Tuesday, August 31, 2010


they say the extreme right of the republican party is the religious right evangelical catholic christian ... but they're wrong ... the christian place in this country is neither left nor right but the center ... the left and right are secular ... the extremes are secular ... there is no extreme center ... but on the left you have the secular commune the tolerance and calm community ... and on the right the clever entrepreneurial libertarian ... extreme here now in america not for what they do but for what they threaten ... all state all party all class or all business all money and all luxury ... and in the middle in between there's the christian infiltrating both sides lifting each wing higher in the air ... and how ... by particularly specifically historically christian virtue ... by justice prudence temperance and courage ... as the ancient jew greek and roman knew as well ... but by faith in the individual soul a hope for all mankind and a love for everyone the world had not seen before


why do I spend most of my thinking time talking to those who can't respond while the one who by definition must is silent ... well here's one suggested answer I'm sure it's very old ... since he must he does ... but he must not because he has to ... doesn't need to and only in an odd sense wants to ... but is and does together at once with no time in between ... fills time and space with being because that's what he is ... his being is to give ... now for an intelligent being like us what we crave the most is meaning ... and how do we get it ... do we play by the rules ... no ... the move we make is inadmissable ... we see what's inside and we know we should follow it beyond ... but we let it rebound then go around asking each other where is it ... we have a notion we say of that property properly inside and beyond but it's outside now ... outside our control ... and all we talk is against suddenly finding it ... there it is don't let on ... I see it shh no you don't ... this thing in full color bursts inside you ... it gives me pain that's what you say ... behold the man and we say crucify him

mccabe on aquinas ch 6; compendium 59; john 19: 5-6

Sunday, August 29, 2010


it's at least a small room ... sometimes a cell ... sometimes just a corner ... in the last resort a last ditch defense ... maginot underground till they starve us out ... and as you can see it can't be right ... not as it stands ... it needs to do better ... you pen the room in ... you bombard it with information ... you have a right to the conclusion you expect ... but you don't get it ... someone in the room is changing the script ... the way you see it everything in the room is determined ... but that's not what this someone is saying ... he has an intention opposed to the outcome predicted ... what are we to make of that ... only everything you've truly wanted comes his reply ... you've been too passive too long ... come out now before your prison becomes a tomb ... the sun at noon waits on you any time but you can come out at night ... come into the garden it's cool after your long confinement ... join your friends ... relax ... the pale reflected light is a true picture of our content ... a new world opening in the night sky its swift fire proceeding ... down here in the garden it's still calm ... I am he says ... let my people go

mccabe on aquinas ch 5; john 18:8

Saturday, August 28, 2010


what is being ... being is god ... what are we then ... we're a kind of being a being that depends upon types classification language different kinds of things of which we're one ... in god there is no kind he's not kind of or like anything there is ... we're the kind-of-creature kind of smart kind of willing had a thought kind of like a love we meant to follow ... waking sleeping dreaming holding on more or less to being ... loving nothing better in life than patterns routines rituals just say it again and we love a little more to hear it ... but we know what in the whirl of all these flying predicates questions or doubts of who or what we are we know that we are ... here's a given ... works all the time from the morning dream when we struggle to wake to the evening muse when we fight off sleep we pass the test of self-reference ... always when questioned there we are to answer ... but listen to the syren's whisper in your ear look at the muse her lovely face smiling and say you'll give up form and all its meaning ... the most perfect form of life there is

mccabe on aquinas p31


as I was saying every time I meant to go to the front I was given another deferment until finally I got this one on essence or nature and I figured this is surely the last ... but essence got into definition just as accident did description and I was in danger of drowning again in the sea of words befuddled again by language ... so here comes a plank busted off the broken ship of my understanding and carved in deep letters across ... it said subject/predicate asterisk footnote another hint ... I've always thought of myself in the subject manner been always aware of the dangers of slipping into predicate land where things are formal and insubstantial ... my side of the line we prefer the jolt of something we call real as in what's really worth talking about ... the subject of the sentence ... the subject we study ... the subject of our conversation ... substance so often abused but substance nonetheless ... a true individual surd ... the same after all these years of accidental gain and loss ... it is the last stop before the thing itself and look it turns out to be me

mccabe on aquinas ch 4

Friday, August 27, 2010


he was above average height doesn't answer my question ... it's a description what I need is a definition ... what makes him what he is ... not what did he do or what did he look like but how is it that he is ... I'd go straight to the answer to that question if I weren't always pulled off to the side and handed another warrant ... this one's big perhaps the most final ... a thing exists it says by having an essence ... my mystic foot would run by it if it could but the real one would then be left behind ... I'm saying essentially or for the most part it seems it's in my nature to think ... that is to talk to myself and others ... I don't tap my fingers across your forehead or tickle your palm I use my words instead ... I had no choice it was the way I was brought up and my fathers and mothers all the way down the line before me ... not just to know what things mean but to mean things too ... a flip of the hat a flip of the coin just these two sides ... a meaningful thing knows what it means and means to do it ... and here's the surprise ending ... that's it ... just these three ... being ... thinking ... willing

mccabe on aquinas ch 3; compendium 56

Thursday, August 26, 2010


what is joy but the premature participation in breathing heaven in ... premature because for the most part we have to exhale shortly after ... heaven because we come to the true home of our subsistence ... this is a place where we do not disagree with the direction in which we're headed ... from these premature bursts of intuition I think we can all agree we have no quarrel with what we see there because we know it's complete ... which must mean that there only are we justified ... a cockroach a toad a toddler what gives them each subsistence ... I mean why do they exist as individuals with at least a flash of independence when everything is most fulfilled when most dependent on completion ... unless this independence is freely given under no compulsion and we in receipt are made free according to our nature ... we have a quarrel with what we are now but we wouldn't then ... are we less free simply because we agree with what we will do anyway ... if we know what we should do what is it that says we should not do it when we know by nature we want to


I come from a culture where we prefer to start small and build big ... the whole therefore is dependent on its parts and will change as they do ... you come upon us at a most interesting juncture when at the end of just a few hundred years we've managed to so magnify our perspective on the tiny as to say truly that we've broken through to a whole new dimension ... that's virtue's reward ... the virtue of humble doggedness its nose close to the ground ... to prove the point of the power of this new wisdom we've ripped the old structure open stuffed it with dynamite and lit the fuse ... a sunstorm may be more powerful but we're working on it ... the part along with its partners constitutes the whole ... anything else is just a vapor ... learn this lesson and you'll understand everything from nuclear physics to evolution ... the future is wide open simply because its parts have yet to come together ... still we have our witches and priests our doctors of metaphysics who cry subsistence ... the presence of the whole before its parts all the way up to a whole that has no parts ... that my friend is scientific blasphemy

mccabe on aquinas ch2; compendium 55; john 18:8a

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


if each of us does what's right in our own eyes where's the glory we were given ... glory not like pleasure safety or comfort power or prestige ... which one of us to himself alone is wise ... you wouldn't think the wise ones ... and that's the best we do when thinking it's our own ... the wisdom we have as far as it will go ... and that's not bad as far as it goes ... especially when it stretches to telling the truth ... no god no glory no god no necessity no certainty in purpose or the future ... to see all that and to say it is no mean achievement but costly and too dear ... it says of itself this accidental philosophy we might be wrong for we have examined the truth and find it either platitudes people stand on or uncontrollable chance ... the platitudes are empty makes you love chance youth and adventure ... not much of a country for old men though ... the cynicism and wit of middle age face the demands of getting older ... and the older you get the more you want the promise of youth again ... one more shot to see it find the light before the light goes out ... to find glory ... not by fate or good luck or intention ... but given

judges 21:25 in kreeft ycuot 57 + 55-58; john 17:22

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


choose this day whom you will serve the world which hates you or the lord that loves you ... I said to the rock I see this pebble to your left is it your child ... the rock does not answer ... it knows no left or right because it has no mind ... if it could speak you might expect it to own or deny the child for then it would know it was a rock and that it had a real disposition to keep its members together ... as it is left and right of the rock father block and son chip aren't real relations but mental only ... fathers and sons their nose voice and character are these real relations carried through their genes or is one of them more real than that ... for what could be real if character were not ... noses and voices fade but character doesn't because it refers to a real disposition in the thing itself to something that does not fade ... this world is on the way out it's made a pact with the one that rules it that it will end like a bad idea ... a highly disturbing bold agreement to be in the world and never to get out ... pray god such a thing is mental only

joshua 24:15 in kreeft ycuot 55; john 17: 14-15; compendium 53

Monday, August 23, 2010


there are topics to overwhelm and make boredom seem silly ... simple ideas that have within them a universe of complexity ... say this a being that knew what it loved ... whose knowledge had the power to make any object of its thought real ... who had the secret of existence ... and in its wisdom thought of itself ... complexity staring at completion ... what would such a picture look like to us ... what would we see ... see or understand ... sense and come to know ... I like them both ... knowledge true knowing we have it on this highest authority is eternal life if it knows this ... complexity what fun to follow it through to completion ... not so much fun if you find yourself in the middle of it with only a sense of how to get out ... what a relief to know there is some truth in good sense after all ... though incomplete it's a very human space ... sensitive not quite understanding ... sitting in the material bath with just the necessary hint of eternity ... not organ independent still organ transcendent ... the sensitive soul looking up lets the intellect smile at perfection

compendium 52; john 17:3

Sunday, August 22, 2010


take heart I have defeated the world ... I put before you today death and life choose life ... accept the question accept your failure to answer it give the whole problem up to god ... you can't solve the problem what is god if you think the answer is a simple definition that like a scientific or magical formula opens everything up ... abracadabra you snap your fingers and the world begins ... again ... such a world given its author must be a process of choosing death ... life isn't something we make or make do ... stop and consider how much of it you've controlled ... take it instead ... take life to be the answer and find it god willing to be eternal ... which is certainly one way to look at it ... but not you must admit the likely one ... the one for night and a good pipe put your feet up in contemplation of the truth ... or your fists up and join the good fight ... be not simply of good comfort the comfort of peace be rather of good cheer ... there's been a turning point the war goes on but it's won ... this is what you must accept

john 16: 31-33; deut 30: 19-20; mccabe god and evil 133

Saturday, August 21, 2010


we've had three cambrian explosions the first two just rumblings of the third ... the first biological explosion the second mental explosion the third spiritual explosion ... life the human mind the incarnation ... these explosions are interventions invasions which leave after them a totally altered world ... not like a comet from outer space killing a few species ... but like matter meeting new form for the first time ... like the birth of the universe and the creation of time ... if you see all this in the sense that you believe it notice for a moment just a moment let it live in time how high up is our place ... only then can we understand how far away have we gone ... when complexity of formation suddenly goes wild and the first eye makes the first star look mild ... when thought arrives to take charge and the first human to pick up the first tool to write the first word ... what can any of it mean but to prepare the way for the final explosion from which all else must follow and the empty shroud lie painted in its light


we're like three unequal shards of glass two of them murky and one of them clear ... we have a mind and a will they don't have us ... we subsist they don't ... we all come out we exist but they exist because of us ... in the world of secondary causes we're the first the angels and us because we're closest to the First ... unlike starfire atoms and dirt it didn't take time for us to evolve ... our surroundings evolve ... it does take time for our thoughts and desires to catch up ... took time to steer these body urges ... took time to make a language to understand what they were ... but the surges and the schemes never were us ... the language didn't always fit ... we had a budget of words we could work with and still keep most of us interested ... sometimes we'd run out and have to stretch the ones we had ... got into metaphysical muddles as often as not ... a competent desire requires a description of the one to look for the one to love ... but which definition to follow ... which story to believe ... let me have the one which says there is a spirit of truth to guide us

compendium 50; mccabe god and evil 128-129; john 16: 13-15

Friday, August 20, 2010


there's no room in the world of immaterial forms for deprivation ... no good place in logic for the wrong answer ... no good work done in the human soul by sin ... you throw away the pearl of great price because you found a superior beauty ... but it's a rusted twisted piece of iron that needed to be straight ... things get better but when they do they're beyond you ... they should have come sooner ... you're caught you're convicted you're three times wrong ... first count ... you had no faith ... but there was no better choice ... so what you saw you saw poorly ... worst of all sight fails in your memory ... you forget what real things are ... when the prosecution comes you can't remember your defense ... second count ... you've lost all justice ... you no longer have the mind to hold onto it ... the intelligible object is apprehended in the past and your appetite for it is a dissatisfied indefinite yearning ... in your lethargy you're susceptible to suggestion ... you tend to the first temptation and you succumb to its repetition ... when it fails you fall ... third count ... you back the wrong horse ... you serve the wrong boss ... the world of particulars ... the universe gone astray

reading list: mccabe god and evil 124-125, 118-127; john 16:7-11; compendium 49

Thursday, August 19, 2010


if you've been around the block often enough you can put the life you live in perspective ... you may not know the earth the planets and the stars but you know the world ... you know what it's done so far to you and you know what it's done completely to the others before you ... in each case without fail it did them all in and all the chances are it will do you too ... suddenly or in process they throw you out and you wither ... they collect us and burn us and all the promises of youth are broken ... when did it happen ... when did it turn on you ... why so suddenly do they hate you ... truth is the world hates us from the start from the moment of our conception for the type of thing we are for the type of thing the world is for the way it's run ... malum poenae the evil this world of material cause and effect makes you suffer ... malum culpae the extent to which we agree to it ... the world hates you because you are chosen ... taken from the world we remain in it ... but the world kills everything in it ... us it must murder because of its hate because we escape because we are free ... we have the likeness of perfection in our mind and the one we love loves us and pulls us out

john 15: 6 + 19; mccabe god and evil 117-118, 112-118; compendium 46

Monday, August 16, 2010


faint heart weak bladder you are something like an ape and as he shouldn't hang from a cliff neither should you by an epiphany ... just think of a light shining always and you inside staring always ... but that's what language is for ... to keep us apart ... think instead little mind not of yourself but of the light ... imagine what it is not just to go on forever but never not to be the light ... you have eternity now but the light had it before ... what does that mean but that it must be something else ... gift piled on gift in all the luxury of conception and still we'd fall short ... still there'd be that someone else's talent ... still something to learn ... because though we're on now we weren't always ... but the light was ... we have a past ... not as old as an angel's ... maybe not as long as the material world's ... but the light of the world had to be on before any of these ... before there was anyone else to see ... they'll have to wean us into eternity ... unlike the angels we couldn't take it all at once ... but here it is nonetheless wrapped round our cocoon ... the word given ... the voice to wake us from amnesia

john 14:26


the immortality of our human soul ... is it a consequence of something else ... or is it just another name for necessary being ... we are now necessary ... the angels and us ... made unlike the material world of time and space to go in and out of existence ... our existence is absolute ... not by itself but by its efficient cause ... not on its own but not by secondary cause either ... absolute by intention ... now I don't know about you but for me this is at least a palace coup in the intellect ... the rebels is that what we are have broken into enemy headquarters and taken necessity as a prize ... what a celebration ... break out the ambrosia ... no wait there's a paper over here ... no no it says hold on we're getting a signal ... it says distinction transported from necessary and contingent to essence and existence ... from possibly to actually ... check your ID the commander orders ... sure enough they all read the same ... you're not all that ... thank god ... but you are necessary absolute and eternal ... not by the company that you keep but by the one that keeps you in safety and peace and existence

reading list: mccabe god and evil 91-102; john 14: 30 + 27 + 26; compendium 45; kreeft ycuot 39-40

Sunday, August 15, 2010


down up down again like a needle pulling thread through a cloth ... if it went on to no end if it weren't for each other down and up would look the same ... each side of the tapestry would have its vogue each side its votes ... if the colors didn't need to match if the figures didn't have to fit if there were no picture no design ... at least there wouldn't be anybody to blame ... no purpose no plan no fault ... stuck in the desert out of food and water comes the dawn ... a blizzard of manna falls from the sky ... let it melt into the dirt let it be covered in the sand ... how could you stir the intensity to rise an inch ... if you knew truth had no intention ... how could you trust it ... how could you live ... if you searched for the truth if you found it and it had no spirit no life ... if the universe gathered itself up squeezed itself dry and showered you in blessings what would you say that wouldn't be a lie ... if the truth weren't alive ... but truth to tell most of life doesn't go like that ... there are truths aplenty but small ones scattered everywhere ... we should ask for something really big

reading list: mccabe god and evil 88-89; kreeft ycuot 38; john 14: 14 & 17

Saturday, August 14, 2010


my cats are smart ... each has a complete sense of who she is ... so mature is each in her self-possession they're much better attuned to space and time than I am ... so what makes me different better higher ... it's not just me ... it's what I want that makes me more important ... I want everything ... I want it all ... what the cats want is particular and they have an imperfect reason that more often than not guides them to the mark ... but their judgment is natural ... mine is rational ... penumbral but complete because it understands its limitations ... knows what it sees today is but the shadow of the thing it desires ... a partial understanding of the whole but the part it holds is the universal ... what I have is the word ... perhaps you are unimpressed think it is after all just a word these days as common as air ... fair enough I'll take it ... as necessary to our being especially to our thinking ... indeed so basic as to be noticed only when it's lost ... it's a paradise lost this world of the transcendental ... what we need to regain ... thank god for the word with the frequency of light

reading list: mccabe god and evil 83-87; compendium 43; john 14:6

Friday, August 13, 2010


I feel like three persons in one ... the animal ... stealthy forceful dangerously on the prowl ... or the reasonable one ... tends to talk a lot eats ice-cream on the couch is sentimental doesn't mind things going well ... and the spirit ... if it weren't for the spirit the whole world over and history through there'd be nothing but words and words and the inevitable violent reaction against them ... as it is and from the beginning instead there's love ... it's our built-in natural reaction to perfection excellence virtue ... it only makes sense ... what's power even when directed by reason ... if energy and the form it takes have no purpose why do they provoke such dissatisfaction ... and if satisfaction and the drive to fulfill it are just odd superfluous things what do we mean by a well-earned peaceful death ... and if death isn't a well-timed procedure to save us from a series of endless mistakes what's the use anyway of hanging on ... if there's no glory ... do the crucified heroes of history get a cool drink before they fade away ... does all desire exhale then disappear

kreeft ycuot 28-29; john 13: 31

Thursday, August 12, 2010


judas was the one in the twelve that should not have taken the bread ... right after he took it satan followed it in ... he ate the bread but he must have known it wouldn't agree with him ... we don't think enough of what he meant to do ... if he knew who jesus was how could he have turned him in ... with the first communion living within him he let a murderer in to kill it ... you can kill the eternal word judas showed us how ... but did he know what he was doing ... he certainly had a change of mind soon after ... was the betrayer betrayed ... did they lead him on ... or was death just a figure to him an image in his mind and the death of just one more prophet in particular just another way to spur things on ... or was it something else entirely not a mistake in premise or logic but a subtle wilfull failure to attend ... to kill the truth not by rope or cross but by not listening ... to kill the eternal living word by figuring something else out while you heard it ... to say no by not paying attention ... losing the chance to believe by being too busy to think of it

john 13: 26-27; mccabe god and evil 69

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


if you know ... god bless you ... if you do ... why does there have to be that third clause ... knowledge by itself without the need of application is such a sweet thing to lie beside ... but it seems must be the word will become the son ... the agreement to disagree must become war ... from plurality to duality to personality in between there's a battle ... we're just trying to keep the fight civil to keep it a debate ... sons of god sons of satan it's hard to please them both ... the least we all can do the moderate reasons is keep them both in school till they learn to be pleasant ... and the strategy is to keep them both talking till the end of time ... isn't it true after all some things are real because they are others because they're true ... the bat is not its species but both are real though one does depend on the other ... let's keep the wall but keep the gates open between them ... and so we should if it weren't for what he did so that among us now we must die ... it's not revenge we want ... it's to live to live forever

john 13:17; compendium 40; kreeft ycuot 28-29; mccabe, god and evil 62

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


here are two straggling sentences ... we found them on the premises ... what we have in mind in our intellect is a conception a likeness well-made or marred the only explanation of its value ... eve lost faith in god and failed to trust in his advice ... the conclusion is what you see ... separated from life we die ... separated from the truth we never said we'd survive ... as the likeness fades the shadow grows and we become accustomed to the night ... and for what ... what did mother see that should have been better ... what made her think such a thing was possible ... I wouldn't look for it ... you never could find it ... it isn't there to see ... it's a loss a loss of faith and that each step of its way is to lose everything over and again ... we meet at night in a backroom den persecuted and condemned ... not for what we've done ... not for what we are ... but for what we believe ... but even now we say how can this be true ... if it were only true ... we'd take all thought captive to obey ... we'd laugh at this silly counsel to despond ... if only we were true ... faithful and true to him who loves us still right through to the end

compendium 39; kreeft ycuot 26-27; 2cor 10:5; john 13:1

Monday, August 09, 2010


did god design the holocaust ... if hitler and the nazis didn't do the things they did because adam fell you have to go on and you come to spirit and god ... you can say it's the cosmic painting it has all the detail we'll ever need ... and if someone asks who did the painting you can say it's we ... we're all of us every cause and its effect we are the artist ... it would work for me ... if I hadn't already heard otherwise ... taken from the water and water is deep I heard him calling ... kneeling before I could walk I heard him talking and everyone round him one way or the other talking back ... some with vision but others blind ... solid we form round his voice preaching reaching all the way back to adam and eve ... and with the voice teaching the quasipassive intellect is flooded with light ... and still some will not see ... and we who thought we rounded in our solidarity round reality itself to take it all in hear instead the simple truth ... the father who sent me ... hear in a loud voice the word to judge us ... to give us all justice ... the father who made us

peter kreeft, ycuot, 25-6; compendium 38; john 12: 48-49.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


isn't there a sense in which we say we have to see it for ourselves ... but there are times at least two when god himself says don't go down that road ... once in the garden and each day in the prayer ... when reading of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil it helps to have a hebrew scholar on the payroll or have him in a book where you can turn to him on the page who tells you this word knowledge this time out means experience ... experience as adam had of eve and she became pregnant ... it's a fruit after all and you taste it ... so it is with the prayer lead us not into temptation ... it's just after our petition deliver us from evil as part of which we pray to avoid especially the evil we find most attractive ... otherwise we're surely meant to understand good and evil ... to experience as much of the first and as little of the second as we rightfully can ... if we were a little bug with the cilia out as antennae would we have to squirm against the worst to know it better ... or are we like the angels who by reason and conception hear the voice of god

kreeft ycuot 24: gen 3; compendium 24&25.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


dreams to the soul are like sacraments to the church you can't reduce them to something else ... they are what they are first then you can put them into your theories ... it was such a relief after millenia of muddling through all that thick meaning to hear from the scientists that it was what it appeared ... that each and all these symbols together were fits of poor thinking the collapse of the intellect on its nightly way to perdition ... but one by one over half a century the sceptics began to murmur ... these records give evidence of a healthy intervention good counsels criticism and prediction ... this sleeping id is quite the artist who paints the walls of consciousness so the ego wakes to terror or delight but most often to forgetfulness ... the intellect is no lung or bladder she doesn't collapse so much as take a step back ... true when she retreats she takes the ego's main defense with her and that poor child is overrun with confusion and loss of control ... the floor of her cabin is three feet under water ... and yet not such a bad thing overall ... it was after all ground zero for much false teaching

pedro meseguer, s.j., the secret of dreams


if I stop worrying they'll get me ... their no to my no ... yes to your yes let them get you even then you'll still get away ... isn't it difficult to no good end these atoms in collision these molecules in cahoots ... we can't step into the same river twice when we step into it first it sweeps us away ... I count it the greatest evil that there's a game afoot in the universe to do without me ... all my yes success ends with the day ... tomorrow there's a new plot against me ... tomorrow it's all I can do to keep up ... what I need is a sentence to remind me there's support ... when I say no and they no me in return I need a plan to fall back on ... the alcoholic says I snap my fingers and I'm ok ... it just takes a few drinks to make the fingers pliant ... the pothead says just three tokes and I'm where I should be in good conversation in good company alone in the middle of my room ... but the realist has his hour or two as well as they do ... you might as well see a spirit at the table writing you a note of encouragement or dream a dream that she did as to play the wrong language game with the right opponent ... she may be lovely but do you understand what she said

herbert mccabe, god and evil, chs 1 & 2