Who are you?

This is your brain on a pile of books

This is your brain on a pile of books

Allow me to introduce myself. I went to a great school, studied all the great books, had lots of great conversations with some great friends and then graduated and got a job plunging toilets. Oh how the great fall. But I got up, pulled myself up by the bootstraps and went back to school for something more practical. Now I work in special education where a book is only as great as the functional skills it reinforces. Now I’m stuck with a brainful of crap and all I ask is to empty it somewhere. Voila, a blog!

Here are a list of topics I cover in my blog.
The Title
Someone was outraged when they saw my blog’s title. “What, is happiness just crap to you

Well, that wasn’t my point, but that could be true. Vanity of vanities and all that.
“Is it maybe a parody of Locke’s formulation, life, liberty and the pursuit of property?”
Well that makes sense too, most property is pretty crappy, but no. It was just a phrase I used once to describe all the things my wife and I would talk about when we were dating. We would skip from serious philosophical questions to silly jokes and cover everything in between. That’s what I wanted this blog to be. I will be writing philosophical reflections alongside limericks, and filling in the center with short stories, poetry, anecdotes, musings, rants, memes and all that crap.
I have a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, but I always found most philosophy too abstract. I like the meat and potatoes of philosophy. I like ethics. That’s where you take your epistemology and metaphysics and draw them down to the everyday and say “hey, how does all this affect what I’m doing right now? Should I stop eating that stuff? Smoking that stuff? What should I be doing?”
This interest in the more practical aspects of philosophy led me to psychology. I read a lot of popular works on psychology and neuroscience. There is a lot of interesting stuff out there. If you can get through the brambles, there are some beautiful flowers in there. There are some exciting trends. A mountain of data has been being collected over the last century or so and the results are in: Human nature is real, self-giving love is necessary for flourishing, virtue is necessary for flourishing. There is no insurmountable chasm between faith and psychology. Yes there are pitfalls, but that’s life.

Special Education
I work in special Ed. We all know the story of special education, how in the early part of the century anyone with a disability was just shoved off to an institution and how recent reforms have led to a more humane system. Kids are now supposed to be taught in the “least restrictive environment,” a concept that totally clicks with Catholic social teaching’s subsidiarity. But these reforms and improvements have caused their own problems. We’ve stopped trying to sweep these kids under the rug, now we just need to stop trying to make them fit into the mold of regularly developing kids. I will be discussing some ideas I have.

(I’m just listing things in random order. My wife is way more important than those other things.)
We need more resources for married couples who are not currently in crisis. I’m talking preventive medicine, not AED devices. We need more than just pre-Cana. We need post-Cana. I’ll try to do my part in filling this gap.
I have two great kids and one on the way at the time of writing. I have no idea what I’m doing with them. I hope they turn out relatively normal. Some of my posts will reflect the joys and ridiculous frustrations of trying to do what’s best for them.
I’m Catholic. Everything I do in the other categories will be faithful to the church. If that’s not ok with you, it’s probably because you think you hate the church and everything that agrees with it. You probably hate that stuffed dummy over there being pinched and poked by those people with the press badges. You really ought to check out what we really believe. It’s mind blowing and actually makes sense. And on top of that, it makes YOUR life make sense. Look into it. Or ask me. I’d love to have that conversation over a coffee.
Like I said, I’m Catholic. I take my faith as guide in my politics. This means I don’t fit neatly into one party or another. I am concerned about the welfare of immigrants and refugees, I oppose the death penalty, I think we need to stop getting into useless wars, I want to help the poor, I think the environment should be protected and I support public transit. Am I a liberal then? Well I also think abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent child, I think marriage between people of the same sex is impossible on a basic natural level, that spending at the national level is way out of hand and needs to be reduced regardless of the short-term pain that would cause, that in many cases government regulation only temporarily stabilizes industries but has extremely dangerous long-term effects. Am I a conservative? I’m a Catholic.
I think art, music and literature are really important. They point beyond themselves to the beauty of creation, even when they are intended to do the opposite. After all, even meat offered to idols is fine to eat as long as you don’t worship the idol. I like to look for universal truths in pop songs and movies.
Look, science is cool! There are all kinds of cool things going on in your cells even as we speak! Neurons are beautiful! Spiral galaxies are magnificent! Crystal formation is awesome! I want to advocate for the joy and beauty of science. Look, many scientists refuse to believe in God precisely because the universe is so cool. They think there doesn’t need to be anything beyond it. We Christians need to start going beyond the whole “there is no intrinsic contradiction between faith and reason” bit and start actually learning some science. Why can’t we just revel in the sheer awesomeness of this very good cosmos without having to justify ourselves?


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