Monday, August 10, 2015

A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION


ROSE, WITH BUD

WATER LILY

 Doing a bit of research into "socially responsible investing" recently, I listened as a friend told of a company that, concerned with the release into the water supply of anti-depressant-laced human waste, is trying to develop a pill that doesn't break down in the human body.

I said, "How about working toward a world where we don't need anti-depressants at all?"

The same principle strikes me as being at work in those who justify the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the grounds that destroying anywhere from 129,000 to 250,000 human lives (depending on how you count) somehow "saved" hundreds of thousands of others. 

Do I really want to incinerate an innocent man, woman or child so I can live?

How about working toward a world where we don't kill each other at all?

"Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating."

--Simone Weil,Gravity and Grace


STRAY BLOOM, UNIDENTIFIED TREE.
ALL FROM THE BACK YARD OF MY SANCTUARY FOR THE LAST MONTH
IN BRONSON CANYON, L.A.



13 comments:

  1. I shared your Hiroshima memorial on my Facebook wall... Nearly attacked by two God fearing men who would defend unspeakable violence in the face of such violence. To which I wanted to say no. I'm not crying about how ugly we Americans are and the rest of the World is so much more pure. I'm crying because we and our enemies have created a world and mindset in which incinerating each other's children is the fastest way to peace. For the love of God, am I the only one who can barely stand it!?!

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  2. "Stray bloom, unidentified tree": Broad-leafed Coral Tree (Erythrina latissima)?
    Also, when I commented on a story in National Review how crazy we must have been to destroy an entire city, I was attacked as being stupid and naive (in the comments section). I was even told to read up on my history! Crazy is still crazy.

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    1. Re: Hiroshima, it's interesting that many of the men the NR folks might lionize (though who knows, given how far they've strayed to the right) actually opposed the bombng. Eisenhower felt it was unnecessary and no less a bloodthirsty militarist than Curtis "Bombs Away" LeMay agreed. He also said, about the firebombings of Japanese cities (some of which killed far more civilians than the A-bomb) "don't confuse what we're doing with morality."

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    2. Thank you for the plant ID, Michael. I don't think this one is a coral tree, though they are beyond gorgeous. When I have a sec, I'll go out there and get some more pix.

      And yes, interesting that the folks who champion nuclear bombs tend to such emotional violence...

      Thanks as well, Joel--yes, at least Curtis LeMay spoke straight. I appreciate the emotional honesty that says Don't confuse what I'm/we're doing with morality. Or even, "We don't know if this is the right thing, and we're deeply troubled by it, but by our best lights, this is the best solution we can come up with. And we are willing, if we're wrong, to suffer the consequences and try to make things whole."

      But to play God with no compunction at all at the gruesome, agonizing deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians is to me a blot on the national conscience.

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  3. Actually, I have to disagree with Simone Weil on this one. Real good is NOT always new, marvelous, and intoxicating. Real good is hard work. It is answering the same question from a loved one with Alzheimer's for the 100th time without losing your temper or your patience or your mind. Real good is holding a sick child at 2am knowing they are going to puke on you and not pulling away in disgust when it happens. Real good is gritty and in the trenches. Real good is love, though, given out of love for Christ. But don't ever glamorize it or make it seem that just because you do it for Him there are magical rainbow choruses that make it seem not hard to do,

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    1. Hi Sasha, to me, Weil's life of unremitting suffering and her early death hardly celebrates or promotes cheap grace. She was the last person, as I hope am I, to champion spirituality lite.

      That real good is gritty, awkward, in the trenches doesn't derogate that it is also "new, marvelous, exciting" as opposed to the inevitable inertia, sameness, and toward-death nature of evil. It's exciting in that it bears new and unexpected fruit--even if it's often not give to us to see the fruit.

      As Flanner O'Connor wrote in the Introduction to A Memoir of Mary Ann, about a little girl with a hideous facial cancerous tumor who lived and died with the Dominican Nuns in Atlanta:

      “Most of us have learned to be dispassionate about evil, to look it in the face and find, as often as not, our own grinning reflections with which we do not argue, but good is another matter. Few have stared long enough to accept the fact that its face too is grotesque, that in us the good is something under construction.”

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  5. Wonderful piece in this week's issue of The Tidings about Fr. George Zabelka (I've posted about him before) called "Catholic priest who blessed atomic bomb crews — and his conversion" at http://www.angelusnews.com/voices/op-ed/catholic-priest-who-blessed-atomic-bomb-crews-and-his-conversion-8592/#.VdDR3fmbyM8.

    "“I was told the raids were necessary; told openly by the military and told implicitly by my Church’s leadership. To the best of my knowledge no American cardinals or bishops were opposing these mass air raids. Silence in such matters, especially by a public body like the American bishops, is a stamp of approval. …

    “Christians have been slaughtering each other, as well as non-Christians, for the past 1700 years, in large part because their priests, pastors and bishops have simply not told them that violence and homicide are incompatible with the teachings of Jesus.”

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  6. "Stray bloom, unidentified tree." Eucalyptus ficifolia (fig leafed gum) an Australian native. Spectacular when fully in flower - entire tree a dome of blood red or orange.

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    1. Stephen, I tip my hat to you.
      Heather, I'd better stick to bird-watching.

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    2. Thank you, dear Stephen! And Michael, you have ALWAYS gone above and beyond in coming to the rescue for all things botanical and bird. I treasure you both. All "Catholic" blogs should have at least one resident ornithologist and/or plant person!

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  7. Dear Heather,

    I have been enjoying your Magnificat pieces for years, thank you for doing that work for your brothers and sisters in Jesus.

    I am now up with insomnia, and finally got around to looking at your blog. (no offense!) It is very good and mysterious. I think we're in the same pool, but I'm in the shallow end. I am presently reading Lord of the World, as recommended by Pope Francis, and it is quite chilling. God bless you.

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  8. Heather, thank you for the piece on Irena Sendler you did in the Magnificat a while back. My wife and I just finished watching the PBS documentary.

    God bless you.

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I WELCOME your comments!!!