September 18-D, 2022

Spring Beauty 02/18/2018 Oil Paint Rendered — Pineville, Louisiana
Wendell Johnson said that we are all born
into a culture/society/family
that has a certain idea
of how things ought to be.

But it is never articulated as such.
Everybody just knows how things are supposed to be done,
and how they are not supposed to be done,
but the rules are never spelled out, explained.

We are always crossing lines we did not know were there,
and being chastised,
punished,
humiliated
for not knowing what no one ever told us,
until we get, eventually,
some vague, general, idea 
of what the idea is.

Ideas permeate the culture/society/family
of which we are apart,
and impose their weight and will upon us
unconsciously,
and we live burdened with things 
we don't know are there.

In light of this, 
Johnson formulated what he called 
"The IFD disease,"
for Idealism (the way we are--
the way things are--supposed to be),
Frustration (With our inability to be,
or to get things to be,
what we, they, are supposed to be,
and Demoralization, a low-level--
or not-so-low--
sense of depression/anxiety/panic
stemming from not knowing what's wrong
or what to do about it,
and no way of finding out.

This is a spiritual problem
requiring a spiritual solution,
and spiritual in this sense
has nothing to do with theology,
and everything to do with the world
of "the spirit," 
the invisible world of intangibles
that are felt/intuited/known
that the world of thinking/logic/reason
cannot enter--
like "ideas" that control our lives
which are assumed but never clarified,
specified, identified, discussed, talked about,
because, as Heinrich Zimmer said,
"The best things can't be talked about/articulated,
and the second-best things create misunderstandings
(because they try to articulate what cannot be articulated
in a 'You have to know what I mean
in order to understand what I am saying' kind of way)
which leaves us talking about the third-best things:
News, weather, sports, opinion, and gossip).

Which leaves us with having to become spiritual
in the right kind of way--enlightened/illumined/awake/
aware/tuned-in/realizing what's what and what is going on
around here and what to do about it.

The sooner we get to work,
the better for all of us.

–0–

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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