10.24.2008

I Do Not Believe in Fun

The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement. If Eudaimonia, or happiness, is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will be that of the best thing in us.
-Aristotle Nichomachean Ethics

What is consumer culture? It is very simple. Once upon a time we had little; and then we discovered machines, and had plenty after. What drove the plenty was determination, ambition and even love. But then, one day, we took the plenty for granted. And what was hard work, and excellence, became amusement. And those who were customers and creators and workers became consumers and victims and users. If the excellent life does not consist of amusement, then we must do as Francis of Assisi remarked: "Do not try to change the world. Change worlds."

10.22.2008

And You Love Defeat more than We Love Victory

Although it's tempting to ascribe ruthlessness only to certain ideologies, it is potentially an attr[i]bute of all "winner-take-all" world views. The continued survival of a liberal democracy implies the absence of groups which see politics as a zero-sum game.
-Wretchard, Belmont Club (http://ping.fm/aFfaU) Operation Grand Slam

(Title paraphrased from Chesterton's 'Ballad of the White Horse.')

10.21.2008

To Really Move, First you need to really Stand Still

Losing a post is the worst kind of thing. Especially if you're like me, all off the cuff. Backup, what is that?

Anyway, go here (http://ping.fm/WFfbM)

And check this out, right

I would have to say that boredom is the central disease of modern man. I see boredom as a disease of the knowing function of the mind, that function which psychiatry has almost entirely neglected -- as evidenced by its failure to consider the role of ideas in the psychological development of normal human beings.


Then we've got Blaise Pascal with a zinger:
All the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.


Then my mind goes immediately to Joe Versus the Volcano (JVTV for short):
My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.


Huzzah!

10.20.2008

A Thought About the Cherubic Hymn

Let Us Now Who Mystically Represent The Cherubim
And Who Sing the Thrice-Holy Hymn to the Life-Giving Trinity
Now lay aside all Earthly cares
that we may receive the King of all
who comes invisibly upborne by the Angelic Host
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


I tell unto you a mystery

As we chant these words

"Holy, Holy, Holy, art thou

O Triune God

and Source and Ground of Life,"

We find that we are become

icons of the Cherubim,

subtly and unspeakably!



Therefore, let us forget

every anxiety, even that all

which we have in this world,

so that we may accept

He who comes unto us;

the King and Lord of all things,

who is uplifted upon

the very hosts of heaven;

invisibly and uncontainably!


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!



The Cherubic Hymn is strange, since first of all it is self-referential. I'm not sure how common this is among the hymns of the Church, but from my lyrical memory it stands unique. It is as though the song calls out to itself the way the angels do in Isaiah's vision of the temple.



Another (and I could list many) is that the words establish a relationship of being between the heavenly host and the singers of the hymn. It isn't calling us to be like the Cherubim, it does not say anything particularly devotional (other than the three alleluias at the end,) nor does it recall the deeds of God to his people.



Instead, it is a piece of mystic poetry set to music, it tickles the intellect and stuns it in awe so that we may indeed "set aside all Earthly cares." (Or care, depending on your setting.)

Words for our time, for all Times

...shouting out I CANNOT ABIDE CRUNCHY ICE CREAM doesn’t move the line, it just summons the manager.
-James Lileks (http://ping.fm/V97d7)

10.15.2008

Deep Calling Out To Deep

Yet if dreams hold an answer, as flowers hold fog,
they must answer with breath, and, if they answer,
must move among stars, and have their own songs
of the body and blood, and must sing them.
Interlude, from American Digest (http://ping.fm/NNP10)

10.13.2008

John 1, add Tequila

the weird light shines in the dark, but the dorks don't comprehend it. For truly, the weirdness was spread all through the world, and yet, the world basically kept behaving as if this were just your ordinary, standard-issue cosmos.
-Robert Godwin (http://ping.fm/1zGVJ)

10.09.2008

Consider to whom you give tribute...

Only it's not something for nothing. 'Free' health-care costs us something precious, and no less precious for being invisible. Because there’s a word for someone who has their food, housing and care provided for them… for people who owe their existence to someone else.

And that word is 'slaves.'
-Bill Whittle (http://ping.fm/VCQbr)

10.06.2008

An Echo From Antiquity, 3

Surely then, if someone is moved according to the Logos, he will come to be in God, in whom the logos of his being preexists as his beginning and cause.
-St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambiguum 7

10.03.2008

Threading the Needle, or So to Speak

Postmodern philosophies use the spirit to deny the spirit, leaving us with a wholly horizontal wasteland of matter and instinct.
-Robert Godwin (http://ping.fm/JxCmh)

10.01.2008

Once and Again Adam

One of the central divides in the culture war is the question of whether or not mankind is “fallen.” Actually that’s not quite right, because for at least half the country, the whole idea of mankind being “fallen” is precisely nonsense. To the extent that they give a moment’s thought to the question, it is only to mock and dismiss it. Modern secularists are way too sophisticated to ever believe in such crude mythology. What they forget is that mythology is not about events of the past that never occurred, but archetypal structures of the present from which man can only pretend to escape -- or to ignore at the expense of his humanness, precisely.
-Robert Godwin (http://ping.fm/H7eJ9)