Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Private Revelation

October 7, 2015

Private revelation, for example, which is doctrinally dangerous or which manifests hostility to lawful authority could not come from God. It could even be demonic, especially if there
are extraordinary signs accompanying it. The devil gladly mingles truth and lie to deceive the faithful, dazzling them with signs and wonders to give credence to his message. His purpose is to
separate them from the Church, either by getting them to believe things contrary to the deposit of the faith or to act contemptuously of Church
authority. An attitude of pride and judgement toward the Church is a clear sign of his presence. An alleged revelation may also only be a pious
rambling, consistent with faith and morals, but lacking evidence of being anything more than the product of human effort. No fraud need be
intended, only an active imagination. Finally, it
may be that the doctrine may be sound and there may be phenomena, but insufficient to
demonstrate supernaturality. In this latter case, there would seem to be a possibility of revision.

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Things parents should not fail to do with their kids.

October 2, 2015

By Rachel M. Martin

1. Tucking them into bed at night. Someday, they’ll be too big and I won’t get that moment back. Saying goodnight, pulling up the
covers and kissing their heads is a gift.

2. Telling them I love them. Start this when they’re young. “I love you” is a powerful three-word phrase that matters.

3. Listening to their stories. Their stories teach me about them and their hearts and what they love. I think of their stories as a way to learn more about them. And this is the real listening, not the distracted mom who wants to move onto the next thing on her never-ending to-do list.

4. Looking them in their eyes. Nothing tells another person you matter more than looking at them in the eyes while they talk. It shows that what they are saying truly is important to you. I want my kids to remember that there were times when their mother looked them in the eye and smiled. And for me, this often means shutting my laptop, putting down my phone, taking a break from my my to-do list and just giving them time.

The Catholic church’s position on corruption.

August 25, 2015

The Catholic Church, being the oldest church has a faith history, which is worthy of study and meditation. It is this deep faith history of the Catholic Church that partly leads to the visibility-both negative and positive- it gets on issues among Catholics and non-Catholics. And this is fair enough.

So even though Bishop Kukah was speaking for the Nigerian Peace Committee and not for Nigerian Catholics or Catholics or the universal Church when he equivocated on corruption, his equivocation understandably created headlines and attracted criticisms. Given the universal history of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Social teaching, the criticisms of Bishop Kukah recent equivocation on Buhari’s investigation of corruption in Nigeria is legitimate, sound and valid.

This is because Bishop Kukah’s equivocation on Nigerian corruption is different from Pope Francis’ known Categorical position and the Categorical position on corruption in Nigeria of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province which comprises of Ibadan Archdiocese, Ondo, Ilorin, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses.

Even though he might not have intended it, his equivocation was too intense and it gave too many things away. Here it is. Bishop Kukah said:

Ex-president Jonathan’s concession of defeat in the last election was helpful.
Nigerians and President Jonathan should remember ex-president Jonathan’s concession.
All we hear today is probe, probe, and probe. President Buhari should start governing.
It is Jonathan today, it could be you tomorrow, and it could be Buhari tomorrow.
Due process must be followed in the fight against corruption.

While it does not seem that Bishop Kukah is advancing a structured argument in a conscious manner, his statement that “due process must be followed in the fight against corruption” is a categorical statement. And his act of omission and commission in his argument makes his claim vulnerable. This is what gives his position away such that his position seems to suggest that he is less committed to the fight against corruption because it involves the administration of ex-president Jonathan who accepted defeat and because it is Ex-president Jonathan today, it could be you tomorrow. This simultaneous equivocation and appeal to pity by the Bishop is unhelpful for three reasons.

First, as Dr. Jibril Ibrahim rightly argued, while Bishop Kukah’s position wrongly suggests that governance and a strong anti –corruption are separable, Ibrahim has argued that they are compatible. Ibrahim is correct, but beyond the issue of the compatibility of the two, I think that a government’s position for or against corruption is a strong aspect of governance-both bad or good governance, and a government which was elected on a strong anti-corruption platform has no option other than to wage a strong and systematic war against corruption as an aspect of its promise of good governance to the electorate during the election.

In other words, Buhari’s anti-corruption stance is governance. Actually, looking beyond Buhari, the challenge before Buhari is that many Nigerians demand a more systematic ethical policy and program that will make his anti-corruption stance irreversible by any government after him and that will make corruption a dead policy in Nigeria under any government. Buhari is yet to give us this holistic and systematic ethical policy and program. However, for Bishop Kukah to suggest that there is a dissonance in a government’s fight against corruption and governance is unacceptable and unhelpful because Bishop Kukah with due respect is wrong.

Second, helpful as it is, ex-president Jonathan’s acceptance of defeat in the last election is one thing, to call for due process in the investigation of corrupt practices and the prosecution of the corrupt as an aspect of governance is another thing. There is no relationship-either conceptual, logical or moral between the two. Thus Bishop Kukah ought to have called for due process independently –which is a reasonable call-without linking it with ex-president Jonathan’s acceptance of defeat-which is a questionable moral and legal linkage to a call for due process- if he thinks President Buhari is not deferring to due process.

Yet, Bishop Kukah saw a relationship between the two and actually linked them. That gave his position away as a hidden agenda and a call on Buhari to water down his government’s investigation of corruption in Nigeria and those who interpret his position this way and criticize him for it have good and legitimate reasons to do so.

Third, to ask President Buhari to follow due process means that Bishop Kukah thinks Buhari is not following due process in the fight against corruption. While a citizen’s view on this is legitimate, a court’s pronouncement showing a violation of due process would have helped Bishop Kukah’s case. But no court has yet pronounced Buhari’s stance against corruption in Nigeria a violation of due process. Hence, Bishop Kukah’s call is a red herring we do not need.

These three reasons show that Bishop Kukah’s articulation of the position of the National Peace committee-a position he seems to subscribe to- is an intimidation and blackmail of President Buhari’s anti-corruption stance. It is an attempt to slow Buhari down.

Sadly, some commentators have misread Bishop Kukah to be articulating the position of a Catholic or that of the Nigerian Catholic Church or the Universal Catholic Church. This is wrong because there is a procedure within the Church –both the Nigerian and universal-for the public statement of the Church’s position on any issue. The Nigerian Catholic Church is yet to state its position on this issue, it needs to state it. So Bishop Kukah’s personal view or his articulation of the National Peace Committee’s view should never be substituted to mean the position of Catholics or the Nigerian Catholic Church. There are reasons why this is the case.

First, the Catholic social teaching is the faith, moral and social identity of Catholics. It is a teaching binding on all Catholics through out the world. While it takes due process as given, the Catholic Social teaching does not equivocate on social justice and corruption as Bishop Kukah has just done. It is un-ambiguously committed to social justice and therefore un-ambiguously rejects corruption. Bishop Kukah’s equivocation is inconsistent with that categorical teaching. Catholics do not equivocate on corruption as Bishop Kukah unfortunately did recently.

Second, Pope Francis’ rejection of earthly corruption (the type we are talking about) is categorical, un-ambiguous. Pope Francis does not equivocate on this. Hear the Pope. In a sermon in 2013 he said some sinners deserve to be tied to a rock and cast into the sea. He maintained that Christians who donated money to the church but stole from the state were leading a “double life” and were sinners who should be punished.

Quoting from the Gospel of St Luke in the New Testament, Pope Francis said: “Jesus says ‘It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea’,” because “where there is deceit, the Spirit of God cannot be”.

He described those involved in corrupt practices as “whitewashed tombs”. He explained that that “they appear beautiful from the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones and putrefaction.” Pope Francis without equivocation categorically declared: “A life based on corruption is varnished putrefaction.”

The Pope also condemned corruption, asserting parents who earned through bribes or corrupt practices had “lost their dignity”, and fed their children “unclean bread”.

He said: “Some of you might say: ‘But this man only did what everyone does!’ But no, not everyone! Some company administrators, some public administrators, some government administrators… perhaps there are not even very many. But it’s that attitude of the shortcut, of the most comfortable way to earn a living.

“These poor people who have lost their dignity in the habit of bribes take with them not the money they have earned, but only their lack of dignity!”

The third reason Bishop Kukah should not be read to have spoken for Nigerian Catholics on Buhari’s anti-corruption stance is the position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ondo, Ilorin, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo dioceses.

On August 18 in Ibadan with the theme “Choose today whom you will serve” (which seems to localize the Pope’s sermon against corruption) the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province Bishop declared:

“We call on our compatriots to cooperate with the current administration to bring sanity back into our country by showing common determination to reject corruption, nepotism, favoritism and to enthrone in our country a regime of justice and equity, where merits are respected and the rule of law exalted…Our prayers can only truly be answered if we do the will of God as He has commanded.” Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and the Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, President and Secretary signed the document,

In view of the Catholic Social teaching, Pope Francis on Corruption, the position of brother Catholic Bishops on Corruption, even when God said we should not judge, still Bishop Kukah needs to be mindful of associating with questionable Pastors who Nigerians have good reasons to be critical of because such Pastors were part of the corruption under ex-president Jonathan and one of them is a member of the National Peace committee on whose behalf Bishop Kukah spoke.

Bishop Kukah needs to re-think his equivocation and wrongful appeal to pity on the investigation and prosecution of the corrupt in Nigeria. Corruption is a cancer. Fighting it cannot be equivocated on. Removing it is a faith, moral and legal call; it is a legitimate and sound part of good governance.

In ending this essay, readers should kindly permit me to make a public disclosure just for the records. I have engaged this serious social issue of corruption about our country, Nigeria only as a layperson in the Church. The Catholic is known not only by his/her faith, his/her Catholicism, but also by his/her un-ambiguous and categorical commitment to social justice. That is one of our identities. We see that in Pope Francis. With due and respect (which our Fathers already earned), let our Catholic Fathers back home in Nigeria take on this issue, this challenge, this gauntlet and follow God while listening to their people and the enviable faith example of Pope Francis.
Culled from Premium times.

Effective teaching

October 24, 2014

culled from Department of education and training, Western Australia.

Having high expectations
Effective teachers strive to motivate and
engage all their students in learning rather than

A good environment is important for learning and teaching.

A good environment is important for learning and teaching.

simply accepting that some students cannot
be engaged and are destined to do poorly.
They believe every student is capable of achieving
success at school and they do all they can to find ways of making each student successful.
Effective teachers have high expectations of students in terms of both their standard of learning and their behaviour, and they help their students meet those expectations. They also have high expectations of themselves and their own learning.
Acknowledging individual differences
Effective teachers personalise the learning for their
students. They understand that students develop
at different rates and that in every classroom there
will be a range of student abilities and aptitudes.
They accommodate the different needs of students
in their class rather than pitch their teaching to
the middle, letting some students be bored while
others struggle or are unable to do the work.
Effective teachers use techniques that have each
student working on tasks that engage and challenge
them to achieve their personal best. They understand
that students learn best when they are presented with
new material in a way that enables them to connect it
to what they already understand and know how to do.
Effective teachers also understand that students learn
best if their particular culture, background and abilities
are acknowledged by the teacher in the way they teach.

Using a range of pedagogies
Effective teachers use techniques that best
serve the learning needs of their students.
There are many things that students can learn themselves
through discovery, with the teacher structuring the
learning to suit. There also are many things that
require the teacher to teach in a more direct way.
Students not only learn by being exposed to learning
opportunities but they also need to be explicitly taught
those things it is important for all students to know.
Some students will learn these things quickly and
with only minimal direct teaching. Other students will
need concerted direct teaching and correction by the
teacher before they master the learning required.
Effective teachers help students learn on their own as well
as with and from others. They know that students learn best
if they are provided with opportunities to learn not only from
the teacher but also from other students and from sources
outside the school that are now more readily accessible
through various forms of technology.
Encouraging student responsibility
Effective teachers teach in a way that encourages students
to take greater responsibility for their own learning.
They make sure their students know what the goals of the
learning program are; understand how these goals will
be assessed; know whether they are on track to achieve
success; and are actively involved in evaluating their
own learning.
Having mastery of their teaching content
Effective teachers have a thorough knowledge of their
subject content and skills. Through this, they inspire in
their students a love of learning. They also understand
how students best learn concepts, content and skills.
Effective teachers use their knowledge of learning processes
to determine which will be most effective to help the
particular students in their classes learn successfully.
Providing a safe environment
Effective teachers provide a
safe and orderly environment,
both physically and emotionally,
so students can achieve
their potential. They know
students learn best if they
are in a classroom where
they feel safe and confident
to attempt new tasks even
if at first they are unsure
about how to tackle them.
Monitoring progress and providing feedback
Effective teachers closely monitor each student’s
achievements. This enables them to provide
every one of their students with regular feedback
on their performance, and gives them valuable
information to assess the impact of their teaching.
Effective teachers are in the habit of constantly
refl ecting on how well they are getting through to
their students and searching for better ways of
teaching those who are not responding as well
as extending those who are achieving well.
Effective teachers understand the standards their
students are expected to achieve and use a range of
assessment methods to determine the extent to which
those standards are being met and to plan the next steps.
Building positive relationships
Effective teachers develop productive
relationships with their students – they get
to know them and take a particular interest
in their overall development and progress.
They treat their students with respect
and expect the same in return.
Effective teachers work collaboratively
to benefit student learning.

Data Scientist Calculates Which Emcees Have The Largest Vocabulary In Hip Hop

May 5, 2014

Philosophy of Love

March 6, 2014

This Article is reproduced with the kind permission of the the Author Dr Alex Moseley (http://www.alexander-moseley.me.uk/).

This article examines the nature of love and some of the ethical and political ramifications. For the philosopher, the question “what is love?” generates a host of issues: love is an abstract noun which means for some it is a word unattached to anything real or sensible, that is all; for others, it is a means by which our being – our self and its world – are irrevocably affected once we are ‘touched by love’; some have sought to analyze it, others have preferred to leave it in the realm of the ineffable.

Yet it is undeniable that love plays an enormous and unavoidable role in our several cultures; we find it discussed in song, film, and novels – humorously or seriously; it is a constant theme of maturing life and a vibrant theme for youth. Philosophically, the nature of love has, since the time of the Ancient Greeks, been a mainstay in philosophy, producing theories that range from the materialistic conception of love as purely a physical phenomenon – an animalistic or genetic urge that dictates our behavior – to theories of love as an intensely spiritual affair that in its highest permits us to touch divinity. Historically, in the Western tradition, Plato’s Symposium presents the initiating text, for it provides us with an enormously influential and attractive notion that love is characterized by a series of elevations, in which animalistic desire or base lust is superseded by a more intellectual conception of love which also is surpassed by what may be construed by a theological vision of love that transcends sensual attraction and mutuality. Since then there have been detractors and supporters of Platonic love as well as a host of alternative theories – including that of Plato’s student, Aristotle and his more secular theory of true love reflecting what he described as ‘two bodies and one soul.’

The philosophical treatment of love transcends a variety of sub-disciplines including epistemology, metaphysics, religion, human nature, politics and ethics. Often statements or arguments concerning love, its nature and role in human life for example connect to one or all the central theories of philosophy, and is often compared with, or examined in the context of, the philosophies of sex and gender as well as body and intentionality. The task of a philosophy of love is to present the appropriate issues in a cogent manner, drawing on relevant theories of human nature, desire, ethics, and so on.

Table of Contents

  1. The Nature of Love: Eros, Philia, and Agape
    1. Eros
    2. Philia
    3. Agape
  2. The Nature of Love: Further Conceptual Considerations
  3. The Nature of Love: Romantic Love
  4. The Nature of Love: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual
  5. Love: Ethics and Politics
  6. References and Further Reading

1. The Nature of Love: Eros, Philia, and Agape

The philosophical discussion regarding love logically begins with questions concerning its nature. This implies that love has a “nature,” a proposition that some may oppose arguing that love is conceptually irrational, in the sense that it cannot be described in rational or meaningful propositions. For such critics, who are presenting a metaphysical and epistemological argument, love may be an ejection of emotions that defy rational examination; on the other hand, some languages, such as Papuan, do not even admit the concept, which negates the possibility of a philosophical examination. In English, the word “love,” which is derived from Germanic forms of the Sanskrit lubh (desire), is broadly defined and hence imprecise, which generates first order problems of definition and meaning, which are resolved to some extent by the reference to the Greek terms, eros, philia, and agape.

a. Eros

The term eros (Greek erasthai) is used to refer to that part of love constituting a passionate, intense desire for something; it is often referred to as a sexual desire, hence the modern notion of “erotic” (Greek erotikos). In Plato‘s writings however, eros is held to be a common desire that seeks transcendental beauty-the particular beauty of an individual reminds us of true beauty that exists in the world of Forms or Ideas (Phaedrus 249E: “he who loves the beautiful is called a lover because he partakes of it.” Trans. Jowett). The Platonic-Socratic position maintains that the love we generate for beauty on this earth can never be truly satisfied until we die; but in the meantime we should aspire beyond the particular stimulating image in front of us to the contemplation of beauty in itself.

The implication of the Platonic theory of eros is that ideal beauty, which is reflected in the particular images of beauty we find, becomes interchangeable across people and things, ideas, and art: to love is to love the Platonic form of beauty-not a particular individual, but the element they posses of true (Ideal) beauty. Reciprocity is not necessary to Plato’s view of love, for the desire is for the object (of Beauty), than for, say, the company of another and shared values and pursuits.

Many in the Platonic vein of philosophy hold that love is an intrinsically higher value than appetitive or physical desire. Physical desire, they note, is held in common with the animal kingdom. Hence, it is of a lower order of reaction and stimulus than a rationally induced love—that is, a love produced by rational discourse and exploration of ideas, which in turn defines the pursuit of Ideal beauty. Accordingly, the physical love of an object, an idea, or a person in itself is not a proper form of love, love being a reflection of that part of the object, idea, or person, that partakes in Ideal beauty.

b. Philia

In contrast to the desiring and passionate yearning of eros, philia entails a fondness and appreciation of the other. For the Greeks, the term philia incorporated not just friendship, but also loyalties to family and polis-one’s political community, job, or discipline. Philia for another may be motivated, as Aristotle explains in the Nicomachean Ethics, Book VIII, for the agent’s sake or for the other’s own sake. The motivational distinctions are derived from love for another because the friendship is wholly useful as in the case of business contacts, or because their character and values are pleasing (with the implication that if those attractive habits change, so too does the friendship), or for the other in who they are in themselves, regardless of one’s interests in the matter. The English concept of friendship roughly captures Aristotle’s notion of philia, as he writes: “things that cause friendship are: doing kindnesses; doing them unasked; and not proclaiming the fact when they are done” (Rhetoric, II. 4, trans. Rhys Roberts).

Aristotle elaborates on the kinds of things we seek in proper friendship, suggesting that the proper basis for philia is objective: those who share our dispositions, who bear no grudges, who seek what we do, who are temperate, and just, who admire us appropriately as we admire them, and so on. Philia could not emanate from those who are quarrelsome, gossips, aggressive in manner and personality, who are unjust, and so on. The best characters, it follows, may produce the best kind of friendship and hence love: indeed, how to be a good character worthy of philia is the theme of the Nicomachaen Ethics. The most rational man is he who would be the happiest, and he, therefore, who is capable of the best form of friendship, which between two “who are good, and alike in virtue” is rare (NE, VIII.4 trans. Ross). We can surmise that love between such equals-Aristotle’s rational and happy men-would be perfect, with circles of diminishing quality for those who are morally removed from the best. He characterizes such love as “a sort of excess of feeling”. (NE, VIII.6)

Friendships of a lesser quality may also be based on the pleasure or utility that is derived from another’s company. A business friendship is based on utility–on mutual reciprocity of similar business interests; once the business is at an end, then the friendship dissolves. This is similar to those friendships based on the pleasure that is derived from the other’s company, which is not a pleasure enjoyed for whom the other person is in himself, but in the flow of pleasure from his actions or humour.

The first condition for the highest form of Aristotelian love is that a man loves himself. Without an egoistic basis, he cannot extend sympathy and affection to others (NE, IX.8). Such self-love is not hedonistic, or glorified, depending on the pursuit of immediate pleasures or the adulation of the crowd, it is instead a reflection of his pursuit of the noble and virtuous, which culminate in the pursuit of the reflective life. Friendship with others is required “since his purpose is to contemplate worthy actions… to live pleasantly… sharing in discussion and thought” as is appropriate for the virtuous man and his friend (NE, IX.9). The morally virtuous man deserves in turn the love of those below him; he is not obliged to give an equal love in return, which implies that the Aristotelian concept of love is elitist or perfectionist: “In all friendships implying inequality the love also should be proportional, i.e. the better should be more loved than he loves.” (NE, VIII, 7,). Reciprocity, although not necessarily equal, is a condition of Aristotelian love and friendship, although parental love can involve a one-sided fondness.

c. Agape

Agape refers to the paternal love of God for man and of man for God but is extended to include a brotherly love for all humanity. (The Hebrew ahev has a slightly wider semantic range than agape). Agape arguably draws on elements from both eros and philia in that it seeks a perfect kind of love that is at once a fondness, a transcending of the particular, and a passion without the necessity of reciprocity. The concept is expanded on in the Judaic-Christian tradition of loving God: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and loving “thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). The love of God requires absolute devotion that is reminiscent of Plato’s love of Beauty (and Christian translators of Plato such as St. Augustine employed the connections), which involves an erotic passion, awe, and desire that transcends earthly cares and obstacles. Aquinas, on the other hand, picked up on the Aristotelian theories of friendship and love to proclaim God as the most rational being and hence the most deserving of one’s love, respect, and considerations.

The universalist command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” refers the subject to those surrounding him, whom he should love unilaterally if necessary. The command employs the logic of mutual reciprocity, and hints at an Aristotelian basis that the subject should love himself in some appropriate manner: for awkward results would ensue if he loved himself in a particularly inappropriate, perverted manner! (Philosophers can debate the nature of “self-love” implied in this-from the Aristotelian notion that self-love is necessary for any kind of interpersonal love, to the condemnation of egoism and the impoverished examples that pride and self-glorification from which to base one’s love of another. St. Augustine relinquishes the debate–he claims that no command is needed for a man to love himself (De bono viduitatis, xxi.) Analogous to the logic of “it is better to give than to receive”, the universalism of agape requires an initial invocation from someone: in a reversal of the Aristotelian position, the onus for the Christian is on the morally superior to extend love to others. Nonetheless, the command also entails an egalitarian love-hence the Christian code to “love thy enemies” (Matthew 5:44-45). Such love transcends any perfectionist or aristocratic notions that some are (or should be) more loveable than others. Agape finds echoes in the ethics of Kant and Kierkegaard, who assert the moral importance of giving impartial respect or love to another person qua human being in the abstract.

However, loving one’s neighbor impartially (James 2:9) invokes serious ethical concerns, especially if the neighbor ostensibly does not warrant love. Debate thus begins on what elements of a neighbor’s conduct should be included in agape, and which should be excluded. Early Christians asked whether the principle applied only to disciples of Christ or to all. The impartialists won the debate asserting that the neighbor’s humanity provides the primary condition of being loved; nonetheless his actions may require a second order of criticisms, for the logic of brotherly love implies that it is a moral improvement on brotherly hate. For metaphysical dualists, loving the soul rather than the neighbor’s body or deeds provides a useful escape clause-or in turn the justification for penalizing the other’s body for sin and moral transgressions, while releasing the proper object of love-the soul-from its secular torments. For Christian pacifists, “turning the other cheek” to aggression and violence implies a hope that the aggressor will eventually learn to comprehend the higher values of peace, forgiveness, and a love for humanity.

The universalism of agape runs counter to the partialism of Aristotle and poses a variety of ethical implications. Aquinas admits a partialism in love towards those we are related while maintaining that we should be charitable to all, whereas others such as Kierkegaard insist on impartiality. Recently, Hugh LaFallotte (1991) has noted that to love those one is partial towards is not necessarily a negation of the impartiality principle, for impartialism could admit loving those closer to one as an impartial principle, and, employing Aristotle’s conception of self-love, iterates that loving others requires an intimacy that can only be gained from being partially intimate. Others would claim that the concept of universal love, of loving all equally, is not only impracticable, but logically empty-Aristotle, for example, argues: “One cannot be a friend to many people in the sense of having friendship of the perfect type with them, just as one cannot be in love with many people at once (for love is a sort of excess of feeling, and it is the nature of such only to be felt towards one person)” (NE, VIII.6).

2. The Nature of Love: Further Conceptual Considerations

Presuming love has a nature, it should be, to some extent at least, describable within the concepts of language. But what is meant by an appropriate language of description may be as philosophically beguiling as love itself. Such considerations invoke the philosophy of language, of the relevance and appropriateness of meanings, but they also provide the analysis of “love” with its first principles. Does it exist and if so, is it knowable, comprehensible, and describable? Love may be knowable and comprehensible to others, as understood in the phrases, “I am in love”, “I love you”, but what “love” means in these sentences may not be analyzed further: that is, the concept “love” is irreducible-an axiomatic, or self-evident, state of affairs that warrants no further intellectual intrusion, an apodictic category perhaps, that a Kantian may recognize.

The epistemology of love asks how we may know love, how we may understand it, whether it is possible or plausible to make statements about others or ourselves being in love (which touches on the philosophical issue of private knowledge versus public behavior). Again, the epistemology of love is intimately connected to the philosophy of language and theories of the emotions. If love is purely an emotional condition, it is plausible to argue that it remains a private phenomenon incapable of being accessed by others, except through an expression of language, and language may be a poor indicator of an emotional state both for the listener and the subject. Emotivists would hold that a statement such as “I am in love” is irreducible to other statements because it is a nonpropositional utterance, hence its veracity is beyond examination. Phenomenologists may similarly present love as a non-cognitive phenomenon. Scheler, for example, toys with Plato’s Ideal love, which is cognitive, claiming: “love itself… brings about the continuous emergence of ever-higher value in the object–just as if it were streaming out from the object of its own accord, without any exertion (even of wishing) on the part of the lover” (1954, p. 57). The lover is passive before the beloved.

The claim that “love” cannot be examined is different from that claiming “love” should not be subject to examination-that it should be put or left beyond the mind’s reach, out of a dutiful respect for its mysteriousness, its awesome, divine, or romantic nature. But if it is agreed that there is such a thing as “love” conceptually speaking, when people present statements concerning love, or admonitions such as “she should show more love,” then a philosophical examination seems appropriate: is it synonymous with certain patterns of behavior, of inflections in the voice or manner, or by the apparent pursuit and protection of a particular value (“Look at how he dotes upon his flowers-he must love them”)?

If love does possesses “a nature” which is identifiable by some means-a personal expression, a discernible pattern of behavior, or other activity, it can still be asked whether that nature can be properly understood by humanity. Love may have a nature, yet we may not possess the proper intellectual capacity to understand it-accordingly, we may gain glimpses perhaps of its essence-as Socrates argues in The Symposium, but its true nature being forever beyond humanity’s intellectual grasp. Accordingly, love may be partially described, or hinted at, in a dialectic or analytical exposition of the concept but never understood in itself. Love may therefore become an epiphenomenal entity, generated by human action in loving, but never grasped by the mind or language. Love may be so described as a Platonic Form, belonging to the higher realm of transcendental concepts that mortals can barely conceive of in their purity, catching only glimpses of the Forms’ conceptual shadows that logic and reason unveil or disclose.

Another view, again derived from Platonic philosophy, may permit love to be understood by certain people and not others. This invokes a hierarchical epistemology, that only the initiated, the experienced, the philosophical, or the poetical or musical, may gain insights into its nature. On one level this admits that only the experienced can know its nature, which is putatively true of any experience, but it also may imply a social division of understanding-that only philosopher kings may know true love. On the first implication, those who do not feel or experience love are incapable (unless initiated through rite, dialectical philosophy, artistic processes, and so on) of comprehending its nature, whereas the second implication suggests (though this is not a logically necessary inference) that the non-initiated, or those incapable of understanding, feel only physical desire and not “love.” Accordingly, “love” belongs either to the higher faculties of all, understanding of which requires being educated in some manner or form, or it belongs to the higher echelons of society-to a priestly, philosophical, or artistic, poetic class. The uninitiated, the incapable, or the young and inexperienced-those who are not romantic troubadours-are doomed only to feel physical desire. This separating of love from physical desire has further implications concerning the nature of romantic love.

3. The Nature of Love: Romantic Love

Romantic love is deemed to be of a higher metaphysical and ethical status than sexual or physical attractiveness alone. The idea of romantic love initially stems from the Platonic tradition that love is a desire for beauty-a value that transcends the particularities of the physical body. For Plato, the love of beauty culminates in the love of philosophy, the subject that pursues the highest capacity of thinking. The romantic love of knights and damsels emerged in the early medieval ages (11th Century France, fine amour) a philosophical echo of both Platonic and Aristotelian love and literally a derivative of the Roman poet, Ovid and his Ars Amatoria. Romantic love theoretically was not to be consummated, for such love was transcendentally motivated by a deep respect for the lady; however, it was to be actively pursued in chivalric deeds rather than contemplated-which is in contrast to Ovid’s persistent sensual pursuit of conquests!

Modern romantic love returns to Aristotle’s version of the special love two people find in each other’s virtues-one soul and two bodies, as he poetically puts it. It is deemed to be of a higher status, ethically, aesthetically, and even metaphysically than the love that behaviorists or physicalists describe.

4. The Nature of Love: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual

Some may hold that love is physical, i.e., that love is nothing but a physical response to another whom the agent feels physically attracted to. Accordingly, the action of loving encompasses a broad range of behavior including caring, listening, attending to, preferring to others, and so on. (This would be proposed by behaviorists). Others (physicalists, geneticists) reduce all examinations of love to the physical motivation of the sexual impulse-the simple sexual instinct that is shared with all complex living entities, which may, in humans, be directed consciously, sub-consciously or pre-rationally toward a potential mate or object of sexual gratification.

Physical determinists, those who believe the world to entirely physical and that every event has a prior (physical cause), consider love to be an extension of the chemical-biological constituents of the human creature and be explicable according to such processes. In this vein, geneticists may invoke the theory that the genes (an individual’s DNA) form the determining criteria in any sexual or putative romantic choice, especially in choosing a mate. However, a problem for those who claim that love is reducible to the physical attractiveness of a potential mate, or to the blood ties of family and kin which forge bonds of filial love, is that it does not capture the affections between those who cannot or wish not to reproduce-that is, physicalism or determinism ignores the possibility of romantic, ideational love—it may explain eros, but not philia or agape.

Behaviorism, which stems from the theory of the mind and asserts a rejection of Cartesian dualism between mind and body, entails that love is a series of actions and preferences which is thereby observable to oneself and others. The behaviorist theory that love is observable (according to the recognizable behavioral constraints corresponding to acts of love) suggests also that it is theoretically quantifiable: that A acts in a certain way (actions X,Y,Z) around B, more so than he does around C, suggests that he “loves” B more than C. The problem with the behaviorist vision of love is that it is susceptible to the poignant criticism that a person’s actions need not express their inner state or emotions—A may be a very good actor. Radical behaviorists, such as B. F. Skinner, claim that observable and unobservable behavior such as mental states can be examined from the behaviorist framework, in terms of the laws of conditioning. On this view, that one falls in love may go unrecognised by the casual observer, but the act of being in love can be examined by what events or conditions led to the agent’s believing she was in love: this may include the theory that being in love is an overtly strong reaction to a set of highly positive conditions in the behavior or presence of another.

Expressionist love is similar to behaviorism in that love is considered an expression of a state of affairs towards a beloved, which may be communicated through language (words, poetry, music) or behavior (bringing flowers, giving up a kidney, diving into the proverbial burning building), but which is a reflection of an internal, emotional state, rather than an exhibition of physical responses to stimuli. Others in this vein may claim love to be a spiritual response, the recognition of a soul that completes one’s own soul, or complements or augments it. The spiritualist vision of love incorporates mystical as well as traditional romantic notions of love, but rejects the behaviorist or physicalist explanations.

Those who consider love to be an aesthetic response would hold that love is knowable through the emotional and conscious feeling it provokes yet which cannot perhaps be captured in rational or descriptive language: it is instead to be captured, as far as that is possible, by metaphor or by music.

5. Love: Ethics and Politics

The ethical aspects in love involve the moral appropriateness of loving, and the forms it should or should not take. The subject area raises such questions as: is it ethically acceptable to love an object, or to love oneself? Is love to oneself or to another a duty? Should the ethically minded person aim to love all people equally? Is partial love morally acceptable or permissible (that is, not right, but excusable)? Should love only involve those with whom the agent can have a meaningful relationship? Should love aim to transcend sexual desire or physical appearances? May notions of romantic, sexual love apply to same sex couples? Some of the subject area naturally spills into the ethics of sex, which deals with the appropriateness of sexual activity, reproduction, hetero and homosexual activity, and so on.

In the area of political philosophy, love can be studied from a variety of perspectives. For example, some may see love as an instantiation of social dominance by one group (males) over another (females), in which the socially constructed language and etiquette of love is designed to empower men and disempower women. On this theory, love is a product of patriarchy, and acts analogously to Karl Marx’s view of religion (the opiate of the people) that love is the opiate of women. The implication is that were they to shrug off the language and notions of “love,” “being in love,” “loving someone,” and so on, they would be empowered. The theory is often attractive to feminists and Marxists, who view social relations (and the entire panoply of culture, language, politics, institutions) as reflecting deeper social structures that divide people into classes, sexes, and races.

This article has touched on some of the main elements of the philosophy of love. It reaches into many philosophical fields, notably theories of human nature, the self, and of the mind. The language of love, as it is found in other languages as well as in English, is similarly broad and deserves more attention.

6. References and Further Reading

  • Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics.
  • Aristotle Rhetoric. Rhys Roberts (trans.).
  • Augustine De bono viduitatis.
  • LaFallotte, Hugh (1991). “Personal Relations.” Peter Singer (ed.) A Companion to Ethics. Blackwell, pp. 327-32.
  • Plato Phaedrus.
  • Plato Symposium.
  • Scheler, Max (1954). The Nature of Sympathy. Peter Heath (trans.). New Haven: Yale University Press.

Author Information

Alexander Moseley
Email: alex@classical-foundations.com
United Kingdom

http://www.alexander-moseley.me.uk/

Lent: 40 days of conversion.

March 6, 2014
Prayers, fasting and words of love.

Prayers, fasting and words of love.

The holy season of lent is upon us again. Lent is that wonderful in the church were the faithful are called to metanoia (a turnaround). We have all been celebrating lent over the years through acts of fasting and charity but many have lost the sense of conversion that the season calls us to. Lent is not just a season of fasting and alms giving but a call to spiritual stock taking based on our baptismal vows. At every mass we proclaim the credo which contains all the elements of the faith we have chosen to practice but how faithful have we been to those vows?

Ash Wednesday opens the door to a journey that allows no rest until we celebrate the passion and resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ at Easter. This journey is meant to open our eyes to the reality that life does not end on earth. Lent symbolizes our mortality as well as our need for ongoing repentance and conversion. Lent is not just about self righteous fasting and abstinence but as the catechism outs it “these are times for particularly appropriate spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies and pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial and fraternal sharing”. Penance is an act of self-mortification or devotion performed voluntarily to show sorrow for a sin or other wrongdoing. As it relates to the season of lent it means we should go beyond giving up food and drink but more importantly avoiding sin patterns, habitual sins, socially deviant behavior. We should remove the mentality that Lent is about a temporary or seasonal giving up. It is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over to Christ. The goal should not be just to abstain from sin for the duration of lent but to root out for our lives forever.

Lenten Observances

Fasting/abstinence, prayer and alms are the traditional cardinal pillars of lent.

Fasting/abstinence: fasting is a means of developing self-control and deepening a hunger for God. But Prophet Isaiah points out that fasting without changing our behavior is not pleasing to God (see Is 58;6-7). Fasting should be linked to our concern for those who are forced to fast by their poverty, those who suffer from injustices of our economic and political structures.

Abstinence from meat is also an act that links us to the poor and deprived of the society who can seldom afford meat. The goal of abstinence is training in simplicity. Avoiding meat, while eating some very expensive fish or seafood, misses the whole point.

Almsgiving: This shows our concern and commitment to those in need and an expression of gratitude to God. Almsgiving includes work of charity and the promotion of justice in the society.

Prayer: this is the lifting up of the heart and mind to God. Prayer goes beyond just saying beautiful words but it means having a humble and contrite disposition towards God who knows all and acts freely. The catechism posits that “prayer cannot be reduced to a spontaneous out pouring of emotions”. Humility is the foundation of prayer, only when we humbly acknowledge that we do not know how to pray as we ought, are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. Prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. Archbishop Fulton sheen puts it well when he states that Prayer begins with man but ends with God.

Obligations of lent

By provisions of canon law every Catholic who has attained the age of 14 years is bound to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of lent. By fasting the church means only one full meal can be taken on such days, two smaller meals may be taken but when combined must not be up to a full meal. Water may be taken.

Suggested Lenten practices

Adults

  1. Attendance of daily masses
  2. Frequenting the sacrament of reconciliation
  3. Self-imposed mortification and abstinence e.g abstaining from luxurious foods, alcohol, tobacco etc.
  4. Frequent visitation to the Blessed Sacrament.
  5. Fast from music and unnecessary recreation
  6. Daily meditations on scripture for at least 10 minutes
  7. Regular attendance at stations OF THE CROSSS
  8. Study the catechism of the Catholic Church
  9. Join a pious society in church
  10. Visit hospitals and orphanages with your children
  11. Resolve to stop abusing other drivers and motorcyclists on the road
  12. Make up your mind to say a kind word to everyone you meet
  13. Forgive and resolve a long standing feud
  14. Lent is also a good time to give up disordered sexual activities and passions like fornication, adultery, masturbation, viewing pornography and dirty talk.

For teens and children

  1. Do house chores without complaining
  2. Cut down on movies and TV time
  3. Restrict phone time
  4. Volunteer to help a neighbor in need
  5. Join the mass servers or another group for young people
  6. Choose a favorite toy, book, game or cloth and put it away until easter.

Have a blessed lent.

Namse Udosen

Is it True that Bible na Bible?

January 14, 2014

Over the years, there has been a growing controversy over the use of the Bible in the church. Last Sunday the Parish Priest launched a New Year campaign for Parishioners to bring their bible for Sunday masses. Events after that have shown a gross misunderstanding of what the bible is by many modern Catholics. I heard someone say: “Bible na bilble, why does Father insist on the one that has Maccabees?” But is it true that “Bible na bible”?

Clarification of misconceptions

It is pertinent for every Christian to know that the bible as it is did not drop from heaven nor did God dictate its content to the authors. It is also important to note that the bible was not originally written in English.

Catholic and Non-Catholic Bibles

There are 73 books in the Catholic Bible – 46 in the Old Testament and 27 in the new. Generally most protestant bibles have 66 books- 39 in the old and 27 in the new. The discrepancy arises from the fact that the protestant Old Testament draws inspiration from the Canon postulated by the Jewish Rabbis at the council of Jamnia in 95AD. Some books such where removed by the Rabbis due to their Hellenistic origins. The Catholic Old Testament books are inherited from the Septuagint of 250BC. It is important to note that Christ and the early apostles made use of the Septuagint in their ministry because the Jamnia canon did not exist in the time of Christ and the apostles!

The Problem with the Protestant Bibles

Technically, Protestants have no bible of their own. What they have today is an edited version of e\what they inherited from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism admitted this much in one of his commentaries: “we are compelled to concede to the Papists ( the Catholic Church) that they have the original word of God, that we received it from them and that without them we should(sic) have no knowledge of t at all.

The major problem with the protestant old testament is that the history of the Jews fro about 400 years before Christ is completely excluded. Important events in Jewish history such as the Maccabean revolts are not included. In fact the feast of the dedication of the temple attended by the Lord in Johns’s gospel 10:22 cannot be traced anywhere in the protestant old testament but can only be found in I Macabees: 36-59.

The Canon of the Bible

There was no canon of scripture in the early Church; there was no Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church; she is not the Church of the Bible. It was the Church–her leadership, faithful people–guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing. The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon. Fixed canons of the Old and New Testaments, hence the Bible, were not known much before the end of the 2nd and early 3rd century but there was a constant history of faithful people from Christ’s time through the Apostolic and Post Apostolic Church.

  • Melito, bishop of Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor (see Rev 3), c. 170 AD produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther.

 

  • The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today’s canon. This was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon.

 

  • Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today’s canon.

 

  • The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus’ Decree.

 

  • Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope Innocent I in 405 requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the present canon.

 

  • The Council of Hippo, a local North Africa council of bishops created the list of the Old and New Testament books in 393 which is the same as the Roman Catholic list today.

 

  • The Council of Carthage, a local North Africa council of bishops created the same list of canonical books in 397. This is the council which many Protestant and Evangelical Christians take as the authority for the New Testament canon of books. The Old Testament canon from the same council is identical to Roman Catholic canon today. Another Council of Carthage in 419 offered the same list of canonical books.

 

  • Since the Roman Catholic Church does not define truths unless errors abound on the matter, Roman Catholic Christians look to the Council of Florence, an ecumenical council in 1441 for the first definitive list of canonical books.

 

  • The final infallible definition of canonical books for Roman Catholic Christians came from the Council of Trent in 1556 in the face of the errors of the Reformers who rejected seven Old Testament books(Tobith, Baruach, Judith, wisdom, Eclesiasticus, Maccabees I and II, some additional chapters of the book of Esther and Daniel.) from the canon of scripture to that time.

Canonical books are those books which have been acknowledged as belonging to the list of books the Church considers to be inspired and to contain a rule of faith and morals. Some criteria used to determine canonicity were

    • special relation to God, i.e., inspiration;
    • apostolic origin;
    • used in Church services, i.e., used by the community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit.

The madness called Bible translations

Several attempts have been made by individuals and group alike to modify the Holy Scripture to suit their whims, all under the “guidance of the holy spirit”.

In fact the message of scripture has been perverted by some of these protestant versions that one can easily be mislead. One example is John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” The new world translation readers this text thus: “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was a god”. Can you beat this? This is the version used by Jehovah’s witnesses who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. As a matter of fact, the name Jehovah is a result 0f erroneous translation of Yahweh, he sovereign God of Israel.

Also not pleased with St Paul’s doctrine “we are justified by faith”, King James “inspired by the Holy Spirit added “only” after St Paul’s words making the sentence read; “we are justified by faith only” and so it reads in many protestant bibles. There are several other such discrepancies in Protestant bibles. This is why the Church, the Mother and teacher of all Christians has over the centuries taught that only scripture approved by the Magisterium are to be read at masses and other Liturgical celebrations.

Conclusion

Accoding to Greg Witherow, “There is only one way we know whether a book is divinely inspired. And it is not because a book claims to be inspired. It is not because Christ or the Apostles quotes from it. It is not because we think we know who the author is. It is not because the Holy Spirit has guided history to ensure a consensus amongst Christians. Rather, it is because the Church is the only entity with the authority to define what the received books are. Christ did not hand us a New Testament when he ascended to heaven. But he did leave us a Church with a Magisterium to make decisions that are binding on earth and also binding in heaven. It is the Church that is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15). The Catholic Church has consistently declared the Deutercanonicals to be divinely inspired from her earliest councils. And as such these books have been part of the Bible for 2,000 years. At the time of the Reformation the Protestant sects rejected these portions of scripture that for 1,500 years had been part of the Christian Bible. And as such they claimed to have the authority to do so base on the right of private judgment (and a fallible judgment, as they concede.” R.C. Sproul is a highly regarded contemporary Reformed theologian. He summarizes the Catholic vs. Protestant debate on the canon of scripture in the following manner:

“The Catholic Church believes in an infallible list of infallible books while the Protestant churches believe in a fallible list of infallible books”.

 

Namse Udosen

The need for Advent

December 10, 2013

THE NEED FOR ADVENT.
Every year when enter the “ember” months, most people (including yours sincerely) start earnestly planning for Christmas. As the mad rush and hectic plans for Christmas goes on, poor old advent just gets ignored and run past as if it doesn’t exist or is not relevant. After the celebration of Christ the King in the last week of November, we just jump to Xmas leaving the poor season of advent alone, cold and lonely. From 1st December the Christmas carols blare out and drown out the penitence of advent, while the faithful start wishing each other a merry Christmas in advance! A pertinent question must be asked: is advent relevant in the life of a Christian?
The Catholic Church, the mother and teacher of all Christians in her infinite wisdom calls her faithful, during this beautiful liturgical season to live in anticipation of a new beginning, a new coming of the Lord. St Bernard a renowned Doctor of the Church explains it clearly in one of his advent homilies:
“We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The 3rd lies between the other two. It is invisible while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on Earth, dwelling among men; in the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of God and they will look upon him that they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one, in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and our weakness, in the middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty. Because this coming lies between the other two, it is a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last.”
Advent therefore is a period of joyful anticipation of the final coming of Jesus which comes after his first coming, which Christmas commemorates. This is the heart of the message which Christians must bring to an age often staggering in existential and materialistic sadness which are the horrid after effects of the dictatorship of relativism. At advent we are called to look inwards and discover our true essence and to remember that the lord is always coming for those who look for him in truth. It is a season in which Christians are invited by the church to get ready, to make a place for the lord in our lives, relationships, families and homes to anticipate his comings. The O come, O come Emmanuel hymns will serve for us a call to “make straight in the desert a highway for the Lord” (cf Isaiah 40).
The purple color of Advent is a sign of repentance and expectation; two key actions and attitudes at the heart and spirit of the season. We are called at advent to repent from sin and vice and renounce all our choices that are at variance with divine and ecclesial law. It is a time not for shopping, but of emptying ourselves of the clutter of our daily idolatry and renouncing the disordered self love that squeezes God’s grace out of our lives.
May God give us the grace to tap into the spirit of advent as we await in joyful hope the coming of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit World without end.
We also wait with Mary, who prefigured advent after receiving the angelic message and waited nine months in hope and prayer for the delivery of he who would be great and called son of the most High God (cf Luke 1 vs 32).
Have a blessed advent!
NB
Christmas season begins with Christmas vigil on the 24th of December and ends on the epiphany of the Lord which falls around 6th of January.
Namse Udosen

Convoys Nigeria plc

November 27, 2013

Convoys a National pastime.

IkonAllah's chronicles

I have always viewed the culture of moving in convoy as the hieght of profligacy and impunity. How can over 20 cars be attached to a single individual who goes everywhere with all the cars? Madness. This is the favourite past time of our political leaders. There was a time in Nigeria when even the president was moving with a single car but all this chsnged with the assassination of General Murtala Muhammed who was killled on his way to work. Murtala even lived in his own house not dodan barracks the then presidential villa.
Am not writing this because a popular activist(iyayi the former ASUU president) was killed by the kogi state  governors convoy no and this is not the first time convoys kills innocent citizens. Far from it, Countless Nigerians have lost lives and limbs from the reckless way convoys of political office holders move recklessly on our…

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