Great Literature of our People. 5

 

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First part of the second chapter of Jerome K. Jeromes’s “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow”.

“You’ve been in love, of course! If not you’ve got it to come. Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it. Also like the measles, we take it only once. One never need be afraid of catching it a second time. The man who has had it can go into the most dangerous places and play the most foolhardy tricks with perfect safety. He can picnic in shady woods, ramble through leafy aisles, and linger on mossy seats to watch the sunset. He fears a quiet country-house no more than he would his own club. He can join a family party to go down the Rhine. He can, to see the last of a friend, venture into the very jaws of the marriage ceremony itself. He can keep his head through the whirl of a ravishing waltz, and rest afterward in a dark conservatory, catching nothing more lasting than a cold. He can brave a moonlight walk adown sweet-scented lanes or a twilight pull among the somber rushes. He can get over a stile without danger, scramble through a tangled hedge without being caught, come down a slippery path without falling. He can look into sunny eyes and not be dazzled. He listens to the siren voices, yet sails on with unveered helm. He clasps white hands in his, but no electric “Lulu”-like force holds him bound in their dainty pressure.

No, we never sicken with love twice. Cupid spends no second arrow on the same heart. Love’s handmaids are our life-long friends. Respect, and admiration, and affection, our doors may always be left open for, but their great celestial master, in his royal progress, pays but one visit and departs. We like, we cherish, we are very, very fond of—­but we never love again. A man’s heart is a firework that once in its time flashes heavenward. Meteor-like, it blazes for a moment and lights with its glory the whole world beneath. Then the night of our sordid commonplace life closes in around it, and the burned-out case, falling back to earth, lies useless and uncared for, slowly smoldering into ashes. Once, breaking loose from our prison bonds, we dare, as mighty old Prometheus dared, to scale the Olympian mount and snatch from Phoebus’ chariot the fire of the gods. Happy those who, hastening down again ere it dies out, can kindle their earthly altars at its flame. Love is too pure a light to burn long among the noisome gases that we breathe, but before it is choked out we may use it as a torch to ignite the cozy fire of affection.

And, after all, that warming glow is more suited to our cold little back parlor of a world than is the burning spirit love. Love should be the vestal fire of some mighty temple—­some vast dim fane whose organ music is the rolling of the spheres. Affection will burn cheerily when the white flame of love is flickered out. Affection is a fire that can be fed from day to day and be piled up ever higher as the wintry years draw nigh. Old men and women can sit by it with their thin hands clasped, the little children can nestle down in front, the friend and neighbor has his welcome corner by its side, and even shaggy Fido and sleek Titty can toast their noses at the bars.

Let us heap the coals of kindness upon that fire. Throw on your pleasant words, your gentle pressures of the hand, your thoughtful and unselfish deeds. Fan it with good-humor, patience, and forbearance. You can let the wind blow and the rain fall unheeded then, for your hearth will be warm and bright, and the faces round it will make sunshine in spite of the clouds without.

I am afraid, dear Edwin and Angelina, you expect too much from love. You think there is enough of your little hearts to feed this fierce, devouring passion for all your long lives. Ah, young folk! don’t rely too much upon that unsteady flicker. It will dwindle and dwindle as the months roll on, and there is no replenishing the fuel. You will watch it die out in anger and disappointment. To each it will seem that it is the other who is growing colder. Edwin sees with bitterness that Angelina no longer runs to the gate to meet him, all smiles and blushes; and when he has a cough now she doesn’t begin to cry and, putting her arms round his neck, say that she cannot live without him. The most she will probably do is to suggest a lozenge, and even that in a tone implying that it is the noise more than anything else she is anxious to get rid of.

Poor little Angelina, too, sheds silent tears, for Edwin has given up carrying her old handkerchief in the inside pocket of his waistcoat.

Both are astonished at the falling off in the other one, but neither sees their own change. If they did they would not suffer as they do. They would look for the cause in the right quarter—­in the littleness of poor human nature—­join hands over their common failing, and start building their house anew on a more earthly and enduring foundation. But we are so blind to our own shortcomings, so wide awake to those of others. Everything that happens to us is always the other person’s fault. Angelina would have gone on loving Edwin forever and ever and ever if only Edwin had not grown so strange and different. Edwin would have adored Angelina through eternity if Angelina had only remained the same as when he first adored her.

It is a cheerless hour for you both when the lamp of love has gone out and the fire of affection is not yet lit, and you have to grope about in the cold, raw dawn of life to kindle it. God grant it catches light before the day is too far spent. Many sit shivering by the dead coals till night come.”

A Books Cover

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There are two old sayings that are regularly misused. One is “You can’t judge a book by its cover” and the other, which I prefer, is “All that glitters is not gold”. Now there is definitely some wisdom in these sayings. I have many books, and some of the best have average looking covers. I also know that if you paint a piece of junk beautifully, you still got a piece of junk. But where we have to be careful with these kinds of sayings is when we try to apply them universally. (In fact, almost all universal thinking most be extremely scrutinized.) Some things can in fact can be judged by their covers, and gold does in fact glitter.

Often times we use these sayings in the negative. Saying that not everything that looks good is good, is not the same as saying everything that looks good is not good. Many things look good, and are good. I have a beautifully bound copy of ”A Christmas Carol”, you absolutely can judge that book by its cover, but I have also seen beautifully bound copies of the “Koran”, which is a terrible book. Another example is cars, I’ve seen terribly painted cars with awesome engines, and vice versa.

Now to get to what really matters, people. Often times these sayings, especially the cover one, is used for people. The problem with using these sayings for people is that unlike books, people can, and do, have control over their “covers”, and those “covers” are often correlated with what’s on the inside. Man has several methods of changing their “covers”, clothes being one of the most obvious. Clothing is relatively inexpensive. Almost every person in America can have an abundance of properly fitting clothes in any style they want. This idea that a guy dressed in rags is just some great guy down on his luck is an outdated falsehood. The fact is that anybody can dress almost any way they want in America, even bums. Anybody can have clothes that fit and are clean. So with that being the case, clothing then becomes very controllable by the wearer. So now the cover can in fact be a very good indication of the contents, and our saying has lost much of it’s application. In fact, as we all know, many people purposefully dress in certain ways to signal to others their intentions or beliefs. One can judge fairly accurately that a man with a sports team shirt, both enjoys that sport, and supports that team.

There are additional “covers” that people can have besides clothes (cars, makeup, tattoos, hair color, body size, speech patterns, etc). So often times when looking at a variety of covers, it becomes fairly easy to accurately judge someone by their covers. Below is a clear example.

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It is obvious that we can judge this person to be a devout Muslim. Here’s another one.

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If you judged that he’s not voting for Trump, you are probably right.

One of a person’s “covers” that they have control over is body weight. Every able bodied person can control their weight. If you see a man or a woman that is very fit, it does not automatically mean that they are disciplined, but it doesn’t mean that they are not. If someone sees a man or a woman who is very obese, it most certainly is an indication that that person isn’t disciplined.

With all this being said, of course you can still have exceptions, you can always have exceptions. You can have a guy dressed in a really nice suit who is a total jerk. But what we must always remember is that finding an exception does not mean that you can throw out every form of the rule (the rule being judging by the cover). This is actually an extremely important point. Let’s say we find a guy who is wielding a knife in a dark alley, and as we approach he says, “Hey don’t worry, we are just shooting a scene from a new horror movie”, and then all the crew walks out and they turn on a bunch of lights. Would you tell your friends, “hey, if you ever see a guy with a knife in a dark alley you shouldn’t judge him, he may be an actor.”

Exceptions should be called exactly what they are, exceptions. We should never use exceptions as excuses to throw out a rule. If we have no other knowledge of an individual, we should absolutely judge by appearance.

 

Great Literature of our People. 4

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Below is an excerpt from chapter one of book four of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

“Remember, young man, unceasingly,” Father Paissy began, without preface, “that the science of this world, which has become a great power, has, especially in the last century, analysed everything divine handed down to us in the holy books. After this cruel analysis the learned of this world have nothing left of all that was sacred of old. But they have only analysed the parts and overlooked the whole, and indeed their blindness is marvellous. Yet the whole still stands steadfast before their eyes, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Has it not lasted nineteen centuries, is it not still a living, a moving power in the individual soul and in the masses of people? It is still as strong and living even in the souls of atheists, who have destroyed everything! For even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old. When it has been attempted, the result has been only grotesque. Remember this especially, young man, since you are being sent into the world by your departing elder. Maybe, remembering this great day, you will not forget my words, uttered from the heart for your guidance, seeing you are young, and the temptations of the world are great and beyond your strength to endure. Well, now go, my orphan.”

Misunderstood Verses.1

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Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Like every verse in the bible, it is often impossible to infer the true meaning or intent of the words without looking at the verses before and after it. Oftentimes by taking one verse, or one sentence, from a larger work, you can infer drastically different ideas than what the author intended. Furthermore, even taking the entire work into consideration is sometimes not enough, there are often external factors that contribute to your understanding of a piece of literature. Let me give an example of what I mean. Below is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’s “The Abolition of Man”

“In another little book, whose author I will call Orbilius, I find that the same operation, under the same general anaesthetic, is being carried out. Orbilius chooses for ‘debunking’ a silly bit of writing on horses, where these animals are praised as the ‘willing servants’ of the early colonists in Australia. And he falls into the same trap as Gaius and Titius. Of Ruksh and Sleipnir and the weeping horses of Achilles and the war-horse in the Book of Job—nay even of Brer Rabbit and of Peter Rabbit—of man’s prehistoric piety to ‘our brother the ox’—of all that this semi-anthropomorphic treatment of beasts has meant in human history and of the literature where it finds noble or piquant expression—he has not a word to say.”

If we took one sentence out of this, say this one, “Orbilius chooses for ‘debunking’ a silly bit of writing on horses, where these animals are praised as the ‘willing servants’ of the early colonists in Australia.” We may take from this sentence that the writing that Orbilius is ‘debunking’, C.S. Lewis in fact thinks is useless, stupid, or to use his own word silly, and that he agrees with Orbilius. In fact if you look at that sentence in context, what Lewis is trying to get at is something entirely different, in fact, he is defending the “silly bit of writing.” Even if you look at the whole excerpt, if you don’t know who Ruksh or Sleipnir are, then some of the meaning is lost to you.

A book that was written by 40 different people spanning 1500 years is in many ways complicated. Taking one verse out of context is foolish, even one chapter or one book cannot be looked at alone. Let’s look at some of the verses before and after Galatians 3:28

23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So right away there is context missing. Who is he talking to, what is baptized, who is Christ Jesus, who is Abraham, heirs to what? Obviously, if you are a person born and raised in a western country you can answer some of these questions, but that is only because you have been taught those answers from other sources, you have a larger context to pull from. Okay, enough about context, now let’s talk about the verse itself.

At first reading it is generally apparent that what is being said is that although we are different, different race, different status, different sexes, we are all one in Christ, we are all on the same team. This is apparent because it is generally understood among regular people that there are different races and sexes, but in our current equality obsessed society, as silly as it seems, this has been twisted , and many people take this verse to mean that there are literally no differences among the races or among the sexes. Some may try to dodge this by saying that there are no differences “in Gods eyes”, but this isn’t really any different practically. This interpretation is difficult to maintain (including the “in God’s eyes” one), not just with what your senses and experience tells you, but with other verses of the bible. There are many verses that speak specifically to jews, or gentiles, or greeks, or slaves, or men, or women, that would not make any sense if there were no differences among them. If we were all the same “in God’s eyes” why would he give specific instruction? Why would there be a need for Paul to write different letters to the different peoples? In fact the very verse itself, by listing them, speaks of their differences. One would never say, “There is neither apple nor apple, carrot nor carrot, steak nor steak, but you are all food.” What one would say is, “ There is neither apple nor orange, carrot nor potato, steak nor chicken, but you are all food.” The very fact that the different groups are listed is admitting that they are different.

Now we must address what “one in Christ” means. Let’s imagine for a moment a ship leaving port, the captain is standing among his men on the deck, he addresses them so, “Men, we are going on a treacherous voyage, there will be many hazards and much risk, there will be pirates. I want you to know that on this ship, there is neither chief engineer nor oiler, neither first mate nor deckhand, but we are all one.” It is very clear what he is trying to say, that although they are different, they are all working together towards a common goal on a common team. Are they still different, yes. Are there still different rules and expectations from each of them, yes.

I am a white American Christian male. I am one in Christ with a black Nigerian Christian female. We are both working together to spread the gospel, we will both be in heaven. This fact does not mean that we should live in the same house, or the same country.  This fact does not mean that we should have the same type of job, or house, or car, or freedoms, or wealth, or opportunities. This perverted quest for equality that modern western man has embarked on is not godly, it is not biblical. There are a great many people on this earth, and there is a great amount of inequality. There is no biblical support whatsoever for the idea that it should be in any way our job, or our mission, to eliminate or reduce this inequality. Like anything that you put before God, you will find yourself worshipping it, instead of the one true living God.

 

 

What if Trump wins?

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What if Trump wins? Well first off let me say that I would be exceptionally happy. We need to get an American in the white house, which he is. But if he wins, we are nowhere near where we need to be. All of the facts that have been detailed in the doom and gloom books and blogs that have been written over the past ten years (The Mark Steyn books are a good example) have not changed.

America has 325 million people, only about 64% of that is white, that is down from about 90% in the 1950s. What this means is that there are about 120 million non-whites in America. It is impossible to assimilate those kinds of numbers. Now, many of those are blacks and others who have been here for many years, even generations, but a great many million are foreign born (about 40 million), or first generation.

Also, the general culture and traditions in America, which have been sliding into degeneracy for years, will also not be corrected by Trump taking the white house. There is moral corruption at almost every level of our society. I am not trying to rain on the Trump parade, but what I am trying to say is that electing Trump is not the end, but it is only the very beginning. It has taken a great many years to get ourselves into this mess, and it will take a great many more to get ourselves out of it.

We need to start thinking now about what we need to accomplish in order to turn this ship around. If Trump wins, we need to make it very clear to him that we expect mass deportations, or policies/enforcement of existing policies which will result in a mass exodus. We need to make it clear that Islam is not acceptable in this country, we need to shut down all Mosques, and deport Muslims. We need to make sure that the loss of our jobs to foreigners will no longer be tolerated. I could continue to go on and on with the Alt-Right wish list, but will any of it happen?

What if Trump wins? Will any of these things happen? If Trump wins it will be a great thing, but we must not stop working, we have a long way to go, and we cannot do it individually. If Trump wins, we will have a somewhat receptive ear to our demands, but we must make sure that we fill that ear, and we continue to push our country back from the brink.

Great Literature of our People. 3

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Sarpedon’s speech to Glaukos before going into battle, from Homer’s Iliad.

“Glaukos, why is it you and I are honoured before others
with pride of place, the choice meats and the filled wine cups
in Lykia, and all men look on us as if we were immortals,
and we are appointed a great piece of land by the banks of Xanthos,
good land, orchard and vineyard, and ploughland for the planting of wheat?
Therefore it is our duty in the forefront of the Lykians
to take our stand, and bear our part of the blazing of battle,
so that a man of the close-armoured Lykians may say of us:
‘Indeed, these are no ignoble men who are lords of Lykia,
these kings of ours, who feed upon the fat sheep appointed
and drink the exquisite sweet wine, since indeed there is strength
of valour in them, since they fight in the forefront of the Lykians.’

Man, supposing you and I, escaping this battle,
would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal,
so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost
nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory.
But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us
in their thousands, no man can turn aside nor escape them,
let us go on and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.”

 

 

The Northeast Portico

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A few years ago I visited Washington DC. I paid for a ticket on one of those busses that have a bunch of stops where you can get on and off pretty much all day.  I only had the one day, so I saw the big ones; Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, White House, Capital building, and some of the war memorials.  It was a nice day, colder than I’m used to, but it was a nice change, it is easy to forget what being cold is like when you live in a temperate climate. I had been to DC a few times before and I remembered liking the Jefferson memorial the best, there was just something almost holy about it in my mind.  So when I got off the bus I was kind of excited to see it. I quickly walked down the path and up the stairs. I was a little put off at first because it seemed to me to need a cleaning, it almost had the feel of a train station, but I guess it’s hard to keep it clean when there are thousands of people coming in and out. After I took a minute admiring the statue I began to read the quotes around the interior of the memorial. I was just reading and admiring the inscriptions, but when I came to the northeast portico inscription, my feelings of admiration changed to feelings of confusion.  As I read the quote again I knew something was wrong, it just didn’t sound right to me. I took a picture of the quote and got back on the bus to complete my tour.

The confusion stayed with me all the way until I returned home, and one of the first things I did when I got back to my office was research the quote, and sure enough my feeling of confusion was verified. Below is one of the actual quotes.

Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” – Jefferson’s Autobiography

Once I read the quote, I had to go back and look at the picture I had taken, because I could hardly believe it. The fact is, the inscription on the northeast portico is actually a combination of multiple quotes from Jefferson that he wrote at several different times and places. It picks and chooses which sections of which quotes to convey a particular message, a message that Jefferson himself would not completely agree with.

There are lies literally etched into the very monuments of our nation. There is only one stone that is free from deception, that is the rock our God.

https://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/quotations-jefferson-memorial