Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brave New 1984


By Biblioklep found at <http://biblioklept.org/2013/06/08/huxley-vs-orwell-the-webcomic-2/>

While an amusing comparative look at both Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the two quintessential works of dystopian literature, I cannot help but think about the truth of this when also compared with the world we live in.

In everyday living among the masses, we look more like Brave New World. We have movies, television shows, Youtube, and video games that allow us to mindlessly forget reality. The family unit has been dissolved and promiscuity has found itself as the replacement. We are more obsessed with our own public image by our physical beauty and material possessions than we are with the state of our souls. Religion (but not necessarily spirituality) is seen as backwards and repressive. We love our drunkenness and parties complete with fornication and threesomes ("orgy-porgy!"). Sexual promiscuity is even mass produced via feelies ... I mean movie-format in both DVD and media streaming online. Even as I type this, Spotify has just advertised a way to "attract women in less than 60 seconds," complete with a sexy blonde sitting quite seductively. We even fight for the legalization of soma ... I mean marijuana. Facebook (and other forms of technological social media) are connecting us more while drifting us apart.

However, on the flip side, news outlets are flooded recently with stories concerning the NSA and their "spying eyes," as if we did not already know that Washington did not already have Nineteen Eighty-Four's Big Brother watching us night and day. Remember, President Bush may have signed the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, but President Obama still enforces it.  The NSA, the DoD, and the DHS have been able to keep tabs on all United States citizens and most non-citizens. (BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU). President Obama has droned citizens without trial for the sake of "security." (WAR IS PEACE). As American society at large has deemed Christianity as the enemy of progress with Islam as the martyrs of Christian Crusade-like advancement, American news outlets refuse to talk of near-genocide of Christians by the hands of Islamic terrorists in the Middle East. (IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.) There is even this quote found on the White House webpage:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.
I am sure the Ministry of Love ... I mean the White House will be nice and friendly to those thoughtcriminals they find.

We are in an ever flowing flux of two dystopian thoughts living side by side simultaneously. On one hand, we have the everyday society found in Rouge City in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence while having the technological overlords found in V for Vendetta. I, for one, am not okay with this.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On True Apostolic Fasting


Χρήστος Ανέστη!  Christus resurrexit!




Bright (Easter/Pascha) Week is over, a week of joyful celebration as Pascha Sunday is celebrated for eight days as one day.  We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song!  This season marks the reason we are Christian: the Resurrection.  This is what separates us from everyone else.  We do not believe in myth nor abstract thoughts as the pagans but in concrete events that happened in history.  This gives us the power to sing:

"Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,

θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!"

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

Also, to throw in a wonderful Baroque song about the Resurrection that we all know:




Though the season continues until Pentecost, the fast free celebration of Bright (Easter) Week has come to an end.  Now we are called back to our cycle of joyous fasting.  First of all, Christ assumes that we are going to fast.  He had no need to mandate it, because He acted as if we were already knew that we had to.

The Didache (Διαχε), or "The Teaching of the Apostles," is a early Christian work dating possibly earlier than even some of St. Paul's.  It is a short summary of Christian ethics and actions, a proto-catechism of the early Church.  On fasting, it mandates:
But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites [early Church term for unbelieving Jews], for they fast on the second [Monday] and fifth day [Thursday] of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day [Wednesday] and the Preparation (Friday).
This fasting is abstaining from all animal products, oil, and wine.  This consumption of only fruits and vegetables leaves us focused on a lack in our diet, forcing us to reflect on our sinful lack of God, and further forcing us to orient ourselves back towards Him.  In our control over our diet such as this puts us in the habit of controlling the rest of our passions to allow God to work through them the way He plans.  Food is not evil, but our overuse of food is.  Sex is not evil, but sex outside the proper context is.  Fasting forces us to re-orient our passions back to the Lord.

This fast of vegetation-based diet is not just only found in the Apostolic Fast (Wednesdays and Fridays), but is also the proper way to fast during Great Lent to prepare for Pascha/Easter and the proper way to fast during Advent to prepare for the Nativity.  Also, for my Eastern brothers and sisters, the proper way to fast during the two weeks proceeding the Dormition of the Theotokos (Assumption of Our Lady).  The great wisdom of the liturgical calendar is that the fasting periods not only force us to re-orient our passions, but to also truly appreciate the feasts that celebrate the Resurrection, the Incarnation, and the icon of perfect Christian end.

The great thing is that secular health science supports this wisdom of the liturgical calendar even if it does not realize it.  I have read or heard from numerous sources, including a water show in Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, that it is healthy for both the human person and the Earth's ecological systems to refrain from animal products at least twice a week.  This does not even mention an additional two months of the year that Christians have already been doing from the beginning.  I also was listening to a favorite NPR science podcast of mine called Science Fridays that discussed the dangers of eating too much red meat.  Just further secular support of an already apostolic Christian habit.

Here in the West, we, unfortunately, only abstain from meat on Fridays.  During Lent (although unknown, we are still mandated to abstain on all Fridays throughout the year, or at least give up something of great pleasure). It seems as though we have forgotten in modern times.  This is one thing we can learn from the East: the laity partaking of the aesthetical fasts of Lent, Advent, and the Apostolic Fast (and the Dormition fast if we are daring).  Not only would Mother Earth thank us by not eating all her animals too quickly, but also our souls would thank us. To take it from Celeborn in The Fellowship of the Rings: "Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know."

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Beatles or On Moral Relativism...

Recently, I had found my iPod and an auxiliary to auxiliary cable to listen to it while I drive and remembered how awesome the music I had on there. Among my awesome music consists of most of the Beatles albums. Upon remembering this, I chose to listen to my favorite Beatles album, Rubber Soul, and from there, more reflection on the songs ensued as like before.



Again, the lyrics will be typed in black bold and my commentary will be typed in red italics.


He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
But what makes this human person a "nowhere man?" Where is he dwelling that is so empty that it contains nothing?

Doesn't have a point of view,Knows not where he's going to,Isn't he a bit like you and me?

And this is where. This is the emptiness of moral relativism, that there is no truth. Without a set of absolute and objective truths to guide us, we "know not where [we're] going to[.]" As this mindset of "there is no truth" heavily prevails in the overall social mind of Western society, this "nowhere man" is just like us. Empty and wandering.

Nowhere Man please listen,You don't know what you're missing,Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!

A little dogma goes a long way. Dogma does not enslave but frees an individual. Holding to absolute truths allows for people to communicate with others. A person who believes that "there is no absolute truth" commands not the world and all its wonder, but an egotistical universe in his own mind, isolated from the rest of society. The irony is that "there is no absolute truth" is in fact a dogmatic statement.

He's as blind as he can be,Just sees what he wants to see,Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

As I said, moral relativism isolates the person into blindness. The person holding onto relativism refuses to listen to anyone else, because "there is no objective and absolute truth. Your truth is good for you while mine is good for me." This cuts off communication. How could two people communicate when they have built a world of their own in their own heads, built on this idea? "My truth is mine, your truth is yours." How egotistical.

Nowhere Man, don't worry,Take your time, don't hurry,Leave it all till somebody elselends you a hand!

Here I will say, "No! Hurry! Find that absolute truth! Find it as fast as you can!" This will make Nowhere Man the fullest human. Truth must be objective, and not living to that objective truth makes one a liar.

Doesn't have a point of view,Knows not where he's going to,Isn't he a bit like you and me?


The statement "there is no truth" is actually quite interesting to dissect and think about in and of itself.
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There is no absolute truth.




This makes an absolute statement, therefore...



...false.

...this statement is...

...true


There must be absolute truth.


By being true, we have discovered an absolute truth.




The original statement is therefore contradictory.




There must be absolute truth.








The statement rejecting absolute truth in fact logically points to an absolute truth. The objective reality of absolute truth is therefore binding on each and every human being, and it is our duty to follow this truth and mold our lives in reflection of this truth. To fall short of this is dehumanizing and the person failing to do so is nothing more than a liar.

--With bacon,
The Wandering Thinker