I find some versions of panpsychism quite attractive

David Bentley Hart said in this interview: You don’t need the morphology [of New Testament cosmology] to believe in a spiritually living creation that is full of spiritual life. You know, I’m something of a panpsychist myself. Not in the modern way, in which, you know, you’re supposed to believe that every atom has a kind ofContinue reading “I find some versions of panpsychism quite attractive”

a ruin—but an entire ruin

From my daughter Nessa this evening: “I just reread my, so far, favorite scene in Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë: Descending the laurel-walk, I faced the wreck of the chestnut tree…. The cloven halves were not broken from each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below…. They might be saidContinue reading “a ruin—but an entire ruin”

even as the day softens away into the sweet Twilight

This has been my Object, and this alone can be my Defence–and O! that with this my personal as well as my LITERARY LIFE might conclude!—the unquenched desire I mean, not without the consciousness of having earnestly endeavoured to kindle young minds, and to guard them against the temptations of Scorners, by showing that theContinue reading “even as the day softens away into the sweet Twilight”

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.Continue reading “our bodies think and know in ways that precede cognition”

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 heartsContinue reading “this connection between the universal and the parochial”

never looked at the water

They said of Sarah of blessed memory that for sixty years she lived on the bank of a river, and never looked at the water. From The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks by Benedicta Ward. (Compare to Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. Both testify to the beauty and power ofContinue reading “never looked at the water”

a fire is the only bit of wildness left in his house

It was this hour by the dying firelight that the gnomes loved more than any other time. It was then they talked of so many things. “Funny how a fire makes you want to stare and stare at it,” said Dodder reflectively, blowing out a cloud of tobacco smoke and watching the glow of theContinue reading “a fire is the only bit of wildness left in his house”