Saturday, August 06, 2005 +

Seven Demons Worse

Like Jonah, [Evans] had sprung out of the dark pit into which he had been swallowed alive just so that he could denounce them . . . yet wherein was he different? Had he, too, not wanted a happiness made according to his specifications for the length of his natural life? He hadn’t been greedy—he didn’t expect to live forever, and after this life he would even have been content with oblivion, as long as he and Sheila had enjoyed thirty-five good years together to make up for the thirty-five without her. God had owed him for those lean years, and the debt was payable now, please, and in terms that he could comprehend. Even if there were nothing afterward—even if there turned out to be no God—there should be someone or something to see that he got paid . . . not much, just everything—just exactly what he wanted. And so he had created exactly the kind of universe that would exist if there were no God, where everything had to make sense here and now, and then had expected his God to come dwell in it. Or rather, he had been shocked to find that his God did not dwell in it when Sheila died senselessly. And his faith had worn away like dross, leaving a lifeless skeleton rather than the crystal-hard but malleable paradox of sand.
—from Ewen Harris, Seven Demons Worse (Tyler, Texas: Acturus Press, 1998)


Friday, August 05, 2005 +



Notes 130

I heard the woods and distant waters roar;
Or heard them not, as happy as a boy.

I am so happy (temporary sensation, permanent reality).

Modern theology: fiddling while Rome burns.

Which is more difficult to believe: Jesus is God, or: Jesus is in the Eucharist?

If I am invited to the feast, I must not be angry with those who aren’t.

A Good Word for Luther

I would never want to gainsay the contribution that Christians have made to the abolition of slavery, the banning of child labour, the amelioration of the harshness of industrial life, and other important fruits of the Social Gospel movement. Nor do I wish to call into question the social teachings of the Catholic Church from Leo XIII to John Paul II. But all these teachings and efforts belong, it is important to remember, to what Martin Luther called “the order of preservation” (that is, to the order of creation-after-the-Fall) and not, strictly speaking, to what he called the “order of redemption.”

as well as good words on other matters:

Edward T. Oakes, SJ, “Benedict XVI and Some Current Theology”

For more Oakes, see Edward T. Oakes.


St. Augustine”s words in De libero arbitrio seem apposite . . . : “The man who, knowing the right, fails to do it, loses the power to know what is right; and the man who, having the power to do right, is unwilling, loses the power to do what he wills.”
—Caryl Johnston, “Michael O’Brien’s Catholic Apocalypses”


Thursday, August 04, 2005 +

Gothic 3

Gothic 1 2 3

With this I say good-bye to applet making, and perhaps blogging.

Gothic 2

Gothic 1 2 3

Gothic 1

Gothic 1 2 3

Notes 129

“It’s the culture.”
Rome, too, was a culture.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 +

Notes 128

Unwonted because unwanted.

Do I want to read, or to have read?

It is a fisherman, not a PhD, who has the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

You were not crucified for any esoteric doctrine, but for what you taught and did in synagogues and the Temple.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 +

Notes 127

Why read a blog when you can read a book?

The Last Man

. . . Kojève's disposition to the culmination of universal history is radically ambivalent. On the one hand, he follows Marx by seeing in idyllic terms the post-historical world, one of universal freedom, emancipation from war and want, leaving space for “art, love, play, etc., etc., etc.,; in short, everything that makes Man happy”. However, Kojève is simultaneously beset by pessimism. In his philosophical anthropology, man is defined by his negating activity, by his struggle to overcome himself and nature through struggle and contestation. This is the ontological definition of man, his raison d’être. Yet the end of history marks the end of this struggle, thereby exhausting man of the activity which has defined his essence. The end of history ushers in the “death of man”; paradoxically, man is robbed of the definitional core of his existence precisely at the moment of his triumph. Post-historical man will no longer be “man” as we understand him, but will be “reanimalized”, such that the end of history marks the “definitive annihilation of Man properly so-called”. . . . Fukayama follows Kojève in tying the triumph of capitalism to the satisfaction of material human needs. Moreover, he sees it as the primary mechanism for the provision of recognition and value. Consumerism and the commodity form [sic], for Fukayama, present the means by which recognition is mediated. Humans desire to be valued by others, and the means of appropriating that valuation is the appropriation of the things that others themselves value; hence lifestyle and fashion become the mechanisms of mutual esteem in a post-historical world governed by the logic of capitalist individualism.
—Majid Yar, “Alexandre Kojève (1902-1968)”, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

One needn't read Kojève or Fukuyama to no longer be man.

True, the age will get darker, but that doesn’t prevent me from inventing new sources of light. Besides, it’s later than we think, since we have gotten used to the dusk.

Monday, August 01, 2005 +

Notes 126

If nothing is good in itself, no consequences are good.

The end justifies the means. The means are not the end.

Man without God is man without his image.

Péguy on Bergson

 A great philosophy is not a dictation. . . . The greatest of all is not the one with no mistakes in it.
 A great philosophy is not the one nothing can be said against; it is the one that says something.
 . . . It is not the one with no holes in it; it is the one with amplitude.
 A great philosopher is not one without reproach; it is one without fear.
 A great philosophy is not one without breaches in the walls; it is one with citadels.
 A great philosophy is not finally the one that lies down, and all at once on all positions and on every battlefield. It is simply the one that one day fought well there in the corner of the wood:

 Heureaux ceux qui sont morts pour quatre coins de terre.

—From Note sur M. Bergson, quoted in Daniel Halévy, Péguy and Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine