Sundries 8/31/18



The fetish we have developed for focusing on how small we are vis-a-vis really big things, a la Stephen Hawking and others (“The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies”) has a history and, furthermore, it is completely and utterly arbitrary when one could write a similar sentence about the comparative sizes of, say, a cell nucleus and a quark, or hypothesize on the intelligent life and modes of travel that exist on a particle (unobserved as of yet) the size of a yoctometer.

I have an Ivy educated gardener friend who, when I mention the biodynamic farmers who plant according to the position of the moon, the stars, and signs, lets out a big guffaw. But I tease him back by saying that, for a much larger mind and frame of reference and consciousness, the space between Sirius the Dog Star and our little cucumber seeds seems no bigger than the distance between a cell wall and a nucleus.

The Russian polymath Pavel Floresnki, in his study of icons, showed that perspective in art was not, as so many think, “discovered” in the Renaissance. Many of the laws of perspective had been used in stage sets in Ancient Greece but, apart from that, were apparently found quite uninteresting. Iconographers, instead, aware of their tools but more conscious of how they used space in their attempts to portray a higher reality, ’wrote’ one-dimensional Icons that transformed the space around them. They had a different and, to them, nobler goal in mind.

When you look at something only in terms of how it can serve you, you might be able to control it, but you also might not, in fact, be seeing that thing accurately.

[Jordan] Peterson, references the great observation from The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions:

What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.

Michael J. Sauter. 10 minutes to read Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and the Problem of Bigness, but one could chew it all day. It’s befitting that it appeared at the newly-redesigned Front Porch Republic website, where the tagline remains “Place. Limits. Liberty.”

Small is Beautiful, y’all.


Shame is not the same as guilt – or perhaps it would be better to say that there are several kinds of shame.

To hide one’s sins from others really is the shame of guilt. But to practice modesty is the shame of innocence.

Even as to the shame of guilt, a distinction must be made. One might conceal his sins to escape the punishment he deserves. But he might also conceal them to spare others exposure to his taint.

I wouldn’t condemn a man for that.

J Budziszewski. I look forward to few things in my RSS feed more than another entry by Budziszewski in his Underground Thomist blog.


It is said by some that God has no boundaries regarding us, that He is God and may do with us (and to us) whatever He wills. This, of course, is true in an abstract sense. However, it is not true of God as He has made Himself known in Christ. Christ is a God who “asks.” He is the God who allows a freedom so great that it can kill Him.

… It is the love of God that surrounds us and calls us to be His friends. It seeks us, face to face, even searching for us when we hide. But it is a love that stands weakly at the border of our freedom, and waits for our invitation.

Fr. Stephen Freeman.


For the first time, a … non-Christian will lead this group that thinks government is too involved in religion.

Washington Post headline on Rachel Laser being named executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Millions beg to differ with “first non-Christian” on some sort of “No True Scotsman” theory.


Tossing, hiding or being shunned for ‘stinky’ school lunches: 8 Canadians on the ethnic food they were embarrassed to eat in class. Via Sameer Vasta and

* * * * *

Follow me on Follow me on, too, where I blog tweet-like shorter items and … well, it’s evolving. Or, if you prefer, those items also appear now at