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Posts tagged "MS"

Counting Sheep with Andre Dubus

From “Out Like a Lamb,” in Dubus’ collection of essays, Broken Vessels (ht MS): “They were enclosed by a wire fence in a large section of the meadow. They had a shed there too, where they slept. All we had to do about them was make sure they didn’t get through the fence, which finally […]

Sources of Poetic Inspiration in the Democratic Age – Alexis de Tocqueville

Some anthropological insight from said chapter of the master’s Democracy in America (ht MS): “There is no need to traverse earth and sky to find a wondrous object full of contrasts of infinite greatness and littleness, of deep gloom and amazing brightness, capable at the same time of arousing piety, wonder, scorn, and terror. I […]

Chantal Delsol on Demiurges and Gardeners

From the French philosopher’s The Unlearned Lessons Of the Twentieth Century: An Essay On Late Modernity, ht MS: The interplay of frailty and promise forbids us to dismiss all philosophies of man as illusory and compels us to reflect on humanity. Because the human fabric remains imperfect, it cannot be reinvented by the will or […]

Perfection and Failure in Black Swan

A great little post by Anthony Sacramone over at First Things about “Law vs Gospel in Black Swan”, ht MS: Nina [the ballerina, played by Natalie Portman] is simply too naive, too fragile, too “good,” even, to access the “dark side.” She is offering up only half a performance. She must “free” herself! Only then […]

From Geoffrey Hill’s "The Triumph of Love"

One almost wonders if he’s intentionally riffing on Auden’s ‘In Praise of Limestone’ (ht MS):

Whatever may be meant by moral landscape,
it is for me increasingly a terrain
seen in cross-section: igneous, sedimentary,
conglomerate, metamorphic rock-
strata, in which particular grace,
individual love, decency, endurance,
are traceable across the faults.

Anti-Change Agents

A thought-provoking little report about the difficulties involved in changing consumer behavior on Grist. The writer phrases things in terms of sustainability, but (some of) the insights translate. The non-solutions include (ht MS): Lots of people seem to hope/wish that [changing consumer behavior] were simple. Many, many (many!) people cling to the notion that the […]

Another One from Michael Oakeshott

This time from the great philosopher’s book On Human Conduct (ht MS): “Religious faith is the evocation of a sentiment (the love, the glory, or the honor of God, for example, or even a humble caritas), to be added to all others as the motive of all motives in terms of which the fugitive adventures […]

Walker Percy on New Persuasive Words

From Conversations with Walker Percy (ht MS): “The main difficulty is that of language. Of course the deeper themes of my novels are religious. When you speak of religion, it’s almost impossible for a novelist because you have to use the standard words like ‘God’ and ‘salvation’ and ‘baptism,’ ‘faith,’ and the words are pretty […]

From Reinhold Niebuhr’s Introduction to Christian Ethics

A quick one from Obama’s favorite theologian (ht MS): The moral effectiveness of the religious life thus depends upon deeper resources than moral demands upon the will. Whenever the modern pulpit contents itself with the presentation of these demands, however urgent and fervent, it reveals its enslavement to the rationalistic presuppositions of our era. The […]