Books and Holes
Response to a friend who wanted to know what I'm currently reading: "What am I reading? It's scattershot. The Virgin Eye is my mainstay right now and has been for months. It's kind of a book you pray with, so it's very slow-going, but I believe it is a modern classic: Jungian-psychologist-Catholic-convert brings 40 years of adult living and psychological counseling to everyday living. Highly recommended. I've also started Das Kapital by Marx, but man, it's slow-going, getting through his labor theory of value. I give myself a 15% chance of reaching the end. I continue
to turn to Dorothy Day's diary, and I have dedicated 2018 to getting through St. John the Cross' Collected Works (2017 was dedicated to the works of St. Theresa Avila, but it didn't go well . . . I just couldn't “get into” her autobiography, despite trying (now) for the third time). Amazon keeps recommending The Power of Silence. They'll get me one of these days.
My friend says Cardinal Sarah's The Power of Silence is a modern spiritual classic. I know I will succumb and buy it. I know I will, I know I will . . . but I'm still holding off.
My friend is more of the intellectual sort. I didn't have the nerve to tell him I'm also reading Gene Logsdon's The Contrary Farmer (though, honestly, it has more of a Wendell Berry feel to its prose than it does, say, a gardening manual) and Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms. I was concerned he'd be embarrassed for me, like walking in on someone while they're defecating.
I'm NOT saying, by the way, that defecating where other people see you is wrong or should be embarrassing. That's a western culture thing, and the heck if I'll be caught dead with such an attitude.
Speaking of which, this article by a former Peace Corps worker is definitely worth checking out. Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town. Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health. That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, "a fecalized environment." In plain English: s--- is everywhere. People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust ”“ onto you, your clothes, your food, the water. He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water. Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country.