“Stump the Chaps” IV: Shared Values for an Atomized Society?

Greetings to All in ST’s Kaffeeklatsch!

Since “it’s Sunday whenever the Chaps shows up.”, I offer the next installment in the “Stump the Chaps” series. A lot of reading – both here and offsite – has brought me back to considering the question of whether or not we can come up with a set of guiding principles that could be diffused by individuals in daily contacts with others – encounter-by-encounter, on a daily basis. It might be useful to first recall the perhaps-mythical era of a framework of family, school, church/synagogue/yes, even mosque/sports, etc. in and through which the norms and expectations of the wider culture could be shared and modeled – regardless of whether or not one chose to adhere to them. I think most of us here can relate in some way to the daily life Norman Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedoms’ depicts.

Recently, a college friend of mine recounted that he and his wife had begun to “play games on our phones, while waiting for our meals to be served when eating out.” This is a gentleman and his wife who are professionals, in their older adult years; we can’t blame it all on the young folks. Instantaneous worldwide connection does have its rewards. (Me, posting this, for instance.) How did we get from Norman Rockwell to George Jetson, you ask? That’s a piece of the puzzle for another day. For now, let’s see if we can get the two of them to at least wave at each other, if not shake hands?

I have to stress here that I’m not calling for another program/workshop. In my experience, head-knowledge only gets you a headache unless it moves to your heart and hands. I will ask us to look at some ideas that have been keeping me company since I was invited here about two months ago. Our gracious host’s discussion of being ‘awakened’ and living from the inside out, led me to this checklist re: tantra and everyday life, by Margot Anand in The Art of Everyday Ecstasy. She uses language in a rather flowery way that boils down to:

– Say a daily “Yes!” to life’s creative (and, yes, ST) erotic potential.

– Roll with the direction life takes you; don’t look too far ahead.

– Trust yourself to exercise your own knowledge, gifts, and talents.

– Open your heart in compassion and concern for yourself that then flows out to encompass others.

– Find authentic ways to be creative, to bring yourself into what you do.

– Take time daily to assess your physical, mental, and spiritual fitness – and act to restore wholeness.

– Connect to that which nourishes/informs/empowers you spiritually, and actively maintain that bond.

– Commit to a personal spiritual path, based on gratitude for the gift of each day.

– Let your commitment to your Source always ground and guide your thoughts, feelings, attitude, and actions.

Ms. Anand offers us a self-focused set of tools for a satisfying, integrated daily life. These dovetail nearly-seamlessly into our old friend C. S. Lewis’s cross-epochal, cross-cultural, societal schema referenced in his The Abolition of Man. He termed this tool “the Tao” (borrowing a Buddhist term for ”The Way”) though not using it in its technical sense. Lewis described the path this way:

“It is the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are.” (TAoM, pg.19; HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.)

Notice the use of the external and the plural in the description. Lewis’ concept highlights externally-focused guides for making values-based decisions from ancient texts of: China, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Native American and Norse cultures, Persia, Rome.

An eight-fold hierarchy emerges from this cross-cultural exploration. An appendix in The Abolition of Man details these. I’ll simply list them:

1. The Law of General Beneficence [Recognition of Common Humanity/Nonaggression]

2. The Law of Special Beneficence [Kinfolk/Neighbors/Countrymen]

3. Duties toward Parents/Elders/Ancestors

4. Duties toward Children/Posterity

5. Justice:

– Fidelity, honesty, respect for ownership, proportionality of response

– Specific applications to legal matters.

6. Good Faith and Veracity

7. Mercy/Compassion/Charity (with respect to offering one’s goods and time)

8. Magnanimity/Largeness of heart (extended to offering oneself for a greater Good.)

It seems to yours truly that there’s plenty of room for Norman Rockwell and George Jetson to at least meet and greet here. What say you all? Thanks, ST!

Until next time…Peace!…Chaps, out.

44 thoughts on ““Stump the Chaps” IV: Shared Values for an Atomized Society?

  1. I like it when you look at things, especially things like cartoons through the lens of modern day mythology. Poor George Jetson is the perfect male in the Cupiditocracy’s/ Progressive’s vision of utopia.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Precisely, ST…Thanks for noticing! All this technology, that’s supposed to be “labor-saving”. and he’s still not in charge of anything. Especially not his own life. He (George) makes the point without bludgeoning people with it. How little we knew…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I guess that’s where compassion-toward-self comes in; not to mention creativity with lower-impact versions of prior activities. Visualization can be helpful, even for athletes in training, so why not for us?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Just Anand’s roundabout way to make reference to God without saying so; let me see if I can get to it without her approach-avoidance dance. (I’ll try an edit with the iDevice…Wait one?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think I managed the edit of Ms. Anand, ST…See if that’s more intelligible. (By the way, how does that track with what you’ve encountered as tantra?)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Her term, ST, not mine…I’d have used Higher Power, too…But, I didn’t write her book. (Higher Power can even work for non-theists, because one can invoke gravity, as larger than self, for instance.)

          Liked by 2 people

      2. I do not think that your commitment to God (Source) will ground and guide you to the “ST Tao.” I suspect that it is more about feeling humble and inadequate before the Lord, and respecting the divine spark within each of us.

        Some people have hardened their hearts to God and finding the divine within them can be difficult if not impossible.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, humility is not a concept that has a very positive valence for the post-modern, non-medieval West – maybe including Ms. Anand – who seem to be writing yet another “how-to”, self-fulfillment manual…She seems stuck in ‘outside-in’ mode, after all, doesn’t she? That seems to be most of what’s out there, sadly…Maybe it’s a call to write about your Tao? Your description above is a beautiful, moving, difficult one, ST…Reading it, my eyes and my heart are both full….

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Neither Ms. Anand’s or Dr. (Ph.D type not medical) Lewis’s bullet points above seem to line up with the Democrats all-in support for abortion.

    Not so fun fact: C.S. was wounded and two of his best buds were killed due to a so called friendly fire (short artillery rounds) accident during WWI. C.S. somehow survived World War I trench warfare, no mean feat. I suppose God had a bigger plan for him.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. With you all the way, re; the anti-life – both at the beginning and the end – attitude of Dems. It must be theological, somehow, in a skewed way; but even theology *develops*, when new information expands the views currently held…This ignores all sorts of information and evidence.

    I knew Lewis had served, and carried the weight of his experience, but I didn’t know that history. That sure adds depth to most of his writing for me. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, if we want these ideas to catch on, it seems to me that we should keep it simple. When my brilliant father was explaining to my four year old self the reasons for the pro-life movement, he told me, simply, that the strong must protect the weak, and if it comes to it, the strong must be willing to die for those weaker than themselves. He didn’t talk about religion or philosophy, he did not attempt to introduce me to all kinds of complicated ideas: he just told me that if we want the world to be a half ways decent place, we must protect those weaker than ourselves. My four year old mind was totally able to grasp that, and I knew, without having to have it spelled out for me, that my father’s ethic applied to all aspects of life, not just abortion.

        It seems as thought part of our current social problems involve an unwillingness on the part of some people, usually women, to acknowledge that other people are either stronger or weaker than they are. Feminists get very insulted if we point out that men are generally stronger than women, and feminists also have a hard time acknowledging that children are weaker than women-fetuses are often compared to parasites, for instance. Feminists seem to want a world where everyone is always totally independent, no one really needs anyone else, and no one has any moral obligations to anyone else either. In the world feminists want to create, and have to a large extent already created, the only thing anyone is really obligated to do is to get a job. Those who can’t get jobs-children, the elderly, the disabled-are severely marginalized, to borrow a word from leftists.

        Freedom is a gift from God. It is also a gift that the strong give to the weak. I had a feminist aunt who used to tell me that if women weren’t willing to go into combat, then they shouldn’t be voting, because, she said, if women want equal rights, they must accept equal responsibilities. But if you really think about it, that logic doesn’t work: leave women out of it, and just think about men. I have heard a few conservatives here and there who seem to agree with my aunt’s thinking, who believe that only those who have served in the military should be able to vote. Ok. But not all men in the military take on the same responsibilities; most of them serve in support roles. So, by my aunt’s logic, only those men who have actually seen combat would have the right to vote. But some men see a lot more combat than others, and some are better in combat than others: all able bodied men must sign up for the draft, but we don’t deprive less than totally abled men of the right to vote because they can’t serve in the military, nor should we. The point is, if we really want to have a conversation about who deserves to vote and who doesn’t, it will turn out that very very few people deserve to vote; there will be a handful of men who will be deemed worthy, and then they can fight with each other other over which one deserves to be king. Freedom cannot survive with that kind of mindset. Freedom cannot survive unless the strong are willing to protect the weak, and yes, there will be people pretending to be weak who really aren’t: men who could serve but don’t, people of both sexes pretending to be disabled when they really aren’t, etc…there will always be people who abuse the system, but that doesn’t justify the ethic feminists are promoting. An ethic which says that everyone must be totally independent and strong all the time: there is no human being who can live up to that; there is no human society that can remain civilized if it adopts that ethic.

        Everything we have in America, we owe to men who could have been kings but chose not to be. We should be worshiping at the feet of those men, not demonizing them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This may be “nested” above yours, JaC: Thanks for it! And, “Keeping it simple” is why I mentioned modeling it, rather than teaching it, per se…It seems like something that needs to be caught, rather than taught. If someone approaches me to ask how/why I’m moving forward during difficulties, I’ll certainly respond, but I’d rather do it than talk about it.

        As to “how we got here”, that’s spot on…Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Nanda,

    A question about this song that I thoroughly enjoyed. The early chords sounded like Eleanor Rigby and then the song morphed into grunge with a touch of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts … I loved it!

    Who is this?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. ST deserves some props then because I am the ultimate musical particulaire. Really enjoyed both the lyrics and the instrumentals.

    Wait… Could this turn into a “cool” site? 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Here is a twofer from MercyMe. This clip is 5 minutes. The first song, I Can Only Imagine, was a crossover hit that got a lot of airtime on non-Christian radio stations. The second song, Finally Home, was written by the lead singer to his father who had recently passed away. You are allowed to cry a little bit whenever you listen to it. The lead singer cried when he sang it in studio the first time.
    That caused a chain reaction and then the rest of the band started bawling. Enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This one is an old friend to me, ST. You offered it to me the morning my Mom passed away; a musical abrazo from un querido hermano: An invitation to travel down a new path. -smile-

      Liked by 2 people

  7. ST, your lovely, almost haunting, words about humility before the Lord and others being necessary, in order to perceive the ‘divine spark’ in others (and in oneself have opened my thoughts and pierced my heart. They’re resting there now, not as pain – but peace…

    They’re keeping Lt. Zirnheld’s paradoxical prayer company; we’ll see what they might yet have to say…The prophet Joel’s “Rend your hearts, not your garments.” [Joel 2:13] just came to mind, too…Wow! Bless you and thank you, amigo mio! I have seldom felt closer to you than I do now…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Btw, just now, 2 Chronicles 7:14 joined it: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” [KJV] (Does this look like the ‘being humble and inadequate before the Lord’ you wrote about, ST?) if so, it sounds like the start of a powerful, grassroots action plan to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Simon, I simply enjoy the music of this band. Good find and thanks for sharing.

    Music (imho) is the most powerful way to get across a message. Thanks for introducing me to yet another venue of music.

    Liked by 3 people

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