Saturday, March 16, 2019

Changed, not ended

"Indeed, for your faithful, Lord, life is changed, not ended. . . ."

"Tuis enim fidelibus, Domine, vita mutatur, non tollitur. . . ."

     Preface (Vere dignum) to the Order of Mass for the Dead.  1 Cor 15:52 reads inmutabimur.  Tollo can mean also removed, killed, destroyed, done away with, abolished, as in the Thomistic axiom "grace does not destroy nature but perfects it."

Western political liberalism as an establishment of religion

Princeton University Press
     "There are two fundamental ways in which states relate to organized salvation professionals.  The first is to assume a position of neutrality and treat various claims to a monopoly of the sacred with more or less equal condescension. . . .  As Gibbon said of the Antonines, 'the various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.'  This does not mean that such states are 'secular' in the sense of being indifferent to sacred legitimacy; this means that they are self-confident enough about their own claim to sacred legitimacy not to need reinforcement from prophets unrelated to the divinity of the ruling lineage.  The Western liberal states are no exception in this regard:  by calling other would-be monopolies of the sacred 'religions' and not calling their own anything in particular, they demonstrate the un-self-conscious strength of the official faith."

     Yuri Slezkine, The house of government:  a saga of the Russian revolution (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2017), 180-181.  "The other way . . . is to identify with one of them" (181).  Cf. chap. 3, "The faith."

On the right side of history

"'Recall the French Revolution and the struggle between the Vendée and the National Convention. . . . the troops of the Convention committed terrible acts—terrible from the point of view of a particular human being.  But the acts committed by the troops of the Convention can only be understood in the light of class analysis.  They are justified by history because they were committed by a progressive class [(прогрессивный класс)] that was sweeping its path clean of the survivals of feudalism and popular ignorance.  The same thing is happening today.  You, too, should have understood this.'"

     The twenty-six-year-old Ivar Tenisovich Smilga, "the highest-ranking commissar in the Red Army" and public prosecutor at the 1919 show trial of forty-seven-year-old Filipp Kuzmich Mironov, as quoted at Yuri Slezkine, The house of government:  a saga of the Russian revolution (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2017), 174.  Russian from Teodor. Shanin, V. P. Danilov, and N. Tarkhova, Filipp Mironov: Tikhiĭ Don v 1917-1921 gg., Rossii︠a︡. XX vek (Moskva: Mezhdunarodnyĭ Fond "Demokratii︠a︡", 1997), 422 (document no. 276, dated 5 October 1919).

Thursday, March 14, 2019

"the painful exercise of the mystic septenary"

New Liturgical Movement
Prayer to be said before the seven canonical hours

"Seven times this day will I praise Thee, O Lord, being mindful of Thy exceeding great and wonderful works, by which in the beginning Thou didst found the universe in seven days; mindful also of the sevenfold grace of Thy Holy Spirit, at each of the seven Canonical Hours, which I, unworthy, propose, according to the sacred rule and institution of Thy Church, to say in Thy presence this day to the praise of Thy Holy Name. Deign, I entreat Thee, to bestow upon me the singular gifts of grace, that being abundantly filled by that Thy most Blessed Spirit and His sevenfold gifts, and supported as on the seven pillars which Wisdom hath hewed out for the building of her house, throughout the cycle of the seven days of the week, by the succession of which times fulfil their course; and throughout the seven ages by which the frailty of man continually goeth on its way towards death, I may in such wise please Thee, that, through the painful exercise of the mystic septenary in practice of the seven works of the Spirit, I may be enabled to avoid the seven deadly sins, which are the seven devils cast out of that Mary of the Gospel by Christ; and to vanquish those seven more wicked spirits which the strong man armed taketh to himself for the ruin of man, and may at length be brought unto the triumph of the eight-ranked Virtues after the warfare of this present life is ended. But I ask of Thy most merciful loving-kindness, that whilst I fulfil these Canonical Hours to the praise of Thy Majesty, Thou wilt deign ever to assist my heart; guide my tongue, that fitly, entirely, perfectly, intelligibly, and distinctly it may utter words; deliver my soul from wandering and distracted thoughts, and cause her without ceasing to attend upon Thee whilst she speaketh with Thee, lest whilst through worldly imaginations she goeth forth and departeth from Thee, Who delightest in the secret of the conscience, she may have cause to weep bitterly because Thou hast also justly departed from her. Receive, therefore, at my lips the saving sacrifice of praise, to the end it may do honour unto Thee, and present me before Thee a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, and well-pleasing to Thee; and pour out Thy grace upon my lips, that out of a good heart I may indite a good matter, and by reason of the grace of my lips may have Thee, the King, for my friend; and whilst I open my mouth unto Thee in the voice or joy and thanksgiving, do Thou deign to fill it with Thy benediction. Amen."

     Sarum missal according to "19PO".  A. Harford Pearson, The Sarum missal done into English, 2nd ed. revised and enlarged (London:  Church Printing Company, 1884), 270-271.  Latin:  Missale ad usum insignis et praeclarae eccleslae Sarum:  labore ac studio, ed. F. H. Dickinson (Burntisland:  E Prelo de Pitsligo, 1861-1883), cols. 561-562.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"The reduction of [objective] bonum to [subjective] 'values'"

     "It was Descartes who took the decisive step [in 'the entrance of the good into the orbit of subjectivity']:  'The true office of reason is to examine the just value of all the goods whose acquisition seems to depend in some way on our conduct.'  A bit later he gives an even more radical formulation:  'We must make use of experience and reason to distinguish good and evil and to know their just value, in order not to take one for the other.'  That statement is staggering.  It is no longer a matter of distinguishing true goods from illusory ones [objectively], or of classifying goods on a graded scale [objectively].  The formulation marks a transition that makes an epoch:  good and evil under the yoke of 'value.'  Both, good as well as evil, have a common [subjective] reference and are not as opposed as one would think:  they have a [subjective] 'value.'  It is the latter's measure that alone allows us to distinguish them.  The good is no longer directly worthwhile, as good, but rather as what has value [for the subject in question].  It no longer derives its goodness from itself, but from the value assigned to it."

     Rémi Brague, The kingdom of man:  genesis and failure of the modern project, trans. Paul Seaton, Catholic ideas for a secular world (Notre Dame, IN:  University of Notre Dame Press, 2018), 99-100, italics in Descartes Brague's; italics in Brague mine.  Brague cites Letter to Princess Elizabeth, 1 September 1645 (OC 4:284) and Les passions de l'âme, pt. 2, chap. 138 (OC 11:431).  It has become a subjective matter of aestimatio (99.2).

Sunday, March 10, 2019

"the study of languages and of poetry are often more useful to the technically-accomplished natural philosopher than any work in his own department of knowledge."

"A natural philosopher, a mathematician, a physician, may be an excellent man of science without ever having read a Greek or Roman classic, or the poetical works of his own country; but only a man poetically endowed, as Kepler was, could possibly discover the three great astronomical laws named after him.  Homer, Shakespeare, Schiller, and Goethe, stand on a perfect equality with the greatest natural philosophers, inasmuch as the mental faculty which constitutes the poet and the artist is the same as that whence discoveries and progress in science spring.  Thus it is that the study of languages and of poetry are often more useful to the technically-accomplished natural philosopher than any work in his own department of knowledge."

     "Ein Naturforscher, Mathematiker, Arzt kann ein vortrefflicher Mann der Wissenschaft sein ohne jemals die griechischen oder römischen Klassiker oder die poetischen Werke seiner Nation gelesen zu haben, aber nur ein Mann von der ungewöhnlichen poetischen Begabung, wie sie Kepler besaß, konnte die drei nach ihm bennanten großen astronomischen Gesee entdecken und Homer, Shakspeare, Schiller und Göthe stehen den größten Naturforschern, freilich in einer ganz andern Richtung, darin völlig gleich, daß das geistige Vermögen, welches den Dichter und Künstler macht, das nämliche ist, aus welchem die Erfindungen und die Fortschritte in der Wissenschaft entspringen, und so ist den dem technisch ausgebildeten Naturforscher das Studium der Sprachen und der Dichtwerke häufig von gleichem oft von noch größerem Nuen, als das vieler Werke seines Faches."

. . . our method does not start from the simple in order to rise to the complex; but, taking the whole as our starting-point, we endeavor thus to make ourselves acquainted with the parts.  ‘How’ to do it is a question of art. . . .  
. . . in science all investigation is deductive, or à priori.  The experiment is but the aid to the process of thought, as an arithmetical operation is; and the thought, the idea, must always precede it—necessarily precede it—in every case where a result of importance is looked for.  An empirical mode of investigation, in the usual meaning of the word, does not in reality exist.  An experiment not preceded by a theory—that is, by an idea—stands in the same relation to physical investigation as a child’s rattle to music [(263)]. 
. . . unsere Methode nicht von dem Einfachen zu dem Zusammengeseten sich erhebt, sondern daß wir von dem Ganzen ausgehen, um dessen Theile zu finden. . . . 
. . . in der Naturwissenschaft ist alle Forschung deductive oder apriorisch; das Experiment ist nur Hülfsmittel für den Denkproceß, ähnlich wie die Rechnung; der Gedanke muß ihm in allen Fällen und mit Nothwendigkeit vorausgehen, wenn es irgend eine Bedeutung haben soll.     Eine empirische Naturforschung in dem gewöhnlichen Sinn existirt gar nicht.  Ein Experiment, dem nicht eine Theorie, d. h. eine Idee, vorhergeht, verhält sich zur Naturforschung wie das Raffeln mit einer Kinderklapper zur Musik [(49)].