Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tarkovsky Tuesday

A "childhood" sequence from Tarkovsky's Mirror (1975) (which in a Tarkovsky film frequently also means a "mother" sequence in some ultimate sense):

B and 6B

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Law of Non-Contradiction

The law of non-contradiction declaims thus: if you say that a certain label is vague and impenetrable and then you apply that label to yourself and say you are proud of it - or conversely, if you take a certain label and apply it to yourself, saying you are proud of it, and then turn around and say that the label is vague and impenetrable - well, the law of non-contradiction says that you have just broken the law of non-contradiction, for your applying the label to yourself and saying you are proud of it clearly indicates that you comprehend what that label means. Thus, saying the label is vague and impenetrable is to break the above-mentioned law, and in a manner of speaking, your left hand is trying to obscure what your right is in fact doing with full knowledge, which is to say, you are by your own craftiness putting yourself in an inextricable bind.

Some of us need to realize the lacy webs we have spun and get back to basics - get away from the internet, get some fresh air, get back to real life.

Update: I quite like this post (and agree with it too) about "Save the Liturgy, Save the World" by Catholic in Brooklyn.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Good Shepherd

You have met with seriously ill children on more than one occasion. What do you have to say about this innocent suffering?

“One man who has been a life mentor for me is Dostoevskij and his explicit and implicit question “Why do children suffer?” has always gone round in my heart. There is no explanation. This image comes to mind: at a particular point of his or her life, a child “wakes up”, doesn’t understand much and feels threatened, he or she starts asking their mum or dad questions. This is the “why” age. But when the child asks a question, he or she doesn’t wait to hear the full answer, they immediately start bombarding you with more “whys”. What they are really looking for, more than an explanation, is a reassuring look on their parent’s face. When I come across a suffering child, the only prayer that comes to mind is the “why” prayer. Why Lord? He doesn’t explain anything to me. But I can feel Him looking at me. So I can say: You know why, I don’t and You won’t tell me, but You’re looking at me and I trust You, Lord, I trust your gaze.” --Pope Francis in La Stampa interview

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reverse Processor

Analogy prompts in us a comprehension beyond process and logic, not so much by the poetics of its approximations between things, but by an incorporating power which causes a certain evocation.

Analogy incorporates realities - true and earthly realities such as, for instance, marriage - by which incorporation alone we understand, without being told, within the analogous statement something invisible: we know those incorporated realities are no longer being spoken of as they are, in their suchness, nor in their ends, for they are now serving as sorts of lenses, and in becoming lenses, those words and names for earthly realities - such as "marriage", "bridegroom", "banquet" - have changed in that there is a substitution of significance.

This unspoken but undeniable substitution of significance is in the mind of the one comprehending. It engages his reflective imagination.

This incorporation of earthly, God-created realities and the substitution of significance that results within analogy, gets us to see, if in a kind of flash, that which is so large and transcendent that logic cannot contain it; it contains us, and only analogy will serve for our limited minds - like, for instance, St. Augustine seeing a little boy pouring sea-water from a pail into a hole dug in the beach sand.

It does not mean that those realities, such as marriage, in themselves, as such, fail us insofar that they fail to have that significance which is evoked by their use within analogy. In Christopher West World, the ends of these realities, such as marriage, are in their serving as the lenses in analogy. They are there to serve an analogous sense of themselves. Which is nuts.

What is in the mind here, in the delicate composite of the reflective imagination, Christopher West reverses back out into those earthly realities, so that those earthly realities, such as the body and marriage, in their suchness and in their ends, have been reduced to the analogous signs that are only legitimate in the reflective imagination. And insofar as he does that, those earthly and Sacramental realities are bereaved of their actual significance and become esoteric signs. Which is de facto depersonalization of God. For God speaks through His creation. To turn His creation into esoteric signs is to turn God into an alien (by "alien" I am referring to "stranger" or something similar, and not extra terrestrials.)

West says that their ends - such as the end of marriage - is to point us towards God. What he actually implicitly means by this is that these realities are good insofar that they point us towards analogy - that is, their use in analogy. Which is to say, those realities, such as the body and marriage, are nothing but analogies for us to read aright, and if we read them aright then we will inevitably not be sinning, and we will inevitably be holy, and we will inevitably have mature purity. He reverses reality and analogy. He is a reverse processor.

He takes the analogous sense and imposes it upon the reality which precedes the analogous sense, making the analogous sense its reality. He takes the reality that precedes the analogous sense and imposes it upon the ascendent movement within analogy, thus "blocking" any substitution of significance from taking place. Which is to say, he drives the ascendent movement downward. He reverses them. He is a reverse processor.

Just look at what he does with Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen's quoting of Augustine and speaking of the Church beginning with nuptials. Is it possible that what was possible for a generation just a few decades ago - the ability to read substitution of significance within the ascendent movement of analogy - is totally confused for a certain sector of Catholics today?

Christopher West reverses the ascendent movement within analogy. He does this foremost by an aggressive and adolescent processing of something that demands a presence rather than an approach, a stillness and a maturity - a maturity that is at one and the same time child-like. In other words, what Lady Alice von Hildebrand says holds true: his "approach" has no reverence. Reverence is not an optional pietistic addition. It is of the essence. Reverence is the hot blood of life. Christopher West's "approach" is the proverbial swine trampling on pearls. I'm speaking analogically there.

Analogy is at one and the same time very weak and very powerful. This doesn't at all mean that Christopher West can never say that he is "only speaking analogically" and that analogy is very limited; for he does say so, but that doesn't matter because he makes such admissions only in a dualist context. When he makes admission of the limitations of analogy, he does so after he has reversed reality and analogy.

In other words, he says that what marriage is - in its vital child-bearing, family-making, God-willed path for people's sanctification of themselves and of the world, in which we ourselves become sacraments, in which our wasting away is the aggregation of Christ in this world and thus our ultimate union with Christ in the next - what marriage is in this sense, he will place into the plane of limited analogy, into the plane of merely being a sign that points towards. He will then take marriage in its "vital" sense and cut it down at the ankles as limited and analogous, while forcing the analogical and subjective into the "vital" plane that is reserved for poopy screaming children and spaghetti on the stove (or in other words, reserved for our becoming sacraments), replacing it as the paramount significance of marriage - that is to say, making the analogical and limited to take that place of marriage which is not limited and analogical. Forcing an analogical sense down thus, we can "rocket-pack" towards our target - to the stars. To the unending celestial orgasm.

Christopher West makes analogy into something both all-dead and all-omniscient. In his pearl-trampling abuse of analogy he consistently alternates between all-dead and all-omniscient. He does this within an overall trajectory towards an isolated individualism that is bound to failure at reading the "sign language" of an alien God (and being failure-bound is precisely the point, for that is what the Christian wants who wants to fornicate or do something similarly sinful), and the saint is someone who has learned to read the esoteric signs.

For Christopher West has turned reality into an analogy, and turned the subjective ego, the subjective "I", into God becoming flesh. This subjective "I" must use the analogy that is in fact real reality, for the purpose of his own enfleshment, the enfleshment of his ego. His penis in its erect state being the nearest enfleshment of his appetitive ego, he will see vaginas around every corner he turns, awaiting the decoding of this saint-in-the-making who is learning to read the sign language of God the alien who left us ineffectual esoteric signs and not Sacraments.

Which is why Christopher West in his seminar on Saturday, November the 9th, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Surrey, British Columbia, defined the Sacraments as "signs that point us towards". And he did not breathe one single word about the Sacraments being signs that are what they signify.

Not one single word did he breathe about the prime definition of the Sacraments, but defined them as "signs that point us towards".

Anyhow, these realities, such as marriage and the body, are not meant to serve analogy as their absolute ends. They are meant to serve God. These realities, by virtue of being so deep, because they are created, willed, sustained by God, lend themselves to our reflective imaginations for a kind of theological sub-creation, which we call analogy, which in its way, also helps to serve God.

The analogous sense is there because of the deepness of God's creation and the freedom He has bestowed His creatures with. It is something we can draw out, thinking on everything that is good, beautiful and true - and which Christ the storyteller and speaker of parables did indeed draw out. The analogous sense is not there as the essence of creation itself. God created reality; He did not create an analogy. The fact that analogy can be drawn out of darn near everything does not work backward to declare this world a dualist world that is an analogy of Heaven the non-analogy.

Christopher West takes the delicate sub-created composite of analogy, whose home is in the reflective imagination, and imposes it upon that reality in its actuality, as its definitive suchness. It is thus that he says that "marriage is meant to point us towards God" by speaking of the Bridegroom and the context of Christ's first miracle. It is not merely that the meaning he imposes on marriage is bereft of everything else of which marriage is constituted, but that in being bereft of everything else of which marriage is constituted, he changes what is meant by saying "marriage is meant to point us towards God." He has, in short, turned it into an esoteric sign as part of the "sign language" left to us by an alien God.

End note: when I use the word "earthly" I am not using it to say either "originating from earth" or "earth-bound" etc. I am using it in its mere sense to connote suchness.

Update: Kevin O'Brien has an excellent post in response to the above, which is really a great clarification of what I'm saying.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

HB and there might be 2B

A tough streak

In relating a piece of information about how Pope Francis was at one point a bouncer, Fr. Z ends the post with this:

And Australian former-priest Greg Reynolds is still excommunicated.

You have to hand it to Fr. Z. He has a great sense of humour. I like it.



Sunday, December 1, 2013


"It is no good my saying: “I wish I were like Joan of Arc or St. John of the Cross.” I can only be St. Evelyn Waugh—after God knows what experiences in purgatory." --Evelyn Waugh

Hmmm, let's see here...

It is no good my saying: "I wish I were like Evelyn Waugh Flannery O'Connor Walker Percy Thomas Merton G.K. Chesterton Hilaire Belloc J.R.R. Tolkien cantankerously responding in Latin during a vernacular Mass like I was born in 1892 or imagining myself in the glory days of Cluny Joan of Arc or St. John of the Cross." I can only be Sign Name Here - after God knows what experiences and my decision to accept His graces here in this life, which is built up of present moments.