Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rosmini on Integrity and Corruption in Society

War, servitude and barbarity are, therefore, characteristics and effects which follow the corruption of society through excessive desire of power, wealth and sensual pleasure. Three kinds of integrity correspond to the three kinds of corruption in peoples.

1. The sign of integrity relative to pleasure consists, as we said, in valuing a healthy, robust, general well-being of person rather than actual pleasure as a constant perfection in nature.

2. The sign of integrity relative to wealth consists in a greater esteem of one’s own freedom and independence than in devotion to wealth.

3. The sign of integrity relative to power consists more in love of justice, equity and beneficence towards all than in love of power and glory.

These signs and characteristics of integrity are found in all societies when we examine the most ancient, primitive stage of their foundation. Greece and Rome are our proof.

Bl. Antonio Rosmini, The Philosophy of Politics, Volume 2, Book 3, Chapter 3, section 322. Each sign of integrity, of course, has a corresponding sign of corruption.

Two points might be worth noting, as comment going beyond Rosmini.

(1) Each of the three signs signifies a different way of resisting the idea that might makes right; you can easily find all of these recognized in one form or another in Plato's assault against the sophists. One can also find them in Aristotle, in Cicero, and in a number of modern political philosophers like Montesquieu, but going back to Plato (and especially the Republic and the Gorgias) brings out very clearly, I think, exactly why these are things associated with the health of a society. The lack of these signs indicates that a society is doing little to resist the fundamental corruption involved in the idea that, in the memorable Platonic formulation, "might makes right and justice is the will of the stronger."

(2) It is very easy to argue that modern Western societies do very, very badly on all three points. While it hasn't vanished entirely, discourse about excellence in life has shifted from the idea of an objective well-being of person to that of accomplishing goals and satisfying preferences, to such an extent that it is difficult to get people to understand that it can be seen in any other way: weak on the first sign of integrity. Our political discourse is dominated by economic concerns, our social representations of success dominated by wealth, and we are more likely to think of people as consumers than as citizens: weak on the second sign. And our discourse about justice, equity, and beneficence is strangely mingled with discussion of glory and power (glory in the rather surprising importance of signaling to others that you are just, fair, and compassionate, to such an extent that it increasingly takes up more of the discussion than serious planning on how to improve people's lives in substantive ways, and power in the sense that discussion of these matters shifts so easily into talk of sanctions, whether informal or formal): weak on the third sign. (Rosmini would say that this is a fairly solid proof that we are in the final stage of social collapse, although this collapse may go on slowly or quickly depending on our pace of activity and the prior history of the society, and may be accelerated or retarded through external factors like wars and invasions.)

The second point is tied to the first point. I've taught the Gorgias to undergraduates for several years now, and it is very noticeable how attracted they are to the idea that might makes right, as portrayed by Callicles, for exactly these reasons. This doesn't mean that they agree with it -- that varies considerably (without having done any formal study, I would estimate that the three reasons most likely to be given by students for rejecting the idea out of hand are growing up poor or working class, being in a racial or ethnic minority, and having been raised in a religious household) -- but they are in the main actively tempted by it and have difficulty articulating any political or social vision that does not look like it. They have very minimal defenses against it, even when they resist it. And they are, of course, not at all atypical; these are things you have to be raised up into or trained to think through by people who practice what Socrates calls the true politics.

Chrysologus for Lent XXVII

Envy cast an angel out of heaven, drove man out of paradise, was the first to contaminate the earth with a brother's blood, compelled brothers to sell their brother, put Moses to flight, aroused Aaron to insult his brother, defiled Miriam with jealousy toward her brother, and in short, what causes the mind to shudder, the sight to become blurred, and the hearing to fail to grasp: it aimed for and attained the very blood of Christ.

Envy is worse than all other evils: those whom it captures cannot be freed; those whom it wounds can never be cured nor return to health. Envy is the venom for offenses, the poison for iniquity, the mother of sins, the origin of the vices. The one who does not see it sees good things; the one who flees from it lives. One can avoid envy by flight, but once engaged in conflict with it one cannot win.

Sermon 48, section 5.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Music on My Mind

Clannad, "Green Fields of Gaoth Dobhair". I hadn't thought about this song in a very long time, until Will Duquette happened to mention Clannad in a post on Irish Gaelic songs. This is from the Clannad album Fuaim, which I know very well, having heard it extensively my freshman year in college. My favorite song on the album was "Lish Young Buy-a-Broom" (as I've mentioned before, despite hardly ever drinking, I very much like listening to drinking songs), although "Mh├│rag's Na Horo Gheallaid" has a chorus that spontaneously emerges from my brain at regularly intervals. But this is a lovely one, too, with its nostalgic tone and mesmerizing series of Irish place-names.

My Foot, My Eye, My Elbow, My Big Toe

I got to thinking about where the expression 'my foot' (occasionally 'my left foot') came from. The answer is that nobody knows for sure, but the Online Etymology Dictionary gives the common speculation:

Colloquial exclamation my foot! expressing "contemptuous contradiction" [OED] is first attested 1923, probably a euphemism for my ass, in the same sense, which dates back to 1796.

It makes sense, of course, that it would be a euphemized vulgarity. But you can never tell with these things. The expression 'my eye', meaning much the same thing, and which you think would be analogous, is apparently first attested in 1842, and its probable origin is an even earlier expression, 'All my eye', going back very early to 1768 (and note that the early date might mean that 'my ass' was itself a vulgarizing of 'my eye'), and also found in the only slightly later basically synonymous expression, 'All my eye and Betty Martin', which I think I'm going to have to start using. And one does find in the nineteenth century people using the expression, "My eye and my elbow".

So my suspicion is that it is actually a rather different situation, in which there were lots of expressions around already of the form "My [body part]" that all meant more or less the same thing, and so people just took it as a general form. Indeed, I know for sure that I've heard, and used myself, the expression "My big toe" in exactly the same way. The fact that there are so many of the same form strongly suggests to me that it's the form that's actually driving the history here, not euphemism. And one confirmation of this is that you can make up your own version using a body part probably nobody has ever used before, and still be completely understood. Try it today and contribute to philological research!

Chrysologus for Lent XXVI

The one who does not have mercy on another takes it away from himself. He will receive mercy who disperses it on the poor.

Sermon 42, section 3.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

On the Much-Misunderstood Heresy of Modernism

One of the things that the blogosphere has introduced me to the past few years is the pseudo-traditionalist Catholic. There are a lot of very good genuine traditionalist Catholics online, so nothing I say here should be taken as general indictment of that group, but there are also a lot of people online whose attempt to claim the traditionalist label is simply baffling. I suppose they go to Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form, but this is a weak ground at best. They participate in the Gossip Fence -- an embarrassing amount of so-called traditional Catholicism online consists of gossip about other people, particularly complaints about problems they none of them are actually bothering to do anything about -- but ditto. In the big controversy about lying a while back, the most stubborn people I came across when it came to attacking people for insisting on the traditional Catholic view of lying all called themselves traditionalists. Traditionalist my foot. 'My opinions, whatever they happen to be' is never an expression synonymous with 'tradition'.

One of the things that I've noticed the Francis papacy bringing out around the big 'traditionalist' gossip fences online is a tendency to make wild accusations of Modernism. Modernism in the sense used here is a heresy; one should understand the label from the reason it is called a heresy and not reason on vague associations called up by the label. But there are certainly people who will call 'Modernist' anything that they don't like that sounds modern, just as there is a certain kind of liberal Catholic who will pin 'Americanist' (another heresy with a potentially confusing label) on anything they don't like that sounds vaguely American. So what I want to do here is to point out that, despite the fact that Modernism is indeed a popular heresy, and has been so for a century and a half at least, the conditions required for being a real Modernist (as opposed to having views that some over-imaginative and incautious person is quick to pin the label on) are fairly narrow. Modernism can show up in lots of different fields, in many different ways, but all of these different faces are faces of one basic idea, which we might summarize as 'true religion or faith is only inside, not outside'.

The major document on the subject is Pius X's 1907 encyclical, Pascendi dominici gregis. You will sometimes find people claiming that this encyclical is a mish-mash, and that its characterization of Modernism makes it practically anything, but this is not true. For one thing, the Modernists proper were a well-defined group who wrote books like Il programma dei Modernisti; and for another, the encyclical is actually quite unified in its characterization of the Modernists. What it is instead is a discussion of the way a single idea, placed in different fields of human thought, can do different kinds of damage. The essential Modernist error is to remove religion from the realm of reason, by taking reason and intellect not to apply to questions of God, the soul, and the like. And this is one of the reasons why its ramifications can be so protean: it is in reality, whatever the excuse for it, an attack on the competence of reason itself (whether in ourselves or in another), so it causes distortion in any rational field.

Thus the Modernist idea in the context of philosophy leads to the denial of the very possibility of natural theology, since it takes the subject of natural theology to be 'beyond' the capacities of the human mind. But it also eliminates the possibility of using rational arguments in favor of external authority and revelation, since such arguments can only be developed if reason can make at least probable inferences from external signs to religious conclusions. As Pius X puts it (sect. 6), "Modernists simply make away with them altogether; they include them in Intellectualism, which they call a ridiculous and long ago defunct system." But religion itself, of course, they can't deny; not only is it all around us, but Modernists are not antagonistic to religion at all; they think of themselves as reformers of religion, not deniers of it. In such cases they identify religion with a particular kind of internal consciousness. The identification is total. Since religion is moved out of the realm of intellect and reason, and its conclusions cannot then be grounded in rational discourse about objective facts or the pronouncements of an external authority, the only thing it could be grounded in is something like a subjective sentiment. Thus Modernism has the same structure as Fideism. All religious authority is the authority of some subjective attitude or feeling. This subjective state is then called faith, or conscience, or religious sentiment, or God-consciousness, or spirituality, or any number of other things, since the exact vocabulary doesn't matter for the purpose of identifying the family of thought. The terms themselves may be entirely reasonable and legitimate; what the Modernist is doing, however, is restricting them entirely to something that is purely subjective and internal. This makes everything in religion a matter of subjective sentiment. The 'Christ of faith' (subjective sentiment) is sharply divided from the 'Jesus of history' (objective fact); dogmas and religious doctrines are merely attempts to form imaginative pictures expressing this sentiment and in turn to express these pictures in symbolic words, so that they are really just handy tools for capturing and communicating the internal experience; doctrine admits not only of development but change without restriction, as people feel; faith and religion become purely individual matters rather than matters in which one is responsible to the whole community, because faith and religion are entirely in yourself and not rooted in rationally discerned fact or external authority; tradition is entirely just a history of how people have tried to communicate an original experience; sacraments are merely signs communicating spiritual sentiment that have their efficacy entirely in spiritual sentiment; the authority of the Church is just the more-or-less agreement of everyone's sentiments, and thus is a matter of everyone 'voting' with their 'consciences'; Catholics ought to keep their religion private and distinct from their citizenships; and so on and so forth.

Thus, as Pius X says, the basic Modernist idea tends to proceed on three interconnected fronts: agnostic (reason is removed from religious questions), immanentist (everything religious is only a matter of subjective consciousness), and evolutionist (religion can develop without any constraint or limitation because it is merely the expression of a subjective state of mind). Modernism is thus a denial of reason and external authority in matters of God, the soul, worship, and the like. Or, as I said above, it can be seen as the view that true religion is entirely internal rather than external; anything external is at best a symbol or metaphor for the internal, and only gets its authority from the internal.

Through all of this, note that it is the exclusive character of Modernism that causes the problem. The problem is not that it claims that the internal is important to faith, or even necessarily that it is the most important; the problem is that it removes everything else, whether it be rationally discerned objective truth or the guidance of external authority. The problem is not that they appeal to subjective experience; it is that they reduce everything religious to subjective experience. The problem is not that they treat doctrines as symbolic; it is that they treat doctrines as only symbolic, and only symbolic of subjective experiences, at that. The problem is not that they emphasize the importance of individual conscience; it is that they understand individual conscience in such a way that in matters of religion it admits of no correction by reality or authority. And so on and so forth.

So getting back to the pick-a-little-talk-a-little over the gossip fence in certain quarters. As I wander here and there I've increasingly heard the charge of Modernism being thrown around; Pope Francis gets charged with it, liberal-leaning cardinals get charged with it, and so forth. Now, it is entirely reasonable to criticize anyone if they propose something incoherent or to point out when something is problematic. But claiming that something is a heresy is something that you really had better be able to pull off if pressed for reasons. And Modernism, again, has certain direct implications about external authority. It is extremely unlikely that Pope Francis or any Cardinal holds the view that the authority of the hierarchy can be ignored when it fails to fit with the general subjective consensus. Indeed, it is obviously false of Francis and I would be astonished if there is any Cardinal arguing that our own religious consciousness trumps the authority of the Church. Bishops of any kind may be stupid; they may be irrational; they may be imprudent; they may be reckless; but they tend not to insist that the bishops have no inherent authority. In order for someone to be a Modernist, they have to transfer all the weight of genuine authority in religion to individual religious consciousness, rejecting the view that religion is also rooted, in a foundational way, in reason and ecclesiastical authority.

So now, if someone claiming to be a traditionalist calls someone a Modernist who clearly is nowhere denying that reason and ecclesiastical authority are essential to the Catholic faith, feel free to bop them on the head for abusing the term.

Chrysologus for Lent XXV

Man, by giving to the poor give to yourself, because what you do not give to the poor, another will have; you will possess only what you give to the poor.

Sermon 41, section 4.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Great Merit of Fairy Tales

Humanity conquering and redeeming—humanity emancipated and redeemed—such are the ideals which hover before us in the images of the hero and the princess. The picture, it is true, is indefinite, but life and experience deepen its outline, work in the needed light and shade, and give it concreteness. Thus do these primitive conceptions adapt themselves to every stage of spiritual development and resemble those mythic garments which grew with the growth of their possessor, and fitted him equally well as infant and as man....

The great merit of fairy tales is that they enrich the imagination with the forms into which all human experience is cast. "The power that has scarcely germinated in the boy's mind," says Froebel, "is seen by him in the legend or tale, a perfect plant filled with the most delicious blossoms and fruits. The very remoteness of the comparison with his own vague hopes expands heart and soul, strengthens the mind, unfolds life in freedom and power."

Susan Elizabeth Blow, Symbolic Education: A Commentary on Froebel's "Mother Play", pp. 99, 101. I've mentioned Blow before; she was one of the most important and influential of the St. Louis Hegelians.

Chrysologus for Lent XXIV

The day is pleasant, but a clear day will be even more pleasant. Therefore, our fasting is all the more brilliant if the splendor of mercy gives us clear Lenten days.

Sermon 41, section 4.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Notes and Links

* Anna Christina Ribeiro on the importance of aesthetics. It is indeed rather absurd that such an important area of philosophy is so shortchanged in modern philosophy departments. And it does have effects. Last term I had a short aesthetic problems section in one of my intro-level philosophy classes, and one thing I was struck by, both in preparing for it and teaching it, was how often aesthetic questions intersected with other philosophical questions -- philosophy of mind, ethics, philosophy of religion -- both directly (aesthetics is a very good place to see unexpected ramifications of different philosophical approaches to the mind) and by analogy (an extraordinary number of problems in ethics and natural theology have aesthetic analogues). And, of course, that doesn't even consider the fact that its 'jurisdiction', so to speak, is a vast area of human life.

* Dominic Baker-Smith on Thomas More at the SEP. It mostly discusses Utopia, but also gets into other questions; it also has an excellent initial section on the life of More.

* Marcy P. Liscano on Margaret Cavendish at "The Mod Squad"

* Medieval magic tricks

* Martin Locker, Movement Through Stillness: Imagined Pilgrimage in Medieval Europe, discusses the common medieval religious practice of interior pilgrimage, which would, of course, be used by those who could not physically go on a pilgrimage. The most famous such pilgrimages are the labyrinth-pilgrimages that one occasionally still finds, but there were many other varieties.

* Rose recently recommended the Princess Tutu anime series to me; and having watched it, I can recommend it. It's a ballet-based exploration of the nature of story. You can watch the 26 episodes online at

One can find episodes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica at Crunchyroll.

Anime is a weird, weird world, but both of these series are quite good, with intricate plots, profound characterization, and a tendency to mess with your head whenever you think you've figured them out. But precisely because of the last feature (common to a great many anime series), you have to watch up at least to the third or fourth episode to get a sense of what the series is doing.

* An interview with Terry Chimes, the original drummer for The Clash, discussing his recent autobiography, C. S. Lewis, and how to succeed as a musician. (Chimes's brief discussion os the last of these in and of itself makes the interview worth reading, whether you're a musician or not).

* Ian Johnson looks at a recent Pew Survey result on Chinese views on the relation between God and morality.

* Stephen Phillips, The Classical Indian Criteriological Argument for the Existence of God (PDF)

* James Chastek is beginning to discuss Perseity and Aquinas's Fourth Way

* Michael Flynn draws deep water from a shallow pond.

* Darwin notes the absurdities in a recent movement to replace hunting with birth control for keeping deer populations down.

* A recent investigation discovered that some -- not all, but some -- British hospitals were incinerating aborted and miscarried fetuses to heat the hospital as part of 'waste to energy' programs. The barbarisms of this age seem always to exceed what any decent person could imagine.

This Warm and Solemn Day

For An Annunciation, Early German
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The lilies stand before her like a screen
Through which, upon this warm and solemn day,
God surely hears. For there she kneels to pray
Who wafts our prayers to God—Mary the Queen
She was Faith's Present, parting what had been
From what began with her, and is for aye.
On either hand, God's twofold system lay:
With meek bowed face a Virgin prayed between.
So prays she, and the Dove flies in to her,
And she has turned. At the low porch is one
Who looks as though deep awe made him to smile.
Heavy with heat, the plants yield shadow there;
The loud flies cross each other in the sun;
And the aisled pillars meet the poplar-aisle.

A description of a painting, of course; Dante Gabriel Rossetti has several such poems. We do not know the exact painting he is describing; indeed, we do not even know if 'early German' is supposed to be giving us information about the geographical origin of the painting or about the school of painting to which it belongs.

Chrysologus for Lent XXIII

Abstinence is the first medicine the human being must take, but for a complete cure the expenditure of mercy is required....Thus, although fasting repels the diseases of vice, excises the passions of the flesh, drives out what causes offenses; nevertheless, without the ointment of mercy, without the flow of kindness, without the practice of almsgiving, it does not restore complete health to the mind.

Sermon 41, section 3. The word for health here is 'salus', which can also mean 'salvation'.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Two Poem Drafts

The Cities Rise, the Cities Fail and Fall

The cities rise, the cities fail and fall.
Where once the towers rose with blazing light
now ivy grows, and trees, and songbirds call
as cougars prowl the walks in lampless night.
The cities rise, decline, and fall to earth:
no whisper now remains of all their roar,
no memory of human hope and mirth,
forgotten all like crumbling sand on shore.
The cities rise: we build each one to dust.
In time all human loyalty and trust,
and all design, will shatter, fracture, break,
and fall to dreamless sleep -- and never wake.


The last, most lonely road
beneath the spreading oak
to shadow turns;
I take a deeper breath
and walk that hidden path
until the end,
to what far foreign sands
or what uprising land
I do not know.
But still I take a breath
and walk through shadow-death
to dreams of gold.

Chrysologus for Lent XXII

And if for a temporal cure the ill follow their doctors' orders by exercising a restraint that is difficult, why for eternal salvation should it be hard to obey Christ with moderate fasting, to exercise self-control over the body, to regulate the mind by restraint, and to make the intellect clear with sobriety?

Sermon 41, section 1.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dashed Off VI

Still very much behind on these; not yet up to the first half of last year.

Inquiry starts from an idea that structures it.

rituals as a way of working through psychological impediment to doing what is right

Kant's disjunctive argument for God as ideal & Aquinas on God as principle of every genus

While the invocational aspect of the Canon/Anaphora is necessary & essential, the institutional is more properly the form, because it is distinctive to the sacrament.
need for invocational aspect: Cyril J Cat XIX.7; XXI.3; XXIII.7, 19. Basil Spir 27ff
need for institutional aspect: Chrysostom Hom 1 de Prod Iud 6; Hom 2 in II Tim 1. Irenaeus Adv haer IV.18.5

natural law : digital mathematics :: prudence : circuit-building :: other virtues : operations of machine

The telos circumscribes the thing so that it may be what it is.

Hegel's critique of physiognomy & phrenology would apply to at least a significant portion of psychology, with very minimal translation.

What makes infinite regress impossible is not infinity but totality of composition.

Private property is part of the self-governance of a people.

Dialectic is nourished by enigma.

Exploring a notation is like learning how a machine works, except you never have to worry about it irreparably breaking.

intuition : analytic philosophy ('intuition-driven romanticism') :: sampling : 'experimental' philosophy ('sampling-driven romanticism')

Every field and discipline has formal, experimental, and interpretive aspects, because all thought does.

three elements of intellectual responsibility
(1) respect the sources of the field
(2) strive for coherence
(3) leave the field more illuminating and less confusing than when you began

Hope is the requirement of progress. (Isidore)

A subjective Bayesian epistemology, based on degrees of belief, is committed to coherence as its primary, and indeed only, serious standard of rationality.

honorific, piacular, and sacramental sacrifices

analytic acuity, synthetic facility, intellectual discipline, intimative taste

Without a proper understanding of practical rationality, no adequate defense of the liberal arts is possible.

According to Isidore, we are bound back to God (religio) by that which binds in itself (dilectio), and thus charity is the pinnacle and summation of religion.

Understanding requires using your head more than once on the same thing.

the implicit philosophy in the poetic capabilities of a language

semper et ubique et ab omnibus as the regulative idea of tradition

the federal (covenantal) destination of language

The incompleteness of our minds is not completed by any finite truth.

The first duty of the Church to the poor is to give them a Church.

Baptism, confirmation, orders, and marriage are sacraments in which one progresses.

beatitude as sight 1 Cor 13:12; 2 Cor 5:7; I Jn 3:2
beatitude as love I Jn 4:16; I Cor 13:13

Jn 20 // Lv 16

"The function of Reason is to promote the art of life." Whitehead

Knowledge, like water, shapes in the long run.

the lot as chance vs the lot as fate

measurement as the discernment of vestiges

Death has meaning only through dying-for.

Unction makes sickness and death something endured for Christ.

The formal proximate object of faith is truth as taught.

'Grounding relations' are indirect ways of talking about abstraction.

motherhood & symbolic species continuity (the tradition of human nature itself)

Experiments constrain or refute, confirm or prove, by being assimilated, not from the outside; it is their implications for a theory as interpreted by that theory that matter.

Pregnancy is not an automatic process; it is as much an activity of intellect and will as it is a thing undergone by the body. The mother is participant in an act; she is not merely an object of it.

pregnancy as an originary element in the education of the child, first nurturance, first natural incorporation into human civilization, preparation for reception into civilized life

Body itself is given to us as meaning; and, what is more, as meaning portagé, meaning shared out.

pleasure as a minimum for good

Enlightenment: rejection of intellectual division of labor; subsistence farming of the mind (not wholly fair, of course, but as found in Kant not without force, either)

infused virtues as the promises of faith imprinted on our hearts

Only through charity can the whole law be understood.

In baptism, promised grace is offered, exhibited, and conferred.

public prayer of the Church as the priestly task of the baptized

2 forms of popularization: biography (the popular form of the history of the field) and pedagogical introduction (the popular form of the field itself)

Hope is raising your foot to move forward.

The theological age of discretion is the ability to distinguish sacrament from nonsacrament.

Understanding is not the feeling of understanding.

The childlike are unwearied by the world, as children are, although in a different way.

topics: strategy - maxim - differentiae - purpose (prove/refute)
maxim : warrant :: differentiae : backing

storytelling as being in three modes: etiology, intersection, teleology
i.e., beginning-story, middle-story, ending-story, although, of course, they need not actually be beginning, middle, and end structurally, and one may have, for instance, a story solely about a beginning

It is perhaps worth remembering that Chekhov's Rule is generally violated for stories, because its point is actually drama, which exists as such wholly by its interlinkage and is impeded, or slowed, or overcomplicated, by the extraneous. Chekhov's Rule would be the death of most genre fiction, and especially something like mystery, because it would make misdirection and camouflage of key elements at least extremely difficult. The more purely the dramatic the fiction, the more the Rule applies; the less drama-like the fiction, the less the Rule applies.

Plot is a concatenation and webbing, not generally a rising action. It can look like such, however, when the concatenation is critical and catastrophic.

Scripture as a source of reasons is distinct from Scripture as canonical standard; they are distinct roles.

Scripture as a rule of faith can only be Scripture as a work of the Holy Spirit in the context of the Church.

The Eucharist is the spiritual preaching of Christ Himself to the hearts of all.

Unction is anointing for presentation in glory; all its effects are related to this.

Confirmation & unction are the militant sacraments.

Scripture as the all-ministering sacramental

The efficacy of the sacramentals is from the nobility of the Church. (William of Paris)
They have their efficacy as vital activities of the Church-as-general-sacrament.

(1) consecrations (incl. blessings)
(2) sacramental administrations
(3) holy leavenings

family as subconscious legal order

Measurement is an exploration of the external world.

pity as a protection against temptation

psalter as the organon of the Church

two kinds of martyr (Isidore)
(1) by manifest passion
(2) by hidden valor of soul

poetry as the speech required for a rational way of life

Measures are based on limits.

penance : baptism :: unction : confirmation :: eucharist : Passion (the root of all sacraments)

Indulgences require explicit intent not in the sense of thinking of it as an indulgence but in the sense of deliberately doing what an indulgence is, namely a penitential practice approved by the Church for the purpose of restoring self and the world around one from the harm and detriment of sin.

Tax and tribute are themselves the structure of government power.

liturgy as heavenly propriety (li)

the self-diffusion of goodness -> subsidiarity

Materialism presupposes a theory of causation, and a robust one, at that.

Who can come to transcend without burdens to transcend?

To achieve virtue under difficult conditions is the beginning of restoring the world.

As philosophy begins in wonder, miracles are the beginning of inquiry; they are not the end, but neither are they things to shrug at, even in report.

The most important lesson from Hume's essay on miracles is that it is not enough to accept or reject testimony for an event; one must inquire into the why of it.

The efficacy of baptism is not limited to the time of its administration; through it the Holy Spirit draws, with it the Holy Spirit seals.

Because the intelligible is found in the sensible, and mystery in the intelligible, mystery spills over into the sensible, and this is the icon.

logic in motion: association, transformation, construction

What counts as parsimony depends on the ends in view.

the unity of consciousness as a moral postulate

All the secondary forms of baptism (blood, desire, vicarious desire) are forms of death; nor is this surprising, because baptism is sacramental death.

to consider: Naturalism requires rationalism (empiricism too weak to underwrite needed explanatory relations).

Note that Neurath explicitly allows internal-sense information about the world.

Generalization of paradigmatic cases for a theory only approximates portions of the theory. (Cf. confusion of Newtonian physics w/ "billiard ball universes".)

All arguments for compatibilism imply corresponding arguments for the compatibility of teleology and determinism.

the study of classical languages as a formal exercise of mind in noticing & expressing subtle gradations & distinctions (Schelling)

Exclusivity in relationships arises more from justice than from love.

Hegel's lord & bondslave, & the Exodus-consciousness of the Jewish people

Concepts cannot merely be constructions of the mind; they must somewhere and sometimes identify the real.

Measurement is thoroughly teleological: the adequation of measurement to measured is adequation of means to end.

relics as memorials; relics as traditionary blessings

A military is structured by a theory of obligation, a theory of virtue, a theory of utility, and the interaction of these. This is because all practical skills are persons using means to ends whose requirements are fulfilled by skillful action.

the seven churches as the facets of the Church in every age

In matters of war, discretion weighs more heavily than secrecy or deception.

The stronger the methodic skepticism, the stronger the principles required to establish anything. (Cf. Descartes)

Sea power is commercial before military.

air power as sustained projection of land and sea power (super-artillery)
-- it could potentially become more than this by skyhooking or by 'floating base'

blood brotherhood & the Eucharist

marriage as primal covenant
motherhood as culmination of creation

Happiness is a mind fixed on good.

By indelible character we are deputed to acts of grace.

"The soul of Christ is not essentially divine; thus it is appropriate to it to be divine by participation, which is by grace." Aquinas ST 3.7.1ad1

transcendence -> presence
the presence is the transcendent present
but the presence does not exhaust the transcendence
the transcendence is God beyond accessibility
the presence is God beyond inaccessibility

timelike (serial) and spacelike (array) logical relations (propositional logical connections are spacelike; inference is timelike)

Markets presuppose shipping, i.e., organized movement to market or transfer to market availability.

If the creation of concepts occurs as a function of a problem, it occurs under deontic constraints.

analytic philosophy as circuit board philosophy

vague universes of discourse as defined by a degree of fit (like a typology)

Knowing is not a form of domination.

Palamas's synonymy argument comes from Basil (Adv Eun 1.8)

Causation as such is not expressible in mathematics.

One can imagine a Cartesian response to Kant: all arguments presuppose the ontological argument.

The Common Soul of a Crowd

"Convention" is very nearly the same word as "democracy." It has again and again in history been used as an alternative word to Parliament. So far from suggesting anything stale or sober, the word convention rather conveys a hubbub; it is the coming together of men; every mob is a convention. In its secondary sense it means the common soul of such a crowd, its instinctive anger at the traitor or its instinctive salutation of the flag. Conventions may be cruel, they may be unsuitable, they may even be grossly superstitious or obscene; but there is one thing that they never are. Conventions are never dead. They are always full of accumulated emotions, the piled-up and passionate experiences of many generations asserting what they could not explain. To be inside any true convention, as the Chinese respect for parents or the European respect for children, is to be surrounded by something which whatever else it is is not leaden, lifeless or automatic, something which is taut and tingling with vitality at a hundred points, which is sensitive almost to madness and which is so much alive that it can kill.

G. K. Chesterton, "The Philosopher" in George Bernard Shaw.