Wednesday, July 15, 2015



Daily,  I note the famous-people 
obituaries in the New York Times—
checking  ages of the departed,
passed on, bought the farm, 
crossed over, dead and buried…
to see where I stand.  Today’s issue:
dead are all younger then me. 
Notorious, sure,  but not  here any 
longer, and I am. 

I’m old but immature.  Might be
obvious.   Tattoos seem like the
indulgence of sailors and motorcyclers
but I know better and  get a kick out
of girls in dresses & cowboy boots; 
had to get married to get laid in the 
50’s and that culture’s pretty much
been re-calibrated as far as I can tell,
and I’ve accepted I’m not going to 
know squat about  media tech though
I’m addicted to e-mail and facebook 
and don’t mind admitting it.

“Age is no better, hardly so well, 
qualified for an instructor as youth, 
for it has not  profited so much as it
has lost.” says Thoreau (dead mid-
40’s) and it’s true description and no
lamentation.  Youngsters in my classes 
are way smarter (and older) than
me.  Used to be “C” was a decent grade.
Any more or less: you weren’t using 
your time well.

Environmentalism. Can’t teach 
compassion and care but developing 
cultural  empathy? —it’s got to be seen
as cool  as clove cigarettes, cocaine, 
cowboy boots with dresses & such as 
along  those lines where anyone
will want to conform to be cool—be 
cool to conform. Not out of it. An
environmental issue.   Racism too:
if  seen as immature and unmanly or 
unfeministic— well, who wants to be 
seen  that way? Or else try scolding then, 
ridicule, chide, mock, disparage--pass
laws  so we  have to care or else: ostracize.
Alienate.  See how that works. It’s an
environmental issue. 


  1. "Much of Natasha's energy in her husband's last years was devoted to protecting his reputation. She wrote a powerful polemic for the Times Literary Supplement in 1992, advocating a "code of practice" for biographers. His wife "suffered terribly" when people wrote maliciously about him, Stephen told the poet Ted Hughes, adding, "Myself, I do not mind." Probably she knew his sensitivities better than he himself did."

    About Stephen and Natasha Spender. (Still talking about Brodsky's favorite people.)


  3. "Where will a predominantly secularized society learn virtue?”

  4. I don't know. I don't talk virtues or values. I talk 10 commandments and three creeds. It gives me surprisingly much flexibility.


  6. I was just quoting from the link you posted, is all--assuming you'd read it and shared its concerns.

  7. What do you think? What "values" and "virtues" should one have and how would secular society inculcate them? Yes, I read the article.

  8. Secular & Sacred Humanism IS the environment and atmosphere inside which values and virtues are manifest and compete. You can watch them evolve. And yet human nature seems to remain the same--whatever values and virtues seem "dominant."

  9. More tautological stuff?

    The jump off point was the ethics for biographers. What should they be? What is gossip? What is malice? What is relevant? What is sensationalism? What is smut? How kind should he strive to be without prettification? Is that something emerging or something more universal?

    When a certain set of people speak always about creeds as dividing, when they are really a rallying point for unity, and specifically called ecumenical, is there any accuracy or just anger because someone does not want to prescribe to them, for whatever reason. (Where ever I look these days "creeds" are somehow "demonized").

  10. When the black church forgives the shooter, it expresses the supreme value, or creed, of forgiveness and grace. It does not even have anything with prudence or restraint, or some virtue.

  11. I recall the jump-off point being "Home Burial" and Frost's turning up the difference between masc. & fem --and also the difference between Frost's public persona and his home relations... and then we got off on youir sense of tautology. and now: ethics for biogaphers--gossip, malice, sensationalism, smut ...virtues and values in a secularized society and the flexibility obtained by adhering to the 10 Commandments and the fact of demonized creeds these days where ever you look.

  12. plus a black church forgiving a shooter has nothing to do with prudence or restraing or some virtue.

  13. The black church was in the article.

  14. from Home Burial to Black Church forgiveness.Logical progression? Tautological something or other?

  15. Home burial we can leave out.

  16. Tell me about it.

  17. IT? Now what are we considering? Christian schools? Black churches? Standards for Biographers? Do you remember one of the first video games PONG from the 70's? Like ping pong--back and forth, here and there, up and down.

  18. "The Eighth Commandment [God's Gift of a Good Reputation]
    You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
    What does this mean?
    We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way."

    I think that is where my mind is.

    The devil slanders. The biographer may slander. Was Frost really a rude man? -- from what I had read, the bits about his marriage had stood out positively to me. Brodsky calls Home Burial a love poem. And it seemed to me that perhaps it was, in the manner in which the Frosts were accustomed to interacting.

    In my suspicious way, I had thought that perhaps the liberal element has something against the gentleman farmer. And maybe the feminist element, also. There was something mentioned online about what some woman said... You yourself have stooped to misogyny before, and don't usually mind confessing it, declaring it all satanic and therefore good and part of the game. Maybe you fancy Frost an ally in this approach, seeing the converse action of the poem.

    However, it does behoove us to make distinctions based on justice and kindness. The devil does slander and is wrong in doing it. --very wrong. Barbara Kay pointed us to virtues and Socrates, in the secular context. The Christian school and the Christian church, experiencing pressures and hoping to be gracious function under the commandments and forgiveness of sins, hopefully restraining our worst tendencies to some degree. Evidence was found for that.

    So much.

  19. Misanthropy, yes; misogyny -- never. Home Burial is a favorite poem. Frost--a favorite poet. satanic = adversarial-ness and the habit of accusation. “Kierkegaard showed that taking religion
    seriously is compatible with being against
    religion in almost all its actual forms..."
    (Julian Paginni)

  20. So his religion is one not of an "actual" form. What does that mean? Catechize me.

  21. Well, maybe he decided Lutheranism wasn't adequate form or Presbyterianism or Hinduism , Buddhism etc etc (via negativa) and concluded his serious religion was against all the varieties and their catechisms--them that had them.

  22. So when he discarded them all he ended up with a religion that had no catechism. Sounds easy.

  23. Maybe you could read/skim his Wikiencyclopedia and see how easy it was for him. My old man used to say IT was as easy as falling off a log. ( I know you treasure your catechism so his attitude will be either ridiculous or offensive to yours)

  24. Kierkegaard is well enough known for me to have a general grasp. Also CBC and our newspaper treat him. In any case it seems that every true artist is somewhat tortured. And I would call him an artist. That does not make him a religionist. Nor is converse action a religion. Nor does humility equate religion. Nor does rebellion equate religion. The term is used too loosely. In any case what is wrong with the simple third commandment and its plain explanation? If only that it should restrain mudslinging and loose speech, which can be so delicious.

  25. You'd be well-informed to read his page and then judge whether he was a religionist or not. A theologian from the start.. i'd say he was as religious as you--he'd probably be able to keep up with you--doctrine-wise and catechismic . At least. (Don't understand your mudslinging and loose speech concern. You seem stuck in it.) Of course religion is rebellion (nd converse) but as you say rebellion isn't necessarily religious.

  26. The page says that his dissertation was considered too witty. I can see that. Would be frustrating. It could be that the Lutheranism was pietistic, also.

  27. A real Lutheranism is very robust about vocation.

  28. Speaks well for his dissertation--esp if you're read many.Thank God for your Lutheransm--robust and catechismic. You needn't bother with Kiergardean and the non-Lutheran characterizations --which will always be inadequate for you. if not wrong. The original notion--serious religious concern will find itself against most forms of religion. K. used Abraham's obedience and (disregard of culture) as his model--knight of faith: told to sacrifice Isaac and ready to respond. Transcends all forms of religion as we know it. Robust

  29. No doubt his dissertation was brilliant and elegant. Luther was brilliant, too, and entertaining, but more earthy. Also against the religious forms of the day, transcending many wrong practices without throwing out the baby.

  30. No doubt. Do you think he is the only one to transcend and yet keep the baby? Luther liked beer and farts I understand--and so probably did out-earthy Kierkegaard in that respect. And has made a more significant contribution to western culture than K.

  31. Luther was not simply an artistic writer. The whole world looked to him for his opinions on practical matters. Huge responsibilities. Always talking to the devil.

  32. Is this a competition? Have you met anyone who talks with the devil? With God?

  33. Kierkegaard's pamphlets and polemical books, including The Moment, criticized several aspects of church formalities and politics.[145] According to Kierkegaard, the idea of congregations keeps individuals as children since Christians are disinclined from taking the initiative to take responsibility for their own relation to God. He stressed that "Christianity is the individual, here, the single individual."[146] Furthermore, since the Church was controlled by the State, Kierkegaard believed the State's bureaucratic mission was to increase membership and oversee the welfare of its members. More members would mean more power for the clergymen: a corrupt ideal.[147] This mission would seem at odds with Christianity's true doctrine, which, to Kierkegaard, is to stress the importance of the individual, not the whole.[45] Thus, the state-church political structure is offensive and detrimental to individuals, since anyone can become "Christian" without knowing what it means to be Christian. It is also detrimental to the religion itself since it reduces Christianity to a mere fashionable tradition adhered to by unbelieving "believers", a "herd mentality" of the population, so to speak.[148] Kierkegaard always stressed the importance of the conscience and the use of it.[149]

    1. Thus the notion serious religion will find itself against most forms.

  34. It's too bad K. never did get married and raised a little congregation of his own. One gets the feeling that he gets judgemental without knowing what he is talking about. He refused communion before he died after falling.

  35. I get the feeling he really was a gnostic all along.

    1. what does it mean: to be really a gnostic all along?


    I watched a good chunk of this four part series, the other night.

  37. Your feeling was judgenetal without knowing what he was talking about reveals more about you and your feeling that K and his life-long theological thought and writing. Must have known how he felt to refuse communion.

  38. Think for yourself, Sam. You are too Kierkegaardian.

  39. ??? Any one with any insight would have the same observation. Not sure how Kierkegaardian it is. But a statement always says more about the sayer that what the sayer is saying about. I find it a challenge to think for myself--so many links, so many writers, so much public opinion, such an environment--a matrix really: swimming in it all soaking wet thinking I have observations about damp and dry.

  40. As far as links go, I would recommend "Freedom of the Christian Person", Luther's classical treatment on the individual conscience vis a vis the existing powers.

  41. Luther's last words.

    Experience in governing.

    1. No one can understand Vergil's Bucolics unless he has been a
    shepherd for five years. No one can understand Vergil's Georgics,
    unless he has been a farmer for five years.

    2. No one can understand Cicero's Letters (or so I teach), unless
    he has busied himself in the affairs of some prominent state for
    twenty years.

    3. Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers
    sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years
    with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist,
    Christ and the apostles.

    Do not assail this divine Aeneid; nay, rather prostrate revere the
    ground that it treads.

    We are beggars: this is true.

    -You'll find it here: