Waterless Places

from:


A field hospital after a battle


US Air Force Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron members monitor patients during a C-17 aero-medical evacuation mission from Balad Air Base, Iraq, to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott Reed

Something about the health care debate got me pondering Pope Francis’ quote in a 2013 interview that the Church should be like a field hospital after a battle.

“I can clearly see that what the Church needs today is the ability to heal wounds and warm the hearts of faithful, it needs to be by their side. I see the Church as a field hospital after a battle. It’s pointless to ask a seriously injured patient whether his cholesterol or blood sugar levels are high! It’s his wounds that need to be healed. The rest we can talk about later. Now we must think about treating those wounds. And we need to start from the bottom.”

“Savage Station VA field hospital after the battle of June 27” in the Library of Congress, photographer James Gibson

There’s a lot of good writing about field hospitals after battles.  Walt Whitman and Hemingway both saw some firsthand.  Or how about

I never really watched MASH tbh and got kinda sad when it would come on instead of something more fun.


Interaction Ritual Chains

IMG_8424Got interested in the sociologist Randall Collins via his blog, which I think Tyler Cowen linked to.

Collins also wrote a book about violence.

Violence

If you find yourself in a bar fight, his main advice on avoiding “damage” seems to be:

1) maintain calm, steady eye contact.

2) speak in a calm clear assertive voice

3) assert emotional dominance, or at least hold your own, emotional dominance-wise.

Most of the damage gets done, says Collins (who watched hundreds of hours of tapes of bar fights) when you’ve already lost the emotional encounter.  Even worse if there’s a crowd.

At the heart of Collins’ micro-sociological theory is the concept of “confrontational tension.” As people enter into an antagonistic interactional situation, their fear/tension is heightened. These emotions become a roadblock to violence, and so flight and stalemate often result. Actual violence only occurs when pathways around this roadblock can be found that lead people into a “tunnel of violence.” Collins identifies several pathways into this tunnel, the most dangerous of which is “forward panic.” In these situations, the confrontational tension builds up and is suddenly released so that it spills forward into atrocities ranging from the Rodney King beating to the My Lai massacre, the rape of Nanking, and the Rwandan genocide. Other ways around the stalemate of confrontational tension are to attack a weak victim (e.g., domestic violence) or to be encouraged by an audience (e.g., lynch mobs). Clearly, these pathways can also be combined, as when a schoolyard bully is encouraged by a crowd of classmates or when forward panic is stimulated by a group of bystanders.

Best posts from his blog, I’d say:

Napoleon

this one, on Napoleon and emotional energy.

this one, on Tank Man, is very interesting (although it goes against some other ideas I’ve heard, like Filip Hammar’s claim that it was well-known in his neighborhood of Beijing that Tank Man had been binge-drinking for days leading up to this event.)

LoA

this one, about fame, network bridging, and Lawrence of Arabia, is just fantastic.

jc

So’s this one, about what we can learn from the gospel accounts of Jesus about charisma.

MBD

This one about Moby-Dick and bullfighting had some really interesting, new to me ideas.

I bought Professor Collins’ ebook, about emotional energy in Napoleon, Steve Jobs, and Alexander the Great.  Lots of good stuff in there.  And I got his magnum Interaction Ritual Chains.  That’s a bit drier, but I’m learning a lot:

FullSizeRender


Conversational fodder for your Super Bowl party

Throwback to an old classic.  Milch spins Super Bowl –> Kierkegaard.  Starts around 0:41, meanders away by 3:40, pretty interesting again by 9:20 or so.

Good luck to both the Seahawks and the Patriots in returning to the spirit which gave them rise.  Stand by my Super Bowl pick.


Pope News [updated]

photo found here by googling “cute dogs” http://pichost.me/1457531/

From USA Today:

Pope Francis continues to show he’s anything but traditional. During a recent public appearance, Francis comforted a boy whose dog had died, noting, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Theologians say Francis—who took his papal name from the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi—was only speaking conversationally.

If that’s how the Pope speaks conversationally that’s rad.

** UPDATE **

Apparently, not true.

How great is the Washington Post’s photo for this story?:

In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets members of the Italian national council for the blind and visually impaired, at the Vatican on Saturday. (AP)

 


The Head of John The Baptist on a Charger

We here at The Hely Times are shameless about catering to our readers.  We’ve discovered that pictures depicting beheadings are among our most popular subjects.  So, today, a review of one of the great themes in Western Art, John the Baptist’s head on a charger.  NOTE: some other day we’ll do actual action-shot beheadings of John the Baptist. Today, we’re just dealing with the paintings that include the charger as well.

Caravaggio did it twice.  There’s the National Gallery, London:

And the Palacio Real, Madrid:

Met has a good one by Aelbert Bouts:

MFA has one by Bernardo Luini:

Lucas Cranach the Elder, now hanging in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest:

That’s enough.


St. Bridget of Sweden, from an altarpiece in Salem, Södermanland, restored digitally.