Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


"The Battle Is Fierce"

Here's one not mentioned in the parenting manuals: When, midway through changing from clothes to pajamas, your three-year-old curls around himself, looks down adoringly, and says, "I love you, penis."

Not long ago, I was looking through a chest my recently deceased mom had inherited from her parents. In it was a collection of precious personal artifacts. Legal documents like birth certificates and marriage licenses, but also childhood toys and memorabilia. One item was a book that must have been my grandpa's:

What a Young Man Ought to Know
by Sylvanus Stall, D. D.

Two apparent series titles are listed on the cover and one inside:
  • Purity and Truth
  • Self and Sex Series
  • Pure Books on Avoided Subjects
Copyright 1897

I grabbed it at the time as a curiousity, and have just taken a first look at it. I might have to give it a read sometime. I'm sure it would provide a combination of amusement, insight into the past, and interesting advice. It appears to offer a mix of encouragement to strict moral purity, acceptance that we are sexual creatures, frank talk about sex, health, and sexual health, relationship advice, and character advice.

The chapter titles:
I.  Equipment for Life.
II.  Personal Purity.
III.  Physical Weakness.
IV.  Evils to Be Shunned and Consequences to Be Dreaded.
V.  Evils to Be Shunned and Consequences to Be Dreaded. (Continued.)
VI.  Evils to Be Shunned and Consequences to Be Dreaded. (Continued.)
VII.  The Reproductive Organs--Their Purpose and Their Prostitution.
VIII.  The Right Relation to Women.
IX.  Marriage--A Divine Institution.
X.  Who Should Not Marry.
XI.  The Selection of a Wife.
XII.  Importance of Great Caution.
XIII.  Early and Late Marriage.
XIV.  Weddings.
XV.  Hindrances to Be Avoided.
XVI.  Helps to Be Used.
There is, for instance, a 20-page section on the topic of "emissions, or wet dreams" and tactics for avoiding them. And there are repeated exhortations to exercise, eat right, and sleep well. Sexually Transmitted Diseases get extensive coverage.

But it's not all morality and physicality. Paging through I noticed this bit:
You will need not only a wife, but you will need also a COMPANION. In such an alliance you should seek intelligence. A woman who is ignorant and stupid, or one who has simply learned to drum on the piano, to paint a few horrible pictures, and do a little embroidery, cannot properly be regarded as one suited for this important relation of life.
And this from the final chapter caught my children's librarian eye:
No young man or young woman can afford to read fiction before they are twenty-five years of age. There is too much that is indispensable for intelligence, for laying of foundation principles for study, for business, health and morals, that need to be read first. If fiction is begun before a correct taste is formed and foundation principles laid, the best books will never be read at all. The habit of reading rapidly for the simple sake of the story will destroy the power, and even the wish, to read thoughtfully and seriously. The power to concentrate thought will, as a consequence, never be acquired. A vitiated taste is the inevitable result. If it is important that the body should be fed upon the most nourishing food, the same is also true of that upon which the mind is to be fed.
Yes, it could be most interesting reading indeed.


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