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