Study Philosophy With Me…

“Do you want to study Philosophy with me?”…

This line originated last semester with study of the, at the very least uncomfortable dialogs of Plato “Phaedrus” and the “Symposium”. Centering on love, their meaning went over head at the first read, “Phaedrus” for the Founders Scholarship Competition back in 2017, but last semester in Humanities they were blown open by our Professor Washut when we read them again.

Not even having to into all the details, they present apparently a depraved two way seduction (the Phaedrus) and a drunken drinking party with multilateral speeches and attempts at such homosexual seduction.

So why read of such apparent depravities, especially at a faithful Catholic college like WCC? The dialogues discuss the nature of rhetoric and the soul, but seem to be supporting homosexuality and other improprieties; what is there to gain?

Thats what I was desperate to know, afyer reading these and other Socratic dialogue which gave a similar picture, showing Socrates as actively seeking himself to seduce and romaticize other men. In Phaedrus, for example, outside of his regular custom (he rarely if at all left Athens), he takes a man, Phaedrus to a deserted place, where things seem to he headed to a bad place.

Rather than going down that path as seems to be the progression, however, Socrates leads Phaedrus to philosophy, but even more to truth in an un-perverted good:

“Gods of this place, grant to me that I be made beautiful in my soul within, and that all external possessions be in harmony with my inner man.”

Perhaps not perfectly stated, but  interior goodness in the true, good, and beautiful is elevated in his speech as the end, to be “beautiful in my soul within” and beauty is found in this as the true object of man’s desires that are often perverted to bad ends.

Evil is always a perversion of a good, a non-being in itself. This is not to say that evil as such does not exist, but in existing it is tied to a perverted true good that has a privation in some extent. So here with homosexuality, it perverts the true good of fraternal brotherhood and community with a false and unnatural “union”.

Opposed then to the privated attempt, however there is the true good desire, a unity in search for the truth that Socrates on a deep level was actually looking for. Community in studying, reaching together for the truth replaces the physical perversions that seemed from hints in the narrative to be coming.

And a beauty in desire for the truth, or more properly: wisdom, must end in its source, God. Thus, the saying here of “study philosophy with me” in reference to the Phaedrus reading has a similiar extended meaning as the dialogue itself. On the surface its a joke “pick-up-dating” line, but in studying here together, in the whole school, we have as a goal Socrates’ true end, community not in the perversions that define “community” and “love” in the secular world which takes the path assumed to be coming in the Phaedrus. Rather, community in a quest for wisdom by discussion, studying, community singing, in the true sense.

And in this, there is a redemption of the underlying behind what is so often despicably perverted. Our quest for community, friendship, love, fulfilled in truth and community of persons, love for the beautiful in the soul within, not the external perversions of the flesh.

As Isaiah says similarly to Socrates’ conclusion:

My soul yearns for thee in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks thee

Isaiah 26:9 RSVCE

May we have the same perfect yearning.


Well, summer’s been good. Busy, confusing, so different from WCC, yes, but I think I can finally handle the two months until we’re back. Through some past experience through a hobby I managed to (among other things) get an internship in a career field that really interested me for part of the summer.

It was exciting look forward to it, is, and is also in the future-spect, thinking of future prospects on its lines. But at the same time, something I found so interesting and attractive has been now revealed in all its negatives.

Like in the Iliad “there are two ways for me and the heart within me cannot decide which is better”. It’s at least something like that. I’m not even sure what I’m saying but… “professional liberals”is the first thing that comes to mind. I long though they were only within liberal foundations, high up at major corporations or on the coast, but… boy has this summer been a shocker.

Let’s start with one co-worker. She’s “so excited that your son’s going with you to the Pride Parade. And you’re pushing him in a stroller? He’s going to love the costumes.” (said to another co-worker next to me)

And then the president of the company invites everyone to the parade, I get an e-mail explaining why they’re so excited to promote diversity along with a list of hundreds of other companies also participating (many were horrible shockers)

And on, and on…

Should one just ignore all that’s being pushed in such an environment and still pursue such a career? I may just be getting to cynical, but it seems that everything in the “cultural” America is far worse than I realized. I don’t mean to lead myself or anyone to despair but my struggle is this: normalcy or abandonment?

It seems I have an open path forward, beginning possibly next summer, to a career in this field, path of interest. It seems enticing. But doing so would mean giving up even more the ideas and lifestyle we are immersing ourselves in within the “outpost” that is WCC. It would mean immersion in this “world” of secularism and liberalism.

On the other hand, though filled with uncertainty and confusion, there is the other possibility, that of living in some way an extension of our life at WCC. Economically, culturally, etc. it is less appealing, but there is a hidden peace it seems to contain in the purity from the confusion, deception, and perversion of the world.

That is what we chose in coming to WCC, and while I remain in a confusion of mind, that is what I – no we – must keep in mind: A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it

The world is too much with us


…For all this, nature is never spent

In my confusion (especially this writing), the question still remains, though intellectually it was answered with the stroke of the commitment (and re-commitment) form. We’re called to be different, radically differnt.

Called to Holiness. Even as a Lifeguard.

I know the featured image doesn’t exactly fit with the theme, but come on, it’s gorgeous!

Anyway, this week I started working as a lifeguard at a local water park. Until Monday, I’d been living the classic armchair philosopher life: spending my days cooking, reading, praying, and taking long walks. I had my whole daily routine laid out, which I fastidiously followed. Wake up at 5:30. Pray Laudes and Prima and the Regina Caeli. Cook breakfast. Etc. Rinse and repeat.

However, starting a job obviously threw all that out the window (or off the water slide, if you will). My first two days of work, I got slammed with double shifts. I was unable to cook. True Devotion to Mary and my daily chunk of the Bible didn’t get read. All I could pray was Prima, Tertia, and the Rosary. I couldn’t even sip my after-dinner tea or call a friend or write a poem. It seemed like this was sounding the death knell for aspirations of growth in the interior life.

But the world’s still turning. And I figured out something important.

We’ve all heard that there’s a “universal call to holiness” for us as Christians. You, me, everyone. Priests and nuns, mothers and fathers, construction workers and baristas. Of course, I had always believed that, but I kind of just swallowed it without really thinking about it or even understanding its significance. Luckily, God used this new job of mine to finally get through to His little daughter, which is no small feat.

On one hand, holiness does entail some parameters. E.g. “Thou shalt not steal.” On the other hand, holiness looks different for different people. Take St. Therese, for example. For her, holiness was found primarily in living the Carmelite Rule, a rigorous, extremely consistent regimen of prayer, fasting, and work. The arduous task of facing whatever trials awaited her in her own interior desert was built into her routine. Now contrast that with St. Paul. He woke up every day not knowing where he’d have to go next, what dangers he’d face, or how many souls God would save through him that day. He was surrounded by the noise and distraction of active missionary life. But both of them became great saints. They were both called to holiness, and the fact that they had to follow different ways to get there was irrelevant.

The same holds true for us. It doesn’t matter what path God chooses to set us on to achieve holiness; it only matters whether we accept the grace He offers along the way. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a path of following the full breviary and doing lots of reading and mental prayer and the like, or if it’s simply striving to remain mindful of God’s presence while making sure nobody drowns and collapsing into bed that night grateful for every blessing.



In the Same Boat with Heraclitus

Good old Heraclitus. One of his fragments I recall most vividly was his insistence that everything is change. I wish I’d paid better attention to the pearls of wisdom scattered by the professor instead of staring with glazed eyes at my reading packet, the clock, and my fellow students, but that’s irrelevant for these purposes. I’ve been thinking about how although Heraclitus was wrong (yaiyn, to avoid criticism), we as college students, particularly WCC students, can understand where he was coming from.

The life of a college student seems to be a four-year storm with choppy waves, pounding rain, and unpredictable currents turning us this way and that. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t felt particularly in control of my life since starting college. Wild weather, delays and schedule changes, not to mention that insane experience known as Freshmen Orientation, combined to concoct a recipe for a feeling of futility and powerlessness. Numerous times this year, I asked myself, “Do I even have any say in how my life turns out? Should I even bother trying to shape my life into the one I want, or just drift along until I wash up and go from there?”

Well I’m here to say that the answers are a definite Yes and No, your classic Yaiyn. And you can figure out for yourselves why that is, since I don’t want to state the obvious. “Here let every tongue be silent.” -Psalms

-The Scottish Peasant


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;

The things that mortals made.

But still there gleams, amidst the rust,

A Beauty that does not fade.

The Beauty of immortal things,

That far outlasts our solemn kings.

It shines from every mountaintop,

And in the sun at dawn.

It’s seen in every rabbit’s hop,

And the shyness of a fawn.

The Beauty that will never die,

For those with eyes to see;

And their ears hear the joyful cry

Of hosts of Sanctity.

Just a little something I wrote, actually shortly after PEAK 2 years ago. I thought I’d share it on here. – The Roman Rambler

Home From Home

I’m not really sure why I am writing on here. I question this as I type. Perhaps it is the utter boredom of not having classes to attend and homework to do; Perhaps it is the desire to see friends post’s on here, and if I want to see others I should encourage them by putting up my own; Perhaps it is feeling lonely and hungry for the community and people I left behind. Or perhaps it is a combination of all of these and more. And yet, I still don’t know what I am to write. I could write about the first day home, or the drive back to the nonexistent land (it is more exciting then you think). Or maybe I should write something deep and profound about life and love. (Don’t get your hopes up . . .that’s not going to happen.)  But as I type away, knowing all my loved friends, who are more like family, will read this it brings a smile to my face. And then I realize, I didn’t just come home for the summer to see my family and work. I left one home, family, and work for a different one. The students I left behind shall be missed like the family was. The small dingy dorms shall be missed like the green, happy farm. The constant trial of trying to get in all the readings while doing well at classes shall be longed for like the hard physical labor of farming and running after children had been. How often and how many times did I wish I could do more physical labor than studying, how often did I wish I could see more babies and children, how often did I wish I could be back out in the country. Now I have all this. And yet I feel something lacking. Over the weeks leading up to coming home I desired all these things, trying my best to live in the present and enjoy what I currently had, asking God to give me the grace to live in the present then and especially whenI got home. Here I am now, home and missing the home I left behind more than I thought I would. But, I asked God to help me live in the present. To enjoy and by grateful for what I have. This moment away from the goodness, truth, and beauty I left behind is God giving me the chance to practice just that. It can be easy to live in the present when you are thriving and loving it. It is much harder to live in the present when life is harder, but still just as important.

This post seems rather melancholy . . .but it’s really not. Yes, I miss the home away from home, and I am anxious to get back. But I refuse to miss all the goodness, truth, and beauty that is at THIS home away from home, and if I constantly wish away the summer waiting for that next moment I’ll be sad, miserably and lonely. It’s like Dr. Baxter once said, happiness is always that step ahead of you. But I don’t agree with this. If we can learn to appreciate what we have right in front of us, to live in the only moment we have, we can be happy. Happiness is a feeling, joy is a choice. And I challenge all of you to join me this summer in choosing joy. Choose to live in the only moment we are sure of having: the present.

And so I have learned to shape the words thank you / with my first breath each morning, my last breath every night / so when the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful / for all the places I was so sure I was not suppose to be. / All those places I made it to / all the loves I held, all the words I wrote / and even if it is just for one moment / I will be exactly where I am suppose to be -The Paradox

Now that I have blabbed on about something for quite a while, it brings to mind one other thing. A prayer from St. Faustina that says what I tried to say. I leave it here at the end to give the wisdom I tried to convey in my feeble language.

O My God,
When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.

It is no longer in my power to change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so what the past has embraced I must entrust to God.

O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.

And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater Glory.

Deep Down Things

Saturday night, in the spot, don’t believe just watch…

“And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things”

Gerard Manley Hopkins

In total agreement with you Anne, I feel the greatest longing from separation already, even when it is been but three days.

in the end I think a tiny part of us, deep down, is already mourning for the day when we will leave Lander.

I am already mourning, a feeling something I feel most of us share, but “for all this, nature is never spent”, that which we here have we can carry beyond the predetermined plans and limits of four years. I make no aim to sound “kooky” (assuming that is even the proper word), but why can we not build the same that we have and more ourselves, WCC but for families, an outpost in the wilderness, the “deep down things” still resting on our hearts.

We have something here, and I believe specifically within this class, the means maybe not to change the world necessarily in the sense so overused (at least its my impression that it is so) in inspiration, but beginning with ourselves. WCC is formation, let’s live out the form of the life we’ve been set to.

How exactly? I don’t really know yet, but in the pursuit of unchanging truths, of God, by and through the family …

Oh no, it is an ever fixed mark

There is a way. And let’s talk seriously about thus, Inshall, Rinju’s brother has already started something on a small scale. St. John Paul II City, anyone

Iacobus (and yes unlike much of my and my friends at IIT’s reputation, this is serious)

Spring and Fall

“Margaret, are you grieving/over Goldengrove unleaving?”

These lines from Hopkins’s poem “Spring and Fall” came to mind as I watched the class of 2019 receive their diplomas at commencement. It was a beautiful ceremony, and naturally there were many crying friends and relatives. However, I started to wonder why a freshman (freshmore?) like me should be getting emotional over this. I came up with something that’s maybe just fatigue and summer excitement talking, but I think it’s interesting.

In the poem, Margaret appears to be crying because leaves are falling, but Hopkins suggests that the deeper reason she is crying is because she somehow knows that the same fate is in store for her. “What heart heard of, ghost guessed.” I think, in this very specific case of underclassmen watching their fore-bearers graduating, this same thing applies.

Yes, we will miss the seniors. Some of them were very dear to us, and their presence left its mark on our time at WCC. Yet I think the real reason I, along with some of my classmates, were grieving over goldengrove unleaving was because we know that we, too, have a limited time in this paradise. In just three short years, that will be us. I know it’s true that WCC is a difficult curriculum. It’s annoying to get dress-coded or have to rush back to our rooms for curfew. It’s annoying to have to do lots of homework and think deeply about Euclid or motion or the Odyssey when we feel like we simply don’t have anything left in the tank. But in the end I think a tiny part of us, deep down, is already mourning for the day when we will leave Lander.

It is the blight man was born for./It is Margaret you mourn for.



Base Camp

The Barnabas Project is a blog by and for the Wyoming Catholic College class of 2022. It’s a kind of combined lit-mag and indie coffee shop; it’s a site for philosophical musings on what we’re reading and thinking about, photography from our vacations, poetry and short stories, or basically anything.

A little background: at the end of COR, we had a program at campfire called The Barnabas Project in which we, in a way, prepared to face the challenges of being a student. As we face the challenges of summer, this blog will be a small oasis of WCC culture against the tumultuous ocean of the wider world.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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