Apr 132016

After the Church has brokered the return of the Queen, Lancelot is banished to France, where Gawain and the King, the last of the Round Table, pursue him. Gawain seeks revenge for Lancelot’s cold-blooded murder of his unarmed brothers, Lancelot’s closest friends – an act witnessed only by Mordred. Lancelot, in the heat of battle [more …]

 Posted by at 9:16 pm
Nov 042015

Notes from the book, A Short History of Almost Everything   We know surprisingly little about what lies beneath our feet. We have been building Fords longer than we have known that the continents drift. Before he died Einstein mocked the very idea. The consensus of the scientific community was that the continents did not [more …]

 Posted by at 8:18 pm
Jan 042015

From the book, World Order by Henry Kissinger The Thirty Years War [Cardinal] Richelieu saw the turmoil in Central Europe not as a call to arms to defend the Church but as a means to check imperial Hapsburg preeminence. Though France’s King had been styled as the Rex Catholicissimus, or the “Most Catholic King,” since [more …]

 Posted by at 12:07 pm
Dec 302014

She had said – what exactly? Something about her ghost heart. Strange words he thought. What does it mean to have a ghost heart? A ghostly ghost heart. She sounded like a folk song.

“Oh, my heart, my poor murdered heart,
Why won’t you die, my haunted ghost heart?”

He began to wonder at her with his grey unblinking eyes. And his wondering was an inexhaustible conversation that ran to the very horizon of himself, winding deep and long to the disappeared edge of his being.

 Posted by at 8:54 pm
Dec 202014

The two girls never seemed to put their phones down all through lunch. When their food arrived, they both took a photo of their plates before they started eating. One girl even showed the other one the photo she took of the food which was still sitting untouched on the table. Fascinating creatures, he thought. [more …]

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
Dec 142014

The Deluge by Adam Tooze This book, written by an economist, offers an interesting analysis of of the period from 1916 to the Great Depression. Tooze picks an interesting moment to begin the book – 1916, The Battle of Verdun, the moment the money ran out for the Allies and America became the world’s banker (NY [more …]

 Posted by at 9:17 am
Dec 102014

Wikipedia: “The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided France from its beginning in 1894 until it was finally resolved in 1906. The affair is often seen as a modern and universal symbol of injustice, and remains one of the most striking examples of a complex miscarriage of justice, where a major role was [more …]

 Posted by at 7:37 pm
Dec 072014

Excerpts from the book, “So We Read On” by Maureen Corrigan.   A Magnificent Yearning The Great Gatsby is one of the first modern novels to look squarely at the void, yet it stops short of taking a flying leap. Blame the lingering influences of Fitzgerald’s lapsed Catholicism and romantic bent of his sensibilities. Fitzgerald’s favorite [more …]

 Posted by at 3:23 pm

How to Destroy Your Enemies

 Philosophy  Comments Off on How to Destroy Your Enemies
Oct 202014

Human beings are most mobilized when we have enemies. Just look at novels. Look at the news. No one’s interested in happy, good-feeling cooperative things. What really drives interest and passion is competition and conflict. So the question is, can we actually lessen conflict without having enemies?

Well, I went to the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan and I posed this to, you know, foreign policy people. I said, “So what would you suggest?” It’s fascinating. They all come with data-driven, evidence-based arguments for what’s wrong and what we should do. I sort of said, “Look, guys, that’s not going to work. First of all, outside of the Academy, people are not interested in evidence and data or even truth. People are interested in persuading, in victory, and confirming what they believe in or love. Second, you haven’t addressed any of the emotional aspects of this which really drive people — revenge, revenge and fear. You haven’t even touched on those.

 Posted by at 3:46 pm
Oct 152014

The phrase “objective moral truth” has always puzzled me. Does this mean the same things as “universal moral truth”? The two terms seem quite different to me. Objective truth seems to mean something which is true even in the absence of the “I” of the conscious person (i.e. a “subject”). To speak of objective morality [more …]

 Posted by at 9:43 pm
Oct 052014

It’s not true that all wars are fought in the name of religion, as some atheists assert. Of 1,723 armed conflicts documented in the three-volume “Encyclopedia of Wars,” only 123, or less than 7 percent, involved a religious cause. Hitler’s genocide, Stalin’s bloody purges and Pol Pot’s mass murders certainly make the case that state-sanctioned killings do not need the invocation of a higher power to succeed.

 Posted by at 6:36 pm
Oct 052014

“Why is Egypt so much poorer than the United States?” The authors argue that the dominant view held by economists is too narrow, namely they claim it is too narrow a view that “the rulers of Egypt simply don’t know what is needed to make their country prosperous, and have followed incorrect policies and strategies in the past. If these rulers would only get the right advice from the right advisers, the thinking goes, prosperity would follow.”

 Posted by at 11:02 am

The Illiad

 Books, History  Comments Off on The Illiad
Oct 042014

The whole poem has been moving toward this duel between the two champions, but there has never been any doubt the outcome. The husband and father, the beloved protector of his people, the man who stands for the civilized values of the rich city, its social and religious institutions, will go down to defeat at the hands of this man who has no family, who in a private quarrel has caused the death of many of his own fellow soldiers, who now in a private quarrel thinks only of revenge, though that revenge, as he well knows, is the immediate prelude to his own death.

 Posted by at 12:59 pm
Oct 042014

Monetarily, what came out of Bretton Woods was a dollars for gold system. The dollars for gold system was very beneficial for the US because it placed the dollar in a unique, privileged position in relation to gold and the world economy. But deficit spending during the Vietnam War undermined the dollar and there was a run on US gold reserves which forced Nixon to bring the dollars for gold system to a sudden, dramatic end in August of 1971. Bretton Woods was officially over. It had lasted just shy of 30 years.

 Posted by at 12:27 pm
Oct 042014

“He had discovered mankind’s tragedy: that it can draw the blueprint of goodness but it cannot live up to them.” – The Proud Tower “How small of all that human hearts endure That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!” – Samuel Johnson “No laws, however stringent, can make the idle industrious, the [more …]

 Posted by at 12:25 pm
Oct 042014

In the late nineteenth century a wave of bombings and assassinations swept the civilized world. By the time of The Great War several heads of state had been taken by assassins devoted to the idea of bringing about a world without government, by violently removing it.

 Posted by at 12:13 pm
Jan 302013

“It is no great thing to associate with the good and gentle, for such association is naturally pleasing. Everyone enjoys a peaceful life and prefers persons of congenial habits. But to be able to live at peace with harsh and perverse men, or with the undisciplined and those who irritate us, is a great grace, [more …]

 Posted by at 7:46 am
Jan 292013

As I go over chapter IV more thoroughly, so many avenues of philosophical inquiry open up and I know these would be distractions but I still have to make note of them as I work my way through my “mental furniture.” To mention just one, at the very end of his section on Profession as [more …]

 Posted by at 6:21 pm
Jan 282013

“To the child who is learning how to swim we explain that because of natural laws there is no reason to be afraid, and if he will only make a few simple movements he will be able to swim. But the child is perhaps still afraid. He shrinks back, and does not seem to believe [more …]

 Posted by at 10:27 pm
Jan 272013

“Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking.”

 Posted by at 5:07 pm
Jan 262013

They said, “We see plainly the Lord has been with you.
[…] So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank.”

 Posted by at 1:08 pm
Jan 262013

Some therefore think religion is unreasonable, but is this true? Religious knowledge cannot be imparted like other information, simply by scanning the sacred page. And so it is said that religious experience transcends reason, not in the sense of being unreasonable, but that such experience is not a product of reason. Just as reason does [more …]

 Posted by at 12:37 pm
Jan 252013

These are my notes from reading Churchill’s “History of English Speaking Peoples” and other histories of “Brettaniai” as the Greek merchant and explorer Pytheas named the island when he landed in 325 BC. I will be coming back to this page to fill in the gaps and flush out my learning, but for now I am tracing bloodlines…

 Posted by at 10:37 pm
Jan 252013

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/ray-monk-wittgenstein/   Philosophy, he writes, “is not a theory but an activity.” It strives, not after scientific truth, but after conceptual clarity.   How does one demonstrate an understanding of a piece of music? Well, perhaps by playing it expressively, or by using the right sort of metaphors to describe it. And how does one [more …]

 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Jan 242013

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Why do we seek the truth? How do we find the truth? What is the truth? … According to the Catholic Church, the search for truth – the desire for truth, beauty, justice – is the very presence of God and this desire is what connects man to God and the things of this world to heaven.

 Posted by at 10:50 pm