The Fathers, the Scholastics, and Ourselves

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http://www.communio-icr.com/articles/view/the-fathers-the-scholastics-and-ourselves

One of the classic and all-time favorite essays of Hans Urs von Balthasar.

1. Posing the Question

“We are living in a time when the images of gods and idols are crashing all about us. The spiritual and cultural traditions of vast regions of the West are increasingly being called into question; indeed, we can go even further and say they are being liquidated, quickly and relatively painlessly. Just as a tree in autumn drops its leaves without pain or regret in order to gather once more new strength from within, to renew its powers in hibernal peace, so too the tree of culture is now being stripped of its leaves. Of course, in this, the late autumn of our times, the leaves lie thickly under our feet – and the books thickly in the bookstores; but we aren’t deceived for a moment about that.

This colorful yellow and red swarm of leaves is animated no longer by life but, if at all, only by the wind. A small regret might well be permitted us here, just as autumn is the time of the elegiac lyric, but who would want on that account to huddle up under the blankets of an eschatological pathos! We trust the powers of nature, her wise economy and the laws of her renewal.

Now under this drooping bower, many a Christian leaf can also be found. In the course of its two-thousand year history of spiritual and cultural life, Christianity has created for itself a wide variety of expressive forms, particularly in the West; indeed Christianity has been crucial in bringing forth and developing these forms.

In a labile and constantly changing relationship, it has turned these priceless works of art born of the human spirit into its dwelling places, its forms of expression, its vesture– indeed, it has almost made them a part of its very body. So it is almost obvious that today, where these dwellings seem to have become dilapidated, indeed where the worldly “body” of the Church seems to be wasting away, Christianity is being placed before the same question of what its living essence and core is that secular culture has also had to face.”

To Continue Reading…

 

Nutrition Science: A Diet of Suppression

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/12/this-study-40-years-ago-could-have-reshaped-the-american-diet-but-it-was-never-fully-published/?wpisrc=nl_az_most

“It was one of the largest, most rigorous experiments ever conducted on an important diet question: How do fatty foods affect our health? Yet it took more than 40 years  — that is, until today —  for a clear picture of the results to reach the public.

The fuller results appeared Tuesday in BMJ, a medical journal, featuring some never-before-published data. Collectively, the fuller results undermine the conventional wisdom regarding dietary fat that has persisted for decades and is still enshrined in influential publications such as the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  But the long-belated saga of the Minnesota Coronary Experiment may also make a broader point about how science gets done: it suggests just how difficult it can be for new evidence  to see the light of day when it contradicts widely held theories.”

The Sugar Conspiracy

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http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/07/the-sugar-conspiracy-robert-lustig-john-yudkin

“In 1972, a British scientist sounded the alarm that sugar – and not fat – was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and his reputation ruined. How did the world’s top nutrition scientists get it so wrong for so long?”

The Discovery of the Mind

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51bomsmxzjl-_sx322_bo1204203200_ “An illuminating and convincing account of the enormous change in the whole conception of morals and human personality which took place during the centuries covered by Homer, the early lyric poets, the dramatists, and Socrates.” — The Times (London) Literary Supplement.


“European thinking began with the Greeks. Science, literature, ethics, philosophy — all had their roots in the extraordinary civilization that graced the shores of the Mediterranean a few millennia ago. The rise of thinking among the Greeks was nothing less than a revolution; they did not simply map out new areas for thought and discussion, they literally created the idea of man as an intellectual being — an unprecedented concept that decisively influenced the subsequent evolution of European thought.


In this immensely erudite book, German classicist Bruno Snell traces the establishment of a rational view of the nature of man as evidenced in the literature of the Greeks — in the creations of epic and lyric poetry, and in the drama. Here are the crucial stages in the intellectual evolution of the Greek world: the Homeric world view, the rise of the individual in the early Greek lyric, myth and reality in Greek tragedy, Greek ethics, the origin of scientific thought, and Arcadia.


Drawing extensively on the works of Homer, Pindar, Archilochus, Aristophanes, Sappho, Heraclitus, the Greek tragedians, Parmenides, Callimachus, and a host of other writers and thinkers, Snell shows how the Homeric myths provided a blueprint for the intellectual structure the Greeks erected; how the notion of universality in Greek tragedy broadened into philosophical generalization; how the gradual unfolding of the concepts of intellect and soul provided the foundation for philosophy, science, ethics, and finally, religion.


Unquestionably one of the monuments of the Geistegeschichte (History of Ideas) tradition, The Discovery of the Mind throws fresh light on many long-standing problems and has had a wide influence on scholars of the Greek intellectual tradition. Closely reasoned, replete with illuminating insight, the book epitomizes the best in German classical scholarship — a brilliant exploration of the archetypes of Western thought; a penetrating explanation of how we came to think the way we do.”

Link

Art and the Mind’s Eye

johnruskin1861_1Art and the Mind’s Eye: How Drawing Trains You to See the World More Clearly and to Live with a Deeper Sense of Presence

“It’s only when we look with eyes of love that we see as the painter sees,” Henry Miller wrote in his forgotten 1968 gem To Paint Is to Love Again. Drawing, indeed, transforms the secret passageway between the eye and the heart into a two-way street — while we are wired to miss the vast majority of what goes on around us, learning to draw rewires us to see the world differently, to love it more intimately by attending to and coming to cherish its previously invisible details. This, perhaps, is why beloved artist Lynda Barry teaches visual storytelling as the infinitely rewarding art of “being present and seeing what’s there.”