Saturday, January 27, 2007

ecce nova facio omnia

Et absterget Deus omnem lacrimam ab oculis eorum et mors ultra non erit neque luctus neque clamor neque dolor erit ultra quae prima abierunt

Et dixit qui sedebat in throno ecce nova facio omnia et dicit scribe quia haec verba fidelissima sunt et vera

Et dixit mihi factum est ego sum Alpha et Omega initium et finis ego sitienti dabo de fonte aquae vivae gratis

Qui vicerit possidebit haec et ero illi Deus et ille erit mihi filius

etiquette notes

More etiquette notes.
  1. 5 AM is the time for ARSON.
  2. Once again, it is impolite to ask about rent or most other expenses unless you have a legitimate interest in knowing.
  3. It is quite impolite to rant about one's deep problems to almost-strangers.
  4. If somebody doesn't drink, or isn't drinking, it is horribly impolite to pursue the matter. It requires no justification unless they're just being squeamish or prudish and you know it, in which case you may kid. But this is predicated upon your already having knowledge of the reasons for abstention.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

second rule of conversion

the last book i'd ever give a protestant thinking of converting is one of those damn protestant convert books. i think this rule is probably ecumenical, that is, it works for catholics and orthodox and, hell, probably even musulmen.

[in case you're wondering, the first rule would be something along the lines of the ochlophobist's exhortations not to write about the damn process while you're going through it and, hell, probably not for several years after]

Monday, January 22, 2007

Brothers K, the wrong ladder.

"I blushed not at your words, and not at your deeds, but because I'm the same as you."
"You? Well, that's going a bit too far."
"No, not too far," Alyosha said hotly. (Apparently the thought had been with him for some time.) "The steps are all the same. I'm on the lowest, and you are above, somewhere on the thirteenth. That's how I see it, but it's all one and the same, all exactly the same sort of thing. Whoever steps on the lowest step will surely step on the highest."
"So one had better not step at all."
"Not if one can help it."
"Can you?"
"It seems not."
"Stop, Alyosha, stop, my dear, I want to kiss your hand, just out of tenderness. That rogue Grushenka has an eye for men; she once told me she'd eat you up someday."
Brothers K, pp 109-110, Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.
One doesn't take the first step down a road one doesn't want to arrive at the end of. Me, I've started rereading Brothers K. I suspect I'll be at the end by the end of tomorrow. Then I think I may loan it and Brideshead to a friend of mine because they are such great books. Though the last time I lent out BK, it went to the Holy Land twice over the course of a year and a half before I got it back. Those and the $10 10th anniversary edition of Infinite Jest. It's not a great book, really, but those three share a valuable theme which I cannot emphasize enough. Once, my freshman year, I was talking to a man who was much more erudite and impressive than I and somehow DFW came up, and the man said, "DFW? What, do you enjoy sitting in the dark contemplating deformed babies?" The answer is, yes, perhaps. At times one has to see what is at the top of the broad and easy staircase if one won't see and love the beauty of what is at the top of the narrow and difficult path up the mountain. Hell is the pain of no longer being able to love, and while it's certainly not ideal to love God from fear of hell, it's better than the alternative, and you have to start somewhere. And that's what these books are about, in my perhaps twisted reading of them.

EDIT: less so BR in the matter of loving God from fear of hell, but, you know, you can see what I mean.