Implicit Materialism

“Implicit Materialism─that is, an underlying, unexpressed, conception that material causes explain all things─survives. Men do not commonly say, nowadays, as many did not so long ago, that man is to be explained as a machine or a set of chemical formulae. They no longer, in any great numbers, deny flatly the presence of immaterial factors in the universe. But when they speak of life or death, or when they propose an explanation of anything, they imply, often without knowing it, that all of which they talk is material: that life is a material process, death but a cessation of that process, and that any human occasion─for instance any social development─can be completely understood when it is stated in terms of material things.”

~Hilaire Belloc: “Survivals and New Arrivals”

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Of Two, to Make One

I think this is true of brotherhood, marriage, and also of God’s plan for bringing free individuals to love what He loves:

“Of two to make one, which yet two shall be,

Is thy creation’s problem, deep, and true,

To which thou only hold’st the happy, hurting clue.”

Excerpt From

A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul

George MacDonald

https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-book-of-strife-in-the-form-of-the-diary-of-an-old-soul/id499797732

This material may be protected by copyright.

Remembering Shakespeare

To be, or not to be- that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.

To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death-

The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns- puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action.- Soft you now!

The fair Ophelia!- Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins rememb’red.

Shakespeare, Hamlet

The “Atmosphere” of Truth

I was just re- listening to this bit from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

“Do you think I wouldn’t obey my own rules?” (CS Lewis, Aslan speaking.)

And it struck me again – this time in the light of Lewis’s The Abolition of Man (or should I say “the dark shadow?”), that good people – princes and subjects alike, all subject themselves to the laws of what is good. For somehow they understand that goodness is the very fiber of which reality is made. Unlike other “princes” who make their thrones on high towers, and pass down rules for those who serve under them, but they don’t have to abide by them personally, Christ, True Christianity and the good God we serve all stand in the light of goodness, virtue and truth. And he who would be the greatest, must be the first to be servant of all. This to me is the spirit of Christ, and in the vein of GK Chesterton, the “atmosphere” of truth, virtue and Goodness. By this we know if we are its disciples: if as we set out, we understand that we set out firstly to follow goodness, truth and virtue, and secondly to serve others, obeying the laws of life. If we set out with a desire to discover our own selves or “greatness,” and have a desire to be served by others, then we are in that moment, children of another mother, and not children of the true spirit of God.

~ Watergirl 🌸

Five Sonnets

I.

You think that we who do not shout and shake

Our first at God when youth or bravery die

Have colder blood or hearts less apt to ache

Than yours who rail. I know you do. Yet why?

You have what sorrow always longs to find,

Someone to blame, some enemy in chief;

Anger’s the anesthetic of the mind,

It does men good, it fumes away their grief.

We feel the stroke like you; so far our fate

Is equal. After that, for us begin

Half-hopeless labours, learning not to hate,

And then to want, and then (perhaps) to win

A high, unearthly comfort, angel’s food,

That seems at first mockery to flesh and blood.

 

II.

There’s a repose, a safety (even a taste

Of something like revenge?) in fixed despair

Which we’re forbidden. We have to rise with haste

And start to climb what seems a crazy stair.

Our Consolation (for we are consoled,

So much of us, I mean, as may be left

After the dreadful process has unrolled)

For one bereavement makes us more bereft.

It asks for all we have, to the last shred;

Read Dante, who had known its best and worst –

He was bereaved and he was comforted

— No one denies it, comforted – but first

Down to the frozen center, up the vast

Mountain of pain, from world to world, he passed.

 

III.

Of this we’re certain; no one who dared knock

At heaven’s door for earthly comfort found

Even a door – only smooth, endless rock,

And save the echo of his cry no sound.

It’s dangerous to listen; you’ll begin

To fancy that those echoes (hope can play

Pitiful tricks) are answers from within;

Far better to turn, grimly sane, away.

Heaven cannot thus, Earth cannot ever, give

The thing we want. We ask what isn’t there

And by our asking water and make live

That very part of love which must despair

And die and go down cold into the earth

Before there’s talk of springtime and rebirth.

 

IV.

Pitch your demand heaven-high and they’ll be met.

Ask for the Morning Star and take (thrown in)

Your earthly love. Why, yes; but how to set

One’s foot on the first rung, how to begin?

The silence of one voice upon our ears

Beats like the waves; the coloured morning seems

A lying brag; the face we loved appears

Fainter each night, or ghastlier, in our dreams.

“that long way round which Dante trod was meant

For mighty saints and mystics not for me,”

So Nature cried. Yet if we once assent

To Nature’s voice, we shall be like the bee

That booms against the window-pane for hours

Thinking that the way to reach the laden flowers.

 

V.

‘If we could speak to her,’ my doctor said,

‘And told her, “Not that way! All, all in vain

You weary out wings and bruise your head,”

Might she not answer, buzzing at the pane,

“Let queens and mystics and religious bees

Talk of such inconceivables as glass;

the blunt lay worker flies at what she sees,

Look there – ahead, ahead – the flowers, the grass!”

We catch her in a handkerchief (who knows

What rage she feels, what terror, what despair?)

And shake her out – and gaily out she goes

Where quivering flowers and thick in summer air,

To drink their hearts. But left to her own will

She would have died upon the window-sill.

 

– C.S. Lewis

Poison

Even thou canst give me neither thought nor thing,

Were it the priceless pearl hid in the land,

Which, if I fix thereon a greedy gaze,

Becomes not poison that doth burn and cling;

Their own bad look my foolish eyes doth daze,

They see the gift, see not the giving hand—

From the living root the apple dead I wring.

–George MacDonald, A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of an Old Soul

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-book-of-strife-in-the-form-of-the-diary-of-an-old-soul/id499797732?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.