the book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad

It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by a majority of the people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. […]

we distant children of the pagans would not be able to believe in any of these things

Modernity is what comes …when Christianity has been displaced from the center of a culture and deprived of any power explicitly to shape laws and customs, and has ceased to be regarded as the source of a society’s highest values or of a government’s legitimacy, and has ceased even to hold preeminent sway over a […]

all these beliefs rest securely upon a more fundamental and radical faith in the nothing

David Bentley Hart’s Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies (2009) lakes up a theme that he’s gone much farther with in recent articles: Those of us who now, in the latter days of modernity, are truest to the wisdom and ethos of our age place ourselves not at the disposal of God, […]

our bodies think and know in ways that precede cognition

In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane gives a gripping account of knowing with our bodies (in comparing the writings of French philosopher Merleau-Ponty and Scottish writer Nan Shepherd). [Merleau-Ponty] argued that knowledge is ‘felt’: that our bodies think and know in ways that precede cognition. Consciousness, the human body and the phenomenal world are therefore inextricably intertwined. […]

this connection between the universal and the parochial

In Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane has much to offer regarding the connectedness of place and language. Patrick Kavanagh’s insight that the local parish is our only access point to Aristotelian universals is profound (see last excerpt in this post). To share a frustration, Macfarlane’s claims often exaggerate the powers of language alone to tie our hearts […]

words belong to each other

Words survive the chops and changes of time longer than any other substance, therefore they are the truest. …The moment we single out and emphasize the suggestions as we have done here they become unreal; and we, too, become unreal — specialists, word mongers, phrase finders, not readers. In reading we have to allow the […]

I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog

I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog and disguise themselves in the reaf,” an Anglo-Saxon term for clothing and weapons taken from the dead. “I can quite honestly say that […]

moral responsibility arises neither from contractual relationships nor from the cooperative exchange between independent individuals

For gentleness requires, as Reimlers observes, that we learn to see that “the other person is ‘given’ to us in the sense that, prior to rules and principles of social morality, the presence of the other in our lives constitutes our responsibility. Moral responsibility arises neither from contractual relationships nor from the cooperative exchange between […]