Sunday, January 7, 2018

Burtrand Russell

To every man comes, sooner or later, the great renunciation. For the young, there is nothing unattainable; a good thing desired with the the whole force of a passionate will, and yet impossible, is to them not credible. Yet, by death, by illness, by poverty, or by the voice of duty, we must learn, each one of us, that the world was not made for us, and that, however beautiful may be the things we crave, Fate may nevertheless forbid them. It is the part of courage, when misfortune comes, to bear without repining the ruin of our hopes, to turn away our thoughts from vain regrets. This degree of submission to power is not only just and right: it is the very gate of wisdom.
Russell, B. (1957). A free man's worship. In Why I am not a Christian (104-116). New York: Simon & Schuster. (p. 111)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boria Sax

"All culture is pervaded by a nostalgia for a lost intimacy with nature, a condition variously identified with childhood, so-called "primitive" cultures or some period of the past...."

Boria Sax, The Serpent and the Swan: The Animal Bride in Folklore and Literature (Blacksburg, VA: McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, 1998), 20.

Boria Sax

"Just as our feelings about humanity veer between pride and shame, our conceptions of nature involve both fear and idealization.

The concept of nature presupposes some sort of prior unity, before man was separated from his environment. As Baring and Cashford put it:
Humanity's act of becoming aware that it is a creature distinct from animal and plant ruptures the wholeness of the divine order by splitting consciousness into a duality....(p. 163).

Myth emerged in a response to a sense of terror and disorientation created by this rupture. Lacking the security of a clear biological niche and overwhelmed by an exceptionally powerful imagination, man used myth as a means to order the chaos of experience (Blumenberg, pp. 3-7). Myth divided the natural wold into various realms and powers, which might be more easily placated or controlled. This rupture is commemorated in several tales, such as the origin of the divinities and the universe from the breaking of a primordial egg (Gimbutas, pp. 101-111; Detienne, p. 71). The process of division left experience fragmented and incomplete. It generated the elusive feelings of anxiety and discontent which pervade our entire civilization but are so difficult to articulate or explain."

Boria Sax, The Serpent and the Swan: The Animal Bride in Folklore and Literature (Blacksburg, VA: McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, 1998), 19-20.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gordon Clark

It is not necessary to work out a philosophical system and to demonstrate truths before having them.

Gordon Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things (The Trinity Foundation: 1998), 217.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Laura Miller

Quotes from:
Oz vs. Narnia
L. Frank Baum's sanitized, all-too-American world is infinitely less compelling than C.S. Lewis' dangerous imaginings.

Baum no doubt revealed his full intentions in his original introduction to the book. He aspired, he announced, to write a "modernized fairy tale," from which both morality and "all the horrible and blood-curdling incident" found in traditional fairy tales had been removed. This sanitizing could at last be achieved because "modern education includes morality," and the only reason for all that scary stuff in the first place was to back up a story's moral with some serious firepower. Anyone surprised to read that pre-modern education methods omitted morality will nonetheless be comforted to learn that in this book "the wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out."

There is wickedness in Oz, but no evil; badness is simply a disagreeable temperament certain people have, not a terrible force at work in the world, certainly never a temptation to any of the heroes. Character is fixed, and no one really changes. Dorothy remains exactly the same, "a simple, sweet and true little girl," throughout the entire series, and at the end of their adventures, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion learn that they were already smart, kindhearted and brave. The answer to life's perplexities is to realize how terrific you already are, an aspect of Oz that seems one of its most American traits.

Oz is also, with a creepy prescience, a nation where personality determines politics. A little girl becomes a princess or a tin woodman is suddenly made Emperor of the Winkies simply because "the people" -- an indistinguishable mass of plump, contented burghers -- are "so fond" of them. The fatuous, Rotarian club notion of "goodness" Baum advances is, like the wickedness of his villains, a disposition rather than a practice, and its fruits are given rather than won; likability is all it amounts to.

Laura Miller editor of Salon.

Accessed 5-6-2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

C.S. Lewis

Our emotional reactions to our own behaviour are of limited ethical significance.

C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964), 99.

C.S. Lewis

Anger--no peevish fit of temper, but just, generous, scalding indignation--passes (not necessarily at once) into embracing, exultant, re-welcoming love. That is how friends and lovers are truly reconciled. Hot wrath, hot love. Such anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it.

C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964), 97.