This post swims apricots

by Andrea Elizabeth

Absurdist literature can be interpreted as nihilistic, or apophatic, or a therapeutic antidote for determinism. It is a painful therapy for those who like tidy patterns, however.

What if all our opinions fall way short of reality, and God just does damage control and allows the illusion to keep life from feeling chaotic and from the panic and despair that would result. But panic and despair are based on a certain confidence in cause and effect, that if my idea of goodness is false, then badness must necessarily be true. This is still based on the same perceived order. If one were truly convinced that things are not as they seem, then there remains the possibility that things are better than they seem. Maybe one could blindly believe that.

the post after this will be about absurdism

by Andrea Elizabeth

Does anti self-negation make one a diva? Here’s a way it could go:

Don’t talk about yourself.

How can one know others if one doesn’t know oneself?

Projection is attributing to others one’s own point of view. Mostly this feels unjustified, but I have a broader theory.

Man in infinite (although with a starting point. Hey, if two rays originate in the same point and go opposite directions, then they take up the same space as an eternal line.), therefore he contains all points of view even if he only accepts some of them, so nothing that is said of anyone is really untrue, even if it is undiscovered. This is related to the knowledge of good and evil.

So, if one knows oneself fully, then they will know everyone else.

So why don’t you speak more in the first person without your exceptions of bringing out your limitations?

I don’t want to talk about it.

You are negating yourself.

Quit looking at me.

Who am I?

My mirror. I prefer to find out about myself through a telescope.

I figured it out

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’m not a feminist, I’m an anti-anti-feminist. It’s not that I’m for women’s equality as much as I’m against women being told they’re less than, which is rude whether it’s true or not.

Grudging positives in the Confessions

by Andrea Elizabeth

So’s not to be accused of being prejudicially against St. Augustine, I’ll say that when he’s praising and adoring Christ, I can let myself get in his groove.

Another thought after the section on theater, it sounds like romance stories were alive and well in his day, and didn’t take off with “Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (French: Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette) is an Old French poem by Chrétien de Troyes. It is unknown exactly when the poem was composed, only that it would have been between 1175 and 1181 (most likely 1177)” as I thought C.S. Lewis attributed the genesis in his Allegory of Love. Maybe he was referring to courtly love, which may put a different twist to it.

I agree with his criticism on being caught up in pathos, but I like St. Basil’s more surgical approach in his Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature, which Augustine probably didn’t read because of his aversion to Greek Literature.

His account of his mother’s vision when discouraged about his dissoluteness is probably my favorite part so far.

Letters over love

by Andrea Elizabeth

“Behold, O Lord God, yea, behold patiently as Thou art wont how carefully the sons of men observe the covenanted rules of letters and syllables received from those who spake before them, neglecting the eternal covenant of everlasting salvation received from Thee. Insomuch, that a teacher or learner of the hereditary laws of pronunciation will more offend men by speaking without the aspirate, of a “uman being,” in despite of the laws of grammar, than if he, a “human being,” hate a “human being” in despite of Thine. As if any enemy could be more hurtful than the hatred with which he is incensed against him; or could wound more deeply him whom he persecutes, than he wounds his own soul by his enmity. Assuredly no science of letters can be so innate as the record of conscience, “that he is doing to another what from another he would be loth to suffer.” How deep are Thy ways, O God, Thou only great, that sittest silent on high and by an unwearied law dispensing penal blindness to lawless desires. In quest of the fame of eloquence, a man standing before a human judge, surrounded by a human throng, declaiming against his enemy with fiercest hatred, will take heed most watchfully, lest, by an error of the tongue, he murder the word “human being”; but takes no heed, lest, through the fury of his spirit, he murder the real human being.”

Yes, love is better, I agree. But love with letters, Blessed Augustine!


Augustine’s aptitude in school

by Andrea Elizabeth

Seems to me St. Augustine protesteth too much about his facility with words and interpreting literature in his Confessions by downplaying how much they esteem people who are good at it. I’ll not say that he is backhandedly congratulating himself, but instead point out that he is over negativizing the literature and his own nature.

Between the lines it looks to me like Augustine is an alpha male who is very passionate and sensual. I think he over-reacted to this by becoming a Manichean dualist who vilified the objects of his affection. I wish he’d become a poet instead. He thinks the only worthy object is God alone, thank him Protestants. He should have found God’s energies in creation, which he would have learned how to do if he’d cared about the eastern Greeks, and loved it whole-heartedly too.

Augustine’s education

by Andrea Elizabeth

Could his aversion to Greek be more than just a negative reaction to being forced to learn a new language? Maybe a different worldview? Although, medieval Greeks of St. Gregory Palamas’ time had a mixed reaction to their own philosophical heritage:

The Byzantines never “rediscovered” Plato and Aristotle in the same way the West did; Meyendorff explains, “for the Byzantines, Greek antiquity was a part of their own past, expressed in their own language: they could not be converted to it. By rejecting paganism and adopting Christianity, medieval Greeks became immune to any revolutionary rebirth of antiquity.” Therefore, although Barlaam was a Greek, his formative education in the West undoubtedly impressed upon him a particularlyenthusiastic admiration for antiquity, one that was probably foreign to his Byzantine colleagues.” (from Palamas and Barlaam: The Hesychast Dispute of the Fourteenth Century, by Zachary Kostopoulos)

This does not imply an over-reactionary opposition, however, as the rest of the paper bears out.

Confessions revisited

by Andrea Elizabeth

For my daughter’s “Christian biography” assignment, we are going to listen to St. Augustine’s Confessions in the car. Chapter 1 – almost total depravity and grace alone! In babies and their mothers, no less. Babies are totally selfish, greedy, and jealous for wanting to be fed and comfortable, and mothers are driven by God through their intuition to make their infants so. What about mothers who abandon their babies, as they did on certain hills during Augustine’s day? We have a choice!

If nutrition is good, then it is not selfish to acquire it. It is bad to not want others to have it, and some babies may indeed have a problem with resentment, but not all do. Some toddlers love their infant siblings and want to help take care of them. Why did Fr. Seraphim Rose like this book so much?

New translation of St. Maximus the Confessor’s Ambigua

by Andrea Elizabeth

by former Harvard professor, Monk Maximos of Mt. Athos.

Robin Williams said (on Inside the Actor’s Studio) he hopes to hear God laughing in heaven

by Andrea Elizabeth

So, Robin gets to the pearly gates and St. Peter says, “Don’t you know suicide is a mortal sin and you can’t come in?”

“That’s ok, I’ll just sit out here and tell jokes.”

“They have to be pretty good, or we’ll send you away.”

“Did you hear the one about Chaplin, Groucho and Costello trying to get in the Pearly Gates?”

“Probably not your version”

“You wouldn’t let them in till Costello cried, “Hey, Abbot!” and St. Gregory of Nyssa came up and said to open the gate.”


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