"There is a paradox that lies at the heart of human existence..."
“The paradox is this: man’s nature, by itself, can do little or nothing to settle his most important problems. If we follow nothing but our natures, our own philosophies, our own level of ethics, we will end up in hell.” —Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain.
I normally like to post quotations of whatever I’m reading as status updates on Facebook. The reason I don’t for Thomas Merton is that I simply don’t have space for them all. The man’s insights into the supernatural and the natural life are astounding. He understands what it is to be around.
The above quotation is one of the reasons I cannot call myself a leftist. For all of the Left’s good intentions, they have abandoned any inkling of God and so are lost. They inevitably fail because they lack He who gives life all its meaning and purpose. Worse, they have rejected Him out of hand, made Him a nonentity. Reduced God to a philosophical abstraction.
Worse than that, they’ve made Him something one may only speak of in private. At least philosophical abstractions can be debated in the public sector. But dare to bring up God? No. Not in their world. Like regular bowel movements, God is only for one’s private life, not to be spoken of in public. (And yet like regular bowel movements, how essential is God for everyday life!)
Granted, the Right’s use of religion like a club in every discussion is just as wrong-headed, but they’re too easy a target. You can easily find criticism of the Right elsewhere.
Anyway, my point wasn’t too praise one political system over another, merely to talk a bit about the sort of stories I’ve been putting into my head. Lately, it’s been Thomas Merton as well as Stanley Booth’s True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. Kind of a flipside to Merton’s spirituality, Booth gives an account of humanity at its most visceral, seeking only pleasure, yet acknowledging at times a vague yearning for something more.
That’s the funny thing about rock. For all the criticism of it being ungodly, narcissistic, hedonistic, racist, misogynistic, etc. — as true and valid as these criticisms can be — at its best, rock always seems to be in search of something. Something bigger and better. Whether that’s a better high or a better way of living.
Most 60s and even 70s rock is like that. It has a message, much as early rap had a message. But even today, popular music and art in general points us to something higher. Perhaps that is why artists find it the hardest to conform with the Left’s agenda? We still acknowledge something greater than ourselves, even it’s only our Art or the idea of something better somewhere. The Left sees itself as the highest good, and therein lies its core problem.
It’s especially humorous because, since the 19th century or so, art has been trying to be more of a mirror, reflecting society, than a light, showing a better way to be. The best art of course does both, but when it comes time to choose, most modern artists choose to mirror. After all, it’s quite a prideful thing to think you have any light worthy enough to share, and most artists are humble in their own way.
As far as writing news this month, I’m still working on my Multiversal Gamebook. There is currently an official ending to the main plot, though I’m afraid it’s missing much of the middle. I’ll work on filling in the gaps over the next few months. I want all links functional by the end of the year. The website won’t be at 100% until much later, but the core game will be playable and complete.
My fantasy trilogy is starting to take a vague form. It’s still very early in the process, so bear with me.
In the meantime, I will go back to my Thomas Merton. I’ve already read my Rolling Stones for the day, so afterwards, I’ll continue with Cress by Marissa Meyer, the third installment in her Lunar Chronicles series, which manages to blend science fiction with fairytales. Imagine if the Brothers Grimm wrote Sailor Moon fanfiction, and you get the idea. It’s a lot of fun. It’s YA ice cream, perfect after a main course of literary steak. I’ve tried reading these three books in other orders, but reading anything heavier than Cress after Seven-Storey Mountain is almost impossible.
And there’s not much heavier than stone.
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