The following quote is from a February 21, 2007, Townhall column by Cal Thomas, writing about the rise of “anti-heroes” and the proliferation of mindless, prurient entertainment focused on the lives of celebrities whose lives both shock us and seem to provide justification for us for our own decline in morals…..
“…To some extent this has always been so, but television has made gawking easier and the objects of gawking more accessible. This indulgence in the base and banal has had a corrosive effect on our collective spirit. It also lowers our defenses against those who would destroy us.
It isn’t as if we haven’t been warned about self-indulgence in secular and sacred writings. In his “Republic,” Plato has Socrates describe the effect on the soul of grace and gracelessness in the material culture: “Our aim is to prevent our Guards being reared among images of vice – as it were in a pasturage of poisonous herbs where, cropping and grazing in abundance every day, they little by little and all unawares build up one huge accumulation of evil in their soul. Rather, we must seek out craftsmen with a talent for capturing what is lovely and graceful, so that our young, dwelling as it were in a salubrious region, will receive benefit from everything about them. Like a breeze bringing health from wholesome places, the impact of works of beauty on eye or ear will imperceptibly from childhood on, guide them to likeness, to friendship, to concord with the beauty of reason.”
You won’t find such “craftsmen” on television. Better to turn it off, or get rid of this unfriendly guest, than to allow for the creation of another generation of anti-heroes and gawkers.”
6-8 years ago I had been led to understand the imagery in Exodus 17 of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms over the battlefield where Joshua led the Israelites against the Amalekites as representing the value of one having beneficial assistance of both a “priestly” support (i.e.- professionalized, objective counsel of the medical, legal, or theological type) and a “craftsman” support (i.e. in-the-trenches, experienced, practical, common sense type advisor) .
In this advice by Plato, the value of the practical, experienced, “craftsman” with skills for making life work is recognized. I have come to think of Celebrate Recovery! and other lay led support ministries in this way. As I consider moving into graduate school to become a mental health “professional”, I hope that I can bring both the professional and the practical perspectives to bear.