My Thoughts

Shall I tell you what is missing on the menu? Why, everything and nothing; close an eye, snap a finger—it is easy if you cry—, then whistle in the dark for something, for anything at all. You see, I told you it was easy. The world is filling fast with flying pigs while raining cats and dogs, without a mention of the dish that wed the dish chased by the crooked fork and hollow spoon. These courses are, of course, the daily specials: here today, who knows what tomorrow.

A modern philosophy, of which thoroughly modern moderns fecklessly imbibe, peddles a concoction of contradictions, poured warm and neat, neither shaken nor stirred, which the piddling peddlers peddle as Sunrise at Sunset. What ordinary folk think of this is quite evident and should surprise no one in the least: preferring to call a spade a spade and not the cleverest implement for turning ever devised by man, the Fuzzy Wuzzy, or the Yankee Doodle. They see it for what it truly is, unadulterated baloney.

There is an ill wind blowing that chills the bones and turns the blood to stone. We have come afraid of shadows; thus, we find no comfort walking into daylight. Ploughshares are beaten into pruninghooks so we may reap what we do not sow. We love to hate to love selfishly our self-made image of our god-self whom alone we worship and adore. We look into the wrong end of a telescope and marvel at what we discover looking back. We mean what we say without meaning what we say and hear without hearing what we do not want to hear. We want what we want without knowing what we want or what to do with what we want when and if we should be so ungratefully obliged to get it. Is it any wonder sanity divorced us, having gone completely mad?

We speak in tongues—with neither decent rhyme nor peculiar reason—largely in euphemisms, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness “designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. In our time, speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” Such Orwellian linguistic muddling—discomfiting as it must have been to Mr. George Orwell three-quarters of a century ago—continues to muddle, though it has hence been lifted from the muck and mire to a new and improved unholy artform.

Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so”. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

“While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.”

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.[1]

Should I insist the sum of two and two is five and the square of two is three, you would say that I was either ghastly poor at math or perhaps, having lost a marble or two, gone completely mad. No one, no rational person that is, would deny the physical laws of nature, those nasty unpleasant rules that make the world go round while permitting our feet to be firmly planted rather than flung willy-nilly into space. Rather than deny them and because we cannot deny them, we simply choose to not think of them at all.  We accept, without exception, that there are physical and biological laws which are immutable and unbreakable.

And therein lies the rub: of facts, foundation and clear thinking, we excuse too quick the latter for we have no time for such overtaxing labor. We much too much prefer to bandy words in idle chatter than give a first or second thought to the laws that govern our behavior. Such laws, we attest, were always meant to be broken, so why worry them at all. And then, with neither pause nor weak demurral, we “put on Christ” and call ourselves Christian, while Jesus wept.[2]

Wake up America.

Just my thoughts for a Tuesday, for what it is worth.

[1] George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”, (GB, London: Horizon, April 1946).

[2] From an essay, God Reimagined (Colloqui, January 04, 2019).

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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