My family was listening to Animal Farm by G. Orwell today as we were driving to see another family member. Usually, it is me that says, "can you pause that for a sec". This time there were several others taking that role instead of me. :) We had a great discussion on which animal we are most like and which animal we think should have been the leader and why (plus the results and why). What a great discussion we had!
As I read the Five Thousand Year Leap (FYL) the idea that I feel is the most important issue is principle #1 and 2. You can’t have principle #2 without the idea that there is a natural law and a divine law that we are obligated to understand and follow. As I read further and further through the book, my thoughts kept returning to principle #2. If the people are not a virtuous and morally strong people then freedom is not likely to exist. You can have good kings and bad kings. You can have other government system that are good and bad. But when you have a group of people that do not believe in the ideas of private and public virtue others will always take over the government.
Quoting from FYL p. 235: "The centralization of political power always destroys liberty by removing the decision-making function from the people on the local level and transferring it to the officers of the central government. This process gradually benumbs the spirit of "voluntarism" among the people, and they lose the will to solve their own problems. They also cease to be involved in community affairs. They seek the anonymity of oblivion in the seething crowds of the city and often degenerate into faceless automatons who have neither a voice nor a vote".
I am guilty of that; I have left problems of the community for others to deal with. Of course, I was not taught differently so I am not overly surprise that I am not involved more in the community. But returning back to the idea of a virtuous and moral people. The miraculous part of the American Government is that by setting up the government with many layers that check and balance each other within each layer and by each layer you can delay the collapse of the government longer. When the spirit of public virtue is not as strong, when people are turning to the government to fix their problems, there are still checks in place to slow down the centralization of the power, so the people still have some liberties. All of the principles after #1-2 are needed to deal with the conditions where the people are not strongly virtuous and moral.
What an amazing document the Declaration and Constitution are when you take in light how long they have held together a people that has slowly been neglecting its responsibility toward themselves and their neighbors.
This is a quote that really struck me.
“They use your love of virtue as a hostage. They know that you’ll bear anything in order to work and produce, because you know that achievement is man’s highest moral purpose, that he can’t exist without it, and your love of virtue is your love of life.”—Francisco d’Anconia (p. 570)
This quote struck me because I had allowed a couple of people to do this to me. I had let them use me. I had wrongly thought that they were friends for years but then there was an incident that occurred in my life and was shocked to find out their true opinions of me were not of friends but instead to get something they wanted from me. Seeing this idea expressed in this book in several different ways helped to understand that some people are just this way and it is not you personally it is because it is who they are.
There are many ideas in this book that I really connected to. I had experiences that I could relate to. Though I do not agree with how this problem with solved, there are very many true ideas and principles. There are also so many things are and have occurred in the world I live in.
I was trying to think about what it was that I gained from reading this book another time. I noticed as I was reading this book the idea of bent v. broken and that reminded me of the type of books we read. I noticed that the story is about leaving morals behind for science. Leaving behind the pure, the simple, and even the advances we have for the sake of progress and science. That is a pattern that has seen before. The thing that really struck me was connected to a talk that I listened to by Oliver DeMille on Natural Laws. The topic was about looking for how books relate to the 12 Natural Laws. When I went to see how many Natural Laws that CS Lewis referred to I was a bit surprised...there were many!
Quick notes about the 12 Natural Laws (Natural laws = revealed law and scientific law)
1. Law of Supremacy - What is supreme?
2. Law of Authority - Who protects the law? Reason for the government?
3. Law of Limits - Do the laws protect natural law? inalienable rights?
4. Law of Delegation - What do we do when we see wrong? Do we delegate our responsibility?
5. Law of Force - What type of force is the government using?
6. Law of Decline- When we violate natural law it leads to a lack of respect to people and law leading to disdain. Do we see hateful actions? **Law of the Harvest
7. Law of Power (Power v. Energy) - Who is trying to dominate? Where are the gaps in power?
8. Law of Gaps - Do we create/keep gaps in government power or do we eliminate gaps?
9. Law of the Vital Few - Few ordinary people who do extraordinary things - Who do we choose to lead us?
10. Law of Liberty - Who is losing power?
11. Law of Economy - Power at the lowest level - Who is responsible for our duties and rights?
12. Law of Progress - Need the freedom to grow & progress - Who controls our actions - You or someone else?
What legacy will I leave my family?
If there is just one thing that I could take away from TJEd it would be the idea of core phase. This has completely changed who I am and how I look at the world. Core phase is the key to everything and I never knew how important it was. I remember the first time I read about TJEd, I just moved on over it and focused on Scholar phase because it sounded like where I “should” be. What I learned is that everything I do affects my core phase. My core beliefs are what drive me to action. My core beliefs determine everyday what I will do and not do. Each step I take makes my core stronger or weaker. I wish to leave a strong legacy of love and kindness to my family but does my core beliefs show that each and every day? If not, more work on core phase for me. J
One of the things that Mark Twain seemed to refer back to over and over again in this book is how calmly Joan handled situations. She did not get tricked into verbal traps by those around her. She was constantly challenged about her beliefs and decisions but held firm and constant.
That is a trait that I need to develop – Calmness. I panic. I am a nervous nelly that is always worried. I stress about how things could be and will be. I use essential oils and vitamins and minerals to help me stay calm and still I have to work at it all the time.
How do you develop calmness? How do you face challenges calmly and carefully?
“For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this work; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply one, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement.”
As I think back over my past I have to say that I find this statement true. As I have worked hard to do some tasks or goals, the cost was not cheap. It took my time and effort. Sometimes I had to listen to lectures 3 or 4 times to get what I needed to get out of it in understanding about Scholar Skills. Sometimes I have had to read a book over and over again and then discuss it with people in order to get a better understanding of what it meant to me or how this information could change me.
As I pay the price to learn to read well, I find that I enjoy it more each time AND I am learning faster each time.
Rocking the boat
This play about Sir Thomas Moore ends with the common saying, "It isn't difficult to keep alive, friends - just don't make trouble..." This reminds of the idea I was taught of not rocking the boat. It is a bad thing to rock the boat, or so I was always told. As I have gotten older and watched myself I find that when I did not rock the boat, I did not get in trouble but I was not happy. I knew that I was playing it safe but not right.
There was this really big decision that I had to make many years ago, and I really fought rocking the boat. Don't do it was all I could hear but I knew it was making me miserable. I was hating myself and my life. I was enduring it all. I finally took the step saying I would rather drown that not rock the boat. So rock it I did. I survived it and it was a great decision for me. It was the right thing to do. It was so scary at the time to go against this idea.
I was lucky. Sir Thomas Moore attempted to not rock the boat by his silence. Galileo attempted to not rock the boat by recanting his works. It is so risky to not rock the boat. Joan of Arc rocked the boat and look what happened to her.
How do we determine when to rock the boat and when not to? When we choose to rock the boat, is it for the right reasons? Can we live with the consequences? Tough tough questions to think about.
I didn’t have specific essay topic jump out at me for Frankenstein, but I did want to share my journal notes.
I had to look up many words in this book. While I thought I could figure out the gist of word, I am sticking to my goal of actually looking up words this year.
· Chimerical: existing only as the product of unchecked imagination; fantastically visionary or improbable; given to fantastic schemes.
· Charnel: a building or chamber in which bodies or bones are deposited; also called a charnel house.
· Portmanteau: a large suitcase that opens into two parts.
· Succor: something that you do or give to help someone who is suffering or in a difficult situation.
· Sanguinary: blood thirsty.
· Contemn: to view or treat with contempt; scorn.
· Assize: a judicial inquest.
· Futurity: the quality of being or happening in the future.
· Chamois: a small animal that looks like a goat and that lives on the mountains in Europe and western Asia. (I’m not sure if I can wash my car again! I had no idea the original chamois actually came from a goat like creature!)
I noted that Frankenstein wouldn’t listen to his first mentor at the university who told him to give up alchemy. He then changed mentors to find one who would let him study what he wanted. I don’t know what to think about this. On one hand finding the right mentor is important. But his first mentor was on the right track in the end. Meddling with nature can be very wrong. It is one of the many things in the book that left me unsettled.
The slow destruction of Frankenstein, how he became sick, sallow and withering away from the guilt, reminded me of Arthur Dimmesdale from The Scarlet Letter. He too was so overcome with guilt that it tore him apart.
Finally, in the end I thought that Frankenstein asked too much of Walton when he asked him to continue his journey to kill the monster. The monster had destroyed him and his family and now he was asking a stranger to take that on. Luckily the monster said he would kill himself which enabled Walton to not have to do it.
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