Category Archives: Philosophy

OF family, abortions and contraception

I recall the remark by Chesterton that “birth control” meant really no birth and no control. Of course, in the West since at least the 1920’s artificial birth control has become the norm. I remember a young couple I knew almost broke up because the young man said he believed (he was Polish) that all birth control within the sacrament of marriage was wrong. As an older man I gave him my counsel . I asked him if his girlfriend wanted to have children. He said she did but she wanted to finish her MA before she had children. He said he wanted to get married right away. I told him he need to decide what was the most important to him. He could choose not to marry her right away and wait or choose not to marry her at all. I told him if they practiced non-chemical non abortifacient birth control they would be doing what the majority of American Catholics do who de facto ignore the Catholic Church’s teachings on this issue. He decided to compromise. They got married immediately. They did not have children for a few years. She wanted children and they eventually had two. Neither made much money but as teachers the two could work and thus could have a middle class lifestyle. As for myself the most important value my wife and I had in common is that we wanted to start a family as soon as possible. We married relatively late in life. I was 26 and she was 27. But we were blessed with three children. Two of our children are married and within a few years of marriage each has one so we have two grandchildren. All are gainfully employed and wish to have more children. If one gives children a happy childhood and if one teaches them to have a reverence for life one hopes they will choose well. Today that is the best one can hope for. The reality is one’s children could decide to be childless. For me that would be very sad. I did not exhort my children to have children. I just encouraged them and prayed. All my children love children and our grandchildren seem very happy and healthy. One cannot un-invent artificial birth control. One must, it seems to me, peacefully coexist with it knowing it could wipe out -if uncontrolled- your family tree.

https://www.firstthings.com/article/1999/04/catholics-protestants-and-contraception

C.S. Lewis and the Truth of Balder ~ The Imaginative Conservative

The story of Balder is one of the oldest in the Northern tradition, and it makes its way into a number of different Scandinavian myths and sagas. Always referred to as Balder (Baldr, Baldar) the Beautiful or the Good and a son of Odin, he experienced terrible nightmares that suggested some imminent danger. Worried, Odin descended into Hel and raised the corpse of a dead witch, seeking her advice and knowledge. Trying to hide his identity from her, Odin forces her to speak, though she is beyond reluctant to do so. Finally exhausting herself beyond recovery, she names Odin as the desecrator of her death. Upset that she has discovered his identity, he curses her. “You are not a prophetess nor a wise woman,” he yells. “Rather you are the mother of three ogres.” Mockingly, she retorts: “Ride home, Odin, and be proud of yourself! No more men will come to visit me, until Loki is loose, escaped from his bonds, and the Doom of the Gods, tearing all asunder, approaches.”
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/03/c-s-lewis-truth-balder-bradley-birzer.html

Read, and then Ride

Not the strongest, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change tend to survive. Not just as a species, adaption is our key to even survive at work, home, or for that matter in any environment. Exact coping mechanism depends on the situation. But in general, explanation to a problem always helps; explanations through therapy, through study, or may be just through the bottle! To quote a character from Nolan’s Batman Begins – “you always fear what you don’t understand” – an explanation is simply a good start to figure out how to adapt.

Understanding the cause requires theory, and adequate explanations mandate good theories applied to correct contexts. Without internalizing ideas we can never accurately identify all those correct contexts. Marvin Minsky famously said – “You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way”. Ability to apply the same set of ideas in different contexts, that ‘transfer of learning’ seems like an effective way to reinterpret and internalize ideas in more than one way. In that sense, learning is a process of refining ideas, and accurately identifying all its applications while progressively removing incorrect assumptions. Eventually ideas are a lot like arsenal, they need to be sharpened and our skills determine their best application. This learning is cognitively taxing, and developing those higher levels of cognition sort of takes time.

Reading is definitely a great way to gain exposure to new ideas, but internalizing them requires reflection. We all face slightly different problems and have slightly different assumptions and beliefs about how the world works. So, no matter how good the book, new ideas need to always take root and evolve within our own mental context. Some prefer meditation, but for restless minds it can be some activity — like climbing or hiking — or just plain motorcycling. Someone said — you are never on a motorcycle, you are always a part of it. In that sense, when you are a totally different entity, new ways of interpreting old ideas simply emerge.

Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras – The New York Times

As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.

One reason: Boeing charged extra for them.

For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/business/boeing-safety-features-charge.html

StoryBundle By Kevin J. Anderson

The 2019 Truly Epic Fantasy Bundle, curated by Kevin J. Anderson: From legendary authors like Alan Dean Foster (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Rings of Taute), and James A. Owen (1 Million Sales), to rising stars like James Hunter (Viridian Gate) and Craig A. Price Jr. and Angelique Anderson, this collection will take your imagination to places it didn’t know existed.

Epic Fantasy is a genre that stretches the boundaries of the quest. Whether a triumph of good vs. evil, or a search for meaning or truth, these stories take readers to a new place.
— Read on storybundle.com/fantasy

Stranger Things Season 3 Trailer: It’s all Fun and Games

When last we caught up with Stranger Things’ heroes of Hawkins, they’d successfully managed to fend off yet another inter-dimensional threat seeking to breach the divide and enter our world. For about a few seconds it seemed as if Eleven and her friends were going to be able to enjoy their childhoods in peace. This trailer for season three suggests otherwise.

— Read on io9.gizmodo.com/in-the-first-stranger-things-season-3-trailer-its-all-1833430633

The Lost Fifth Volume of Conceived in Liberty | Mises Institute

So you can imagine the celebration that ensued. We were all thrilled with the book. It is compelling, radical, original, brilliant. It revivifies the first four volumes of Conceived in Liberty, and is a delight to read, with a great introduction by Patrick, who also edited Murray’s hitherto unpublished book, The Progressive Era. As you can imagine, we’re very proud of our former student. I can almost hear Murray exclaiming, “Attaboy, Patrick!”

The fifth volume, entitled The New Republic, 1784–1791, charts the course from the freeing of the 13 states from British mercantilism to their shackling with a new American form of it.
— Read on mises.org/library/lost-fifth-volume-conceived-liberty