Archives for : General Philosophy

Book Review: Letters to My Unborn Children

In the interests of full disclosure: I work with Shawn T. Collins and I’m a friend of his.

Baby Holding Dad's FingerHe let me know about his book Letters to My Unborn Children, so I asked to borrow a copy and read it. I’m Catholic and we treat all human life as sacred, starting at conception. Shawn is not Catholic, but we certainly share this widely-held Christian belief. That said, it seems a travesty that we don’t really talk about miscarriages in either my faith or in Shawn’s. I’ve found that there are some Catholic books on the topic and that the Catechism of the Catholic Church covers the topic, but when have I heard this topic discussed? When do we hear about this in the secular world?

I was amazed to find out how common miscarriages are. Reading Shawn’s book alerted me to the fact that there are a lot of people around silently mourning the death of a family member that they never had the chance to meet. Shawn refers to parenthood as an “extreme sport” and I never realized how true that really is.

There’s a risk that a topic that isn’t brought into the open will be ignored, leading to an hidden but open wound and the source of a spreading infection. Grief can’t be ignored and it’s an important part of the healing process. In this book Shawn brings his family’s grieving out into the open and deals with it using his faith, a loving relationship with his family, and the act of writing letters to the three children that didn’t survive to be born. By no means does this solve the pain and make it go away for him or for anybody. By reading this book, however, we can get a renewed sense of the value of human life and a greater appreciation for the families that we have.

I heartily endorse this book for somebody who is going through the grief of miscarriage, and also for anybody who wants to gain further insight into just how precious human life is.

Movie Philosophy: 2047 Virtual Revolution

I watch streaming videos on Netflix and Amazon Prime while I use my rowing machine. It’s not the most optimal way to watch a movie, but it sure makes the time spent exercising more fun. I watched an interesting movie on Amazon Prime this morning called 2047 Virtual Revolution.

The look of this movie was good and the graphics were very well done. However, nobody can escape that the atmosphere, scenery, buildings, flying cars, clothing, and even the handguns were all heavily inspired by Bladerunner. The creators of this movie are obviously Bladerunner fans, but they should do more to differentiate themselves. One thing was different, visually: the sun was actually emerging to light up the sky at the end of the movie. Graphics are one thing, however the plot is more interesting and led me to write down my thoughts.

There is some thematic overlap with The Matrix, but only at a high level. The Matrix used a virtual world as a political allegory representing how lies are used to control people and their behaviors in the real world. In 2047 Virtual Revolution, there are elements that seek to control and take advantage of human nature, but the virtual worlds aren’t used as allegory at all. They are exactly what they appear to be: an addiction and an escape from an ugly world that is probably made much uglier because nobody is *present* to make it a better place.

While the revolutionaries in this movie believe that everybody wants to be liberated, people prove that they’d rather be parasites to the State and corporations, escaping to live their lives in a virtual world. True liberty allows people to make their own decisions, and one character in this movie observes that nobody forced the majority of the population to become “the connected.” I think there’s a lot of truth in this. Movements for liberty often forget that the majority of people are happy to be mindless, sheep-like consumers. People will sometimes choose addictions and self-destruction over existing in a real world where they can create, assist, and participate with humanity in seeking higher purposes. Forcing people out of their ‘verses wouldn’t have fixed this.

This has much in common with Catholic teaching:

  • God himself doesn’t coerce us into following him
  • He gives us the grace to see that the light is there
  • It is up to us to exercise our free will to move toward the light
  • The majority of people won’t do it

Just thought I should share these thoughts today.