Zen, the Middle Ages in Eight Minutes, Toddler Torture
This episode looks again at my concept of “primary obligations,” pointing out that it’s a reference point, not a stick to beat others with. I also look briefly at Tolstoy’s “family narcissism” and that hard question: is it harder to deal with toddlers or teenagers, on a day-to-day basis?
I then introduce Zen. Due to a lot of interest among listeners, this will become a recurring topic of the podcast. I look at the fundamental approach of Zen, which is to smash through the “subject-object” way of viewing things, to approach life with the eyes of a little child. I also touch briefly on the thought of Australian philosopher, Samuel Alexander, who influenced C.S. Lewis (reference Surprised by Joy). I also discuss the Anti-Zen: The selfie.
For a great introduction to Zen, I highly recommend the lead essay in Thomas Merton’s Mystics and Zen Masters. (Skip the first five pages or so.)
I then introduce a second topic that I hope will be recurring: The Middle Ages. I look briefly at the “fall” of Rome, then break down every century from 800 to 1500 . . . in a 10,000-foot look in eight minutes.
Finally, I talk about this week’s saints, with focus on St. Theresa Avila and St. Ignatius of Antioch, including Theresa’s influence on Edith Stein and Ignatius’ legendary role in Matthew Chapter 18.
Music this week is by The Crevulators. They’re a real good retro rock band. Good stuff. Used pursuant to the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.