Friday, November 13, 2009

quote of the Day:

"When a movement, which claims to fight socialist fascism in the name of freedom, promotes the ideas of a former KGB agent as a way to offer some intellectual heft to its arguments, it becomes increasingly difficult to lend that movement any credibility whatsoever. But these are the same people who insist on comparing health care reform to the Holocaust, so perhaps credibility just isn't what they're going for."--Matt Compton

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bonhoeffer and psychology

“In the former (the spiritual community) unsophisticated, nonpsychological, unmethodical, helping love is offered to one another; in the latter, psychological analysis and design.”—Bonhoeffer, Life Together
When I read through Bonhoeffer, as well as CS Lewis, I often am struck by the genuine fear of psychology expressed by these Christian thinkers. For that matter Thomas Merton sort of dismisses the unconscious as just not as important as the moderns seem to think it to be.
I wonder, initially, why that is. Some of me just assumes it is a generational thing. At the time utter belief in psychology as a cure for sin—the way to sanctify and perfect humankind—was a genuine dream of some. Further, fascist regimes, using the power of suggestion and the appeal of mass communication and mass propaganda, seemed to be successful in changing masses of individuals into collective mobs. So, in that sense I can see where there is a real fear, if not hatred, of psychology.
Additionally, accepted too readily psychology can have a way of dismissing individual powers and rooting out mystery.
Finally, especially regarding Merton’s tradition, I have heard Catholics claim that all psychology does is invert the “right” understanding of humans, assuming base passions are subtler, and therefore impossible to control.

Oh, on a side note some readers may have noticed a lot of Bonhoeffer lately. I am currently using "A Year With Dietrich Bonhoeffer" as part of my daily devotions.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The republican party is eating itself

While I'm stating the obvious am I the last person to find out Brett Favre is now a Viking?
Seriously though, I wonder if its a good thing--forcing ideological purity upon party members. I mean right now the democrats, having not done that the last two election cycles, are having some troubles with so called "blue dogs" who are trying to strip healthcare reform of its teeth in the name of moderation and keeping their seat in districts that leaned McCain in '08.
So, from the perspective of effectiveness is it better to loose seats in congress, but have lock-step control over those congress-people you do have, or to have a lot more folk of your party in congress but have intra-party squabbles?