Log24

Monday, September 30, 2019

Multiplicity on Michaelmas

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:54 AM

"We need a multiplicity of viewpoints."

— Philip Pullman in a New Yorker  interview
     published yesterday 

See as well Pullman's "Golden Compass"
in posts tagged

Nothing New.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Birdseye Requiem

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:10 AM

From The Boston Globe  yesterday evening —

" Ms. Adams 'had this quiet intelligence that made you feel like
she understood you and she loved you. She was a true friend —
a true generous, generous friend. This is the kind of person
you keep in your life,' Birdseye added.

'And she had such a great sense of humor,' Birdseye said.
“She would always have the last laugh. She wasn’t always
the loudest, but she was always the funniest, and in the
smartest way.' "

"Ms. Adams, who lived in Waltham, was 55 when she died April 9 . . . ."

See as well April 9 in the post Math Death and a post from April 8,
also now tagged "Berlekamp's Game" — Horses of a Dream.

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards . . . ."

— Grace Slick in a song from yesterday's post "When the Men"

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Raiders of the Lost Stone

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:48 PM

(Continued

 

Two Students of Structure

A comment on Sean Kelly's Christmas Morning column on "aliveness"
in the New York Times  philosophy series The Stone  —

Diana Senechal's 1999 doctoral thesis at Yale was titled
"Diabolical Structures in the Poetics of Nikolai Gogol."

Her mother, Marjorie Senechal, has written extensively on symmetry
and served as editor-in-chief of The Mathematical Intelligencer .
From a 2013 memoir by Marjorie Senechal —

"While I was in Holland my enterprising student assistant at Smith had found, in Soviet Physics – Crystallography, an article by N. N. Sheftal' on tetrahedral penetration twins. She gave it to me on my return. It was just what I was looking for. The twins Sheftal' described had evidently begun as (111) contact twins, with the two crystallites rotated 60o with respect to one another. As they grew, he suggested, each crystal overgrew the edges of the other and proceeded to spread across the adjacent facet.  When all was said and done, they looked like they'd grown through each other, but the reality was over-and-around. Brilliant! I thought. Could I apply this to cubes? No, evidently not. Cube facets are all (100) planes. But . . . these crystals might not have been cubes in their earliest stages, when twinning occurred! I wrote a paper on "The mechanism of certain growth twins of the penetration type" and sent it to Martin Buerger, editor of Neues Jarbuch für Mineralogie. This was before the Wrinch symposium; I had never met him. Buerger rejected it by return mail, mostly on the grounds that I hadn't quoted any of Buerger's many papers on twinning. And so I learned about turf wars in twin domains. In fact I hadn't read his papers but I quickly did. I added a reference to one of them, the paper was published, and we became friends.[5]

After reading Professor Sheftal's paper I wrote to him in Moscow; a warm and encouraging correspondence ensued, and we wrote a paper together long distance.[6] Then I heard about the scientific exchanges between the Academies of Science of the USSR and USA. I applied to spend a year at the Shubnikov Institute for Crystallography, where Sheftal' worked. I would, I proposed, study crystal growth with him, and color symmetry with Koptsik. To my delight, I was accepted for an 11-month stay. Of course the children, now 11 and 14, would come too and attend Russian schools and learn Russian; they'd managed in Holland, hadn't they? Diana, my older daughter, was as delighted as I was. We had gone to Holland on a Russian boat, and she had fallen in love with the language. (Today she holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from Yale.) . . . . 
. . .
 we spent the academic year 1978-79 in Moscow.

Philosophy professors and those whose only interest in mathematics
is as a path to the occult may consult the Log24 posts tagged Tsimtsum.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Space, Time, Gravity

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:40 PM

Or:  An Apple for Marcela

Scene from the college class Astronomy 101 in "Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen" (June 24, 2009) —

Professor—  "Space. Time. Gravity. " 

          (Bites apple, drops it and kicks it to students.)

Coed (catching apple)—  "Thank you."

Professor to coed—  "Finish that for me."

Professor to students—

"We're going on a journey together, you and I, today.
All you eager, nubile, young minds on the very cusp
of adulthood. And I shall be your consort, your guide,
your chaperone, into the heart of darkness."

See also Big Apple in this journal as well as a film by the artist from
the "nubile" link above

Witwiccans Go to College*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:08 AM

* Title suggested by my viewing last night "Revenge of the Fallen,"
   no. 2 in the Transformers  series.  That film reportedly opened
   on this date eight years ago.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Head Space

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:23 PM

"When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead" 

See Princeton,  Alice,  and Breitbart.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Valhalla Is Down

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM

Odin's Day continues. 

The title is a reference to the recent film
"Olympus Has Fallen," directed by Antoine Fuqua
(which I watched last night).

Related material:

Ascent to Valhalla,   Times Blackout,
and the post-blackout Times Obituaries.

Update of 6:45-7:59 PM Aug. 14:

See also (in keeping with the ART WARS
theme of today's previous post
Juneteenth (Wednesday, June 19) 2013.
This last link may be regarded as posted in
memory of author Vince Flynn, who reportedly
died at about 2 AM on that date. Background:
Tuesday, June 18.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Occupy Space

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 PM

(Continued from Seize the Dia,  April 6)

Two chess games by Fischer, against two brothers—

1956: "In this game, Fischer (playing Black) demonstrates
noteworthy innovation and improvisation." — Wikipedia

1963: "Fischer [playing Black] had engineered a brilliantly
disguised trap for him and … he had fallen into it." — NY Times

See also this evening's Times  obituaries and The Unfolding.

Some context:  The Crosswicks Curse.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Executioner’s Song

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:24 PM

For Terry Gilliam

IMAGE- Ace of Spades in Disney's version of 'Aquarela do Brasil,' uploaded Aug. 13, 2011

See also, from the the above uploading date, Taylor Made,
with its linked-to passage from a book by Charles Taylor.

For some more recent background, see

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Philanthropic Numerology

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:01 AM

For St. Luke's Day

In memory of a philanthropist
who reportedly died last Sunday

Part I— A safe deposit box number from
the 2006 Denzel Washington film "Inside Man"—

IMAGE- Safe deposit box number 392

Part II—A related occurrence of the same number in
the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Part III— The 1998 Denzel Washington film "Fallen."

Part IV— The works of Octavia Butler
in particular, the character Doro in Wild Seed  (1980)
and Mind of My Mind  (1977).

Kirkus Reviews on the 1977 novel

"Butler is clearly on to a promising vein—
something like Zenna Henderson's 'People' stories
without their saccharine silliness."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quadruple Bypass

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 PM

"The first human to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong,
is 'doing great' after undergoing cardiac bypass surgery,
his wife reported…..

… Armstrong… went to the hospital on Monday
for a stress test. He flunked, and on Tuesday,
surgeons bypassed four blockages in his
coronary arteries. His wife reports that his spirits
are high, and the doctors expect no problems
with his recovery…." — Alan Boyle, NBCNews.com

Over the life of Man
We watch and wait,
The Four who manage
His fallen estate:

We who are four were
Once but one,
Before his act of
Rebellion;

We were himself when
His will was free,
His error became our
Chance to be.

Powers of air and fire,
Water and earth,
Into our hands is given
Man from his birth….

Auden, not Goethe

See also Tuesday morning's post.

Tuesday was Charlize Theron's birthday.
See June 9, 2012.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scavenger Hunt

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:09 AM

A description in Pynchon's Against the Day  of William Rowan Hamilton's October 16th, 1843, discovery of quaterions—

"The moment, of course, is timeless. No beginning, no end, no duration, the light in eternal descent, not the result of conscious thought but fallen onto Hamilton, if not from some Divine source then at least when the watchdogs of Victorian pessimism were sleeping too soundly to sense, much less frighten off, the watchful scavengers of Epiphany."

New York Lottery yesterday, on Hermann Weyl's birthday— Midday 106, Evening 865.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101110-WeylAndDiamond.jpg

Here 106 suggests 1/06, the date of Epiphany, and 865 turns out to be the title number of Weyl's Symmetry  at Princeton University Press—

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/865.html.

Symmetry and quaternions are, of course, closely related.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dream Time

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:00 AM

“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”

William Butler Yeats

From a document linked to here on April 30, Walpurgisnacht–

“…the Golden Age, or Dream Time, is remote only from the rational mind. It is not accessible to euclidean reason….”

“The utopia of the Grand Inquisitor ‘is the product of “the euclidean mind” (a phrase Dostoyevsky often used)….'”

“The purer, the more euclidean the reason that builds a utopia, the greater is its self-destructive capacity. I submit that our lack of faith in the benevolence of reason as the controlling power is well founded. We must test and trust our reason, but to have faith  in it is to elevate it to godhead.”

“Utopia has been euclidean, it has been European, and it has been masculine. I am trying to suggest, in an evasive, distrustful, untrustworthy fashion, and as obscurely as I can, that our final loss of faith in that radiant sandcastle may enable our eyes to adjust to a dimmer light and in it perceive another kind of utopia.”

“You will recall that the quality of static perfection is an essential element of the non-inhabitability of the euclidean utopia….”

“The euclidean utopia is mapped; it is geometrically organized, with the parts labeled….”

— Ursula K. Le Guin, “A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be”

San Francisco Chronicle  today

“A May Day rally in Santa Cruz erupted into chaos Saturday night….”

“Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest,
and only dreamed a wild dream of a witch-meeting?”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lie Groups for Holy Week

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:01 PM

Great line reading in 'Angels and Demons'- 'The God PARTICLE?'

Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics, by Bruce A. Schumm, Johns Hopkins University Press, hardcover, Oct. 20, 2004, pp. 94-95–

"In the early 1960s, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology by the name of Murray Gell-Mann interpreted the patterns observed in the emerging array of elementary particles as being due to a symmetry….

Gell-Mann's eightfold way was perhaps the first conscious application of the results of the pure mathematical field of group theory and, in particular, the theory of 'Lie groups,' to a problem in physics."

From the preface–

"I didn't come up with the title for this book. For that, I can thank the people at the Johns Hopkins University Press…. my only reservation about the title is that… it implies a degree of literacy to which I can't lay claim."

Amen.

Remedial reading for those who might have fallen for Schumm's damned nonsense–

 "Quantum Mechanics and Group Theory I," by Dallas C. Kennedy

Group Theory and Physics, by Shlomo Sternberg

Monday, November 23, 2009

Entertainment

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

American Music Awards
Finale

"Oooh, I bet you thought that
I was soft and sweet
Your fallen angel swept ya off ya feet
But I’m about to…."

Roll with it

Trip, tumble and roll at American Music Awards, 2009

Related material:

Yesterday's sermon

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday August 6, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 AM
The Divine Universals

"The tigers of wrath          
 are wiser than                
 the horses of instruction."

— William Blake,
Proverbs of Hell

From Shining Forth:

  The Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams, 1931, Chapter Eight:

"Besides, if this fellow were right, what harm would the Divine Universals do us? I mean, aren't the angels supposed to be rather gentle and helpful and all that?"

"You're doing what Marcellus warned you against… judging them by English pictures. All nightgowns and body and a kind of flacculent sweetness. As in cemeteries, with broken bits of marble. These are Angels– not a bit the same thing. These are the principles of the tiger and the volcano and the flaming suns of space."

 Under the Volcano, Chapter Two:

"But if you look at that sunlight there, then perhaps you'll get the answer, see, look at the way it falls through the window: what beauty can compare to that of a cantina in the early morning? Your volcanoes outside? Your stars– Ras Algethi? Antares raging south southeast? Forgive me, no." 

 A Spanish-English dictionary:

lucero m.
morning or evening star:
any bright star….
hole in a window panel
     for the admission of light….

Look at the way it
falls through the window….

— Malcolm Lowry

How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
— Isaiah 14:12

For more on Spanish
and the evening star,
see Plato, Pegasus, and
the Evening Star.

 Symmetry axes
of the square:

Symmetry axes of the square

(See Damnation Morning.)

From the cover of the
 Martin Cruz Smith novel
Stallion Gate:

Atom on cover of Stallion

"That old Jew
gave me this here."

Dialogue from the
Robert Stone novel
A Flag for Sunrise.

Related material:

A Mass for Lucero,

Log24, Sept. 13, 2006

Mathematics, Religion, Art

— and this morning's online
New York Times obituaries:

Cardinal Lustiger of Paris and jazz pianist Sal Mosca, New York Times obituaries on August 6, 2007

The above image contains summary obituaries for Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, 1981-2005, and for Sal Mosca, jazz pianist and teacher. In memory of the former, see all of the remarks preceding the image above. In memory of the latter, the remarks of a character in Martin Cruz Smith's Stallion Gate on jazz piano may have some relevance:

"I hate arguments. I'm a coward. Arguments are full of words, and each person is sure he's the only one who knows what the words mean. Each word is a basket of eels, as far as I'm concerned. Everybody gets to grab just one eel and that's his interpretation and he'll fight to the death for it…. Which is why I love music. You hit a C and it's a C and that's all it is. Like speaking clearly for the first time. Like being intelligent. Like understanding. A Mozart or an Art Tatum sits at the piano and picks out the undeniable truth."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday June 21, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:30 PM

Schopenhauer on the Kernel of Eternity

Philos Website

“Ich aber, hier auf dem objektiven Wege, bin jetzt bemüht, das Positive der Sache nachzuweisen, daß nämlich das Ding an sich von der Zeit und Dem, was nur durch sie möglich ist, dem Entstehen und Vergehen, unberührt bleibt, und daß die Erscheinungen in der Zeit sogar jenes rastlos flüchtige, dem Nichts zunächst stehende Dasein nicht haben könnten, wenn nicht in ihnen ein Kern aus der Ewigkeit* wäre. Die Ewigkeit ist freilich ein Begriff, dem keine Anschauung zum Grunde liegt: er ist auch deshalb bloß negativen Inhalts, besagt nämlich ein zeitloses Dasein. Die Zeit ist demnach ein bloßes Bild der Ewigkeit, ho chronos eikôn tou aiônos,** wie es Plotinus*** hat: und ebenso ist unser zeitliches Dasein das bloße Bild unsers Wesens an sich. Dieses muß in der Ewigkeit liegen, eben weil die Zeit nur die Form unsers Erkennens ist: vermöge dieser allein aber erkennen wir unser und aller Dinge Wesen als vergänglich, endlich und der Vernichtung anheimgefallen.”

*    “a kernel of eternity
**  “Time is the image of eternity.”
*** “wie es Plotinus hat”–
       Actually, not Plotinus, but Plato,
       according to Diogenes Laertius.

Related material:

Time Fold,

J. N. Darby,
On the Greek Words for
Eternity and Eternal

(aion and aionios),”

Carl Gustav Jung, Aion,
which contains the following
four-diamond figure,

Jung's four-diamond figure

and Jung and the Imago Dei.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Sunday May 8, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Geometry and Theology

See

the science fiction writer mentioned in a Friday entry.

Mark Olson’s article is at the website of the New England Science Fiction Association, publisher of Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson.  This book, by one of my favorite science-fiction authors, was apparently edited by the same Mark Olson.

The following remarks seem relevant to the recurring telepathy theme in Henderson:

From the first article cited above,
David L. Neuhouser,
Higher Dimensions in the Writings of C. S. Lewis (pdf):

“If we are three-dimensional cross-sections of four-dimensional reality, perhaps we are parts of the same body. In fact, we know we are parts of the same body in some way, this four-dimensional idea just may help us to see it more clearly. Remember the preceding comments are mine, not Lewis’s. He puts it this way, ‘That we can die “in” Adam and live “in” Christ seems to me to imply that man as he really is differs a good deal from man as our categories of thought and our three-dimensional imaginations represent him; that the separateness… which we discern between individuals, is balanced, in absolute reality, by some kind of inter-inanimation of which we have no conception at all. It may be that the acts and sufferings of great archetypal individuals such as Adam and Christ are ours, not by legal fiction, metaphor, or causality, but in some much deeper fashion. There is no question, of course, of individuals melting down into a kind of spiritual continuum such as Pantheistic systems believe in; that is excluded by the whole tenor of our faith.'”

From Webster’s Unabridged, 1913 edition:

inanimate
, v. t.

[Pref. in- in (or intensively) + animate.]
 To animate. [Obs.] — Donne.

inanimation, n.

Infusion of life or vigor;
animation; inspiration.
[Obs.]
The inanimation of Christ
living and breathing within us.
Bp. Hall.

Related words…

Also from the 1913 Webster’s:

circumincession, n.

[Pref. circum- + L. incedere, incessum, to walk.]
(Theol.) The reciprocal existence in each other
of the three persons of the Trinity.

From an online essay:

perichoresis
, n.

“The term means mutual indwelling or, better, mutual interpenetration and refers to the understanding of both the Trinity and Christology. In the divine perichoresis, each person has ‘being in each other without coalescence’ (John of Damascus ca. 650). The roots of this doctrine are long and deep.”

—  Bert Waggoner

coinherence, n.

“In our human experience of personhood, at any rate in a fallen world, there is in each person an inevitable element of exclusiveness, of opaqueness and impenetrability.  But with the three divine persons it is not so.  Each is entirely ‘open’ to the others, totally transparent and receptive.  This transparency and receptivity is summed up in the Greek notion of perichoresis, which Gibbon once called ‘the deepest and darkest corner of the whole theological abyss.’  Rendered in Latin as circumincessio and in English usually as ‘coinherence,’ the Greek term means literally, cyclical movement, and so reciprocity, interchange, mutual indwelling.  The prefix peri bears the sense ‘around,’ while choresis is linked with chora, ‘room,’ space,’ ‘place’ or ‘container,’ and with chorein, to ‘go,’ ‘advance,’ ‘make room for’ or ‘contain.’  Some also see a connection with choros, ‘dance,’ and so they take perichoresis to mean ’round dance.’  Applied to Christ, the term signifies that his two natures, the divine and the human, interpenetrate one another without separation and without confusion.  Applied to the Trinity, it signifies that each person ‘contains’ the other two and ‘moves’ within them.  In the words of St Gregory of Nyssa, ‘All that is the Father’s is seen in the Son, and all that is the Son’s belongs also the Father. For the whole Son abides in the Father, and he has in his turn the whole Father abiding in himself.’ 

By virtue of this perichoresis, Father, Son and Holy Spirit ‘coinhere‘ in one another, each dwelling in the other two through an unceasing movement of mutual love – the ’round dance’ of the Trinity.”

— Timothy Ware, Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia,
    The Human Person as an Icon of the Trinity

Friday, May 14, 2004

Friday May 14, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:36 PM

Moral Hazard —
The Devil and Wallace Stevens,
continued from May 1-2 entries:

Law Day,
Readings for Law Day,
Fallen from Heaven, and
The Script
  

University of Southern California, Department of Economics — Industrial Organization ECN 680 – Autumn 2002 — Introduction to Contract and Organization Theory —

Professor Jean-Jacques Laffont
(September 4October 21):

“The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to modern contract and organization theory. Part 1 of the course focuses upon models with moral hazard and adverse selection.”

From the insurance page at 

http://ingrimayne.saintjoe.edu/:

“The size of the insurance industry indicates that people are eager to pay to avoid risk. They pay and get nothing if fortune smiles on them, whereas if misfortune strikes, they break even because the insurance should just pay back the value lost in the misfortune.

Sometimes, however, people do better than break even when misfortune strikes, and this possibility has greatly interested economists. If, for example, the misfortune costs a person $1000, but insurance will pay $2000, the insured person has no incentive to avoid the misfortune and may act to bring it on. This tendency of insurance to change behavior is called moral hazard.

Sometimes moral hazard is dramatic….

People who know that they face large risks are more likely to buy insurance than people who face small risks. Insurance companies try to minimize the problem that only the people with big risks will buy their product, which is the problem of adverse selection ….”

From today’s New York Times:

“Jean-Jacques Laffont, an economist known for developing mathematical models to estimate what something is worth in situations of deep uncertainty, died on May 1 in Toulouse, France. He was 57….

…Jerry R. Green of Harvard said he was ‘an architect of systems’ and ‘a very original figure.’

Eric Maskin, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., called Dr. Laffont ‘simply one of the major figures of our time.’

‘Many people would say he was the leading economist in Europe,’ he added, ‘and that wouldn’t be an unfair judgment.’

Although Dr. Laffont’s models were abstruse enough to satisfy the most theoretical economists, Dr. Green said they were adapted for practical purposes by companies, as well as by public television for scheduling programs.”

Saturday, May 1, 2004

Saturday May 1, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Fallen from Heaven

On today’s stories:

Recall, gentle readers, the reference to Lucifer in last midnight’s story, “The Devil and Wallace Stevens,” and the reference in yesterday’s story, “Notes,” to the film “2010” (1984).  Here is a quote from a review of the story behind that film:

“If the coming of Lucifer in this story doesn’t set your pulse racing and your mind whirring, then I don’t know what will.”

For some of us — students of Stephen King and Malcolm Lowry — the coming of Lucifer is not such a surprising event.  See

Shining Forth.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Saturday March 27, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:24 PM

Real Enemies, Part I

“Even paranoids have real enemies.”
— Saying attributed to Delmore Schwartz

According to the Washington Post and Newsday today, the President’s persecutors now include

Paul O’Neill,
   formerly Bush’s Treasury Secretary

Richard A. Clarke,
   formerly Bush’s counterterrorism chief

Rand Beers,
   Bush’s counterterrorism chief after Clarke

Flynt Leverett,
   former member of the Bush national security staff

Richard Foster,
   Bush Medicare accountant

John DiIulio,
   former director of Bush’s faith-based initiatives

“Others who have fallen out of favor over Iraq include former economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni and former Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki. All voiced concerns about either the expense or number of troops needed to occupy Iraq. All were treated dismissively by the White House. All are gone, but their estimates proved accurate….

Not every White House attempt at damage-control works. Last summer, White House officials tried to pin the blame on CIA Director George Tenet for not waving Bush off his State of the Union claim that Saddam was seeking uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons.

Political analysts rushed to proclaim Tenet a goner, but those obituaries proved premature.”

— Tom Raum in Newsday today

Friday, July 4, 2003

Friday July 4, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Self-Evident

Today many Americans celebrate a declaration of certain “self-evident” truths.  Others feel that these alleged “truths” are misleading.  Seeking a worthy opponent for the authors of the Declaration on this secular holy day, I settled on the following recently published book, a sort of Declaration of Dependence of government on God (an imaginary entity who speaks only through politicians, clergymen, and other liars):

Christian Faith
and Modern Democracy:

God and Politics in the Fallen World
By Robert P. Kraynak
Univ. of Notre Dame Press. 304p
$49.95 (cloth) $24.95 (paper)

From a review in the Dec. 24, 2001, issue of America, a Jesuit publication:

“The author, who identifies himself as a practicing Catholic, asserts that Christianity is weakened by its close alliance with the contemporary version of democracy and human rights…. 

The author states that ‘modern liberal democracy…subverts in practice the dignity of man.’  He defends his thesis relentlessly and persuasively…. 

Some readers of this well-organized volume will be disappointed that the author makes no mention of the four billion non-Christians among the world’s 6.1 billion inhabitants. The four billion Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists must be included in any attempt to make the modern state responsive to traditional and generally accepted norms of morality.”

— Robert F. Drinan, S.J.

Jefferson would probably appreciate Drinan’s remark on catholic (i.e., universal, or “generally accepted”) norms.

The “traditional and generally accepted norms of morality” Drinan mentions are discussed ably by Christian apologist C. S. Lewis in his book The Abolition of Man, which argues for the existence of a universal moral code that I am pleased to note he calls, rightly, the Tao.  As an Amazon.com reviewer notes, Lewis uses this term in the manner of Confucius rather than that of Lao Tsu.  I prefer the latter. 

For details, see the Tao Te Ching, (The Way and Its Power).  This is a far more holy scripture than the collections of lies called sacred by most other religions.  Both the leftist Jefferson and the rightist Kraynak wrongly assume that talk of a “Creator” means something.  It does not.  Classical Chinese thought is free from this absurd Western error.  Lewis at least had the grace to acknowledge the importance of non-Western thought, though he himself was unable to escape the lies of Christianity.

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