Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850)
Autograph manuscript and corrected galley proofs signed, 1833
The Morgan Library
Writing is rewriting, illustrated.
Modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion. — John Gray, Black Mass
There is nothing particularly nasty about being a relic of barbarism. Man is a relic of barbarism. Civilisation is a relic of barbarism.
But torture is not a relic of barbarism at all. In actuality it is simply a relic of sin; but in comparative history it may well be called a relic of civilisation. It has always been most artistic and elaborate when everything else was most artistic and elaborate. Thus it was detailed exquisite in the late Roman Empire, in the complex and gorgeous sixteenth century, in the centralised French monarchy a hundred years before the Revolution, and in the great Chinese civilisation to this day. This is, first and last, the frightful thing we must remember. In so far as we grow instructed and refined we are not (in any sense whatever) naturally moving away from torture. We may be moving towards torture. We must know what we are doing, if we are to avoid the enormous secret cruelty which has crowned every historic civilisation. — G.K. Chesterton, The Travellers in State
They will know you are my disciples by your creeds, your beliefs, your political positions, your visions, your principles, your plans, etc
-Not John 13:35
(Source: ioncewasfound, via bethmaynard)
PEG 2.0: Explode with love -
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:3
Little kids are weird, and amazing. They’re really poor…
We are… well past the age of the polymath and into the era of the sub-specialist.
The trouble with the Cliff’s Notes approach is that it rests upon the fallacy that a superficial acquaintance with the evidence can aid you in making an independent judgment of its meaning. In high school, it may have enabled you to fool an English teacher into believing that you really understood Mr. Rochester, when you never cracked the spine of the book. But in life, you’re only fooling yourself.
So here’s my advice. Choose the things about which you genuinely care, and come to know them deeply and well. Form your own judgments, and constantly question them. In other matters, attempt instead to ascertain the consensus of expert judgment. It will be right far more often than not. The only alternative is to form your own judgment upon every question, and I can assure you that you will be correct far less frequently.
If you encounter an attack upon a conventional piety that troubles you, first assess its source. Has its author taken the time or trouble to know his subject deeply or well? Then, assess its content. Does it seem sophisticated and convincing? If it meets those two tests, ask yourself how much you care to know about the matter. You can always add it to the list of things you wish to know deeply. But if you feel that you simply don’t have the time, because of the realities of your life, then bracket your concerns and set them aside. The regnant consensus will do. — Yoni Applebaum, in an old comment at TNC’s blog, via TNC (via wesleyhill)
PEG 2.0: The challenge of homosexuality -
Who would have thought that homosexuality would be the issue over which Christendom and the post-modern world would part ways?
After all, it doesn’t seem to be such a big issue, in the grand scheme of things. There aren’t that many gay people out there. Abortion, or divorce, or economic…
A lot of truth here.
Fantastic night with The Vespers #vespers (photo credit: @karebear137 - my iPhone battery was pretty much dead by the time the concert started) (at The Hamilton)
The United States has dealt with American citizens who had commit acts of terrorism before. We Mirandized them, we charged them, we ensured that they had competent legal counsel, and we tried them in civilian courts where they received the typical rights and protections guaranteed to the accused. In none of those cases did this decision endanger more lives, prevent adequate prosecution, or otherwise present any threat to the country or its people.
Timothy McVeigh: killed 168 people. Injured over 800 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and tried in a civilian court. Ted Kaczynski: killed three people. Injured 23 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and processed through a civilian court. Eric Rudolph: killed two people. Injured at least 150 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and processed through a civilian court.
If you recognize that the results of these legal cases were consonant with our system of jurisprudence and with justice, you cannot ask for a separate status for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without supporting legal discrimination based on ethnicity and religion. To deny Tsarnaev the legal status conferred on prior domestic terrorists, or to support such a denial, is to abandon the most elementary commitment of modern jurisprudence, which is the equality of all people under the law. It’s to stand for legal bigotry. — Freddie is absolutely right. (via ayjay)
But my biggest problem starts on Easter Monday. I regard it as absurd and unjustifiable that we should spend forty days keeping Lent, pondering what it means, preaching about self-denial, being at least a little gloomy, and then bringing it all to a peak with Holy Week, which in turn climaxes in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday… and then, after a rather odd Holy Saturday, we have a single day of celebration….
In particular, if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again — well, of course. Christian holiness was never meant to be merely negative. Of course you have to weed the garden from time to time; sometimes the ground ivy may need serious digging before you can get it out. That’s Lent for you. But you don’t want simply to turn the garden back into a neat bed of blank earth. Easter is the time to sow new seeds and to plant out a few cuttings. If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do it only for six weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that’s what Easter is all about. — N. T. Wright (via wesleyhill)