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“Why do some people make it so hard to love them?”

“Are they inherently unlovable?”

“No.”

“So then there’s nothing in them that makes them unlovable in general, and by you in particular?”

“Right.”

“…”

“So there is something lacking in me that makes me unable to love them as they ought to be loved?”

“Yes.”

“Would loving them be a good thing, considering how difficult loving them would be?”

“Loving them would be a good thing, but the difficulty or ease with which we love someone has no bearing on the goodness of having loved them.”

“Why doesn’t the difficulty with which we came to love them bear on the goodness of having loved them?”

“If it were the case that the difficulty with which a virtue were obtained bore on the goodness of the virtue, so that only the most laudable virtues were the most difficult to obtain, then God would obtain only the most base of virtues.”

“How would he obtain only the most base of virtues?”

“Is anything difficult for God?”

“No.”

“Would you claim God to be virtuous?”

“Yes.”

“So, if it could reasonably be said that God had virtues, and the most laudable virtues were the most difficult to obtain, and nothing were difficult for God, then it would follow that God would only have the least laudable virtues. Is that correct?”

“That seems correct.”

“So, either the most laudable virtues could be had with no difficulty at all, or God is the least virtuous.”

“Yes. But it makes no sense to believe that God is the least virtuous, because the greater does not come from the lesser, but the lesser from the greater.”

“So the most laudable virtues can be had with no difficulty at all.”

“Yes. But if the most laudable virtues can be had with no difficulty at all, why is it difficult for me, in particular, to have the virtue of loving some people?”

“Why should it follow that because something is not difficult for God that it shouldn’t be difficult for you?”

“It doesn’t follow. But couldn’t God give me the virtue of loving them such that it wasn’t difficult to have the virtue?”

“He could.”

“Well, I don’t have the virtue, so what do we make of God not having given me this virtue? Shouldn’t I have the virtue?”

“You should have the virtue, in the sense that, without the virtue you do not have a perfection you could have, and we ought to be perfect, and so you ought to have the virtue, so thereby you can come further to perfection, but you are not due the virtue, because virtue is not something due in compensation or somehow owed to you, but is rather a gift from God.”

“And in no sense could a gift be said to be due, because otherwise it is not a gift.”

“Yes.”

“But aren’t some virtues due in some sense?”

“Please give me an example.”

“Suppose, after diligent exercise, I am able to scale a certain height by jumping. I’d be said to have a certain virtue in this sense, wouldn’t I?”

“Yes, you would.”

“And my gaining of the virtue was a result of actions performed by me?”

“Yes.”

“So in this sense, the virtue, the natural virtue of being able to perform this physical task, is due by my having exercised in the ways necessary to obtain the virtue?”

“Yes.”

“So would this virtue said to be due to me?”

“It seems so.”

“But if this virtue is due to me, why isn’t it the case the virtue of being able to love someone be due to me?”

“As you said before, this virtue is a natural virtue. Natural virtues, though they obtain as a gift from God (for everything that is good is from God, and God owes nothing anything, and so any truly good thing a thing had would properly be called a gift) are such that they require, and follow from, the obtaining of previous things. In the case of scaling the wall, this would be the obtaining of whatever physical conditions necessary to scale the wall. They are natural in the sense that they come about as a result of some thing doing what is in its power to do so that they may be obtained.”

“So the virtue of love is different?”

“It seems to be.”

“It is different in that it is not natural?”

“Yes.”

“And it not being natural means that there is nothing in my power for me to do so that I may obtain it?”

“Yes.”

“But what does it mean that I may obtain something that is not natural to me?”

“It means you obtaining it would result in, and be the result of, something supernatural.”

Beaches make poor campsites

Beaches make poor campsites when you’re a great blue,
however, it’s not every day someone decides to speak whale.
“Don’t you get sick of krill? I’d get sick of krill.”
This is as close to a grimace a baleen’ll get.
“Wait here. I’ll be back.”

If you think the ocean makes you more patient, you’re wrong.

“I’ll be back.”
“…I’ll be back…”
“………I’ll be back………”
“I’d get sick of krill.”
Krill is perfectly fine.
I love krill.

“Don’t you get sick of krill?”
Audacious. Vulgar. Tactless.

Maybe she’ll bring back some krill.

“Beached whales don’t live long,” I can hear them saying.
I can’t really hear them saying this, I’m just imagining it.
They do have a point though. This was imprudent.
Beaches are no place for a blue whale.
Beaches populated by petulant, krilistines are no place for a blue whale.

She did speak whale though.
It’s not every day someone decides to speak whale.

“What if she just ran out of whale oil, and really wants to read a book, but can’t, because she needs more whale oil, and just happened to see you passing by, called out to you, and intends to have you perish, so she can harvest your blubber, and turn it into whale oil?”
Stupid.
“Crazier things have happened.”
True.
“Remember, she doesn’t even like krill.”

“She doesn’t even like krill.”

I hate the beach.

Excerpts from “The Intellectual Life”, by A.G. Sertillanges

«Truth serves only its slaves.» – p. 4

«The most valuable thing of all is will, a deeply-rooted will; to will to be somebody, to achieve something; to be even now in desire that somebody, recognizable by his ideal. Everything else always settles itself. There are books everywhere and only a few are necessary. Society, stimulation, one finds these in spirit in one’s solitude: the great are there, present to those who call on them, and the great ages behind impel the ardent thinker forward. As to lectures, those who can have them do not follow them or follow them but ill, if they have not in themselves, at need, the wherewithal to do without such fortunate help. As to the public, if it sometimes stimulates, it often disturbs, scatters the mind; and by going to pick up two pennies in the street, you may lose a fortune. An impassioned solitude is better, for there every seed produces a hundredfold, and every ray of sunlight suffuses the whole landscape with autumnal gold.» – p. 10

«Truth visits those who love her, who surrender to her, and this love cannot be without virtue.» – p. 19

«If you want to entertain knowledge as your guest, you do not need rare furniture, nor numerous servants. Much peace, a little beauty, certain conveniences that save time, are all that is necessary.

Slacken the tempo of your life. Receptions, visits that give rise to fresh obligations, formal intercourse with one’s neighbors, all the complicated ritual of an artificial life that so many men of the world secretly detest — these things are not for a worker. Society life is fatal to study. Display and dissipation of mind are mortal enemies of though. When one thinks of a man of genius, one does not imagine him dining out.

Do not let yourself get entangled in that mesh of occupations which little by little monopolizes time, thought, resources, powers. Conventions must not dictate you. Be your own guide; obey your convictions, not mere custom; and the convictions of an intellectual must correspond to the goal at which he is aiming.» – p. 42-3

«In the organization of our life, the essential point to safeguard, in view of which all the rest is necessary, is the wise provision of solitude, exterior and interior. St. Thomas is so deeply convinced of this that of sixteen counsels to the intellectual, he devotes seven to external contact and to the retired life. “I want you to be slow in speaking and slow in going to the parlor.” “Do not inquire at all about the actions of others.” “Be polite to everyone” but “be familiar with none, for too much familiarity breeds contempt and gives matter for many distractions.” “Do not busy yourself about the words and actions of those in the world.” “Avoid useless outings above everything.” “Love your cell, if you desire to be admitted to the wine-cellar.”»

Mario’s Christmas Kvetch: Christmas by Apophasis

Christmas is not about family.
Christmas is not about snow.
Christmas is not about movies.
Christmas is not about cards.
Christmas is not about impressions.
Christmas is not a license for sentimentality.
Christmas is not about food.
Christmas is not about getting drunk.
Christmas is not about looking nice.
Christmas is not about decorations.
Christmas is not about a tree.
Christmas is not about gifts (that can be bought or be sold).
Christmas is not about parties.
Christmas is not about “being nice”.
Christmas is not about “being together”.
Christmas is not about “Christmas” photos.
Christmas is not about “cheer”.
Christmas is not about lights.
Christmas is not about “going to church, because it’s Christmas! :)”.
Christmas is not about “going to midnight Mass, because it’s Christmas :)”.
Christmas is not about going to Mass because everyone else is going to Mass.
Christmas is not about holding hands during the Our Father (nothing is ever about this. Stop doing this.).
Christmas is not about Santa.
Christmas is not about “Christmas” music.
Christmas is not about “Christmas colors”.
Christmas is not about candy.
Christmas is not about you.
Christmas is not about getting what you want.
Christmas is not about feeling sorry.
Christmas is not about feeling good.
Christmas is not about feeling anything at all.
Christmastide doesn’t end on Christmas.
Christmas is not about pretending that Christmas is any of the aforementioned things.
Christmas is not about letting your loved ones remain comfortable in their belief that Christmas is about any of the aforementioned things.

My gift to you,
Mario

P.S. This post is currently under construction. This post was inspired by this.

Sneaky ontological presuppositions in Precalculus: Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic pt. 1

On page 3:

The number associated with a point is the coordinate of the point. As long as the context is clear, we will follow the standard convention of using the real number for both the name of the point and its coordinate

This presupposes several things. First, that real numbers are parasitic, and that the first class citizens of this ontology are the points. Second, that the number is only ever the index of the point, or some property (coordinate) of the point. Disgusting.

A regal rug

Logic is the rug which leads to the throne of He who Is.

The logician needles his thread one way and the other, tying the cloth together.

The rug, by virtue of its past, gives the logician clear sight of the place from which he came.

The edges, when reached, assure him that the ratio is kept and his direction remains true.

It is these two things, certainty of both origin and destination, taken with this third Light that illuminates every tuck and tuft he meticulously makes, that assure him of the nature and final end of his work.