Tuesday, November 03, 2009
I feel a little odd posting a picture of myself, but I didn't take any pictures today. Of the pictures I could choose to post, well, I don't feel I should be posting pics of Michael or Mulan without asking them first and they are watching TV. So here I am for your viewing pleasure.
Michael took this picture towards the end of Mulan's 10th birthday party on Sunday. Nine girls were in the basement dancing. The junk-filled room behind me is our basement guest room, where I threw everything from the other, bigger paneled room as I was wildly cleaning it up for the party.
We have a very arch-typical basement - lots of paneling, and it's one of the things I love about this house. In the basement, it's always 1975. The pictures on the wall around me are of our relatives, pictures we blew up for our wedding.
Once the party was in full swing, I was so tired. I think I had just said to Michael, "When do we get to start drinking?" And he took this picture. I was utterly exhausted.
I suddenly feel like a truly old parent. I can't believe my mother had five kids and threw big birthday parties for all of us. I'll be recovering from Mulan's birthday for about... a year.
I'm so sorry, but I just have to change the subject.
My mind is agog at the following realization: Plato is the true God of the Jesuits.
Now, to those of you well-versed with the Jesuitical mind-set and culture, what should be surprising is that this is - in any way - surprising.
I don't really know Plato very well. I mean, I knew the broad strokes - but I never read the Republic or his Dialogues or anything. I think I've even used the term "platonic ideal!" Now I realize that i have only a very superficial understanding of what that phrase really means. (Well, in my own defense, just try to understand Wikipedia's definition of platonic ideal.)
Mostly Plato seemed like gobbeldygook - a philosopher with great ideas but unfortunately who lived before science, psychology, and the social sciences usurped his musings with the cold hard facts of nature.
So, I've been listening to Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" on my dog-walk, on my ipod. And this is my probably obvious -to-many-but-not-to-me-until-now realization: THE TRUE GOD OF THE JESUITS IS PLATO! The Bible didn't inspire the Catholic organization of Europe - or the priesthood -or the Jesuits in particular - it was all Plato! Plato, Plato, Plato - Lordy it's so obvious!!!
C'mon, the ideas - that the men who are "worthy" and "of merit" should be living apart from others - shunning marriage and children, and rule over the others. It's all in there, everything. It was so familiar - the point of view, it gave me chills. The whole flavor of Plato - is so much like the spirit of the Jesuits -- the way they think of themselves, the way they've been organized, the way they look at the world, y'know, it's not really Biblical at all.
That was my big astonishment reading the Bible - it was so hard to believe that this was the book that inspired the religion that I had been a part of. Jesus didn't seem like he would have been Catholic, and particularly not Jesuit.
But hearing Will Durant read excerpts of Plato, I am, frankly, thunderstruck. I had to actually stop walking a few times and just breathe deeply. And the thing is, Plato even says that belief in the supernatural - well, ha ha, that's for the masses! That's for the common folk who cannot live without a supernatural moral code and need to think that God is watching them always.
And that was just exactly the feeling I got from the Jesuits I happen to be friends with when I began to question everything about God. Their reaction wasn't to refute what I was saying - no not at all. Their reaction was more like, well as if I as a member of, yes - one of the lower classes! One of the ones that should believe because it's "good" for me and my type - y'know the non-thinkers of the world (and more to the point - the women of the world!) We weren't supposed to wrestle with these questions. We were supposed to be comforted by the idea of god, more willing to send our sons off to war, more willing to die because we thought we would see our loved ones in heaven - religion was for people like me and I was breaking the rules - and that was the part that seemed the most upsetting to them.
Anyway... that's what i'm thinking about today.