With this morning's post I do not bring peace, but a sword! Same as always.
All cutting asnide, what did Jesus mean by this remark? A helpful footnote explains that
the existence of evil necessitates spiritual warfare. The earth to which Christ came was under the authority of Satan. It is therefore essential that Christ wage war against the leader of vice with the weapons of virtue.
That's a timely observation, because I've been pondering just this question: the question of exactly who is in charge of this mess, AKA the world. Supposing this hostile entity called "Satan" is in charge, then this immediately makes sense of a range of phenomena -- to put it mildly. Problem is, this is not a satisfactory explanation to the modern mentality -- to put it mildly.
But let's try to approach this with an open mind and a skeptical eye -- you know, like a scientist: seek simplicity, but don't trust it.
While googling the exact wording of that last gag, I found some more good ones by Richard Feynman:
Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.
I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
Of course, he also said a lot of dumb things. After all, he was a genius. Most of us aren't nearly intelligent enough to believe such nonsense. For example, what's the difference between knowing the name of God and knowing God?
Oh, and it was Whitehead who said Seek simplicity and distrust it.
The world. Somewhere.... Ah, here it is, from this new translation of John:
But me it hates, because I testify against it -- that its works are evil.
Later in the Bible he's even more emphatic:
If the world hates you, you know it hated Me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
The question is, what in the world is "the world," and what does it have against me? The concord points us to 1 John 4, where it says that worldly worldlings "speak as of the world, and the world hears them." If so, how to explain the low ratings of CNN?
The other day I read an interview of Michal Anton, in which he touches on some of the same issues we've been shoveling in our exhumination of the cosmic ground. I'll cite a few relevant passages: for the founders, there had to be
at least a bedrock of rational principles that all normal citizens can agree on. It seems that if the ancient teaching is simply that no level of rationality in politics is ever possible, then not merely the US but all of modernity is doomed.
Which goes to why I've lately been preoccupied with this question: the left has become so deranged that it seems there is no longer a single principle on which we can agree. Speaking of rationality, check out this statement by Sandy Cortez at Powerline:
The damage of this careless process created very real spillover effects into our community. It created a real sense of panic and horror among those in our community who otherwise engage thoughtfully in these discussions, and fueled the discussion to devolve to a point where it became clear that this vote would risk a severe devolution of the good faith community fabric that allows us to responsibly join in a struggle for human rights and dignity everywhere – from Palestine [sic] to The Bronx and Queens.
I'm not of the world, so I couldn't digest a single leaf of that word salad.
Are we doomed? Well, if
no level of rationality in politics is even possible, then not merely the US but all of modernity is doomed.
Yeah, we're doomed.
Wait -- maybe not:
when I’m feeling optimistic, I think no, some of that spirit is still there, and we may see it emerge and push back against some of the craziness that’s going on today.... I don’t think we’re going to get the answer until there’s a real test, which we may be hurtling toward. As bad as things are now, my sense is that they’re still not yet bad enough for ordinary people... to fully admit to themselves that the country that they grew up in and that they believed in is lost. But it could get there. And when it does, then that’s when we’re going to find out if any of that spirit that animated 1776 is still in the American character.
That's my sense. For backup, I call on the gentleman from Colombia: Only spectacular collapses shake progressive brains. It's not a matter of if, just when and how spectacular.
What about our side?
the entire ‘conservative establishment’ is dull, uninteresting, repetitive, conventional, predictable, and have nothing to say.
Worldlings. These herbivorous men -- let alone progressive church ladies --
could not found the United States of America, nor any other state. You must have the heroic virtues of courage and self-sacrifice and strength in order to do the great things that they wanted to do. And these virtues...are not merely necessary for founding but for the preservation and perpetuation of the state.
The woke are probably out of our reach. But can we win over others? I think that’s possible, and that will have to be done through a combination of arguments, memes, art, jokes, ridicule, you name it. Spiritual warfare is vast and varied, and we’re probably just getting started. Conservatives are not really engaged in the culture.
Spiritual warfare. That reminds me of... paragraph 3.