Saturday, November 08, 2014

Yevgeny Zamyatin, We; and Ayn Rand, Anthem


Opening Passage from We:

I shall simply copy, word for word, the proclamation that appeared today in the One State Gazette:

The building of the Integral will be completed in one hundred and twenty days. The great historic hour when the first Integral will soar into cosmic space is drawing near. One thousand years ago your heroic ancestors subdued the entire terrestrial globe to the power of the One State. Yours will be a still more glorious feat: you will integrate the infinite equation of the universe with the aid of the fire-breathing, electric, glass Integral. (p.1)

Opening Passage from Anthem:

It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven! (p. 17)

Summary: In We, we find ourselves in the highly advanced One State of the Benefactor with D-503. He is the First Builder of what promises to be the greatest achievement of the One State: the Integral, a spaceship that will let the One State spread to other planets, and any populations that might be on them. In anticipation of this great event, D-503 has begun to keep a journal to extol the glory of the One State, to contribute to the first cargo to be carried aboard the ship. The One State of the Benefactor is orderly, machine-like; citizens are called 'numbers' and they live in glass apartments so that anyone may see them. They walk in step, they chew in time, they rigidly structure their day according to the Table of Hours. D-503 is exultant about this order, joyful that in the building of the Integral the One State is taking another step in clearing the human equation of all unknown x's. And then he meets another number, I-330; she breaks all rules, and D-503 finds himself descending after her into a maelstrom of disorder and disobedience that will threaten to destroy the One State. The One State, however, has its own defenses, including a defense that reaches deeper than any revolution. It is indeed discovering how to clear the human equation of all unknown x's: through the Great Operation it will make all human beings as reliable as tractors.

The portrayal of the Great Operation, the surgical means of removing all capacity for Imagination in the human brain, is very effectively done. An amateurish handling would likely have focused too much on the operation itself, but Zamyatin handles it almost casually, and the casualness of it makes it infinitely more chilling.

In Anthem, the situation is very different. The narrator, Eternity 7-2521, is already engaging in minor rebellions. The City is not a highly advanced society but a primitive one that has lost every technology more advanced than candles. Everyone sleeps together in dormitories. Everyone is assigned a job by the Council of Vocations, and does that the rest of their lives. Everyone is expected to think only in terms of all, to such an extent that they have only plural pronouns. Eternity 7-2521 has always had difficulty with this, however. He (or They) had wanted to be a Scholar, more than anything; but the Council of Vocations, seeing him as a threat, had assigned him to be a Street Sweeper. He was willing to do this -- like D-503 he accepts the glory of the collective as the highest standard -- but in practice he keeps failing to measure up. And what is more, he has seen Liberty 5-3000, whom he secretly thinks of as the Golden One, who was assigned to be a Peasant, and he has fallen in love with her, and she with him. And he has made a discovery that will change everything, and that will lead eventually to an even greater discovery: the Word that must not be spoken.

Anthem is an anti-Platonic work. The City has a mix of features from the Soviet Union and Plato's Republic. Eternity 7-2521's great achievements begin to unfold when he descends into a tunnel in what is clearly a reversal of the Allegory of the Cave; in the tunnel, which is an ancient subway tunnel, he discovers the greater fire, Electricity, and through it he, a new Prometheus, will begin to think in ways that will not subordinate his own good to the good of the City.

There are obvious differences between the One State and the City. Zamyatin, satirizing Bolshevik technocrats making grand promises about centralized planning, has a collectivist state in which all is run on mathematics and science, and human beings are treated as if they were machines. Rand, on the other hand, Objectivist fleeing from a later generation of Communist central planners, clearly thinks that treating a human being as a machine would be a step up from how a collectivist state actually treats them, and her collectivist state could not run things on mathematics and science if it tried, which it would never do. For all that, they are perhaps closer than they look. After all, Zamyatin's One State is on the verge of destroying human Imagination, and the progress of inquiry in Rand's City is deliberately stunted. The City is not incapable of grasping the idea of Electricity, for instance; a major reason it refuses to accept Electricity is that it would put candlemakers out of work.

Both Zamyatin and Rand, interestingly, present romantic love and sexual attraction as inherently anti-collectivist, and a potential danger to the whole collectivist idea. Rand captures this aspect nicely in a phrase: romantic love and sexual attraction are inherently individualistic because they are forms of the "Transgression of Preference". Even if they are not literally exclusive, in the sense of admitting no others, they are nonetheless inherently exclusive in the sense that the whole point of them is not to treat someone as if they were just like everyone else. Both the One State and the City have developed defenses against this, although they are opposed defenses. In the One State everyone is made a prostitute, required to have sex, which is treated as casual and universal, with anyone else who can register for them with a ration ticket. In the City everyone is made a puritan, forbidden from having sex, which is treated as filthy and disgraceful, except for approved purposes at approved times and solely for the good of the City.

The real point of difference between the two is in the overall tenor of the stories. In Zamyatin's We, the collective of the title wins: D-503 rebels and fails, and we end with the One State preparing to crush the rebels. In Rand's Anthem, whose working title was Ego, the individual of the working title wins: Eternity 7-2521 becomes Prometheus and escapes, and we end with Prometheus preparing to crush the City. This is tied to the great difference between the two protagonists. D-503 is dragged along into a rebellion by others, and his great achievement, the expression of his personality, is in fact the Integral, which is really the conception and achievement of the One State, the projection of the One State into the future. Eternity 7-2521 walks into rebellion by a steady progression of Transgressions, and his great achievement and expression of personality is the rediscovery of Electricity, which recovers the glory of Man from the past in which it has been buried.

Both works are prose poems. Zamyatin has some excellent passages, but I think (allowing for the fact that Zamyatin was read only in translation) that Rand's text is much more effective as a prose poem -- Rand's major revision of the work for the second publication was a very good one, cutting out the fat but preserving the muscle of the poetic description. It also probably helps that her hero is much more intensely focused than the somewhat rambling and gushy D-503. But Zamyatin is also doing a great deal more work to explore the psychology of his character, down to the inconsistencies, which is part of the difference between the two.

Favorite Passage from We:

Naturally, having conquered Hunger (alegebraically, by the sum total of external welfare), the One State launched its attack against the other ruler of the world -- Love. And finally this elemental force was also subjugated, i.e., organized and reduced to mathematical order. About three hundred years ago, our historic Lex Sexualis was proclaimed: "Every number has a right to any other number, as to a sexual commodity." (p. 21)

Favorite Passage from Anthem:

"We give you the power of the sky!" we cried. "We give you the key to the earth! Take it, and let us be one of you, the humblest among you. Let us all work together, and harness this power, and make it ease the toil of men. Let us throw away our candles and our torches. Let us flood our cities with light. Let us bring a new light to men!"

But they looked upon us, and suddenly we were afraid. For their eyes were still, and small, and evil. (p. 71)

Recommendation: Both are worth reading at least once, and are recommended. If you can only read one, though, I suspect it should be the shorter, leaner, cleaner Anthem.


Quotations are from: Yevgeny Zamyatin, We, Mirra Ginsburg, tr., HarperCollins (New York: 1972); and Ayn Rand, Anthem, Signet (New York: 1995).

John Duns Scotus

Today is the feast of Bl. John Duns Scotus, the Subtle Doctor. Given his importance in the intellectual realm, we know surprisingly little about his life. We know that he was ordained March 17, 1291. He was known as Johannes Duns, which suggests that he was from Duns, Scotland -- but it has also been argued that Duns was a family name and that he might have been from Northern England or even Ireland. He was a member of the Friars Minor, or Franciscans. He alternated between the two major universities of Oxford and Paris for much of his career, although he was called to Cologne for unknown reasons in 1307 and died there in 1308. All of his work is brilliant, but it is very difficult to work through, because it is almost all in various states of partial revision and incompletion.

Famously, the word 'dunce' comes from his name, arising as a part of humanist derision of scholastic technicalities; so if anyone calls you a 'dunce', take it as the compliment it is: you're too subtle a genius for them to handle.

You can read Thomas Williams's article on him at the SEP, and Jeffrey Hause's article on him at the IEP.

Friday, November 07, 2014


Bill Vallicella has an interesting post in which he considers three questions:

1. What is the difference between an Aristotelian primary substance and a supposit (hypostasis, suppositum)?

2. Is there any non-theological basis for this distinction?

3. If the answer to (2) is negative, is the addition of suppposita to one's Aristotelian ontology a case of legitimate metaphysical revision or a case of an ad hoc theoretical patch job? According to Marilyn McCord Adams, "Metaphysical revision differs from ad hoc theoretical patching insofar as it attempts to make the new data systematically unsurprising in a wider theoretical context." ("Substance and Supposits," p. 40)

'Supposit' is originally a logical term, whereas 'substance' is a metaphysical one. ('Hypostasis' is trickier, since it originally had to do double-duty.) The suppositum is that for which one's term stands. Originally only subject terms were taken to have supposition, although this was expanded later to allow for a kind of supposition in the predicate. Substances would have usually been taken to be paradigmatic supposita, although it's very clear that our subject terms can supposit for things other than substances. Thus the distinction between the two is easy enough to establish. 'Suppositum' is simply something of which something else may be predicated. Substances are the most obvious supposita, but we all have often taken concepts in the mind, abstract qualities, and bits of language as supposita. What counts as a suppositum will simply depend on the context.

While he doesn't always use the term, we see exactly this distinction between the logical and the metaphysical in Thomas Aquinas's Christology. A considerable part of what St. Thomas says on the subject is reducible to a few rules that give what might be called the grammar of orthodox Christology:

(1) We distinguish the natures by reason of which things are predicated of Christ.
(2) The natures, being distinct, are not predicated of each other in the abstract.
(3) We do not distinguish that which is predicated of Christ as suppositum.
(4) The natures, agreeing in suppositum, are predicated of each other in the concrete.
(5) A term in the predicate is taken formally, for the nature.
(6) A term in the subject is taken materially, for the suppositum.
(7) Contraries are only predicated of Christ in different natures.
(8) Things of which we may doubt to what nature they belong are only to be predicated with qualification.

All of these rules are explicitly appealed to by St. Thomas in order to resolve problems. (We can add rules for reduplication, but they are arguably reducible to (5) and (6).) They are simply logical rules for how to speak given a basic assumption, that Christ is one divine person in two natures, one human and one divine. Given this, we know that it is false that 'Christ became creature' if taken in an unqualified way (by 8), that 'Christ as man is creature' is true (by 5), that 'Christ as man is God' is false (by 6); and so forth. Thus note that what goes with suppositum is predicate. However, predicate terms are generally taken, where there is no special qualification, to indicate natures or properties of natures, and subject terms are in a similar way generally taken to supposit for the person.

As for what the supposita are, metaphysically, in the case of the Trinity and the Incarnation, Aquinas thinks we can know some things, but it's all indirect. That is, we don't have any direct understanding of what a divine person is, although from our indirect information (i.e., divine testimony) we can say some things about why (for instance) it's correct to use the word 'person' to name it.

TOF on the First Way

Michael Flynn has a good series of posts on the basics of Aquinas's First Way:

First Way, Some Background
First Way, Part I: A Moving Tale
First Way, Part II: Two Lemmas Make Lemma-aid
First Way, Part III: The Big Kahuna
First Way, Part IV: The Cascades

Thursday, November 06, 2014

On the Virtue of Temperance, Part II

People sometimes talk (in a vague way) about beautiful character, or about an action being morally beautiful, or about something being in good taste, understood in some moral sense. All virtues can be said to have something of the morally beautiful about them, but some virtues are more specifically concerned with this aspect of moral life than others. Temperance is the virtue that is most concerned with moral beauty itself. Aquinas gives two reasons for this (ST 2-2.141.2 ad 3). First, if we are considering temperance in the broad sense, temperance is specifically concerned with the moderate and proportionate. The second reason is that temperance is what restrains those aspects of our animal nature that, if allowed full rein, might degrade us by interfering with more important things. Aquinas is not alone in recognizing the connection between temperance and beauty. Here, for instance, is a passage from Clement of Alexandria's Paedagogus (Book II, Chapter 13):

For in the soul alone are beauty and deformity shown. Wherefore also only the virtuous man is really beautiful and good. And it is laid down as a dogma, that only the beautiful is good. And excellence alone appears through the beautiful body, and blossoms out in the flesh, exhibiting the amiable comeliness of self-control, whenever the character like a beam of light gleams in the form. For the beauty of each plant and animal consists in its individual excellence. And the excellence of man is righteousness, and temperance, and manliness, and godliness.

All the cardinal virtues (mentioned in the last sentence) are beautiful; but notice that it is the 'amiable comeliness of self-control' that expresses this beauty of character in an outward way.

Aquinas himself famously identifies three conditions of beauty: integrity or completeness, proportion or harmony, and brightness or clarity. A little thought shows that each of these is operative in the virtue of temperance.

(1) Proportion is the most obvious condition. While every virtue can be considered a kind of moderation and appropriateness, as we see in Aristotle's account of virtue as expressing a mean, temperance is the virtue that is most obviously concerned with moderation and finding the appropriate balance among a variety of factors; the very name of the virtue highlights this moderating and balancing. To act temperately is to act in proportion to what is needful in human life; temperance is the proportioning virtue. Thus Ambrose says (De officiis 1.45):

Let us then hold fast modesty, and that moderation which adds to the beauty of the whole of life. For it is no light thing in every matter to preserve due measure and to bring about order, wherein that is plainly conspicuous which we call decorum, or what is seemly.

(2) When Augustine talks about temperance in Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, he emphasizes the aspect of temperance that suggests integrity: "temperance is love giving itself entirely to that which is loved" and "temperance is love keeping itself entire and incorrupt for God" are his two descriptions (Chapter 15) of the Christian version of the virtue. Temperance goes with wholeheartedness, since it is a virtue in which we are especially concerned with eliminating even the appearance of inconsistency with good character.

A further sign that temperance especially exhibits the condition of integrity is its association with tranquillity of mind. This is an old and constant association; Cicero in De Finibus XIV tells us that temperance "brings peace to the mind, and soothes and tranquillizes them by what I may call a kind of concord"; he takes this concord, in fact, to be precisely that at which temperance aims, and for the sake of which it is to be sought. But this sort of tranquillity is a kind of resting in the good, or a completion of good action. Temperance is thus concerned with bringing our character to a kind of completeness or wholeness. And we see the same thing from the reverse direction. When we speak of moral integrity, we are often talking about the kind of inner self-sufficiency by which one can maintain principles even in the face of great temptation.

(3) It is clear as well that temperance is concerned with manifestation or communication. As Ambrose says (De officiis 1.47), "If any one preserves an even tenor in the whole of life, and method in all that he does, and sees there is order and consistency in his words and moderation in his deeds, then what is seemly stands forth conspicuous in his life and shines forth as in some mirror." Being virtuous is certainly more important than appearing virtuous, but the virtue of temperance does concern itself with the question of how virtue appears. Since we are social creatures, one of the needs of human life is to communicate well, and we therefore reasonably restrain ourselves from things that, however they might be in themselves, could give others the wrong idea about right or wrong, good or bad. We see this very easily in how adults deal with children -- they will restrain themselves in matters that are not in themselves wrong simply because children are not yet ready to understand them. We see it in a different way in friendships, in which friends will deliberately avoid things that they normally enjoy, out courtesy to their friends. And we also see it in the way people worry about what they are condoning, or about the message they are sending with their actions.

Given that temperance is concerned with the beautiful, it will often not involve anything obligatory. To be sure, there are things that are simply inconsistent with temperance, and likewise things that are simply necessary for it, but much of the restraint of temperance will concern things not themselves necessarily bad. To use Jane Austen's phrase again, temperance often involves 'the restraint of sentiments which are not in themselves illaudable'. Unlike justice, which concerns itself with obligation almost everywhere, temperance involves a sort of artistic appreciation and touch, being concerned not just with doing what one should, but doing it in a way appropriate to itself. Indeed, it would perhaps be reasonable to say that good taste is to temperance as law or obligation is to justice.

The Clocks Do Toll

I'm not wholly sure why, but I was thinking last night of how brilliant the opening of the Chorus for Act IV of Henry V is, in narrative terms:

Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe.
From camp to camp through the foul womb of night
The hum of either army stilly sounds,
That the fixed sentinels almost receive
The secret whispers of each other's watch:
Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames
Each battle sees the other's umber'd face;
Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs
Piercing the night's dull ear, and from the tents
The armourers, accomplishing the knights,
With busy hammers closing rivets up,
Give dreadful note of preparation:
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll,
And the third hour of drowsy morning name.
Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
The confident and over-lusty French
Do the low-rated English play at dice;
And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
So tediously away. The poor condemned English,
Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
Sit patiently and inly ruminate
The morning's danger, and their gesture sad
Investing lank-lean; cheeks and war-worn coats
Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
So many horrid ghosts.

That is good, solid storytelling there. The use of multiple ways of expressing the opposition between the French and the English is especially effective, and the asymmetry sets up the later "little touch of Harry in the night" as it should.

Critics have been very hard on the Chorus in Henry V. They've questioned why it's even needed. I don't think that's all that difficult; the obvious point is that we are not just getting Henry himself, we are getting Henry becoming legend. The audience itself is a participant in what the play is about: it is our thoughts that deck the kings, our imaginary forces that make Henry a legend. The Chorus parts are also often accused of 'telling, not showing'. I'm on record as thinking that, while such a slogan as 'show, don't tell' can have legitimate meaning in particular circumstances, it is trash if taken as a general principle. In reality, however, the Chorus parts are 'showing' exactly what needs to be shown: that the tale cannot be crammed into the theatre, that its only suitable stage is the mind itself, that the players and scenery on the stage are only 'ciphers' that guide the real play, in the imagination. Storytelling is in its own way as much a dramatic art as playacting. And the fact of the matter is that the Chorus parts are all excellent storytelling. This interweaving of storytelling and stagecraft is entirely necessary to the play.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Mingling Passions

If the objects of the contrary passions be totally different, the passions are like two opposite liquors in different bottles, which have no influence on each other. If the objects be intimately connected, the passions are like an alcali and an acid, which, being mingled, destroy each other. If the relation be more imperfect, and consists in the contradictory views of the same object, the passions are like oil and vinegar, which, however mingled, never perfectly unite and incorporate.

David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

On the Virtue of Temperance, Part I

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 11:

Elinor could not be surprised at their attachment. She only wished that it were less openly shewn; and once or twice did venture to suggest the propriety of some self-command to Marianne. But Marianne abhorred all concealment where no real disgrace could attend unreserve; and to aim at the restraint of sentiments which were not in themselves illaudable, appeared to her not merely an unnecessary effort, but a disgraceful subjection of reason to common-place and mistaken notions. Willoughby thought the same; and their behaviour at all times, was an illustration of their opinions.

Jeremy Bentham, in the third volume of his work, Not Paul but Jesus, portrays the history of ethics as dominated (unfortunately, in his view) by what he calls asceticism:

By asceticism I understand any system or article of doctrine in and by which endeavours are used to engage men to forego pleasure in any shape for any other cause than the procurement of still greater pleasure in the same or some other shape, or the avoidance of pain to an amount more than equivalent: or to subject themselves [to] pain for any other cause than the avoidance of still greater pain, or the procurement of pleasure to an amount more than equivalent. (1.1.1)

To this idea, that one should sometimes restrain oneself in matters of pleasure even when doing so does not result in greater pleasure overall or in the long run, Bentham opposes utilitarianism; he regards 'asceticism' as very morally wrong.

While Bentham's way of putting it is tendentious -- as Bentham's ways of putting things often are -- it is nonetheless true that he has hit on a genuine opposition. What Bentham calls 'asceticism' is just, in fact, what older authors call temperance, and almost all of Bentham's discussion of the opposition is an attack on the virtue of temperance. The basic principle governing temperance as traditionally understood is that we are to restrain ourselves in matters of pleasure in light of needs of life that are higher than pleasure, and that we should train our preferences in light of those same needs. These needs are needs for things like living, being healthy, contributing to the good of the human race as a free and responsible member of it, sustaining the human race through proper care for children, reasoning and inquiry after truth, loving God, and probably a great many others, none of which are understood in ways reducible to pleasure.

Thomas Aquinas insists on this point explicitly in ST 2-2.141.6. In his reply to the second objection, he notes that temperance is concerned with necessitas humanae vitae in two ways: it is concerned both with what is necessary for life itself and what is necessary to live life fittingly (convenienter). When we are dealing specifically with touch-related pleasures (which is the focus of the special virtue of temperance as opposed to temperance in a broad sense), the primary (but not only) concerns are health and good condition.

Thus we find two opposed attitudes, with Bentham in one camp and champions of temperance like Austen and Aquinas in the other. It is temperance that considers it sometimes important "to aim at the restraint of sentiments which are not in themselves illaudable" and that involves "the propriety of some self-command" even in matters in which "no real disgrace could attend unreserve", to use Austen's phrases. One way to read Sense and Sensibility, in fact, is as an exploration of the virtue of temperance. But the idea that one should sometimes restrain oneself even from things that are in themselves fine seems to be a very alien view to many people today; there are, on this point, at least, many Benthamites.

The Development of Truth in the Human Mind

The development of truth in the human mind always proceeds slowly, and step by step. Even when the whole beginning and sure foundation is already found, or, rather, given, the inner evolution and external application of true science unfolds itself with extreme tardiness. At each point of progress much still remains to be overcome, much to be improved, and even to be thought upon once more, and reconsidered over and over again. Often, too, at the very last moment, an unexpected obstacle presents itself, or some new procrastination of a conscientious doubt or care.

Friedrich von Schlegel, Philosophy of Life, Morriston, tr., p. 534.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Facts and Experiences

As a rule, modern philosophers accept that all human knowledge comes from experience but without asking what experience is.Is experience perhaps facts? Facts alone cannot constitute experience because until facts are known by me they are, relative to my knowledge, non-existent.Nor can experience be taken to mean facts known to me. If this is the meaning of experience, we would have to inquire about the kind of knowledge under discussion. It would be absurd to maintain that experience is facts known by sense alone. When I say that I know a fact by sense alone, I have removed all thought from the fact. In such a case, facts are sensations and nothing more; there is no contact between them, no connection of any kind. These facts known by the senses alone - an incorrect expression if ever there was one - can neither be written or spoken about, because language does not have individual words suitable to express them and because, if I connect them to some sensible sign to make them speakable, I would have to reflect upon them. But this runs counter to the assumption that they are known to me through sense alone, and nothing else. Experience, therefore, will be facts which are truly known; this inevitably brings in the intelligence which endows them with some universality by considering individual facts in relationship to being and, in being, in their relation to one another. This kind of experience can and does produce our cognitions. But if this is the experience we mean when we assert that all our cognitions come from experience, we first have to discover the nature of our intellective knowledge of facts and the nature of the intellect which we use to form or, at least, complete this experience.

Antonio Rosmini, A New Essay Concerning the Origin of Ideas, Volume 1, Section 4, Chapter 3, footnote 225.

Already a Long Day

So, somehow I managed to get through yesterday without realizing that Daylight Saving Time had ended. I first began to suspect that I was missing something when there was hardly any traffic on the road -- speed limit all the way, even at the entrance ramps that usually jam up the Interstate. And so I got to work an hour earlier than I usually do, which is something of a problem since during this term on Mondays I get to campus right before it opens. So I just listened to Vic and Sade and the Harold Peary Show on the radio until campus opened. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those days that is just 'off' the entire day....

Sunday, November 02, 2014

All Souls

St. Catherine of Genoa, Treatise on Purgatory, Chapter 2:

I believe no happiness can be found worthy to be compared with that of a soul in Purgatory except that of the saints in Paradise; and day by day this happiness grows as God flows into these souls, more and more as the hindrance to His entrance is consumed. Sin's rust is the hindrance, and the fire burns the rust away so that more and more the soul opens itself up to the divine inflowing. A thing which is covered cannot respond to the sun's rays, not because of any defect in the sun, which is shining all the time, but because the cover is an obstacle; if the cover be burnt away, this thing is open to the sun; more and more as the cover is consumed does it respond to the rays of the sun

It is in this way that rust, which is sin, covers souls, and in Purgatory is burnt away by fire; the more it is consumed, the more do the souls respond to God, the true sun. As the rust lessens and the soul is opened up to the divine ray, happiness grows; until the time be accomplished the one wanes and the other waxes. Pain however does not lessen but only the time for which pain is endured. As for will: never can the souls say these pains are pains, so contented are they with God's ordaining with which, in pure charity, their will is united.

But, on the other hand, they endure a pain so extreme that no tongue can be found to tell it, nor could the mind understand its least pang if God by special grace did not shew so much. Which least pang God of His grace shewed to this Soul, but with her tongue she cannot say what it is. This sight which the Lord revealed to me has never since left my mind and I will tell what I can of it. They will understand whose mind God deigns to open.

Bl. John Henry Newman, Dream of Gerontius, which, of course, is a poem about Purgatory:

Take me away, and in the lowest deep
There let me be,
And there in hope the lone night-watches keep,
Told out for me.
There, motionless and happy in my pain,
Lone, not forlorn,—
There will I sing my sad perpetual strain,
Until the morn.
There will I sing, and soothe my stricken breast,
Which ne'er can cease
To throb, and pine, and languish, till possest
Of its Sole Peace.
There will I sing my absent Lord and Love:—
Take me away,
That sooner I may rise, and go above,
And see Him in the truth of everlasting day.

I did some brief and inadequate comparison of Catherine and Newman on this subject last year.