to be an amateur astronomer.

Have a great night folks.

GONE, AND GOOD RIDDANCE

Gave up all TV and Netflix. Glad, and way too busy for that crap.

Aside from work I/we (wife and family) are spending far more time on (active) recreation than (passive) entertainment…

FUN MORNING AND ENJOYABLE WORK

Felled a lotta trees this morning. Really like my new Poulan Pro chainsaw.

(Had planned to use it much earlier but with all the rain and travel had been using my WorX instead.)

Ordinarily I much prefer, and tend to use my axes.  But the underbrush had grown up so much that I just charged in with my chainsaw and started taking em down left and right.

Took me awhile to get back into the swing of using it because ordinarily I do it the Roman Way and use my hand-axes and hatchets. But once I remembered my old techniques it went really well.

Took down maybe five trees, many saplings, and a lotta underbrush.

By then the engine was smoking hot even with the oiling and the drive breaks. I figure from now on I’ll take down about ten full size trees or about 12 good sized saplings at a time then knock off.

They still gotta be cut up and hauled anyway.

Did have one problem though. Cutting down a sapling (about twenty feel tall) and apparently it was partially diseased and rotten on the inside and collapsed backwards against the direction of cutting and trapped my chain and chainsaw blade.  I tried lifting the tree back against the direction of the fall but couldn’t grab the chainsaw at the same time. But the tree snapped after a few moments anyway due to the rot.

Didn’t appear to warp the blade or damage the chain and so I went on and cut down some more trees.

Gonna do a complete cleaning maintenance on it before next use though.

Fun morning and enjoyable work. Now to hike Sam and move on to writing and business… have a good day folks.

ALWAYS ACT

Always Act. Always act at good and noble objectives and causes, and always act in a Virtuous manner, but always act.

With fire in your blood and with relentless drive.

Our entire society in America (all of the corrupt parts anyway) and especially in the West (Europe I mean you) is geared towards impotent things; like groupish herdism, innate passivity, and overall emotional effeminacy.

They mistake talk for Activity, and argument and protest for actual Solutions.

But instead you should Act in a Manly and Masculine fashion (and that has nothing to do with sex or gender, but rather with individual Behavior and personal Weltanschauung) at good and important things and you will not only go much, much farther at achieving your real goals in life, but eventually you will conquer the world… but not if you acquiescence and submit to, or genuflect for, the current cultural and societal norms pathetically common in the West.

That is a somewhat lonely life at this point in time (especially in the effeminate West) but it is the only kind of worthwhile life that has ever been worth living.

Podcast #425: Action Over Feelings

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/e4920c26-dd54-4fb7-aa6d-59c95d2babe3/embed

While we often associate Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions with meditation and contemplation, there’s another side to this wisdom that centers on action and can help us move through depression, anxiety, fear, and just general malaise.

My guest today is the author of a book about this action-oriented philosophy. His name is Gregg Krech, he’s the co-founder of the ToDo Institute, and his book is The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology.

Today on the show, Gregg and I discuss a Japanese psychological technique called Morita therapy, which concentrates on accepting instead of fixing one’s thoughts and feelings, and acting in spite of them. We discuss how action can be a powerful antidote to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts, how to act when you don’t feel like it, how to stay motivated when the initial rush of a new project or relationship has worn off, and why it’s better to have a purpose-driven rather than a feelings-driven life. We end our conversation unpacking the idea that busyness is not the same thing as purposeful action, and why we need self-reflection to tell the difference between the two.

Show Highlights

  • What is Morita therapy? How does it compare to Western psychology?
  • The action-oriented nature of Eastern philosophy
  • Gandhi, man of action
  • How does Morita define action? What does taking action really mean?
  • The skill of using your attention effectively
  • What playing some blues at a nightclub taught Gregg about anxiety
  • How do you take action when you can’t get yourself to do anything?
  • Why you’re only depressed when you notice you’re depressed
  • Why do we put off taking action?
  • How we tend to let feelings determine our actions
  • Moving from feeling-oriented to purpose-oriented
  • The role of kaizen in Morita therapy
  • How Morita can help people who may be good at starting things, but can’t finish them
  • Is there such a thing as too much action?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Gregg

ToDo Institute

 

A POSSIBLE METHOD

Think I may now have a method of altering or suppressing the replication rate of bacteriological organisms in relation to gravitational fields of various strengths being simultaneously bombarded by electro-magnetic energy.

The idea occurred to me as the result of two experiments I was conducting and observing. One regarding patent improvement rates regarding their positional alignment to the gravitational field, and the other occurred to me by watching my latest cultivations of argiope spiders and their web-building techniques parallel to the gravitational field of Earth. (That reminds me, I need to take new pics of the spider webs after the latest storm to track their repair adaptations.)

What effect, if any, these conditions might have on viral pathogens or things like prion formation I have no idea as of yet… but I’m going to put this idea into both my medical files and my invention files for later follow up.

I NOW USE SOCIAL MEDIA ENTIRELY DIFFERENTLY: THE PERSONAL ABDICATION AGE

I now use social media entirely differently than I did before after just a two week haitus (from my previous methods).

1. I now no longer make any comments on social media at all unless it is extremely important that I do so or it is for professional reasons. (Following basically the Elon Musk method of employing social media).

2. I no longer give a shit for commenting on social media about political matters, and politics is 90 to 95% of the cesspool of social media, and possibly 75 to 80% of the overall sepsis that is the modern internet. (Along with inane comments about sports and music and film and pop-culture. When you really look at it entirely objectively and logically it is a wretchedly hollow and empty landscape of little inherent value.) No wonder modern man (for whom I have little respect anyway) is so fucking pathetically stupid, not to mention willingly ignorant and uneducated on most all other matters, that being the apex of his thoughts, aspirations, achievements, and modern philosophies, and that being the outside orbital limits of his intelligence.

Yes, I still understand and always will that politics is a necessary and degenerate evil, that if not exercised properly allows and condones a passive and juvenile acceptance of evil, but the internet is not the place to exercise even a modest level of force or reform.  So when I must be politically active I do so in a  place and forum and among those people and groups that can actually accomplish something of true merit. For I am not a modern man to either ridiculously believe that man will be “saved” by anything as temporal or moronic or self-deluding as politics, nor am I a modern man who believes that mere “awareness” leads to anything of actual use at all. Especially the interminable and effeminate “awareness raising of modern man.”

If it takes you more than a short period of time to come to understand the nature of a given problem, and you must pass year after year in an effort of “awareness raising” then you are either an outright fool or the problem is something far different than you currently imagine. And that problem is you.

The actual Truth is that “awareness raising” is simply the habitual and shameless socialized pussy tactic of modern men to hide their effeminate and innate (or well-trained) personal cowardice, and to conceal their stubborn self-refusal to act.

Same for this modern movement of “let’s just all live in peace and harmony” no matter how the other people truly behave and act. Yes, a man should live in peace and harmony with others in most things, but where evil flourishes you do not accommodate, you eliminate. Harmony is for consonant and tonal musical accompaniment in major keys, not for the passive accommodation of real wrong in the real world in human societies.

There is no such thing as an actual good to be achieved by accommodating evil, or by endless awareness raising. Neither is Real, in the sense of having any relation to a worthwhile Reality. Both are the bathetic social constructs of a deeply sick society, and of a corrupt and bovinely herdish culture.

Men act. They do not debate endlessly or post without end about their intentions. Real Men set to work, not to ceaseless talk, nor do they dwell upon the same problem incessantly and forever.

(I offer you the effeminate and dishonorable/unmanly disaster that is Western Europe as but one blatantly obvious example of this factual point.)

If a problem is easy to solve then they simply solve it, case closed. If the problem is currently insoluble then they set it aside until such time as they can effectively act against it. If a problem is serious enough to pose a real threat then they act instantly to kill it. Problem solved.

The internet and social media is not currently geared towards either Manhood or Problem-Solving, it is geared towards effeminate indecision and inactivity and the unnatural problem amplification this can only surely intensify.

3. If I have something really important to say or do or build or create then I seek publishers or agents or allies or investors or partners with whom to act and to pursue profit, not internet and social media buddies with whom to commiserate or endlessly review the same problems no one is bothering to resolve. Again, action is what counts in life. Not endless chatter. This is how you actually achieve in life, and social media is not a real accomplishment, and the modern internet is not a conducive field of worthwhile activity. It is rather primarily a liability and a time-use profit cost, and/or a method of self-distraction disguised as supposedly sophisticated communications that are likewise camouflaged as real social interaction.

It is primarily (incessant) mental masturbation and near eternal social escape and evasion. The Bread and Circuses of the “Information Age.” And I use that term sardonically, of course, – it should actually be called “The Personal Abdication Age” or the “Age of Intentional Individual Impotence.”

(I also now have some real and good inkling of why the “personalities” of so many people on-line are so crudely and incompletely developed. They have used technology and the internet as an artificial and poor substitute for actual personality and psychological development. You know, the kinds of things you sued to have to do in Real Life.)

4. I use social media almost exclusively now for professional reasons, to promote my work, to make profitable contacts, or to make useful and interesting discoveries (similar to how I used it in the early days, on message-boards). Otherwise it tends to revolt me just to think on it.

5. I do scan social media approximately once a week to assure my more distant friends and family (and even pleasant acquaintances) are safe and thriving and if they need support in some way (encouragement, prayer, or charitable assistance) then I give it, or if I can go visit them in person (isn’t that an incredibly radical concept?), then I do so. Otherwise I keep my mouth shut and my effort and attention on actual activity. Not on mere commentary.

In these ways I can limit my entire social media time and presence to about ten minutes per week and often to under five minutes a week.

As for my Real Social Life – it thrives. I explore every week now, travel a great deal (often, though not always, with my wife), meet new people and engage in real conversations regularly, am again joining organizations and groups of like-minded and like-acting individuals, can allow my extroverted side free rein (and reign) again, and am just generally enjoying the hell out of myself. (It definitely helps that both my children are now in college and are likewise thriving, so I am again free to maneuver without anchor or hindrance, you might say).

I can foresee no reason to ever again return to my misguided and juvenile previous use of social media, and I encourage everyone to abandon it as much as possible or even altogether, or at least to radically reform how you use and employ it.

You will never again regain the time you ineffectively and effeminately and profitlessly pissed away on social media.

But you can halt that pointless habit right now, and replace it with far, far better… like a Real Social Life. Or a Real Life of almost any kind.

COMPLIMENTARY, NOT CONTRADICTORY

Combining sound Scientific Principles with useful Aesic (Aesic simply being the term for all of the various spiritual actions in which I engage) Methods and combining both of those with reliable Theurgical Practices has allowed me to make great advances along all three disciplines and areas of activity.

(As opposed to thinking these various disciplines and endeavours are either a substitute for each other or that they are in some way contradictory to each other. But in fact each is naturally complimentary to the other.)

That seems as if it would be immediately self-obvious idea to all but you would be surprised at the numbers of people to whom this idea seems entirely alien, if not outright heretical…

SO YOU CAN SKYWATCH FOR IT

ANOTHER GOD AWFUL GOOD DAY – AND THE RETURN OF THE MANTICORE

Had another God awfully (in the true sense of the term God-awe-full) good and profitable day. Plus it was an enormously fun day. This has become my consistent habit.

While I traveled today I finished up my lecture series on Ancient Religion in the Mediterranean World and then listened (or re-listened, haven’t heard it since I was in my twenties) to the First disc of Return of the Manticore, which was excellent indeed.

I really, really like progressive Rock groups, especially those that derive much of their work through adaptation of ancient, art, classical, and folk music, scores, and sources, as does ELP.

Plus I was able to score several truly useful treasures today including adding to my personal library two of the works formerly held in the library of Robert Jordan (really regret never meeting him, and a real shame too since he was a fellow South Carolinian and just judging from the works I purchased from his library we would have been completely sympatico). One was on Byzantium history (which will be truly useful for my historical novels), another on Mathematics (he was  a nuclear engineer in the Navy – our math and scientific interests were very close indeed).

I’ll talk about these two treasures later in another post. As the number of books I’ve scored from his library is now impressive. He had a superb library indeed. One of the best personal libraries I’ve ever seen. I feel honored to have obtained so much of it.

I got home late, near nightfall but since it is summer and we are prone to slow sunsets this time of year I decided to cut grass. But it started to rain and therefore I couldn’t cut grass, but, just for fun I rode around on my tractor in the rain for the pure enjoyment and hell of it.  Rode it all over my lands, up and down the country roads, and over to my nephew’s house. Got soaking wet and laughed a lot and had a ball.

Then came into the house and listened to ELP and Gustav Mahler (Das Lied Von Der Erde) with my oldest daughter while she read some of the poetry I wrote back in high school and college.

Truly I am becoming a teenager again and having a helluvah good time at it…

NEEDS TO BE MOCKED…

that entire modern liberal generation seems dumb as dirt… plus they are pathetically obsessed with politics and it is obvious that is all they know of the world…

THE VOICE OF TIME

I really enjoyed hearing Shackleton’s, Whitman’s, Einstein’s, and Curie’s voices.

RETURN TO YESTERDAY

I have returned to a 1970s lifestyle and I haven’t been this happy since I was a teen and in my early twenties.

Over the past few years I have given up video and computer gaming, the phone (I only use my phone to take pictures, necessary business calls, take security text from my children, and I have a program which mimics a tricorder with which I take electromagnetic readings, use as a compass, etc. when exploring or traveling – otherwise I don’t use my phone and never use it or answer it in public) all professional sports (actually I haven’t watched professional sports in decades really), watching the news, any kind of car communications, and recently I have given up all social media (other than my blogs) and most of the use of my computer and the internet (except for professional reasons).

Also other than the bare minimum (as a necessary evil) I take no interest in or notice of politics, for politics is, without any doubt at all, the single lowest of all human occupations and interests (aside from criminal activity, terrorism, and that kind of thing).

As soon as the kids both get back into college (in about another month) the wife and I have been discussing giving up TV altogether too.

So, instead of that meaningless crap, I do these things: I explore, I travel, I work and write (by hand mostly, in manuscript form and have others type it), I read (even more so than before), I research and when I need to do research I do it in libraries not on the internet, I hike, I pray, I meditate and talk with God a lot, I practice Raja Yoga again, I practice Christian Theurgy (more and more successfully I might add), I invent, I discover, I conduct scientific experiments, I engage in business projects, I invest, I practice charity and philanthropy, I market and submit my work, I spend time designing my new mansion, I build my wealth, I socialize a lot, I watch little league baseball and soccer games played by kids, I build my networks, I explore churches and old buildings, I vad, I visit other cities and towns and universities and many libraries,  I add to my personal library, I write poetry, I listen to and compose music, I write songs and am learning to play the guitar, I practice playing the piano,  I spend time with my pets and family and children, I improve and work on my marriage (which is already good, but only gets batter over time), I play D&D and wargames (I actively recreate rather than engage in passive entertainments), I learn new languages, I work on my math,  I make useful observations, I build things, I weight lift and train, I clear land (by hand mostly, though I do have new chainsaws), I meet new people (almost every day), I adventure and have fun, and most of all I enjoy the living hell out of myself. (Or Heaven even, depends on how you wanna phrase it.)

As a result I am extremely happy. And I am deeply at peace. And I am supremely confident and satisfied. Not complacent or content, I have many ambitions yet to fulfill in life – but for the moment I am highly satisfied and truly grateful.

I have come to understand that so many of the technologies and conveniences and the overall “lifestyle” (if, indeed, it can be called truly living) of modern life are designed (either intentionally or unintentionally) to entrap and suck the Real Life from you – body, mind, soul, and spirit. And that deeply repulses me. I have a natural revulsion of man-traps.

So, I have returned to the lifestyle I so much enjoyed back n the 1970s. And in some ways I also practice a lifestyle very similar to that of the Medieval and Ancient ages as well. I live partly as an inventor, partly as a poet, partly as a scientist, partly as a householder, husband, and father, partly

And it enthralls and enthuses and elates me.

I will therefore not be returning to the “modern lifestyle” or to being a “modern man.” (Not that I ever really was a modern man.) Both are ugly and infantile, impotent and morose, and mostly useless. Both are harbingers of death and unhappiness, not Life, Satisfaction, and Achievement.

So to hell with and fuck em both.

For the rest of my Life I will be myself instead and do things exactly as I desire to do them. Which has been most of the course of my life anyway, but for a while I let the modern world make me forget that. To distract me with its empty toys and to try to convince me of its pathetic and deceptive values.

But to fix that I’m burying that skeletal sonuvabitch right now.

And I won’t be digging him back up. Not ever again…

HOW TO SURVIVE

Podcast #423: How to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/522e16e5-6f44-47c2-8aaf-43ed1c22e79f/embed

We’ve all probably thought about it. What would we do and how would we fare after a societal collapse? My guest today has spent his career helping individuals get ready for such a situation. His name is James Rawles. He’s the owner of survivalblog.comand the author of several bestselling books on prepping, including How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.

Today on the show, Jim and I discuss how our dependency on the power grid makes us more vulnerable to disaster than we’d like to think, and all the downstream consequences that would happen if the power grid went down for a significant amount of time, including loss of water, sewage services, and a disruption of supply chains.

We then dig into what you can do to prepare for such a situation, including securing a water supply, storing food, and the skills and mindset you need to weather a crisis. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in prepping, it’s really interesting to think through what you’d need to do to survive an apocalyptic scenario.

Show Highlights

  • The vulnerability of the US power grid, and scenarios that might cause it to go down
  • How water gets from its source to your home
  • The public health/sewage nightmare of a power grid collapse
  • The importance of knowing how to filter and purify water
  • Why grocery stores no longer have extra stocks of food
  • The problem with a hyper-optimized and hyper-efficient society
  • The “YOYO” mindset
  • Getting started if you have no plan for survival preparedness
  • Making physical room for long-term food and water storage, even in a small living space
  • Why you need to practice cooking and eating your survival foods
  • Why you need self-defense/weapons training
  • The two-key force multipliers in modern self-defense
  • Dealing with medical needs in a survival scenario
  • The value and importance of being health and in shape
  • Why you need patience in developing your survival plan

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

HONOR AND MANHOOD

Brett | July 3, 2018

Last updated: July 8, 2018

Podcast

Podcast #419: American Honor — Creating the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolution

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/61a04af9-9a19-4f7a-8c9c-b02cb90a2b2e/embed

What started the American Revolution? 

The typical answers are “taxation without representation” and the economic and political consequences that came with that. 

My guest today argues that while economic and political principles all played roles in the American Revolution, there’s one big thing underlying all the causes of the Revolutionary War that often gets overlooked: honor.

His name is Craig Bruce Smith, he’s a historian and the author of the new book American Honor: The Creation of the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolutionary EraToday on the show we talk about what honor looked like in America during the colonial period, how that concept changed, and how this shift precipitated the War of Independence. We then explore how personal affronts to honor experienced by several of the Founding Fathers at the hands of the British transferred into a feeling of being slighted as a people, galvanizing a collective sense of honor in the colonies and inspiring the fight for independence. We then discuss the role honor played in Benedict Arnold’s treason and how his treachery spurred colonial Americans to go on to win the war. We end our conversation discussing why the sons of the Revolutionary Era returned to a more traditional ethos of honor in the form of dueling.

This show will give you fresh insights on the founding of America.

Show Highlights

  • What was the concept of honor before the Revolutionary Era?
  • What change in that concept did we start seeing before the war?
  • Benjamin Franklin’s idea of ascending honor
  • How Washington’s concept of honor became more democratized over time
  • The relationship between honor and virtue/ethics in this time period
  • How the colonists looked to Ancient Rome as an example
  • Higher education and the founders
  • How did personal slights lead to the Revolution?
  • The birth of a collective, national honor
  • The “buy local” and “made in America” movement of the 1770s
  • Why honor doesn’t depend on victory
  • Benedict Arnold, honor, and his role in early America
  • The history of dueling in early America, and when it came to an end
  • The myths and realities of Andrew Jackson’s dueling resume

SCREW THE DAMNED CELLPHONE AND TO HELL WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Brett | July 5, 2018

Podcast

Podcast #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your Life

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/f82d0e7a-5917-4ac0-9fa6-c568bcb20e42/embed

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a powerful computer in your back pocket that allows you to listen to this podcast, check the score of your favorite team, and learn the population of Mickey Mantle’s hometown of Commerce, OK (answer: 2,473). Our smartphones are a blessing, but for many people they can also feel like a curse. You feel compelled to check your device all the time, leaving you feeling disengaged from life. 

What is it about modern technology that makes it feel so addictive? My guest todayexplores that topic in his book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. His name is Adam Alter and today on the show, we discuss what makes today‘s technology more compelling than the televisions and super Nintendos of old, whether our itch to check our phones can really be classified as an addiction, what soldiers’ use of heroin during the Vietnam War can tell us about why our attachment to our phones is hard to shake, and how the reward we’re looking for on social media isn’t actually the “likes” themselves. Adam then shares what he thinks is the most effective tactic for taking back control of our tech, and how consumers may be able to influence the direction of its future. 

Show Highlights

  • Why do tech companies design their devices/apps to be addictive?
  • Why Steve Jobs never let his own kids use an iPad
  • Is it possible to truly be addicted to our tech?
  • How much time are most people really spending on their phones? (It’s an astounding number.)
  • The deleterious effects of technology on social skills
  • What makes today’s tech so different from the tech of a couple decades ago?
  • What heroine use in the Vietnam War can tell us about the effects of our environment/context on our behaviors
  • Tactics that companies use to get our attention, including hijacking our goals
  • How casinos have influenced the way tech companies design their products
  • How video game companies “on-ramp” players to get them hooked, and how other tech companies have used that template
  • The ways social media amplifies these addictive components
  • How do you get a hold of a behavior you can’t seem to shake?
  • Will recent bad press actually force companies like Facebook to make any changes?

THE ARTICLES

The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week

Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.

Thai divers carry supplies as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave on July 5, 2018.

Thai divers carry supplies as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave on July 5, 2018.

Credit: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

A massive operation is underway to rescue 12 boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach who have been trapped for nearly two weeks in the Tham Luang cave system, with rain expected Sunday (July 8).

Whether the team could wait out the monsoon season, remaining holed up in the cave for months, is not clear. [Read more about the risks.]

A male and female lion stand over a lion cub in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is where a pride of lions slaughtered at least three poachers who entered the Sibuya Game Reserve to hunt rhino horns.
A male and female lion stand over a lion cub in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is where a pride of lions slaughtered at least three poachers who entered the Sibuya Game Reserve to hunt rhino horns.

Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus

A pride of hungry lions in a South African reserve just saved the day, at least for a herd of rhinos. The poachers, who had illegally entered that reserve with a gun and axe to kill those rhinos, were not so lucky. [Read more about the event.]

Purple or blue? A new optical illusion study finds that your answer will change based on your expectations.
Purple or blue? A new optical illusion study finds that your answer will change based on your expectations.

Credit: Morjachka/iStock/Getty

A new optical-illusion study in the journal Science asks whether a series colorful dots is purple, blue or proof that humans are doomed to a lifetime of sadness and poor decisions. [Read more about the illusion.]

The meteorite fragments were found off the coast of Washington state.
The meteorite fragments were found off the coast of Washington state.

Credit: Mark Fries/NASA

The first mission designed to hunt a meteorite that crashed into the ocean has now discovered what may be tiny fragments of the meteorite’s crust, researchers say.

The details the scientists had regarding the fall suggested the meteorite was unusually strong, Fries said. This knowledge, in combination with the fact the meteorite landed on a soft seafloor as opposed to dry land, suggested this ocean fall might yield large, relatively intact meteorites for scientists to study. [Read more about the meteorite.]

The Dikika foot is one part of a partial skeleton of a 3.32 million-year-old skeleton of an <i>Australopithecus afarensis</i> child.

The Dikika foot is one part of a partial skeleton of a 3.32 million-year-old skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis child.

Credit: Zeresenay Alemseged

More than 3 million years ago, our adult human ancestors were walking on two feet and didn’t have the option of a fashionable baby sling to carry their kids around in. Instead, Australopithecus afarensis toddlers had a special grasping toe that helped them hold on to their mothers and escape into the trees, reports a study published today (July 4) in Science Advances. [Read more about the digit.]

A small galaxy called NGC1052-DF2 was previously thought to lack dark matter. A new paper suggests it might have dark matter after all.

A small galaxy called NGC1052-DF2 was previously thought to lack dark matter. A new paper suggests it might have dark matter after all.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. van Dokkum (Yale University)

A galaxy that is supposedly devoid of all dark matter might actually be full of it.

Scientists have suggested the existence of this bizarre matter to explain a just-as-bizarre phenomenon: Based on the light astronomers can see with their telescopes, the universe acts like there is much more mass, and therefore much more gravitational force, than Albert Einstein’s theories predict based on what we can see. [Read more about the galaxy.]

Because apparently, it needs to be said: Don't put your fingers anywhere near a nurse shark's teeth.
Because apparently, it needs to be said: Don’t put your fingers anywhere near a nurse shark’s teeth.

Credit: Luca Oddone/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

A woman who tried to hand-feed a shark is lucky she still has a hand. Yes, it bit her. IT’S A SHARK. [Read more about the dangers.]

Members of the People's Liberation Army perform drills during a demonstration on June 30, 2018, in Hong Kong. China's military may soon have laser guns in its arsenal.
Members of the People’s Liberation Army perform drills during a demonstration on June 30, 2018, in Hong Kong. China’s military may soon have laser guns in its arsenal.

Credit: Anthony Kwan/Getty, file

The laser blasters in “Star Wars” are no longer a thing of science fiction. Chinese researchers have developed an actual laser gun that can ignite a target on fire from a half mile (800 meters) away, the South China Morning Post reported.

Although the gun is classified as a nonlethal weapon, its laser shots can cause “‘instant carbonization’ of human skin and tissues,” according to the South China Morning Post, which means skin would burn and be reduced to carbon like the outside of a charred marshmallow. It can also fire through windows, burn through gas tanks and ignite anything that’s flammable. [Read more about the gun.]

Coffee lovers may not have to feel that familiar pang of guilt when pouring themselves yet another cup of joe for the day.

In the study, published July 2 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Loftfield and her team at the NCI analyzed data from nearly 500,000 people who took part in the U.K. Biobank study. That project gathered health information from more than 9 million people. [Read more about the possibilities.]

An artist's depiction of Cassini flying over Enceladus and collecting samples of the enormous plumes erupting from the surface.
An artist’s depiction of Cassini flying over Enceladus and collecting samples of the enormous plumes erupting from the surface.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Large, carbon-rich organic molecules seem to be spewing from cracks on the surface of Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus, according to a new study of data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The discovery means that Enceladus is the only place besides Earth known to satisfy all the requirements for life as we know it, space scientist and study co-author Christopher Glein said in a statement from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio. [Read more about life in space.]

Follow Live Science @livescienceFacebook & Google+.

Author Bio


Live Science Staff

Live Science Staff,
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.

BEST PHOTOS

http://suburbanmen.com/100-best-photos-week-20170813/807535/

THE (SOMEWHAT HISTORICAL) RECONSTRUCTIONS

ANT MAN AND THE WASP

Ant-Man and the Wasp was a delightful and very enjoyable film in almost every way… I recommend it.

download (2)

(THE EXTROVERTED) SIGMA MALE

Whereas I don’t agree with every detail of this description I do agree that it is accurate to a large extent.

I have also personally discovered that the more and more I reengage with personal social activities (now that my children are finally in college) the less and less I care for social media.

I am becoming extremely extroverted again but I only really desire personal, real world social contacts and social media (on the other hand) more and more repulses me. (Though that has been building upon me for several years now.)

And I have little desire or interest in social media (I hesitate to call most of it truly social and much of it actual media) other than for purely professional reasons.

 

I MET HIM RISEN

Wyrdwend

I MET HIM RISEN

I met Him Risen from the Tomb
His grave the pangs of Heaven’s Womb
His flesh all healed and yet still scarred
His soul shone on, undimmed, unmarred
To man he graced an endless Gift
Life Unending, clear, and swift
Death a villain nevermore
Evil vanquished, God restored
A keyless Kingdom free to all
Let any man but heed his call
The Earth a shining, darkless Realm
The Easter’d Captain at the Helm, and
Kurios! the angels sang
I laughed to hear the bells had rang
Ascensions told, and service wrought
The Promise that all men had sought
Salvation from the lower things
That occupied his dreadful dreams
A New Man born, and so we all
He told me “John, now heed the call
Run and tell them ‘I await!’
The sky draws near, the seas elate
The mountains leveled, the valleys rise
The beast and…

View original post 234 more words

BETA READERS AND COMPOSING PARTNER(s) WANTED

Wyrdwend

BETA READERS AND COMPOSING PARTNER(s) WANTED

I am in immediate need of Beta Readers for both my fictional and non-fictional writings. These writings will include everything from my fictional science fiction, fantasy, detective, mystery, espionage, military, historical fiction, thriller, regional (Southern Western, and frontier writings), and literary writings to my middle grade and young adult and children’s stories and books. Non fictional writings will include my essays, articles, scientific papers, religious writings, writings on Theurgy, detective work, some of my business plans, and books on a variety of subjects. Other materials might include song lyrics or entire song cycles (such as for an album) and poems or games or other such matters I have created.

Rewards for giving me useful feedback will include things like autographed copies of my books, advance copies of works, discounts on published works, free copies of works, advice on how to get published, information on…

View original post 217 more words

THE REASON WE ARE NOSTALGIC FOR THE TV AND FILMS OF OUR YOUTH

CrazyDiscoStu - A Nerd Blog

The reason we look back on the television shows and films of our youth with such fondness is rooted in much more than blissful nostalgia. It comes down to the simple premise that things were just better back then.
We live in a time of light speed information transfer where audiences need constant input to stay glued to the screen. Without this input our focus drifts away from what we’re viewing and onto another gadget or bit of tech. For instance – how many times have you picked up a phone or tablet during an episode or feature-length? I’d say there’s not an innocent one among you.
To say that visual media back then was “better” doesn’t really cut it though, does it? Last week i watched Roger Moore’s outing as James Bond in ‘For your eyes only’ – i use this as an example because it illustrates a real…

View original post 532 more words

To be Happy: the present (essay 2 of 3)

Ideasinhat

Introduction: rejected pleasure and asceticism 

Drawing (52)Happiness, the designer drug conferred upon the human condition by the Gods, has three mechanisms of action: future, present, and past. We have discussed in a previous essay how it is that happiness interacts with the future, how we yearn for specific outcomes that we stare at from a cliff ledge, waiting for the right moment to leap. But we have yet to concern ourselves with happiness within the now: the present. After this essay, we will then deal with happiness and the past, so prepare yourself accordingly (Jan, 07).

There is an infamous saying amongst westerners, a saying which is practiced far less than it is uttered: namely, short-term pain, long-term gain. This phrase is very much similar to notions that regard the future as possessing happiness; that is, one acquires reward in some near or distant future by enduring periods of pain: suffer…

View original post 1,792 more words

Black Queen

Mozart Metallica

Every Breath You Take

12 Things I See Happy People Do (that unhappy people do not)

Don’t Look Now, But…

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

On Maundy Thursday I like to remember and to pray for the dearly departed. Family members I have lost, friends who have died or been killed, even pets I miss.

To pray for their souls and that they thrive. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing. It’s a personal thing but it always seems appropriate to me on the Thursday of Mysteries and to commemorate the Last Supper.

Also, I’m gonna take Communion later today. With my family.

Have a Holy and productive Thursday of Mysteries folks!

TODAY I LEVELED UP

Tome and Tomb

LEVELING UP

Today I leveled Up. Several years ago I began directly applying the various gaming and wargaming techniques I have practiced most of my life directly to my “Real Life,” – to improve my character, nature, abilities, and to help me with my overall human accomplishments.

Part of my TSS (Transferable Skill Systems) and GPAD  (Games of Personal advancement and Development) Program.

Lately I have improved that system.

Today I made another Rise in my Accomplishments. Or, put in simplistic gaming terms I leveled up in Real Life.

This is basically my System and how I use it to advance myself (and those around me, like my wife and children).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: (Rising or Leveling Up)

PROGRESSION – a minor accomplishment such as; making a ten pound increase in weight lifting routine, cutting time off of a sprint, climbing higher, faster, and farther, winning a sparring match (boxing…

View original post 661 more words

SUBJECT MATTERS FOR THE CHRISTIAN LAYMAN

Wyrdwend

A LIST OF SOME OF THE SUBJECTS AND SUBJECT MATTERS I PLAN TO ADDRESS IN MY BOOKS THE CHRISTIAN HERO, THE CHRISTIAN WIZARD, AND THE CHRISTIAN SAINT

These are more general subjects and not specifically geared towards the peculiarities of any of them. I had planned on further developing these today but my wife needs me to take her to the airport today. These are only recent Subject-Matter additions to the books as they are further developed.

And although these books are addressed to the Christian Layman I think that I shall develop a different term for him/her that shall encompass all of the aspects I mean by Layman, such as: worker, disciple, hero, wizard, (lay or common man’s) saint, and skilled spiritual and psychological craftsman.

I shall have to think on the term first of course, and all that it should imply.

SELF-EDUCATION/AUTO-EDUCATION

DISEASE

INJURY

View original post 330 more words

J GEILS

J. Geils, ‘Centerfold’ musician, found dead in Groton home

WCVB | 

Updated: 6:12 AM EDT Apr 12, 2017
John Warren Geils Jr., the artist known professionally as J. Geils and part of the rock group The J. Geils Band, was found dead in his Groton, Massachusetts, home.

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The 71-year-old was found unresponsive by police around 4 p.m. Tuesday after they responded to his home for a well-being check. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Foul play is not suspected at this time.

Images: J. Geils remembered

“A preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes,” police said in a statement.

The J. Geils Band was founded in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts, while Geils, whose full name was John Warren Geils Jr., was studying mechanical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Geils served as the band’s guitarist and vocalist. Bandmates included Danny Klein, Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman.

The band, whose music blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop, released 11 studio albums and built a large following due to their energetic live shows as well as their unusual use of the harmonica as a lead instrument. The band broke up in 1985, but reunited off and on over the years.

The group had several Top 40 singles in the early 1970s, including a cover song “Lookin’ for a Love” by the family group The Valentinos and “Give It to Me.”

Their biggest hits included “Must of Got Lost,” which reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1975 and “Love Stinks,” a humorous rant against unrequited love, the title song of their 1980 album. Their song “Centerfold,” from the album “Freeze Frame” was released in 1981 and eventually charted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in February 1982. It stayed there for six weeks and was featured on MTV.

The band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time last fall but once again was not selected as part of the 2017 class.

“This is our fourth nomination, and going through that process, with its inherent disappointment, you’re not sure you want to take that ride again,” lead vocalist Peter Wolf told Billboard at the time. “It’s great to be recognized, but it’s a drag to be disappointed. I hope that we make it in. That would be great.”

When news of Geils’ death broke, fans turned to social media to offer condolences and to reminisce about the band’s songs and concerts.

Geils has called Groton his home for 35 years.

Wolf wrote a short message on Facebook about his former bandmate, “Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P Jay Geils.”

WCVB’s Chronicle profiled Peter Wolf several months ago. Watch below:

THE OLD SNAFFLEFU

Excellent. I also like Snafflefu.

That’s when you’re attempting to lift something off your mark and he suddenly spots ya, calls in the embassy guards, and all hell breaks loose.

Or variantly, when you’re trying to get away from the embassy (because you just boosted something valuable off the foreign ambassador) and your reins break, your horse spits his bit, and then throws you to boot.

That’s a real snafflefu too… lol!

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Word of the Day: Snaffle

Pronunciation: /SNAFF-ul/

Definition: (verb, noun)

1) to obtain especially by devious or irregular means.
2) take (something) for oneself, typically quickly or without permission.
3) (on a bridle) a simple bit, typically a jointed one, used with a single set of reins.

Etymology: mid 16th century (denoting a bridle bit): probably from Low German or Dutch; compare with Middle Low German and Middle Dutch snavel ‘beak, mouth’ The verb (mid 19th century) is perhaps a different word.

Word of the day from my buddy Troy.

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