Saturday, July 11, 2020

shelter from a storm

 Sometimes an ancient text (8th century BCE) speaks directly to the dreams of contemporary times: 
Suppose a king should reign with righteousness
and likewise princes should rule with justice.
Then each would be like a refuge from wind 
and a shelter from a storm, 
like streams of water in a dry place, 
like the shade of a massive rock 
in a parched land. 
(—Isaiah 32:1-21)
And sometimes, we can only dream, words formulate truth. 

or the way the body responds to it

One breath at a time. 
When Dr. Breen finally called her sister for help on April 9, she sounded so unlike herself that Ms. Feist wondered if the virus had somehow altered her sister’s brain. Although research is still preliminary when it comes to Covid-19’s effects on the brain, there is growing evidence that the disease, or the way the body responds to it, can cause a range of neurological issues.
 (‘I Couldn’t Do Anything’: The Virus and an E.R. Doctor’s SuicideBy Corina Knoll, Ali Watkins and Michael RothfieldJuly 11, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET, New York Times,)
The difficulty of it. 

hear what is, being, said

At conversation Friday evening, Albert Camus’ The Plague from an article in Philosophy Now. Which ends:

In essence, The Plague was written to teach us to treasure the moments of happiness and joy we share, just because humanity is, absurdly, ridiculously, painfully inadequately equipped to cope with stressors and stimuli it encounters. How could it not be so? The passing of time dulls our attention to detail, and despite the power of our civilization, the mass of humanity remains slow to respond to threats. The quintessence of the absurdity of existence for Camus in The Plague – just as it is for us reacting to our current plague – is that individuals die when the collective fails to recognize or respond adequately to foreseeable threats. So, as predicted by the narrator of The Plague, ‘the plague’ is not over and will likely never be over. We can only hope and love and act, and be as good as we can be. Yet it is no more right to say that we deserve our fate (as Father Paneloux would have it), than it’s correct to assume that one day the mass of humanity will be able to respond to all threats to it without loss of life. And insofar as we continue to live unawares in the midst of this conflict between our species and nature, life and death will continue to be dictated by means beyond our control, even our understanding. That is to say, life will remain absurd.

(—The Plague & The Plague, by Dylan Daniel, PhilosophyNow, Issue 138, June/July 2020)

The word ‘absurd’ has always fascinated:

absurd (adj.)

"plainly illogical," 1550s, from Middle French absurde (16c.), from Latin absurdus "out of tune, discordant;" figuratively "incongruous, foolish, silly, senseless," from ab- "off, away from," here perhaps an intensive prefix, + surdus "dull, deaf, mute," which is possibly from an imitative PIE root meaning "to buzz, whisper" (see susurration). Thus the basic sense is perhaps "out of tune," but de Vaan writes, "Since 'deaf' often has two semantic sides, viz. 'who cannot hear' and 'who is not heard,' ab-surdus can be explained as 'which is unheard of' ..." The modern English sense is the Latin figurative one, perhaps "out of harmony with reason or propriety." Related: Absurdlyabsurdness.

Like so much of current response to both coronavirus, criminal sex trafficking (cf Netflix documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich), and political/power sickness in America, so much revolves around the phrase ‘I won't hear of it.’

We are more and more absurd.

Look around.

Can we hear what is being said?

Friday, July 10, 2020

stone’s throw

                (a mossy haiku)

A dangerous time

Corruption in highest place

No conscience, no shame

Thursday, July 09, 2020

to realize a culture and a life

Watching Netflix documentary on Jeffrey Epstein, I had to remind myself about morals and ethics.

Like his compatriot, Donald Trump, you come to wonder about those surrounding him. Particular depravity is one thing. But the resonance of complicity, those who enable the indecency to continue and thrive, that’s a whole other category of befuddlement.

This tutorial from Difference Between Morals and Ethics,  By 

Comparison Chart





Morals are the beliefs of the individual or group as to what is right or wrong.

Ethics are the guiding principles which help the individual or group to decide what is good or bad.

What is it?

General principles set by group

Response to a specific situation

Root word

Mos which means custom

Ethikos which means character

Governed By

Social and cultural norms

Individual or Legal and Professional norms

Deals with

Principles of right and wrong

Right and wrong conduct

Applicability in Business




Morals may differ from society to society and culture to culture.

Ethics are generally uniform.


Morals are expressed in the form of general rules and statements.

Ethics are abstract.

Freedom to think and choose



...   ...   ...

...   ...   ...

It remains an interesting exploration.

Where do wholesome values come from?

...   ...   ...

The article goes on with the following:

Definition of Morals

Morals are the social, cultural and religious beliefs or values of an individual or group which tells us what is right or wrong. They are the rules and standards made by the society or culture which is to be followed by us while deciding what is right. Some moral principles are:

  • Do not cheat
  • Be loyal
  • Be patient
  • Always tell the truth
  • Be generous

Morals refer to the beliefs what is not objectively right, but what is considered right for any situation, so it can be said that what is morally correct may not be objectively correct.

Definition of Ethics

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the principles of conduct of an individual or group. It works as a guiding principle as to decide what is good or bad. They are the standards which govern the life of a person. Ethics is also known as moral philosophy. Some ethical principles are:

  • Truthfulness
  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Integrity

Key Differences Between Morals and Ethics

The major differences between Morals and Ethics are as under:

  1. Morals deal with what is ‘right or wrong’. Ethics deals with what is ‘good or evil’.
  2. Morals are general guidelines framed by the society E.g. We should speak truth. Conversely, ethics are a response to a particular situation, E.g. Is it ethical to state the truth in a particular situation?
  3. The term morals is derived from a Greek word ‘mos’ which refers to custom and the customs are determined by group of individuals or some authority. On the other hand, ethics is originated from Greek word ‘ethikos’ which refers to character and character is an attribute.
  4. Morals are dictated by society, culture or religion while Ethics are chosen by the person himself which governs his life.
  5. Morals  are concerned with principles of right and wrong. On the contrary, ethics stresses on right and wrong conduct.
  6. As morals are framed and designed by the group, there is no option to think and choose; the individual can either accept or reject. Conversely, the people are free to think and choose the principles of his life in ethics.
  7. Morals may vary from society to society and culture to culture. As opposed to Ethics, which remains same regardless of any culture, religion or society.
  8. Morals do not have any applicability to business, whereas Ethics is widely applicable in the business known as business ethics.
  9. Morals are expressed in the form of statements, but Ethics are not expressed in the form of statements.


  • If the son of a big politician has committed a crime and he uses his powers to free his son from legal consequences. Then this act is immoral because the politician is trying to save a culprit.
  • A very close friend or relative of an interviewer comes for an interview and without asking a single question, he selects him. This act is unethical because the selection process must be transparent and unbiased.
  • A grocer sells adulterated products to his customers to earn more profit. This act is neither moral nor ethical because he is cheating his customers and profession at the same time.


Every single individual has some principles which help him throughout his life to cope up with any adverse situation; they are known as ethics. On the other hand, Morals are not the hard and fast rules or very rigid, but they are the rules which a majority of people considered as right. That is why the people widely accept them. This is all for differentiating Morals from Ethics.

...   ...   ...

What benefit is it to cultivate an ethical character and work for moral justice?

And why is it so hard to realize a life and a culture consistently imbued with values that benefit the good of the greater community and the happiness of the individual practitioner?

And this, without authoritarian imposition of rules and standards that, if not followed, result in punishment and torture, in this existence or in some supposed next dimension.

Keep me informed of your investigation if you enter such an inquiry.

the most unexpected of places and ways

Reading, these days, Jean-Luc Marion. Watching his 2004 Gifford Lectures in Glasgow. His work in phenomenology, theology and intellectual history is engaging.

This, from a review of a book highlighting Heidegger and Marion:

Chapter one brings Heidegger’s phenomenology of the inconspicuous into conversation with Jean-Luc Marion’s writings on the paradoxical nature of revelation. Challenging phenomenology’s privileging of precision and clarity, Heidegger observes that what is hidden or covered up is paradoxically integrated into what it is for a phenomenon to appear as a phenomenon. For example, if I’m walking quickly through a crowd I mustn’t focus on what stands right in front of me, for otherwise I would be overwhelmed with information and would be unable to conceive of the pathway to my destination. Instead, I must look to where I’m headed while still being aware of my surroundings enough to not bump into people. The people in the crowd thus become inconspicuously integrated into my frame of vision, presenting useful information while not being fully present to thought. This is brought to a head in Heidegger’s writings on Being—which remains hidden while always closest at hand—eventually leading to his reformulation of phenomenology as no longer loyal to Husserl’s method of unveiling phenomena clearly and distinctly, but now as deformalizing the very distinction between the veiled and the unveiled. For Heidegger, the paradoxical nature of appearance is not something for philosophy to overcome, but is rather something to recognize as irreducibly endemic to the lebenswelt itself.

For Marion, the epitome of paradox is revelation, which he understands as “a phenomenon that phenomenalizes by countering its own modes of givenness.”[1] Similar to Heidegger’s insights into the paradoxical nature of appearing, Marion holds that revelation disrupts the very distinction between that which appears and that which is hidden. His work on saturated phenomena—revelation being the saturated phenomenon par excellence—is characterized by attempting to overcome the dialectic between the visible and the invisible, and as such shares Heidegger’s view that a reliance on this dialectic numbs thinking.

Alvis tries to take the work of these thinkers a step further by indicating two ways an inconspicuous revelation can avoid the dialectic between visibility and invisibility while also providing an opportunity for rich religious experience. First, revelation should be understood as intertwined within the banal fabric of everyday life, not as events that must shock and awe. “Revelation, if it truly is to be shocking, must take place in the most unexpected of places and ways: in the marginal, inconspicuous, and banal.”[2] Second, revelation not only challenges the privileging of visibility over invisibility in presentation, but deformalizes the framing of this distinction itself.    

(-from Daniel Cox review of book, Alvis, Jason W. 2018. The Inconspicuous God: Heidegger, French Phenomenology, and the Theological Turn. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

The concept of the non-existing God, or the concept of the non-God is a refined distinction he made at his inaugural lecture upon assuming the Greeley Chair at the University of Chicago.

Kevin Hart, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, writes in a review of CHRISTINA M. GSCHWANDTNER’s Degrees of Givenness: On Saturation in Jean-Luc Marion, c.2014:

Jean-Luc Marion has claim to be considered the most important living phenomenologist, certainly in France and perhaps also in the world. His work, especially since the English translation of Étant donné (1997; corrected edition 1998) as Being Given (2002), has attracted much commentary.[1] There is indeed a great deal to consider in his writing: his account of the history of philosophy, principally seventeenth-century French philosophy (Descartes, in particular) and twentieth-century phenomenology; his approach to Christian theology, especially the doctrine of God and the philosophy (rather than theology) of revelation; his examination of the human self as l'adonné; his philosophy of art, including interpretations of particular painters, most notably Courbet; his engagement with Augustine's Confessions and, more generally, his readings of other Church Fathers; and his views about love, both human and divine. In the main, however, Marion's investigations of saturated phenomena have been the chief focus of admiration and reserve alike. Réduction et donation (1989) marks the passage from Marion as a historian of philosophy to a philosopher as such, for it is there that he makes his breakthrough, one which enables him to see that some phenomena are saturated with intuition and exceed determinations by concepts and intentionality alike.[2]

I wander through these thoughts like a sleepy dream on a sunny Thursday morning before coffee.

It occurs to me that what we are, given, we are, what we are given. But that which gives is nowhere to be found. Even if, and after, our intuition glimpses the arrival of phenomena, we do not have what we think we have. We have, rather, the remnant of invisibility shaped for a moment into a swiftly disappearing intuition of something visiting and passing through what we consider to be our transitional dwelling place itself barely sustaining its shape enroute elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

madre mio

Because she was born, I was born.

I sit in book shed during thunder storm, a mixture of psalms, silence, heavy rain, candlelight, and Bach Requiem.

These words; 
4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.
          (— from Ps.27, NIV)

A moment of appreciation.

A solitude of recollection.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

have you cried today

"We cry because we connect."  (Cornel West)

back to our life

These days our brothers and sisters pick one more arena to practice their dualistic minds. Bus Driver Brain Dead After Trying to Stop Passengers Boarding Without MaskBY 

Mindlessly embracing the deficient mode of mental-rational structure of consciousness, they seek out a fabricated enemy, deploying to destroy it, and count it a win for their oppositional ideology, a victory for their side. It is a way of life, a way of thinking, that runs roughshod and rampant through the United States as well led by an ill-placed self-indulged carnival barker spewing dualism and obsessive spittle lauding win-win-win as his sole craving — Donald Trump.

It is a terrifying time, not only because of coronavirus, but because our thinking has become malignant and weaponized, the result of stagnant belief and narrow template mired in miasmic egoistic dualism and seemingly unwilling or unable to transcend and breakthrough into an integral mode of thinking and living in today’s necessity of whole-sight and (if you will) trinitarian interpenetration.

Alas, there is little hope for a complete overhaul of deficient thinking.

Our stagnant beliefs, driven by an antiquated mechanistic system of thought, blinds us to the need to die to that antipathy-fueled victim-based might is right, my way or the highway, brand of reactive structure of thought where the driving impulse is ‘I’m better than you, I deserve to dominate, you are my plaything.’

I am awake and reading at 4:00AM. Dog wants out at 4:45. Cats think it must be time to eat. Birds are chanting morning prayer. 

I look at hymn from Office of Readings


O God of truth and Lord of power,

whose word their course to things assigns,

whose splendour lights the morning hour,

whose fiery sun at noonday shines:

Within us quench the flames of strife,

the harmful heat of passion quell;

give health of body to our life

and give true peace of soul as well.

In this, most loving Father, hear,

and Christ, co-equal Son, our prayer:

with Holy Ghost, one Trinity,

you reign for all eternity


I dwell on second stanza a while. Strife is our narcotic. We are hooked, addicts for opposition and dualistic formulation of existence and the world. We have the society we want. It is hierarchical, full of greed and manipulation in favor of narcissistic imposition of egoistic will and deprecatory sneering at the losers and lower strata of economic worth.


Now that I am delivered of fanciful ire and irritation, maybe it is time to rest.

I will read about terrorism and what terrorists want; the codes of warriors; aporia and interpretation in matters of epistemology and revelation; the oral history of 9/11; what naked now the mystics see: honor and how moral revolutions happen as backdrop for future movement. 

On kitchen wall above cat kibbles is photograph of Fr Robert o.c.s.o. in white choir robe sitting zazen. He sold us Trappist jams when we had our shop. He loved that our practice was side-by-side Zen Buddhism and catholic contemplative Christianity.

“Things are only going to get worse,” the monk said to me, “cheer up!“

Monday, July 06, 2020

to see through

If God's name is "through" -- then I have to learn how to see through.   

To see through is to look into the invisible, the transparent, and regard what is on the other side of the see-through.

Except, there might not be an other side.

In the same way, we look at death and talk about the other side.

The task, I suspect, is to see through death.

We used to think God was somewhere else, something else, some distinct Being on the other end of omni:  omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. 

But, perhaps, God is not on the other side of omni. Not a destination. Not something to behold.

Rather, the way through.

As an icon is a view through.

What have I been missing?

Sunday, July 05, 2020

dead battery koan

Like my life, unless

Computer connects to source

MU — It shows nothing

unseen and alone

In the dream

She says: “I 

Cannot see you

Anymore.” (And 

I wake up,)

In the email

He says, “I 

Will leave you

Alone.” (I mark it


These two sayings —

Not to be seen, and 

To be alone — are like

Jean-Luc Marion‘s

Lecture, “Christ as 

Once, I suspect,

Something is revealed,

Nothing interferes

Its  profusion (a 

Pouring out/into)


Out everything that is

Seen and unseen,

Present and absent.

No wonder

Belief in Gottheit is so

Difficult — there’s 

Nothing there, nor

Has it any name

Neither can it be seen

In its complete in-

Habitance. [2]

(Nor is it an it.)

Leaving us, within ourselves,

Both not seen and


...   ...   ...

[1] University of Glasgow, 2014 Gifford Lecture Series: ‘Givenness and Revelation.” Speaker: Prof. Jean-Luc Marion, University of Chicago, Tuesday, 27May2014,

[2] “Jesus said, ‘Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.’” (5. See Matthew 10:26, Mark 4:22, Luke 8:17, and Luke 12:2.)