Saturday, July 31, 2021


 Today is the Feast of the 350 Martyrs on the Maronite calendar. The major Maronite monasteries were supporters of the Council of Chalcedon, but were very close to Monophysite strongholds. When St. Hormisdas became Pope in 514, the major challenge to the Church was dealing with the Acacian schism, in which a few decades before, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Acacius, had attempted to impose a compromise position, creating a fundamental divide between Rome and Constantinople. There was a resurgence of compromising attempts in Hormisdas's day, so Hormisdas asked Eastern bishops for official declarations of support in favor of Chalcedon, to assist him in ending the schism. The bishops of the Maronite monasteries in Syria and Lebanon wrote a letter affirming their support of Chalcedon and giving an account of how a number of heir monasteries had been burned and 350 monks had been martyred for orthodoxy. (The number seems to be a round one rather than an exact count.) Hormisdas was successful in ending the schism, and his feast day is usually commemorated around August 6.

The Feast of the 350 Martyrs, Disciples of St. Maron

For the sake of Your holy name, the martyrs fought,
Lord, not with sword but with grace and holy patience,
and in all places You exalt their victory.

Beneath their feet You will crush the Adversary;
faith, hope, and love guided them to the paths of life,
for they were loyal to truth and did not waver.

As their death was pleasing sacrifice in Your sight,
may their memory be protection to Your flock,
and their prayers a shield for Your chosen people.

Through them, the unfathomable riches of Christ,
the treasuries of divine wisdom, rain on us,
according to the eternal purpose of God.

O Three Hundred Fifty martyrs! Great is your faith!
When our Lord Christ called you to follow, you followed,
and God's grace, like a mother, sustained you in death.

Pray for us, O martyrs, that we may be worthy
to celebrate your feast and join your holy choir,
giving great honor with you to Christ the martyr.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Dashed Off XVI

 I seem to have misplaced the May-August notebook from 2020; I suppose there was a lot of unusual disruption. I'll put it up when I find it again, and in the meantime here I start the notebook that begins August 2020.

What counts as evidence depends on whether you are thinking of the requirements for investigating or of the requirements for concluding.

the modalities of inquiry: preparing, opening, exploring, narrowing, concluding, post-assessing

Angels know God by knowing themselves immediately as images of their source and end. Human beings can know God in this way but not immediately, having to come to it by piecing it together.

Laws are enforced by threat and promise.

expressed potential vs exercised potential

Demonic life is evening knowledge without morning knowledge, and thus darkness.

While not all wrongdoing involves ignorance, all wrongdoing involves ignoring.

inflation as creating a kind of pressure toward wealth inequality

Loving is a new-ing and renewing.

An abstract idea is a profoundly living thing.

Progress in intellectual, moral, artistic, etc. matters requires more and less; thus every field in which there is genuine progress leads to the Fourth Way.

supposition as taking out a loan from reason

Every choice an angel makes is an agelong choice, each enriching each, not like our choices written in water.

There is often a strange self-hatred in our wrongdoing, a wish to be less than we are, that we may have less than we might. So very much of sin is self-sabotage, sometimes quite intentional.

God commands us, that we may know our capabilities.

sovereignty as the public-making and -sustaining power

fourfold source of revelation (Schlegel): conscience, nature, Holy Writ, universal history

"...supposing that God has imparted a knowledge of Himself to mankind -- has spoken to them, and revealed Himself to them -- is it not highly probable that He has ordained some institution for the further propagation and diffusion of revealed truth and also for the maintenance as well of its original integrity as also of the right interpretation of it?" Schlegel

It is a fact of human experience that not all certainties are equally certain.

Ceremony has its root in family life.

three aspects of fitness for episcopal office
(1) assiduity of service
(2) endurance even unto death
(3) solicitude with regard to truth, in both word and deed

a lifecycle of systems: theorization -> practicalization -> overtheorization -> deterioration

Communicative thought abhors a contradiction.

localized vs nonlocalized historical periodization

We are least ourselves when we are least restrained, although we are not necessarily most ourselves when most restrained.

A bishop must always remember that the end and purpose of his office is everlasting life for the Church.

elements of contract law
(1) turpitude avoidance
(2) agreement security
(3) adjudication facilitation

"Qui enim accipi munus, debet operari secundum congruentiam muneris." Aquinas, In 2 Tim.

militia martyrum contra tyrannos

"The great, the fundamental need of any nation, any race, is for heroism, devotion, sacrifice, and there cannot be heroism, devotion, or sacrifice in a primarily skeptical spirit." Anna Julia Cooper
"...a sense of freedom in mind as well as in body is necessary to the appreciative and inspiring pursuit of the beautiful."

proper narrators (tell the story) vs. redactor-narrators (pull together elements, e.g., Mina Harker)

The author writes under a persona. The persona structures the voice that tells the story.

safeguards against totalitarianism
(1) presumption of liberty
(2) due process guarantees
(3) search and seizure restrictions
(4) integrated popular accountability
(5) checks and balances
(6) pluralism of societies
(7) recognition for conscientious objection
(8) entrenched symbolic national traditions
(9) state-independent institutions
(10) penalty and punishment restrictions

Judicial review sometimes protects and sometimes erodes safeguards against tyranny and abuse of power; there needs to be some safeguard against the erosive kind. (The American system has very little beyond impeachment, which is inadequate.)

We experience death not as the completion of life but as its forced incompletion, its disruption. It makes a human life an unwhole whole. (the paradox of death)

the sacrament of reconciliation and the precarity of our being

Art has an immense power to show corruption as corrupting, but artists, being fallen and fallible, face a temptation to revel in the aesthetics of corruption itself.

Better a poor man in an optimistic age of aspirations than a wealthy man in an age with no vision and hope.

Active support for the elderly is as important for preserving civilization as paideia for the young; to preserve and conserve civilized life requires a large pool of cautious experience, or, if not large, at least a well respected one to which everyone listens.

A society is only worthwhile to the extent it springs from reason or grace.

philosophical positions as structured by squares of opposition

the prophetic people, the apostolic community

the menorah of the Temple a symbol of meditation on Scripture
-- the cups are shaped like almond blossoms; almonds are symbols of watchfulness (the Heb. word for 'almond' is a homonym for 'watchful, vigilant') -- cp Jer. 1:11-12

the busy-ness of life vs the fullness of life

mortality as the shadow on our natality

Hierarchy arises from power, wisdom, and goodness, as they initiate, cultivate, and complete other power, wisdom, and goodness.

space, time, and cause as constituting relations among evidences

theoretical physics as an abstract account of physical evidence

the substrate technologies of philosophical schools in various eras

modes of Box and Diamond
per se / per accidens
prius / posterius
oppositum / non-oppositum
simpliciter / secundum quid
causa / causatum
-- perhaps also idem/diversum and unum/multa modes?

Christ -> saints -> relics -> secondary artifacts

the consecrated church building as a liturgical vestment for the congregation itself

Grenier takes all of the following to be equivalent formulae of the principle of causality: Everything that becomes has a cause. Everything composed of potency and act has a cause. Every composite being has a cause. Every being whose essence and existence are distinct is caused by another. Every finite being has a cause. Every being by participation has a cause. Everything moved is moved by another. Act is absolutely prior to potency. A thing cannot be efficient cause of itself. Every effect has a cause. Everything caused has a cause.

Peirce to Lady Welby (EP 2:478)
Intentional Interpretant: a determination of the utterer's mind
Effectual Interpretant: a determination of the interpreter's mind
Communicational Interpretant: a determination of that mind into which the minds of the utterer and interpreter are fuse din order to communicate (the commens)
-- the commens: "It consists of all that is, and must be, well understood between utterer and interpreter at the outset, in order that the sign in question should fulfill its function."
"No object can be denoted unless it be put into relation to the object of the commens."

People often overestimate the importance of persuasion in argument by misclassifying deontic components as purely rhetorical and normativity as persuasive attempt.

environment as the 'conscience' of the unexamined life

Doubt is the mother of dualism; doubt has a dualistic structure by its nature.

Reasons resonate with reasons.

Fascism works not by imposing order (which is sometimes impossible) but by destroying alternative sources of order, in order to create a monopoly of order.

Within the Zeitgeist, at any moment, the old gods are dying and the new are being born, but above and beyond the Zeitgeist, the one God is ever ancient, ever new.

As love of wisdom, philosophy posits the possibility of its completion. But this completion is not a termination, for love is no completed by terminating it in any way.

instrumental signs -> formal signs -> exemplars -> first exemplar cause

three modes of ratiocination: inclusion, exclusion, exposition

the categories as a classification of answers to natural questions

Lying, murder, adultery, and idolatry all directly harm the human common good.

Freedom of speech is the most basic test of whether a state actually regards citizens as having priority over itself.

necessity : deduction :: sufficiency : induction

induction by sufficient enumeration vs induction by sufficient exemplification

complete sufficiency vs incomplete sufficiency (adequacy) of induction
per se sufficiency vs per accidens sufficiency of induction
induction by proxy enumeration

usefulness as necessity in a certain respect

Christ walking on the water -- Job 9:8, "who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea"

teh Catholic brand as a juridical entity distinct from but supervenient on the Church itself

taste, skill, virtue

We experience the possibilities of materials in the work of skill, through its facilities and resistances.

modes of knowledge: definition, division, enunciation, ratiocination

'measure for price by deadline' as the essential element of business negotiation

geomorphological duals
strait - isthmus
gulf - peninsula
archipelago - lake system
bay - cape
lagoon - island

Stable genres are formed around literary canons, or institutional requiremens, or both.

falsifiability as connected to the boundary between the a priori and the a posteriori

the flit of reason

being, cause, and sign as the modes of participation

factors in doxastic synousia
(1) co-association (esp. social)
(2) mental economy
(3) ease of inquiry
(4) practical utility
-- (1) and (2) are transition-easing, (2) and (4) are salience-shifting

Money varies in value according to market access.

We can only recognize conscience as calling by recognizing it first as a context in which a call may arise.

Kant takes conscience to be a court of due diligence.

call of petition vs call of authority

Kant on conscience as diversifying our moral personalities: it is a phenomenon in which we, one natural person, are several moral persons

faculties as self-instrumentalities

Job as the book of Dasein

the quasi-oral character of the storytelling in the Gospel of Mark

predication as the union of the predicate *into* the subject

photography as always a presenting-for

sign : human world :: movement : physical world  (Maritain)

the supersignifiable intelligible

- zeptowatt (10^-21 watts) as the rough minimum of energy required for a single cell to continue living so as to repair essential damage (usu. sub-seafloor cells that focus on methanogenesis are the kinds of cells that hover near this)

mildness as the virtue that covers disputation

exparticipation vs inparticipation

the categories as signification-anchors

In God, thing, concept, and sign are one.

Knowledge is not given but educed.

consent as self-deeming

the relation between conscience and dying well -- conscience as summoning us to live well and thus to die well

Decoding and deciphering generally involve causal mechanism.

'What one man can invent, another man can discover.'

persona, personal brand, social role, as relationes

External tribunals are imitations of conscience.

Schooling is something for which you have to make yourself fit.

The primary purpose of norms of journalistic objectivity is always to protect journalists; only if they are at leas normatively objective, and seen as such, are they not treated as opponents spreading enemy propaganda.

A vote is not an aspiration.

knowing through an intermediary as a mark of created being
-- another way to put it: the distinction between signified and signifier is a mark of created being

the liberal arts as paths to philosophy

Hell has no power to blackmail Heaven.

actions evocative of virtue
actions symbolic of virtue
actions appearing to imply virtue
actions implying virtue

divisibility, operativity, relativity

Mill's Methods as instruments of dialectic

Almost everything in a written constitution would be better done spontaneously through reason and regard for good precedent and the opinion of an at least decent and broadly honest public; but it is better to have the written guideline than nothing at all.

responsibilities, rights arising from responsibilities, responsibilities consequent to rights

Money does not arise directly from exchange but from honor.

Hypothesis confirmation is a matter of fit to experience; the emphasis, however, can be on the experience or on the fit to it.

"Symbols grow. They come into being by development out of other signs, particularly from likenesses or from mixed signs partaking of the nature of likenesses and symbols." Peirce

Peirce links reasoning too close to belief.

Peirce on excluded middle and noncontradiction:
(1) MAY BE: EM but not NC
(2) WOULD BE: not EM but NC
(3) IS: EM and NC
(4) empty: neither

Our Being-toward-death is a Being-under-judgment.

Communicative Acts
-- (1) Articulate
-- -- -- (a) Speech
-- -- -- (b) Writing
-- (2) Direct Semi-articulate
-- -- -- (a) Affectionate
-- -- -- (b) Pantomime
-- (3) Indirect (Mediated) Semi-articulate
-- -- -- (a) Painting
-- -- -- (b) Sculpture
-- -- -- (c) Architecture
-- (4) Expressive
-- -- -- (a) Music
-- -- -- (b) Dance

Cooperative Acts
-- (1) Mutual
-- -- -- (a) Communicative (speech)
-- -- -- (b) Physical (fight)
-- -- -- (c) Mediated Game (chess)
-- (2) Coordinately Directed (rowing a boat)
-- (3) Subordinately Structured (general and army)
-- (4) Auxiliary Provision (providing aid)

liturgy as a training of attention

(1) Trial and error concerns singulars whereas creativity extends to universals.
(2) Although creativity extends to universals, it also deals with singulars.
(3) Trial and error is often more efficacious in innovation than creativity, but creativity is better able to prioritize innovation in a given direction.

Logic is a form of creativity as well as knowledge.

ways of developing ideas
(1) go more general (generalize)
(2) go more specific (specify)
(3) analogize
(4) translate
(5) diagram

Godel's 2nd Incompleteness Theorem arguably shows that Peano's axioms cannot constitute a pure definition of 'natural number' (only one conditional with respect to other systems)

police as investigating vs as law enforcement vs as procedurally available force/coercion reserve for exigencies

deeds and dones

If you do not know how a fact demands explanation, you do not know what makes an explanation adequate.

All worthwhile things are easier to say than to do.

ordered use of chaos

Liberal regimes regularly mistake deflecting and coopting for learning.

Overspecialization always arises more from a large labor market than from a need for specialization.

Liberal democracies are generally poor at transmitting lessons across generations.

(1) social unity
(2) majority rule
(3) minority protection
(4) primacy of citizenship
-- these four elements are the major components contributing to success in liberal states, and a significant part of their attraction

Monarchy limits the growth of a centralized state, although it does not prevent it.

-- negative
-- positive
-- -- logical procession
-- -- real procession
-- -- -- without dependence
-- -- -- with dependence

to be a mine and not a kine
a man might kill or die

the universe as delomic symbolic legisign

the adorability of God even considered only hypothetically (Peirce)

Peirce's humble argument as related to erotetic ontological argument

the plurality of subsidiarities and solidarities

Logical positivism confuses meaning and hypothesis.

Pop culture is more or less equally superstitious in every age; the topics that gather superstitions are all that change.

Mutual trust is more powerful than conspiracy, more flexible, more effective.

Track 1: Schooling
Track 2: Job Training
Track 3: Entertainment
Track 4: Law and Politics

Protesting is most effective when it gives clear expression to a shift of incentives.

John the Baptist went before the Lord in death as well as in life.

formal logic : digital :: informal logic : analog

Analogies will often play you false, but even then they will often lead you astray in interesting ways.

Papal and conciliar declarations never put an end to controversy, generally speaking; they merely shift it off of load-bearing pillars.

'mine' by nature, by assimilation, by acquisition, by positive assignment

All created agents have agency with some measure of chance, or susceptibility to chance, or both.

the responsibility-ishness of the human response to the world

right to pursue happiness -> rights of conscience

change, composition, and boundaries as preconditions of experiments

relativity of impenetrability

being in a place circumscriptively, operatively, informatively, or semiotically

operative and semiotic compenetration of bodies

transcendental parthood // transcendental multitude

Doctor of Homilies

Today is the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church. He was bishop of Ravenna during a period in which Ravenna was the capital of the western Roman Empire; Pope St. Sixtus III is said to have appointed him outside the normal procedures because he had a vision in which St. Peter the Apostle and St. Apollinaris of Ravenna showed him a young man. When Peter arrived shortly afterward in a delegation from Ravenna, the Pope recognized him from his vision and, ignoring the preferred candidates, appointed him directly. An excellent preacher, his nickname, 'Chrysologus', means 'Golden Word', and is usually thought to have been given to him by Galla Placidia, the emperor's mother, with whom he had a fruiful partnership in the building of churches and the distribution of alms. He died July 31, 450.

Do you want to know, O man, what you owe to God? That you have been created is credit from God; that you are capable of reason is a loan from God; that you possess the ability to distinguish good from evil is something you have received; and that you pledged to follow completely the rule for living according to the bond of the Law as God drew it up, you are not able to deny. 

Meanwhile you act like a pig and wallow in mud through the vices of the flesh, and living like a beast on all fours, you are deprived of the reason with which you were endowed; in the raging waters of your sins you confuse good with evil because you have lost the ability to distinguish between them, and you squander the substance of the divine Law. Therefore, captivated by worldly pleasure you have become a lamentable debtor of a glorious loan. Regarding one who fails to reap any profit in the virtues, the interest compounded from sins is multiplied. 

But although you have fallen in this matter, although you have fallen headlong into these calamities, take care that you do not lose hope, O man; you still have the means to make amends to your very merciful Creditor. Do you want to be absolved? Then love. 

[Sermon 94, sections 5-6, from St. Peter Chrysologus, Selected Sermons, Volume 2, William Palardy, tr. Catholic University of America (Washington, DC: 2004).]

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Frightful Conspiracy


The truth is, that the world, knowing nothing of the blessings of the Catholic faith, and prophesying nothing but ill concerning it, fancies that a convert, after the first fervour is over, feels nothing but disappointment, weariness, and offence in his new religion, and is secretly desirous of retracing his steps. This is at the root of the alarm and irritation which it manifests at hearing that doubts are incompatible with a Catholic's profession, because it is sure that doubts will come upon him, and then how pitiable will be his state! That there can be peace, and joy, and knowledge, and freedom, and spiritual strength in the Church, is a thought far beyond the world's imagination; for it regards her simply as a frightful conspiracy against the happiness of man, seducing her victims by specious professions, and, when they are once hers, caring nothing for the misery which breaks upon them, so that by any means she may detain them in bondage. Accordingly, it conceives we are in perpetual warfare with our own reason, fierce objections ever rising within us, and we forcibly repressing them. It believes that, after the likeness of a vessel which has met with some accident at sea, we are ever baling out the water which rushes in upon us, and have hard work to keep afloat; we just manage to linger on, either by an unnatural strain on our minds, or by turning them away from the subject of religion. The world disbelieves our doctrines itself, and cannot understand our own believing them. It considers them so strange, that it is quite sure, though we will not confess it, that we are haunted day and night with doubts, and tormented with the apprehension of yielding to them. I really do think it is the world's judgment, that one principal part of a confessor's work is the putting down such misgivings in his penitents. It fancies that the reason is ever rebelling, like the flesh; that doubt, like concupiscence, is elicited by every sight and sound, and that temptation insinuates itself in every page of letter-press, and through the very voice of a Protestant polemic. When it sees a Catholic Priest, it looks hard at him, to make out how much there is of folly in his composition, and how much of hypocrisy.

John Henry Newman, Discourses to Mixed Congregations, Discourse 11: Faith and Doubt.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Gather, Ye Dreams, to Her Sunny Face

 A Ballade of Summer's Sleep
by Archibald Lampman

Sweet summer is gone; they have laid her away--
The last sad hours that were touched with her grace--
In the hush where the ghosts of the dead flowers play;
The sleep that is sweet of her slumbering space
Let not a sight or a sound erase
Of the woe that hath fallen on all the lands:
Gather, ye dreams, to her sunny face,
Shadow her head with your golden hands. 

The woods that are golden and red for a day
Girdle the hills in a jewelled case,
Like a girl's strange mirth, ere the quick death slay
The beautiful life that he hath in chase.
Darker and darker the shadows pace
Out of the north to the southern sands,
Ushers bearing the winter's mace:
Keep them away with your woven hands. 

The yellow light lies on the wide wastes gray,
More bitter and cold than the winds that race,
From the skirts of the autumn, tearing away,
This way and that way, the woodland lace.
In the autumn's cheek is a hectic trace;
Behind her the ghost of the winter stands;
Sweet summer will moan in her soft gray place:
Mantle her head with your glowing hands.

Till the slayer be slain and the spring displace
The might of his arms with her rose-crowned bands,
Let her heart not gather a dream that is base:
Shadow her head with your golden hands.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Standing Memorial

 Moreover, revelation considered only as subservient to natural religion, is important as an external institution of it. As miraculous powers were given to the first preachers of Christianity, in order to their introducing it into the world, a visible church was established, in order to continue it, and carry it on successively throughout all ages. This visible church is like a city built upon a hill, a standing memorial to the world of the duty which we owe our Maker—a repository of the oracles of God. It prevents us forgetting the reality of religion, by the form of it being ever before our eyes; and it has a further tendency to promote natural religion, as being an instituted method of education, that the body of Christ, as the Scripture speaks, should be edified. The benefit of a visible church being thus apparent, it follows that positive institutions are beneficial, for the visibility of the church consists in them.

Butler, Analogy of Religion, Part 2, Chapter 1. [ADDED LATER -- I wasn't quite thinking when I put this reference; this is actually Hobart's summary of Butler, not Butler himself, although Hobart sticks fairly close to Butler's argument. Butler's argument in his own words can be found here.] Of course, Butler doesn't think we should consider revelation "only as subservient to natural religion", only that a visible system of religious institutions does in fact increase our ability to participate even in natural religion in a manner appropriate to it. A similar point can be made about the 'spiritual but not religious' type of our days; namely, that if that were really your goal, actually participating in religious institutions would further it, just as a matter of human nature.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Music on My Mind


Eric Gillette, "Dream On". An Aerosmith cover, of course. The song saved Aerosmith from being dropped by their label, but only did so-so at first. When it was re-issued a couple of years later, however, it soared the charts, becoming one of the most recognizable songs in the world.

Half of my life's in books, written pages,
Lived and learned from fools and from sages....

Sunday, July 25, 2021

And Long a Watcher of the Stars Am I

The Syllogism
by William Ellery Leonard 

All men are mortal. Death marks every zone,
His low white cities gleam in every land,
The king goes down with peasant hand in hand;
Death hath all earth, all seasons, for his own.
I am a man, somehow to stature grown,
Somehow (as all) with feet to walk the strand;
Somehow with eye to see and to command,
Somehow with heart to suffer all alone.

And I am mortal; I too must be gone,
From hill or meadow smit of flame and sky,
Or from the shadow with the shutter drawn--
And long a watcher of the stars am I,
A listener at the sea from dusk to dawn,
And need no schoolmen, Death, to prove it by.