Wednesday, March 30, 2022



Mary, the Mother of God, said that "my soul magnifies the glory of the Lord."  

Is this hubris?  Isn't the glory of the Lord infinite without magnification?  How can it be magnified?

And likewise with her role as intercessor-in-chief with respect to her Son.  If a prayer is more likely to be answered, coming from her lips, does this not imply that the love of Jesus for us (without intercession) is ratcheted down from the Infinite Love that He has promised us?

Should these be called "Marian Heresies?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


"Wittgenstein's Artillery"

In his process, he uses "meta-metaphors" if you please.

Each the layer of an onion.  But he turns them over with such care and close scrutiny as to call to mind string theory, which reveals dimensions heretofore not seen or imagined, because of their proximity.  Each become a landscape unto itself, and each landscape populated with new metaphors that must be mined if the impulse to do philosophy is to be abandoned.

As we follow in his footsteps, we always and repeatedly surmise that there is a solid core at the center -- in other words, that the onion is an avocado, not an onion, in this respect.  And therefore he must show us repeatedly, like dogs being trained to sit on command, that at the center there is nothing, or perhaps nothing but the sound of our own breathing, and only, to be sure, for as long as we have breath to draw.

Monday, March 28, 2022


The Primacy of Consciousness, Cont'd

Towards the end of May 1944, a rather simple and smallish crossword puzzle was published in a newspaper in Britain, where a million heavily-armed men and a hundred thousand vehicles were awaiting transport over the English Channel to Normandy.  

Four clues of the puzzle called for the following solutions, respectively:  "OMAHA," "UTAH," "MULBERRY" and "OVERLORD."  "Omaha" and "Utah" were code names for the beaches that the Americans were to attack.  The "Mulberry" would be an enormous artificial harbor attached to the Normandy flats, and over which two and a half million men would pass into France by the time the invasion was over.  "Overlord" was the code name for the invasion itself.

When British intelligence became aware of the puzzle, its creator was hauled in for interrogation, suspected of being a spy for the Germans and tipping them off to invasion-related secrets.  In fact he was nothing of the kind.  He had, it seems, unusually fine-tuned antennae that could pick up powerful things in the zeitgeist.

Dr. Jung would not be at all surprised at this.


Be Wary of Literal Translation

In New York City, in the 1960's, an "automat" was a cafeteria where you could lunch on a sandwich and a piece of pie and a cup of coffee, all dispensed from machines, without the annoyance of human intervention.  It was viewed as the height of modernity in the time of the Mad Men.

In Moscow or Petersburg or Rostov-on-Don, an «автомат» is a Kalashnikov, an AK-47 assault rifle.

Marx would say "To each according to his needs."

Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Should We Fear May 9?

May 9 is Victory Day, the day that the Russians celebrate their victory over Hitler's Germany in 1945.  It is customary on Victory Day for a major military parade through Red Square to punctuate the holiday, reminding the outside world as well as the Russian populace of the invincibility of what used to be called the Red Army.

What will Russia's most ambitious military venture since WWII look like to Vladimir Putin on, say, May 1 of this year?  If it looks like the debacle that it clearly is, will he feel compelled to radically up the ante by May 9 and, if so, what will that look like?

Monday, March 14, 2022


The Best Thing I Can Say

About this, my blog, is that, over time, "it gathers like a coastal shelf."  It accretes that is.

But that language belongs forever to the poet Philip Larkin, and it should be said that he said it in reference to human misery, passed on from man to man, from each generation to the next.

Sunday, March 13, 2022


Putin and Rasputin, Lost in a Broken Gavotte

"Poot" in Russian means "path" or "way," so Vladimir Putin might be said to be the "wanderer" or traveller or gypsy.

"Ras" is a prefix that implies taking things apart, disorder, even chaos; so the so-called mad monk Rasputin can be said to have been the disrupter, the one who blew up the path.  And indeed, his "unorthodox" behavior helped to precipitate the revolution, in the eyes of most historians.

"Rasputitsa" means the time of year when the roads are impassible.  The frozen paths of the winter have disintegrated, been taken apart, with the arrival of warmer temperatures and spring rains.  Rasputitsa disrupted the plans of Hitler in 1942; it may disrupt the plans of Putin in 2022.

Like Nicholas and Alexandra, the Tsar Putin has his own Orthodox enablers including the Patriarch Kirill.  In the main they are not devout Christians.  Rather, they participate with the tsar in the propagation of a myth about the Manifest Destiny of Mother Russia; they justify it in part as a reaction to Western decadence.

Now comes a cadre on the American right that also embraces this myth.  We should leave Putin be, they say, because he is far away and because he shares at least our contempt for "wokeness."  The great Russian-born journalist and intellectual Cathy Young cites at least one such who explicitly says that he hates the American Left more than he hates the Russian war criminals.  Through what crazed moral prism must one look to hold such a view?

Putin is finished.  Disease and death, or at least a cage in Lublyanka, must await him when the dust is settled.  But for the Russian people outside the circles of power there must be forgiveness.  This is the only way for them to be re-integrated into the global community, which is in everyone's interest, and it is also the correct moral path, on the simple grounds that if they are to be punished collectively, then he who is without sin should cast the first stone.