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Essential for the intellectual is the softening of the mind’s edge that the poet provides. Even the subtle thinker of deep and wide learning feels the confusingness of the World, especially the more he seeks out controversy. God help you when you search out controversy on the internet all day. To help He sends the poet. Consider Howard Nemerov[note]from “Figures of Thought: speculations on the meaning of poetry and other essays”, p. 7. D.R. Godine, 1978.[/note]:

You might sum up this part of the thesis by saying that poets are eccentric oddities who on a closer inspection turn out to be eccentric oddities like everyone else. Otherwise put, the poet is the weak criminal whose confession implicates the others.

It is no exaggeration to say that I’ve thought about that quote every week of my life since I first read it in college, and if you read it closely now, you should too. I’ve thought about it frequently because it is sweet to be implicated. It is the opposite of “to accuse”.

 

 

Why True Detective season one is counter-cultural

NOTE: This post contains thematic spoilers related to character development.

Living with the anxiousness of our current predicament[note]You know what I mean…alienation, “fear of missing out”, creating our own special identities, etc. [/note], what type of person can  claim to simply enjoy life? It is a frequently recurring question in contemporary philosophy, seeing as how the great ethical imperative of our time is “Enjoy!” but no one seems to ultimately derive any lasting enjoyment from the world we’ve created for ourselves. So who is it that has stripped away their illusions – has stopped deluding themselves about work, success, love and sex – and can now really enjoy the pleasures of life without contradiction and anxiety? Who can lay claim to the naive (in the best sense of the word) and childlike vision of life? 

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The Book that is an Image

St. Hilary

Scriptura est non in legendo, sed in intelligendo. [Scripture is not in the reading, but in the understanding.]  St. Hilary, 4th century AD

When I was an atheist, I’d search the Bible to see if it could convince me of Christianity’s claims. After all, this was the book, the center of Christian life and the authority of the church. I thought that if I couldn’t make peace with the Bible, then I had no business calling myself a Christian.

It didn’t take long for me to get discouraged or even disgusted. My desire to be convinced seemed to come from such exalted places, and the Bible by contrast contained so many buzzkills. The slaying of women and children in the Old Testament by God’s chosen. St. Paul saying he doesn’t “permit women to teach.” The fire and judgment featured in the book of Revelation. The seemingly manifold contradictions.

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The chronicles of coincidence: institutions thousands of years old all reach the same conclusion when it becomes popular to do so

buddhist monksDespite comments made only a few years ago denouncing homosexual acts, the Dalai Lama has now come out in favor of gay marriage. It seems like an incredible coincidence; after 2,500 years of Buddhism, he just reaches the conclusion now, when it happens to be such a popular position to hold? And at the same time that the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to gay marriage in our 228-year-old Constitution, too!

Now, Buddhism has always had a fairly hands-off approach to marriage, oftentimes regarding it as a mere social convention. But that hasn’t stopped plenty of leaders in the community, including the current Dalai Lama himself, from denouncing “sexual immorality”.
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Four pro-gun arguments to memorize after a mass shooting

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788

“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic…” – Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833

“I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” – George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788

Another mass shooting, another round of calls from progressives to have a “national discussion” about gun violence. You can be sure they mean “national lecture.” Given the left’s propensity for cultivating moral outrage today, you can be pretty sure that few progressives actually want to hear your defense of the Second Amendment. But if you find one who does, consider memorizing the basics of these arguments.

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