Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Denouncing Defeatism

Has life defeated you? I rather hope
Defeatist rhetoric will die aborning,
Though seen by many merely as a warning,
Each bitter word will serve to weave a rope

By which we’ll hang ourselves when the despair
We manufacture with denunciation
Of all the grievous faults that plague the nation
Convinces us our world’s beyond repair.

What good could we expect to come from that?
Affirmation is the only answer
To the questions posed by social cancer.
Get up and dance –– don’t bellow through your hat.

Although The Axe inevitably must fall,
Carping will produce no good at all.

~ FreeThinke


  1. It's impossible not to be overcome by defeatism if one keeps up with current events. **sigh**

  2. Good morning, AOW. I have to disagree, because I see that as letting the ENEMEDIA yank your chain, thus letting THEIR pernicious agenda control your life.

    Remember our recent discussion of Howard Zinn -- and by extension all his ilk. People of that sort are very like TERMITES. They start small, operate at first by stealth and then ine day we find the structure of our house -- or in this case our very lives-- has been hollowed out, chewed up and spat our from WITHIN till it no longer supports us.

    These are the direct descendants of Marx, Freud, Gramsci, The Frankfurt School, Saul Alinsky, etc.

    Since, as decent Christian people, we cannot support -- and dare no evendream -- of suspension of the First Amendment, suspension of Habeas Corpus and certainly not the rounding up and placement into Extermination Centers of perverted, dangerously provocative, subversive elements, we must fight them with virtual TIDAL WAVES of POSIYIVE, AFFIRMATIVE THINKING.

    What we have been doing, instead, is letting ourselves be suckered into paying TH:EIR game -- a contest we could never hope to win, since "THEY" are past masters of The Denigration Derby -- a game "THEY" invented for the express purpose of defeating "US."

    Look at wha happened to yesterday's thread on Mrs. Levhinne's sparkling interpretation of Mozart. I was the LEFT who surged in bound and determined o turn a positive, invigorating, life-affirming, thoroughly delightful, praiseworthy event into yet-another dreary pissing contest.

    It's very hard to fight, I admit, but fight it we MUST, because the only alternative is SURRENDER to the DEATH of our culture, our identity, our soul both as a people and as individuals.

    "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

    "THEY" will make every attempt to defame and defeat Our Lord, because THAT is "THEIR" mission. "WE" must make it "OUR" mission to do everything in our power -- as I know you do with your teaching and your home life -- NOT to let that happen.

    If "WE" do our part constantly to AFFIRM whatsoever things are true, lovely and of good report" we will be doing "OUR" part, and that is ALL we -- or anyone else -- CAN do.

    Blind Optimism is certainly nit the answer, but neither is dwelling constantly on all that works to drag us down.

    "Fight the Good Fight with all of thy might
    God is thy strength and God thy right..."

  3. Defeatism is a choice.

    Pull yourself up by the bootstraps, put on a smile, and move on.

    There are silver linings in dark clouds. One merely needs to find the tenacity to stick with it and they will soon find the lining. Remember, first comes the storm during which character is built.

    Change has never been easier and as one ages it gets increasingly harder... If you let it.

    Great post FreeThinke!

  4. I read this a while ago and thought of you for a couple of reasons. This sonnet brought it to mind again, perhaps elliptically.

    Birches (Frost)

    When I see birches bend to left and right
    Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
    I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
    But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
    As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
    Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
    Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
    Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
    You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
    They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
    And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
    So low for long, they never right themselves:
    You may see their trunks arching in the woods
    Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
    Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
    Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
    But I was going to say when Truth broke in
    With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
    I should prefer to have some boy bend them
    As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
    Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
    Whose only play was what he found himself,
    Summer or winter, and could play alone.
    One by one he subdued his father's trees
    By riding them down over and over again
    Until he took the stiffness out of them,
    And not one but hung limp, not one was left
    For him to conquer. He learned all there was
    To learn about not launching out too soon
    And so not carrying the tree away
    Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
    To the top branches, climbing carefully
    With the same pains you use to fill a cup
    Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
    Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
    Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
    So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
    And so I dream of going back to be.
    It's when I'm weary of considerations,
    And life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig's having lashed across it open.
    I'd like to get away from earth awhile
    And then come back to it and begin over.
    May no fate willfully misunderstand me
    And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
    Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
    I don't know where it's likely to go better.
    I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
    And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
    Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
    But dipped its top and set me down again.
    That would be good both going and coming back.
    One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

  5. Thank you for this post. I love the message of your poem.

    It's damn near impossible to be depressed while playing the banjo, and that's about all that keeps me going.

  6. Thanks for one of Frost's greatest poems. I hadn't reviewed it since I sat in Freshman English in college fifty-odd years ago, but have thought with quizzical wonder of the last line with fair frequency over the years.

    One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."

    The facile interpretation that arose in that English class was "One could do worse than to be a human being."

    I never quite bought that. The beauty and clarity of Frost's imagery strikes me as the most outstanding aspect of the work -- one can almost smell the frosty New England winter air, and hear the crunch of snow and the crackle of twigs under foot in the austere beauty unique to rural Vermont, New Hampshire and the region "North of Boston."

    The twisting white birches, themselves, must be a metaphor, I'm sure, but exactly what they stand for I am not certain. It would be easy to say the boy (Frost, himself, in retrospect?) in creating his own play in isolation is, perhaps, striving heavenward only to be brought back to earth time and again as the trees arc downward under his weight? And isn't that a lot like the experience life offers most of us?

    We try and try to lift ourselves off the "ground," as it were, only to be brought back again and again.

    We dream of reaching great heights in any number of ways, and sometimes a few of us do -- for a moment or two now and then -- but we are not made for sustained experience on the peaks -- the atmosphere there is too rarefied. We are fundamentally earthbound creatures, except in the realms of Yearning and Imagination.

    In the end, however, despite all our failed attempts to achieve desired goals, we should realize that simply having been alive is probably more than good enough.

    Frost was supposed to have been an unpleasant person, inconsiderate, often cruel, and very difficult to live with. He was, however, one of our very best poets, and like most creative geniuses the value of his work far outweighs his personal foibles and predilections. I believe it will endure.

  7. I think your despairing man in who is trying to resist his despair reminded me of the birches which resist permanent bending.

    But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
    As ice-storms do.

    I doubt that adds any sense to the poem as a whole, but that was the trigger.

  8. “De nontie secrete contro contrabandieri et transgressorio in ogni sorte di ogli”

  9. ...and I see the boy as one leaarning to conquer/ subdue nature. And if he had to break (permanently bend) every damn birch tree in the process, so be it. The birches would have given up all knowledge of the suppleness, and the boy would know everything there was to know about how they bend and bending them.

  10. Perhaps on the day that we walk away from a devasted/broken Earth, we can remember the days we spent extracting all of our human "technics"... and SMILE. What FUN we had, swinging in the trees!

    The Faustian Age must reach it final end.

  11. "We are a Faustian age, determined to meet the Lord or the Devil before we are done." - Norman Mailer

  12. Best sign up now before the Membership rolls close. ;)

  13. "The endless cycle of idea and action,
    Endless invention, endless experiment,
    Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
    Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
    Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
    All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
    All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
    But nearness to death no nearer to God.
    Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
    The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
    Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.”

    ― T.S. Eliot

  14. "... to anonymously lodge complaints and report crimes to the government...."

    Good Lord! Must I be plagued with the curse of split infinitives EVERYWHERE I look?

    "How long? How long, O Lord, shall the wicked triumph? How long will they utter and speak vain things? ..."

  15. Hey, it was the inscription on YOUR picture!


  16. Poor T.S. Eliot! Except for his "Cat" poems, he seemed a desperately unhppy, woebegone creature. Perhaps it came from having been born in the Midwest? He tried to overcime it by making himself into something of an Englishman -- or so it would appear?

    This may be a quantum leap, but it makes me think of Vera Charles, "The First Lady of the American TheeYATEr" in Auntie Mame.


    Auntie Mame told little Patrick "Auntie Vera" had been born in Pittsburgh.

    The boy responded, "Then why does she speak with an English accent?"

    "Well, Dahling," said the aunt, "if you come from Pittsburgh you've got to do SOMETHING!"

    I suppose it was the same with poor Eliot?

    [Cool your jets, you purists. I'm just joking, Too much seriosity becmes lugubrious after a while, n'est-ce-pas?]

  17. Machiavelli has a wonderful tale in his histories of Florence of the attempted assassination of Lorenzo the Magnificent in Florence... perhaps from whence the inspiration for this architectural piece originated as the conspirators has been betrayed by informants?

  18. George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language"

    This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose construction is habitually dodged:

    ...Operators or verbal false limbs. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are render inoperative, militate against, make contact with, be subjected to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc., etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purpose verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved by anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.

  19. My bad, the actual inscription on the Doge's Palace in Venice might translate to a box for informing on corrupt government officials... I'm a little unclear on the translation.

    Denontie Secrete Contro Chi Occultera Gratie Et Officii O Collunder A Per Nasconder La Vera Rendita D Essi

  20. FreeThinke, are you turning liberal? ;)


  21. RN said:

    Defeatism is a choice.

    Pull yourself up by the bootstraps, put on a smile, and move on.

    There are silver linings in dark clouds. One merely needs to find the tenacity to stick with it and they will soon find the lining. Remember, first comes the storm during which character is built.

    To a point, all of the above is true.

    However, I must say that I'm having a difficult time on a personal level. Caregiving for nearly 5 years has made optimism sometimes impossible. Just sayin'.

    1. I understand AOW, my mother required constant care before she passed away. I know my father often felt as you do during those years.

      I am not religous buy I shall send good karma your way. Spirituality has wonderful powers.

  22. FT,
    What we have been doing, instead, is letting ourselves be suckered into paying TH:EIR game

    I'm not sure that it's purely suckering. Revisionist history (Howard Zinn) has changed the perceptions of nearly everyone in certain age groups -- even if some of those people swear that they haven't bought into Zinn's bias.

  23. FT,
    One more thought:

    I place a great deal of emphasis on what I call "balance."

    I can indeed engage in "their" tactics, but I can turn off using that strategy too.

  24. FJ,
    Very appropriate T.S Eliot poem!

  25. __ Let Us Hope George Was A Dope __

    George Orwell was a brilliant cuss
Of that there is no doubt,

    But also such a Gloomy Gus

    Whose prophecies without

    A shred of pity, warmth or mirth
Leave us feeling lost

    Doomed to crawl on planet earth

    Forever nude in frost.
Despite George Orwell's brilliance
He left us without hope.
So. pray that our resilience

    May yet prove him a dope!

    ~ FT (7/17/14)

  26. FT,
    Despite George Orwell's brilliance
He left us without hope.
So. pray that our resilience

    May yet prove him a dope!

    I wish!

  27. RN,

    To say the situation is a downer at such a relatively-young age is an understatement.

  28. That loss is common would not make
    My own less bitter, rather more:
    Too common! Never morning wore
    To evening, but some heart did break.

  29. Oh, c'mon, AOW! Human history has been beset all along far worse conditions and far more daunting problems than we face right now.

    Henry Ford, an extraordinarily brilliant man in his own rite, may have said, "History is bunk," but I find history fascinating, it's also oddly reassuring.

    It's best use may be to examine the past with the thought in mind of finding many aspects of the present favorable by comparison

    The Tragic View may be deemed "realistic" by far too many, but I think it cripples us -- saps strength -- diminishes hope -- and too easily accepts defeat as inevitable.

    That is what is WRONG with Orwell. He gives us no feeling of hope whatsoever.

    That atitude turns life into nothing but one Long Walk to the Scaffold.

    Of COURSE, we are doomed to die, but I think it's better to make the most of whatever time -- and freedom -- we DO have, instead of succumbing to the unrelieved gloom that stems from the grim resignation that comes from unrelieved pessimism.

  30. In making perfectly formed verse
    Lord Tennyson's facility
    Was peerless. Although never terse,
    Astonishing agility,

    Mellifluously mournful, draws
    The reader with its cadence,
    As though with velvet claws
    Into a quiet glade, thence

    Into a soporific trance
    Where peaceful resignation
    Benumbs the latent urge to dance,
    Postpones all agitation.

    There was no call to be succinct
    In the Romantic Age.
    Such prayerful peace became extinct
    In this the Age of Rage.

    And yes I caught the drift of his long slow descent into bitter mournfulness after beginning with a strong affirmation of faith in God's ultimate benignity, but even so, the elegance, sheer beauty and relentless flow of his writing makes it all but impossible to partake of his, apparent, despair.

    I see such expressions as cathartic and uplifting as opposed to the sickening effect wallowing in coarseness and brutal negativity produces today.

  31. Emily Dickinson, surely one of the greatest masters of succinctness, struggled all her life with traditional concepts of faith in a loving, almighty God wrote with delicate sarcasm of the prospect of meeting God:

    Drowning is not so pitiful
    As the attempt to rise --
    Three times 'tis said a drowning man
    Come up to face the skies --

    And then, declines forever
    To the abhorred abode
    Where Hope and he part company --
    For he is grasped of God.

    The Maker's cordial Visage
    However good to see
    is shunned -- we must admit it --
    Like an Adversity!

  32. "the elegance, sheer beauty and relentless flow of his writing makes it all but impossible to partake of his, apparent, despair.

    I see such expressions as cathartic and uplifting..."

    I know exactly what you mean.

  33. FT,
    When I typed in the situation, I was referring to the personal situation here in this household. Combine that with what's going on in the world and, particularly, in American politics -- and there is a dearth of peace.

  34. Having endured several similar challenges for most of my life, AOW, I understood precisely what you meant, believe me. You know me well enough by now, I'm sure, to realize I have no lack of empathy for your situation, I am merely trying to tell "the world" how I believe we best may cope with life's inevitable challenges, and stave off the emotional and spiritual paralysis that comes when we succumb to despair.

    I am not by nature a particularly sanguine individual and have had to fight a natural tendency towards melancholia all my life. However, I have found that cultivating a determined faith in the essential goodness of Life and all God's creation has been enormously helpful.

    Also, I think I have always known -- or at least sensed -- that Beauty -- whether in Nature or in Art -- gives sufficient proof that God is good and life is worth living.

    Classical music -- and to a lesser extent theater music, stylish cabaret music and jazz -- have always attracted me, even more than Rock 'n Roll, Nashville's C&W, and Rap have repelled me. What I know and will insist to my dying day is SUPERIOR music has given me a focus for energy and ambition that's proved life sustaining.

    God is found in Beauty, Order, Affection, Loyalty, Good Humor, and Selflessness. Whenever we earnestly seek the Lord, we shall find inner peace -- even though we be cast into a dungeon or frog marched to the scaffold.

    Giving way to suffering and complaint is -- to me -- evidence of insufficient faith.

    I don't pretend it has been easy to live according to these lights, or that I am particularly good at it, obviously I'm not, nevertheless I am morally certain that cultivating optimism and a determination to take St. Paul's advice and focus on whatsoever things are true, etc. is the ONLY way tp get through life without becoming bitter, cycnical, dejected and enervated.

    Remember, preaching and cultivating determined NEGATIVISM while breeding insolence, selfishness, base ingratitude, rage, rebellion and distrust are THE hallmark of the LEFT



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