Katie van Schaijik

Thanks, Rhett--this is just how we'd hoped the courtship portal would work.

Quick thoughts in reply:

1) Yes, Perchik and Hodel's love will be tested by the deep gaps and clashes in their backgrounds and philosophies.  Whether it survives will depend on the depth of their commitment to one another and to Truth. 

2) Jack and Rose's relationship in the Titanic strikes me as wretchedly superficial.  They complicated their incipient love horribly by committing fornication: an act of immorality that objectively wounds both, soils what is authentic in their attraction to each other, and drives them further apart. With you,  I doubt very much their love would have survived contact with "real life" off the boat.  

#1 - Jan. 25 at 11:54am | quote

 

Katie van Schaijik

I just had another thought about Hodel and Perchik.  

I think one of the reasons Hodel fell in love with him is precisely that he called her to a view of humanity and her own life that transcended the confines of the tradition in which she was raised.  It was a moral awakening—a moment she emerged from submersion in that tradition and was challenged to choose for herself the direction for her life.  One hopes that from this perspective she will be able to affirm and make fully her own everything good in that tradition, while also, and at the same time, recognizing and affirming what's good in his.

#2 - Jan. 25 at 2:09pm | quote

 

Jules van Schaijik

That's it. I'm watching Fiddler on the Roof again. I can't remember who Hodel and Perchik are.

#3 - Jan. 25 at 8:29pm | quote

 

Samantha

Thinking of the case of Titanic, I wonder what von Hildebrand would say to Rose's breaking of her engagement. It is clear that her method of breaking the engagement was inappropriate, done in a manner disrespectful of Cal and of their promise to eachother. I recall the angry words of Cal as he flips over a table:

Rose: I am not a foreman in one of your mills that you can command. I am your fiancée. 

Cal: My fian... my fiancée! Yes, you are, and my wife. My wife in practice if not yet by law, so you will honor me. You will honor me the way a wife is required to honor a husband. Because I will not be made a fool, Rose.

What would von Hildebrand, or any Catholic thinker, consider an "appropirate" reason or manner for breaking an engagement, if any? I know Kierkegaard, although a great writer on Christian love, is not the best authority on the matter!

#4 - Jan. 26 at 2:22pm | quote

 

Katie van Schaijik

I don't remember the movie very clearly.  The dialog you quote is awful on his part.  He suggests that they are already sleeping together.  And then  he implies that it is that fact that gives him a certain right of ownership and command over her.  Loathsome.  Though she was pretty loathsome too, if I remember rightly.

As for reasons for breaking an engagement: I think there is only one, namely, that you come to believe you ought not to marry the one you have promised to marry.

The measure is subjective rather than objective. A person's reasons for arriving at that conviction can be many, and only more or less clear, more or less objectively serious.  But if they converge into a conviction that it would not be good to marry, in spite of the engagement, then I think a person should break the engagement.

But he should also know he's doing something terrible.  He should know he is devastating the other, whom he had claimed to love and promised to live for.  And he should know it reflects badly on his character that he made a promise that he now can't keep. 

Moral: Don't get engaged unless you mean it.

#5 - Jan. 26 at 2:50pm | quote

 

Teresa Manidis

One practical note I'd like to slip in here.  Samantha, you wrote:

It is clear that her method of breaking the engagement was inappropriate, done in a manner disrespectful of Cal and of their promise to each other

I hate to say, your finding this 'inappropriate' troubles me.  If you remember, he was a terrible man ('loathsome' was a good word, Katie).  Her attempts at self-assertion were met with his flinging the breakfast table they were both sitting at against the farthest wall.  He was physically violent, verbally abusive, manipulating and controlling - in fact, every single thing was against him (other than his money, although that was a possession of his, not a quality).  If Rose had not broken off with him, I think I would have run screaming from the theatre.  

Far too many girls and women bind themselves to abusive/potentially abusive men every day, and then remain in danger through some thwarted sense of obedience (what Cal was demanding), either to the unworthy man himself or to some ideal of Obedience or  another virtue.  Granted, Rose was not an endearing heroine to me, but her breaking from Cal was, to me, the only good thing she did

#6 - Jan. 29 at 7:27pm | quote

 

Teresa Manidis

And, promiscuity aside, and certainly not condoning that, their being unmarried only simplifies matters, in my mind

#7 - Jan. 29 at 7:29pm | quote

 

Samantha

 

Teresa Manidis, Jan. 29 at 7:27pm

I hate to say, your finding this 'inappropriate' troubles me.  If you remember, he was a terrible man ('loathsome' was a good word, Katie).  

  He was physically violent, verbally abusive, manipulating and controlling - in fact, every single thing was against him

Having seen Titanic an embarassing number of times, I am attempting to recall Cal's character in the film. I do recall him acting "controlling"- ordering her dinner for her, "minding" what she reads- and I do think he went out of line having his assistant spy on her. However, this relationship between Cal and Rose seemed to me a very typical one for the time, and in that class. Very often, marriage occurred for different reasons than the ideal Christian union in love. Rose new what she was getting into, and she didn't seem to have much of a choice. All of Cal's (morally) bad actions, if I properly recall, occurred after she began to betray his trust. Honestly, I can't see too many man of that age acting any differently. She was indeed trapped, but objectively speaking, she did act in ways that betray the expectations of an engaged woman. Also, I'm not sure she genuinely "loved" Jack.

#8 - Jan. 29 at 9:21pm | quote

 

Samantha

On a side note: I never would have thought that I would ever have a) defended Cal, and b) questioned Jack and Rose's love.

Philosophy has changed me!

#9 - Jan. 29 at 9:23pm | quote

 

Katie van Schaijik

She was living a desiccated life.  Her encounter with Jack cut her loose.  But the whole story is pitifully impoverished--reflecting much more of Hollywood's basic adolescence than the reality of human relations, IMO.

#10 - Jan. 30 at 9:34am | quote

Rhett Segall

Katie:

It is Hollowood and it is adolescent and it also reflects the mindset of many young people.

So the questions it begs are:

1) How can young people learn to discern the difference between heartfelt love and infatuation and for that matter romantic love?

2) What are the responsibel/irresponsible ways to nurture love?

#11 - Jan. 30 at 11:12am | quote

 

Katie van Schaijik


Rhett Segall
, Jan. 30 at 11:12am

1) How can young people learn to discern the difference between heartfelt love and infatuation and for that matter romantic love?

2) What are the responsibel/irresponsible ways to nurture love?

Give me seven more lectures, and I hope I will have answered. :) 

#12 - Jan. 30 at 11:32am | quote

 

Teresa Manidis

I'm sure you will, Katie!

Going back for a moment, if I may, to my points about Cal's abusive behavior.

Having taught for 10 years at a birth center, I've had some experience with this, and one of the saddest things was seeing a woman of 16 (or 26, or 36) staring at the floor in submission - if she did look up, it was only to search her boyfriend's/husband's (abuser's) face for what he wanted her to say - to see her cower, and nail-bite - and, when encouraged to act otherwise, to be otherwise, to hear her echo the very words Samantha used to describe Rose in Titanic, 'She didn't seem to have much of a choice.'

That is the mentality that perpetuates abuse.

You always have a choice.  The women at the birth center had a choice, and Rose certainly had a choice, we all have a choice, whether in 2013 or 1913 or 13 AD.  Perhaps we will not always have all the luxuries we are accustomed to (like Rose), or the financial stability, or even social position we would like to enjoy - but there remain honorable options for honorable people, this I believe.

#13 - Jan. 31 at 3:48pm | quote

 

Teresa Manidis

And, if you want to look at this from a Catholic/Christian perspective, the Church teaches that even in the case of an indissoluble bond (marriage), one can seek separation - how much more justified is it when one is only engaged and (fortunately) sees in time the error one was about to make.

If you want to look at this from a Personalist perspective, one of the very first examples Katie gave in her first lecture of something that is evident and obvious to all people ('you don't have to go out and take a poll about this'), was that abuse and love are mutually exclusive - that they cannot coexist.

I agree.

#14 - Jan. 31 at 3:54pm | quote

 

Teresa Manidis

I only saw Titanic once, when it came out.  But if anyone is wondering why this one scene has stayed with me, and still manages to get my dander up, watch the first 15 seconds of this video - and get an (unpleasant) reminder of Cal's temperament.

#15 - Jan. 31 at 4:02pm | quote

 

To comment, please sign in or register first. (It's free and easy, and helps us prevent spam.)

 

Stay informed

Reading circles

Lectures

Latest comments

Latest active posts