Charlie's Blog: December 2016

12.31.2016

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 36


Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.
GROUCHO MARX

1. 2016: THE YEAR OF CELEBRITY DEATH

2016 has been a horrible year of mortality for famous people. Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and all the rest have served as a potent reminder that we are all doomed to die. No one gets out of this place alive. We like to think of death as something that happens to other people, but we must realize in every death that we will also die and give an account of ourselves to the Almighty.

How does one get to Heaven? Despite the distortions of various Protestant theologians about Catholic theology, good works do not get you to Heaven as if somehow you can alter the balance with a few Hail Marys and volunteering at a soup kitchen. God can never be in our debt. The Catholic Church does not teach a salvation by works. But it does teach that we should work towards our salvation. This is what the Bible teaches when St. Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Entrance to Heaven requires that we be saints. All are invited to the banquet, but as the parable teaches us, we need to be clean and suitably attired for the affair. Otherwise, we will be cast into darkness. Ultimate salvation is secured only at the moment of death and dependent upon dying in the state of grace.

I do not presume on the fate of any person's soul. But there are those people who I have hope are in Heaven now such as Cardinal George, Mother Angelica, and Bishop Echevarria. Others I am not so hopeful about. When I see a life lived in defiance and decadence, I don't expect to see those people in Heaven. But God can save even those people at their final hour if they turn from their sins and repent like the thief on the cross. Likewise, many religious people can lose their salvation in their final hour by becoming bitter or letting their love for God wax cold.

I divide the world into two basic camps. There are those who love God, and there are those who don't. I agree with St. Josemaria Escriva when he said, "If I love, there will be no hell for me." When discussing religion, it strikes us as preferable to resort to Bible quotes and theological language because such things save us the embarrassment of revealing our feelings about God. But I tell people the Gospel in the simplest terms I know. God loves you. Love Him back.


A saint is simply someone who loves God very much. That is what I look to see in a person. Do they really love God? Sanctity is simply living and offering love back to God. This can take many forms such as prayer, attending Mass, going to confession, performing works of mercy, and other things. But what matters in these things is not just the acts themselves but the intentions behind those acts. Are they done with love?

I don't see how a person can spend a lifetime hating God and then want to spend the rest of eternity loving Him. This is what crosses my mind when I see a proud and defiant person enter their eternal reward. It seems ludicrous that people want Hell, but it makes sense that Hell is spending eternity hating God. God allows you to hate Him. Love cannot be compelled. It must be freely offered to be love.

My prayer is that all souls die loving God.

2. GRITTY STORIES

In reading reviews of Rogue One, people mention that the movie is gritty in contrast to the other Star Wars films. Where the original movies were like Sir Galahad, Rogue One is a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western. Somehow, this grittiness is a betrayal of the spirit of the films. I don't see it that way.

There are two authors that loom large in Catholic literature--J.R.R. Tolkien and Flannery O'Connor. Yet, they are profoundly different writers. Tolkien was a fantasy writer, and his stories are more straight ahead when it comes to good and evil. Flannery was a Southern Gothic writer with a gritty view of the world.

I don't see these two types as being opposite to each other. I see stories set in moral contexts, and these stories can be simple or complex. The context remains the same. But when there is no moral context, the stories are truly bad. This would be the disdain Flannery had for Carson McCullers who wrote in a similar vein but a different moral place.

I prefer the grittier stories and characters. I like Han Solo way more than Luke Skywalker. But I also know that a dark world is not the same as a nihilistic world of chaos and horror. I have written stories in a moral vein and a nihilistic vein. Those stories I wrote as an atheist are utter garbage and unreadable. They were supposed to shock and entertain, but they were banal and empty. Similarly, stories without grit tend to be saccharine and syrupy. Even Lord of the Rings can be gritty in places.

A gritty story is simply one where the characters are a mix of good and bad as opposed to having characters that are all good or all bad. This is why gritty stories seem more realistic because they more accurately reflect the human condition. I think the concern people have about Rogue One is that it is more for grown ups than kids.

3. OBAMA'S MIDDLE FINGER

Barack Obama seems intent on settling personal scores in the waning days of his administration. He clearly has no love for Russia, so he is putting the smackdown on Russia. Then, there was that backhanded slap on Israel. I am with Mark Levin who says that Obama is a closet antisemite. Though he seemed to be classy at first with the Trump victory, Obama has since made a complete ass out of himself. I wonder if he will trash the Oval Office like some rock star at the Hilton.

Obama is a disgrace as a president. I think he knows it, too. He has surpassed Jimmy Carter as the worst president in US history. We have 20 days left with this guy, and they can't go by fast enough. Obama has been like a disease on this nation. It still blows my mind that this disgrace was elected twice to that office. And then, he has the gall to say he would have easily beaten Trump for a third term if he could have run. If Obama could run against himself, he still couldn't win.

Obama won for the simple reason they gave him that ridiculous Nobel Peace Prize. He was a black guy who ascended to the highest post in the land. The postscript is that he then lowered it to mediocrity and stupidity. The man has been an utter disgrace as a president. Now, he has to make this one of the messiest transitions in US history.

4. Q & A

Q: Which superhero would you be?

A: This question was gleaned from Father Z's blog. I'm not a big fan of comic books and superheroes. I think Superman is a boring character. I tend to like heroes like Daredevil and Batman because they live in a world much like our own tinged with darkness and have abilities more on the human level than on the godlike level. Daredevil is a Catholic, so that makes me like him. But I can see Batman being Catholic as well. Batman is the superhero that appeals to me most, so I'd probably be him.

I think of great franchises in entertainment and what I think are wrong with their stories and characters. For example, I always hated that Star Trek would always send their top officers down to a planet when that makes no sense at all. You know Starfleet had to have guys on par with Marines and Navy SEALS. I have toyed with making a more realistic version of the Trek franchise. Similarly, I wish Batman was less clowny, and the character was explicitly Catholic. That makes me want to invent my own character and stories. It is something I will consider.

5. JOKE OF THE WEEK

 A Jesuit and a Franciscan were involved in a car accident. Hurriedly they got out to make sure the other person was OK, each insisting that it was probably his own fault.

Then the Jesuit, very concerned for his fellow religious, said, "You look very badly shaken up. You could probably use a stiff drink." At that he produced a flask, and the Franciscan, who was indeed a bit shaken up, took it gratefully.

"One more and I'm sure you'll be feeling fine," the Jesuit said, and the Franciscan took another. Then the Jesuit took the flask and put it safely away.

"You look a bit shaken up yourself," the Franciscan said. "Are you sure you don't want to take a bit?"

The Jesuit replied, "Oh, I certainly will; but I think I'll wait until after the police arrive."

6. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom, and the sure knowledge of the power of grace. It is an optimism that leads us to make demands on ourselves, to struggle to respond at every moment to God's call.
SAINT JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.
SAINT AUGUSTINE

Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other peoples' freedom and security.
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.

The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.
THOMAS SOWELL

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.
RONALD REAGAN

7. ODDS AND ENDS

--It is ironic that Pope Francis demoted Cardinal Burke to duties with the Knights of Malta to get Burke out of his business only for the Pope to stick his nose in Burke's business.

--God still looks out for Israel. Going against Israel is the same as going against God.

--You can't be a Christian and be a Democrat. If you doubt this, the Democrat Party will tell you the same thing.

--Defund the UN.

--I admit it. I have felt optimism in the wake of Trump's election. I have even been cheerful. Is my pessimism doomed?

8. LINKS OF INTEREST

The Myth of the Good Old Media

Christus Apostata: Scorsese’s “Silence”

On the Necessity of Prayer

Martyrs Know Apostasy Can Not Be Justified

Secrets of the Spiritual Realm: 12 Angelic Facts Every Christian Must Know

Barack Backhands Bibi

The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time

When Christians Turn Against Freedom

12.28.2016

On Shaving


The best reason I can think of for not running for President of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.
ADLAI STEVENSON

The issue of shaving comes down to two basic times in a man's life. The first is when he is a boy hitting puberty, and the hair begins to grow on his face. It is not quite a beard, but it is unsightly all the same. At some point, he cracks out his dad's unused Norelco given as a thoughtless Christmas gift and buzzes off the hairs, or he uses one of those cheap single blade Bics and some Barbasol to get the job done. The second time comes later after some years of shaving when a man must decide to let his beard grow or continue the daily ritual of sliding a razor across his face. To shave or not to shave. That is the question.

Beards are manly. There is no question about this. The problems with beards are many which is why men opt to shave. The first and foremost is that a beard cuts off virtually 90% of your job options. The only thing worse than a beard for landing a job is having a face tattoo. The face tat limits your job options to tattoo artist or gang member, Likewise, the beard limits you to lumberjack or tenured professor.

I have had employment situations where I could have a beard, and I even tried one on in my twenties for a few weeks. It was a bad experience for me. A beard to me is like having an itchy rug on your face. I found it annoying. The other thing I discovered is that you still have to shave. You have to lather your neck and shave or else let your beard and body hair connect making you look like a sasquatch. Then, there is the phenomenon known as beard dandruff which can be treated with shampoo and beard oil or cured with a daily shave. I had the beard dandruff. Yeah, it was gross.


I'm not a beard guy. I respect any man that opts to grow a beard, but I reject all the arguments they make for growing it. Beards are as high maintenance as shaving daily. They are unhygienic. And they are uncomfortable. Plus, I like being gainfully employed. But even if my job did not depend on it, I would still shave daily.

The choice to have a beard is primarily an aesthetic one. The same is also true for mustaches, goatees, lamb chops, and the rest. The beard conveys the message of manliness. Real men let their beards grow. Of course, hobos and homeless guys also let their beards grow. The context of the beard matters.


If you tell all the men in our armed services, fire departments, and police departments that they aren't real men because they are beardless, they will certainly correct this illusion with a manly ass whipping. Most men shave their beards. Now, if it truly is a man's world, why would shaving be so ubiquitous? Why do most men generally have short hair and shaved faces? Blame it on the Romans.

Shaving and hair removal existed in various forms among ancient cultures like the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, and others. It is said that Alexander the Great shaved his face. But it was the Romans who really made it a thing. Now, shaving in the world was a painful ordeal. They didn't have Gillette and Foamy back then. The razors were poor. They also used tweezing and waxing methods. Shaving was not a pleasant thing. Plus, it was expensive and time consuming. So, why did they do it? The answer is obvious. Shaving was good hygiene.

The Romans found that a shaved face was an advantage in combat because the enemy couldn't grab a faceful of beard and yank on it. But unless you have a ZZ Top beard, it is hard to grab a man by the beard. A pair of scissors could have shorn any beard short enough to make it ungrabbable. The simple fact is beards and hair are home to lice. The ancient world crawled with lice. This lice made the torture of hair removal bearable in contrast.

The barbarians were bearded men and were called "unbarbered" which is where the term "barbarian" came from. Basically, these men were filthy and infested with lice and fleas. Beards are sexy until you see some bugs crawl out of them. The Romans looked clean and civilized in contrast to these men resembling animals. Facial hair would come and go over the centuries until World War I. That war permanently removed hair from the faces of US military personnel.


Prior to WWI, beards were common in the military as evidenced by this photo of Sherman above. But the clean shaven look was mandated in WWI because of the filthy conditions of trench warfare and the need to make a uniform seal on the face when wearing a gas mask. Ever since then, the military has been against facial hair and even mandated short hair for the head. The hygiene question is why the military shaves the heads of recruits when they enter basic training.


I think the hygiene issue still matters. Nothing screams filth like a bearded hippie. This is why the clean shaven look made its way into the world of business. Like suits and ties, the clean shaven look was carried over from the military because it conveyed the same level of respectability. This is also why short hair on men is preferred to long hair.


Once you decide to accept shaving as your thing, that leaves the method of shaving. Some men will experiment with electric shavers, and those experiments will fail. I have never had an electric shaver that could adequately get the job done. There are always a few whiskers left that stubbornly refuse to get shorn by the razor. In frustration, you will turn to a real razor to get that last 10% done. Then, the thing gets tossed in a box to rust at the bottom of a closet. Men, do yourselves a favor and don't waste your time with an electric razor.


Your next option is the most dangerous option. This is the straight razor. Straight razors will get the job done. It will remove all whiskers as well as skin, earlobes, and a piece of your nose. I am exaggerating a bit here, but I am not exaggerating when I say that the straight razor requires a skilled hand. I have never attempted to shave with what I call the "danger razor."


My preferred option for shaving is the safety razor. It gets its name from the fact that you can't slice off your face with it like the straight razor. When this thing came out, it rapidly became the razor of choice for many men. This is the razor John Kennedy shaved with. This is the razor used by US troops all over the world. It got the job done and will always get the job done. So, what happened to the safety razor to make it disappear? The answer to that is simple. Gillette wanted to make money, so they introduced cartridge shaving. That was a bad move.


The Gillette Trac II was a success for the company. They could patent a product that would have to be bought again and again. It wasn't necessarily a bad product. The cartridges were easy to load. They had two blades which made shaving faster. But it basically locked you into Gillette. Then, when the patent ran out, they went to Mach 3, Fusion, and all the rest. Schick copycatted with their products. Naturally, they are hideously expensive prompting up starts like Harry's and Dollar Shave Club to get into the act. Frankly, the act has become ridiculous. What used to cost pennies now costs many dollars.

The old school safety razor is the way to go. I've done the cartridge thing, and I find that multiblade razors give me razor bumps. Disposable razors are nice if you have to use them, but I recommend a single bladed Bic razor. Basically, it is a safety razor with a plastic handle.


If you get the idea that they are ripping you off with those expensive multiblade razors, you would be correct. The other place they get you is on the shaving cream. Canned shaving cream is a gigantic waste of money. For the same price of a can of Foamy or Barbasol that will last you for a week, you can get a cake of shave soap that will last for months. Invest in a brush and a cup, and you will never use canned lather ever again.


I prefer homemade shave soap, and my supplier is lady who lives in my town and sells her products at the local farmer's market. You may be able to find some online. These soaps are well made and have a nice scent. They are also kind to the skin on your face. Plus, that warm wet brush of lather feels awesome. Combined with the safety razor, shaving becomes a real pleasure with the brush and lather.

This leaves us with aftershave products. If you are a metrosexual type, you will opt for some silly expensive cream out of a tube which is basically hand lotion for your face. If you are a real man, you will go with a cheap aftershave that your grandpa used. It will have alcohol in it, and it will burn when you apply it. Then, it will feel great as it evaporates leaving your face feeling refreshed and smelling manly. My preference is Aqua Velva or whatever drugstore copycat product is available.

Shaving should be cheap, mostly comfortable, and leave you looking great. Somewhere, the companies involved with shaving decided they needed to milk the cow harder and sell men on expensive products that did a worse job at a ridiculous price. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and shave like your grandpa did.


Finally, we have the last aspect of shaving to consider which is the shaving of the head. It is said that Telly Savalas shaved his head to play Pontius Pilate in The Greatest Story Ever Told. He liked the look and kept it. Here is what Telly looked like with hair:


Savalas didn't have much to shave. He had the classic horseshoe thing going. At this stage of baldness, shaving it off is an improvement in much the same way that taking a chainsaw to a dead tree can only improve the landscape. Other famous men like Yul Brynner and Bruce Willis would clean off what was left on their balding pates. I highly recommend it. It is a liberating thing. Here is the alternative:


Jesse Ventura used to belong to the head shaver's club, but he decided to let it go wild. Now, he looks more like a clown where he used to be a certified bad ass. If he had a matching beard, I would chalk it up to him not giving a damn in his old age. But when you truly don't care, you take it all off and forget about the hair you once had.

For myself, the shaved head thing was a gradual thing as I cut my hair shorter and shorter until I found it more convenient to just lather my head and shave it off. I was not balding at the time when I made the decision, but I am now. I find hair to be a nuisance now. I don't do anything different for the dome than I do with my face. I use the safety razor, and I bathe my head in the same aftershave I use on my face.

Shaving can be a chore for me, but there is an upside. It feels cleaner and better to be hairless. When I had the mop, I suffered from dandruff. I went through a lot of bottles of Head & Shoulders during those years and that stuff never worked as advertised. I found my scalp issues vanished with my hair. I shave daily except for Saturdays when I give myself a break and let the scruff appear. I am not inclined to change my changeless appearance.

12.25.2016

St. Thomas Aquinas on the Incarnation


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
JOHN 1:1-5 DOUAY-RHEIMS

Article 1. Whether it was fitting that God should become incarnate?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was not fitting for God to become incarnate. Since God from all eternity is the very essence of goodness, it was best for Him to be as He had been from all eternity. But from all eternity He had been without flesh. Therefore it was most fitting for Him not to be united to flesh. Therefore it was not fitting for God to become incarnate.

Objection 2. Further, it is not fitting to unite things that are infinitely apart, even as it would not be a fitting union if one were "to paint a figure in which the neck of a horse was joined to the head of a man" [Horace, Ars. Poet., line 1]. But God and flesh are infinitely apart; since God is most simple, and flesh is most composite--especially human flesh. Therefore it was not fitting that God should be united to human flesh.

Objection 3. Further, a body is as distant from the highest spirit as evil is from the highest good. But it was wholly unfitting that God, Who is the highest good, should assume evil. Therefore it was not fitting that the highest uncreated spirit should assume a body.

Objection 4. Further, it is not becoming that He Who surpassed the greatest things should be contained in the least, and He upon Whom rests the care of great things should leave them for lesser things. But God--Who takes care of the whole world--the whole universe of things cannot contain. Therefore it would seem unfitting that "He should be hid under the frail body of a babe in swathing bands, in comparison with Whom the whole universe is accounted as little; and that this Prince should quit His throne for so long, and transfer the government of the whole world to so frail a body," as Volusianus writes to Augustine (Ep. cxxxv).

On the contrary, It would seem most fitting that by visible things the invisible things of God should be made known; for to this end was the whole world made, as is clear from the word of the Apostle (Romans 1:20): "For the invisible things of God . . . are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made." But, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 1), by the mystery of Incarnation are made known at once the goodness, the wisdom, the justice, and the power or might of God--"His goodness, for He did not despise the weakness of His own handiwork; His justice, since, on man's defeat, He caused the tyrant to be overcome by none other than man, and yet He did not snatch men forcibly from death; His wisdom, for He found a suitable discharge for a most heavy debt; His power, or infinite might, for there is nothing greater than for God to become incarnate . . ."

I answer that, To each things, that is befitting which belongs to it by reason of its very nature; thus, to reason befits man, since this belongs to him because he is of a rational nature. But the very nature of God is goodness, as is clear from Dionysius (Div. Nom. i). Hence, what belongs to the essence of goodness befits God. But it belongs to the essence of goodness to communicate itself to others, as is plain from Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv). Hence it belongs to the essence of the highest good to communicate itself in the highest manner to the creature, and this is brought about chiefly by "His so joining created nature to Himself that one Person is made up of these three--the Word, a soul and flesh," as Augustine says (De Trin. xiii). Hence it is manifest that it was fitting that God should become incarnate.

Reply to Objection 1. The mystery of Incarnation was not completed through God being changed in any way from the state in which He had been from eternity, but through His having united Himself to the creature in a new way, or rather through having united it to Himself. But it is fitting that a creature which by nature is mutable, should not always be in one way. And therefore, as the creature began to be, although it had not been before, so likewise, not having been previously united to God in Person, it was afterwards united to Him.

Reply to Objection 2. To be united to God in unity of person was not fitting to human flesh, according to its natural endowments, since it was above its dignity; nevertheless, it was fitting that God, by reason of His infinite goodness, should unite it to Himself for man's salvation.

Reply to Objection 3. Every mode of being wherein any creature whatsoever differs from the Creator has been established by God's wisdom, and is ordained to God's goodness. For God, Who is uncreated, immutable, and incorporeal, produced mutable and corporeal creatures for His own goodness. And so also the evil of punishment was established by God's justice for God's glory. But evil of fault is committed by withdrawing from the art of the Divine wisdom and from the order of the Divine goodness. And therefore it could be fitting to God to assume a nature created, mutable, corporeal, and subject to penalty, but it did not become Him to assume the evil of fault.

Reply to Objection 4. As Augustine replies (Ep. ad Volusian. 137): "The Christian doctrine nowhere holds that God was so joined to human flesh as either to desert or lose, or to transfer and as it were, contract within this frail body, the care of governing the universe. This is the thought of men unable to see anything but corporeal things . . . God is great not in mass, but in might. Hence the greatness of His might feels no straits in narrow surroundings. Nor, if the passing word of a man is heard at once by many, and wholly by each, is it incredible that the abiding Word of God should be everywhere at once?" Hence nothing unfitting arises from God becoming incarnate.

Article 2. Whether it was necessary for the restoration of the human race that the Word of God should become incarnate?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was not necessary for the reparation of the human race that the Word of God should become incarnate. For since the Word of God is perfect God, as has been said (I:4:1; I:4:2), no power was added to Him by the assumption of flesh. Therefore, if the incarnate Word of God restored human nature. He could also have restored it without assuming flesh.

Objection 2. Further, for the restoration of human nature, which had fallen through sin, nothing more is required than that man should satisfy for sin. Now man can satisfy, as it would seem, for sin; for God cannot require from man more than man can do, and since He is more inclined to be merciful than to punish, as He lays the act of sin to man's charge, so He ought to credit him with the contrary act. Therefore it was not necessary for the restoration of human nature that the Word of God should become incarnate.

Objection 3. Further, to revere God pertains especially to man's salvation; hence it is written (Malachi 1:6): "If, then, I be a father, where is my honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?" But men revere God the more by considering Him as elevated above all, and far beyond man's senses, hence (Psalm 112:4) it is written: "The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens"; and farther on: "Who is as the Lord our God?" which pertains to reverence. Therefore it would seem unfitting to man's salvation that God should be made like unto us by assuming flesh.

On the contrary, What frees the human race from perdition is necessary for the salvation of man. But the mystery of Incarnation is such; according to John 3:16: "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." Therefore it was necessary for man's salvation that God should become incarnate.

I answer that, A thing is said to be necessary for a certain end in two ways. First, when the end cannot be without it; as food is necessary for the preservation of human life. Secondly, when the end is attained better and more conveniently, as a horse is necessary for a journey. In the first way it was not necessary that God should become incarnate for the restoration of human nature. For God with His omnipotent power could have restored human nature in many other ways. But in the second way it was necessary that God should become incarnate for the restoration of human nature. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 10): "We shall also show that other ways were not wanting to God, to Whose power all things are equally subject; but that there was not a more fitting way of healing our misery."

Now this may be viewed with respect to our "furtherance in good." First, with regard to faith, which is made more certain by believing God Himself Who speaks; hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 2): "In order that man might journey more trustfully toward the truth, the Truth itself, the Son of God, having assumed human nature, established and founded faith." Secondly, with regard to hope, which is thereby greatly strengthened; hence Augustine says (De Trin. xiii): "Nothing was so necessary for raising our hope as to show us how deeply God loved us. And what could afford us a stronger proof of this than that the Son of God should become a partner with us of human nature?" Thirdly, with regard to charity, which is greatly enkindled by this; hence Augustine says (De Catech. Rudib. iv): "What greater cause is there of the Lord's coming than to show God's love for us?" And he afterwards adds: "If we have been slow to love, at least let us hasten to love in return." Fourthly, with regard to well-doing, in which He set us an example; hence Augustine says in a sermon (xxii de Temp.): "Man who might be seen was not to be followed; but God was to be followed, Who could not be seen. And therefore God was made man, that He Who might be seen by man, and Whom man might follow, might be shown to man." Fifthly, with regard to the full participation of the Divinity, which is the true bliss of man and end of human life; and this is bestowed upon us by Christ's humanity; for Augustine says in a sermon (xiii de Temp.): "God was made man, that man might be made God."

So also was this useful for our "withdrawal from evil." First, because man is taught by it not to prefer the devil to himself, nor to honor him who is the author of sin; hence Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 17): "Since human nature is so united to God as to become one person, let not these proud spirits dare to prefer themselves to man, because they have no bodies." Secondly, because we are thereby taught how great is man's dignity, lest we should sully it with sin; hence Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xvi): "God has proved to us how high a place human nature holds amongst creatures, inasmuch as He appeared to men as a true man." And Pope Leo says in a sermon on the Nativity (xxi): "Learn, O Christian, thy worth; and being made a partner of the Divine nature, refuse to return by evil deeds to your former worthlessness." Thirdly, because, "in order to do away with man's presumption, the grace of God is commended in Jesus Christ, though no merits of ours went before," as Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 17). Fourthly, because "man's pride, which is the greatest stumbling-block to our clinging to God, can be convinced and cured by humility so great," as Augustine says in the same place. Fifthly, in order to free man from the thraldom of sin, which, as Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 13), "ought to be done in such a way that the devil should be overcome by the justice of the man Jesus Christ," and this was done by Christ satisfying for us. Now a mere man could not have satisfied for the whole human race, and God was not bound to satisfy; hence it behooved Jesus Christ to be both God and man. Hence Pope Leo says in the same sermon: "Weakness is assumed by strength, lowliness by majesty, mortality by eternity, in order that one and the same Mediator of God and men might die in one and rise in the other--for this was our fitting remedy. Unless He was God, He would not have brought a remedy; and unless He was man, He would not have set an example."

And there are very many other advantages which accrued, above man's apprehension.

Reply to Objection 1. This reason has to do with the first kind of necessity, without which we cannot attain to the end.

Reply to Objection 2. Satisfaction may be said to be sufficient in two ways--first, perfectly, inasmuch as it is condign, being adequate to make good the fault committed, and in this way the satisfaction of a mere man cannot be sufficient for sin, both because the whole of human nature has been corrupted by sin, whereas the goodness of any person or persons could not be made up adequately for the harm done to the whole of the nature; and also because a sin committed against God has a kind of infinity from the infinity of the Divine majesty, because the greater the person we offend, the more grievous the offense. Hence for condign satisfaction it was necessary that the act of the one satisfying should have an infinite efficiency, as being of God and man. Secondly, man's satisfaction may be termed sufficient, imperfectly--i.e. in the acceptation of him who is content with it, even though it is not condign, and in this way the satisfaction of a mere man is sufficient. And forasmuch as every imperfect presupposes some perfect thing, by which it is sustained, hence it is that satisfaction of every mere man has its efficiency from the satisfaction of Christ.

Reply to Objection 3. By taking flesh, God did not lessen His majesty; and in consequence did not lessen the reason for reverencing Him, which is increased by the increase of knowledge of Him. But, on the contrary, inasmuch as He wished to draw nigh to us by taking flesh, He greatly drew us to know Him.

Article 3. Whether, if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate?

Objection 1. It would seem that if man had not sinned, God would still have become incarnate. For the cause remaining, the effect also remains. But as Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 17): "Many other things are to be considered in Incarnation of Christ besides absolution from sin"; and these were discussed above (Article 2). Therefore if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate.

Objection 2. Further, it belongs to the omnipotence of the Divine power to perfect His works, and to manifest Himself by some infinite effect. But no mere creature can be called an infinite effect, since it is finite of its very essence. Now, seemingly, in the work of Incarnation alone is an infinite effect of the Divine power manifested in a special manner by which power things infinitely distant are united, inasmuch as it has been brought about that man is God. And in this work especially the universe would seem to be perfected, inasmuch as the last creature--viz. man--is united to the first principle--viz. God. Therefore, even if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate.

Objection 3. Further, human nature has not been made more capable of grace by sin. But after sin it is capable of the grace of union, which is the greatest grace. Therefore, if man had not sinned, human nature would have been capable of this grace; nor would God have withheld from human nature any good it was capable of. Therefore, if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate.

Objection 4. Further, God's predestination is eternal. But it is said of Christ (Romans 1:4): "Who was predestined the Son of God in power." Therefore, even before sin, it was necessary that the Son of God should become incarnate, in order to fulfil God's predestination.

Objection 5. Further, the mystery of Incarnation was revealed to the first man, as is plain from Genesis 2:23. "This now is bone of my bones," etc. which the Apostle says is "a great sacrament . . . in Christ and in the Church," as is plain from Ephesians 5:32. But man could not be fore-conscious of his fall, for the same reason that the angels could not, as Augustine proves (Gen. ad lit. xi, 18). Therefore, even if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Verb. Apost. viii, 2), expounding what is set down in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost"; "Therefore, if man had not sinned, the Son of Man would not have come." And on 1 Timothy 1:15, "Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners," a gloss says, "There was no cause of Christ's coming into the world, except to save sinners. Take away diseases, take away wounds, and there is no need of medicine."

I answer that, There are different opinions about this question. For some say that even if man had not sinned, the Son of Man would have become incarnate. Others assert the contrary, and seemingly our assent ought rather to be given to this opinion.

For such things as spring from God's will, and beyond the creature's due, can be made known to us only through being revealed in the Sacred Scripture, in which the Divine Will is made known to us. Hence, since everywhere in the Sacred Scripture the sin of the first man is assigned as the reason of Incarnation, it is more in accordance with this to say that the work of Incarnation was ordained by God as a remedy for sin; so that, had sin not existed, Incarnation would not have been. And yet the power of God is not limited to this; even had sin not existed, God could have become incarnate.

Reply to Objection 1. All the other causes which are assigned in the preceding article have to do with a remedy for sin. For if man had not sinned, he would have been endowed with the light of Divine wisdom, and would have been perfected by God with the righteousness of justice in order to know and carry out everything needful. But because man, on deserting God, had stooped to corporeal things, it was necessary that God should take flesh, and by corporeal things should afford him the remedy of salvation. Hence, on John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh," St. Augustine says (Tract. ii): "Flesh had blinded thee, flesh heals thee; for Christ came and overthrew the vices of the flesh."

Reply to Objection 2. The infinity of Divine power is shown in the mode of production of things from nothing. Again, it suffices for the perfection of the universe that the creature be ordained in a natural manner to God as to an end. But that a creature should be united to God in person exceeds the limits of the perfection of nature.

Reply to Objection 3. A double capability may be remarked in human nature: one, in respect of the order of natural power, and this is always fulfilled by God, Who apportions to each according to its natural capability; the other in respect to the order of the Divine power, which all creatures implicitly obey; and the capability we speak of pertains to this. But God does not fulfil all such capabilities, otherwise God could do only what He has done in creatures, and this is false, as stated above (I:105:6). But there is no reason why human nature should not have been raised to something greater after sin. For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom; hence it is written (Romans 5:20): "Where sin abounded, grace did more abound." Hence, too, in the blessing of the Paschal candle, we say: "O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!"

Reply to Objection 4. Predestination presupposes the foreknowledge of future things; and hence, as God predestines the salvation of anyone to be brought about by the prayers of others, so also He predestined the work of Incarnation to be the remedy of human sin.

Reply to Objection 5. Nothing prevents an effect from being revealed to one to whom the cause is not revealed. Hence, the mystery of Incarnation could be revealed to the first man without his being fore-conscious of his fall. For not everyone who knows the effect knows the cause.

Article 4. Whether God became incarnate in order to take away actual sin, rather than to take away original sin?

Objection 1. It would seem that God became incarnate as a remedy for actual sins rather than for original sin. For the more grievous the sin, the more it runs counter to man's salvation, for which God became incarnate. But actual sin is more grievous than original sin; for the lightest punishment is due to original sin, as Augustine says (Contra Julian. v, 11). Therefore Incarnation of Christ is chiefly directed to taking away actual sins.

Objection 2. Further, pain of sense is not due to original sin, but merely pain of loss, as has been shown (I-II:87:5). But Christ came to suffer the pain of sense on the Cross in satisfaction for sins--and not the pain of loss, for He had no defect of either the beatific vision or fruition. Therefore He came in order to take away actual sin rather than original sin.

Objection 3. Further, as Chrysostom says (De Compunctione Cordis ii, 3): "This must be the mind of the faithful servant, to account the benefits of his Lord, which have been bestowed on all alike, as though they were bestowed on himself alone. For as if speaking of himself alone, Paul writes to the Galatians (2:20): 'Christ . . . loved me and delivered Himself for me.'" But our individual sins are actual sins; for original sin is the common sin. Therefore we ought to have this conviction, so as to believe that He has come chiefly for actual sins.

On the contrary, It is written (John 1:29): "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins [Vulgate: 'sin'] of the world."

I answer that, It is certain that Christ came into this world not only to take away that sin which is handed on originally to posterity, but also in order to take away all sins subsequently added to it; not that all are taken away (and this is from men's fault, inasmuch as they do not adhere to Christ, according to John 3:19: "The light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light"), but because He offered what was sufficient for blotting out all sins. Hence it is written (Romans 5:15-16): "But not as the offense, so also the gift . . . For judgment indeed was by one unto condemnation, but grace is of many offenses unto justification."

Moreover, the more grievous the sin, the more particularly did Christ come to blot it out. But "greater" is said in two ways: in one way "intensively," as a more intense whiteness is said to be greater, and in this way actual sin is greater than original sin; for it has more of the nature of voluntary, as has been shown (I-II:81:1). In another way a thing is said to be greater "extensively," as whiteness on a greater superficies is said to be greater; and in this way original sin, whereby the whole human race is infected, is greater than any actual sin, which is proper to one person. And in this respect Christ came principally to take away original sin, inasmuch as "the good of the race is a more Divine thing than the good of an individual," as is said Ethic. i, 2.

Reply to Objection 1. This reason looks to the intensive greatness of sin.

Reply to Objection 2. In the future award the pain of sense will not be meted out to original sin. Yet the penalties, such as hunger, thirst, death, and the like, which we suffer sensibly in this life flow from original sin. And hence Christ, in order to satisfy fully for original sin, wished to suffer sensible pain, that He might consume death and the like in Himself.

Reply to Objection 3. Chrysostom says (De Compunctione Cordis ii, 6): "The Apostle used these words, not as if wishing to diminish Christ's gifts, ample as they are, and spreading throughout the whole world, but that he might account himself alone the occasion of them. For what does it matter that they are given to others, if what are given to you are as complete and perfect as if none of them were given to another than yourself?" And hence, although a man ought to account Christ's gifts as given to himself, yet he ought not to consider them not to be given to others. And thus we do not exclude that He came to wipe away the sin of the whole nature rather than the sin of one person. But the sin of the nature is as perfectly healed in each one as if it were healed in him alone. Hence, on account of the union of charity, what is vouchsafed to all ought to be accounted his own by each one.

Article 5. Whether it was fitting that God should become incarnate in the beginning of the human race?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was fitting that God should become incarnate in the beginning of the human race. For the work of the Incarnation sprang from the immensity of Divine charity, according to Ephesians 2:4-5: "But God (Who is rich in mercy), for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us . . . even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ." But charity does not tarry in bringing assistance to a friend who is suffering need, according to Proverbs 3:28: "Say not to thy friend: Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give to thee, when thou canst give at present." Therefore God ought not to have put off the work of Incarnation, but ought thereby to have brought relief to the human race from the beginning.

Objection 2. Further, it is written (1 Timothy 1:15): "Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners." But more would have been saved had God become incarnate at the beginning of the human race; for in the various centuries very many, through not knowing God, perished in their sin. Therefore it was fitting that God should become incarnate at the beginning of the human race.

Objection 3. Further, the work of grace is not less orderly than the work of nature. But nature takes its rise with the more perfect, as Boethius says (De Consol. iii). Therefore the work of Christ ought to have been perfect from the beginning. But in the work of Incarnation we see the perfection of grace, according to John 1:14: "The Word was made flesh"; and afterwards it is added: "Full of grace and truth." Therefore Christ ought to have become incarnate at the beginning of the human race.

On the contrary, It is written (Galatians 4:4): "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law": upon which a gloss says that "the fulness of the time is when it was decreed by God the Father to send His Son." But God decreed everything by His wisdom. Therefore God became incarnate at the most fitting time; and it was not fitting that God should become incarnate at the beginning of the human race.

I answer that, Since the work of Incarnation is principally ordained to the restoration of the human race by blotting out sin, it is manifest that it was not fitting for God to become incarnate at the beginning of the human race before sin. For medicine is given only to the sick. Hence our Lord Himself says (Matthew 9:12-13): "They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill . . . For I am not come to call the just, but sinners."

Nor was it fitting that God should become incarnate immediately after sin. First, on account of the manner of man's sin, which had come of pride; hence man was to be liberated in such a manner that he might be humbled, and see how he stood in need of a deliverer. Hence on the words in Galatians 3:19, "Being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator," a gloss says: "With great wisdom was it so ordered that the Son of Man should not be sent immediately after man's fall. For first of all God left man under the natural law, with the freedom of his will, in order that he might know his natural strength; and when he failed in it, he received the law; whereupon, by the fault, not of the law, but of his nature, the disease gained strength; so that having recognized his infirmity he might cry out for a physician, and beseech the aid of grace."

Secondly, on account of the order of furtherance in good, whereby we proceed from imperfection to perfection. Hence the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 15:46-47): "Yet that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; afterwards that which is spiritual . . . The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man from heaven, heavenly."

Thirdly, on account of the dignity of the incarnate Word, for on the words (Galatians 4:4), "But when the fulness of the time was come," a gloss says: "The greater the judge who was coming, the more numerous was the band of heralds who ought to have preceded him."

Fourthly, lest the fervor of faith should cool by the length of time, for the charity of many will grow cold at the end of the world. Hence (Luke 18:8) it is written: "But yet the Son of Man, when He cometh, shall He find think you, faith on earth?"

Reply to Objection 1. Charity does not put off bringing assistance to a friend: always bearing in mind the circumstances as well as the state of the persons. For if the physician were to give the medicine at the very outset of the ailment, it would do less good, and would hurt rather than benefit. And hence the Lord did not bestow upon the human race the remedy of Incarnation in the beginning, lest they should despise it through pride, if they did not already recognize their disease.

Reply to Objection 2. Augustine replies to this (De Sex Quest. Pagan., Ep. cii), saying (Monkeys 2) that "Christ wished to appear to man and to have His doctrine preached to them when and where He knew those were who would believe in Him. But in such times and places as His Gospel was not preached He foresaw that not all, indeed, but many would so bear themselves towards His preaching as not to believe in His corporeal presence, even were He to raise the dead." But the same Augustine, taking exception to this reply in his book (De Perseverantia ix), says: "How can we say the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon would not believe when such great wonders were wrought in their midst, or would not have believed had they been wrought, when God Himself bears witness that they would have done penance with great humility if these signs of Divine power had been wrought in their midst?" And he adds in answer (De Perseverantia xi): "Hence, as the Apostle says (Romans 9:16), 'it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy'; Who (succors whom He will of) those who, as He foresaw, would believe in His miracles if wrought amongst them, (while others) He succors not, having judged them in His predestination secretly yet justly. Therefore let us unshrinkingly believe His mercy to be with those who are set free, and His truth with those who are condemned." [The words in brackets are not in the text of St. Augustine].

Reply to Objection 3. Perfection is prior to imperfection, both in time and nature, in things that are different (for what brings others to perfection must itself be perfect); but in one and the same, imperfection is prior in time though posterior in nature. And thus the eternal perfection of God precedes in duration the imperfection of human nature; but the latter's ultimate perfection in union with God follows.

Article 6. Whether Incarnation ought to have been put off till the end of the world?

Objection 1. It would seem that the work of Incarnation ought to have been put off till the end of the world. For it is written (Psalm 91:11): "My old age in plentiful mercy"--i.e. "in the last days," as a gloss says. But the time of Incarnation is especially the time of mercy, according to Psalm 101:14: "For it is time to have mercy on it." Therefore the Incarnation ought to have been put off till the end of the world.

Objection 2. Further, as has been said (Article 5, Reply to Objection 3), in the same subject, perfection is subsequent in time to imperfection. Therefore, what is most perfect ought to be the very last in time. But the highest perfection of human nature is in the union with the Word, because "in Christ it hath pleased the Father that all the fulness of the Godhead should dwell," as the Apostle says (Colossians 1:19, and 2:9). Therefore Incarnation ought to have been put off till the end of the world.

Objection 3. Further, what can be done by one ought not to be done by two. But the one coming of Christ at the end of the world was sufficient for the salvation of human nature. Therefore it was not necessary for Him to come beforehand in His Incarnation; and hence Incarnation ought to have been put off till the end of the world.

On the contrary, It is written (Habakkuk 3:2): "In the midst of the years Thou shalt make it known." Therefore the mystery of Incarnation which was made known to the world ought not to have been put off till the end of the world.

I answer that, As it was not fitting that God should become incarnate at the beginning of the world, so also it was not fitting that the Incarnation should be put off till the end of the world. And this is shown first from the union of the Divine and human nature. For, as it has been said (Article 5, Reply to Objection 3), perfection precedes imperfection in time in one way, and contrariwise in another way imperfection precedes perfection. For in that which is made perfect from being imperfect, imperfection precedes perfection in time, whereas in that which is the efficient cause of perfection, perfection precedes imperfection in time. Now in the work of Incarnation both concur; for by Incarnation human nature is raised to its highest perfection; and in this way it was not becoming that Incarnation should take place at the beginning of the human race. And the Word incarnate is the efficient cause of the perfection of human nature, according to John 1:16: "Of His fulness we have all received"; and hence the work of Incarnation ought not to have been put off till the end of the world. But the perfection of glory to which human nature is to be finally raised by the Word Incarnate will be at the end of the world.

Secondly, from the effect of man's salvation; for, as is said Qq. Vet et Nov. Test., qu. 83, "it is in the power of the Giver to have pity when, or as much as, He wills. Hence He came when He knew it was fitting to succor, and when His boons would be welcome. For when by the feebleness of the human race men's knowledge of God began to grow dim and their morals lax, He was pleased to choose Abraham as a standard of the restored knowledge of God and of holy living; and later on when reverence grew weaker, He gave the law to Moses in writing; and because the gentiles despised it and would not take it upon themselves, and they who received it would not keep it, being touched with pity, God sent His Son, to grant to all remission of their sin and to offer them, justified, to God the Father." But if this remedy had been put off till the end of the world, all knowledge and reverence of God and all uprightness of morals would have been swept away from the earth.

Thirdly, this appears fitting to the manifestation of the Divine power, which has saved men in several ways--not only by faith in some future thing, but also by faith in something present and past.

Reply to Objection 1. This gloss has in view the mercy of God, which leads us to glory. Nevertheless, if it is referred to the mercy shown the human race by Incarnation of Christ, we must reflect that, as Augustine says (Retract. i), the time of Incarnation may be compared to the youth of the human race, "on account of the strength and fervor of faith, which works by charity"; and to old age--i.e. the sixth age--on account of the number of centuries, for Christ came in the sixth age. And although youth and old age cannot be together in a body, yet they can be together in a soul, the former on account of quickness, the latter on account of gravity. And hence Augustine says elsewhere (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 44) that "it was not becoming that the Master by Whose imitation the human race was to be formed to the highest virtue should come from heaven, save in the time of youth." But in another work (De Gen. cont. Manich. i, 23) he says: that Christ came in the sixth age--i.e. in the old age--of the human race.

Reply to Objection 2. The work of Incarnation is to be viewed not as merely the terminus of a movement from imperfection to perfection, but also as a principle of perfection to human nature, as has been said.

Reply to Objection 3. As Chrysostom says on John 3:11, "For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world" (Hom. xxviii): "There are two comings of Christ: the first, for the remission of sins; the second, to judge the world. For if He had not done so, all would have perished together, since all have sinned and need the glory of God." Hence it is plain that He ought not to have put off the coming in mercy till the end of the world.

12.24.2016

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 35


Two things are infinite; a woman’s patience and her husband’s mistakes.
MATSHONA DHLIWAYO


I am of the opinion that a church's teachings on marriage, adultery, and divorce are a direct reflection of that church's standing in relation to Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics have always abhorred divorce, and they remain the True Bride of Christ. The Orthodox permit divorce but with severe restrictions. This reflects the Orthodox as the second oldest church in Christendom and their schism. Though divorced, they still keep their husband's last name. They do not stray much from the deposit of faith they have been given except on something like divorce and remarriage. As for the Protestant Churches, they have a free-for-all approach on marriage reflecting their utterly heretical and schismatic natures. The Protestant Church is a faithless whore.

Thanks to Pope Francis, the Catholic Church is beginning to reflect in its teachings on marriage what it actually practices in regard to the Magisterium. Catholics pay lip service to the teachings while appending their footnotes. This is how you get guys like Mario Cuomo and Joe Biden who are privately opposed to abortion but publicly tolerant of it for the sake of politics. As it stands, the Catholic Church is the bride of Christ but plays mistress with the Devil.


Recently, Pope Francis remarked that he will be remembered as the pope that split the Catholic Church. He way well be prophetic in this regard mainly because the prophecy is self-fulfilling. The Holy Father needs to see his error on this and respond to the dubia of the Four Cardinals. If he gives an orthodox answer, he will betray his base of modernist heterodox allies like Cardinal Kasper. If he gives a heterodox answer, he will have made himself a heretic and perhaps costing him the Chair of Peter and even his own soul. In chess, we call this "checkmate."

Pope Francis is pursuing the third option which is silence. The pope who loves to run his mouth like some kind of celebrity rock star can't answer forthrightly these simple questions. He is leading the Roman Catholic Church to a civil war not seen since the Arian heresy.

My confidence rests in Divine Providence. This is a message I repeat again and again to those who know me. God is control of everything. Nothing escapes His grasp. I see in this crisis the Hand of God moving to cleanse and purify His church. Good things will come of this even if we do not see them at this present hour. Do not be discouraged. Do not lose faith. Christ will vindicate all who remain faithful to Him.


I don't believe in retirement. I don't see spending almost a third of your life in an extended vacation usually financed at the expense of others who will almost certainly never get to enjoy a similar retirement. I think Social Security should be abolished. It is a Ponzi scheme that will collapse while creating a geriatric welfare class.

Pensions are now in the spotlight as many state pensions for government employees are reporting that they are severely underfunded. Basically, they made promises of returns that can't be met by economic reality. Consequently, these pensions funds are a ticking time bomb. Either these state governments will have to pursue ever more creative and draconian ways to fleece taxpayers or pensioners will have to take the loss and learn to appreciate the fine flavors found in Alpo. I wholeheartedly support the Alpo option.



3. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Compromise is a word found only in the vocabulary of those who have no will to fight.
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Anyone who wishes to understand the mind of the sacred writers must first cleanse his own life, and approach the saints by copying their deeds.
ST. ATHANASIUS

The proud demons flee before the lofty virtues of the humble.
ST. BONAVENTURE

4. ODDS AND ENDS

--Microsoft finally admits that it was too aggressive in forcing people to upgrade to Windows 10. I'd like to think they learned a lesson, but I know they didn't.

--Apple is no better than Microsoft with those stupid AirPods and removal of the traditional headphone jack from the iPhone 7. At some point, they are just going to pull out the gun and demand that you hand over your wallet.

--This is sick:


--I am impressed with the Knights of Malta for standing up for Roman Catholic teachings. It would be nice if cardinals, bishops, and popes did the same thing.

--Young people leave the Catholic Church because they are functional atheists.

--I can't understand why the MSM hasn't jumped on the evidence proving Obama's birth certificate was a forgery. Isn't forgery of official documents a federal crime?

--Stephen Colbert was better as a fake conservative than what he is now--a real liberal.

--People would rather be dead meat than stop eating dead meat.



--Twitter's days are numbered. I may have to explore my social media options.

--Ivanka Trump may be a liberal, but liberals don't want her.

--The Smiths were Johnny Marr. Morrissey is/was overrated to the extreme.

--Princess Leia should go vegan.

--I stand with Israel. Obama is a closet Muslim.



--Obama can't hit the door fast enough for me.

--Joe Biden could have won where Hillary lost. He has the blue collar touch that Democrats have lost.

--Talk of rebooting The Jeffersons and All in the Family show just show the creative exhaustion of this generation. They are the Recycled Generation.

--When I discover a man who eschews golf, he goes up a notch in my book.

--The best thing liberals can do with their butthurt is bring Jon Stewart back to The Daily Show.

--It will be hard to make America great again when the last guy maxed out the credit card.

--Keep Christ in Christmas.

5. LINKS OF INTEREST

The Abolition Of Man (No, Really)

In a War for Souls, No Christmas Truce

Europe’s Future

Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony (Full Album) HQ

Sunflower Bean - Show Me Your Seven Secrets (Full EP)

Why the Education Establishment Hates Cursive

Words and Phrases to Lose in 2017



12.21.2016

The Blue Collar Approach to Living


What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.
JASON FRIED

When I meet people, I tend to sort them into two types of people. The first type are the schemers. These are the ones who believe that success comes from superior thinking, tricks, gimmicks, and the "gift of gab." The second type are the doers. These are the people who either never bothered with the gimmicks or have merely grown tired of them. The doers put their hard hats on and get to work. Naturally, the schemers think these doers are a bunch of simple minded fools. Work is for suckers too dumb to pawn it off on others.

The world of personal development is largely devoted to scheming. The epitome of this scheming has to be The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It is largely a book of tricks and gimmicks  You don't have to read the book to come to this conclusion. It exists right there in the title. The 4 hour workweek is a play on the 40 hour workweek. Blue collar people work 40 hours a week. These are the fools and suckers in life. Ferriss could have written about a 7 hour workweek or a 3 hour workweek. But the four hour thing has the echo of the 40 hour thing. Even the cover has a graphic of a guy lounging in a hammock on vacation in some tropical getaway.


I have read the book, and it boils down to two basic tricks. The first is to shirk some work such as not answering your emails. The second is to pawn off work on some peon. In this case, it would be a call center in India. These tricks are nothing new because they are the Standard Operating Procedure for managers in every Fortune 500 company. These parasites are paid handsomely for being clever at getting out of doing things.

I'm not into tricks and gimmicks. It's not that I'm too stupid to trick others into doing my work for me and getting paid to do it. I just find it dishonest and immoral. I don't think it is enough to win honors. One must also have earned them. Otherwise, they are as empty as the martial arts championship Ferriss won by exploiting a loophole in the rules and pushing everyone out of the ring sumo style. As Aristotle put it, "Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them." At the end of the day, there is no virtue or honor in winning on a technicality.

Unfortunately, the mindset behind The 4-Hour Workweek is not confined to The 4-Hour Workweek. Among personal development literature, websites, and podcasts, there is the desire to achieve success without actually working for it. Now, this isn't to say that you can't become rich through trickery. Con artists do it all the time. But somewhere between the illegal and the moral is that twilight zone where people can lie and get away with it. We know this as "marketing." If you read the Wikipedia article on it, you get nuggets of wisdom like this:
Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." 
The techniques used in marketing include choosing target markets through market analysis and market segmentation, as well as understanding methods of influence on the consumer behavior.
Now, Wikipedia usually offers the straightest answer you can get on a topic. Unfortunately, they fail on this topic. Marketing is merely a fancy term for what we have always known as "bullshitting." Except for clothes and music, the needs and wants of human beings have been fairly consistent for millennia. They want to eat, drink, sleep, and gratify their genital areas. To a secondary extent, they want to be entertained and also achieve social status in various ways. And the most consistent want is to gain these things without actually working for them.

Work is a dirty word. People want the EZ Path® to health, wealth, and happiness. If you doubt this, write a book called The 80-Hour Workweek and see how many copies you sell. People don't want the work. They want the trick. They don't want to study hard and do their homework. They want to sit next to the smart kid in class and cheat off his paper come exam time.

My thesis is a simple one. The near universal aversion people have for work is the cause of much of our misery today. Despite record high student loan debt and a dismal job market for white collar workers, kids still pile into colleges and universities to train to become debt slaves because they want to escape the alternative which is life in a blue collar job. If you ask these foolish kids why they don't pursue a career in the trades, they will answer in the same way. "I'm too smart for that sort of work." But they aren't too smart for the work of pouring coffee in Starbucks to service Sallie Mae and eat Alpo.

Here's an idea. It is a nutty idea, but I think we should try it and see what happens. Why don't we give hard work a chance? We are at the stage where the tricks and gimmicks have exhausted themselves mainly because we have run out of idiots to do all of our work for us. Why don't we start doing our own work instead? And, why don't we do a whole bunch of work while we are at it?

The work ethic works. Granted, hard work does not always pay off. But the alternative is laziness which never pays off. And, yes, there is a place for genius, but genius should enable us to do more not enable us to get away with doing less.


People today marvel at what our forebears accomplished in their day. They can't fathom things like the great cathedrals of Europe or Hoover Dam. How did these people do so much when they didn't have our technology? But the answer to that is obvious. They worked really hard at what they did. The irony is that we never ask the opposite question. Why do we achieve so little today with all of our superior technology and knowledge?

We are lazy. You can scheme all day, but nothing gets done without the doers. The world can live without schemers. It can't live without doers. Work must get done to have or achieve anything of substance or value. The world will always depend on the workers.

Embracing the work ethic is a hard thing. Work is such a torture. But when you actually do some work for a change, you will discover that this fear looms larger in the mind than in reality. Laziness is simply a barrier we erect in our minds because we have come to equate work with hell. It has been my experience that the only hell of work is having to deal with scheming rats too lazy to do their jobs.

People need to make peace with work. They need to accept it and embrace it. It is the hard path, but it is rewarding. Work is worth it. Work will make you a better person, and work makes the world a better place. And you will also learn that the highest honor and greatest success in life is when people praise you for your work ethic. We call this dignity. It is something no schemer will ever have.