In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.
— Blaise Pascal, who died on this date in 1662
On the other hand, he is just another dead white guy.
As poetry is the highest speech of man, it can not only accept and contain, but in the end express best everything in the world, or in himself, that he discovers. It will absorb and transmute, as it always has done, and glorify, all that we can know. This has always been, and always will be, poetry's office.
— Conrad Aiken, who died on this date in 1973
… Dave Barry on Humor, Writing, and Life as a Florida Man. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
… now, it’s more likely to be a political target, and whichever side it is, I’m inclined to view that kind of humor as lazier. It’s more like, “I know you’re on my team, so if I mock that person, we’ll both get a good laugh, and it also will prove we’re smarter than them.”I assume there's a crisis, because it used to be said that the one sure way to kill humor is to analyze it. But this is a very engaging interview.
That’s kind of the format, the template, for a lot of humor now. And for the most part, it’s not really based on anything real. It’s kind of silly to pretend that all Republicans are stupider than all Democrats, in my opinion, or the other way around. Either way, it’s kind of a dumb template to start with, and yet that is the template now for both sides.
I think I belong at the Hopkins end of that arc because I'm the sort of Christian animal for whom celebration is the most important thing of all. I know that, as you say, there is terror in my poems, not so much presented as a tangible scariness but as a feeling that the order of things is in peril or in doubt, that there are holes in things through which one might drop for a long distance. The terror is there and it's countered continually by trust and by hope, by an impulse to praise. When I go to church, what doesn't particularly interest me is the Creed, although I find that I can say it. The Creed strikes me as very much like a political platform of some sort, and I believe that's what it was. What I respond to is, "Lift up your hearts!" It's lines like that in the Mass that belong to me, belong to my kind of religious experience.I feel much the same way.
The only time I read very much of Freud was when I was in high school. I didn't read much. I just didn't find it persuasive.
According to Jamison, Lowell’s life consisted of “sane” periods interrupted by a series of awkward, and sometimes violent, episodes, all excused by his mental illness. Most readers will be sympathetic to her efforts to “normalize” bipolar disease, but will also bewildered by her insistence that Lowell demonstrated character and courage. In fact, Jamison undercuts her own case by supplying overwhelming detail about periods of highly manic behavior and providing almost no detail about periods of less manic behavior.Lowell's violence seems to have always been directed toward women. Too bad he never picked on the wrong guy and got the shit beat out of him. Might have done him a world of good.
Reading Nathaniel Waugh's piece, I was struck how French seem to be. I am life-long walker, but I tend to saunter.The piece also reminded me of when, at De Gaulle Airport on our way to Dublin so I could cover the centenary of Bloomsday, a security escorted us to where we had tom go. As he was leaving, I turned and said to him merci. He stopped, turned, and gave me one of the friendliest smiles I have ever seen Then he waved and walked on.
Technology has made getting bits of information so easy that the big picture is lost. A case in point: Most of us now rely on GPS devices in our smartphones for simple navigation. We fail to learn even the most rudimentary knowledge of neighborhoods, much less understand where main thoroughfares are in relation to a street two blocks away. We count on our phones to navigate passageways on the road and in our lives.
O’Connor’s aim in rehabilitating the word vision was twofold. First, she wanted to restore the earlier concept of inner vision—sight with the mind’s eye—to Catholic writers and readers alike, since “the Lord doesn’t speak to the novelist as he did to his servant, Moses, mouth to mouth. He speaks to him as he did those two complainers, Aaron and Aaron’s sister, Mary: through dreams and visions, in fits and starts, and by all the lesser and limited ways of the imagination” (Mystery and Manners). Second, she tried to push back against the ways in which technology—whether in the form of film, photography, television, or even microscopes—threatens to further narrow and distort our understanding of vision, by stripping it not only of an imaginative component, but of embodiment, coherence, and any sense of reciprocity between viewer and viewed. “The human eye is not the camera eye,” one manuscript reads. “Vision takes place in the depths of the mind, with the assistance of emotion, knowledge, and belief.”
The latest example of the pope’s blueprint for the future is contained in an article penned by two of his closest confidantes. They believe that conservative Catholics in the United States have formed a coalition with Evangelical Protestants to push Donald Trump’s agenda, which the authors call a “Manichean vision.” The article, in the Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica, could not have been printed without Francis’s knowledge and approval.The pope left little doubt about his feelings toward Trump when the president and first lady visited the Vatican earlier this year. In their joint photo, Francis frowns as if he smelled something bad in the room.In addition to rejecting Trump’s worldview, the article’s authors single out White House strategist Stephen Bannon as a “supporter of apocalyptic geopolitics.” “The pope is expressing his displeasure at the election of Donald Trump as president and with the Catholics who voted for him,” says Deal Hudson, former Catholic Outreach director for the Republican National Committee. “It came as a huge surprise to the establishment of the church, who were pulling for Hillary Clinton.”
Last fall, I signed a letter in support of Trump for president. Some of my friends were appalled; others thought such a public endorsement unwise. These were not unreasonable reactions. Today’s populism has a revolutionary character, and revolutions are perilous. But I was and remain convinced that we cannot live in metaphysical poverty. We need to be empowered by loyalties and devotions that stir our hearts. Populism may be dangerous, but it reflects the correct intuition that my country and my citizenship cannot be bought and sold, nor can it be subordinated to institutions and agencies devoted solely to the protection and promotion of individual rights.
Germany’s lycanthropic predilections rose to new popularity under Hitler’s Nazi regime, with Third Reich officials recalling images of the Germanic wolf in propaganda and commonly associating the term with their leading para-military groups, including the famed Organisation Werewolf. Hitler’s name is itself a derivation of the animal, meaning “father wolf” – a mammalian title he wore proudly, citing himself as a wolf on many public occasions throughout the war.From The National Post: A review of Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich, by Eric Kurlande
… the state of being a lapsed Catholic is so painful that it sometimes seems to generate a positive charge, as though it had in itself a certain religious validity.Well, that is certainly true. He should have tried prayer.
Everything from our heating systems to our toothbrushes are plugged in and connected to internet, and smartphones are glued to the palms of our hands. Yet, Americans are using less electricity than we did 10 years ago.
Overall residential electricity sales have declined 3 percent from 2010 to 2016, and 7 percent on a per capita basis, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Professional cuddling is one of the latest iterations of self-care and wellness, focusing on touch therapy. Since the early 2000s, the field of professional cuddling as a therapeutic tool has transitioned from stigmatized field with pay-for-sex undertones to a legitimate service for healing with proven health benefit.
WASHINGTON, DC—Top physicists from several major American universities appeared before a Congressional committee Monday to request $50 billion for a science thing that would further U.S. advancement science-wise and broaden human knowing...
The highlight of the scientists' testimony was a series of several colorful diagrams of how the big machine would work. One consisted of colored dots resembling Skittles banging into one another. Noting the motion lines behind the circle-ball things, committee members surmised that they were slamming together in a "fast, forceful manner." Yet some expressed doubts as to whether they justified the $50 billion price tag.It's Onion Friday
"These scientists could trim $10 million if they would just cut out some of the purple and blue spheres," said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), explaining that he understood the need for an abundance of reds and greens. "With all of those molecules and atoms going in every direction, the whole thing looks a bit unorganized, especially for science."
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers." -- attributed to Socrates by PlatoNow...
Which is generally more often to blame if a person is poor: lack of effort on their own part, or difficult circumstances beyond their control?
The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation asked 1,686 American adults to answer that question — and found that religion is a significant predictor of how Americans perceive poverty.
Christians are much more likely than non-Christians to view poverty as the result of individual failings, especially white evangelical Christians.
Climate change is real, no lie, and the rise of a new literary genre that's been dubbed ''cli-fi'' is no lie, too.Well, climate is real and it is continuously changing, being a chaotic system governed by a non-linear dynamic. As for the precise direction it is taking at the moment, I'm with Niels Bohr: "Predicting is difficult, especially the future."
There is an admirable humility here, one that takes seriously the experiences of the person sometimes condescendingly called the “common reader”: someone like yourself, when you read for no other reason than because you like to. These readers find themselves drawn into the works of Tolkien, or Austen, or David Foster Wallace, or Anne Tyler, or Eugene Vodolazkin, or whomever not because they want to diagnose something that is wrong with these books, but because they offer an experience of . . . well, something that seems inchoately but truly worthwhile and pleasurable.
My thanks to Dave Lull for helping with getting that link back.If you've had the misfortune of reading The Da Vinci Code, you owe it to yourself to read State of Fear and see how a real pro writes a thriller. Compared with Dan Brown's pedestrian prose, stick-figure characters, and threadbare plot, Crichton's book is downright Shakespearean.It's long, too, and transparently didactic. There are charts and graphs, footnotes, a couple of appendices, and a 21-page bibliography. Kenner takes up a lot of pages rebutting environmentalist propaganda. Fortunately, Crichton - a graduate of Harvard Medical School who was once a fellow at the Salk Institute - is very good at explaining science, so this proves a pleasant way of learning a lot worth knowing. He certainly puts his cards on the table and points you to where you can check out his claims.
What truly comes across in this book is that the essay may well be a sally against the subject, but what is tried, in the final reckoning, are the authors themselves. And, of course, found wanting, in both senses of the word.
Essays by Cynthia Haven, Dick Davis, and John Whitworth
… As readers of [Dalrymple's] essays know, he has never been impressed by the excuses his patients make to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions (many of which are criminal, some murderous), and he is equally uninterested in sociological narratives of systemic oppression, according to which abusers and rapists and murderers become abusers and rapists and murderers because of insufficient access to housing. “Agency . . . is the experience of us all,” he writes. “We know our will’s free, and there’s an end on’t.”
Whether advanced AI will finish us is a question only time can answer, but we are faced with a more pertinent question in the present. Maslow, the originator of the world’s most quoted hierarchy, would have likely placed the threat to humanity from AI a couple of rungs higher, and therefore not worth losing sleep over, compared to the bread-and-butter disruption that everyday technology is wreaking.