What I learned from the year 2017 since the year of our Lord.
- A. Lighthearted observations
- B. Deeper observations
- C. Top Ten Reads/Films of 2017
- D. Inspirational people of 2017
A. First world lighthearted observations:
- Whoever invented Oreo’s is a genius (Sorry vegans.)
A. When eating Oreo’s, crush them into a glass, add two spoon fulls of milk, drink from glass. Experience Oreos in a bold, fleeting hedonism.
2. There still is no federal law on having lawn mowing day the same day a week for zoned areas, as is garbage day.
3. The human ego can always be revealed by observing shopping cart traffic or mall /stadium walking traffic, or any kind of driving on any road.
4. Water melon is only a summer food.
5. Maple bars seem worth it at the moment, and about 10 minutes after, only.
6. Chicken Caesar Salads are universal meals. (Sorry vegans.)
7. Ted Kaczynski was right about red lights but we don’t need to blow anything up to convince anyone.
8. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do if you have the right people to do it with. You can read more insights from turning 30 in this previous post.
B. Deeper observations:
- A high number of people want to be right more than they want a dialogue. Many people are pundits without a skill of active listening or arrive at immediate dismissal. I think part of this is the disastrous point of view promoted by Meryl Streep, “On top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” That kind of thinking is the opposite of an open minded, non-dualistic environment.
Example: Kevin Spacey is accused of wrong doing. An individual in identity politics writes a Facebook status that appears in your news feed saying that it takes dozens of women to bring a heterosexual predator down, but it only takes one male for homosexual wrong goings to be immediately believed. If I respond to the fifteen points that challenge or provide context to that, (see examples from last months post) people take their trained ear to go mute. By being an opposing view point I am the ‘other side’ in their binary thinking. I am the problem and must be eliminated. We saw this in divisions between members of the same political parties in the 2016 primaries. When it comes to the outcome of world events from either candidate taking office, my predictions so far pretty accurate. Take a look.
One female feminist author of Rolling Stone Magazine claimed a proven false gang rape occurred on the Virginia University Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
One woman destroyed Bill Clinton’s second term in 1998.
One woman got 32 million in private settlement’s from Bill O’Reilly causing speculation as to why after it leaked to the press.
Who are the aggressors and victims without stone facts confuses us back into our judgement problem. (Discussed more here.)
2. A high number of people are binary thinkers stuck in identity politics.
3. Capitalism is broken, flawed, outdated, and designed for the repackaging of greed.
4. Capitalism leads to isolated individualism, four walls, and time gets sucked up by “zero.” Zero is the one of the three fears of the west. “There is always a danger that hermits will only dry up and solidify in their own eccentricity. Living out of touch with other people, they tend to lose that deep sense of spiritual realities, which only pure love can give.” (Thomas Merton, New seeds of Contemplation 1972.)
5. Paul Tillich writes in his works “The courage to be,” three types of anxiety. The anxiety of fate and death originating out of classical world Greece and Rome. Second the anxiety of guilt and condemnation which belongs to the medieval age and the beginning of the reformation. Third, the anxiety of meaninglessness, which is in numerous problems we face modernly today, according to John Douglas Hall. Thomas Merton writes in, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, published in 1966:
All has become one, all has become indifferent, all has been leveled to equal meaninglessness. . . . It is not that all is “one” but all is “zero.” Everything adds up to zero. Freedom is then to live and die for zero. Is that what I want: to be beaten, imprisoned, or shot for zero? But to be shot for zero is not a matter of choice. It is not something one is required either to “want” or “not want.” It is not even one something is able to foresee. Zero swallows hundreds of thousands of victims every year, and the police take care of the details. Suddenly, mysteriously, without reason, your time comes, and while you are still desperately trying to make up your mind what you imagine you might possibly be dying for, you are swallowed up by zero. Perhaps, subjectively, you have tried to convince yourself and have not wasted time convincing others. Nobody else is interested. What I have said so far concerns execution for a “political crime.” But death in war is, in the same way, a kind of execution for nothing, a meaningless extinction, a swallowing up by zero.”
(The Hebrews long discuss this, like in Lamentations and Job, questions and complaints to God. See Ecclesiastes.)
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, which I sent among you.” –Joel 2:25
6. What was eaten by the Locust, time taken from being blind or on lower levels of consciousness, being stuck in the binary or a traumatic experience (the feeding of the false self) will be returned to us. Like a Caterpillar becoming a butterfly our mind is renewed. (Romans 12:2) We look on with a new pair of eyes, scales removed. (Matthew 6:22-23, Ephesians 1:18, Acts 9:18) We finally just are, “I am, therefore I think.” We just are divine beings learning to be human as our true self in the Crucified and Risen Christ. God is always doing something new, “With the fullness of time.” (Galatians 4:4-7)
We search for our identity, as faith proclaims by faith and experience that, “God is with us.” To the general population, that doesn’t translate to the same level of consciousness/awareness. Which begs the question… Does the latest Ryan Gosling film, “Blade runner 2049,” Define Thomas Merton, or the other way around? See the film and decide. Here’s a quote from Merton’s 1966 Raids on the unspeakable:
“We are drugged by entertainment, numbered in billions massed together. As the end approaches there is no room for nature. The cities crowd it off the face of the earth. The city lives in it’s own myth. Instead it’s a stubborn and fabricated dream. Constructed a world outside the world, against the world, a world of mechanical fictions which condemn nature and seek only to use it up, thus preventing it from renewing itself and man.”
The films themes of, role of fear, search for longing and identity, desire for authentic love, the folly of capitalism, greed, labor, and pursuits of idleness or amusement. Dualism between status quo and resistance, man vs man, man vs nature. Men playing God with life and death and rule over governing.
“The Last Jedi” will be released around the world the second or third week of Advent. Calculated to capitalize on the western ‘Christmas break’ blue laws. The bill to make Christmas a holiday was introduced into the House of Representatives by Illinois Rep. Burton Chauncey Cook. It passed the Senate on June 24, 1870. President Ulysses S. Grant signed it and declared Christmas a federal holiday in 1870. The themes of the Star Wars franchise echo the Gosling film. What is our identity, purpose, in the past, present, and future? How does love play a role in everything?
C. THE TOP TEN NONFICTION BOOKS OF 2017:
- Adam’s Return, The Five Promises of Male Initiation, Richard Rohr OFM.
- The Great Themes of Scripture, Richard Rohr OFM.
- The Way of St. John of the Cross, Dr. Susan Muto
- Trump and a post-Truth World, Ken Wilber
- Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Donald S Connery
- The Art of Letting Go, Richard Rohr OFM.
- Luther’s Theology of The Cross Alister C. McGrath
- Killing England, Martin Dugard & Bill O’Reilly
- Henry David Thoreau, A life: Laura Dassow Walls
- Goodness and light : readings for Advent and Christmas
Best Films of 2017: Tie between Breathe and Dunkirk
Best Actor of 2017: Andrew Garfield, (Breathe)
Best Actress of 2017: Jennifer Connelly (Only the brave)
Best Director: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Inspirational Athlete of 2017: Aaron Judge
“For 175 years we have sailed with those winds at our back, and with the tides of human freedom in our favor. We steer our ship with hope, as Thomas Jefferson said, “leaving Fear astern.”
Today we still welcome those winds of change–and we have every reason to believe that our tide is running strong. With thanks to Almighty God for seeing us through a perilous passage, we ask His help anew in guiding the “Good Ship Union.”~ John F. Kennedy: “Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union.,” January 14, 1963.