Monthly Archives: July 2012

Life without Christ

Unto you is born this day a Saviour – and yet it was night when he was born. This is an eternal illustration: it must be night- and becomes day in the night when the Saviour is born. – Soren Kierkegaard

The primary desires in all people are for beauty and goodness.  Life is full of suffering but the small  consolations provided in fleeting moments of happiness drive us on. For people who have nothing the colours of the sky during sunrise may be the only thing which reminds them that not all is misery. For people who have everything the expensive diversions which fill their lives (travel, education, cars) also bring about moments of happiness. But all such pleasures dissipate almost immediately, taking the wealthy aesthete back into a state of despair. Despair at their inevitable death. Despair brought on by their own emotional and psychological insecurities.  This is how consumerism and consumption come about. All these diversions are an attempt to finally grab a hold of beauty and keep it with them forever, rather than only have brief glimpses of it.  What we really want is to be left in a state of beauty for our entire lifetime.

My short analogy of human life goes thus

A man puts a dog in a pen. He stands on a platform higher than the dog can reach . For all it’s days the man dangles a steak above the dog, teasing it. He lets the dog sniff it, and on occasion allows the dog to lick it. Until one day when the man lets the dog take one bite of the steak. The dog is only given one bite before the steak is taken away again. The dog now wants the steak more than ever. After allowing the dog to keep whining for some indefinite amount of time, he shoots and kills the dog.

So goes Life and Happiness.

Or rather so goes life without God.  With God, what you once thought was happiness turns out to be nothing.  Through communion with Christ you are fueled from within by the source of all goodness, beauty and love.  Whereas those who seek happiness on their own are left trying to catch the wind, the Christian is transformed by the light of the spiritual world and is tied to that light for all eternity.

Before becoming a Catholic I had spent most of my years as an Anglican. (I now consider the Anglican Church and other liberal protestant denominations to be  Christianity Lite made with aspartame. A polite, watered-down, diet version of real Christianity. )  I then spent a short time as something of an agnostic. Then about five or six years ago I spent some serious time on the question of whether or not God does exist.  All logic, reason, wisdom and evidence indicate that He certainly does exist, and I became a Deist. I mention this because it’s important to note how different Christianity is to all other religions. When I was a deist I think that my spiritual experience in regard to the Deity was similar to what non-Christians experience (whether from other religions or the “I’m spiritual but not religious” crowd). It was similar in the respect that I saw God as the creator of all things.  What I didn’t have, was what only Christians have : a personal saviour.  Without Jesus Christ, the concept of God remains largely that – a concept. To me God was some inexplicable, and impersonal force unconcerned with the petty tribulations of my life. Now as a confirmed Roman Catholic I can feel God’s presence all the time, and know that to Him my life is as important as any other.  It is Christ’s perpetual vigil which now brings me happiness.

As I slowly and reluctantly became a Catholic, my ideas and expectations of God’s awesomeness kept on being exceeded so many times. This will keep happening even after my death. What I previously thought to be heaven turned out to only be purgatory. What I thought was gold was only bronze.  The gifts God bestows exceed all I thought to be good and possible.

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What Ingrates! The failure to appreciate Kenny Dalglish

This was originally written a couple of months before Kenny Dalglsh was sacked. Herein I examine the short-minded foolishness that guides the people who now control Liverpool Football Club

What Ingrates!

In the olden days when a person wanted to listen to their favourite song they had to get up out of their seat, take the record or cassette out of it’s cover, put on the LP and sit through the whole thing waiting for their favourite song. Kids these days wouldn’t believe the hassle one used to go through for the sake of a hearing a good album, what with having to actually leave your home and driving over to the next town to physically buy a hard to find , out of print Sinatra record. And although I’m not that old, I remember that when I had to invest energy in finding a record it meant more to me, and I appreciated it more. Now I just flick on my ipod, skipping from song to song in a way that would destroy an analouge recording, and can download a song which previously would have taken months of searching in a matter of minutes. The point of this is that as a music fan I’m awfully spoilt. Once coveted recordings are now as common as garden variety apples, and to be honest a little bit of the magic has disappeared. But I try to remind myself every now and then that when I was 14 I would have killed to have the access I do now, and to be grateful for what I have today.
Sir Kenneth recently spoke of the instant-success, fast-food culture infecting football. Wise words from the manager indeed. The vast majority of sports hacks and glory hunting “supporters” seem to have collective memory problems. I do think that modern technology can shoulder some of the blame. People today expect everything to be served up instantly, without having to invest anything on their own part. The sheer insanity/stupidity of people calling for Kenny Dalglish to resign can only be explained as the outcome of a general dumbing down of the culture. But one positive outcome of this hullabloo is that we can now seperate the real reds from the woolies. Liverpool supporters, *real* Liverpool supporters, are probably some of the most knowledgeable football supporters in the world. We’re a breed apart. And we know that in professional sports you cannot go from one successful period to another seemlessly and without having to go through the tiresome process of the rebuilding year.
Of course this is lost on many people who think that European Cups just fall from the sky. They probably don’t remember all the tedious games we had to lose in order for us to win that 5th Champions League title. “You don’t lose to win! You win to win!” I hear some of you say. Some people might think that Istanbul was the result of a remarkable 45 minutes. In truth it was the result of seven years of planning and building under the guidance of two managers. Istanbul 2005 started in the late 90s when Gerard Houllier decided to rebuild the club from the ground up. Along the way there were embarrasing defeats to Sunderland, several signings that didn’t work out, and countless newspaper columns declaring that Liverpool FC was a mere relic of days gone by. I know, and you know who had the last laugh.

Only a blind person can fail to appreciate what Kenny’s vision for the club is. I, like all of you, am not entirely enthralled with all of the players brought in over the past year. For instance I thought it was a mistake to let Aquilani leave in order to make room for Charlie Adam. But five minutes into the second leg of the League Cup semi at Anfield I finally understood why Kenny signed Adam. Dzeko and Adam were competing for the ball inside of the box when Adam ruthlessly hacked Edin Dzeko in the shins, winning the ball in the process. In that instant I saw what Dalglish is building – a team which can turn on the style, but also a team with sharp teeth. In other words, he is bringing back the team philosophy of Shankly, Paisley, and Fagan. Every great Liverpool side has been a team capable of moving the ball around the park with ease and efficiency, but also a team that is never pushed around. Let Manchester City and Arsenal continue running out the show ponies. Here something special will happen, but only with time.

Sadly, the incompetence of the club’s owners meant that Dalglish’s plans were never given time to come to fruition.  With Dalglish gone,  the players he signed also seem out of place. The likes of Charlie Adam, and Andy Carroll were signed to perform very specific tasks, and they will not fit the vision of Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool are going to pay a high price for the lack of continuity in the club.
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Adam and Eve

The First Week

The great ship smashes against the rocks

Molecules pour out of it’s belly, onto the hot sand of the shore

Left with no map or compass, governed by no law but the Word

Words as the only property, meaning revealed through God’s guidance and revelation.

Nothing escapes the divine sight of the Lord. No dust is made which does not originate from His mouth.

When Man was made complete

Up out of the ground! Up comes this woman, modeled and formed from the earth.

Parallel universes of man and woman making contact with each other. Planets hurled into the void.

Swirls of white light lifted from the body

Up into eternal existence of the Universal Church

Model and the Creation

One giving birth to the other , the other giving birth to thee

The Son

In human form

In Godly power.

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The Journey of a Bullet

A loud bang

A vacuum

And then nothing but the void

The emptiness of space.

A gaping hole in the back of my skull

An air vent for my corpse

A hole big enough for the doctors to put back in what was blown out.

The undertaker will be proud presenting this beautiful corpse

Show off the porcelain face the bullet did not scratch

Make the fatal wound invisible.

The fatal wound

Leaves a stain on the wall

Paint over it before the buyers see the room

Where he did it.

Scrape off embedded parts of my skull

“He was only 26, such a waste”

Cold winds through the open window dry the paint

“What’s for dinner?”

Forgotten by the time the ad for frozen vegetables finishes.

30 seconds, here’s my soul.

The old lady boils the kettle for the cleaners

Next year will be better

The blood patterns portend a prodigious harvest of grain

It’s no coincidence the shot was fired on a full moon

The last wisps of bleach on the floorboards will be gone by tomorrow

Climb into the truck, turn the key.

26 years.  Not a wink, nudge, or second thought

Pass the remote.

It took 26 years.

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Thoughts on the Anatolian coast, 2011

Good ole Odysseus
Sailing round the islands of what was Greece
Odysseus longing to go home
And longing to die

The age of heroes is gone
But the heroes provide pleasant shade to lie in
Shadows cast by men of marble and bronze
The mists of salt water slowly eroding them away

Flesh rots
Ideals live on
Ideas in the mind of a painter, older than the ocean itself
Confirming reality on canvas
In debt to the trinity of creation
Form, Substance, Cognition.

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Farewell Europe.

Brahms and his fourth symphony

 

This, the last symphony written by Brahms is the swan song of Europe.  First performed in 1885, the last great work of classical music in the Romantic tradition founded by Beethoven, coincides with the historical events that would culminate in the end of civilization with the tragic events of the 20th century. The 4th symphony is one of the last gasps of all that was once great about the Western World.

It is a work steeped in idealism, tradition, and a longing for beauty and the greatest good.  The ideals within the music are related to the philosophies of Athens, and German Romanticism such as Schiller.  The music is born from a world view which was rooted in pre-industrialized life. God was still God, and the job of the poet and intellectual was to celebrate man’s unity with the world he lived in. Harmony of the mind, soul, and body with nature was the goal. This was the world before Marxism. Before  Nietzsche’s ‘Super Man’.  Before Freud reduced all human behaviour to being nothing but the by-product of sexual impulses. Before the existence of the human soul was denied by the intellectual charlatans of post-modernism.

After Brahms, Wagner’s influence in music and philosophy became immense. From that point on it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to theories about social Darwinism, the obsession with ‘blood and soil’ and ultimately the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Escaping the terrible aftermath of those ideas which wreaked havoc on the world, and with which we still live with, is still possible thanks to fanciful flights of the imagination.  And 125 years after it was given to the world, the beauty of the work is still as overwhelming.

From the first bars, the composer seizes the listener and takes you on a mental hike through the Black Forest.   The power of the music is enhanced by just the slightest amount of restraint.  For me this is a dose of life as I would have loved to experience it. A small German hamlet where all goods are delivered by horses-buggies and the water you drink is imbued with the unmistakable characteristics of a fresh mountain spring.

 

Six years after 9/11

2007

It is nearly six years since that summer night when me and my friends walked around on a late summer evening. Echoes of Pearl Harbour were ringing around the world. Not many pieces of news cried out loud enough to be heard all the way in Orangeville. But we knew this was the first piece of new which felt like it would have any impact on our lives. We mozied around town like we did every night, but we walked through an invisible threshold in time that night.

It was the death toll for the days of our isolation protecting us from the rest of the world. It was that night encircled, smoking cigarettes, that the last sweep wisps of air that carried hope for a global peace after the fall of the Berlin Wall disapeared. I coped by the only way I knew how at the time, by trying to find some noble light in the situation. We were like our grandparents generation, being called to arms to fight. A fight which could not be ignored. A new strain of fascism was threatening us. One born in the ancient lands that gave the world the Bible and the laws of Hammurabi.

1946

Six years ago the facists threatened the world. For the last six years humanity has done a terrific job of blowing each other to pieces on nearly all of the continents. A lot of money and lives have been lost, entire countries laid to waste. But today we see the birth of a new world. Free of fascism. Led by a new global superpower.

2007

These preceeding words are the words I would have written had I been bor before WW2, and not nearly 40 years after the end of the war. These would also be the exact same words I would say today if not for one sentence ; “free of fascism.” Instead today we face a future where fascism becomes the defacto choice of world governance. Germany was like some poisonous octopus, reaching with it’s tentacles as far as it possibly could. Germany is a small nation however, and will never reach as far as it wants to. Today the fish grow bigger thanks to their hormone injected feed.

So now like some monster beyond the imagination of the creators of Godzilla, America spreads its poisonous tentacles from Cuba to Iraq. From Lebanon to Afghanistan. 

Fragments 1

The Complete Works of Plato comes down to one thing – a mans relationship with his wife.

 

Love. It’s chaotic. It goes through separate stages of life and death. Always dying, and coming back. It’s the sound of resurrection ,rebirth, the ascension It’s where the soul knows it doesn’t have to go any further .

 

Evolution is transformation, not generation of life.  There is no begining, no end.

 

The Good is the source of all light, and one cannot love, without loving the Whole of the Good.

 

Absolute Knowing. The end of all thought. The point in which the level of knowledge moves from Belief to Understanding. Go to the end of concious thought, and she will be there, standing with you in the light.

Why am I missing her? I should be kissing her!

The Monkees – She

The greatest love songs are always the bitter ones. Anger and sadness are what really composes the majority of a relationship. Throw in some jealousy with that on the side. It isn’t true love unless you can think of 1000 reasons to hate the girl before one good virtue about her crosses your mind. That’s what this track by The Monkees is. The singer comes up with his list of why the particular woman who is under his skin should be ignored and put out with the Wednesday morning trash. She’s a liar, she is manipulative, callous. She treats him like dirt… BUT… despite all of that he still loves her and would give anything to have her by his side. True love.

The heaviness of the instrumentation adds alot to this perfect love song. People who don’t know music, when asked to name a great love song always say some lame slow tempo ballad which has no bearing on what it’s actually like to be in love. The Monkees, who have always been criminally ignored by ‘serious’ music fans, took a smart risk with this song. A song sung by an angry jilted lover, backed by proto-metal guitars could have easily alienated the young girls who were the target market of the group. It wasn’t a huge hit, charting only in Australia at no.7, but it enhances the image of the band now that they are in their legacy years.

For people who like going through the back catalouge of pop music from the 60′s, such songs help to counter the unfair image of throw-away bubble gum pop which the Monkees generally have. Quality music will always find some way of rewarding the musicians who made it*.

*and yes, the Monkees DID perform this song.

 

 

 

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Existentialism via your television

A short lesson from the BBC about the problems of post-modernism.

My favourite thing at the moment is the British show ‘Life on Mars’. It’s packaged as a sci-fi police drama. The plot centres around a detective in Manchester circa 2010 who is involved in a road accident. After being run over by a car he wakes up in the same place, with the same name and job, but the year is 1973. The modern glass and steel Manchester he knows is replaced by a dirty, bleak, depressed city still bearing scars from the war. The storyline then revolves around his attempts to come to grips with what has happened, believing that if he can understand what is going on he’ll then be able to get back to modern day Manchester. He does not know if he is dead, in a coma, delusional, or has actually travelled through time. Much of the following story content is about his fish out of water experience of his modern training clashing with the old Clint Eastwood ethos of the police department he is assigned to. Diversity training, political correctness, cultural sensitivity do not exist in the world which he now inhabits. Instead he has to deal with detectives who spend most of their time in the boozer in between chasing after badies, employing a shoot-first policy. Without spoiling the plot too much, he eventually wakes up again in his normal life only to realize that his life in the 21st century has left him numb to existence. The endless procedures and doctrines which dictate a modern day cop’s working life has left him in a sort of limbo, his soul is dead, he has become an android. The real world is merely something he inhabits, but is not connected to or part of. Finally he decides to end his life in the ‘real’ world, his suicide ending with him picking up where he left off in the 70′s. He could not breath in the sophisticated modern world, so he took refuge in the rough and imperfect past.

Currently I have found very few other works of art (other than Radiohead) that so perfectly sum up the existential problem of life in the advanced West. The reason that there are at present, relatively few pieces of art that genuinely reflect the spiritual malaise taking place in our society, is that we live in a supposedly “enlightened” and “progressive” era of history. The accepted narrative of modern social history revolves around the delusion that the future is the story of inevitable progress and improvement. ‘Tommorow will be better than today, and today is better than yesterday’. Hmph. This fallacy is supported with the accepted index of human happiness : materialism. Most people today do live much more comfortable lives than they would have 60 or 70 years ago. And on the face of it, we have more social justice today than times gone by as well. But what does it benefit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? What has been the cost in our own lives for these creature comforts? The cost of these advances cannot be measured materially. The cost is paid in terms of mind and spirit. The reigning Utopian ideals of pluralism, moral relativity, “tolerance” and “inclusion” come at a cost. To make a longer argument shorter, modern man inhabits a system of self-imposed totalitariansim. He dares not hold an opinion that might conflict with the views of his neighbours, or the self-appointed elite .
Peace at all costs is the social mantra of modern man. Even if it means a total denial of the true nature of each individual. Humans are not nice, I’m sorry to say. We are by nature evil, greedy, violent and hateful. But today we see the full realization of the ideals that fuelled the French Revolution to perfect man. Modern man is the result of a long and complex effort at social engineering. Our greed is partially sated by the securities of the welfare state. Our hostility and suspicion towards ‘other’ people is partially suppressed by a concerted indoctrination into the politically correct way of thinking.

What results is a society of schizophrenics. True human nature is merely put into a straight jacket. The changes we think represent the modern enlightened man are as cosmetic as the moisturiser he uses. True change, conversion to true Justice, can only begin within the soul. It cannot be imposed. Every philosopher since Plato has known this truth. Today the voices of reason are silenced before they can speak. The next Beethoven will be censured by this social montrosity before he even has a chance to pen his masterpiece. In an attempt to child-proof the world, man has been arrested into a perpetual intellectual infancy.

Until more people awaken to the present spiritual crisis in the West, the “justice” in our society will be as synthetic as the keyboard that I am typing this on.

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