My Thoughts

I received another book this afternoon: John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty originally published in 1859. I can hear the critics complaining, “Too old, outdated, why waste your time?” Perhaps, it is because I am old, though not quite that old; perhaps because I have been told that I am outdated, a relic of another time; or perhaps it is because I have the time to waste and thoroughly enjoy old, outdated essays. Personally, I believe I am on solid ground here, thoroughly convinced that we have much to learn from what has come before; history does repeat itself, you know.

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My Thoughts

Ran into an intriguing thought, yesterday, “If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost.” Funny thing, when I ran across it, I was asking myself something similar, “What are you fighting for?”

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My Thoughts

These days I am reminded of a phrase now more than four centuries old, first mentioned in the classic tale The Ingenious Knight of La Mancha or more familiarly Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605, 1615). The phrase that comes to mind is “tilting at windmills” which surely must be an aphorism inexplicably baffling for minds critically indoctrinated by the modern public school system. Tilting, for students of more than a few decades past, is another word for jousting, which of course, to the fundamentally illiterate mind, is as odd a word as the former, just as chivalry, morality, honor, and fighting for noble causes are no longer sanctioned virtues by the hive mind. After all, though there were weapons mentioned in the tale, no mention was made of AR-15s, high-capacity magazines, or automatic weapons. All that aside, to ‘tilt at windmills’ is to attack imaginary enemies. It is that simple, and yet, too complex a concept for anyone who fathoms 2 + 2 = 4 as racist, phobic (there are too many phobias to list), whatever sinks your canoe, unplugs your peloton, or  burns your tommy johns.

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My Thoughts

For nearly three-quarters of a century I have been grounded by certain certainties, absolute absolutes, principled principles. Now, to be clear, I have no special talents when it comes to numbering numbers. Though I assume to know that two plus two equals four, I have come to realize that in any mathematical problem, no matter how simple or complex, there are an infinite number of wrong answers and with any luck at all one and only one is correct. For myself, I have always had an affinity towards any one of the infinities of incorrect choices.

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My Thoughts

Kindness. Kind … ness. Kindness is described as an act of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without having an expectation of praise or reward. Aquinas says, “The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.” But then, that always seems to beg the question, “What is truth?”

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My Thoughts

Just in case you are unaware, there is a pandemic circling the globe. Not the China virus, that is insignificant compared to the greater, infinitely longer lasting and far more deadly pandemic now upon us. Unlike the China Virus, which attacks mostly those who are at the highest risk, that is, the most likely to die from other causes, like from old age and those suffering from serious life-threatening health issues, this, yet, unnamed pandemic affects the whole person, young and old and every age in between, those in good physical health as well as those not so much, rich or poor, no matter their state in life. It is an equal opportunity killer; it kills the body, but most significantly, it kills the soul, the spirit, the humanity of anyone and everyone it infects. It is a slithering, sibilant slayer of souls, and sooner than later, it will come for you.

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My Thoughts

Have you ever been buttheaded by an immovable object; someone or something that brooks no dissent, allows no disagreement, permits no contravening of established opinion, no argument supporting reason or orthodoxy?

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My Thoughts

Few could or would argue that the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was a superb communicator, both as an author and orator. His 73 books written over a span of 54 years stands as testament to his intellect and his talents. In one of his first books Old Errors and New Labels first published in 1930 he decries the decline in the art of controversy and places such decline on two underlying causes: religious and philosophical. But he begins with a rather astute observation concerning the difficult task of thinking:

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My Thoughts

A long time ago, much longer than I care to cipher, during study hall one day Sister Ann Maureen stood towering above my desk glaring with grim disapproval at the book held firmly in my fourteen years-old hands. “Does your mother know you are reading that book?” she demanded. To which, as I clearly recall, I smiled and said, “Oh yes, we are reading it together. See, this is her bookmark.” The book my mother and I were reading together was John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, his last novel, published in 1961, the year in which I was “caught” reading it by the good Dominican Sister.

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My Thoughts

I am reminded of Hamlet. “To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” It is an existential question adrift unprofitable upon the mind. A madness bellows bitter blows without surcease; where it wills there is no succor, no relief. Madness begets a madding crowd, never-ending madness ‘til all are once and truly mad. Sanity is now a fiction, reason tossed on tumbleweeds tumbling madly wherever the bitter wind would blow.

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