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Heresy Channel [Jun. 1st, 2014|10:09 am]
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So last Friday was the feast of St. Joan of Arc and I did a little more reading on her online, plus started a second readthrough of Mark Twain's little-known book 'Joan of Arc'. I also found a small History Channel article about her called '7 Things You Didn’t Know About Joan of Arc'. Most of it was factual and harmless enough, but one of the items kind of rustled my jimmies a bit. And they quoth...

"2. In modern times, some doctors and scholars have “diagnosed” Joan of Arc with disorders ranging from epilepsy to schizophrenia."

This sentence is intellectually bankrupt. Why this is even there I do not know (but can hazard several cynical guesses). It insinuates without asserting, and is subtly inserted in a list of facts and parasitically leeches credence from them. It says nothing factual about St. Joan and nothing nobody can surmise who knows anything about the nature of 'modern' experts. If you but move the time period these 'modern' experts are from, they would 'diagnose' Joan with everything else from vitamin deficiency to womanly hysteria, depending on the fads of the time. It does not even have the balance that a CliffNotes reading of Joan's life found in Wikipedia has. At least there it gives equal space both to things like the theory that Joan's Voices came from tuberculosis, and to the rebuttal that explains why that is patent nonsense.

This is why I have little patience for things like the History Channel and its ilk anymore. They are less interested in the truth than they are in revisionist readings of the events of the past that fit their (typically) secularist, materialist-determinist dogmas. To paraphrase Chesterton, they are ever in the business of dismissing supernatural stories that have some basis, and substituting them with natural stories that have no basis.

The person though, the Maid, the Deliverer of France, remains untouched. Here's to you, St. Joan, and to your Master (and mine) whose Ascension we celebrate today. Jhesus Maria!

[User Picture]From: lirazel
2014-06-02 01:00 am (UTC)
I have often wondered whether the "experts" who speculate thusly have ever worked with people whose mental illness takes the form of religion-based hallucinations? I have, and based on that experience and reading material such as her trial testimony, I say St. Joan was sane. Samples of insane behavior I have personally experienced include a woman who wanted to kill local children "while they were still innocent," another woman who walked into the woods in a snowstorm without a coat as she followed "God's voice," and a man who saw angels in every shiny surface. Compared to these and others, St. Joan's visitors gave her... well, you know all that.
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[User Picture]From: mads
2014-06-04 03:10 pm (UTC)
Exactly. By these armchair experts' logic, you should see tide-changing battle commanders at least once a year.
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[User Picture]From: shachihoko
2014-06-02 11:45 am (UTC)
I came to the conclusion about two decades ago that "psychologists" are mostly concerned with trying to fit people's mindsets into certain boxes - trying to take everything about someone's personality and behavior and break it down into discrete, manageable categories, whether "healthy" or "unhealthy".

That's not to say the profession is a useless one ... just one that I don't have a lot of patience for dealing with unnecessarily. Getting "expert opinions" on historical figures like Joan of Arc is one of those cases.

Although I'm tempted to say the "experts" might have been on the payroll of the Church of England ...
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[User Picture]From: lirazel
2014-06-02 04:07 pm (UTC)
Don't know about across the Pond, but she's in our Calendar as "Visionary and Soldier."
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[User Picture]From: mads
2014-06-04 03:19 pm (UTC)
You've hit on something when you say psychology tries too often to forcibly fit people into boxes-- as a science, it is not as exact as the more empirical fields (and never will be) because it deals directly with a human element that makes a hash of all patterns and equations and otherwise dependably consistent variables upon which rational conclusions can be drawn from. I'm talking of course about free will. It is the same thing with sociology, historical science, and certain flavors of anthropology and paleoanthropology, all of which have their boxes into which they want to put the human person, and from which he is constantly escaping.

And, haha, perhaps, but even when reading the histories, I try to stay away from putting France and England in a box myself. French saints may have advised Joan, but after all, there were English saints at the time too, and I'm certain they were no less patriotic than their French counterparts.
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