Quotes for the week

14 07 2010

The picture above just serves to express that my wife makes the best gumbo in the world, but that is not necessarily a picture of it.

When I started, I hadn’t wanted a restaurant. What I wanted was the know-how of people who ran restaurants. I didn’t want to be a chef: just a cook. And my experiences in Italy taught my why. For millennia, people have known how to make their food. They have understood animals and what to do with them, have cooked with the seasons and had a farmer’s knowledge of the way the planet works. They have preserved traditions of preparing food, handed down through generations, and have come to know them as expressions of their families. People don’t have this kind of knowledge today, even though it seems as fundamental as the earth, and, it’s true, those who do have it tend to be professionals – like chefs. But I don’t want this knowledge in order to be a professional; just to be more human.

-if you want to know the source, you have to click here

Today many U.S. Catholics and Jews think like Protestants. They believe that religion is something we choose as individuals rather than inherit as communities, and they view it primarily in terms of faith rather than practice. None of this comes from either the Catholic brain of Aquinas or the Jewish mind of Maimonides. The progenitor of this faith-based understanding of religion (who also happens to be the patron saint of religion rulings at the U.S. Supreme Court) is the American Protestant thinker William James, who famously defined religion as ‘the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine’.”

-Stephen Prothero, via this link

On this one, I was reminded of St. Thomas’ opening argument in the Summa in which he writes something to the effect that those who have faith have an easier road to some truths than those wise men who had to work out natural theology for themselves. Why can’t this be applied to cradle Catholics as opposed to converts? Why is it in some circles being a cradle Catholic is considered to be some sort of disadvantage? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. What a great grace it is to be born into a collective situation where at the very least you are pointed in the right direction.

To this effect, I post this quote, just to be provocative:

We have more to learn from the worst cradle Catholics in the world than from the best converts. And don’t give me any of that “We all have a lot to learn from each other” waffling as if I don’t know that there are exceptions–which I do–because then you’ll clearly have missed the point and succeeded only in embarrassing yourself.


The Primitive Mentality

14 07 2010

image credit

There is, perhaps, no subject that has been more extensively investigated and more prejudicially misunderstood by the modern scientist than that of folklore. By “folklore” we mean that whole and consistent body of culture which has been handed down, not in books but by word of mouth and in practice, from time beyond the reach of historical research, in the form of legends, fairy tales, ballads, games, toys, crafts, medicine, agriculture, and other rites, and forms of social organization, especially those that we call “tribal.” This is a cultural complex independent of national and even racial boundaries, and of remarkably similarity through the world; in other words, a culture of extraordinary vitality. The material of folklore differs from that of exoteric “religion”, to which it may be in a kind of opposition – as it is in a quite different way to “science” – by its more intellectual and less moralistic content, and more obviously and essentially by its adaptation to vernacular transmission: on the one hand, as cited above, “the myth is not my own, I had it from my mother” (Euripedes), and on the other, “the passage from a traditional mythology to ‘religion’ is a humanistic decadence.” (Evola)
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