Monday, February 19, 2007

It's time.

In the great tradition of academia, I am taking a sabbatical from the Blog-o-Tubes. No comment on any connection this hiatus has to "Lent". I'll still be around on e-mail, but that's it.

It's too bad that I won't have time for a post that was on my mind- the relation of virtue and willpower. After watching Letters from Iwo Jima, I had some issues with its de-mythologizing of the World War II drama (in much the way that Unforgiven de-mythologized the Western). In great measure, Iwo Jima undermined the Japanese sense of honor and heroism in favor of delusion and hypocrisy; the only two Japanese characters portrayed as admirable are the Americanized ones, while the 'true believers' in Japanese honor are shown to be frauds, maniacs and fools.

What this movie offers in place of the old heroism is willpower- fighting on when it does no more good. But persevering in utter futility is mere stubbornness (a la Camus' Myth of Sisyphus), not courage. The courageous man will not throw his life away for nothing, but will give his life for something worthy of it. (Yeah, I'm still reading Aquinas and Pieper on fortitude. THEY ARE ROCK STARS.) In particular, courage implies hope, not always in temporal victory, but always the hope that one's act is meaningful.

But that's all I'll try and write about it now- I don't want to spend any more of my weekend than I've already wasted. I wanted to use this as a starting point to talk about my deepening understanding of the virtues, and why Aristotle did not count a tremendous interior struggle as a sign of virtue. But I'm still as disorganized a thinker as I was when I began this blog- if I'm a little more aware of it now, thank God for that at least. It beats going crazy.

Have a splendid feast on the morrow, and may the Lord grant us His peace throughout this Lent!

P.S. I couldn't think of a decent self-description for this blog, so I'm holding a contest on that theme- see the upper right-hand corner! Er, I'm lazy. You might want to include that in your submission.

P.P.S. I don't normally bring partisan politics into ONB, but feel free to actually make these bumper stickers I came up with:

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