Daily Whitman


Starting from Paumanok

  Was somebody asking to see the soul?
  See, your own shape and countenance, persons, substances, beasts,
      the trees, the running rivers, the rocks and sands.

  All hold spiritual joys and afterwards loosen them;
  How can the real body ever die and be buried?

  Of your real body and any man's or woman's real body,
  Item for item it will elude the hands of the corpse-cleaners and
      pass to fitting spheres,
  Carrying what has accrued to it from the moment of birth to the
      moment of death.

  Not the types set up by the printer return their impression, the
      meaning, the main concern,
  Any more than a man's substance and life or a woman's substance and
      life return in the body and the soul,
  Indifferently before death and after death.

  Behold, the body includes and is the meaning, the main concern and
      includes and is the soul;
  Whoever you are, how superb and how divine is your body, or any part
      of it!

Daily Whitman


Starting from Paumanok

  Democracy! near at hand to you a throat is now inflating itself and
      joyfully singing.

  Ma femme! for the brood beyond us and of us,
  For those who belong here and those to come,
  I exultant to be ready for them will now shake out carols stronger
      and haughtier than have ever yet been heard upon earth.

  I will make the songs of passion to give them their way,
  And your songs outlaw'd offenders, for I scan you with kindred eyes,
      and carry you with me the same as any.

  I will make the true poem of riches,
  To earn for the body and the mind whatever adheres and goes forward
      and is not dropt by death;
  I will effuse egotism and show it underlying all, and I will be the
      bard of personality,
  And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of
      the other,
  And sexual organs and acts! do you concentrate in me, for I am determin'd
      to tell you with courageous clear voice to prove you illustrious,
  And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and
      can be none in the future,
  And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn'd to
      beautiful results,
  And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death,
  And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are
  And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each
      as profound as any.

  I will not make poems with reference to parts,
  But I will make poems, songs, thoughts, with reference to ensemble,
  And I will not sing with reference to a day, but with reference to
      all days,
  And I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem but has
      reference to the soul,
  Because having look'd at the objects of the universe, I find there
      is no one nor any particle of one but has reference to the soul.

The Lady Gaga Project


Because I live for the applause….  I do like it when I get traffic here and it’s great when my posts make people think, actually, but as to this post, some explanation:

Way back in the early part of my series on the Fall, I put a picture of Lady Gaga at the top of a post on theology and titled it by quoting “Bad Romance”, purely on a whim and the humorous notion that it might drive blog views.  I doubt it did that very much, but I got a kick out of it, and as it turned out I worked more ideas from the song into later posts.  I’m not exactly one of Lady Gaga’s “little monsters”, but I have a moderate fondness for her music (though the latest album is distressingly weak), and somehow I find “Bad Romance” compelling.

Anyway, I just finished my fifth post themed from “Bad Romance” and I decided I’d put them all here (in addition to the series to which the properly belong and under which they’re already listed).  The topics are not directly connected, but they circle around the Fall of Man and universalism, with a bit on dualism and the Bible, too.  Perhaps after reading some, visitors may be interested in looking back at previous posts in the sundry series.  In any case, enjoy!

Synthesis, Part 1:  I Want Your Ugly, I Want Your Disease

Synthesis, Part 3:  I Want Your Horror, I Want Your Design

Dualism:  I Want Your Drama, the Touch of Your Hand

I Want Your Psycho, Your Vertigo Schtick–Lady Gaga, Open Theology, and My 1500th Post!

I Want Your Love and I Want Your Revenge:  Hell

I Want Your Love and I Want Your Revenge: Hell


In the last few posts we’ve looked at several aspects of universalism:  whether Hell is compatible with God’s mercy, how the saved view the damned, whether people can be said truly to choose Hell, and what this implies for our personalities.

Now as I noted here, one can argue for the traditional view of Hell (TVOH) on Scriptural or philosophical bases; and as I also noted, it doesn’t seem as if the TVOH can be defended purely on Scriptural bases.  In any case, I can understand arguments of this sort even if I don’t agree with them.  If one believes that a doctrine of hell is necessitated by Scripture or by philosophical reflection, I can respect that.  What I’m more interested in here is motivation.  In short, what is the motivation that energizes one’s belief?  More to the point, what is one’s attitude towards one’s belief?  Let me unpack what I mean.

Suppose I go to the doctor and he says I have cancer in my leg, and that this will require amputation.  Now there are three things involved here.  One, the matter of actual fact:  that is, do I actually have cancer?  Second is the treatment:  is it necessary to remove the leg, or are there other viable treatments?  Third, how do I feel about having the leg removed?  Obviously, I’m going to want to establish the first two:  I’m going to want to be damn sure that I do have cancer and that amputation is the only option.  If these are established, then there’s no help for it.  The thing is that I’m not going to be happy about the amputation per se.  I’ll be happy if it rids me of cancer, because I’ll be happy to live and to have my health (other than in my leg) restored.  However, I’d be a lunatic to cheer on the amputation as such.  Even more so, if my doctor seemed to enjoy amputating limbs, I’d be very hesitant to have the operation done, at least by him.  To be happy to help someone live by surgery is very much different from getting off on amputation in and of itself.

This is where, in discussions about hell, I find the attitude of supporters of the TVOH very much interesting.  I can understand that one might, in light of one’s study of Scripture and of philosophy, feel compelled to believe in hell as traditionally understood, just as an oncologist, on the basis of his expertise, diagnoses cancer.  I can also understand that there  can be differences of opinion among equally skilled experts.  Just as one exegete might argue for the TVOH and another against, so different doctors might disagree as to whether the leg, in the above hypothetical, actually needs to be amputated, or whether some other treatment might work.  What I don’t get is the attitude.  If my doctor said, “Good news!  We gotta take the leg!” it would be grossly understating it to say I’d be taken aback and appalled.  However, this cheery, positive attitude seems to be the exact attitude of many who support the traditional view of hell.  Perhaps I shouldn’t say “cheery”; but they do invest much emotional energy into supporting hell.

Read the rest of this entry

Daily Whitman


Starting from Paumanok

  As I have walk'd in Alabama my morning walk,
  I have seen where the she-bird the mocking-bird sat on her nest in
      the briers hatching her brood.

  I have seen the he-bird also,
  I have paus'd to hear him near at hand inflating his throat and
      joyfully singing.

  And while I paus'd it came to me that what he really sang for was
      not there only,
  Nor for his mate nor himself only, nor all sent back by the echoes,
  But subtle, clandestine, away beyond,
  A charge transmitted and gift occult for those being born.

Quote for the Week


What we will be seeking … for the rest of our lives will be large, stable communities of like-minded people, which is to say relatives. They no longer exist. The lack of them is not only the main cause, but probably the only cause of our shapeless discontent in the midst of such prosperity.

–Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Palm Sunday, “Thoughts of a Free Thinker”, commencement address, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (26 May 1974)

Daily Whitman


Starting from Paumanok
  Know you, solely to drop in the earth the germs of a greater religion,
  The following chants each for its kind I sing.

  My comrade!
  For you to share with me two greatnesses, and a third one rising
      inclusive and more resplendent,
  The greatness of Love and Democracy, and the greatness of Religion.

  Melange mine own, the unseen and the seen,
  Mysterious ocean where the streams empty,
  Prophetic spirit of materials shifting and flickering around me,
  Living beings, identities now doubtless near us in the air that we
      know not of,
  Contact daily and hourly that will not release me,
  These selecting, these in hints demanded of me.

  Not he with a daily kiss onward from childhood kissing me,
  Has winded and twisted around me that which holds me to him,
  Any more than I am held to the heavens and all the spiritual world,
  After what they have done to me, suggesting themes.

  O such themes—equalities! O divine average!
  Warblings under the sun, usher'd as now, or at noon, or setting,
  Strains musical flowing through ages, now reaching hither,
  I take to your reckless and composite chords, add to them, and
      cheerfully pass them forward.

Daily Whitman


Starting from Paumanok

9 What do you seek so pensive and silent? What do you need camerado? Dear son do you think it is love? Listen dear son—listen America, daughter or son, It is a painful thing to love a man or woman to excess, and yet it satisfies, it is great, But there is something else very great, it makes the whole coincide, It, magnificent, beyond materials, with continuous hands sweeps and provides for all.

Some Ambient Music for the Weekend

Daily Whitman

Crashing Surf, Montery California John Whorf

Starting from Paumanok

  What are you doing young man?
  Are you so earnest, so given up to literature, science, art, amours?
  These ostensible realities, politics, points?
  Your ambition or business whatever it may be?

  It is well—against such I say not a word, I am their poet also,
  But behold! such swiftly subside, burnt up for religion's sake,
  For not all matter is fuel to heat, impalpable flame, the essential
      life of the earth,
  Any more than such are to religion.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199 other followers