Month: July 2019

Weaver

Richard Weaver, professor at the University of Chicago fifty years ago, wrote of “the Great Stereopticon,” a term roughly equivalent to what many call “mass media.” It is the technology that reaches out to everyone in western culture and tells us “the time to laugh and the time to cry.”… Read the rest

“It!”

In today’s idiom, it is common to use the word “it” when describing the sexual act or related things. It reminds me of beatnik hero in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road named Rollo Greb, a “wild, ecstatic” man who “didn’t give a damn about anything” and whose “excitement blew out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light.” The book’s hero, Dean Moriarty, admires Greb, and tells Sal Paradise: “That Rollo Greb is the greatest, most wonderful of all. . . that’s what I want to be. He’s never hung up. Man, he’s the end! You see, if you go like him all the time you’ll finally get it.” Sal, puzzled, asks “Get what?” Dean simply yells back: “IT! IT!” as though there was nothing left to add.

In interviews after the book was published, Kerouac implied that “IT” in the passage refers to the Beatific Vision. Nothing less than the Beatific Vision, said the lapsed Catholic Kerouac, is the ultimate beatnik goal.

Today, I suspect using “it” to refer to sex and related items has become commonplace because it occupies a lofty position in our culture. It would be an exaggeration to say sex has obtained the level of the Beatific Vision, but not much of one. … Read the rest

Sunday

You can trace almost every Protestant sect today back to five branches:

1. Lutheran
2. Reform
3. Radical
4. Anglican
5. Pentecostal

The first three were in existence within a few years after 1517 and had already started splintering among themselves a few years after that.

Anglican in less than 20 years, and it started splintering within 20 years.

(The fifth, Pentecostal (Assemblies of God), would crop up much later, around 1900.)… Read the rest

Thursday

H.I.F.

A rumor on Twitter says Mister Rogers, a Presbyterian minister, took last rites from a monk.

This article by Mike Aquilina offers details about Mister Rogers’ extensive ties to Catholicism, but doesn’t say he converted on his death bed.

So I have my doubts.

It reminds me of Santayana in his last days. He told a friend, “If the nurse nuns say I made a profession of faith right before I died, don’t believe them.” (not an exact quote)… Read the rest

Thursday

From the Notebooks

While returning to Europe with Sigmund Freud from a conference in the United States in 1909, Carl Jung had the most-famous nocturnal dream of the twentieth century. He dreamed he was in a medieval house. He went down into a vaulted Gothic room, then into the house’s cellar, which he thought was the bottom. But he peeped into a hole in the floor, and saw worn and dusty stairs leading further down, which he followed. He came into another cellar, an ancient structure, perhaps Roman. He peeped into a hole in the floor of that room, and saw another cellar, which was filled with prehistoric pottery, bones, and skulls. He thought he had made a great discovery, but then he woke up.

From this dream sprang his theory of the collective unconscious.

According to Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious, creedal images slowly develop within a society that are unconscious (unaware and habitual) and collective (common to the group sharing the creed). Hence the term, “collective unconscious.” In addition to the collective unconscious, each person has his own personal unconscious images, which form in a person depending on his experiences in life.

From the theory of the collective unconscious, Jung formed his theory of archetypes. According to Jung, the images that gather in the unconscious—both personal images and images that are shared with others as part of the collective unconscious—are called archetypes. The archetypes are the first cause, the source of truth for each individual, the points of reference by which a person charts his life and makes his fundamental decisions about his existence.

Each individual charts his life by the archetypes … Read the rest