Sunday the 5th: All Is Vanity

Posted on February 8, 2018. Filed under: Philosophy, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • vanity = wasted effort (according to Dean)
  • disillusioned = learned the ugly truth: dreams are not reality

While writing another article, Quoth the Raven, a single word kept threading its way through my thoughts — vanity. I checked a biblical source for the phrase “all is vanity” which I remembered as coming from the Book of Proverbs (KJV). Turns out, it comes from The Book of Ecclesiastes — every chapter.

My early religious instructors did not spend much time in that particular writing, using the Old Testament primarily as foundation for fulfillment of the New Testament teachings. Ecclesiastes was used to show the result of Man’s folly in earthly pursuits — something which a newbie in Life (such as I was) couldn’t really appreciate.

That book was written by an individual calling himself the Preacher (or Teacher, depending upon which version you are reading). He asserts that he undertook the path of instant gratification just so he could attain wisdom (a la Jimmy Carter’s alleged admission that he only looked at Playboy to read the articles?), and, with that hard-won knowledge, he can now tell others what NOT to do and what to expect if they go ahead and do it anyway. Of course, during this remorseful retelling of his life, he still had access to all the comforts that his would-be students were being denied.

Yeah, I know. It’s hard work, but…  someone had to do it…  right?

My cynicism aside, whether you trek through Life barefooted with almost nothing to ease your discomfort, or that you get chauffeured daily to a five-star restaurant followed by an evening at a posh, upscale theater event, you got born, and, you are going to die.

What a downer to finally realize that whatever you experienced or attained in Life is housed in a sand castle with a sea level view of the incoming tide.

One second after your last breath, it all means nothing.

All is vanity. All is meaningless. Or, to put it my way,


I suspect it was the impending sense of doom and loss – such as the passing of his youth – that impelled the pampered rich kid to adopt the moniker of Preacher (or Teacher) to clean up his image while whining about his loses.  Eccl. 2:

  • (18) I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. (19) …they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun.  This too is meaningless.”  –Bible, New International Version.

The self-styled Preacher was not alone in recounting all of Life’s wasted pursuits. Shakespeare later echoes this detachment from reality through the character Macbeth:

  • “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.  Out, out brief candle. Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

If, as we often perceive, the Life experience is totally meaningless, how do we deal with it? This question is answered by the myriad versions of religion that pervade the whole of the human condition. Each individual decides for itself whether there is more beyond this fragile existence, or, whether one’s persona simply dissipates into the vapor of Time. The Preacher’s father, who also moonlighted as a shepherd and poet, assessed his lack thusly:

  • “Such knowledge is too high for me; I cannot attain to it.”

As attested to in a previous article (Wednesday the First), multi-tasking is not my forte. I was born into ignorance and must now depend on others who entered Life in that same condition to fill me in on matters beyond human understanding.  I appreciate the help, but…

I can only deal with NOW:

  • “Yesterday is gone, tomorrow never comes. Just this moment’s joy or sorrow is all our hands may clasp.”  –Anonymous, at least to me.
  • “I have only this one minute, with 60 seconds in it. Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it. Thrust upon me, can’t refuse it. Just a tiny little minute, but, eternity is in it.” –Anonymous

NOW is all I know. Yesterday is but memory. Tomorrow doesn’t even exist. The only place in Time that I will ever be…

…is NOW.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Disney Not Family Friendly

Posted on December 20, 2016. Filed under: Journalism, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The source for this article is, a blog that keeps sending me links that I did not request.  The author of the referenced article (Disney is no longer family friendly) is Robert E. Richey of the Catholic organization America Needs Fatima, which is a sponsor of Newsmax.  The blog’s disclaimer notes that it does not necessarily endorse their advertisers’ messages.

Your words for the day:

  • The Real O’Neals = a television series aired by ABC
  • = a news blog that has little to say but directs readers to other sources

I learned some 20 or more years ago that Disney studios had expanded into more non-child based themes; I always checked the rating to see if I would be interested in viewing a new offering.  Apparently, Bobby E. is either under 20 years old and has just graduated from restricted viewing imposed by Parental Controls or he missed the train out of Never Land.

Said little Bobby in his articleRemember when “Disney” meant “safe” — if Disney made a film, it would be o.k. for your kids or grandkids to watch?  The Real O’Neals ends all that!  Alarming!  And it is up to you and me to protest this brutal attack on our Catholic Faith.

Let’s clarify that overstatement from my perspective:

  • For me, the reader, this is not a brutal attack on OUR Catholic faith.
  • I am not Catholic, and, it is NOT up to me to protest this “alarming” and “brutal attack” on the Catholic Faith.
  • In fact, the religious denomination I was raised in has a very long history of bad-mouthing Catholicism.

But, this little article of mine is not a criticism of Catholicism, rather of the manner in which Mr. Richey has presented his exception to what he considers the prostitution of a movie maker who once specialized in G-rated productions.  Rather, it is my old bug-a-boo — journalism — that has spurred this response.

A summary of Mr. Richey’s plaint about “The Real O’Neals,” a Disney sitcom:

  • Watching pornography on a laptop is made to appear normal for Catholic brothers in the series.
  • The Catholic mother encourages her 16-year-old Catholic son with gender conflicts to get physical with a girl (if non-Catholics don’t understand that admonition, it means the Catholic son with gender conflicts should go out and get laid like a NORMAL 16-year-old Catholic son without gender conflicts).
  • The Catholic daughter tries to prove in her science-class project that there is no god, misses Mass, and shows disrespect for a pastor who is presented as inept.
  • There are lots of sexual innuendo and mockery of Catholicism.
  • (Censored stuff, here)  “I just can’t bear to print up the really bad stuff on the show.”
  • While decent Catholics strive every day to make sense of the crazy world we live in, Disney/ABC is mocking the Faith we hold dear.
  • It is not right, and we need to tell them so!
  • Someone struggling against pornography, same-sex attraction, divorce or doubting their faith could possibly watch this program — which Disney/ABC promotes as “just your typical, all-American, Catholic, divorcing, disgraced, law-breaking, gay family — and their struggle would be more difficult.  They would feel more alone than ever, perhaps fall into despair, and just follow the culture like those around them.

C’mon, man!  No one is going to watch that show seeking spiritual guidance; they are going to watch it for the laughs.

Lighten up, Richey.  That show’s promo (as quoted by you) is just hyperbole to heighten the sarcasm inherent in the production.  But, like many converts to anything, the need to chew on every disagreeable tidbit tossed before them is overpowering.  You, too, feel the need to overact to demonstrate your degree of commitment to your stated tenet…   somewhat like a child banging on pots with a spoon to attract attention.

Open your eyes, Richey.  It is a parody of ALL Christian teachings, not just your favored brand, Catholicism.

Richey claims that Disney implies “nasty” Catholics.  Would little Richey have just sat back and chuckled had the show portrayed “nasty” Episcopalians?  Zealots of a cause are not light-hearted — they just can’t take a joke.

I am also curious, Mr. Richey:

  • Did you write a scathing review of those prime time cartoon shows, The Simpsons and that ilk, as destroying the unity of families by disrespectful children and dysfunctional parents?
  • How about all those murder and dismemberment series that ooze like slime off the flat screen?
  • ??You do NOT have a complete library of interactive gaming videos depicting crime and murder as just normal aspects of human culture, do you?

I guess, since none of that stuff uses the word “Catholic” in them, they are perfectly safe as instructional tools for Catholic children “trying to make sense of this crazy world.”

Little Bobby the Journalist could have expanded both his heart and his message — and, thereby, his audience — by saying, “All Christians should be offended by this, and not just Catholics.”  Righteous Richey only had room in his heart for his beliefs, what with all the rest of humankind being outside his sphere of consideration.  I guess anyone choosing, for whatever reason, to be non-Catholic can just go to hell…   after they help him protest Disney Studios and ABC.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Shovels and Manure: Part 2

Posted on November 26, 2015. Filed under: Politics, Psychology, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(continued from previous post, Shovels and Manure: Part 1)

In the previous article, I got born, got my newbie starter kit installed, then discovered glitches in the applications phase.  New input was playing havoc with the resident databases causing angst as I realized I would have to troubleshoot my programming at the root level.  Simply put, I had to start thinking for myself, which meant I had to retroactively confirm the veracity of my previous data sources.  Zeroing in on accepted authority (experts) and accepted knowledge (expert assertions), I realized that self-aggrandizing, ordinary people who had been born naked and clueless like the whole of human kind were setting themselves up as the lords of all knowledge.

Wallowing in their unacknowledged ignorance, those expert authorities told us for decades…

  • The expert-designed Food Pyramid was the answer to proper nutrition and long life…   until they came out with a new one (twice) that didn’t kill us prematurely.
  • That teachers are the most valuable servants in society…   then we find out that these guys and gals are behaving like pedophile priests chaperoning teens and pre-adolescents on church-sponsored retreats or tutoring in one-on-one sessions away from school.
  • Expose your kids to chicken pox early so they won’t have to deal with it in later life…   had your shingles shot yet?
  • Plastic food packaging materials are safe for human use…   except now that is only “true” if the label says “BHP free.”

They told us for centuries...

  • The Constitution of the United States of America could only be changed if 3/4 of the states agreed to it…   unless the Supreme Court changes it by a 5-4 vote of biased experts who can’t be thrown out for biased judiciating…   or when a sitting president decides to MAKE laws instead of obeying them.
  • The Bill of Rights to that Constitution guaranteed certain rights to its citizens (such as no laws regarding an establishment of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be secure in your property, freedom from being forced to give evidence against yourself…   stuff like that) unless changed by that 3/4 vote of the states.  Now, the Supreme Court says you gotta ask for your constitutional right to be entitled to it.
  • The world is flat, go too far you fall off its edge…   today we can take advantage of AROUND THE WORLD cruises.  The only falling hazard here is a bad plunge from your budget floor…   or is that “budget ceiling?”
  • The Earth is the center of the universe…   Galileo paid for this little indiscretion.  When not molesting children, them religionists banish free-thinking that shows up their ignorance.
  • Children can only be born to married couples…   or harems.  How, then, do we now have the terms “bastards” and “unwed mothers?”
  • Only humans can use tools…   and apes, simians, pro-simians, numerous birds, quite a few insects
  • Only humans can speak…   and apes, simians, pro-simians, numerous birds, quite a few insects
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away…   but, only if you hit him square in the forehead with it when he tries to approach you.  People don’t say proverbs like that anymore for fear that litigators will hit them square in the pocket book with a class-action lawsuit for practicing medicine without a license.
  • The world is only 6,000 years old…   can you spell b-i-l-l-i-o-n-s?
  • Good always triumphs over evil…   but how many good people have to suffer before the evil goes away?
  • We are in the latter days;  the end is near…   get your programs here, folks;  all the generations since Guttenberg’s quick-copy machine have left scads of them…   just change that date right there, change the identity of your generation’s 666, and go on lamenting…   and self-flagellate if that is your thing.

More recently, we have been told that only humans are smart enough to create stuff that can annihilate all life on Earth in one fell swoop…   they WOULD have to get that one right.  But, hey!  In an existence honed by responses to innate ignorance, one out of 200,000,000 to the 10th power ain’t so bad.

I understand that my own journey through EXISTENCE is a trial and error thing, and, that I can benefit from the information of others who have already waded through its dark water’s of uncertainty.  My problem is not that everything with which we work has to be teased from Nature bit by bit or that what was learned long ago may not be true today;  rather, my irritation comes from the knowledge that so much of that database is tainted by the personal goals of the “expert” information providers, who then proclaim — in speech or implied assertion — “I, a really super-smart guy, thought up this explanation and you, an embarrassment to the word intellect, can be assured that you can get it right only by accepting without question MY truth of reality.”  

My gullibility node has become unbearably distended, no doubt due to the vast quantity of bull sh…   uh, male bovine droppings being rained down on me from all directions.

Life forms get it right (i.e., live longer) by replacing ignorance with knowledge as they grow.  Homo sapiens sapiens has the advantage of being able to amass a vast library of hard-won knowledge that most, if not all, of its members can access to enrich their individual survival.  Yet, regardless of how vast that knowledge base may be, our Universe — to all intents and purposes — is infinitely vast, and, the degree of human ignorance is just as vast.  So…

Since my personal existence is of major importance only to ME, why can’t I give credence to my own conclusions?  Why can’t I, born naked and clueless just like all those acknowledged experts, be just as arrogant about MY “truth” as they are toward theirs?

Sounds like a plan to me.  “Hey…   YOU…   Super-smart Dude!  Stop shoveling that pile of sh…   stuff…   this way.  I need a little time to analyze its contents.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...