Friday, December 12, 2008
1. Three Scots are going to play a musical trio. It is written for Bagpipe, Tuba, and Bells. Being a valuble family heirloom, the bagpipe is kept in an old trunk. The tuba of course is very heavy. One of the players, while asking the other two what instrument they want, stubs his toe. This is what he says:
"Dee yee want the instrument o' chest, or ton, or Bell...Och!"
2. Q. If Mrs. Chesterton had had a child, and they had gone to play at a playground, and Mrs. Chesterton had died from playing to hard, what would we call her?
A. St. Frances of A See-Saw.
3. A not-so-absurd sentence:
To the painted Ball, add a White Worse with A Piece of Chalk; make it Leap into a
fence, Or, though ducks be in it, a lake (for the purpose of removing insects from its hide; make sure the ticks are in the hair, not the Hair on ticks).
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
What we've decided to do is a fairly friendly variation on an older idea. We will be splitting the blog into two - "Chesterteens" and "The Flying-Ins", but all current members will be invited to join both blogs.
The Chesterteens blog (which will remain at this present URL) will be focused on posts very closely relating to the writings of Chesterton and fun things slightly tangential to his writings, like the Gype game. I believe this will be very close to what the Chesterteens blog always was. It will be more heavily moderated content-wise and I think particularly appealing to the high schoolers around which the blog was built.
The Flying-Ins blog will move to a new URL and will be much more open and less moderated as far as content goes (I will still, as moderator, have high expectations regarding tones toward others - particularly guests of the blog). I'd still like to see some strong connectedness to Chesterton's writings so that the blog still retains some authentic Chestertonian focus. I think this will be especially appealing to the newer members of the blog - particularly those in college who are branching out and applying Chesterton's ideas elsewhere.
I think both blogs will be pleasant and beneficial to all of our members and I would encourage everyone to join both blogs as they desire. Further details will be pending and invitations to the new blog should be forthcoming to all members.
Thank you for your patience and God Bless!
Mrs. Van Hecke and Ria
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
...the fourth principle to be remembered, as in the other cases, people probably will not realize that it is practical, because the principles on which it rests sound theoretical. It rests on the fact that in the classification of the arts, mysterious murders belong to the grand and joyful company of the things called jokes. The story is a fancy; an avowedly fictitious fiction. We may say if we like that it is a very artificial form of art. I should prefer to say that it is professedly a toy, a thing that children 'pretend' wish. From this it follows that the reader, who is a simple child and therefore very wide awake, is conscious not only of the toy but of the invisible playmate who is the maker of the toy, and the author of the trick. The innocent child is very sharp and not a little suspicious.[I gave you the ref. already.]That is, Gype is possible only if it remains what it was founded for: a joke. There will never be a NGL (National Gype League) or offical Gype sportswear. Thank God.Finally, GKC concludes by saying "Every good problem of this type originates in a positive notion, which is in itself a simple notion; some fact of daily life that the writer can remember and the reader can forget. But anyhow, a tale has to be founded on a truth." You can read "that the ref can remember and the player can forget" if you like - provided that the game called Gype is also founded on a truth. Which means, (pace my friend and commentor) that Gype cannot be a matter of absurdity. It belongs to the universe of reason, and hence is the only sport which is Catholic in its essence. (More on that in a future discussion.)If you want better rules for the game, quick, go buy the Collected Works. That's all the more you'll find these days, unless someone locates GKC's and Wells' notes... But by all means, play - and if you do play, please write it up (with full details of the score, etc) and send it to us. The Chesterton University team is ready to defend its title..."
---------Quoted from a Dr. Thursday post
A: Will this game be self-contained, taking no ideas from outside itself (sports, checkers, and card games fall into this category) or will it be based on a concrete reality (Monopoly and Risk fall into this category). I would say that word games are midway between the two categories.
B. If it is concrete or a word game, choose the reality on which it is based. For example, the game called "The Great Battles of Alexander" is based on...guess what. But it is slightly more involved than that, as that particular game is based on the realites of combat at the commander's level. If it is a word game, you already have the reality chosen for you, although we could play in Quenya instead of English. If it a self-contained game, you have to decide on the natures of the things that can be used in the game. For example, soccer requires a thing called a soccer ball, a thing called a soccer field, and two things called goals.
2. Next, decide on the object of the game. There are two types of objects. Quantum objects state that when a player achieves a certain state of game-being or fulfills certain steps in a certain order, they win/lose. Mathematical objects state that when a player demonstrates that they are the best at playing the game, usually by the accumulation of the most points by a certain time, they win.
This object must be translated (Algernon...) into terms relevant to the game. (This can be done by saying that certain things or states of game-being are worth points.) For example, chess has a quantum object that is stated in chess-relevant terms as checkmate. Life has a mathematical object that is stated in life-relevant terms as having the most money (can be seen as points instead of #$'s) by the time every player reaches millionare acres.
3. Next, write the rules. This is the hardest part. In a non-democratic game, I would go about it in this way:
A. In a concrete game, find how the real-life equivalent of the object is obtained and do research into the elements that go into this process. For example, in the game Soldier Kings, the object is to have the most money-giving territories by the end of the game. This translates into money-rich regions of the world in real life. Now in the Seven Years War, in which the game is set, this was done by military conquest and diplomatic wheeling. Both of these depend on a lot of factors, such as liquid assets, population, atttitude of the King of England toward the Doge of Venice, Native American Cannibalism, etc. Translate these back from real life into game terms.
In an self-contained game, you get to make all this stuff up yourself without translating, but i will give an example anyway. In Topple, the object is to gain points. The game makers decided that the method of gaining points is to stack as many discs as possible without toppling the delicately balanced board .
B. In a concrete game, the next step is to decide what elements to keep and how they are expressed in game terms. For example, the play-by-play movements of the squad commanders is not an element included in the World War II game Axis and Allies, but the realites of winning and losing battles are expressed by rolls of the dice applied to a "Combat engine" (I'm sure Dr. Thursday knows what a Combat Engine would be). Because the realites of combat in WWII are different from the realites of combat in the Seven Years War, the combat engine is different in Soldier Kings.
In a self-contained game, the next step is to provide your limitations that increase the game's playablility, fairness, etc. For example, in Topple, you are required to place the discs in dents on the board and the dents you may choose are limited by what roll you throw. You also may place only one disc per turn.
c. In a non-democratic game only, you must test the game and revise the rules. I have tested many games that I have made, and have not liked any of them except when I made Risk based on a map of Ancient Greece. But that time, the rules were all written for me by someone else...
4. Then, play the game!
In a democratic game, the steps are teh same, except that we get to vote on what all the elements are.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
"gype chesterton -"Dr. Thursday"" you get about 170 answers.
Paradoxically, if you type in "gype chesterton -"Dr. Thursday" -aaa" you get about 101 answers.
The sites that were excluded when you typed in -aaa were sites that seemed to be lists of all the words there are in alphabetical order.
I also learned that practically the only things you find on google are blogs that mention gype but tell you nothing about it, G.K. Chesterton's autobiography, and Maisie Ward's biography of Chesterton.
I also found:
Lawrence D PO Box 635 Chesterton IN 46304-0635 26421 Andersen Paul Frank ...... Olmsted OH 44070 50920 Gype Lawrence Keith 5980 Whiteford Dr. Highland ...
Apparently, someone has actually played this game within the last 10 years and it involved water pistols as a form of punishment for the outside version and scrabble letters for the inside version.
It is my personal conclusion that gype is a game for which the rules are to be decided democratically by the players. The idea of the game is absurdity. The game is meant to be adapted to the situation. Apparently, Chesterton's sedentary version was meant to be a visual-spatial strategy game. If you can find, in Chesterton's works, more descriptions of the game then the ones I found, I might try to give you a set of real rules.
It is my personal recommendation that we, as the Innocent-Smith style nation of "The Flying-Ins," form our own official set of rules so that we may play it over the internet or take it to the next convention.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
An Inquiry into the Distribution of the Wealth of Peoples
Distributism is an Outline of Sanity. While laissez-faire capitalists attack it as socialism under any other name, and socialists are unable to understand the difference between the two theories, Distributism is quite distinct from both. Essentially, Distributism is the startling idea that there is more to life than raw, mathematical economic growth or equality of income.
The theory was originally developed by a small circle of friends headed by G.K. Chesterton and Hilare Belloc around the turn of the twentieth century. The foundational text of the theory is the Outline of Sanity, in which Chesterton lays out the key criticisms of the laissez-faire capitalist approach (as was being practiced in the England of his day) and discusses what a healthy socioeconomic situation should look like. However, Distributism was then, and still is, and nascent theory, and there are no dogmatic policy recommendations in the text, instead, today’s Distributists must approach the status quo with independent analysis in order to develop beneficial ways to arrive at Chesterton and Belloc’s vision.
While the theory was officially born of that circle of friends, the foundations and inspiration of the movement are found in the Papal Encyclicals Rerum Novarum and Quadregisimo Anno, which outline Catholic Social teaching. This being said, it is necessary to define the theory.
Distributism mainly deals with the idea of property. While typical capitalists claim that their theory is the most supportive of private property, Distributism claims to supersede the laissez-faire doctrine. Perhaps the criticism is best explained by Chesterton himself: “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.” Everyone should own a reasonable amount of property. Socialism wants to abolish the ideal; Capitalism favors the concentration of property into the hands of an oligarchy. Both of these are the enemies of freedom, as they deprive the majority of humanity of their individual freedom and power that comes with property. While Capitalists rely on the expression of the “free market” in order to justify their theory, when this happens, Capitalism concentrates wealth more and more, until it begins to look suspiciously like Socialism, except that big business rules instead of big government. And after that, it becomes impossible to distinguish between big business and big government, and essentially, we have the exact same thing. Some will almost certainly respond to this with the assertion that “Socialism has failed; Capitalism has succeeded.” The Distributists warns that person not to be too hasty. Just because the U.S.S.R. lost the Cold War does not mean that the Capitalist can write off every other economic theory. Furthermore, who is to say that the United States will not crumble tomorrow? The Capitalist cause is not yet won. In the end, both Capitalism and Socialism work to end up in the same place. Distributism vehemently opposes this oligarchy.
However, Distributism must do more that simply oppose the twins Socialism and Capitalism and stand for something on its own. It does indeed fulfill this requirement. Distributism is the unabashed promotion of private property. Every man should own some property and some means of production. “Wage slavery” as Chesterton called it greatly inhibits the freedom of the individual and only serves to continue concentrating wealth. While this is not necessarily a bad thing on a small scale, almost all jobs today are wage jobs. The entrepreneurial class is dying, and this theory seeks to rejuvenate it. According to Chesterton, a large class of entrepreneurs and small business owners would be the most dangerous single socioeconomic arraignment to those who would concentrate power into the hands of a few. Big corporations have great influence in the U.S., while the government is a *tad* too influential in China. Both are enemies of the freedom and self-governance of the populace.
Some attack the theory by arguing that it somehow futility opposes the law of comparative advantage and the division of labor. Perhaps this is true to some extent. However, specialization would clearly continue; however, the theory does indeed oppose specialization to approaches the limits of insanity. For example, having five hundred people all doing one single task over and over and over again in order to make a pin is psychologically damaging. While some would argue that this is necessary to bring down the price and increase output, perhaps the world does not need so many pins. Perhaps if the process were unspecialized, pins would also be expensive enough to make a wage on, without creating an excess of the product. This allows the laborer to maintain his sanity while still meeting the world’s demand for pins.
As the graph demonstrates, a reworking of our economy could indeed make less efficient pin production quite sustainable. If the entire industry went back to smaller shops, the price would increase because of the shift of the supply curve; however, there would not be the drudgery of picking five hundred thousand pins of one production line, and then placing them on the next. Furthermore, if the entire economy switches, then there will be little to no actual change in PPP (purchasing power parity) as workers will both earn and pay more. Distributism does not destroy equilibrium, but it does re-center it with new a new equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity.
Here, it is necessary to note that Distributism is a normative economic theory, not a positive economic theory. Chesterton and Belloc do not claim to be able to buck the stars and control the invisible hand. Instead, they simply realize that there is more to life than what might appear most economically beneficial, and so justify innumerable actions with the shallow claim that it is best for the markets. Furthermore, the Distributist movement reminds the world that “Not all that glitters is gold.”
Distributism has no track record, and so its solvency in the real world is still theoretical. While I believe the Distributist cause is unlike in most of the world’s superpowers, many of the currently marginalized regions hold great promise. Hopefully Distributism will be enacted before they can hurdle themselves down either the Socialist or Capitalist trail of folly. The most promising countries for the implementation of Distributism lie in the Caribbean and the South Pacific islands. While neither capital nor economic growth is particularly noteworthy in these regions, they are smaller and geographically more isolated than their continental counter parts. This already creates an atmosphere of small property holdings and reasonable economic independence from other lands. Furthermore, the island culture also lends itself to Distributism.. Distributism will most likely have to enter the U.S. at the local or state level, as attempting to do so at the Federal level is not only ridiculously unlikely, but also contradictory to the Distributist tendency towards the devolution of powers. Furthermore, the current level of centralization in the U.S. is very high, and fighting the mega-corporations must come from the bottom up.
Distributism is a novelty in economic theories, perhaps because it is not extremist in either direction. The Distributist model fits the socioeconomic lock of life and threatens the theories long upheld by the world. Thus Capitalism and Socialism both attack Distributism desperately, hoping to retain their deathly grip on the freedom of humanity. Only then do they run into a surprising Distributist who never knew that he was one: Thomas Jefferson.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
1. ..."you seem to be going in for journalese proverbs. Do you believe that truth is stranger than fiction?"So there you have them. I do not say GKC wrote no others, though it is very unlikely; there are a few other appearances of "stranger than", of which this, though possibly tendentious, is worth consideration:
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction," said Basil placidly. "For fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it."
[GKC, "The Singular Speculation of the House Agent" in The Club of Queer Trades (1904)]
2. [Shaw] has based all his brilliancy and solidity upon the hackneyed, but yet forgotten, fact that truth is stranger than fiction. Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.
[GKC, Heretics CW1:66 (1905)]
3. ...we must not mix up the ghost story, which is a story about a ghost, with some other technical type of tale, such as a story about a corpse. The ideas are on two different planes, and one willalways suffer from the presence of the other. Either the spiritual story will be much too thin, or the blood and bones story will be a bit too thick. Ghosts, in short, may wander about in real life, if they like, because truth is stranger than fiction; but in the refined world of fiction we must be a little more exclusive and fastidious in our selection of ghosts. They must be family ghosts in the sense of ghosts of good family; or only living (like the dear old butler) with the best. A mere mob of phantoms, for all I know, may march like an army up the high road of history; but we must know more about the particular ghost before we allow him to appear in so serious a thing as a novel.
[GKC ILN May 30, 1936; special thanks to Frank Petta and my mother for this essay]
All that dark and yet exuberant imagery belongs to a tradition that can be seen in the art and ornament of Spain. It can be seen in the special Spanish love of black; the black which is not the negation of colour, but rather the accumulation of colour. It can be seen in the rich darkness of Spanish churches, fretted with the golden fire of countless candles. But it can be seen fully and completely only in the world-wide spreading of the Spanish culture in the sixteenth century, when it met on its borders monsters stranger than whales; red men and golden mountains and a new world. It had many crimes, which are not hidden in Claudel's poem, but it had this very enviable greatness that strange stars and new sciences were then opened to a Christian world that was still full of chivalry; of which wicked men colonised for greed, but good men did not colonise only for commerce; when the white man was as romantic a figure as the red man, and trade had not destroyed the Red Indian to replace him by the Regular Guy.So what I would like to know is: when will ChesterTeens (by that or any other name) be publishing their first book of fiction? I for one would like to read some of your fiction, be they about ghosts, corpses, Spain, or whales....
[GKC ILN Mar 19 1932; reprinted in All I Survey; thanks again to Frank Petta and my mother]
P.S. I would like to address Old Fashioned Liberal's comment about creativity being a kind of discovery, but I have other chores, and (due to the expected length of my reply) I would prefer to handle it elsewhere, since it will require a short presentation of a very interesting result of automata theory, which few of our audience may have at their disposal. But it ought to be quite interesting, if I ever get to it.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
TRUTH must necessarily be stranger than fiction; for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.
(Todays quote of the day)
I think the following story from the marvelous Wisdom and Innocence by Joseph Pearce, is very much in the spirit of the quote above
Many years later this splendid stir and thrum was to have a marked effect on
Douglas Hyde during a train journey through south London:
Through my mind, in rhythm with the wheels, ran a verse from Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse I had re-read not long before:
Therfore I bring these rhymes to you,
Who brought the cross to me,
Since on you flaming without flaw,
I saw the sign that Guthrum saw
When he let break the ships of awe,
And laid peace upon the sea
Could there be so many Catholic Churches? I asked myself, as cross followed cross. Why had I not seen them before? Through Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, smug, suburban Streatham, the crosses came and went. And still the wheels hammered out Chesterton's lines:
Out of the mouth of the Mother of God
Like a little word come I;
For I go gathering Christian men
From sunken paving and ford and fen,
To die in a battle, God knows when,
By God, but I know why.
Hyde was, at this time, a leading member of the Communist Pary and news
editor of its paper, the Daily Worker. Soon after, he resigned from its ranks
and became a Catholic.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Keep in mind that the tone a comment or post is intended to portray is sometimes difficult to ascertain (especially in times of disagreement) unless great care is given to one's choice of words. So please read through your posts and comments before publishing them.
Also, in general, I'd like to request that we don't stray too far from our Chestertonian theme here and that responses to comments be posted to the appropriate comments box rather than as a new post.
Your friendly neighborhood moderator.
By the way the moderator and the president are considering a division of blogs to further accomodate our recent growth. We are thinking that it might be beneficial to have separate blogs for high school and college age Chestertonians. We would be very much interested in your input on the subject. Please e-mail me at love2learnmom at gmail dot com with your thoughts.
Monday, October 20, 2008
It is a short story called Special Guests. Here is the cover of the book (which is not yet in print):
I hope you will enjoy it.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
P.S. There's a reason for me always saying "News News News" and not just "News."
Every location in the fourth dimension containing the event of the Levithian according to the Jehovah's Wittnesses reducing its speed until it comes to a complete stop I emote that it has fractured past aluminum cases containing controlled ion reactions of besiegers, and that the object of anthropology has won an international pugilism against the fruits of evil that take the form of randomness. You dictate vilifiedly and condescendingly that at the time when one has left Sloane equilateral rectangle one is in the position of having the necessity of arriving at Victoria. I declare! Strength of doing could be employed in myriad objects rather, and that in that situation in history when I sail into victoria I possess the perception of shoestring lifestyle in an uneconomic sense liberation from death. And when my life-chemichals are at a certain point between birth and death, and the locomotive major-domo grates on our aural organs by declaring the part of speech that bears the name (not the function) "Victoria!" it is not a word such as communist american journalists use when they say 'ethics.' This verbal sonic situation has the form and the actuality of a person who could speak more loudly than others in the middle ages announcing the formal defense of one's land with force of arms, regardless of whether such action was necessary. It is to me in the act of doing "Victoria" and the fact that the hearer of the protoevangelion's descendants have done something to something undesirable to make it not exist any longer.
Here's the original.
Every time a traincomes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, andthat man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuouslythat when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. Isay that one might do a thousand things instead, and that wheneverI really come there I have the sense of hairbreadth escape. Andwhen I hear the guard shout out the word 'Victoria,' it is not anunmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcingconquest. It is to me indeed 'Victoria'; it is the victory ofAdam."
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It's somebody who has a lot of books, and he seems to be holding the famous Greek Lexicon of Liddell and Scott. Is he laughing? I wonder why. It almost sounds like a story.
Today is September 30, the last day of the longest month - you knew that, didn't you? Computer scientists have to know such odd things. If you are not quite sure how "September" is the longest, you "May" have spend a short time in thought. Hee hee.
There's lots of things I might talk about, but (speaking of pictures) I think the best is to try to draw into a more Chestertonian vein something you've been doing here on your blogg - your very interesting "game" of translating a famous GKC quote into English. It's the kind of thing he would find most amusing, as well as paradoxical, since he often had to do that himself.... of course I am overwhelmed with examples as usual, so I cannot give you one just now... I will find one for next time.
OK, Games. You must already know about GKC's very own game, the game of Gype. He invented it with H. G. Wells:
I also remember that it was we who invented the well-known and widespread national game of Gype. All sorts of variations and complications were invented in connection with Gype. There was Land Gype and Water Gype. I myself cut out and coloured pieces of cardboard of mysterious and significant shapes, the instruments of Table Gype; a game for the little ones. It was even duly settled what disease threatened the over-assiduous player; he tended to suffer from Gype's Ear. My friends and I introduced allusions to the fashionable sport in our articles; Bentley successfully passed one through the Daily News and I through some other paper. Everything was in order and going forward; except the game itself, which has not yet been invented.As you already know, it is the only sport for which Chesterton University has a varsity team - they have been undefeated ever since its founding, since no other school on Earth has a varsity Gype team. Another day I will tell you more, and perhaps discuss its relation to "Calvinball" - but for today I wish to merely give you my entry in your GKC translation game, and see if you wish to guess what famous quote I have munged:
[GKC Autobiography CW16:211-2]
All of the individual simple supernatural beings: that is, those which have no material extension, which dwell in the presence of God, and which are often assigned the office of messenger, possess individually the ability to perform translation of position within three-space it occupies at present, without regard for the gravitational forces acting at that position. This possession by these beings is a logical result of their simultaneous possession of the potential of judging their individual intrinsic worth in the scheme of being as comparatively less than it actually is.See what you can do with it.
OK, that's all for now. Maybe next time maybe I will have a story and not just a picture.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
"To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears....hmm...I wonder what the prayer would mean if they were tears of joy....does that make sense? Well, if we were mourning and weeping there, what motherly patience she must have with us, we mourners-when-we should be laughers. What a horrible sin that would be! That's why she needs to be our "most gracious advocate" and the exile we are in is a self-imposed one from joy. And in our world of joy, she is our sweetness because not only is she sweet, but our modern, drab spiritual tongues are too dull to feel the flavor in anything but the Sweetest one of All. Yes, that will do quite nicely. I must write an essay about that."
Why he didn't, I will never know...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
-- From Autobiography (1936)
Not that all these mentioned mental conventions are necessarily wrong, but we have to be able to at least question them. If you so much as questioned any of these out loud (regardless of the answer you gave yourself), you'd probably get told you were an ignoramus or an elitist or a racist or a chauvinist or an extremist or a fanatic or an absolutist or a Chestertonian or a....
Anyway, isn't that sort of response exactly what we expect to get eventually?
Sunday, September 14, 2008
As for Comedy, it is (as has been observed) an imitation of men worse than the average; worse, however, not as regards any and every sort offault, but only as regards one particular kind, the Ridiculous, whichis a species of the Ugly. The Ridiculous may be defined as a mistakeor deformity not productive of pain or harm to others; the mask, forinstance, that excites laughter, is something ugly and distortedwithout causing pain.
Would you not call Innocent Smith ridiculous in one way or another? It cannot be denied that his Aristotelian "fault" is a virtue. Innocent Smith is ridiculous on purpose because he enjoys it. The characters in "The Birds" (an ancient Greek Comedy) are ridiculous because they are extremely lazy and decadent (although they do tell a few very clean, very funny, not specifically lazy jokes). I don't think we have to be ridiculous to love life as much as Smith does, but if we enjoy it (as I do) why not?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
"But others have conjectured that what is called matriarchy was simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remained fixed because all the fathers were fugitive and irresponsible. Then came the moment when the man decided to guard and guide what he had created. So he became the head of the family, not as a bully with a big club to beat women with, but rather as a respectable person trying to be a responsible person. Now all that might be perfectly true, and might even have been the first family act, and it would still be true that man is for the first time acted like a man, and therefore for the first time became fully a man."
You see, I have seen a criticism that compared the actions of the men in this particular scene from Dracula with things that the actions are obviously not supposed to represent. I saw this action as something immensely good. Upon reflection, this Chestertonian thing is what it seemed to resemble. This interpretation has none of the evil aspects of feminism.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
We discovered that living like Paul in "Tremendous Trifles" is a habit one gets through reading Chesterton and doing Chesterton-style meditations. We also decided to give away free brown paper bags with chalk and copies of the essay "A Piece of Chalk" on campus. I hope people laugh at us....
Monday, September 08, 2008
Math is the alphabet with which God wrote the universe - Galileo Galilei
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit - There has been no great talent without an element of madness - Seneca
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I don't know yet. I need to read the book, not just look at it. Until then, however, I would welcome your comments.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
In short, what the critics would call romanticism is in fact the only form of realism. It is also the only form of rationalism. The more a man uses his reason upon realities, the more he will see that the realities remain much the same… If the real girl is experiencing a real romance, she is experiencing something old, but not something stale. If she has plucked something from a real rose-tree, she is holding a very ancient symbol, but a very recent rose. And it is exactly in so far as a man can clear his head, so as to see actual things as they are, that he will see these things as permanently important as they are. Exactly in so far as his head is confused with current fashion and aesthetic modes of the moment, he will see nothing about it except that it is like a picture on a chocolate box… Exactly in so far as he is thing about real people, he will see that they are really romantic. Exactly in so far as he is thinking about pictures and poems and decorative styles, he will think that romance is a false or old-fashioned style. He can only see people as imitating pictures; whereas the real people are not imitating anything. They are only being themselves- as they always be. Roses remain radiant and mysterious, however many pink rosebuds are sprinkled like pips over cheap wallpapers. Falling in love remains as radiant and mysterious, however threadbare be the thousandth repetition of a rhyme as a valentine of a cracker-motto. To see this fact is to live in a world of facts. To be always thinking of the banality of bad wallpapers and valentines is to live in a world of fiction.
I also loved this from Oscar Wilde: "A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
I just finished The Ball and the Cross today. All I can say for now is wow, but hopefully I'll manage a more complete review later on. For now, Goodnight!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
(loose quotation of a passage from The Everlasting Man)
And what does this have to do with anything? Consider this:
According to "Prehistoric Journey," an exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the creature we call a whale came about in something like this way:
"At some point in time, the creatures we call animals came up out of the water, and began to live as land life-forms. These developed into diverse forms. Among these were the animals of the highest sort: the complex, motherly, and beautiful creatures we call mammals.
One of these animals was somewhat similar to the modern tiger, with carnivorous habits, orange-and-black striped fur (author's aside: why they illustrated him such, I shall never know, except that it looks cool), and claws. Spurred on by the inevetible destiny of evolution, it returned to its original home, the sea. Its ferocious nature, in the company of the serenity of the ocean, turned graudually or by leaps and bounds into the gentle and large creature we know as the whale."
I don't know about you, but I don't believe a word of it. I also find this idea, and indeed, all the ideas of evolution, to be highly poetic. I almost wish that I wished it were true. Why? Because evolution is a myth in the grand, Chestertonian sense of the word?
First: Chesterton says in The Everlasting Man, that myths are products of the human imagination, and that they are divorced from reason, a fact attested to by the philosophers who consistently disbelieved the myths, with their unworshippable objects of worship. To my knowledge (I do not wish to bore you with science here, although I am prepared to explain in the comments box), evolution on the scale espoused by the makers of "Prehistoric Journey" is practically impossible, and unworthy of belief. For this very reason, only imagination could have come up with these fascinating theories. Think of "Nebraska Man," for example, a creative imaginative construct based on a tooth. The evocative power of this biological artistry shows in the poetic response given to it by a disbeliever.
Second: Chesterton also says that mythology satisfied several human needs, such as the need for sacrifice and the need for doing certain things at certain times. Sincere believers in evolution sacrifice a great deal of time and effort, some of the most valuble things they have, in devotion to their beliefs. Whether they are right or wrong has no effect on the fact that they pay homage (not worship, of course) to the object of their either logical or illogical faith. Additionally, whenever they study anything relating to geology or fossils, they feel compelled to insert, with a regularity that seems almost ritualistic, their belief in this phenomenon, allowing it to affect their facts, their judgments, and their presentations. Indeed, one could even make a case that evolution was a greater mythology than the pagan beliefs, for the pagans sacrificed grain and cows, but the scientists ritually place their very minds in the service of Lady Evolution.
Third: Chesterton says that if he were to cease being a Catholic, he would become a pagan, and make the very trees holy places. Now, of course, the animals of the past are not worshipped, but they do acquire a sort of feudal dignity that they did not have before under the governance of this theory. In addition to their dignity as creations of God, every plant and animal is suddenly a recipient of a (albeit diluted) human emotion of pleasant surpise and greater wonder, for The Earth is our Mother, and the Sea Urchin our long-lost cousin.
So, whether you believe in evolution or not, treat it as Chesterton treated the Iliad, as a literary treasure, a thing of poetic beauty regardless of its truth.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Assuming that it is technologically feasible to develop a computer powerful enough to sustain a realistic illusory world (The Matrix, for example). andAssuming that a society with such technology would test it, andAssuming they would test it more than once, andAssuming that the socety, like all societies, would become so decadent that things as stupid, immoral, pleasant, and morbid as that would become popular,It seems that there would be far more imaginary universes than real ones, hence we are thousands of times more likely to be living in an imaginary universe than a real one. The Puzzler:1. Why is this not true, even if you believe all the assumptions? (Hint: If there was a chapter in Orthodoxy you really didn't like, you might have a more difficult time answering this question.)2. Why does it not matter for the sake of most arts and sciences and the salvation of our souls?
Hans Lundahl said...
1) If you believe assumption one, meaning thereby the technical possibility (including economic feasability) of an illusion encompassing your whole consciousness, the conclusion is not so much untrue as misstated: we would be far more likely to be experiencing an imaginary world than the real one; if so we would perhaps be living in the real universe, but not experiencing it otherwise than indirectly, through the imaginary one.However, there is no such thing as a conclusive evidence for such a possibility; theoretically that could be part of the illusion, but there is no prima facie case for it.Pope Urban VIII, when condemning Galileo might have been foreseeing this scepticism as a consequence of believing each day that what your eyes and sense of balance tell you are sensory illusions. He tried to indicate the idiocy of unwarranted ultrascepticism, just as Luther and the Patriarchs who condemned Copernicus and Papal astronomers.2a Morals and logic are the same in any possible universe. (Blue Cross, first Father Brown story, author supposedly known on this site)2b Any imaginary world needs an imaginer in the real one, who can only distort reality so much, but cannot create a world from nothing. (Tree and Leaf, Tolkien)2c Even if you assume that you are living in a dream, act and decide as if living in real life. (La vida es sueño, Lope de Vega)
I might add that the belief that one is within a computer illusion is exactly the type that is condemned in the chapter called "The Maniac" in Orthodoxy. Another somewhat convincing proof of the reality of what we experience (as opposed to the idea that it is a computer illusion) is the problem of evil. Why would a person put in evil in their imaginary world? I can think of three types of human persons who would do such a thing: a sadist, a poet, and a consummate deceiver who beleived it would make the illusion more realistic. It cannot be the sadist, for if it were, the imaginary world would be far more evil than it is. It cannot be a poet, for the person who designed the world, if he is a poet, is obviously a superlative poet. If he is a superlative poet, however, he would know that an imaginary world would be less poetical than a real one, and would never have made the illusion in the first place. If he is a realistic person, why has the absolute power that he has over the lives of his patients not made him into the sadist?
Anyway, here is the next puzzler. It's much funnier.
A man in Ireland planted an apple tree in his backyard. That night, an Irish fairy came. Using a chapter from a book by Chesterton, she cast a spell on the tree. That fall, in the time when the apples were ripe, the man was found to have been eaten by a well-known animal from India. What chapter of what book by Chesterton did the fairy use?
Hint: The book by Chesterton is one of his more famous ones. There are also two completely irrelevant details in the puzzle.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Anyway, I did see such a book in such a place, and blithely bought it. Contentedly, it sat on my shelf, waiting to impart supposed words of wisdom and giving me all the famed 'delights of anticipation.'
It was then that I decided to take a look at the bibliography. I discovered, to my shock, that many of the source texts had titles like...well, you may have younger siblings looking over your shoulder. I felt even stupider when I saw on the book jacket (which I had read before buying) that the author was a radical feminist. Don't worry, this is a happy story.
Soooo...I e-mailed Notting Hill Books. You would be surprised if they turned out to be evil, wouldn't you. I learned (drum roll, please) that the book had been bought by Notting Hill Books as part of a large collection, and that its inclusion in the display in St. Paul had been a complete accident. So now, I am going to return it so that Notting Hill Books can have heat this winter, and in return, they are going to send me a much better book by Jaques Martrain. So next time, please do judge a book by its cover.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
In a number of the FB stories, such as "The Wrong Shape", "The Sign of the Broken Sword" and "The Honor of Israel Gow", it seems small details; things that are incomplete, the wrong shape or just slightly off, aid Father Brown in the solving of the mystery.
Obviously, this is especially key in the story currently under discussion. One of the first objects of the wrong shape to catch Father Brown's eye was an oriental dagger. Some of his remarks on the subject struck GilbertGirl, Algernon and I as quite interesting, such as:
"Don't you see it is the wrong shape? Don't you see that it has no hearty and plain purpose?"
"It's very beautiful," said the priest in a low, dreaming voice; "the colours are very beautiful. But it's the wrong shape."
"What for?" asked Flambeau, staring.
"For anything. It's the wrong shape in the abstract. Don't you ever feel that about Eastern art? The colours are intoxicatingly lovely; but the shapes are mean and bad-- deliberately mean and bad. I have seen wicked things in a Turkey carpet."
Which begs the question: What shapes are mean?
Eastern culture plays a VERY significant role in this story and brings about several other interesting quotes:
"When first he said `I want nothing,' it meant only that he was impenetrable, that Asia does not give itself away. Then he said again, `I want nothing,' and I knew that he meant that he was sufficient to himself, like a cosmos, that he needed no God, neither admitted any sins. And when he said the third time, `I want nothing,' he said it with blazing eyes. And I knew that he meant literally what he said; that nothing was his desire and his home; that he was weary for nothing as for wine; that annihilation, the mere destruction of everything or anything--"
"...he dealt much in eastern heavens, rather worse than most
"The Christian is more modest," muttered Father Brown; "he wants something."
While we're on the topic, GilbertGirl, Algernon and I were wondering earlier, was Chesterton in any way prejudiced against the east?
Mrs. Quinton is an interesting character, although you don't see much of her, "that's the kind of woman that does her duty for twenty years, and then does something dreadful." What do you think of her? Why did she marry Mr. Quinton?
Also don't miss GilbertGirl's dramatic ChesterTrance involving this story.
P.S. GilbertGirl, Algernon, I'm quite sure I forgot things, do fill in.
Monday, August 04, 2008
When the linguistic symbol for fines-that-are-too-big-to-be-fines tested the depth of the water uh the language piece for Chesterton's favorite pet, the Divine Son of Horus boldly quashed a living ham as a pecattic word-diversion and gambled it. So a nearly avant-garde spiritual substance who deals in Egyptian communication fashions strength symbolize 'at once' by drawing (in the fashion of the animals in the jungles of Upton Sinclair) a cushy helmet followed by a trilogy of the purest mathematical symbol. It was saintly enough for the Divine Son of Horus, and it ought to be saintly enough for his more senile age of Father Time counterpart. But the aforementioned grown-up-version of what kindergarteners do must have been marvelously stimulating to the chemichals in the brain that cause one to feel pleasure to enscript or decipher these envoyances, when immersing quills in jet-liquid to create meaningful chicken-scratch or immersing the ocular organs in the same fowl-marks to pick meaning off their bare brances were in reality a thing whose birthday had just come...the Divine Son of Horus surrounded by his priests as a speck of clover is surrounded by agrarian weeds and the whole lot lionizing with hilarious flutters of the diaphram and fertilely ejecting bubbles of ideas as the Son's puns matured into things more immature and more tragic to adhere to."
Oops...That was the translated version. Here's the real one, taken from "The Everlasting Man."
"When the word for taxes sounded rather like the word for pig, the pharoh boldly put down a pig as a bad pun and chanced it. So a modern hieroglyphist might represent 'at once' by unscrupulously drawing a hat followed by a series of upright numerals. It was good enough for the pharoh, and it ought to be good enough for him. But it must have been great fun to write or even to read these messages, when writing and reading were really a new thing...the king among his priests and all of them roaring with laighter and bubbling over with suggestions as the royal puns grew more wild and indefensible."
Math is the alphabet with which God wrote the universe - Galileo Galilei
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit - There has been no great talent without an element of madness - Seneca
Guess what, Dr. Thursday's posting again!!!!!!!!!
And I just stumbled across this, do take a look, it's quite lovely. A few of my favorite quotes:
People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad . . . The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable . . . It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob . . . It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to avoid them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.
Creeds must disagree: it is the whole fun of the thing. If I think the universe is triangular, and you think it is square, there cannot be room for two universes. We may argue politely, we may argue humanely, we may argue with great mutual benefit; but, obviously, we must argue. Modern toleration is really a tyranny. It is a tyranny because it is a silence. To say that I must not deny my opponent's faith is to say I must not discuss it . . . It is absurd to have a discussion on Comparative Religions if you don't compare them.
-The History of Religions from the Illustrated London News, October 10
Catholics, I need not say, are about as likely to call the Pope God as to call a grasshopper the Pope.
- The Thing
I've probably linked to this before, but just in case I haven't, here it is now, and I must say it is inexpressibly useful.
ChesterCon talks are now available here, and next years Conference is going to be in Seattle! (You probably already knew that)
And finally don't miss The Apostle of Common Sense showing EWTN. (If you, like me, don't have cable, you can watch on the internet here.)
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I am currently in the first third of the Iliad (hence part I) and I am not hating it yet. Chesterton seemed to be a big admirer of Homer and his masterpiece, as is evidenced from The Everlasting Man. The Iliad doesn't exactly scream Chesterton at me 24/7, but there are definitely some familiar elements.
Take for example this comment from Heretics: "Ritual is older than religion." This definitely comes up in the Iliad. Several times, Homer describes the sacrificial feasts of the Greeks. In these hetacombs (or something lke that), they will slaughter the animal, wrap its meat and internal organs in fat, and roast it on sticks before eating it. I don't know about you, but this reminds me of little boys roasting hot dogs (meat, fat and organs) around a campfire. I can see it now: in Athens or Corinth, on some small street, the boys build their little fort, perhaps a little comfortable spot surrounded by bushes, and call it the Little Warriors club (no girlz allowed). They roast around a campfire whenever they can. Eventually, they take to wearing the skins of manly animals, like the wild boars their fathers have caught on hunts.
It's not as implausible as it sounds. The worship of the pagan gods began in the imagination (see The Everlasting Man agian), and I don't see why the idea of a ritual priesthood and this particular method of sacrifice couldn't have grown out of these imaginative little rascalhoods when they grew old enough to care about their religion. On a slightly more serious note, the method of sacrifice is fairly similar to the methods of the Israelites, and the ritual could have come before the pagan religion.
The pagan religion of the Iliad itself is rather imaginative. It perfectly fits the Chestertonain picture of paganism as a faith in things that are imaginative and evocative, but utterly unworshippable. As Chesterton said, if he were to cease being Catholic, he would become a pagan, and worship particular trees. The gods are fickle, changing their allegiance with the tide of battle, and they can be injured (but not killed). They are utterly interesting, however.
More interesting still, however, is the question of with whom Homer's allegiance lies. Chesterton agrees with what he says is Homer's position, that not only is Troy to deserve our allegiance, but the fact that Troy does so is the ancestor of Mideaval chivalry. At first, I was puzzled by why Troy is the proper recipient of our sympathy, but gradually it dawned on me. First, and most importantly, Troy loses. Not only is it taken by the trechary of the horse (I haven't actually gotten to that part yet), but its heroes die in much greater frequency than the heroes of Greece, for no plausible reason other than the occasional interference of the gods. The common soldiers of Troy, even though their rulers are in the wrong for having stolen Helen and refusing to give her back, are fighting (in Homer's own words) for the most goodly and Chestertonain things to fight for, their city and their families; while the common soldiers of Greece have overreacted to Helen's abduction and fight merely for honor. By one-third thru the story, Troy has tried to make peace twice, and twice have their plans been brought to naught: once by the gods, and once by the Greeks.
Most important in the battle for our hearts, however, is Hector. Only Aneas, of all the Trojan heroes, shows any willingness to be a great and daring soldier. Hector is also beset with the greatest odds of any of the characters, for he is not invincible and has to deal with the fact that the Trojans are completely unwilling to cooperate with each other. He also has a beautiful scene where he talks with his wife that Chesterton would have loved.
One final note: This is labeled Chesterton beside himself because it is about Chestertonian elements in other authors.
Monday, July 21, 2008
However, discretion is the better part of valor (sorry, that wasn't from Chesterton). I noticed that some of you, when I click on your interests, have links to other people. Are these people bloggers who have the same interests as the person concerned on blogs that said person enriches with their membership? Because if they are not, I deem it prudent to cease and desist. For me anyway.
And, just in case you don't like to write comments on boring but pracitical questions like that, I will give you some real food for thought so that you can comment on its more interesting nature. While you're at it, would you be so kind as to answer my first question?
The Ten Commandments of Algernon's Game
1. I am the LORD thy God. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Thou shalt not translate the word "god," when it refers to a graven image so that the translation refers to me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD, thy God, in vain. Thou shalt not translate so that any words referring to sacred things are degraded. Thou shalt not translate the names and words of sacred things so that they refer to something else.
3. Keep Holy the Sabbath day. Thou shalt not translate the Bible or the liturgical texts of any Christian religion.
4, Honor your father and your mother. Thou shalt not translate when your parents tell you to stop.
5. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not translate so often that the game gets boring.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not translate anything that is sexual or becomes so in the translation.
7. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not steal a definition from a definition by using the definition of the word as the translation and then translating the definition.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not plagarize. Thou shalt be unclear.
9-10. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not consciously imitate the translating style of another.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Letter of G.K. Chesterton to Mildred D’Avigdor
Translated into poetic format by Evan Winter
This morn, upon rising,
I poured out the water
And washed my boots, my face despising.
Well, What’s odder?
Then with graceful flourish
With tails trailing ‘fore me
I poured the drink on the canned fish
It was coffee.
Has my sane mind left me?
Is it absent merely?
Thinkers of my family
Think the second thingy.
The truth is, I’m engaged.
And you’re the first to know.
But to whom? I’ve enraged
With questions those who know.
They tell me (with a “stupid”)
The lady’s Francis Blogg
I cleared that up, I did
That minor mental fog
I feel very happy
Just remember your G.K
Both you and your dear Waldo hubby
I’m quite O.K.
Here's the real text:
On rising this morning, I carefully washed my boots in hot water and blacked my face. Then assuming my coat with graceful ease and putting the tails in front, I descended to breakfast, where I gaily poured the coffee on the sardines and put my hat on the fire to boil. These activities will give you some idea of my frame of mind. My family, observing me leave the house by way of the chimney, adn take the fender with me under one arm, thought I must have something on my mind. So I had.
My friend, I am engaged. I am only telling it at present to my real friends, but there is no doubt about it. The next question that arisies is---whom am I engaged to? I have investigated the matter, and as far as I can make out, the best authorities point to Frances Blogg. There can be no reasonable doubt that she is the lady. It is as well to have these minor matters clear in one's mind.
I am very much too happy to write much, but I thought you might remember my existence sufficiently to be interested in the incident.
Waldo has been of so much help to me in this and in everything, and I am so much interested in you for his sake and your own that I am encouraged to hope that our friendship may subsist. If I have ever done anything rude or silly, it was quite inadvertent. I have always wished to please you.
On the other side, he was admittedly honest in business and faithful to his wife and family; so that there was a general reaction in favor of his memory when he was found stabbed to the heart in the meager grass of the grim little churchyard that adjoined his favorite place of worship. It was impossible to imagine Mr. Haggis as involved in any romantic Highland feud falling for the dirk, or any romantic assignation interrupted with the stiletto; and it was generally felt that to be knifed and left unburied among the buried dead was an exaggerated penalty for being a rather narrow Scottish merchant of the old school.
On top of the supplementary elevation, he was acknowledged to be aboveboard in proprietorship and veracious to his uxor and ménage; accordingly there was a broad-spectrum retroaction in with great preference of his reminiscence in next to no time after he had been pinpointed perforated to the ticker within the exiguous greensward of the plutonian bantam necropolis that juxtaposed his fair-haired milieu of latria. It was chimerical to opine Mr. Haggis as drawn in whichever quixotic raised ground tiff nosediving on behalf of the sticker, or some mawkish tryst supervened by means of the bread knife; and it was by and large sensed that to be punctured and absent uninterred in the midst of the masked individuals was an blown up amercement for being a quite thin Scotch jobber of the not getting any younger train.
On the other side it was to its wife and reliable to family admittedly honestly in the business and; so that there was a general reaction in favor of its memory, when him erstochen to the heart in the lean grass of the grimmigen small Kirchhofs one found, which bordered its favourite place of the Anbetung. It was impossible to imagine gentleman. Haggis, as included into each romantic high land feud also, which falls for dirk, or assignation interrupted any romantic with the Stilett; and it was generally believed that to be knifed and under the buried dead ones was to the left an exaggerated punishment for its a rather narrow Scottish buyer of the old school unburied. – German
Other side, it was obviously honest in the businesses and faithful to his wife and family; so that it has y have a general reaction in favour of its memory when it was found stabbed in the middle in thin grass of small the sinister cemetery which touched its preferred place of worship. It was impossible to imagine Mr. Haggis as implied in any romantic enmity of mountain falling for the scraping-knife, or any romantic attribution stopped with the stylet; and it was generally estimated that to be knifed and unburied among deaths buried on the left was a penalty exaggerated to be a rather narrow Scottish trader of the old school. – French
For the other side, he had been confessed commonly honestly and religiously in matter to its woman and family; so that there was a general response in favour of its memory then he to the heart in the poor grass of unrelenting small churchyard stabbed was found which to its favoriete of worship grenste. It was impossible for M. to assume. Haggis such as involved in any romantic brawl which falls of the Hoogland for the sailor dagger, or any romantic assignation which is interrupted with stiletto; and one believed generally that knifed are and under buried kill exaggerated sanction for is a rather narrow Scottish trader of the old school unburied was left. – Dutch
On the other side, it was by the general acknowledgement honest in the matter and [vern] to its husband and to family; since there was the systemic reaction in favor of its memory when it was [schesn] [o] to the heart in the meager grass of gloomy small church court which it bordered its most favorite sacred thing. It is not possible to present Ghana Haggis as they included in any romantic of the feudal of mountainous country being reduced for any dirk, or romantic assignation interrupted with the pins; and generally it was felt, that there was knifed and left unburied among the buried dead persons was the exaggerated penalty for to be the sufficiently narrow Scottish merchants of old school. – Russian
Math is the alphabet with which God wrote the universe - Galileo Galilei
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit - There has been no great talent without an element of madness - Seneca
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Assuming that a society with such technology would test it, and
Assuming they would test it more than once, and
Assuming that the socety, like all societies, would become so decadent that things as stupid, immoral, pleasant, and morbid as that would become popular,
It seems that there would be far more imaginary universes than real ones, hence we are thousands of times more likely to be living in an imaginary universe than a real one.
1. Why is this not true, even if you believe all the assumptions? (Hint: If there was a chapter in Orthodoxy you really didn't like, you might have a more difficult time answering this question.)
2. Why does it not matter for the sake of most arts and sciences and the salvation of our souls?
This puzzler was told to me by a certain Tommy Swanson (whom some of you might know, though I don't think he's ever read Chesterton in his life). After I get five answers in the comments section, I'll post the answer.
Friday, July 11, 2008
“But only slightly less well-known is ‘Never trust a Sicilian when life is on the line.’”
----------The Princess Bride
Despite the fact that The Princess Bride is incredibly Chestertonian, despite the fact that this quote is good advice, and despite the vengeful Sicilian, this quote is not the main theme of “The Sins of Prince Saradine.” What the story focuses on, however, is that sin requires punishment. And the unpunished sin is quite possibly the worst of all.
The very plot of the story brings out this theme. The Sicilian, whose sin (although it is not the smallest) is the most human, receives a relatively light punishment, the punishment of the state. The prince’s brother, whose sin is less sympathizable and less serious, dies as a result of his love of money. The prince, however goes unpunished for his sin of deception and double murder. Yet, he leads a miserable most of his life hiding from the vengeful Sicilian. Most importantly, the image of the sly double criminal smugly enjoying his own possessions when he should be enjoying the comforts of jail leaves the reader rightly puzzled, fascinated, and inebriated with a sense of the lack of justice. As a supplement to the plot, small details such as the prince’s psychologically crazy mirrors and the maid’s mysterious allusion to the fact that the good brother is not really the good one add to the sense that the real prince is a whitewashed tomb filled with unsettling decay. By the time Chesterton is finished with us, we want justice and realize its necessity. Hopefully, however, we will not go the route of the Sicilian--or Domingo Montoya.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
""Affirmative," the teller of antiquated stories and traditions and official records detailed with absolute jelly-and-cream style precision, "the edifice of stone before you has the quality of being guessed by experts as a symbol of the deity of the place, Sul. The superlative members of the chattering classes who are informed on the subject place an equals sign between variable Sul and variable Minerva; burned-out cigarette this was clutched to circus that the equals sign had only one bar and was thus a minus sign."
Here's the real passage from the chapter "God and Comparative Religion" from "The Everlasting Man" I have done Martin Gardner's job and annotated it as well.
"'Yes," he [the ancient history professor] said with a certain delicate [see "The Horse and His Boy"] exactitude, 'that [a bearded statue] is supposed to represent the local god Sul. The best authorities identify Sul with Minerva, buth this has been held to show that the identification is not complete."
Some of us (well, me) aren't so familliar with Chesterton's poetry. I've read The Ballad of the White Horse, and that's about it. What do we need to read, and more importatntly, how?
P.S. I'm one of those creepy people who likes (horrors) Emily Dickinson :).
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The Napoleon of Notting Hill is my favorite GK book, but nothing beats The Flying Inn for verse!
* * * * *
The Logical Vegetarian
You will find me drinking rum,
Like a sailor in a slum,
You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian
You will find me drinking gin
In the lowest kind of inn
Because I am a rigid Vegetarian.
So I cleared the inn of wine,
And I tried to climb the sign,
And I tried to hail the constable as "Marion."
But he said I couldn't speak,
And he bowled me to the Beak
Because I was a Happy Vegetarian.
Oh, I know a Doctor Gluck,
And his nose it had a hook,
And his attitudes were anything but Aryan;
So I gave him all the pork
That I had, upon a fork
Because I am myself a Vegetarian.
I am silent in the Club,
I am silent in the pub.,
I am silent on a bally peak in Darien;
For I stuff away for life
Shoving peas in with a knife,
Because I am at heart a Vegetarian.
No more the milk of cows
Shall pollute my private house
Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian
I will stick to port and sherry,
For they are so very, very,
So very, very, very, Vegetarian.
Sorry that I haven't been able to post before; I had schoolwork to do. Anyway, here is another post on Algernon's game, with a little spin-off that I dreamed up.
He stayed put immobile in the hub of the granular wilds and tolerated the rest wend avant-garde of him; he sensed the hemoglobin scuttling through all his venules and the kinesthesia that is referred to as the chevelure becoming upright on its stopping point; and yet he was aware of an unprecedented and anomalistic rhathymia.
Translated: He stood still in the middle of the sandy waste and let the others go on in front of him; he felt the blood crawling through all his veins and the sensation that is called the hair standing on end; and yet he felt a new and unnatural happiness. - Chesterton, The Doom of the Darnaways.
Here is the spin off, which I call It has for to have been translated! I used the above quote, and translated it into a different language via Microsoft Word or Babelfish translation, and then translated it back to English. It will sometimes mess up the grammar, and it reads hilariously. Here are the goods; I will put which language it was translated into after each block of text.
It stood still in the middle in sandigen waste and let the others before it go on; he believed to the blood to creep by all his veins and the feeling which are called the hair, which stands at the end; and it believed a new and unnatural luck nevertheless. - German
It has been firm in means of the sabbioso waste and has left the others to continue he; it has thought the spirit to crawl with all its veins and the feeling that is called the hats that levano in feet on the extremity; but it has thought one new and artificial happiness. - Italian
It stood still in the middle of sandy waste and it left other to be continued front from him felt the blood that is drawn via all his veins and the sense that is called hair that stands in the end and however felt news and unnatural happiness. – Greek
This one is by far the wierdest. Sometimes some words will refuse to be translated, as you can see. But what managed to get translated was very entertaining.
É l todaví to it was stopped in means of the sandy sweepings and dejó the others to go ignition in front of é l; é l sentí to the blood crawling with all its veins and sensació n that is called the hair that está unemployed in end; but é l sentí to a new and artificial happiness. - Spanish
That's all for now,
Math is the alphabet with which God wrote the universe - Galileo Galilei
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit - There has been no great talent without an element of madness - Seneca
My real name is Evan (Don't worry, I won't tell you how to reach me). I live in Lincoln, NE, and have six siblings. I just graduated from high school about one week after this last Chesterton conference in Saint Paul (Yes I was homeschooled; we used mostly Mother of Divine Grace). Although I love philosophy, literature, and Great Books, I am planning to be a Music Composition major at the University of Nebraska this fall.
I think I was always a Chestertonian, because I have always loved fairy tales, I write stories with improbable motives and characters sprinkled through like salt, I have always liked Lewis Carroll, and I have yet to read a modern psychological novel. I was introduced to Chesterton through The Ballad of the White Horse, which I read for Mideval History. The book that really got me interested, however, was Orthodoxy, which I read about a year later. My favorite Chesterton book is The Man who was Thursday.
One final note. Despite what people may say, The Lord of the Rings is for whimsy lovers and Alice-quoters.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
I can't even begin to express how awed I am by this faith of his. Through sheer will he kept to the Faith, and kept to it strongly, even when he felt nothing. Some people, particularly those who seem to put a huge emphasis on an emotional relationship with God, would take this to mean that he didn't love. Quite the contrary. Lack of emotion doesn't mean lack of love. Rather, I think, it is the great love of loyalty, of fidelity in the face of everything, of a strong fortitude.
That was a bit of a passionate sidetrack, so excuse me. My original intent was to give you a quote from A.N. Wilson's biography of Belloc, in an attempt to show Belloc's truly beautiful character. It's a tragic bit, concerning the death of his wife Elodie:
The next day, her body was carried down to the hall at King's Land where it lay surrounded by candles. Neighbours and friends came to pray beside it. Belloc wandered upstairs again and along the narrow corridor to her room. He glanced round once more at her dressing table, at her clothes, at her bed with its scarlet coverlet. It had always been a dark room, its small windows preventing it from getting much sunlight. He came out of the room and turned the key in its lock. From that moment, Elodie's bedroom was sealed up forever. So, too, was her little parlour downstairs. No one entered them again in Belloc's lifetime. Nor would he ever pass that bedroom door without pausing to kiss it or trace upon it the sign of the cross. And this he did for the next forty years.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Anthony Esolen at Mere Comments tells this story about Chesterton’s friend Hillaire Belloc: “It seems that when Belloc was serving as a young man in the French army, he met an American woman with whom he fell passionately in love. Once discharged from the army, Belloc sold his beloved complete set of the works of Cardinal Newman to scramble up the money for boat fare across the Atlantic. He landed in New York, and walked across the continent to San Francisco, supporting himself by manual labor. When he arrived at the young lady’s door in California, he proposed to her on the spot. She agreed. It was a long engagement — they were married seven years later, when she was 25 and he was 26. Read those last sentences again, carefully. Unfortunately, their happy marriage was broken by the early death of Mrs. Belloc, at age 43; and Belloc had already lost a son in World War I, and would lose another in World War II. But whatever you may say about the man’s writings and his polemical opinions, Belloc lived.”hat-tip Semicolon Blog
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Hat-tip- Chesterton Day by Day
It's not typical of me to follow one post with another so quickly. Either it's summer and I have the time, or I have an idea.
In this case, it's both.
I'm hugely attached to Chesterton's Lepanto. I love it for itself, for it's imagery and beautiful expression, for the thrills of valor and honor and 'swords about the cross,' and I love it, of course, for all the history behind it. If a strange doom were put upon me to know only one poem in the course of my life, I think I would choose this one.
Memorizing Ballad of the White Horse is something I want to do one day, but it seems just a little ambitious, especially when I have college applications and other such things taking up my time. Lepanto, however, wouldn't be quite as much of a challenge, and so it's something I intend to do over the next couple of weeks. I want to have that poem firmly in my heart and mind, so I can always 'read' it over even when I have no hard copy available.
It's occurred to me that this might be a rather fun joint endeavor. Are any of you other Chesterteens, or Flying-Ins, I should say, interested in memorizing Lepanto over the summer?
Chesterton not only brings me to understand other things, but he also brings me to understand myself. I think I can see a little clearer now why Gothic architecture 'speaks to me' so clearly. It represents the strong and true Church that I love... marching on against the armies of Hell, continually proclaiming Truth in a world that doesn't believe in such a thing as objective Truth. It represents the countless saints and martyrs, those heroic soldiers of Christ, who have gone before me. It represents Christ, the same yesterday, today, forever.
And on the other side, I see a little clearer why I do not like the architecture and art we see in many churches today... those vague and abstract forms, strange swirling crystals above the altar, everything flitting, dodging, unsteady, uncertain. They seem to represent a different kind of church, a church that doesn't quite know where it came from or where it's going, a church that doesn't really have any set doctrine and dogma, a church that flutters and shakes and bends in the strong breezes of the world.
In a piece about Modernism, Chesterton made the comparison between the Tree and the Cloud. While the Tree, representing a philosophy grounded in truth, could grow and expand, the inmost rings were always present, and were also the center and foundation of the tree. Now the Cloud, representing Modernism, is vague and hazy, scuttling here and there across the sky, with no roots and no grounding.
Why is it that classic church architecture, such as Gothic, seems in its great height and strength to be very much like a tree, while the art we see in so many churches undeniably resembles clouds?
Gothic architecture, and other traditional forms, most definitely 'speak to me.' But I'm not going to say that modern church architecture doesn't. It, too, speaks to me. It's just that I don't like what I hear from it. Vagueness, abstractness, uncertainty.
And I wonder if the proponents of modern architecture in reality feel somewhat the same way? They often say that those gorgeous old churches of ages past don't 'speak to them,' but I wonder if maybe they are hearing something, and simply not liking it. Strength, swords and spears, an unflinching and resolute Truth.