Friday, May 21, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

“Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus, he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus, he believes that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.”

― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1908)

Monday, February 1, 2021


“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” 

~Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Tomorrow Again


Tomorrow, at dawn, somewhat miraculously,
The landlord in Rotterdam unbombed
Will raise the quayside shutters, polish his glasses and cups,
And arrange them again in glittering ranks.

And at dusk, somewhere between Tiel and Nijmegen,
The bell ringers will assemble again and spit in their hands
Before grasping the sallies.

Peasants near Pforzheim
Will hack with mattocks at frost-bitten grass
In a field that looks and sounds, once more, as hard as iron,

While heavy-whiskered Viennese cabbies
Will straighten the blankets on their horses' quarters
And give them their feed in buckets.

And students, scholars, monks and clerks,
In ones and twos, will rise again from straw
And spur along the highways, uncertain of a roof,
Reciting Plato, Shakespeare, Horace, Villon
As they go.

All those who hold their ground and keep the continent in place--
The constant widows, landlords, blacksmiths, bargemen--
Will eye their coming,

Then hear their plans,
Raise a brow, signal them to wait,
Bring down a long stone bottle
And some bread to share
Again.

~Michael Duggan

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Eucatastrophe

Ascension of Christ, Salvador Dali (1958)

Eucatastrophe is a neologism coined by J.R.R. Tolkien from Greek ευ- "good" and καταστροφή "destruction".
"I coined the word 'eucatastrophe': the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued it is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce). And I was there led to the view that it produces its peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth, your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back. It perceives – if the story has literary 'truth' on the second plane (....) – that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made. And I concluded by saying that the Resurrection was the greatest 'eucatastrophe' possible in the greatest Fairy Story – and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love."
― Letter 89