Month: June 2018


I’ve started following this guy. He’s Tweeting about a profound problem that doesn’t get nearly enough discussion:

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From the Notebooks

Russia came to Christianity late, in 988, but it came to philosophy even later, not producing its own original philosopher until the eighteenth century: Gregory Skovoroda (1722-1794).

At the age of 43, Skovoroda, the self-proclaimed “Russian Socrates,” became a strannik, a wanderer, who spent the rest of his life wandering the Ukraine with a knapsack, living with friends and the poor, giving spiritual lessons.

Although Skovoroda’s lessons were infused with Christian notions, he has been accused of pantheism. His name for God was “Nature,” and he gave her praise normally reserved only for God: “Nature is good to every creature that breathes . . . In her sedulous providence she has prepared all those things without which the happiness of the least worm cannot be accomplished.” Skovoroda’s pantheism became a hallmark of Russian thought.

It is strange that this terribly-religious land, this land of the Mother Earth cult, a land that breathes pantheism even though its religious leaders knew it to be noxious, became the testing ground for Communism. Marx was an uncompromising atheist who gave no room to God, following the thought of his mentor, Ludwig Feuerbach, who taught that God is a mere construct of man who projects (“alienates”) his best qualities to transcendence and calls them God. The Socialist tradition was infused from the start with the notion that we could create a perfect world, like we had created a perfect God, if we would just reclaim these alienated qualities. It seems to stand at a polar opposite from Gregory Skovoroda and a Russian tradition. It is surprising that Russia became the testing ground for Communism, but opposite … Read the rest

The Stranger: A Synopsis

The Stranger is a description of the last days of the narrator, a man named Mersault. Mersault is the mature Holden Caulfield. He goes through his life with little thought of others; primarily because he gives little thought to himself. He just goes about and lets the events of life bounce off him, indifferent to any aspirations for himself, puzzled by aspirations in other people. When his mistress asks if he loves her: “I answered . . . that it didn’t mean anything, but that I probably didn’t love her.” When his mother dies, he obliges the social conventions—to sit at casket vigil for a day—but feels no remorse; he doesn’t feel any annoyance at the vigil, either; he simply doesn’t care either way.

It’s this indifference, this superhuman detachment, that gets Mersault sentenced to death. He becomes friends with a pimp named Raymond, who at one point beats his girlfriend, an Arab woman. The woman’s brothers later attack Raymond in revenge while Mersault is with him. The Arabs are beaten back. Later, they see the Arabs again, and Raymond proposes to shoot them in cold blood. Mersault advises against it and convinces Raymond to give the revolver to him. Later Mersault is walking alone on the beach and, on the verge of heat stroke, sees one of the Arabs again. In order to get out of the sun, he walks towards the shade, which is in the Arab’s direction; the Arab pulls a knife, and Mersault, in self-defense, shoots him—five times.

At his subsequent trial, Mersault is convicted of murder. One of the primary pieces of evidence: His callousness at his mother’s funeral. He … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrasteverePSA: Keep hydrated. For about nine days, I was suffering from severe dizziness, lightheadedness, mild nausea, and headaches. I was afraid I might be having a stroke. I finally saw the doctor, who told me (kindly, but with a hint of disgust), “You’re dehydrated. Start drinking more water, and add Gatorade to your diet for the next 7-10 days, until you get your hydration levels back up. It seems to be working.

Ceiling. TrastevereMy interest in health fads and small-but-vibrant broccoli crop notwithstanding, I don’t see myself trying this: broccoli coffee. It’s mostly made from broccoli powder (which I’d never even heard of): “The powder is specifically made from heads of broccoli that are deemed too ugly to sell in grocery stores. . . Just two tablespoons of the powder contain the entire nutritive punch of a whole serving of the actual vegetable.”

Ceiling. TrastevereInteresting: Why Backers of Intermittent Fasting Believe It Can Slow Aging. Nassim Taleb, I believe, is a fan of intermittent fasting. It mimiks the eating habits of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who lived a feast-or-famine existence.

Random Blurb from the Notebooks: Duns Scotus (13th c): Considerably increased the list of those revealed truths which a Christian should believe (as opposed to know). A possible product of the Averroes scare. By decreasing the number of truths which can be proven by natural reason, the truths are dependent solely on revelation and hence without dependence on natural reason.

Ceiling. TrastevereI downloaded that new Nassim Taleb book over the weekend. I didn’t even know he had written a new one, which is bizarre. I have his name set for Google alerts, and I follow … Read the rest


misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

misc-rambling-picIn ten years of gardening, this has to be the worst weather ever. Late winter storm, followed by lots of heat, followed by rain and rain and rain. We got a little respite, then more Noah action, then beastly hot weather, then another flood the last two days. Fortunately, my land appears to drain well (probably because of all the rocks), but man, it’s making it hard to stay on top of things.

misc-rambling-picWe slink closer and closer to idiocracy: Tom Arnold and Trump’s lawyer teaming up to make a TV show aimed to take Trump down.

misc-rambling-picSlow blogging winds blowing ahead.

misc-rambling-picThe progressive James McCarrick was merely justifying his own perverse appetites all these years. Unbelievable. Wherever you see people lobbying for acceptance of perverse sexuality, you can bet even money that there’s perverse sexuality lurking nearby, either in the lobbyist himself or in someone he’s close to (or “too close to” . . . heh, heh).

misc-rambling-picRandom Blurb from the Notebooks:When we stop taking for granted the events and basic materials of daily life –shelter, food, water, sunlight, and the infinitely complex workings of body and mind –much learning and deep understanding arise. Robin Daniels. … Read the rest