Resting in Apricity

the blog of a young, traditionalist, Catholic woman

Man Further Subverting Himself

At the Atlantic is a most frightening and excellent article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” that only just came to my attention (yet has its own Wiki page). It cannot be stressed enough how relevant to modern man the content is; after all, reflections and ideas like this cannot be found in traditional books because no one could foresee the monster that is the World Wide Web. The author, Nicholas Carr, first discusses the familiar experience of being able to focus less while reading (and, I think, doing isolated tasks in general), as he finds his mind pulled towards ‘checking up on’ something else. Many people, whom he cites and among my own personal “literary” acquaintances, have admitted this (which is a difficult thing to do): that while reading, a book or an article online, there is often a seemingly random urge to check one’s email or phone, for example. Individuals self-aware enough to notice this problem and try to make sense of it look towards the Internet, or modern electronics in general, as the culprit. To me this has always made sense: How can our minds wholesomely process the information that flies our way, that is available at such ease? (How many tabs/windows do you keep open?) How do those hideous, blinking, distracting ads actually affect us? There is something intuitively welcomed when we come across a largely clutter-free blog, such as Laura Wood’s. Research is showing that our beings (or “brains,” as reductionists will put it) are geared towards peaceful, simple settings, as one finds in the countryside, while they exhibit confusion upon the ugliness of urban “life” (better called death). Carr notes that “we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition.”

Apart from that a corporation, Google, controls virtually everything on the Web (which upon pondering should seriously alarm us), I do not believe that the way the Internet intrudes into our lives is something to be moderated, which apparently less extreme traditionalists believe. Perhaps they would disagree with my wording, arguing that I presuppose the Internet has some inherently bad quality, whereas I should say that “our use of the Internet should be moderated.” St. Thérèse observes in her autobiography, echoing Christ, that evil “does not exist in inanimate things, only in impure hearts.” Yet how eerie that we speak of “animating” technology! We see what is in man (Jn 2:25) when he is allowed his own microcosm — breathes an animus to create his own world.

Regardless of the absolute metaphysical interpretation of the Internet, it has been my long-standing belief that the Internet is opposed to virtue and elevates concupiscence, however it should be said. I have tried many times before to articulate my disdain for computers but never to my own satisfaction. However, I’m convinced that both physical and spiritual reasons exist that compel traditionalists to reject this medium entirely if possible (eventually, for some of us). The Internet is perhaps the peak of everything Revolutionary, with its dispersion of information (increased falsehood), its democratic nature (which Google loves!), its stress on efficiency, its predominating chaos and vulgarity, and so on.

Fundamentally, it would do us best to retreat into God’s creation, which St. Thérèse knew was “a foretaste of Heaven’s wonders,” and avoid man’s “progressive” pretensions. Nicholas Carr claims that the brain has nearly infinite plasticity. For men this should be encouraging, as a sign of hope to undo the ill effects technology has on us; but for Christians we have an even greater hope, for we know that God’s grace can overcome any evil of this passing world, purifying us in preparation for unity with Christ.

Medjugorje, Absurd and Deceptive

The refreshingly clear-headed Michael Voris and the ever-knowledgeable E. Michael Jones joined back in February to discuss the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. Myself, I have been quite unfamiliar with the situation, but this video, particularly when a clip of an “apparition” primarily involving “seer” Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic at a younger age (about whom Voris justly says: “You have to practically abandon the Catholic Faith to advance and support the notion that the Mother of God is dropping the Baby Jesus”) is played, makes the issue quite conclusive a number of times. Medjugorje is a fraud.

As an additional (though not conclusive) note: the Church bears the beautiful image and common theme of Our Lady appearing to modest peasants in the country; at Medjugorje, she is claimed to appear to those who “couldn’t look more ordinary, dressed in jeans” (source), wherever and whenever they please, apparently. Catholics should understand the dignity of the Faith to an extent that allows them to see the incongruity such phenomena have with the spirit of the Church. The following quote by Brother Michel de la Sainte Trinité from chapter two of The Whole Truth About Fatima expresses this wonderfully:

Even before the account of the apparitions and stupendous miracles of 1917, the history of Fatima evokes our wonder first of all by the atmosphere of a living Christendom in which it suddenly plunges us. To deliver Her great message destined to enlighten our whole twentieth century, Our Lady did not choose to appear in an industrial city, already devoured by the leprosy of pauperism, laicism and paganism that were making inroads everywhere. No, She chose to manifest Herself in a poor village, with a long Christian history, lost in the great mountainous region of the Serra da Aire, about eighty miles north of Lisbon. There, in 1917, as in many countries of our Christian Europe, the morals, the piety and the virtues of old remained as though miraculously preserved. This choice is an initial revelation of the predilections of the Heart of Mary.

Everybody knows the moon is made of cheese

Did anyone else love Wallace and Gromit as a child? Even now I’m willing to spend half an hour of a rainy day on this classic short film, “A Grand Day Out.”

Feminism Is a Sin Against Children

In a sermon about our knowledge through Natural Law of how women differ from men and the obligations that follow, the Thomist Fr. Chad Ripperger makes a very important statement that modern women need to face. It is truly sickening to see the amount of otherwise conservative Catholic women who refuse to confront the obvious obligation we have to stay home. Exceptional personalities, abilities, and “aspirations” (i.e., selfishness) are ultimately accidental; this bears upon every one of us.

The child has a moral right to this intellectual formation. The fulfillment of this right is incumbent on the woman to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is a divinely established task for the woman, that is, taking care of children. . . . The husband has a right that the woman fulfill her domestic responsibilities; he has to work, and therefore he cannot take care of the home and of the children all the time, and so she must be his helper. In fact, this right of the children is so grave because it has such a profound impact on the moral formation of children, and therefore their salvation, that it is a mortal sin for a woman to work outside the home without a sufficient reason. Now, think of what that means. Think of the injustice; we all worry about all the other injustices that occur in our society, but women are constantly doing this in relationship to their children (not all women, of course: many women are very faithful to their obligations). Taking care of children and the home is by no means a trivial task.

Update: I failed to notice that Fr. Ripperger’s podcasts are Penanceware, “which require that you do one of the following: (1) $1.00 via Paypal, (2) offer up a decade of the Rosary, or (3) perform some form of penance for the intentions of Fr. Ripperger (for each individual media file downloaded).” As I am the one sharing, this may only apply to me, however.

Indígena de clase ricaIndígena de clase rica (Mestiza Sangley-Filipina)
by the Dutch photographer Francisco van Camp, 1875.

The little we know about traditional sleep

The following is excerpted from the article “Slumber’s Unexplored Landscape: People in traditional societies sleep in eye-opening ways” by Bruce Bower. Read the entire paper here.

An initial attempt to draw back the veils of sleep in hunter-gatherer groups and other traditional societies has uncovered a wide variety of sleep customs, reports anthropologist Carol M. Worthman of Emory University in Atlanta. None of these snooze styles, however, looks anything like what modern Western folk take for granted.

This finding raises profound questions for the burgeoning discipline of sleep research, Worthman says. Over the past 50 years, scientists have avidly delved into slumber’s biology. Early research identified periods of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, during which intense dreams often occur. Current efforts pursue genes involved in wakefulness and sleeping (SN: 8/14/99, p. 100). Researchers have also taken strides toward treating insomnia and other sleep disturbances.

While investigators readily concede that they don’t yet know why people sleep and dream, they assume that they at least know how people should sleep: alone or with a partner for a solid chunk of the night. Sleep studies therefore take place in laboratories where individuals catch winks while hooked up to a bevy of brain and body monitors.

However, the distinctive sleep styles of non-Western groups may mold sleep’s biology in ways undreamed of in sleep labs, Worthman suggests. They may influence factors ranging from sleep-related genes to the brain’s electrical output during various sleep phases.

“It’s time for scientists to get out into natural sleep environments,” Worthman remarks. “It’s embarrassing that anthropologists haven’t done this, and the lack of such work is impeding sleep research.”
. . . .

A few researchers have bucked this trend. For instance, anthropologist James J. McKenna of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana has reported that babies in many countries outside the United States sleep next to or in the same room as their parents. Contact with a parent’s body helps regulate an infant’s breathing and other physiological functions, he asserts, perhaps lowering the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SN: 12/4/93, p. 380).
. . . .

So, Worthman contacted seven researchers who she knew had intimate knowledge of one or more traditional societies, including nomadic foragers, herders, and village-based farmers. Among these far-flung populations, none of the investigators, by their own admission, had systematically studied how people sleep. After plumbing what the researchers had absorbed about nighttime activities, Worthman has assembled a preliminary picture of sleep practices in 10 non-Western populations.

Worthman’s findings rip the covers off any lingering suspicions that people everywhere sleep pretty much alike. Far from the wallpapered confines of middle-class bedrooms, sleep typically unfolds in shared spaces that feature constant background noise emanating from other sleepers, various domestic animals, fires maintained for warmth and protection from predators, and other people’s nearby nighttime activities.
. . . .

Adult sleepers in traditional societies recline on skins, mats, wooden platforms, the ground, or just about anything except a thick, springy mattress. Pillows or head supports are rare, and people doze in whatever they happen to be wearing. Virtually no one, including children, keeps a regular bedtime. Individuals tend to slip in and out of slumber several times during the night. In these unplugged worlds, darkness greatly limits activity and determines the time allotted to sleep. Folks there frequently complain of getting too much sleep, not too little.
. . . .

Consider the communal sleep of the Gebusi, New Guinea, rainforest dwellers, who grow fruit in small gardens and occasionally hunt wild pigs. Women, girls, and babies crowd into a narrow section of a community longhouse to sleep on mats. Men and boys retreat to an adjacent, more spacious longhouse area, where they sleep on wooden platforms.

Gebusi females retire at dark for about 10 hours of rest and sleep. In contrast, the men stay up later and frequently conduct rituals. About once a month, everyone attends an all-night dance and feast, catching up on sleep the next day.
. . . .

Balinese infants are carried and held continuously by caregivers so that they learn to fall asleep even in hectic and noisy situations. This grooms them to exhibit what the Balinese call “fear sleep” later in life, Worthman says. Children and adults enter fear sleep by suddenly slumping over in a deep slumber when they or family members confront intense anxiety or an unexpected fright. They are literally scared into sleep.

Infants in middle-class American homes, who usually sleep alone, may not learn to ground their sleeping and waking cycles in a flow of sensations that include bodily contact, smells, and background noises, Worthman proposes. In fact, babies forced to bounce back and forth between the sensory overload of the waking world and the sensory barrenness of dark, quiet bedrooms may often find it difficult to relax, fall asleep, wake up, or concentrate, she theorizes.

A true conservative must necessarily be a conservationist.

– Edward Abbey

Modern American Posture

Here is a photograph of the average American family watching the Kennedy-Nixon debate (the first-ever televised) in 1960. Notice how the posture of some family members already shows signs of degeneration. The boy slumps casually over. Leaning her elbows on her legs, the mother ceases to use her core to hold herself upright and keep her spine straight. This fits very well with Esther Gokhale’s thesis that societies merge into physical dysfunction with industrialization.

The Absurdity of the Capitalist System

From “Culling the Herds”:

During the early years of the Depression, livestock prices dropped disastrously. Officials with the New Deal believed prices were down because farmers were still producing too many commodities like hogs and cotton. The solution proposed in the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 was to reduce the supply.

So, in the late spring of 1933, the federal government carried out “emergency livestock reductions.” In Nebraska, the government bought about 470,000 cattle and 438,000 pigs. Nationwide, six million hogs were purchased from desperate farmers. In the South, one million farmers were paid to plow under 10.4 million acres of cotton.

The hogs and cattle were simply killed. In Nebraska, thousands were shot and buried in deep pits. Farmers hated to sell their herds, but they had no choice. The federal buy-out saved many farmers from bankruptcy, and AAA payments became the chief source of income for many that year.

It was a bitter pill for farmers to swallow. They had worked hard to raise those crops and livestock, and they absolutely hated to see them killed and the meat go to waste. Critics charged that the AAA was pushing a “policy of scarcity,” killing little pigs simply to increase prices when many people were going hungry.

Rather than engaging in necessary, small-scale trade serving people directly, with authenticity and dignity, we are slaves to an abstract entity called “the economy” — that is, man-made chaos.

While the point of this post has been explained in the comments, a clarification seems in order. Capitalism represents an inordinate relationship of a people to its economy (its elevation), which leads to such disorderliness that state intervention is inevitably sought out, i.e., socialism. Capitalism and socialism are intimately connected because of human nature; they are both opposed to natural law. This post serves to subtly show their relationship (e.g., “we are slaves” — that is, we subordinate ourselves to it, instead of deliberately mastering it)  to those who are not blinded by their need to defend “true capitalism.”

The soul consists of two portions, inferior and superior, the superior is masculine and eternal; the feminine inferior and mortal.

– Elnathan Chauncy, a Massachusetts boy in 1662


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