Friday, August 20, 2010

A Poem Re-Draft and Three New Poem Drafts

bad cat

some cat has got
into the poetry books
jumbling all the words
cutting lines and verses
into pieces
shredding sonnets

rhymes are all displaced
tissue-paper shreds
are all the metaphors

and when i catch
the crazy feline
who stole the capitals
the punctuation marks
i will say
bad cat


How swiftly youth will wither,
and dreaming sense of wonder,
like clouds in windy weather
that curl and caper yonder!

How swiftly time will fly
and carry this infant flesh,
as with me it flew,
like wind or lightning flash.

Tired of Listening

No, I will not hear again
the tale of how a clever you
overcame, made right, got gain.
And all your family, too,
you can pack away in a box
and shove it in an attic loft,
of how they lost, won back,
of how they sorrowed, sighed, and laughed.
No! I will not hear
of how a stupid teenage friend
and you escaped by just a hair;
there is no interest there
and your stories do not end.
No, I said, no! Not a word,
not a discourse, not a tale
will be heard;
all your tales are far too tall,
and all your stories drear;
your exploits like your fresh-washed shirts
should hide in some small drawer
until you can keep them short.

Maria Assumpta

Hear, my daughter,
lend your year,
forget your people,
leave your home.
  The queen will stand,
  your right hand
  adorn with gold.

The king will love,
fairness seek;
he is your lord,
adore his name.
  The queen will stand,
  your right hand
  adorn with gold.

With cheerful sound,
with joyful noise,
their name is praised.
They pass within.
  The queen will stand,
  your right hand
  adorn with gold.

Eunice on Patience

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Edith Stein on the Intrinsic Value of Woman

This intrinsic value [of woman] consists chiefly in the ability:

1. To become a complete person oneself; i.e., a person all of whose faculties are developed and coexist in harmony;
2. To help others to become complete human beings;
3. In all contact with other persons, to respect the complete human being.

Certain maladies of modern culture such as the dehumanization of the person, fragmentation, and the one-sided development of certain faculties leading to the atrophy of others may be cured through recourse to the intrinsic value of woman.

Edith Stein, "The Significance of Woman's Intrinsic Value in National Life," Woman, Freda Mary Oben, tr., 2nd edition. ICS Publications (Washington, D.C.: 1996) p. 39. This is from the typed summary of a talk that Stein gave at the 15th convention of the Bavarian Catholic Women Teachers in 1928. The idea that womanhood or femininity plays an essential role in the development of complete personhood is a fairly important one in Stein's version of feminism; it occurs in different guises in a number of places. The claim would be very controversial today because of a widespread (but not universal) skepticism about the notion of womanhood or femininity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Practice and Principle

A nice quote on ad baculum arguments:

Practice meets principle in ad baculum, though practice, not principle, is, in many cases, the primary aim of the arguer.

[Michael J. Wreen, "A Bolt of Fear," Philosophy & Rhetoric, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1989), p. 138.]

I just came across Wreen's paper, a bit belatedly, and it's very much worth reading; I think it's a bit loose in parts, but it is certainly a work that should be read by those interested in some of the traditional fallacies.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Et Laeteri Bonis Rebus et Dolere Contrariis

It is not reasonable to refuse to undertake any honourable task or activity, or to lay it aside once undertaken, in order to avoid trouble. If we are to run away from anxiety, we must run away from virtue, which naturally feels a certain sense of anxiety when it meets things contrary to itself, and finds them hateful and repulsive; as good nature is repelled by ill nature, self-control by excess, courage by cowardixe; similarly one may see that just men are most distressed by instances of injustice, brave men by cowardly behaviour, decently-behaved men by indecency. It is the property of a well-constituted mind to be glad at good things, and to be distressed by the opposite. Therefore, if distress of mind is permissible in a wise man at all (which it surely is, unless we think that human qualities have been altogether uprooted from his mind), what reason is there why we should totally remove friendship from life merely to avoid having to go to some trouble because of it?

Cicero, Laelius: On Friendship, section 47; from Cicero, On Friendship and The Dream of Scipio, Powell, tr. (Oxbow: 2005) p. 51. Cicero is arguing against the Stoics here, of course.

In one of my Intro courses for this Fall term I will be experimenting with teaching the Laelius as part of a brief introductory section on philosophical views of friendship. If anyone knows of any resources that could help students get a better grasp on the dialogue, or that could contribute to helping me teach it in a discussion-based course, suggestions along those lines would be welcome.