Rethink.

Ora sono ubriaco d'universo. (Ungaretti)

Page 6 of 175

Kobayashi Issa, “On a branch…”

“On a branch…” (from Poetry)
Kobayashi Issa (tr. Jane Hirshfield)

On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

Comment:

I discussed this poem with several people. Each time, I forgot that I had already talked about it.

Weirdly enough, that seems to mirror what I do remember of my first impression. One could easily imagine a boat going downriver with a rower singing to make the time pass. The branch with a cricket on it is a perfectly natural occurrence, one that could happen with or without humans around. And it is a complete mockery of human happiness.

Our happiness seems to involve some degree of control. If we row downriver, we conceive the current only as help. We only imitate the nature of which we are a part, at best. That cricket might be hurtling to its doom, but it sings like it would any other time. Now if we were in a rowboat, we too would be moving toward (eventual) doom. But we definitely react as if things were so different for us and the cricket.

Related – I don’t know how possible it is for us to accept the fact we work with fragments. Nature, as a whole, appears that way to us: “branch,” “floating” (being carried by some waves), the partial song of the cricket. We have to posit wholes, and those wholes center on us and what we see. They’re necessarily limited, necessarily a part, and we don’t always do well with them, even when they float with us. To really accept that all is change looks like it has an aura of divinity.

Wendell Berry, “Be Still in Haste”

Be Still in Haste (from Poetry)
Wendell Berry

How quietly I
begin again

from this moment
looking at the
clock, I start over

so much time has
passed, and is equaled
by whatever
split-second is present

from this
moment this moment
is the first

Comment:

Why do we want clean slates? It’s worth thinking about the title’s imperative, “be still in haste.” We want clean slates not because of a desire for stillness, but because we want something and want to feel like we can get it. Maybe we’re told to be still, or more likely, are telling ourselves to be still.

It does not feel like the speaker is particularly ambitious, though (“How quietly I begin again”). Nor is there an acute sense of tragedy. He seems to be letting out a sigh, like one resigned to think he hasn’t achieved what he needs. At stake: not so much ambition, but fulfillment and happiness.

Twice he tries to resolve himself to starting over. When “from this moment” is one line, he stares at the clock and realizes that he is weighting the moment of starting over with the whole of his life. He says all that time – all his time – is equivalent to that split-second he wants to begin again. This prompts a bit of hesitation, a reevaluation of what it means to start anew. In the last stanza, “from this / moment” is broken apart; “this,” the speaker identifying something important to him, matters more than the moment.

The absurdity of saying “this moment is where I began” when one has to spend another moment recognizing that beginning is apparent as well as resolved. In saying from this moment, this moment is the first, he’s not throwing away his past. It matters, it is what brought him here. The funny thing is realizing those moments of change have such an everyday character, as if nothing actually changed.

First Reflection: Sappho, “Tell everyone”

Tell everyone
Sappho (translation Mary Barnard)

Tell everyone

Now, today, I shall
sing beautifully for
my friends’ pleasure

Reflection:

My personal journal is filled to the brim with rants. Confused and contradictory, they swirl away from each other. Everyone else has failed me, or I have failed, or all of this was fated. Maybe a moral issue is at stake, maybe nothing of the sort exists, maybe I imagine problems where there are none. The matter of flux: no solutions, lots of blame.

So a few hours ago I saw a book of Sappho’s poems for $2. Most of what I glanced at reads like the fragment above. Read the introduction, flipped a few pages, thought what could I possibly do with this? Yeah… what could I do?

In this case, my want to “tell everyone,” to “sing beautifully,” is a want for a clean slate. This isn’t something done innocently. It’s done with the consciousness that there are outstanding problems, and yes, at some point they may need to be addressed directly and resolved. A purposeful denial operates here: “my friends’ pleasure” is the priority. Not my own pleasure, not what I deserve or what is good for me. With a bit of guilt emerging, I’m glad I told you guys to tell everyone. I can implicate all of us in this project.

Robin Davidson, “Winter Litany”

Winter Litany (from Verse Daily)
Robin Davidson

Kraków, March, 2004

I stand on Wawel Hill
in early March and morning snow
falls in flocks
tiny paper cranes
descending blowing dissolving
one into another
on the cobblestone walk
an avalanche of light

I believe this must be
what death is

this alternate
shining and melting, shining and flying

Comment:

Standing on Wawel Hill, where Polish kings were crowned and laid to rest, the speaker watches snow fall and muses on death. She’s at the heart of the ancestral, but she does not pick an image from our rituals marking death (i.e. “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers”). Those rituals may seem tired and useless upon close inspection, but they dictate the world we live in and who we are to unprecedented degrees. The heart of the ancestral is the heart of the conventional.

Rather, she picks a natural, contingent occurrence to think through. It’s snowing in early March; for some of us, that’s spring. Nothing need fall, nor resemble flocks of paper cranes that swoop down, blow across, and go out of existence into each other. Their cumulative effect is to brighten a stone walk. Again: one might pick the stone to represent death.

But the eternal, lifeless stone can only show us those aspects of death. It’s always there and stoic towards us. That isn’t the whole story. Death is also change, stunning and unexpected in a way. Its power isn’t just dictating to our lives. We want it to dictate to our lives. We want to remember the dead, see them as having made and continually making us and our world better. Reduced to memories and impressions, we are in the end nothing but shining and melting, shining and flying. It could be worse.

Polina Barskova, “From Mad Vatslav’s Diary”

From Mad Vatslav’s Diary (from BrooklynRail.org)
Polina Barskova (translated by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky)

I was a coal-miner, water
Poured over my gray hair, my eyelashes.
My sister, alive and laughing,
Shepherded such glorious cows!

I was a soldier, and afraid of living
I did my best to die–but did not manage to stumble
Upon any bad luck. The tsar’s own daughter
Visited my cabin and gave me a magic rope.

I was a slave. My master’s wife
Adored us, the dark, forbidden Slavs.
The green sunrise was the strangest.
In sorrow I danced, swaying, trembling, on wooden porches.

Comment:

We are presented with three nonsensical portraits of one man. He claims to be a coal-miner one day, another day a soldier, yet another a slave.

Do the portraits unify? I confess I’m having fun playing with the details. The coal-miner, cleaned up from work, reveals gray hair and eyelashes. In a weird way, he resembles his work naturally. It seems perfectly appropriate that he has a sister who take a joy in him and his own spots. The first stanza gives us a hint that there are natural, familial loves, and they can work for us.

The second stanza gives us a soldier far too aware and cynical about self-sacrifice. The soldier declares that he wants to die, he wants to trade his life in for a name at best. Of course, this being Russian literature, he finds someone attracted by this sort of thing. We can imagine the tsar’s daughter burdened by the name she has to live up to. In sleeping with him, he is marked by his now too powerful enemies, and the standard she imagines defines her is broken. There are unnatural loves that come from dark, awful places. However, it is no coincidence this stanza features the highest personages, the noblest conventions, of the poem.

The coal-miner recognized a happiness that came to him, but the soldier continually refused it. What of someone striving for happiness? It’s like being a slave; it’s frightening thing how easy it is to be used. There are things you think you want, and when they happen, they’re not life affirming in the least. To have to indulge one’s lust is to want to escape the quest for happiness entirely. But all one can do is drink, tremble in the wind atop a wooden porch. In other words: you’re more static that you thought yourself, more rooted in the world we’ve created.

Happiness as a love that controls does not quite work. Still, the portraits unify. That diary could be any of ours.

All of politics is an attempt to manipulate me. Why should I study it?

Obviously, I cannot convince all of you that political science is worthwhile. Some of you will think that no matter what I say, I’m out to indoctrinate you. And I can’t lie, I do have an agenda. So if people having agendas bothers you, do yourself and the rest of the world a favor and never read anything, watch anything, or talk to anyone. After all, the mindless accusation that everyone is out to manipulate you assumes you are some paragon of innocence who deserves to be treated like an extra special flower by everyone else. It accuses before ever asking whether the accuser has done anything to manipulate others.

Ok. Not a lot of you have left. Great. I think you see that the problem posed is pretty specific. Politics does not pretend; it is openly about power and control. And you’ve got parents and relatives and friends and random people shouting at you about it, telling you that if you don’t think this specific way the world will end. So you react by moving away from politics, seeing your ideals realized another way culturally. Maybe through religion, punk rock, service, sports, etc. To be honest, it’s a weird situation America is in. The polls don’t really adequately describe the lack of interest in civics; they just show we hate Congress. Every time Glenn Beck gets up there and starts yelling about the Founders, I know another student who might have been interested in reading the Federalist decides it isn’t worth it. A high school teacher of mine asked our class one day if we had any interest in being President. 2 or 3 hands shot up. He remarked in his day, in the 70′s (not exactly a time of conservative nostalgia), every hand in the room would have gone up. Not because everyone wanted to be President, but because it was considered an honor worth having and striving for. I’ll bet that anecdote tells more about the current state of U.S. politics than anything else.

So let’s go back a little bit. At some point, Americans more or less believed they had a real hand in their own governance. They didn’t just go through the motions or resign themselves to fear of the other party. To think being President is a good thing shows some belief in the effective power of politics. And it is true, for all the evils that are ascribed to politics, there are many goods that have emerged from it. I don’t think you can say politics alone created racism, but it was a politician who, in proclaiming Emancipation, made it clear that a reunified America would never again tolerate slavery. We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, who promised no retribution on the part of his party after enduring years of second class citizenship and made good on that promise. South Africa isn’t perfect by a long shot – it needs much more competitive elections – but it is primarily white supremacists who falsely insist there is “white genocide” in South Africa. People like Churchill, Jefferson, and Gandhi are remarkable precisely because of their political greatness.

Something about politics, then, can’t just be manipulation. Not if great leaders sacrifice, not if people invest hope and trust in them and receive something – freedom, justice, a better life – for it. Something about the very concept of politics is transformative. And whatever that something is, we’re blind to it.

To make a long story short, we’re blind to it because contemporary approaches to politics are successful. They’re successful because they’re reductive. My prime example: the American Constitution. It’s a pretty successful set of laws, it seems – America’s not exactly weak. So why didn’t people, say, 2000 years ago come up with the idea of a President, a Congress, a Judiciary? Were they too busy riding dinosaurs to work?

The truth is that civilization, if not technology, was relatively advanced in the ancient world. For Aristotle, the city aims “at the authoritative good of all.” This, in the very opening of his Politics, cannot be overthought. First of all, we emphasize individual liberty, typically implying that it is our individual right to not give a damn about others. Here’s Aristotle saying that if you want what is best in life for yourself, it is going to probably involve something social. Your happiness is at stake. “Authoritative” also speaks to what must be agreed to be good: virtues speak louder than vices.

Now the Aristotlean approach is not dogma, despite linking politics with happiness and virtue. Aristotle is a philosopher outlining an inquiry; the Aristotlean polis never existed. The best regime had to be laid out, as only in the best regime can the good citizen be squared with the good man. All of us recognize that there is a distinction between our obligations as a citizen and who we are as simply human. That distinction existed for Aristotle, too, only with the caveat that our political and personal obligations had to reconcile somehow.

The distinction exists for us a more severe way; the political feels almost unnecessary to us. The arrival of Christianity did not do away with pagan thinking about virtue entirely. But it took happiness and set it in the next life, casting doubt on all attempts to rule properly in this life. God is the only judge, the Church His bride. True Christians are citizens of the kingdom of God; true Christians are in the image and likeness of their Maker. The consequence: in the Middle Ages, politics was practically a topic of no importance, though many words were spent on law and virtue. The height of this reasoning is the idea of natural law: the moral law is known through reason. What need is there for deliberative bodies or wise rulers? What need to enforce the law?

When serious thinking about politics reemerged, it did so against both medieval and classical concepts of politics. The medieval concepts had to be overthrown sharply: they were license for the abuses of the Church, warfare between Christian sects, and terrible institutional planning. But pagan thought, since it had been synthesized with the Church, had to go too. Pagan thought did not just limit thinking about politics; inasmuch “Aristotlean physics” is a phrase with currency, it was necessary to attack to have science. The thinking that underlies American Constitutionalism embraces Enlightenment, making all of humanity smarter in ways immediately useful to them. This means an emphasis on scientific progress, which is not strictly the same thing as aiming for happiness or virtue. Education was redefined to be more about utility than character.

In fact, happiness – except in the phrase “pursuit of happiness” – drops out as a necessary end for the citizen. What matters is not so much if we are happy, but we are stable and secure. Machiavelli declared that a Prince is better feared than loved. While he does not mean this to say that we should embrace tyrants that make us all scared, he does mean that our fulfillment in the government we create is not to be had. Government is a necessary evil, devoid of virtue. In Hobbes, who witnessed the religious zeal that drove England into civil war, the primary reason we create government is self-preservation. We cannot trust a “state of nature” where anyone or groups of people could attack anyone. Our individual safety is why we contract to set up a sovereign. It is a far lower concern than happiness or virtue, or conformity with the rational order of God’s Creation. It is a concern centered on fear.

Locke, writing shortly after Hobbes, makes this sort of reasoning palatable to a broader audience. Locke was preached from pulpits in Revolutionary America. Central to Locke is that government respects “life, liberty, and property” – the last famously replaced in the Declaration by “pursuit of happiness.” A government that does not respect these things is violating the rights of man and should be rebelled against.

One can see how more than the right to be safe emerges from property rights. Property really is the key to the Constitution, as well as seeing how much political thinking over the years changed. Neither ancient nor medieval thinking cared much for acquiring property. A virtuous citizenry, for the pagans, would be self-sufficient and diligent in their work. For the medievals, fasting was an obligation. But now, acquisition becomes the heart of things. This is partly because of the need to have useful science and technology, partly also because commerce and trade are less destructive than religious warfare. The big reason, though, comes up in Machiavelli. If a ruler under false pretenses executes one man’s father, that grudge may cause one man – the son – to take up arms. He might get support. He might also decide that his dad was a troublemaker and let it go. But if that ruler takes the father’s property away, the whole neighborhood, anyone with property, is alerted and angry.

Property is a material alarm system which warns everyone if the government is getting tyrannical. For Madison, in Federalist 10, the products of liberty are not just a factional conflict that the sheer size of the United States will never allow to be problem (too many factions, therefore never a majority faction). Our liberty also creates a diversity of properties which are important to us in different ways. This is not Madison being glib; this is the logical consequence of trying to not directly address happiness or virtue. Security, stability, and a view of freedom as what government should not do characterize the American regime. Property rights are integral to all of that. But how exactly does this unite us as a people? Give us moral purpose? It is much easier to say under an ancient view of politics that government is the possibility of collective moral purpose. Lest you think we do not need any such idea – that we can fight for freedom alone – remember that this country tore itself apart less than a hundred years after it was founded over whether slavery was wrong or not.

I don’t think we’re successful in spite of ourselves. For years, we’ve had people willing to look into difficult questions and accept hard answers. To me, the real problem with our deemphasis on studying things like politics or history or literature or philosophy is that, at best, we want to conduct studies to get easy answers. Oh sure, the studies are hard work, the methodology is difficult to defend, the implementation is never quite perfect, and the results do affirm what we’re working with as fundamental concepts. But let’s get real: we want easy answers. We want to know 60% of people will vote one way or another if we tell them something. That reasoning would not have been important 2000 years ago, and is fatal to a republic where our purposes are open. The biggest sacrifices our leaders make involve telling us things we don’t want to hear in order to make sure we have a country 20 years later. At least, those are the sacrifices they made.

Jane Kenyon, “Taking Down the Tree”

With thanks to Temperance Dewar

Taking Down the Tree (from Poetry)
Jane Kenyon

“Give me some light!” cries Hamlet’s
uncle midway through the murder
of Gonzago. “Light! Light!” cry scattering
courtesans. Here, as in Denmark,
it’s dark at four, and even the moon
shines with only half a heart.

The ornaments go down into the box:
the silver spaniel, My Darling
on its collar, from Mother’s childhood
in Illinois; the balsa jumping jack
my brother and I fought over,
pulling limb from limb. Mother
drew it together again with thread
while I watched, feeling depraved
at the age of ten.

With something more than caution
I handle them, and the lights, with their
tin star-shaped reflectors, brought along
from house to house, their pasteboard
toy suitcases increasingly flimsy.
Tick, tick, the desiccated needles drop.

By suppertime all that remains is the scent
of balsam fir. If it’s darkness
we’re having, let it be extravagant.

Comment:

Those tragic families with their murderous games of power and lust don’t really exist. They’re just excuses for George R.R. Martin to write torture porn. We have to imagine an usurper tormented by a vengeful, single-minded prince and loose women of luxury running as if suffocated by morality. The whole realm they are in is dark. It’s like we’re turning our own imaginations off. We only read this stuff for school, after all.

There’s another way to turn our imaginations off. Just pay insufficient attention to how one behaves in one’s own family. Fighting greedily over ornaments shows a willingness to destroy the memory of your family, and for what? One can say the “jumping jack” represents the place that can be claimed after the spaniel, but I think that misses the import of how arbitrary both evil and desire can be. Kenyon hints at a genuine nihilism in such pettiness, the hateful confusion of fear and pride and whatever else.

To grasp that nihilism does not require a particularly Christian understanding, though the Christological image presents itself well enough. Tearing apart the wood ornament limb from limb tears the family, tears Jesse’s tree – Christ and all that make Him. But I think that more or less renames the failing to appreciate family, to love humanity. There is nothing doctrinaire about this poem. To wit: it recalls Augustine’s lament in the Confessions that infants can show tremendous selfishness, wanting food or attention or both every waking moment. Yet it has no call for immediate conversion or repenting of one’s greed.

Our ten year old speaker feels “depraved.” This may be a moral response, but more likely the product of not getting what she wanted how she wanted it. Simply not getting what she wants can make her more careful packing the other reflectors of light, the lights themselves, the toy containers. Yes, tradition is all around her, with a dying tree central, and she has no awareness of what any of this means. There can’t be an awareness of what this fully means, as the speaker is ten years old in her recounting.

Light is not a desire of the younger self. It is only appreciated by the older one who has grown to somewhat understand Claudius and the courtesans. Still, the ten year old has an advantage in her terrible ignorance. Knowing no better, she mistakes homemade simplicity for grandeur and gladly accepts supper. The darkness now is good enough for the older self, as the light is implicit.

On Conservatism, 1/6/14

1. Nowadays, all I want to do is write.

Not read, not think, not analyze, but express myself as if I have a single, immutable truth. I made my New Year’s resolution to be less angry and more confident.

But I’m not sure I should give up my anger. Anger is the sign one feels wronged, and I’d be lying if I said I weren’t wronged. Or, to be more accurate: that we weren’t wronged.

2. The realities of class and race play out right in front of my eyes every day. At numerous times, I’ve watched whites get second, third, fourth, fifth chances that minorities will never see. I know they’ll never see them because I saw what happened with other races in the exact same situation. People with no support thrown out at the slightest misstep, as if they had support. And I’ve watched people with money pride themselves on their work – as well they should – but as if the job itself could be had by anyone with a little drive or savvy. As if no one else was combing job listings or begging friends for contacts or trying to self-improve with limited time and resources.

What I’ve realized is that all the inequality, all the anger, turns into a strange political phenomenon. It translates messily into class warfare. There’s always a “them” taking from “us,” but the “them” is confused. It’s almost always a straw man, a hypothetical. Maybe it is corporate overlords or government elites or people of other races or religions. What matters is “our” moral purity: we’re the ones who don’t take. We’re the ones who earn.

Except we do take, all of us. One of the things that has me burning is the exploitation of Christianity to dodge the inconvenient fact we’re all sinners. This happens consistently with extreme prejudice by people who in many cases don’t know the difference between the Trinity and One Direction. What they “know” is what they feel, and they haven’t really paid much attention to knowing or feeling. They want to hear there are rules that if obeyed get them into heaven. They do not care at all if those rules bear a striking resemblance to nostalgia more than morality, if they are using a romanticized portrait of their own past to guide them at best. (The biggest problem with me is that I assume people are attentive.)

I’m lucky in a way. My parents’ faults – God bless them – are very evident. That I’m recognized as having next to no prudence helps me remember that in terms of forming a serious moral judgment, I’m on my own. I had better take everything I have – as much of what’s considered human and divine wisdom as possible – and evaluate seriously. I had better do my best to judge and accept judgment, not avoid it.

3. My more liberal friends who want to reach out to everyone aren’t realizing that snakes are everywhere. Conservatives exaggerate their numbers and point at the wrong people, but the idea that some people will take everything if given a chance is correct. Only: every single snake I know nowadays is a self-proclaimed conservative. Right now I’m dealing with some of the most vicious ones, ones who continually take, never giving back, always asking for more. To even listen to them is to walk into a trap. They think their survival is at stake (it isn’t); they see themselves as different (they aren’t); they could care less how you feel or whether you’re being stolen from because you have (you don’t) and they need to survive anyway (as if trust wasn’t worth having). To listen to them is to implicitly justify the fact that they plan on taking from you. You won’t utter a peep as you’re tired of talking to them.

One major reason why I consider myself politically conservative is that I try to stay away from the illusion that people can be better than killing each other over $5 or a place in line at Pizza Hut. That sort of tragedy will always happen. But what’s happening now is that the worst stereotypes about a culture of dependency are manifest. People have been told they’re frauds, cheats, liars, or simply not worthy before even having the chance to do or get anything. Or they think they deserve everything because by their standard, they earn.

What they’ve lost is any sense of shame. Without shame, you can’t have morality. People have to want to stand for something at some point. If they don’t understand why that’s important, they’ll do anything to anyone else. A friend watched a person take several hundred dollars from another who was making less money than he was. And this isn’t the only thing I’ve seen or heard in the last couple of months. There were the libertarians who failed to distinguish between freedom and addiction; the roommate who muscled his way into another apartment and kicked out another who had graciously taken in him when homeless. There are bad people out there, and words alone will not fight them.

4. We are beyond shame. We’ll tweet hate at the President, Republican or Democrat. We’ll say anything to justify ourselves and at times allow ourselves to be purposely consumed by hysteria. We know if we get hysterical or neurotic we can get what we want. The only question left is why we haven’t eaten each other.

But that’s only a matter of time. In the richest country ever in the history of the planet, food banks have shortages. We have hunger on an increasingly epidemic scale. Get out and work, growls the gentleman whose entire income comes from the federal government. I’m working says the leech taking advantage of everyone else – milking every advantage he has – while using the disguise of work.

To have shame is to have a rough equality. I do not expect that we will ever meet the standard of Plato’s Laws, where the richest citizen only has 7 times what the poorest has. But maybe we should look at the Arab world, where a great tumult broke out. Islam offers many that sense of equality, that sense “we’re in this together,” while elites stay secular and cynical, often exacerbating social divisions to the point of violence. But the shame before the law (sharia) has not set in; rather, the law is used to bully others or used in reverse to ostracize its true adherents. With people far more passionate about the possibility of democracy than in our own country – with people who in many cases overcame greater odds to lead and work for others – they might fail. It isn’t religion that’s the problem (the hardline Islamists kill more Muslims than anyone else), or even the awful legacy of U.S. Cold War policy, where merely proclaiming yourself “anti-communist” got you weapons and dollars. The problem is that the spirit of the law is what we must work toward. The law only matters because of unity. Again, look at – maybe to – the Arab world. We are far more comfortable, far from grudges that go back centuries, but we’re at each others’ throats over nothing. To have shame is to know that you are no better than the people you think must serve you, the ones you claim to hate.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Eagle”

Recently I came across “The Eagle” by Tennyson. I don’t usually like his work, but this tercet is something else. He simply paints with words:

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

I took the poem to be about aging; “crooked” and “wrinkled” suggest that much. The central action of poem is a dramatic descent from the height of one’s powers. But exactly what response to aging makes one like an an eagle, lonely and proud?

“Claps the crag,” “close to the sun,” and “ring’d with the azure world” indicate that only a few people age like an eagle. Nothing hints at any want of friendship or companionship. The “azure world,” the sky, brings forth themes of serenity, purity, possibility, and control. “He stands:” this has always been about the strength to be. To really be, some of us feel, we not only have to be at peace but in complete control. Those “crooked hands” may be more than a bit ironic.

The second stanza observes the eagle moved by the vast motion of the sea. The sea, too, wears its age and a kinship exists between it and his own efforts. It does look ridiculous to say that one who spends his whole life trying to be sure of himself sees something in common with the sea. On the one hand, people looking for such confidence don’t usually pay attention to elaborate metaphors outside of “how to succeed in business” books. On the other hand, if such a person does pay attention to the sea, it still looks ridiculous.

But the sea is ageless. Quite obviously, it has no insecurities. It absorbs change. Moreover, only an eagle can fall like a thunderbolt, with the power not just to descend but do the same again. If your ambition is to be completely secure in your pride, good luck.

Links, 12/27/13

Yeah, I haven’t done one of these in a while. A long while. I really need to make sure I don’t just share stuff on facebook and on tumblr, but put it here too. This is the one place I can comment at some length.

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