Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where Have all the Good Men Gone?

In response to the Wall Street Journal Article of the same title.

Where have all the Good Men Gone? They go on LDS missions to places like Montana or Nicaragua and then return home as Men to quickly marry and establish strong families while working themselves steadily and solidly into the middle-class. Sadly, all that are left once the liberated career woman discovers that Men do exists are pornographied committment-allergic guys trained by their baby-busting parents to value self-gratification higher than duty and honor. 

This is not surprising when you consider that these liberated women and post-pubescent, pre-adult guys adopt the themes of such ‘important’ films as Pleasantville, American Beauty, and Revolutionary Road that have sprung from their boomer parents, who enjoyed the greatest expansion of liberty and prosperity in history, to well in them the disdain for 'bourgeois' middle-class values that supposedly stifle the spirit while they imbibe the liquor of self-gratification that will never satisfy the thirst. They are as fish without water (to say nothing of bicycles); living asphyxiated lives disconnected from humanity and themselves. 

To further this tragedy, those liberated women who come to understand this important quality of Manhood are often poorly equipped by society with the tools to attract such Men; making fools of themselves by dumbing down while sexing up in a pathetic and un-Womanly ways. Society's answer to such women is a pill and a pamphlet when grace and goodness are the requisite qualities.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: The Meaning of it All by Richard Feynman

The Meaning Of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-ScientistThe Meaning Of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist by Richard P. Feynman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this short book about truth, science, religion, values, ethics, and the way of one who seeks out the truth in all nooks wherever it may be found. I have enjoyed Dr. Feynman's wit and irrepressible enthusiasm for understanding the world around himself--including people and society. He presents himself as a non-dogmatic agnostic with clear sympathies (he quotes atheists as well as Catholic Cardinals with whom he agrees on values), but emphasizes the importance of remaining open to surprise and new revelations that may change previously held paradigms. His is an enthusiasm for what really is, and for searching for ever finer sieves with which to filter his understanding and knowledge in order to catch the elusive truths of existence.

Some key points that I sympathized from this book is his emphasis that facts do not and can never produce values. In other words, Science and technical knowledge can never provide humanity with values or duties that are rightly the realm of religion, and metaphysics. This is important since the grand vision of many post-modern progressives is that an elite few in high position can drive society using scientific methods towards human flourishing.

All in all a very good read.

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Book Review: Tolkien in the Land of Heroes

Tolkien in the Land of Heroes : Discovering the Human SpiritTolkien in the Land of Heroes : Discovering the Human Spirit by Anne C. Petty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has been sitting on my nightstand for a couple of months and was a quite enjoyable read for me. It was the subject matter and the critical analysis of the themes and rivulets of thought that comprise Tolkien's literary legendarium that was most interesting to me. The author presents her analysis of the core themes of the fall of humanity, despair, hope, and heroism in the face of unqualified optimism that extends from his legendarium into our modern world. It is also a useful cliff-notes for Tolkien's extensive extra-LOTRs writings found in the Silmarillian that comprise the Creation of the world in the singing of the first song and the discord that some of children of Il├║vatar (Father of All) introduced at the first singing of the song, and how that discord introduced the fall into every strain and tendril of the Music of Life. The author then expounds her impressions and analysis of how the themes of good and evil, hope and despair technology and pristine nature, etc., run throughout Tolkien's grand works, how they may have been interpreted in the days of the two great world wars, and how modern (or post-modern) society has treated these themes in reaction to the longevity of Tolkien's legendarium.

I don't usually read books on literary analysis, but this one was quite good (although some might find the PhD-dissertation style employed by the author a little dry) and was quite inspiring--introducing some new thoughts about the Fall of man, Creation, Hope, and the Human Condition that I hadn't considered before in reading Tolkien's and Lewis's works. I would classify this as one book that rose above escapist leisure and enriched my imagination and understanding, and for that I would say it was worthwhile.

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