Monday, November 24, 2008


gremlins goblins and trolls ... wizrds magic and spells ... magical combat spiritual combat at play ... novels films story-telling ... just how real are they ... I'm with plato up to a point ... and with aristotle too up to another point ... ideas are more than concepts but people are more real than ideas ... you may refuse to answer the door because it's gandalf or dumbledore ringing the bell ... but what you gain in respect for extension in space you lose from the pleasure of comprehension ... say a unicorn has an essence ... is that any reason to deny it existence ... say dumbledore has a personality but he's not real ... as a piece of fried bacon is real ... is that any reason to refuse his acquaintance ... say of good writing good characters good thoughts that they are perfections ... not like babies self-sacrifice or devotion ... but what perfect world could do without them ... finally say that reality as it is meant to be and surely will be is perfection ... then dickensian shakespearian tolkenian are and will be forever as real as socratic lincolnian christian ... not principally as real ... but by the right of derivation just as heavenly

Sunday, November 23, 2008


give the lord some credit ... in particular figure he knows how to love you and why ... if you gave him only that ... look how far ahead it puts you ... wouldn't it open up vistas of half-hours in every busy day ... wouldn't it turn the mind from defense to offense ... from a trivial logical worry to a "purpose-driven life" on the right side of the cosmic battle ... for two or three words that don't belong where you've put them will you throw yourself away ... for an argument whose conclusion you accept on faith and habit ... whose premises you will not examine ... will you be the judge who condemns you ... will the one thing be that you will not look at ... only the best part of you only the part he sees the closest ... will that be the part only you will not see ... and why ... why ... when only he sees clearly and your sight failing fails again ... or is it something else ... not sight at all but will ... and a will that will be blind lest seeing is to believe and believing is to obey ... why ... what is there in all that he will say that you cannot follow ... if you step back and let that right part forward ... fall back and let grace follow

Saturday, November 22, 2008


well if we've learned anything we know it's either a combination or a bank shot ... every time we aim straight for a one on one we either stop short or we rebound ... it's nice to get a good rebound ... it takes you where you wanted to go ... a bad one can hit you in the gut ... but it's the stop shot that over time wears you down ... especially the really nasty ones where you get just what you wanted and in the midst of the celebration you realize you didn't want enough ... so after a while you begin to finesse your shots ... here's where the curve and the spin the high and the low the sharp and the wide come in ... if I'm not going to be where I wanted to go then let me have fun getting there ... you can spend your whole life taking your time ... and there's a fascination a fine set of details can offer ... but I'm thinking there's something more basic going on that we wouldn't want to miss if we could get it ... if we could see where it was going and when so we could tag along ... take it for the long ride with its own twists and turns and figure out along the way that it was meant to be a surprise

Friday, November 21, 2008


the dead leaf from a distance looked like a live cautious insect ... this misperception was a misapprehension of the most momentous kind ... a category mistake confusing a system with a soul ... the living with the dead ... like calling the universe a spirit when you mean to say it has a soul ... or saying we're children of gaia mother earth who gave us birth ... a category mistake ... like mixing terms and concepts and words ... the private with the public with the physical ... or the physical with the mental and the spiritual ... what a talk soup it becomes ... we become ... lumpy half-cooked indigestible creatures of our own disordered dyspeptic minds ... why should it surprise us that our discourse is filled with hot air empty space and off-color smells ... that we sometimes say the thought in my head is as real as the lamp on the post ... but not the lamp or the post the brain or the thought can hold a candle to the photon and the atom the real heroes of time ... but that time itself marks no real divisions between imaginary entities shifting shapes babies and abortions life or death

cf kreeft, socratic logic, ch one

Thursday, November 20, 2008


how do you know our universe isn't a particle of dust on a policeman's coat button ... I don't but I don't believe it is ... it doesn't fit my experience my sense of deduction or the revelation I've been privileged to receive ... it hasn't been my experience that a piece of dust is large enough to hold a house much less a universe ... furthermore though I have seen it argued that a thing can be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside the people then were talking about spiritual and mental things like love and universals not about things that extend in space and are measured in time like buttons on coats or policemen in the flesh ... you might want to redefine these terms but they seem pretty steady to me and not in need of tinkering ... furthermore such a conclusion that we are no more than dust or points in a meaningless regression goes against my revelation ... the promises of meaning and purpose passed to me through centuries of thought and blood by an unbroken string of sages and martyrs calling me to have courage and hope

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


the hardest part against reason is the venom ... I think it comes from the wriggling ... the squirming in the dry dust and in the marshes ... it's the turning and tending to turn that makes the poison ... that churns the ingredients into such a deadly bitter point ... and in the coiling as if all the past irregularities could be reduced to such a perfect form and such a fine pitch just before release ... and such a splendid trajectory capsule flying into space ... the one straight shot in all the process ... so pleasingly precise the punch each point makes each fang so clearly through ... such a sharp release jaws now wide in triumph ... it all worked so well let's try another ... which I think is the real point ... it's not what you did ... well only at the end ... but what was done and done before that ... not just the wrong answer but having to hear it again and again ... not just the insult to coherence and good form but a whole siege filled with assault ... there now that's enough of that ... I'll give you here now in return this thing that's been working through me as I've twisted turned and returned to figure the damn thing out ... to get it out before I lose my immunity

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


there is someone knocking ... the bone can feel the wood but it's not the bone ... the door is meant to open onto wonder but it's not the door ... the voice is framed by language so that it can ask but it's neither the voice nor the question ... it's not the hero or the sage the action or the message ... it was meant to receive applause but more so much more to give it but it's not the applause either ... not all the stories told nor all the books written nor even all the words yet to be said surpass or surplace what this thing is by the grace above permission by the grace of creation ... eternally dependent of course and for that nothing it says or does is simply said or simply done but there's not the whit less for that when just for that it now always is ... and that's as simple as it comes as long as anything's still going for when we come to the end or just before the beginning of course all the bets are off ... I mean in between the two when the betting's fast and devious the asking the telling and the doing the begging and the granting the pounding and the pleading ... come all to a start here

For Monica on her birthday

Monday, November 17, 2008


I want to speak to the bird on my shoulder but he flies away whenever he gets us into trouble ... and otherwise I just take him for granted his presence and his advice ... I want to speak to him to get to know just who the hell he thought he was and who in fact he is ... his surety never shaken by his failures of good sense ... his certitude as heavy with good judgment as his flight away betimes ... I want to speak to him to get mine back again ... but of course he isn't there ... and when he returns I'll assume so much his presence I won't be able to see him to talk to or to think about ... but I'll still be wanting to ... to ask him what could he have been thinking to let me slide so far into perdition so far at times into a free fall ... but each time with his song of free flight in my ear ... singing singing far away on high as I continued to fall ... the whispers of his assurance as I rolled and wallowed in the muck tickled my mind in the midst and made me smile in the pit ... an empty smile opening on the abyss ... all the while in the shadow of his retreating wingspan my head and my hands I put up

Sunday, November 16, 2008


first he was so nice and I felt bad being a disappointment to him ... then I read the book heard what he had to say and knew that he was fierce ... so I turned away ... then I began to read about the spirit about grace power and predestination about pentecost as well as easter and I thought I saw a way of return ... an advocate to plead my case for me and get me back the original birthright ... then I got distracted and spent a few months doing something else ... and that pattern of on and off attention I continued in for some years ... I am not the recipient of direct revelation ... on the contrary I receive and sense it only by indirection as I suspect most of us do ... but if most do it by observation and experience I do it by reading ... not only about grace but about grace-filled people ... not only about the spirit but about spirited people ... and I begin through this comparison of theory and practice to suspect that more of what we do is done by the spirit than we suspect ... how else for example would we ever get a touch of joy ... what else would explain what teddy roosevelt abraham lincoln and sam grant clearly have in common

Saturday, November 15, 2008


spruced up but naked each of us goes to his trial ... and a particular trial it is ... with particular possible sentences ... one you are a son of perdition ... two you are a gifted son of humanity ... three you are a son of god a partaker in divinity ... which of these only one is a blasphemy ... number one of course ... the conviction of impiety ... which one only one is an invitation to impiety ... the second ... which leaves the third ... we may call it the only heavenly conclusion or who wants to go to hell or stay on earth as it is forever ... in court the benches are a clear marble but rather cold and the hours of testimony are long ... who is there to speak for any of us when the verdict desired is not the renewal of the species but a removal and replacement ... did they not say this was done on pieces of wood ages ago ... but who speaks for him now though he will speak hereafter ... if you say we do the question remains under a different inflection ... who will speak for us when we have neither tongue nor sense to say in a word what there is ... what we need above all else ... an advocate

Friday, November 14, 2008


a worm ... sometimes on a hook ... sometimes angle-free ... I like it better without the hook ... and I know as well there are things closer than a smooth shave in the morning ... and something brighter than the morning light on the floor of the closet ... something more satisfying than pleasant ... indeed the pattern of satisfaction ... the content of happiness ... the being content ... it has a level surface in my soul all the way up to the eyebrows ... until restless stirring I move ... giving the chemical shower a good shake ... the bath in my head a good slosh ... and something of it out onto the floor wet with intention ... the water has broken ... the head begins to crown ... I would say more but the body turns and crawls back up the stream ... the captain says put out the lights ... the fleet at anchor swells with the surge swivels with the tide opens up to a wide yawn smiles and goes to sleep ... what was it you meant to say ... what was it you wanted ... something with the smell of the sea ... with the sound of the living breeze among the dying leaves ... you had something on your mind ... it was a word almost forming ... why ... what did it say

Thursday, November 13, 2008


is it a dogma of faith to say the only real objectively true explanations are the scientific ones ... whereas spiritual explanations are private personal and subjective opinions ... may we start by saying one world speaks of causes and the other of reasons ... one looks at things and takes them apart to see how they work ... the other reads them and tries to see what they mean ... what follows if we may say these things with some emphasis is a civil war inside the soul ... with the north ... let's not be historical ... saying heaven is on earth in the neural flaps of religious fanatics and bigots ... while the people in the south say earth is in heaven ... a corrupt little corner of it studded with sign posts all pointing the way out ... one side the west let's say ... let's not be geopolitical ... looks at a thing squarely and puts it in context ... the other side the east looks through it ... let this mythical northwest take offense at this point ... I'm not just a pleasure and pain kind of guy fight or flight meat and potatoes ... I have feelings ... I know what sorrow is ... hell I've got a PhD in depression ... what have you mystical southeast to add ... only joy was the reply

cf kreeft, Heaven, pp112-117

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


the philosopher says ... that metaphysical law has it ... that the more spiritual the faster ... the faster the more widespread ... the fastest therefore is everywhere and at rest there all at once with the speed of eternity the speed of divinity ... its rest is not the body's rest feet up remote in hand ... how can it be when it's faster by far than the speed of light ... rather since its mobility is its universal presence it's the foundation for our own stability if we could just think to remember it ... in its speed is our security if we could just remember to think of it ... indeed everything is implicit in one divine command ... in one eternal word ... which actually takes no time to say at all since it predates follows time swallows time all the time ... in the final moments of the movie when the deuction falls into place it does so all at once because truth and even its apprehension are at the end aspects of eternity ... no longer research and development exploration and experiment but conclusion and endless implication ... not to mention joy ... or rather to say it now at the last ... the joy during which time flies when you're having fun in the presence of the lord

cf kreeft, heaven, pp89-90

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


the man I spoke with could be seen neither in silhouette nor in the round but only in rounding ... in turning round in space and in time ... now a swaddled newborn in his first day on the planet ... now an old man buckled at the knee and forced to bow by a coursing weakness throughout ... made to genuflect one last time before he fell ... now a zygote now a foetus ... now a spark now a dry tinder kindling ... a flame a flare a sputter a dark ... between that dark and the first dawn wrapping its one arm round to meet the other I slid a blade razor sharp one green blade from the morning's lawn the dew from the sprinkler still fresh upon it ... between the dark and that first jump of life ... to stab with the tip the center of the wheel to stop its spinning ... to pick the man up whole turn him up and turn him down ... there on the line from my one eye to the other to measure and to judge him ... such at least I intended but when the tip of the blade touched the center it was I that went spinning round through his life from one end to the other ... it was I that looked up the cone from the pit at the center ... it was my face that met his ... my shame now to wonder

Monday, November 10, 2008


is there a creature whose inception is a conception a joining of one to another looking to a third ... is there any creature which doesn't fit that description ... if all creation obeys the law of the trinity unfolding why can't we see it that way ... all together ... but are surrounded instead by this great mass of disparate points poking at odds throughout ... and through the membrane too ... I can tell you I can go to any of them as if they were dots on the map and stay there for years before I got my legs long enough to stand the fear and get on to the wonder ... what's then the use to having spent such a short time on earth before getting on to another ... I'd prefer a job at central control connecting the dots to read the message but I ask you sir if I did what would be the point thereafter ... perhaps another job a floor or two below condensing the message into sentences then slogans ... packing them up into bundles them mailing them out ... with a raise in pay to compensate for inflation and the demotion ... there are then too many inceptions and conceptions for any one true devotion ... too much power and not enough light

Sunday, November 09, 2008


ok let's say for one you've got a perverted ego twisted out of shape and tensed up to do wrong ... how's the healthy animal strength of the id going to respond to that ... what do you think the superegoistical voice of the cloud's going to say about it ... mustn't they both be opposed ... doesn't the first want what's good and the second what's beautiful or vice versa I can never remember which ... how are they going to get that if the ego is peddling lies ... isn't a lie ugly ... isn't a mistake bad ... isn't the truth necessary ... through a glass darkly you reply ... perhaps but it's the light beyond the glass that you can still see through the glass ... look hard ... look closely into the heart of the flame ... see the planet with the rings around it ... the gyroscope to put the ego back on track ... to stabilize the vector and restore the wings to balance ... the face with the halo round it that makes the heart spin like a top and take off like a rifled bullet ... something like that ... to pull the ego out straight heading true and on time to the bull'seye ... enough of near misses or worse taking the target away to open a clear field ... no ... not a field but a runway and we touching down

Saturday, November 08, 2008


when someone says everything is grace do they mean it ... or do they mean for the next thirty seconds ... or in this time and culture ... or for this the chosen people only ... everything is gratis they say ... do the research ... given with love they say ... what about hell and its whisper in a shout here on earth sin ... they are given because allowed ... so how is that with love ... doesn't the child say to the bad parent you should have known better ... you should have done better ... you should have stopped me ... but you didn't ... which means you couldn't ... or you didn't try hard enough ... you didn't love me when it counted ... but god isn't that kind of parent ... he has the power and he has the will ... and he doesn't stop us ... yet his power and his will are in such agreement that to say one is as much as to say the other ... which must mean that he will stop us ... it's part of the plan ... the part that's to come later ... which will include what a new identity ... an ontological protected witness program ... will there be a vending machine to pull out to put on a new person whenever you need ... you should be so lucky ... no ... you balance instead with the other two

Friday, November 07, 2008


what do freud and the parapsychologists have in common with mainline christianity ... they all three allow for communication between different planes of existence ... and in particular the forms this communication takes are not easily seen or heard recognized or manipulated as a clear set of simple words ... pictures and symbols how about those then ... yes and dreams as well as visions ... and don't forget sound ... the beat of a drum the blare of a trumpet ... or all together ... music ... play the same track over and over ... you can almost hear something in it if you can get past the hearing of it ... the feeling of it ... the I can't put it into words and neither can you honesty of it ... the forms of communication we put down as or away as inexpressible ineffable a shiver hair standing up I just knew it inspiration divination intuition a presence an absolute certainty a prayer a transportation an escape a joy ... a kind of communication I suspect so difficult to put into words I suggest because it's not truth that's the first thing it wants to convey ... but another thing more immediate ... much closer closer under the skin

Thursday, November 06, 2008


you may have a problem with abstraction ... not too much of it just too much of the wrong kind ... abstraction is subtraction ... one by one strip the qualities from a thing until what does it have left but the it alone ... and that's an example of the wrong kind of abstraction ... as well perhaps as the most typical of the modern age ... that the it could possibly stand alone ... there is no such it ... not even god stands alone ... it's a bad mistake but at least it's profound ... nonetheless the truth is there is no substance without relation ... you can say ultimate reality is irreducibly complex and the one thing that doesn't get it is this runaway abstraction an enterprise that has a strong suspicion that it must fail even as it figures out why it must ... because it's gone too far ... but it's too proud and stubborn to take those two steps back ... and it's fiercely determined to stand by its mistake ... so modern evolution says change is chance ... modern science says matter is all ... modern psychology tells us the self is primary ... and modern ethics does all it does do just to agree ... while modern politics theorizes equality to save the self but practices privilege just to make sure ... what a world ... it takes away takes away all

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have an interest sometimes passionate in all kinds of things ... in truth in war in mental inquiry and sex ... in the universe and jokes ... in history in general ... but I don't know god ... I use words like a and the and the forms of be constantly but of their father in thought and idea I do not think ... and in the daytime when I keep myself busy especially at leisure I think this sin of omission less heavy than venial ... but at night when I should be sleeping and sometimes when I am I'm horrified by that kind of day ... a day so effective at blotting up that kind of horror ... so there I am between night and day with the wheels round me constantly spinning but all the cogs in my hand because I will not think of god ... but even the madman that I am hears the hum behind the voices ... the motor of desire revving up wanting the gear to engage ... soon they must send the repairman and when he finds the cogs in my hand and sees what I have done god forbid he must write me a prescription ... how it has been my desire to die peacefully in my sleep before that could be done ... before he writes my name and gives me meaning

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


the fall broke us but it didn't break us into three pieces ... we were those already ... what it did break was the balance the proper balance in their proper relation ... what would the world be like if god had no parts or attributes that we could name ... what would it be like ... what would the world be like if we could name these aspects and understand them and comprehend them ... I know you will agree that goes too far ... one step too far out of three ... we can see we can understand to a degree but we cannot comprehend what god is ... we can understand what he's like ... we can never understand what he is ... we easily understand what he's like ... naturally ... to the extent that we're human ... because that's what humans are ... not god but like god ... some more like and others not ... some humane some inhuman ... but all like and never more than when seen as three ... but don't forget to be fair ... to be honest ... a marionette in three disjointed parts ... the heart jerking above the groin ... the head snapping west and east ... completely out of touch ... creation reason passion all lost ... because out of joint ... the proper relation broken in a fall

Monday, November 03, 2008


the occasions of sin what are they but occasions to lie ... every sin is based on a false statement but is it also based on a lie ... we all know very honest people who are sincerely mistaken but in this they do not sin ... there are no sins of the intellect only mistakes ... sin is a disease of the will ... it will take the truth and the intellect with it and abuse them ... there is nothing on earth sweeter or more innocent on earth than the truth ... that's the sweetness and the innocence that sin has to kill ... and the only way it can do that is with a lie ... the truth in us is the real inner child modern psychology tells us to find ... not for our spiritual comfort though or good sense of well-being ... but to prevent her murder in the back room of the house ... not for the self-assurance final things must give us ... but to stop the lie that will kill her ... the sweet little girl in the bedroom upstairs we smother repeatedly as we sing her goodnight ... the first-born and the last ... all the children in one ... she's the one we murder in a whispered lie ... cotton tumbled suffocation ... or maybe only a puff of smoke and flashing mirrors ... she is not there ... no ... no ... she never was

Sunday, November 02, 2008


it's not just that it's bad ... it is bad but it's worse ... it never works out ... it kills time and wastes effort ... it makes boomerangs where we want arrows ... and oh those boomerangs are sharper coming back in than they were going out ... even so you're better off catching them in your hand than you are letting them catch you unawares in a tender moment or a vital spot ... pride greed sin ... it gets you one way or the other coming back sharp ... well I'll say it again and add to it ... let it go let it come ... it will slice you and dice you to pieces but it will slice you whole again ... it'll break your bones and wither your skin ... it'll turn you to dust ... but you'll be right ... what were you before anyway ... a bagful of sticks that can be broken ... the skin of a peach already in decline ... the vine man the vine ... you are detached ... you should not you would not complain ... if as a dry leaf you scuttle across the pavement autumn is the price you pay for spring ... no not complain ... but you will want and want more again ... it's only natural ... but there is an end ... only natural if there is ... it'll have you say enough then ... just once ... now

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I can't say for others but I pick this one out in myself ... maybe some others will recognize it too ... though I never notice it in time to prevent it the signal moments of my pride are marked by ruthlessness ... not against myself mind you because I'm not at this point thinking of myself ... I'm thinking of what I want and just how no one is going to stop me getting it ... it's very simple very brutal ... the sophistications and they do come are never in this part of it ... they are rationalizations after the fact or prefabrications before it ... they say things like this person his will against mine I will put aside and they'll thank me for it later or others will in their stead ... or later when it didn't go well ... it never does ... I didn't mean it or at least not in that way ... the apology if it comes does nothing but extend the claim for truth in the original will ... the purity of which will pierce any heart ... the effect of which is to ruin all opposition ... the purpose of which despite the ostensible object is simply to be what it is ... my will ... my way ... why it's so determined so defined I wouldn't think but to admire it and to follow it

cf kreeft, back to virtue, pp97-107

Friday, October 31, 2008


grace pouring round down your head ... what does it do to the tenant in the house ... as the tendrils reach downwards seeking to become roots the tenant's eyes open wide ... he stops writing propositions their premises and implications on the board ... puts the chalk down ... and turns around ... does he leave the house evicted by the tendrils ... or does he stay unable to escape ... are the tendrils too thick and lazy obstructing ... or too thin and razor-sharp and oscillating ... if he does escape how long is his room in the attic left vacant ... what's the name of the new tenant and how well was he screened ... how long will he last before they tear the house down ... long enough to be the last tenant or just the last one before the next ... my money's on the original tenant staying on ... the one before the hypothetical transient ... what a tenuous thing the memory is ... sometimes memory of you passes in others after it passes first in you ... who holds your identity then and how can it be held by anyone else other than you ... no ... I say give the whole thing up ... you don't have a single point you earned yourself ... even yourself ... alone

Thursday, October 30, 2008


put on the mind of christ the apostle tells us ... what pascal his wager secure would hesitate to do that ... wrap his head round with the eternal word ... discernment in the midst of confusion ... from now on according to the prayer ... clause by clause you got it ... what else do you need ... what else could you want ... when here in a spark is everything forever ... nothing lord but to remember that I have it ... I had it ... I had it with me just now ... where is it ... where did I have it last ... where did I put it down ... the logic of the universe ... the walk and the talk ... where did I see it last ... in the battle of the match the needle or the pill ... again and again if I won't remember at least after a while I don't have to try ... there is advice then but you're too tired to hear it ... this is it it says ... the point you wanted to hold on to ... the fulcrum to raise the world ... all in a quiet and a silent intent ... first the talk then the walk let them go let them go ... follow the quiet intent so quiet it's invisible but soft very soft and warm and wet a bed to lie in and roll around in tossing from one dream to another

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


we are too judgmental ... especially about ourselves ... but too judgmental means excessively defectively so ... excess kills the thing it's attached to ... say moral self-examination ... if you're doing too much of it it means you're not getting it right you must be doing it and yourself wrong ... walking down the street you bump into athanasius ... I'll tell you what he'd say ... god didn't make no junk and he aint gonna let it go to the junkyard ... now there's a conclusion to start with ... you can take it to the bank and maybe get some of your false defense fund back ... god knows you put enough wasted time into it ... be nice not to lose it all ... maybe start a savings account instead of paying for everything by check ahead of the money and at high interest ... put something solid in and off to the side ... a bond or two ... it's not the worthless piece of paper you thought ... athanasius' piece of advice ... but it is a share in a mutual fund ... look at what he wrote ... it's the adam and eve fund ... we know it by the name humanity ... it's not a direct deposit in your name ... it's an ongoing account ... before your particular time ... but very current ... the fall and all its recovery

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


the culture war at its best is deadly ... at its best it's a war of ideas a war of words in which each battle is expected to produce for the winning side a number of captives a pack of words a bundle of books and notions sent off to the provinces to die out ... ideas versus ideals and execution by exile ... comfortable enough but as deadly as lying down to a lethal injection ... it's not as if such conflicts with no blood lost are unusual ... we see them all the time in games and in sports where one possible true sentence is killed by its opponent ... the one answering best the question who won ... it's at such moments that we know the truth isn't trivial ... we see it we feel it in the face ... there's nothing we enjoy so much as winning ... nothing that satisfies us as much whether at the end of a game a debate an election a courtship pregnancy or war ... if the last seems out of place it isn't ... play the tape ... I only mention it last to go on the record as not to minimize the war of ideas ... I know as well as you where it can lead ... do I have a better hope where it will

Monday, October 27, 2008


the philosopher says sin is hell's echo in our life through its ambassadors to us ... and that not all suffering brings us to god ... some of it is a touch of hell ... a foresense of it ... that this makes sense is because hell makes no sense ... is fundamentally perverse ... why would a place whose reason for being is a concentration of focus on the individual self call for companions ... why does misery whose impulse is to shed all connections in its pain love company ... are they still trying for the good even in hell ... still looking for god even if they choose a god-substitute instead of the real thing ... have they no choice in having being but to want it in the strongest measure ... still to want something other than the self if only to subdue it to the self then to ignore it ... never to be able to resist these appeals from outside the self even as you choose constantly only the self ... whatever their motivation what does it mean to say that there is this two-way road on the map and in good repair ... every rest stop of course another good intention ... would you not say attend to the traffic lights the police and the signs ... especially the sign for the nearest exit

cf kreeft, suffering, ch 10.3

Sunday, October 26, 2008


of course none of this makes sense without the devil ... without the devil there'd be no crucifixion ... without the prince of this world we'd be on no fallen planet ... water and mountains would purify and soothe ... bread and wine would not be filled with blood ... what was in his mind in that amazing angelic ruin ... he thought he'd put god in a box ... he thought he'd kill him ... as if that were a good thing even for him ... as if it wouldn't shred his own great birthright in rebellion ... as if it must not kill death with resurrection ... why didn't he inspire the governor to let the right man go ... or if he couldn't stop it at least leave town and wash his own hands on the way out ... I don't think he did any of that ... any of that reluctance or prudence ... I think he wanted it to be true for all time that for one time if a short time truth was dead ... he wanted it because from the beginning he's both a liar and a murderer and now he could still be both and still be right just this once ... even the devil has his logic ... the wonder is the majesty and mercy that gave it to him

Saturday, October 25, 2008


if jesus were not just a great man and a good one but god what would follow concerning suffering ... he allowed himself to be captured tortured executed ... he died ... and transformed the meaning of death ... just as he transformed the meaning of humanity by being born ... the presence of the creator as part of creation is like the presence of the word in meaning ... it transforms it eternally ... and so too with suffering ... the crucifixion transforms it for all time and that means now ... but who recognizes this ... rather we're working under the old dispensation that pain is what it always used to be ... intrinsically immovably bad ... a thing to be put away outside the park as far as can be ... not grappled wrestled and pinned ... what a sweaty smelling thing that is and hard painful ... hit it far down the fairway and sink it in the deepest hole if it can't be changed ... bury it in some black hole for nuclear waste if it can't be redeemed ... but if it is transformed ... if it means something totally new ... then you can put it like a war or a plague or your own death-dealing cancer between your finger and your thumb like a bead or a marble and roll it round and round to glory

cf kreeft, suffering, chs 7 & 8

Friday, October 24, 2008


it was a stick figure with a square head whose face was a tv screen ... it was the first thing I saw after I died ... on the screen was the face of a woman whose eyes were closed ... I think it was my soul ... I saw a plane on a steep ascent from JFK ... I hoped she was aboard ... in the meantime here was I a collection of disembodied thoughts not so much condemned as allowed to wander in the world of thought ... with perhaps enough time to get to meet all the ideas I had so long admired ... as the wind can ruffle the pages of a book as the light can shine through one of them so I might pass a resident alien in the life of the mind ... there were three ideas ... I will not say people ... not yet ... I wanted to meet most of all ... the magician whose manipulation was a seduction ... the general whose act was a logical conclusion ... the saint who of the three was the most practical ... each one in his historical appearance I must claim for a stranger ... for after all I'd only heard a few things about them ... though I was under obligation life-long to follow with them in the pursuit not of happiness but of heaven ... for they were power law and love

Thursday, October 23, 2008


the whole truth and nothing but the truth about god and his creation ... surely this expression was designed to humble even more your humble servant ... for how can he entertain such a notion the likes of which he can never achieve ... such a knowledge the scope of which he can never appreciate ... and if he can wrap his mind round the outline of the concept how is it possible the concept has such an outline when the object of its devotion never can have one ... an infinite map of eternity who has the eyes to read it ... an end point to being whose pen has the ink to mark such a period ... unless in our beginning is in fact our end and in the tiniest particularity in the dam of nonbeing there is an explosion of all that is and can be ... that by definition will be enough to satisfy in logic the most severe critic ... yet we are not satisfied ... why is that ... we can have no outline of the ultimate truth but we are as it were indrawn by it from the start ...who can understand the mysterious ways of providence or fail in truth to be grateful for the blessings it provides ... we at least fit half that bill ... is that what we are then ... the ingrate in creation's zoo

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


is it true that we are in the most wicked of all ages ... ages should be seen through historical lenses in which a hundred years takes up a couple of inches ... and they should be seen philosophically ... for example either all men are created equal or they're not ... if they are then the answer is yes ... this is the most wicked of all ages ... if you mean the last hundred years when more people were killed in war or starved to death or massacred than in any other century on earth ... not to mention all those who were exploited or humiliated before they were murdered ... tortured before they were let die ... if all this is true then we don't have a problem ... we have something deeper than that ... if amidst all this iniquity upon self-examination we can still find a collaborative spirit to hurry this chaos along we don't have a problem or dilemma or even a tragedy ... we have a simple horror ... for which suicide is the only honorable reply ... unless we have a story or something like it with a good old-fashioned moral about right and wrong ... and unless we have a chance to do that right thing by choice ... there are no people ... there is no hope faith or truth

cf kreeft, making sense out of suffering, p57

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


it's not that the fingers and toes are not important ... it's that by themselves they are not substantial ... see what happens when their connections are broken ... how quickly they lose substance ... these connections may be formal conceptually ... wrapped in flesh they become substantial ... matter and form equal substance ... we might be inclined to leave it at that ... if it weren't for these peculiar systems of forms within forms within bubbles of bone we substances some of us carry on our shoulders ... capsulate capsulating ... enfolding inside and out ... too many to be incidental ... too much of a point to be accidental ... we're forced to recognize these substances as free agents ... free within these restrictions of matter and form but free enough because of these material forms to worry with doubt these same connections holding their integrity together till at last under the strain they wear down ... they break ... they bleed dry ... and the substance crumbles ... and the larger form to which they were connected that too begins to collapse and the generations expire not in truth but in false hope and failed purpose ... because they have not been true to that purpose and hope eternally

Monday, October 20, 2008


I can't take my eyes off me and it's driving me mad ... someone's dying I ask myself how will I handle my sorrow ... someone's talking and I'm wondering how will I make them understand the truth of what I'm about to say ... I wouldn't mind but after a while I get curious and I want to see who it is I spend so much time looking at ... then I have it ... for a second ... but it isn't me for it's already gone ... it's never me ... I'm always going gone ... then I get it for the second time ... there isn't any me there ... it's more like a pulse than a drop of blood ... as subtle as a fiction instead of a fact ... an intention never rising to a deed ... or if I make to be bold it soars above the deed that now is done ... it is the doing ... I am the act ... and so I am even in my sleep ... but whose act is it ... after all these years I no longer think it's mine ... or it's only one finger in a glove and probably the pinky if I were so lucky and smart as to move with the hand ... but mostly I will not ... and then I'm as useful as the little sleeve cut from the glove ... empty and all alone ... wondering where it went wrong that now it has so little substance ... oh for a bit of a breeze to puff me up and blow me away

Sunday, October 19, 2008


why do we need other people ... if we didn't have them we'd get nothing done ... I don't mean just physically I mean emotionally ... now if you're one of those who tend to say to the emotions be quiet I must caution you ... I believe emotions are eternal ... you might want to pay them more respect ... take the pleasure we feel on doing something well ... or that particular evacuating fear when any other place is better than this ... but beyond wright and flight we have for and from ... it's easier to be for something when you're right even easier than going back where you came from when you're wrong ... but there's nothing to be for unless there's someone to be for first ... you can move towards a thing as a falling rock obeys gravity or as a small magnet is pulled onto a refrigerator door ... but to move truly for something is first to want it and then to want that which is good for it ... so that when you're for it you're for all of it not just that part or glimpse of it that attracted you ... the attraction of the word for is the completion between you and it ... not just a captivating landscape or a logical finesse ... but a whole person on the other end

Saturday, October 18, 2008


the devil likes to sit down with us and talk about the bad things we've done that can't be taken back ... foul balls they'll be fine if they get where they're intended don't swing at them is the advice of the coach I want to hear from before I do one of those things that can't be taken back ... I don't want to talk anymore about the bad things I've done ... I want to think about the next one coming up ... I don't want a life of regret ... I want a life of the mind ... I don't want to be on Planet Z20 and have to pay a bill I ran up on Planet B103 or try to remember who was that girl on Planet H110 all those many lifetimes ago ... I want to be on Planet A1 just getting started ... not all over again ... the devil says we're talking about a box ... it's pretty narrow and you've nailed it up pretty thoroughly ... the teacher whose voice I want hear says come on out ... the devil wants to talk to you up to a point ... but then he wants to kill you when you get to that point ... the teacher too just as the devil does says trust me ... that's where the devil got it ... the teacher though says trust me if you know you mean it

cf kreeft, prayer, p112

Friday, October 17, 2008


here come the ideas from the mound ... one by one ... some slow some fast ... some curved some twisted ... almost all of them wide or low or high ... and of the rest a bunch of singles a few doubles and triples just one or two homeruns ... in other words your typical ballgame only with ideas mostly errant but each and every one claiming the same authority at the center of the mound ... the trick though is still the same ... knowing when to swing and what to ignore ... clearly a method is called for ... my favorite is subtraction and to do this you need good subtractors ... they go after things foul and out of bounds ... things wrong and malcontented ... the judgments that snarl the appraisals that wander ... they take away excuses misunderstanding and lies ... they pick up the rug and vacuum out all the fine grit down to the last cosmetic blemish ... they leave the colors as long as they're smooth and gradual with sharp contrasts and fortunate backgrounds ... be careful though ... there's one squad that's radical ... the metaphysical squad ... they see accident they cut to substance ... they discard the ephemeral ... they'll accept only the timeless ... they'll suck the substance out of being itself

Thursday, October 16, 2008


we have wandered from the protection of our churches ... we have formed groups cults too of our own ... we have pockets of self-pity and dead-ends of self-analysis ... we don't feel guilty when we should ... we can't figure out why we do when we shouldn't ... we've turned away from god though we meant to turn right back ... we've picked up all kinds of infectious assumptions ... thrilling but not examined ... so now we don't like our conclusions ... we doctor the premises ... we drug the patient ... still the same conclusion ... we lose ... no help ... too bad ... what to do what to do what to do now indeed ... rolling downhill no gas no brakes looking for an empty parking lot and a smooth curve till we're done ... at least we can say this is what we have done ... come to an end ... no thanks you hear a few say ... we'll take another dip and narrow if you please even with a wall at the end ... we don't hold with this leveling off ... good souls brave souls let them come to a fast end if not just now ... I say go with the glide when you can ... the hollows and the bends are enough for me ... but a few times each day I hear as from the radio still playing ... though though aim still higher

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


because the name his name is the truth itself all good things and beautiful must follow as contained within it ... no other word is as true as this name ... to say it is in essence to put the vowels back in the tetragrammaton ... now I ask you isn't that magic and isn't the formula abracadabra ... well it does depend who's in the conversation ... if it's someone you want to pull out of the line and give instructions to that's magic ... if it's someone who pulls you out of line and gives instructions that's black magic and dark art ... but if it's you who leaves the line sits at the foot of and takes instruction from that's prayer ... if you have an arm that stretches out and paints the sky red that's magic ... if fingers grip your artery and rip it loose that's the work of the devil ... if one hand holds the other and you're lost in thought that's prayer ... if the thoughts that come through mottle and distract keep praying and begin each prayer with his name ... because that's what we're talking about ... that word his name in which if this is right all wisdom power good intention and formation rest ... and all things work ... for the benefit of those who love him

cf kreeft, prayer, p67, pp55-57

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


some people have tried lots of ways high and low to get stoned ... I only knew two but I'm considering a third based on something I just read ... the two methods I'm familiar with struck me as being similar in this respect ... they both have a moment when all the buzz and rattle stops ... the first method under whose influence I came to legal maturity required an hour or two before the moment came ... helped if you could find a spot to yourself which was difficult in this a social way ... the second was immediate but blurred or even falsified if you had to be with others but alone it came within a minute or two ... but this new method requires no drug at all ... indeed something to be desired ... and short as it is it implicates the hierarchical structure of the universe ... mercy rather than simple justice ... and the insignificant yet tawdry role I have played myself within it ... and it takes no time at all ... a good deal you would say ... well yes but the high it gives me does not raise me up ... the calm with which it surrounds me does not keep the world out ... and the feeling of quiet it brings me isn't centered in the smooth flow of the blood round my ears but in the assurance of my mind that this word is the truth

Monday, October 13, 2008


you would at the end of life recant all your mistakes for fear of something worse and say they gave you no pleasure ... you might even believe it ... memory now at the service of your immediate desire to survive somehow anyhow ... but there should be a little man at the back of your head at the base of your skull to stand up and say no that's not the way it was ... I enjoyed myself ... it was fun ... and he should have an audience of your past moments and present good advice who stand up then and applaud the little man for telling the truth ... but then the audience will sit down and having heard just a little bit of the truth they'll be in the mood to hear some more ... what will you tell them ... the stage is now yours ... might you not reverse the last four hundred years of philosophy in the west ... use your little note of honesty to flip the foolish sin of pride at the beginning ... when it said I think therefore I am ... as if this I am was not already the name of something far greater than man or creation and you little man could use it to close your claim of self-definition ... not I think therefore I am ... but he thinks therefore I am his ... now that's a correction worth applause

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I had figured it out that the clause because we can was enough to explain evil ... and of course it's not ... it's enough to explain the good ... what changed my mind was the silent and invisible clause that experience shows must follow ... after because we can and still like it must follow and follow all the way through ... now I could argue the next step theoretically or for the most part ... go out of the box in theory or be satisfied with the majority of mankind ... the awful and dull truth is that it's virtue and not vice we wind up admiring ... most of us at any rate ... and those who don't or the rest of us when we don't it's because we're laboring in a theory and it's badly fractured ... one more push in that direction one more restraint ... there is no end of trying down that way till the last trying fails ... what a loathsome pest is wrong desire fulfilled ... its wage is a perpetual debit ... it ruins satisfaction and makes desire a cloying cannot hereafter ... for that which we cannot do finally is just that which we were not meant to do ... all our happiness is found in that small affirmation can ... and even now at the end of life looking back you see it is what we are

Thursday, October 09, 2008


you know the tree by its root but also by its fruit ... what you do is important but what you think is too ... even when it comes to nothing ... and sometimes especially when it does ... when we are in error ... what more welcome advice than stop before you step in front of the bus ... stop ... here you are in error ... where no such thing is you put one there and when I call you pretend not to hear ... there is no place where nothing is unless we mean the place of error ... where nothing's in the right place even no thing is well placed ... and you can get there at that point ... death's point ... only by lying not by making a mistake ... not in that light ... the light of death ... the darkness is not blind just a lie to say that it is ... and all our good sight falls through the stomach and out the gut and we too along with it ... a thoroughly tasteless bad example we used to have the good sense to ignore ... will you hold it up pertinaciously forever even as you fall ... let it go let it go down let it go out now rather you stay in stay here ... what a twist a contortion really it must take at this point to leave ... will you scurry down the trunk the withered syllable in your mouth just to say no

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


this inside outside stuff is very strong ... some of us get together from a society that bans the inside and we deny the outside ... we have the four corners posted ... we have sentries in betweeen ... we don't intend to let any of it through ... but over the years we fail in that intention ... we find the outside has seeped in and the walls are about to collapse ... whole acres of tissue are wasted ... on the inside we are invaded and about to capitulate ... but inside the inside we're still plotting bunker strategy ... and in these confined rooms we have a score of lawyers working our defense ... we know they won't be needed ... at our trial there will be just one question asked ... with no lie or misunderstanding possible ... there is no defense ... everything's out in the open ... it cannot be argued or ameliorated ... that is the assumption we begin with and it's the one we must dismiss if our answer to the question asked is no ... and that's what worries me ... that I should say no ... the philosopher says I've been training all my life to answer that question ... the answer I give will be shaped by the habits I've formed ... how can I avoid saying no one last time

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


there's good news for the megalomaniac ... the good news has two parts ... first he can be cured ... second he can be cured because in a sense he was right all the time ... he is a great man ... just not in the sense he thought ... he thought he was a great man or would be or should be on the outside ... and there he is wrong ... his greatness is on the inside and it is unique ... but so is mine and yours and everyone else's ... it's because he could not reconcile this paradox that he got confused ... but if he did he had help ... help from the runaway culture at large which says that there is no inside ... what we think is the inside is just a mishmash of chemical urges shaped by the pressures of society mediated by a phantom construction called the ego ... indeed whatever we do find on the inside peels off to become another outside ... but this was not enough to content our friend mr m ... he had a sure sense of something great about him ... he just didn't take the preposition literally enough to recognize it holds the key to the pronoun ... this about was all around him but when he went to pinpoint its location he found only himself on the outside looking back in

Monday, October 06, 2008


you may find this of little note this movement of the hand across the shelf ... almost accidentally ... but there's often a significance most of all in that little word almost ... my finding the book is of little noteworthiness in our outside world ... but the philosopher also notes that we are all bigger on the inside than we are on the outside ... so it is with me then too ... and unlike most books which have passed through my hands on the outside this one has made its way to the inside ... let me give an example ... I've always wondered why on the average we waste a third of our life in sleep ... this author the philosopher answers the question by reminding us the average is a mean between the two extremes the infant and the old man and the difference in their need for sleep ... it grows less and less as we get older and older because life is working as it should ... doing the job it was designed to do ... it's waking us up ... just in time to kill us ... well yes but only because our time is up ... the body is worn out ... and we should be ready to go ... and would be if we believed what he believes is waiting for us

Sunday, October 05, 2008


well ... on the surface the philosopher has some points in his favor ... if death is food a culture that denies it would feel itself starving ... and if you consider the alternative to death as being without explicit reference to god humanity's claim to immortality ... given a tight contract where nothing implicit is honored ... you have as he says the classic definition of hell ... furthermore you have prior clauses argued that come now in support ... death gives life here on earth its limits ... but definition is a matter of limits ... without death the board cannot be placed on the side of the house ... without limits the board can't be held by the hand by the eye by the mind ... death not only seasons the food ... without its limits there is no food ... as matter provides space for spirits to communicate ... as time gives the mind food for thought ... and mystery something for it to chew on ... so death gives it the chunk of steak in the middle of the plate too big to be swallowed in one bite ... with instructions on the menu saying that's the only way it can be eaten ... and swallow it you will ... though in fact it kills you

Saturday, October 04, 2008


reading philosophers is not quite the same thing as reading philosophy is it ... I mean you have to read the philosophers to read philosophy because it's a necessary means to an end ... but that's all ... philosophy itself is the end ... you can be an eclectic and collect a little from parmenides from plato from aristotle from plotinus from augustine from thomas from berkeley hegel schopenhauer kierkegaard blanshard and hartshorne even popper too ... you can put it all together ... season it with a little insight you've had yourself ... put it in the oven for a decade or two ... and then use it to defend the way you've spent your life ... or upon your coming up to an end of that life grace may be given to you ... to pull a book down from off the shelf ... a book by a philosopher on death ... a little book ... a hundred and twenty pages ... but he tells you to read it more than once ... and here too as almost always in this book he's right ... this philosopher who says death is our food and we eat it up as we do matter mystery and time for they nourish us

cf peter kreeft, love is stronger than death

Friday, October 03, 2008


of the man who heard voices it was not necessary to stipulate where they came from ... it was enough that he heard them and then confessed it ... so much for the commitment stage ... but when it came to housing storing and releasing the patients the identity of the voices assumed an administrative value ... did they threaten or soothe ... suggest or command ... if either what was it they wanted the patient to do ... now up in the capital there was a clerk in charge of correlating the responses and submitting to the secretary an annual report a summary of these messages ... for the last few years a section of the report had been growing in length and thereby attracted first the secretary's attention and then his alarm ... it was the section of the advice sometimes peremptory but never claiming to be more than a suggestion but for a growing class of patients the persistent advice to remember their oncoming death ... the clerk explained to the secretary this expanding number was a mere function of their ageing demographic ... but the ageing secretary himself began to brood

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I got ya ... was there ever a more reassuring note ... not gotcha! a cruel distortion ... but I got ya ... as in don't worry indeed if you could only see it from my point of view you would know how simply safe you are as this is not a complicated matter but a completely done deal ... so relax ... later on you can worry about something more serious ... you hear talk at this point of the law of the heart ... justice or mercy ... it's a nice puzzle that the trinity solves ... the answer is the law of the heart of merciful justice ... of course right now I'm talking about the solution which is simple enough intellectually but not at all the same as living it which is rather being part of the solution ... so that when you say I got ya your voice emphasizes the I ... whereas the cop to the criminal emphasizes the verb ... or simply says gotcha! ... putting the cruelty back on the head of the criminal who's the real ironist here ... nor do I mean I got your back as if together we fight the foe ... back to back ... but simply I am the one to hold your back upright as a wall

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


if god is all good things at once I should be grateful to be one good thing every now and then ... and I am ... but there's more ... I'm to be one good thing all the time after the end of time is over ... just to be at such a time must be splendid but I am to be more ... I am to be perfect ... complete ... in the fulness of time fulfilled ... and before you say what nonsense let me say you are to be this one good thing as well ... now you may say that may be well indeed ... but if you persist and still say nonsense it will never happen then I would ask you why not ... what better argument is there than to know from things that are wrong that they cannot last ... and to know from things that are right that they cannot be lost ... for long ... I say what better argument ... you may think you have one as good ... that neither good things nor bad can last forever ... and it would be just as good given the evidence we have and how we may interpret it ... as good an argument but not better ... and why is that ... when one of these two arguments will win and one will lose why is it that the argument for the good end is not better ... isn't it already good

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


when he sat down in the robes of a roman catholic cardinal I sat up and took notice ... I queried him ... are you so highly placed in the church as that ... despite what you may think I have he replied a penchant for good living and some success he smiled in achieving it ... I think by good you mean comfortable I said ... as comfortable as can reasonably be managed he replied ... I put the highest stock in reason and therefore have the highest stake in seeing it not devalued ... I don't know I objected ... the robes might become you but only as an affectation that is of a costume of a period piece ... and overall soul by soul a thing that has more defeated you than not no this church ... I have nothing against your church he said ... the smile had not left his face ... I love the pageantry the artistry the whimsy of the stories the charming myth of the incarnation the splendid pathos the tragedy of the crucifixion ... I cannot attend you good brothers all the way to the resurrection ... there we must part ... I am after all a realist and I see as for current ideas nothing but death for human beings ... ultimately

Monday, September 29, 2008


darwin today by his own admission would not be a darwinian ... nor could he I think be a neo-darwinian without making a false move ... because he said if the emergence of life and its forms could be shown to be nonincremental his theory must fail ... lots of people have spoken of the amazing intricacy and interdependence between the parts of the flagellum outboard motor and one scholar has referred to its irreducible complexity which phrase is another name for nonincremental ... another synonymous phrase or name would be punctuated equilibrium ... most marks of punctuation indicate a pause or at best a modification of meaning within the narrative flow ... this punctuation is closer to a simple puncture in the integrity of the theory of incremental evolution and in the case of the cambrian emergence it's more like an explosion of the theory ... but most at issue should be the submission of darwin's theory before the supposition of a very large number ... as if the universe had already given evidence of the necessary amount of monkeys and typewriters whose chance collaboration has written darwin's book and the universe too

Sunday, September 28, 2008


the art of fiction the art of the pacre cannot be here it must be there maybe even all the way out there it just can't be here ... it has to move the reader some place else ... if he thinks he's still here after reading the page or the chapter and hasn't just come back from that some place else then it fails even if the reader and the author still like it ... it is nice to entertain and it must be pleasant to be popular but it's essential to move the reader and I mean intellectually before and if must be rather than emotionally ... the academic intellectuals began to deride escapism ... I say we should rather perfect this art of getting out of ourselves ... the untaught self is houdini wrapped in a straight-jacket locked in a trunk dumped into the sea doing what comes naturally struggling to be free ... that's why fiction and these pacres are written ... to help the soul free itself from the self ... my only caveat is beware the emotional release ... it's only a parole and they keep taking you back ... we don't need a parole ... we need an acquital ... free the boy send him home help him get an education

Saturday, September 27, 2008


or so at least one interpretation would have it ... namely the one from across the way on the union side of the wilderness where the rebel howl had all the meaning I have mentioned ... on the other side it meant something else ... there it was no howl at all but a cadence of three spontaneous cheers for lee their commander ... perhaps not welcome to him in the movement by stealth at night to get ahead of the enemy ... it certainly was not welcome to grant when the same thing happened to him and may have added to his impatience which a little bit later led him into a detour which would have got him captured or killed if in his stubbornness he had persisted in that way for it led him into the enemy not around them as he wanted ... the movement of thought and interpretation it might be said was like the battle not given to clarity of understanding ... certainly not to grace of maneuver ... anything but subtlety or sympathy ... just will power and physical force and faith in their general ... unless of course the rebels did howl later ... so it is on drama being accurate ... it just wants to be drama

Friday, September 26, 2008


they howled three times into that night from one end of the line to the other across the heart of the wilderness into the mind and heart of the enemy ... saying in context I suspect something like this ... you came into the wilderness a year ago and we mauled you then just as we did yesterday and today and this is what we will do to you every time we meet till you die of it ... or leave us alone ... indeed they had come these blue and these grey to the fulcrum point not of the season or the campaign but of the war itself ... not just the abstract point of the argument where they put the eye in the triangle but of the bloody angle itself where standing on the top of the wall ... then ... the union would jump forward go south and win ... or fall back north and lose ... they did not fall back but the rebellion did ... the union now had it in its grip and grant would not let lee go ... longstreet's charge was lee's last hurrah the day of the night the men howled calling for the point ... the topmost angle the highest peak in the spiritual combat ... the very point for which the heroes had reenlisted

Thursday, September 25, 2008


first old abe he came out of the wilderness ... then right behind him came sam grant ... but if you think that was easy or the middle of a good thing you've got another thought coming to you ... it wasn't easy and it's not enough to say that it was hard or even to say that it was brutal ... it is of course even on the surface of it a more complicated thing than that ... lots of people involved ... that alone makes motivation very complex ... and when motivation slides into understanding and understanding into judgment and action it takes the mind of a recording angel just to get it all straight ... having said all this nonetheless there is something simple to say about it ... you may say of grant and lee and of their armies what was not evident before the overland campaign ... that they hated one another ... yes ... of course before they had fought and killed each other but this time after three years the north and generals like grant had come to see what lincoln wanted them to see from the start ... that enough was enough and god willing they would make lee see it too ... that's why grant turned in the wilderness and the rebels howled

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


let's look at these pronouns then ... which are more pernicious ... or most blessed ... likely to cause trouble ... liable to begin peace ... seem by themselves to favor the self ... hold it out of the count ... seek to go beyond it ... catch my drift ... I think we know who we're talking about here ... I don't want to point any fingers but we know which little guy is most laden with sin ... we may double the letters trying to spread the guilt out but if all the eyes be covered groupsight can't help ... yet clouded as night it will not hide from us this eye in every storm who claiming the only point of view opens wide innocently to signal who me surrounded by the chaos and ruin it has caused ... no I much prefer the objective impersonal pronouns as insensitive as they can be ... they have at least the purity of new knowledge to attract them ... even if the best they can do is gossip ... the one letter assassin and his vicious little groupie on the other hand they're the ones most likely to do all of us in and would too finally if they could ... if it weren't for the second person whose voice will turn them around and set them straight again they'd go out crooked to the end

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


why is a bright new morning good ... is it the light the look the feel the comfort the excitement ... all of these ... or simply the knowledge that this day just now is friendly ... what makes a rainy day perhaps distressing but not usually alarming ... is it the thought this isn't too bad tomorrow will be more inclined to support me ... isn't there in other words something personal about the weather ... not as a pattern that affects humanity or a group of us ... but each of us separately individually personally ... this flutter and buzz behind our ears it really is interference isn't it ... this hum and flurry of flickering motion directly in front of our eyes it's meant to distract us isn't it ... there's something decisive being told to us that part of us doesn't want to hear ... something about the morning that's hidden in the rain ... something being said and shown to us that we see and hear and then forget and then repeated and forgot again repeatedly ... the longer we live sometimes the more likely we are to figure it out ... to have the repetitions set in ... to be able to say a word just the right word to describe what it is in the morning that gives us such confidence ... not I ... but you

Monday, September 22, 2008


I was reading some medieval philosophy the other day and I was struck by the answer to a question I should have but didn't think to ask ... the question has to do with how many different kinds of people do you think there are ... I know the number Plato or Aristotle had in mind was two ... one human one divine ... but the medievals had three kinds human divine and angelic ... I'm thinking that's humanity's answer to monotheism confronting and subduing polytheism ... what do you do with all these guys we thought were gods ... make them angels ... and I'm thinking that's the right answer ... because they are angels ... not only mars and venus but planets and ideas at least behind them ... the angel of death of terrorism of tyranny of democracry reason and joy ... one each for the bad ones I'm guessing but whole truckloads for each of the good ones ... and all engaged in a battle which seen only from a specific aspect can be seen as a game ... but it is from a multitude of angles a battle of ideas ... and that's how you game if you will this war of opposite intentions ... good and bad

Sunday, September 21, 2008


he left the house in the morning too ... searching for truth he brought it with him ... couldn't fail to do so because he was the truth and still is ... not just truthful but the truth itself ... good too of course but not goodness itself in the same way he is the truth ... or in the same way as the goodness he sent to replace him after he was gone ... pretty seemingly for good ... not the nice guy is what I mean to say ... pat him or more like pound him on the back and buy him a beer ... how's that job going in the new town ... or could you lend me fifty till monday ... his response being sure or no man I'm tapped out ... there's a reason we're missing nine out of the ten parts in the story he lived and whatever that reason is it's not because he was a good guy ... even a good son neighbor or friend ... there had to be something about him ... figure it was the truth ... to scare the hell out of you ... because that's what he came to do ... though oddly enough seems he could fail at that if we wanted him to ... but don't expect he took the failure kindly or in good part ... his parting from those who chose to go I expect would be terrifying

Saturday, September 20, 2008


you have to be a little crazy on this level ... not insane unsound ... just off balance when picked up and put suddenly elsewhere ... you shouldn't worry though ... spiritually you're only moving millimeters ... though intellectually you're in a blur spiritually you're taking a little tiny step ... take what you just said ... went out to get the truth found it in goodness came back with beauty ... those are the biggest steps that can be taken and that's the longest journey in creation and beyond ... and we know that ... not just me but you too ... truth goodness beauty unity being those are the transcendentals ... unity and being that to which truth goodness and beauty return ... exitus-reditus ... that's what thomas said and you know and I know that he's right ... I'd have you prove it to yourself in reverse since you and I live on this planet in revolt ... take a look at things when they go wrong how they go wrong ... you leave the house in the morning to deal in truth with humanity and to bring home good things for your family and if they are not good or good enough see how ugly things can become

Friday, September 19, 2008


aahh you still have to link desire with spirit ... revolution and frustration I get but you've still only given spirit as an example of desire ... indeed and to be more accurate spirits in the plural as disembodied people ... but to the first problem ... what we call desire of the body as opposed to desire for the body is really instinct ... all the mind can do is recognize the truth in the aim of the desire as it approaches or veers away from its object ... but the wanting the conscious awareness of the need ... in a word the desire ... there's no other faculty in man that can hold it but the spirit ... now as to disembodied intelligences the same tripartite structure holds ... there may be a wanting for the body or an aversion against it but by definition it can't be of the body ... nor is the body anything but a dictum true or false to the mind ... how can the body be anything else to this stranger ... but the spirit is not like that to the body ... to the spirit in health there's nothing finer than the body in health ... to the spirit the body is not a truth to be verified but a good to be got ... and that's the story ... went out to get the truth found it in goodness came back with beauty

Thursday, September 18, 2008


you should do it ... you should not be made to do it ... you should do it ... you should not be made not to do it ... unless the making is the original ... who then is there to say no ... not the culture though the culture will forcefully imply what it means to say ... take the conversation among spirits you mentioned a short while back ... the culture will forcefully suggest approval or not for this idea ... say the culture decides that not is what it will do ... how will it intend to show it ... it may provide you a room to disagree though it may wrap your arms around you ... but no matter if there's enough sense outside this one idea to guide the culture by then the constraint will be for something else ... if you've been orderly for you there's another deterrent and however tender it still must chafe ... however abstract it still must pinch ... however confusing it still must frustrate ... and that I fear is our one common weakness ... some are fearful but many are brave and some have no fear at all ... some are filled with hate some have enough love to yearn for more ... but the one thing we all have and care the least to keep is our frustrated desires

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I like the sound of the word ... solipsism ... the slithery smoothness of it with just the hint of a backbone in the p ... but I'm figuring also the idea itself should pop up in the lexicon of the five or six words ... words like gnostic ... that define the culture ... pop up too of course in the unstated philosophy of our time ... in the indignation felt for the perfidy of the symptom-free disease ... where literally is the sense in killing tissue without pain when sense itself is the boundary of the self and the self is the justification of existence ... where's the virtue in justice or law ... an intangible string to link the palpable moments of good or bad sense ... my moments someone else's invisible something ... as if something or someone else made any sense at all ... and least of all a conversation ... first all the talk all those words they will never stop ... and when of course they do it's only the work of exhaustion that the mind no longer hears them being said ... it's only at that point of exhaustion that the silence can seem to be his ... and if there were no time that would be fine ... but as it is it doesn't last ... and the still word begins to sound again

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


so you smoke ... why ... to change my point of view ... to make a calibrated change as you do when you take a glass of whisky or wine or a couple of cans of beer ... we turn the dial on the amount of oxygen in the blood stream to make the mind more wakeful than usual ... and to free the spirit ... that's why you drink spirits ... not that they come in the bottle but that the bottle holds a liquid key to your heart that never fails and morning has broken yet another time ... the king may walk down the corridor in the daytime and you'd better get out of his way ... but at night with his heart open you're in the field with him ... planning to demolish your enemy ... or just trying to figure the stars in the sky ... whether it's pot or hash wine or beer the first thing it does is clear the ear so you can hear the new measure of time ... it clears the air inside the mind by washing it with light ... and it changes the sound as the head bows down ... now the sky has a ceiling ... almost everything does ... this one curves then tapers like the heart of the flame ... balloons out like a bubble ... bursts open like a flower ... and look everything is wet ... so no ... no sobriety ... no sobriety ever ... you can build your church round that

Monday, September 15, 2008


your complaint is that men show women respect only as a byproduct of their pursuit to get laid ... but you know this fallen world is upside down so perhaps your complaint is best answered by a consideration of the reverence men show women when they see them naked or parts of them naked for the first time ... wow can I touch it ... are you sure ... it's only later that the barbarians are allowed to take over ... sometimes only a day later or by the next morning ... but later nonetheless ... the normal natural first reaction is reverence ... what happens thereafter is the result of a corruption that went down long long before this poor lad was a conception in the mind or the body of the universe ... perhaps even long before the conception of the first woman ... whatever ... something went wrong sometime near the beginning ... and not just men but women also have been trying ever since to scramble back to that first start when flesh was new as new as skin and light ... and life was abundant because it all had a share in the same good intention and brought the same rich reward ... wonder

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I do not believe in salvation outside the church ... point is I think the church is pretty big ... you might say I'm a member of the Church of the First Tautology ... kind of like darwin's tautology ... only where he says the fittest survive in my church we say salvation is for those who are saved ... you might say as well that our town is a tautological community ... we don't take a dim view I think we take an enlightened view of those outside the church ... I am however worried that we do not take a compassionate view ... indeed I must admit we take rather a dispassionate or bemused point of view ... what a curiosity it is for those who are saved to see those who are condemned ... I do not mean to be contentious ... I mean the great majority of these people know they are condemned though they use synonyms anything but the word itself to describe their condition ... they speak of their world as meaningless ... their origin is accidental but their doom is determined ... they love and hate but only to give fanciful names to a chemical imbalance ... the world has no lasting good ... no guaranteed truth ... no beauty whose attraction is universal

Saturday, September 13, 2008


any real act of creation is an act of procreation ... do the thing but not on your own ... indeed by your decision but not by your initiative ... we are barren of initiative and pregnant with decision ... the realization of this truth might at first have a debilitating effect so compartmentalize contain the damage to your pride ... play your part and give your lines with decision ... and remember there's a party after the performance and you're invited ... in the meantime enjoy the play ... the fun of it ... now if you do all this does that mean you make of life a comedy ... if it does that's not what I mean ... I mean only what you mean too ... that for every comedy we're given we get another tragedy ... the enjoyment I mean is first an admiration for the character the plot and especially the dialogue ... and finally a humility a docility before the theme and its author ... yes I mean past the fun of it too ... a participation in sorrow ... that's the part of the play if it comes when it comes we don't get to write ... the part where most of us don't get any lines either ... in a funeral there is no applause

Friday, September 12, 2008

WHAT IF ... ?

how is prayer the answer to the divided self ... prayer is communion with the trinity ... now I don't know much about the trinity ... I'm sure there was a time when I knew more ... but I don't know much now ... but I am a past and present master of equivocation so I can speak of some mastery concerning that subject ... not my own but of that which has mastered me ... perhaps you hear the words the divided self and you think that's a bad thing ... but what if it were a natural thing ... in fact what if it were a supernatural thing ... and what if as well there was the greatest simplicity in things ... even in god ... and that it was this ... that everything has something in common with something else ... and that this were absolute not subject to sequence or condition ... it is said with purpose that there never was a time when the divine procession of father to son to spirit wasn't going on ... let's extrapolate a little and say when the mother did not know and love her child ... never was ... because all this happened before time was and is beyond our power to conceive

Thursday, September 11, 2008


first were the trees their roots and their trunks ... second was the moon ... the thicket was next and the sea of contention ... then the land of milk and honey the honey in the voice ... but the last was best the face and the light in the eyes ... after such a journey what a thing it is to be caught by the hair ... from the oceans of creation to the start of a halo or the midst of the dark strands of night and all the colors and textures that nature or chemistry can provide ... but most is the style ... whether it changes one face between today and tomorrow or frames the face of a generation it's done the same all through civilized time ... in the twirl of a finger it is civilized time ... compare its other-placed rivals all bare five and a half of them and see how the hair crowns the head ... the hair at the bottom of the brow may be a sharp contender at times ... indeed and often arch ... but the hair above the brow has the arch variety to measure the proper distance from the one to the many ... a fiat in the form ... a grace in the variation ... for now a splendor

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


guardian angels and muses the real ones and impostors ... ideals and ideas ... if I could tell the difference I'd be home free ... but who has any discernment these days ... it's not that you can have thirty fifty or a hundred choices ... sorting those out can be fun ... it's that you each time have two choices ... is this the ideal or in its service or just another renegade idea ... we creatures of the most recently have very short memories ... I build a wall of darwin books and put them on one end of the room ... then I pace the room ... I keep coming back to darwin ... now is that a coincidence ... I rock my chair in front of the wargames ... don't you think I can tell how they hem us all in ... I put my hand out toward her radiance ... no the angle's all wrong ... lighting where's lighting can we get no light ... indeed that's been the problem all along ... not enough light ... and too much heat ... I can't tell it out it's neither yes nor no but darkly in between ... what a thicket lord ... who can penetrate it ... it's so dark what am I to say ... I appreciate the light more when it does come

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


what was gandolfini doing walking up to our table sitting down looking at me with recognition smiling saying he'd looked forward to our conversation ... I saw then that though he still looked like gandolfini he was in fact the parish priest but not my parish not my priest and this premise in my mind must have been the support for an unintended superiority in my voice or face ... an oily slickness perhaps ... that said ... and what can we do for you father ... he drew himself in from the gut up and swelled prodigiously and in a voice I never heard on tv said I am a bishop of jerusalem ... impressed I replied what do I call you ... turning from me with a sweep of his huge head to my companion but his eyes still on my face he said bishop ... the voice the word the city his size or all of them together made me call for retreat and I opened my eyes to yet another palm sunday unobserved ... unobserved this time but for his look his balloon-like appearance and the profound solidity in his eye ... it was not his offended authority that stayed in my mind but his authority revealed that warms me still

Monday, September 08, 2008


in the shower this morning I heard myself say I don't know about you but I'm going back to bed which I thought seemed to say it all ... the divided self and its plans for the future ... back to bed and get a couple of good dreams in before getting up again ... I'm sorry to say this is not what we wanted at all ... back to bed get the dreams in ... sorry to say you have just days left to live ... back to bed get those dreams in ... and pray that the dreams be good ... for what's the good I find myself answering if the dreams be bad ... the puzzles are fine the hard work is good but there's revelation in the dreams ... they not only tell you where to go they tell you where you're going ... and they do it all by feel ... you've been here before ... this room this ship this field these people ... you've met them all before ... but something's different ... what's different is the way they make you feel this time ... is this what I've been doing you hear yourself say ... has it come to this ... yes is the answer ... it has ... dreams and the spirit world have all the other worlds have ... process and finality ... but they continue too

Sunday, September 07, 2008


which left our incrementalist in a quandary ... well really a quarry ... not so much where to carry his stones ... that was to be to all sides ... that was understood ... but when and in what order they should be laid ... not to give offense here ... to encourage there ... and to sympathize with over there ... hardly ever to argue with ... he was at this stage laying foundations after all ... but with all his good or at least peaceful intentions he could not escape the ruins ... he built as regularly there but never with any assurance ... nor met with much among his closest peers ... these were redline districts too close as it were to the ground and the shore to the dirt and the flood ... or like a dentist capping an abscess he knew whatever help he'd brought would not live long ... and though he tried this realization this area pulled everything else awry ... the infection would spread ... the decay would rule ... the tower and its section of the wall would fall ... ruin would be complete and again the only question was when ... for the wall was only as strong as the first breach ... communication effective till it hit that first gap ... thereafter the abyss

Saturday, September 06, 2008


now said fulio we come to a subject dear to my heart the incremental spiritualist or may we just call him the incrementalist ... he will not read one book and pick up another but will read a chapter from ten various for fear that when a good book came to a solid end it would cause him to change what he was doing ... and he liked what he was doing ... building castles in the air one small stone at a time and a wall to connnect them ... why build the castles in the air ... because they housed spirits ... and why the wall within and between each pair ... the spirits of the city trusted and did not trust one another ... were closer to some and more remote from others ... but were all in one way or another connected ... all of which was familiar enough down below on the surface and further down in the deep waters but up here in the sky one thought things might be more relaxed ... but no ... there was something wrong up here too ... some spirit of infection whose every foray was an invasion ... the trouble never was venus she'd tend to you if only she had the time ... was mars each alternate one false

Friday, September 05, 2008


let's not blame god then for something that's our fault or at least the fault of our present corrupted nature ... and always given that condition let's try to talk about the absolute and give the concept at least the respect in logic which it commands and deserves ... I say the concept because I would not want to belittle the thing itself by a reference to any respect I might feel for or be able to show it ... and to tell the truth I feel such a conversation on my part beyond a simple warning to be a dead-end and not infrequently a nasty trap ... there may be a point when I talk about me and I hope there's a point when I talk or you talk about god ... but there's hardly ever going to be a point where I talk profitably about my relation to god except to say that I know that he knows that it could be better ... so when I talk or you talk about god I hope we can talk reverently of course but also informatively ... as when we say he cannot make a rock so large that he cannot lift it because at this level can will shall or simply wants to are all simply one

Thursday, September 04, 2008


now about getting high a comedienne nailed it in a couple of clauses ... now girls when you're feeling like that you get optimistic ... yes boys and girls she might have added for emphasis that is the feeling and that is what you get ... a close if not a true relation with the best ... at least not true always which is the best relation ... now let's ratchet it up a bit and talk not about the relative best but the absolute best ... you may say what's the point you can never describe that ... and there I think we have a common misconception ... we cannot fully describe the absolute but there's a lot we can say about the stops along the way to such a total description ... we can say god can do whatever he wants but with this qualification whatever he wants is the best ... and if you want to argue that the qualifier makes relative what should be absolute I must answer not if the qualifier itself is absolute ... and the need to add the qualifier I might add is not relative to god or even to our ultimate knowledge of what we call god but is relative to our ignorance

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


well said jack the never married let's leave it at that shall we and stood up ... yes I agreed and I stood up too ... I hope your debate goes well he said and put his hand out ... I will study what you told me I replied and shook him by the hand ... what was it that he said I thought as he left the restaurant and after I sat down again to enjoy another coffee ... he's made love to hundreds of women but was there by my lights any love then with them on the table or in the bed or wherever ... or could there be any love on the screen or in the audience ... if there were how could it get past the form ... what knowledge would permit it when one performer couldn't remember the name of the other ... no what love there is must be for the form ... but what is love of the form compared to love of the soul ... well not too bad a beginning I'd guess ... but a poor substitute for the real thing ... not an end in itself but a beginning ... and in that too is the difference ... the atheists and the pagans know only an eternal mindless process ... only our position has any room for a real beginning because we have real ends though they may plague us

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


the form of life itself jack repeated ... what are you talking about ... soul I said the soul ... see how odd it is this disconnect in criticism ... we use the word soulless to describe something monstrous and our sophisticates dismiss the criticism as obvious hyperbole ... but the noun from which the adjective is derived this they will not even consider to argue to dismiss ... the soul is for them a concept without a beginning or end ... at least for any sensible discussion ... and that's just it ... the soul isn't a thing open to division by the five senses ... but it is open to witness by the sixth sense whether mystical intuitive or common ... the sixth sense knows what the other five don't because it takes what together they all imply but none of them singly can name ... the spirit in type each soul in particular ... this is the thing behind love just as the idea is the thing behind mind and the object behind the senses ... an old man can look at his wife and find nothing but annoyance and disgust for her habits and she twice the same for his ... in the midst of their turmoil one light attraction

Monday, September 01, 2008


jack you said atheists don't believe everything is semantics ... what do they believe everything is ... they believe everything is power of course ... and isn't it ... no of course not and you know it isn't but you want to play your own wordgame no ... no not quite I replied ... everything has power but power alone as explanation is insufficient as well as a premature and unnecessary retreat from the burden of the argument ... the kind of power I'm talking about unlike the atheists' power goes beyond the universe ... it's the only kind of power that can do more than repeat itself ... the only power that can make something new something more than its components the power of creation ... it doesn't draw from the elements something hidden in them but imposes over them something by themselves they never could have ... an order ... the form of life itself ... and here it is where the three of us differ ... the atheists say the form of life is inherent in the elements of the universe and in that sense like them nothing unusual ... and you pagans agree to the extent that you think life though categorically different from inert matter is still part of the same and eternal universe

Sunday, August 31, 2008


well fulio I can see we won't agree said jack ... my path as you know justifies the unorthodox especially in sexual matters but we don't like too much interference when the pro's go to war either ... as to god by definition we're polytheists ... and by redefinition we do the best under tyranny ... we just change a few words here and there and go underground till the businessmen take control again ... no fulio it's not that we prefer atheism ... as good pagans we abhor it ... atheists on the other hand we can handle ... it might take a generation or two to tame them but we know something about them they don't know themselves ... they say everything is semantics but they don't really believe it ... what they don't know is it doesn't matter what they believe ... it's the truth that all they've got is language ... and that's how we know they don't have the staying power it takes to do what they want ... and soon enough they'll be gone ... meanwhile we'll continue to play wordgames with them ... use their discoveries to advance our own techniques to do what we do best ... play mars and venus ... but not with your lot ... you people have that unearthly calm

Saturday, August 30, 2008


there are three faces that make me laugh a child's a chimpanzee's and a cat's ... but they each have the same expression ... they say to me what are you doing here ... and I tell them waiting for you it's what we old ones do ... so here I am jack just waiting for the last argument and the final conclusion ... porn and war the two great obscenities ... yet each can be done so well ... or can they ... that's the argument ... I'm taking the two together ... if you can do one well you can do the other one well too ... you can have respect for opponents and for partners ... you can look at sex and war as too complementary necessary dances ... one for destruction one for regeneration ... and in truth sex and aggression they do have elements of the revolving door ... but I for one can't leave it at that ... generation and destruction are not equivalent ... and we shouldn't get confused into talking their representations porn and wargames for instance ... no we should remember them in the ideal ... venus and mars ... and conclude them even together to be insufficient ... then it isn't a question of which of the alternatives to follow

Friday, August 29, 2008


and what's your part in all this jack asked me ... well I said if you most truly are what you most truly believe ... and if we can determine that in truth by studying our behavior ... but if there is a meaning to the old question what is the meaning of life then it has an answer ... like a multiple-choice question I'm suggesting ... that comes in four parts ... you can say life has a meaning but it's a man-made construction otherwise there is no meaning to life ... or you can say life is a process of attractive and repulsive forms ... or you can say life is a struggle in which you win or lose ... or you might say life is a commandment you break or obey ... with the exception of the first response you might want to endorse some sense of the other three ... and even correct and bring in the first ... by saying coherence isn't enough there must be correspondence too ... the command says not love your neighbor as you love yourself ... that's the second step ... first you love god with all your heart ... then all the forms and fights of life fall into line ... still you breathe your life in prayer but now it's a meaningful prayer