Sunday, 31 December 2006

The whole object of the universe

……..The whole object of the universe, he learned (Thomas Carlyle), is for the divine purpose to obtain expression in material form. This it does by splitting fragments off itself and lodging them in created mechanisms. So long as the fragments, of Beings, can maintain a free intuitive contact with each other and with the parent force, the whole natural order will roll along smoothly to its transcendent goal. But should the mechanisms, or minds wherein the fragments dwell, exceed their proper function of applying the inscrutable precepts to the material world, and to find the precepts for themselves, disorder will prevail. The precious link to the infinite will be cut off, the divine plan will be disrupted, chaos and discord will ensue. Then, the immutable Purpose will resort to extraordinary means in order to restore the balance. A man will appear, furnished with a larger Being than the rest. His instructions will be clearer, fuller: and his will more dominant. It will be his mission to lead mankind back to proper harmony with the infinite, either by prophecy and exhortation, or if that is not enough, by force. The whole of his process, the faithful toil, the fall from grace, the arrival of the Hero, and the restoration of order, is history. It is cyclic and repetitive, not progressive. Except in relation to the cycle, there is no such thing as progress upon earth. If there is progress, it is not human but divine, and it is as ineluctable as the passage of he universe through space. Like the nature of the Godhead, the nature of the Hero, and the nature of man, it is a sacred mystery.

The Life of John Stuart Mill by Michael St John Packe

Friday, 29 December 2006

The Tale of the Tub

...In any case, the digressions are each readerly tests; each tests whether or not the reader is intelligent and skeptical enough to detect nonsense. Some, such as the discussion of ears or of wisdom being like a nut, a cream sherry, a cackling hen, etc., are outlandish and require a militantly aware and thoughtful reader. Each is a trick, and together they train the reader to sniff out bunk and to reject the unacceptable....

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

To the World

You took the rare blue from my cloudy sky;

You shot the one bird in my silent wood;

You crushed my rose – one rose alone had I .

You have not known. You have not understood.

I would have shown you pictures I have seen

Of unimagined mountains, plains and seas;

I would have made you songs of leafy green,

If you had left me some small ecstasies ;

Now let the one dear field be only field,

That was a garden for the mighty gods,

Take you its corn, I keep its better yield –

The glory that I found within its clods.

The Collected Works of Mary Webb, Jonathan Cape,1929