Saturday, June 09, 2018

Faces on All Sides

Today is the feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church. From the first hymn on the Pearl:

On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren; I saw in it mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom; semblances and types of the Majesty; it became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son.

I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand, that I might examine it: I went to look at it on one side, and it proved faces on all sides. I found out that the Son was incomprehensible, since He is wholly Light.

In its brightness I beheld the Bright One Who cannot be clouded, and in its pureness a great mystery, even the Body of our Lord which is well-refined: in its undividedness I saw the Truth which is undivided.

It was so that I saw there its pure conception — the Church, and the Son within her. The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him, and her type the heaven, since there shone forth from her His gracious Shining.

Scottish Poetry IX

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

Friday, June 08, 2018

Dashed Off XII

Brouwer takes the difference between formalism and intuitionism to lie in the nature of mathematical exactness -- the intuitionist says it is intellectual, the formalist says it is on paper.

? How far can the traditionary argument be assimilated to design arguments?
? How far can it be linked to the ancient idea of institution of laws?

Republic VIII and Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism

A problem with John Bosco's preventive system of education is that it depends on constant surveillance and environmental control. The strength of the preventive system seems to be in synousia.

each sibyl as a distinct representation of the human intellect

The state must treat citizens as ends in themselves.

Our attitude toward our bodies is (chiefly) deontic.

Deference to a distinct source of norms is a necessary condition for the functioning of a court.

degrees of possibility & closeness to actuality (raises questions about intension and remission of possibility; one can prima facie make sense of this if we link possibility to something that already has intensity -- e.g., power)

As intensity of slow burning pain and intensity of sharp needle-like pain are not subjectively assessed the same way (e.g., different physiological processes), they cannot be directly compared.

Being offended carries no intrinsic title to retaliation.

In the relation of morality to politics, the two atrocious extremes are to treat them as having nothing to do with each other and to subordinate morality to particular political positions.

friendship as a kind of voluntary cousinship

Propositions are a crude tool for exploring the world.

The means are eminently in the end.

Sensible practice is a protection for sensible belief.

"We all wear masks to one another, and it is not in our power to unmask ourselves even if we could." Brownson

marks of design as marks of beginning of existence

"No reform can be effected without sacrifice, and sacrifice comes not from selfishness." Brownson

True greatness in historical writing depends on knowing something of 'both sides of the story'.

A society must be ordered in such a way that the wealthy understand that they depend on the whole people.

Empires tend toward religious syncretism.

ornamentation as a guidance for delight

The demonization of real opponents is often an attempt to convince oneself of the morality of some atrocity, real or imagined.

Without a shared sense of honor, it is difficult to stop escalation of conflict.

herd immunity against political violence

Conscientiousness, even on the whole, seems to have no tendency to promote happiness if by happiness one means 'balance of pleasure over pain'.

Failure to satisfy a preference is not in and of itself a bad thing.

Whitehead's God as ultimate historian of philosophy

the world's indefinite power of changing

Using clear and distinct ideas requires a topics. (Vico)

(1) The capacity for doubt requires intelligible disjunction of possibilities.
(2) Full and complete doubt requires intelligible disjunction of all possibilities.
(3) Intelligible disjunction of all possibilities requires an infinite intelligible.

the link between the traditionalist approach to language and the divine command approach to obligation

freedom of speech as freedom to declaim vs freedom of speech as freedom to dialogue

It is a weakness of Bayesian accounts of evidence that they do not recognize that evidence must not only be noted but confirmed as evidence; and one may even then hold it under question.

We reason as much with hypothesized evidence as we do with real evidence.

Cambridge changes as semiotic changes?

Truce requires troth, and troth requires trust.

Arguments for euthanasia are often easy to transform into arguments for dueling.

rule of law as a system of truces and shared protections

Tu quoque is sometimes used to suggest someone has no standing, sometimes to suggest that they are lying, sometimes to suggest that they are showing no sense of proportion, sometimes merely to show that they are inconsistent in application of norms.

One may hold that pain is an intrinsic appearance of evil without holding that it is an intrinsic evil.

intrinsic vs extrinsic title to strike

divorce and remarriage within sacramental marriage // apostasy

The pursuit of victory, unrestrained by temperance, is a dangerous thing; to achieve victory men may do terrible things, endure terrible things, set aside every warning, lay waste their own lives and the lives of their loved ones, until all is ash and suffering and despair.

A conscience should not be a last resort.

"There is a natural Nemesis to all over-strong and exaggerated language." R W Church

The tendency to authoritarianism attaches itself to any system or ideology in power.

"There can be no right of speech where any man, however lifted up, however humble, however young or however old, is overawed by force, and compelled to suppress his honest sentiments." Frederick Douglass

People regard reputation as so important that they will endure immense humiliation or pain to protect it; but the importance of reputation has no straightforward relation to actual pleasures and pains.

Scottish Poetry VIII

by John Imlah

The dew-drops glitter on the grass,
And sparkle on the spray;
The balmy zephyrs rise and pass
Like lovers' sighs away!
It is the time I love to be
By wood or water side;
For dearer far than morn to me
Art thou sweet Eventide!

Now 'neath the Even’s favouring shade,
The youth and maiden meet;
When love and beauty's vows are made,
So solemn, fond, and sweet!
When eye and ear are sealed in sleep,
Where none may chase and chide;
The burdened heart now wakes to weep
Its woes at Eventide :

Far from the world’s care-trodden ways,
I seek some lonely shade;
To muse upon departed days,
And friends the far—the dead!
Tho' grief-fraught thoughts now heave my heart,
Than noonday's golden pride,
Or purple morn, more dear thou art—
Grey mantled Eventide!

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Scottish Poetry VII

by Thomas Campbell

Hadst thou a genius on thy peak,
What tales, white-headed Ben,
Could'st thou of ancient ages speak,
That mock th' historian's pen!

Thy long duration makes our livea
Seem but so many hours;
And likens, to the bees' frail hives,
Our most stupendous towers.

Temples and towers thou seest begun,
New creeds, new conquerers sway;
And, like their shadows in the sun,
Hast seen them swept away.

Thy steadfast summit, heaven-allied
(Unlike life's little span),
Looks down a mentor on the pride
Of perishable man.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Scottish Poetry VI

In the Train
by James Thomson

As we rush, as we rush in the Train,
The trees and the houses go wheeling back,
But the starry heavens above the plain
Come flying on our track.

All the beautiful stars of the sky,
The silver doves of the forest of Night,
Over the dull earth swarm and fly,
Companions of our flight.

We will rush ever on without fear;
Let the goal be far, the flight be fleet!
For we carry the Heavens with us, dear,
While the Earth slips from our feet!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Scottish Poetry V

Come, Here Is Adieu To The City
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Come, here is adieu to the city
And hurrah for the country again.
The broad road lies before me
Watered with last night's rain.
The timbered country woos me
With many a high and bough;
And again in the shining fallows
The ploughman follows the plough.

The whole year's sweat and study,
And the whole year's sowing time,
Comes now to the perfect harvest,
And ripens now into rhyme.
For we that sow in the Autumn,
We reap our grain in the Spring,
And we that go sowing and weeping
Return to reap and sing.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Scottish Poetry IV

MacGregor's Gathering
by Sir Walter Scott

The moon's on the lake, and the mist's on the brae,
And the Clan has a name that is nameless by day;
Then gather, gather, gather, Grigalach!
Gather, gather, gather, &c.

Our signal for fight, that from monarchs we drew,
Must be heard but by night in our vengeful haloo!
Then haloo, Grigalach! haloo, Grigalach!
Haloo, haloo, haloo, Grigalach, &c.

Glen Orchy's proud mountains, Coalchuirn and her towers,
Glenstrae and Glenlyon no longer are ours;
We're landless, landless, landless, Grigalach!
Landless, landless, landless, &c.

But doom'd and devoted by vassal and lord.
MacGregor has still both his heart and his sword!
Then courage, courage, courage, Grigalach!
Courage, courage, courage, &c.

If they rob us of name, and pursue us with beagles,
Give their roofs to the flame, and their flesh to the eagles!
Then vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, Grigalach!
Vengeance, vengeance, vengeance, &c.

While there's leaves in the forest, and foam on the river,
MacGregor, despite them, shall flourish for ever!
Come then, Grigalach, come then, Grigalach,
Come then, come then, come then, &c.

Through the depths of Loch Katrine the steed shall career,
O'er the peak of Ben-Lomond the galley shall steer,
And the rocks of Craig-Royston like icicles melt,
Ere our wrongs be forgot, or our vengeance unfelt!
Then gather, gather, gather, Grigalach!
Gather, gather, gather, &c.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Fortnightly Book, June 3

St. Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney, was a devout Christian, famed for his religious devotion and gentleness; and, because he was a twelfth-century Viking, his devotion and gentleness were regarded as signs that something was wrong with him. Once he refused to participate in a Viking raid because he thought it was morally wrong; he stayed on the ship and sang psalms instead. He was, unsurprisingly, generally despised. He eventually had a falling out with his cousin Haakon over who should rule Orkney; they agreed to meet on an island to discuss the matter amicably, each bringing only two ships. Magnus showed up with his two ships; Haakon showed up with eight. Magnus took refuge in the church, but he was dragged out and executed somewhere around the year 1117.

St. Magnus's story is the subject of the novel Magnus, by Gordon Mackay Brown, which will be the next fortnightly book. Magnus was Mackay Brown's second novel (although he had become well known for his poetry for quite some time before), and was published in 1973. Mackay Brown was himself from Orkney, and after his death was buried on St. Magnus's Day, April 16, so he had a lifelong connection with St. Magnus, whose life he uses as an occasion for reflection on the requirements of self-sacrifice.

Scottish Poetry III

Expectans Expectavi
by Charles Sorley

From morn to midnight, all day through,
I laugh and play as others do,
I sin and chatter, just the same
As others with a different name.
And all year long upon the stage
I dance and tumble and do rage
So vehemently, I scarcely see
The inner and eternal me.
I have a temple I do not
Visit, a heart I have forgot,
A self that I have never met,
A secret shrine -- and yet, and yet

This sanctuary of my soul
Unwitting I keep white and whole,
Unlatched and lit, if Thou should'st care
To enter or to tarry there.

With parted lips and outstretched hands
And listening ears Thy servant stands,
Call Thou early, call Thou late,
To Thy great service dedicate.