Forming The Habit of Self-Development

Becoming aware of our weaknesses, or finding someone or something that we’d like to be more like, we make promises to ourselves that — once conditions are right — we will work on changing. It will be next month when things die down. Or once I’ve saved up for the best equipment. Or it will be at the beginning of the new year. And so on.

These timeframes won’t help you. Things won’t quiet down. Unless we’re already accomplished, we probably don’t need the most expensive equipment for that field. And New Years come and go with most people quitting their “new year’s resolutions” by the end of January. Continue reading “Forming The Habit of Self-Development”

Remembering the Sacred While Celebrating the Season

“If anyone wants to hold the end of a chain which really goes back to the heathen mysteries,” says G. K.Chesterton in his book Heretics, “he had better take hold of a festoon of flowers at Easter or a string of sausages at Christmas.” Why?

According to Chesterton — himself a convert to Roman Catholicism — everything from from science to the French Revolution is “of Christian origin.” However, he says, “there is one thing, and one thing only, in existence at the present day which can in any sense accurately be said to be of pagan origin, and that is Christianity” — or, rather, Christian ritual and aesthetics. Continue reading “Remembering the Sacred While Celebrating the Season”

The Death and Rebirth of Culture

I recently made the mistake of purchasing a used book online, not realizing that it had a previous owner’s comments scrawled inside. Although I, like probably everyone who still has a quaint attachment to paper, have seen this before, I was struck by these comments in particular.

Though short — mostly only four or five words at most — the scribbler’s nauseating snobbish personality and sense of self-importance shined through. He had dated many of his worthless comments, addressed the publisher (Oxford University Press) in several of them — as if to psychically alert them to his overblown sense of self-importance — and had concluded the 300-plus page book with, “Interesting, but reference material.” He had, of course, signed and dated this as well, as if it were equivalent to Picasso signing Guernica. Continue reading “The Death and Rebirth of Culture”