The influence of gaslight or electric light on the growth of paraheliotropic trees

bonebrushing the edges of the res interna (upper transcend)

Category: politics

Darwin and Religion

“A man regarded in 2009 as an avatar of atheism had originally intended to become a clergyman and, even after he had fallen away from any semblance of Anglican orthodoxy, agreed with the Reverend Charles Kingsley and the Reverend William Whewell, master of Trinity College, Cambridge, that it was just as ‘noble’ a conception of God that he worked through divinely instituted natural laws as that he used his powers directly to create each species. Four years after the Origin appeared, Kingsley wrote that ‘God’s greatness, goodness and perpetual care I never understood as I have since I became a convert to Mr Darwin’s views.’ Darwin insisted that he saw no good reason why evolution by natural selection ‘should shock the religious feelings of anyone’. Nor do those now using Darwin to power up secularism have much time for the historical figure whose funeral at Westminster Abbey was the occasion for the archdeacon to praise Darwin for having read ‘many hitherto undeciphered lines in God’s great epic of the universe’. Disbelief, Darwin wrote, eventually ‘crept over’ him, but that disbelief is less accurately categorised as atheism than as an unstable mix of agnosticism and a robust form of deism not uncommon among clerics of the Victorian Church of England. Even in America, many late 19th-century Protestant theologians had no great problem reconciling evolution with a rational and purified Christianity. (The strong assimilation of human beings and their mental capacities to the animal model was a sticking point for many – but then it still is.) Nor was biblical fundamentalism nearly as much a feature of Victorian opposition to Darwin as it is of the early 21st century. There are almost certainly more ‘young earth creationists’ – those claiming that the world was created in exactly six 24-hour days somewhere between 5700 and 10,000 years ago – among the educated and semi-educated classes now than there were in Darwin’s time.”

Of course, the fact that we are animals does not mean that we are only animals. Just as ants communicating with pheromones emerge into some strange thing called community, so too individual humans, with their community of mind and probability-calculators and metalevel-thinking might be something more.

Additionally, one is reminded of Peter Altenberg, who famously said, in answer to a paramour’s critique that he was only interested in her sexually, “what’s so only?”


Investigations — Barthe

Investigate Roland Barthe. Begin at the middle — the doxa and neutrality.

Word of the Day – Orthodox

From the Greek, orth, meaning straight, and doxa, meaning opinion — straight or correct opinion — the central pillar of a society’s worldview — “don’t upset the orthodoxy” – at its most powerful, the orthodoxy is so prevailing, all-encompassing, and pervasive that individuals within the orthodoxy cannot even see its outlines, for it is the background for the way in which thoughts are constructed. Israel — the Wrestlers — become impossible in this context — and orthodoxy inevitably leads to intellectual ossification. Western culture, with its scientific method and liberal politics, is a new innovation, where the prevailing orthodoxy presumes fallibility, limits to knowledge, and encourages experiment, examination, interrogation — and yet a) this impulse ossifies into an orthodoxy of denial, skepticism, where because nothing is certain, nothing is believed and b) is relegated to its limited sphere because of the underlying power of orthodoxy to stifle dissent — leading to liberalism as a religion, free markets as a dogma, the struggle against socialism as a holy war — and now, to the unrelenting triumphalism of the Post-Cold War Era.

After the autumn, market orthodoxy has been shaken; the victors have been humbled by their hubris. Now, perhaps, during this moment of crisis, some Luther will come to nail his theses on the church door of Wittenberg, and reenact some new reformation that may in turn lead to a new protestant revival.

While the lobotomized sheep and the dull-eyed shepherds worry, and the shepherds begin to grudge the sheep its clothing, those with thought and those with memory may find some opportunity to free themselves, their neighbors, and the world from a metapysical justification that no longer serves —

what shall rise in its place? how long until this too feels the vigor leach from its veins, leaving a new idol for the masses.

A plague on you, Mr. Greenspan. A plague on you, Mr. Bernanke. You have failed us.

decline of the west

Once upon a time, the Apollonians built a great mighty stone-city on seven hills, bestride the primal riverstream, and with gave power to their People to pin and subdue the Sunset Lands. Over in the east, in the Land of the Morningstar, a millenia and a half later, the Magians and their desert prophet rose up and shook the sand from their hairs and girded up their loins for holy war —

And the Magians then went to war with the Sons of Apollo, and the Apollonian warchief Freeman the Hammer stopped their charge at the Court of the Martyrs — blunting their teeth, widowmaker —

The galaxy turns again, and the Sons of Apollo gird on their steel and push back against the Magians — and then, the light came to the Sons of Apollo, Mephistopheles in strange corners, whispering secrets and questions — and so we barrel down, no longer Sons of Apollo but now Children of the Faust-Bargain, running, charging, but not seeing the dark-things lurking in the shadows —

And Magians, once sleeping, now rise again, and the Dragonempire from Ancient East is breaking its chains, and the Gate of the North is breaking and broken and the darkness storm clouds are brewing on the edge of the sky —

Twilight of the Gods, Rag’narok, the tragedy of Faust, striving seeking building this future, surrounding ourselves with magical trinkets shining and spinning, thinking of our transcendant singular plane of undying but we shall not go on we shall not achieve it we shall die and pass from the world our work unfinished leaving ruins and memories that may shine a light on new civilizations that come and replace us like we replaced others and our trinkets and baubles will fall by the roadside but these things — the eternal things — they will remain they will survive.

Tired old man we elected king

Who is John McCain? Can a pugnacious penguin, a tortured bravo, really rule this increasingly complex behemosity known as Amerika? Merrik, you Young Empire, do you want an Old Man to lead you, the Fortunate Son of admirals, the hero locked in bamboo cages? Shall we let the Son of the Jungle loose on the Men of the Deserts? What does he know of warfare and empire? How can he mistake Shia from Sunni? How can he minimize the true complexity of these issues?

 ZR says bomb Iran, and misses the complexity of the issue. He does not see the other side. He does not sit in their shoes. To defeat your enemy, you must become your enemy, and the greatest defeat is to make him your friend — shall Persia stand up to the Colossus? We tremble at their shoutings, but oh how they must tremble at ours — we have them encircled — increasingly incircled — and we wonder that they are jumpy?

And what of My People, the Children of Abraham, People of the Sword, nervous in Masada?

I love them, my love for them is eternal, my heart rests in Jerusalem, but, but, but — we must follow Jacob and dwell in the house of Laban, not Esau who dies by the sword.

And so then, the King I Choose, the Secret Wanderer who has been chosen by Destiny, the Contingent One, Who Exists Because America Exists. He is our Favorite Son, the Voice of the New Tomorrow, the Bringer of Hope.

 Tomorrow comes, and with it death and dust and destruction but also life, and love, and beauty. We must turn towards the beauty and away from the dust — we must sit in the tents of our fathers, and let them wash the dust from our feet – and we must make merry, and eat good food, and rejoice — and we must love each other, and see beyond the bone-fences that hem us in and see and take our place among the starborn beings who, through the shocking surprise of their contingency, delight the silent watchers who sit beyond. That these things matter to us, and will one day matter to others. That the sun shines on us, and will one day shine on others.

The universe is cold, but there is warmth in it, and in that warmth, the warmth of future days, the promise of the continuation, we must take comfort.

keep fighting the good fight, America

 America at its best. Karl Rove, you are a war criminal, and you and the administration you represented are a discredit to our country.

though war-criminal might be a bit strong. war tortfeasor? secretary of lies and political warfare? architect of the one-party system?