Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Plato's Republic and the Amish

Forgive me for treading where many heels have already worn a rut in the ground. I've been almost exclusively a 'for fun' fiction reader until now, and this is the first time I've read any philosophical work, so for me the journey is new.

My initial impression of Socrates was not favorable. It seemed to me that had I known him, I would have been secretly hoping to see him slip on a banana peel. Having progressed a little farther, I came to the conclusion that he may have seemed arrogant simply because he was speaking with people whose intellects and morals he held little regard for.

Finally, he earned respect for this:

Yes, I said, now I understand: the question which you would have me consider is, not only how a State, but how a luxurious State is created; and possibly there is no harm in this, for in such a State we shall be more likely to see how justice and injustice originate. In my opinion the true and healthy constitution of the State is the one which I have described. But if you wish also to see a State at fever heat, I have no objection. (emphasis mine)

The State he described was small and simplistic, where citizens would work hard during the summer in order to have winters of modest ease and comfort; a place where everyone could easily obtain the necessities - food, clothing, shelter - but at the same time "they will take care that their families do not exceed their means; having an eye to poverty or war."

It surprised me to realize that the community Socrates describes greatly resembles the Amish. Is it just me, or does the simple wisdom of Socrates' original State get routinely overlooked, ignored by readers that have eyes only for the dazzle of the Republic that follows?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Woman implanted with wrong embryo gives birth

This story is sweet and sad at the same time. A woman undergoing fertility treatment was impregnated, only to find out ten days later that she had been implanted with the child of a stranger. What's so special about this story is the fact that the woman in question, Carolyn Savage, not only made the decision to carry the child to term, rather than getting an abortion, but also to turn the child over to its real parents upon giving birth. May God bless her for her kindness and it is my prayer that she and her husband will be given a child of their own.
Last night ended on an unpleasant note, as my husband was not terribly thrilled by the discussion I initiated on the subject of public schooling versus home schooling. Still, all things considered, we both kept a rein on our anger and things never became nasty, just heated. Although I feel sorrow over the possibility that I've said nothing that will change his mind, and that he'll continue to doggedly stick to his plan of public schooling, I still feel strengthened; less fearful and less angry.

Yesterday a storm swept through our area, thick dark clouds accompanied by heavy rain. Today it is beautiful outside. The sky is gloriously blue and the sun is shining brightly on our overgrown, weedy yard and the air smells fresh and clean in a way only a large storm can accomplish.

It is a beautiful day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

If the state of our spirit could be captured in an image than this would have been me for the last couple of years. Dreary, frozen, waiting.

I'm happy to say, I think winter is over and spring is finally here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It would probably seem, based on my last posts, that I must be wallowing in a stew of ill feeling. This really has not been the case. I just pop on here and vent occasionally when the bad moods do strike.

For those of you that stop by here, family and friends, I have a request. Please ask Father to grant me wisdom, and strength for walking the path I am standing in front of.

It is my belief that to put my children into the public school system is to put their mental, emotional, physical but most importantly spiritual health at risk. I am going to approach my husband, give him my reasons for believing public schooling is the wrong choice for our children, and ask that he reconsider his opinion. In order for this to be productive, and not be seen as an attack from which he must defend himself, I need to be harmless as a dove and cunning as a serpent.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I frequently think of things I could post here, but in the rare event that I actually sit down and begin writing, I am usually interrupted before completion and lose all impetus to continue.

I feel very inadequate these days. My home is a mess, my to-do list grows ever larger. I feel tired and it is hard to escape the grasp of ennui. Great word, by the way.

Life feels like a puzzle right now. The picture on the box is obscured by the old food stuck to it and the pieces may not all be present, in fact, there may be the pieces of other puzzles scattered in amongst the rest. So I try to find a corner piece from which to start.

My oldest is going to be starting school next year. I am trying not to make it a point of contention with my husband but if I think about it too much I worry, fret and begin to get angry. I can't help but feel insulted by my husband's insistence on public school and what appears to be his implicit belief that it is necessary for the proper education and social development of our children.

Oh Father, give me strength and wisdom.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I have been in a brooding frame of mind lately.

The older I get the more antisocial and misanthropic I become. I'm perfectly fine remaining within the walls of my home and having little to no contact with the outside world beyond my family and current circle of acquaintances.

I hate people.

The other day, I took my three children to the park. I held my daughter while watching my two sons run around and play with the other children on the playground. My younger son B, who will be turning three in October, was climbing up a curved set of monkey bars trying to reach two boys that were standing on the platform watching him. They were probably around four or five years old. When I walked over to check on B, who seemed to be stuck, one of the pair turned his big brown eyes on me, pointed at B and said "He hit me."

I was taken aback. I know many parents think their children are little darlings that would never hurt another child or do anything wrong, but it seemed out of character to me that B would hit a child on the playground for no apparent reason. As these thoughts swiftly passed through my head, reality and reason kicked in - no matter what this child was saying, or what B was capable of doing, B was not close enough to the other children to have hit anyone. He was stuck at the top of the monkey bars, unable to make it to the platform because he was scared of the gap between the last bar and the platform.

As soon as that realization sunk in, I was thunderstruck. This little four or five-year-old was deliberately lying to me, an adult and a stranger, in order to get a child he had never met before punished. I should have told him that he was lying and that lying was wrong. Instead I made some feeble response that indicated I doubted his tale. He shrugged off the failure of his attempt and ran off with his friend to play elsewhere.

Later, I spent some time analyzing the incident and my reaction to it. When my oldest son lies, or does something he knows is wrong, it is clear that he feels the shame of his action and knows that he should not have done it. Unprovoked and with malicious intent this young boy looked me in the eyes and lied to me to try to get my son in trouble. He was utterly without shame. Clearly he understood that violence against another child was not acceptable, but apparently lying in order to get another child in trouble was perfectly fine.

Somehow this little sociopath-in-training has become a symbol in my mind of everything that is wrong with our society. We have a veneer of 'niceness' covering the outside of our societal sepulcher which is really nothing more than political correctness and passive-aggressive behavior. Open the door and just inside lies the malignant, festering, rotten corpse with its loathsome stench, filled with writhing maggots and other crawling horrors. It needs to burn.