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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Stuart Firestein : On Facts

Posted by Remy on May 23, 2012

“As I began to think about it, I realized that, contrary to popular view, scientists don’t really care that much about facts. We recognize that facts are the most unreliable part of the whole operation. They don’t last, they’re always under revision. Whatever fact you seemed to have uncovered is likely to be revised by the next generation. That’s the difference between science and many other endeavors.  Science revels in revision. For science, revision is a victory. In religion, or astrology, or any other belief system, revision is a kind of defeat. You were supposed to have known the answer to this. But the joy of science is that it’s about revision.”

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On the Reader : Laura Miller

Posted by Remy on March 2, 2012

“There’s some sort of disgrace to being a reader, or a viewer, or just absorbing some work of culture — it’s this lesser activity, by that rationale. I really disagree with that. I feel like reading and looking at art and all of these things are creative acts in their own way. The experience of a piece of culture being appreciated takes two people. A poor reader cannot have a great reading experience with a great author.”

-Laura Miller

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Reality : Marilynne Robinson

Posted by Remy on February 22, 2012

“The advice I give my students is the same advice I give myself—forget definition, forget assumption, watch. We inhabit, we are part of, a reality for which explanation is much too poor and small. No physicist would dispute this, though he or she might be less ready than I am to have recourse to the old language and call reality miraculous. By my lights, fiction that does not acknowledge this at least tacitly is not true.”

-Marilynne Robinson

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Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart

Posted by Remy on October 6, 2011

Biography is a troublesome genre in that it requires reducing a life to its lifeless chronology, pinning the influences upon the writer like labels to the appendages of a butterfly. The default setting of most biographers is to introduce the anxieties and trauma of a writer’s childhood so that the ensuing monuments of literature look to be the inevitable result of such a life, but the new biography of Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart (Thomas Nelson, 2011) avoids both the pitfalls of dreary biographical recap and the tenuous prospect of connecting an author’s psyche with his scholarship by artfully framing vignettes to develop the very themes Dostoevsky reflects upon in his novels. Drawing from Dostoevsky’s letters he constructs conversations as a novelist might to convey the person and his motives.

These biographical vignettes, rigorously researched and footnoted, are ordered by Dr. Leithart with a poets precision and timing. While no doubt a popular biography, Dr. Leithart’s “Fyodor Dostoevsky” nonetheless accomplishes a full vision of this great Russian novelist that a scholarly tome would spend hundreds more pages attaining.

A review copy was provided by the publisher Thomas Nelson, via Booksneeze.

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Heidelberg Catechism : Lord’s Day 22 : Question 58 as Poetry

Posted by Remy on April 13, 2011

Q: What comfort do you receive from the article about the life everlasting?

Since I now already feel
in my heart the beginning
of joy eternal,
I shall
after this life possess
perfect blessedness,
such as no eye has seen,
nor ear ever heard,
nor the heart of man
conceived– a blessedness
in which to praise forever God.

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Hair, blood, sweat, entrails, menstration and genital emissions

Posted by Remy on October 27, 2010

An experiment :

Step 1: Check the indexes of any theologian you choose for any of the words mentioned above.

Step 2: Check the Bible concordance for the same words.

Step 3: Ponder these questions: Do theologians talk about the world the same way the Bible does? Do theologians talk about the same world the Bible does?

[from Peter J. Leithart’s Against Christianity]

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William Stringfellow on Sex and Masturbation

Posted by Remy on August 6, 2010

On Masturbation :

The main danger and damage in masturbation is not in the conduct itself, but in the fantasy life that invariably accompanies the conduct. That life will hardly ever be a sexually fulfilling one, and indeed masturbation is probably most obviously another variety of sexual sublimation – one in which the sexual identity and capability of the person remains stalemated, indefinite, confused, and apparently self-contained.

On Sex :

Too often sex does not have the dignity of a sacramental event because it is thought to be the means of the search for self rather than the expression and communication of one who has already found oneself and is free from resorting to sex in the frantic pursuit of identity. It is wrong to assume that sex is in itself some way of establishing or proving one’s identity or any resolution of the search for selfhood. One who does not know oneself and seeks to find oneself in sexual experience with another will neither find self nor will he respect the person of a sexual partner. Often enough, the very futility of the search for identity in sex will increase the abuse of both one’s own self and one’s partner. The pursuit of identity in sex ends in destruction, in one form or another, for both the one who seeks oneself and the one who is used as the means of the search. No one may show another who he is or she is; no one may give another life; no one can save another.

– William Stringfellow

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Shark : a poem

Posted by Remy on March 16, 2010

Shark

Her body a corpse. Teeth a burnt forest.
Cold. Her eyes are like boiled eggs.
Lurking at every corner of the sea. Her house
is the way unto the deep. Watch your legs

if you swim aside into her way. If you
stray into her path, a bird into a snare,
you become her bread of secrecy.
Rage has built her house, has hewn out fear,

the wounded are pulled down into the black.
Relentless, she’s never closed an eye in rest.
Do not descend into her chamber of death,
for her lust is like a fire unto the chest.

She is cunning and hungry as a harlot.
She will clothe the simple man in scarlet.

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Andrey Tarkovsky on Modern Art

Posted by Remy on December 25, 2009

“Modern art has taken a wrong turn in abandoning the search for the meaning of existence in order to affirm the value of the individual for its own sake. What purports to be art begins to look like an eccentric occupation for suspect characters who maintain that any personalized action is of intrinsic value simple as a display of self-will. But in artistic creation the personality does not assert itself, it serves another, higher and communal idea. The artist is always a servant, and is perpetually trying to pay for the gift that has been given to him as if by a miracle. Modern man, however, does not want to make any sacrifice, even though true affirmation of self can only be expressed in sacrifice.”

-Andrey Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

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St. Augustine & A.R. Ammons

Posted by Remy on December 17, 2009

But what is this? I asked the earth and she replied: “It is not I,” and all that is in her made the same response. I asked the sea and the deeps and the creeping spirits and they answered: “We are not thy God; look above us.” I asked the fleet winds, and the whole air with its inhabitants said: “Anaximenes is mistaken. I am not God.” I asked the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars. “Neither are we,” said they, “the God whom thou seekest.” And I cried to everything that stands about the doors of my flesh: “Tell me of my God, since you art not He. Tell me something of Him!” And they shouted aloud: “He made us.”
-St. Augustine

The pieces of my voice have been thrown
away I said turning to the hedgerows
and hidden ditches
Where do the pieces of
my voice lie scattered
The cedarcone said you have been ground
down into and whirled

Tomorrow I must go look under the clumps of
marshgrass in wet deserts
and in dry deserts
when the wind falls from the mountain
inquire of the chuckwalla what he saw go by
and what the sidewinder found
risen in the changing sand
I must run down all the pieces
and build the whole silence back

As I look across the fields the sun
big in my eyes I see the hills
the great black unwasting silence and
know I must go out beyond the hills and seek
for I am broken over the earth-
so little remains
for the silent offering of my death

-A.R. Ammons

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