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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2016 - Another Reaction

My friend Patty had a different reaction to the movie than did I.  I found myself analyzing it like a college assignment for Political Science.  Patty saw it with a "I'm a regular gal and here is what I think" mindset.  I believe her thoughts are worth reading. 

Lots of people think I live too much in my head.  They are probably right.  I do live in my head and I often have to remind myself that most of the world sees things with a different, more emotional lense.  I used to be that way, and I can certainly be goaded into thinking that way if someone is really determined to get an emotional reaction out of me.  However, I try to walk a different path today simply because my emotions get me into trouble.

I save my emotional reactions for The Niners, Disney movies and Action Films.  Oh, and old romantic comedies and anything with John Cusak or Keanu Reeves in it.

Seriously (as if someone like me has any other way to be, right?), my reactions to things have never EVER been in sync with anyone around me.  People assume so much about how I feel or what my opinion will be and then they are shocked when I find their attitudes to a conservative thinker being stupid is insulting or their pronouncement that so-and-so should be excommunicated is outrageous.  The other day, someone who considers themselves more Catholic than the Pope was SHOCKED when he was told that the Church does have a social teaching on War and it is in the Catechism - and if he wants to argue its application, then fine but if he rejects it as 'none of the Church's business' then he is as much of a non-Catholic as Joe Biden for rejecting the teaching on Abortion.

And, I reminded him, Joe Biden is honoring his Bishop's directive and not receiving The Eucharist.

Look, Jim Blackburn said it best yesterday.  The Catholic Church has been around for 2 thousand years.  The US has been around for 236.  At any given time the political platforms of one of the main political parties is going to line up better with Truth than its rival.  It is up to us, as members of the Body of Christ who use Faith AND Reason, to discern which party or candidate lines up the closest and make our choices.  We do not have the right to villify each other or to call a Cardinal horrible names or be, generally, idiotic in our approach to the world.

I mean, we CAN do all of that but we do not have a RIGHT to do it. 

When I was a kid, we were taught that there is a definite difference between what we can (are able) to do, what we have a right to do as citizens of the United States and what we SHOULD do as good Catholics.  I think it is time we all take a deep breath and re-read the Catechism. Then, maybe, we can start doing our examinations of conscience again every night.  We can go over our day and, with a calm and loving heart, review what we did and see where we went wrong and where we went right.

Then we give it to The Holy Trinity, through the Hands of Our Lady, and stop being such bullies and brats.


Robert said...


That Blackburn segment started at ~28:40 into the program, and I tuned in that day at the start of the hunters lobby portion, and only caught about 3min on my drive back to work. But, thanks to the internet, I was able to listen to the part you spoke of in its entirety.

It sounded like the caller is dependent upon SSDI and Medicare to survive, and that he is asking if it is morally permissible, that is to say, ok without incurring grave sin, to vote the Democratic Ticket, or partially Democratic, to safeguard his income. My initial impression was “is he asking if he can Victor Hugo this thing?” Do the ends justify the means? Wow, a question of perception if ever I did see it. Perception is one of my favorite topics, especially since a few trusted people have said that I suffer from a disease of perception. You know a little bit about me, and could correctly guess some of the decisions and actions I have made in the past due to this ailment.

Well, I guess it depends on how good your cover story is. For myself, if I want something badly enough, my brain can rationalize anything to justify it; moral algebra is something I am very familiar with. If you want to read one of the best cover stories that exist, just saunter on over to the Lambeth Conference Official Website, and start at 1930, article 15 and 16, and 1978 10-2(c). Then go to the 1920 article 68 segment. It was nothing less than a complete turnaround of the 1920 article, but evidently they talked themselves into it quite neatly. I mention this because I was once an Episcopalian, or American Anglican, if you will. Who could resist a church with a cover story that good, good enough to last 82 years? At least the American Bishops of the ECUSA think it is, and apparently very satisfied with the results by all indications. This is just one example.

There is, in my opinion, a mode of western thought that is reductionist in nature. I use it all the time in engineering. It allows me to draw arbitrary boundaries to subdivide phenomena into manageable, computable bite sized bits. Instead of making a model of the entire wire, its exact shape and size, to discover if it will work in a given application, I make what we call “informed” assumptions about how much of that wire I need to really model, so that I don’t need a supercomputer running for a week to solve the problem. Most of the time, it works out. Sometimes I must model much more than I would have liked, or is convenient for me to do to get a job done. It all depends on how interconnected or distributed the problem is. A piece of wire is easy, in most cases, to reduce and get results that are good enough to use. Humans, on the other hand, are very distributed in nature. LOTS of interactions that resist, or reject, this reductionist type of approach. Yet we still persist in using this method, because the other methods are messy, non-determinant, or just plain scary in their implications; we are not getting the answer we want! In other words, there may be linkages between moral, social and economic relationships that have long lasting implications for our future.

I guess this free will thing carries a lot of responsibility. In the end, I do not know what is in another man’s heart, only what is in mine. Being Catholic is kind of like how my wife described our marriage, “the only way you are getting out of this is feet first.” Once a Catholic, always a Catholic. I can’t take it from you, and you can’t take it from me. But I can excommunicate myself, which is a little different. Fortunately, I do not have to hide behind the rationalizations of the past 39 years, and the body count that goes with it. I will be voting for “the other guy.”


Leslie Klinger said...

I am going to be voting for the other guy, too. Robert, it comes down to this for me: our present path is not a good one. We need to get real about our finances and what we truly value in this country. I may not agree with everything Mitt Romney proposes, but the issues of life are very important to me.