Mind Food

Quarter of midnight. Church this morning was average. Before service, B— opened up to me a little in the foyer about her job. She told me about a second grade teacher she knew who was arrested for pedophilia. I wondered a bit why she was telling me that. I guess it was because the incident had disturbed her not a little. Maybe she needed reassurance. The news didn’t ruffle me at all, but my humanism knows a broad scope of experience. The great novelist Henry James had a lust for young boys, never acted upon of course, but acknowledged to himself as being a part of his soul. Everybody has something like that, however we may obscure it from ourselves. It can be a shock to discover it, especially when we can put a societal label on it and condemn ourselves. Usually we will be our own worst critic. It is said that no individual is innocent, therefore what kind of position are we in to condemn other people? Spinoza had some amazing insights about crime and punishment. Above all, he impressed me with this quote: “Things are not more or less perfect according as they delight or offend human senses…” And when an offender is apprehended, he is to be turned in to the proper authorities, but without a feeling of moral outrage. In other words, it shouldn’t be like the yellow journalism I used to see on Dateline NBC, stuff that panders to the deplorable need in some people to work themselves into a moral frenzy. Thus I guess I felt like sermonizing a bit to B— on the spot, but instead saved it for material for this post.


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