mardi 6 septembre 2011

So Right and So Wrong

Bishop Williamson is so right about the lack of children being the suicide of our peoples.

He is only so singularly wrong about the motives. It is not hedonism as such that bars from getting children, but stingyness. In the sins of "thy sister Sodom" the scale does not go directly from "satiety of bread" - i e hedonism as per gluttony - to "abomination before" the Lord - i e voluntarily barren sex. Between them come stinginess and even before the first and between stinginess and abomination there is pride. Now, stinginess and pride taken together has a modern nickname: "being responsible".

Responsibility of that sort whispers the despairing news - the bad and untrue news - that fulness of bread cannot be kept if you give some to strangers. It also whispers the despairing prospect of many children impoverishing the lavish lifestyle. Hedonism without that responsibility - and without being exposed to it by "responsible people" - is not in and of itself as likely to tempt either to individual or to familial tribal suicide.

Chesterton noted a line in a poet who wrote "and eat their pot of honey on the grave". Now, sitting on one's grave may be a real act of sobriety like St John digging his grave and lying down in it on the day Our Lord told him so. And eating one's pot of honey may be a real act of hedonism. But usually they go separate ways, either separate individuals or separate periods of same individual life. But a certain modern culture wants one to look into grim realities (like not being able to bask on the beach next year if you have a baby, but that is not a reality, that is only a possibility for the future, and not even a likely one if you live in a caravan or close to the beach) while enjoying sweetnesses (like basking on a beach).

In and of itself, basking on a beach is not contrary to fertility, it is being responsible - "responsible" Sodom style - that gets some looking for a place where to buy a very sodomite object now made from a material also found in balloons.

Like, on another note, in the film Dead Poet's Society, it was not the individual hedonism of the son, encouraged by the teacher played by Robin Williams, it was the responsability of the father that provoked the son to suicide. A kind of responsability very much discouraged by St Paul in Ephesians - "and ye parents, provoke not your children to wrath ..." - there is a parallel passage which adds "...that they may not fall into despair" - probably because many Christians in Ephesus were still of Jewish origin and Jews were starting rough-shod over patriarchal parenting they are still as known for as the Japanese - another people with high suicide rates.

OK, Sweden, Finland, Norway have high such too, but partly the state is now doing there what the families are doing some other places, partly also winter above the Polar Circle deprives the human organism of light: actually in the North of my country social security is paying people for sitting two hours per week in rooms with white walls, coming in white clothes and with many bright lamps - to save them from organic temptations to despair. But when it comes to moral temptations to despair and - collective or individual - suicide, a certain kind of responsability is added to hedonism before it becomes deadly.

And with prolonged practical school compulsion it has become much deadlier to be in school now, see Columbine High School - the moral condition of Cassie a few months earlier, before her conversion, tells the same story, by the way.

In the same essay Chesterton deplored the moral condition of people preferring cinema to children. But cinema, like reading, is not a question of hedonism. In some ways it is a question of vicarious suffering - of taking on the shrapnel and dig-out damp and cold in the person of John Grant when you cannot take it in your own flesh. A fake religion, not hedonism.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Celebrating my Birthday
6 sept 1968 - 2011
in Reims

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