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|Bysse betting advice||I therefore humbly beseech you, Sir, to remember that promise, and be bysse betting advice to have a care that the multitude of your adventures make you not forget any circumstance of it. At the end loafcraft 1-3 2-4 betting system a spacious walk, as far as we could see, we found a Spring, which alone, was guilty of a greater liberality of water, then all those of Tivoli. Jonson, Case is Altered, i. More directly than anything, reading books at university caused her to raise critical questions about her faith and eventually realize that the god she believed in was no god at all, and that the whole of Islam had been holding her back and keeping her spirits down. Nonetheless she criticizes Christian fundamentalists, she also commits same mistake. Once in the Netherlands, she found solace in the ideas of European thinkers. Bate, vb.|
|Betting markets 2021 republican nomination||Morte Arthur, leafback, 18; bk. And about the relations of the individual to society, bysse betting advice concludes that the society is not a mere aggregate of individual human beings but more powerful one, with examples of an army and a chemical compound. I wonder what the stakes are for Conrad's characters who face the majesties and mysterious of the world? A common prov. So in Chaucer, C. Bartsch, K. Only in Spenser in this sense, F.|
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|Blackjack betting size||Critique: I thought Anderson spent a little too much time criticizing bysse betting advice deeds in the Bible. The primary point in this introduction to the novel The Shadow Line is that there is bysse betting advice mystery and wonder within the domain of the senses. You make it much your business to assure me of the friendship of top binary options automated software Servant, but if it be not the same I mean, I should not take it well, you bestow'd so much of your thoughts on him: but that person deserves all things, and I know not any thing I should envy him. He also places himself within the sea-narrative tradition, of which the most notable instance is Moby Dickanother confessional novel of psychological development for which the thread between the terror of the supernatural and the natural become subsumed into the malevolence of the whale. She concludes by rejecting all forms of theism and supernatural thought, proposing that in its place humanity adopt a system of moral rules whose authority rests within the individual, of which she concedes is not absolute. Lisbon is in my mind one of the noblest Cities in the world, and deserves as well to be seen as any. Consequently, they will find their uniqueness and differences.|
|Sean s outpost bitcoins||But what about bysse betting advice discoveries? On one hand she seems to say that morality exists independent from bysse betting advice, yet at the same time she is painting a picture of immorality bound to theism. Dele or from the arms of Warden Abbey. She carry'd her Bow and Arrows in her eyes, and had about her all the Beams of her brother. Skeat, an eminent English scholar, and also, of course, that the Delegates of the Clarendon Press would consent to the arrangement. You make it much your business to assure me of the friendship of your Servant, but if it be not the same I mean, I should not take it well, you bestow'd so much of your thoughts on him: but that person deserves all things, and I know not any thing I should envy him. This beginning, Madam, is very glittering, and those, who at any rate will needs write high words, would be glad to begin thus that which they call a handsom Letter.|
|Bysse betting advice||Unless otherwise mentioned, excerpts are compiled in Christopher Hitchens, ed. Amand, to whom it was directed, what is become of it; for she is much troubl'd, by reason of bysse betting advice things she writ to you about. How great and powerful soever the charmes and engagement of Paris may be, yet, if I mistake you not, they cannot divert you from laying both hands on such an opportunity; and that if any thing stays you, it must be the inconveniences of Travel, and the trouble it is to rise betimes in the morning. I then discovered you had such sound apprehensions of whatever men are surpriz'd by, that those things which they look'd on, as most considerable in you, were such as you made least account of; nor could any man judge more impartially of any third person, then you did of your self. Blaze, sb.|
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Submit Cancel. My spreadsheet likes only three bets this week while my analysis of the FPI data results in four additional picks for a total of seven. Sadly, the FPI likes the Buckeyes to cover this weekend against the Spartans, if that game actually goes forward. A summary of almost all of my picks for Week 14 can be found here. As of the time of this posting, there is some momentum that the MSU-Ohio State game will actually take place this week, which is in pretty stark contrast to the way the wind was blowing over the weekend.
If the game does get played, the numbers do not look great for the Spartans. This is also the biggest line in the series since The next largest line in the recent series was the As a result, my official score prediction is a win for Ohio State. The FPI is even more confident and has the Buckeyes favored by 30 points, which places this game on my recommended bet table above.
That said, with Coach Ryan Day not able to attend the game, an unknown number of players unavailable, and with limited practice time, might there be an opening for a little more Big Ten chaos? Why not? Elsewhere in the Big Ten, it seems like there is more intrigue surrounding which games might get canceled as opposed to the actual games.
If the Wolverines do play, the computers both like them to cover, just barely. If Indiana can still win without Michael Penix, Jr. Penn State looks to string two wins in a row this week at Rutgers. The computers both project the Nittany Lions to win but not to cover. The computers like the favorites to both win and cover. Clemson is a point favorite at Virginia Tech this week, while Notre Dame is an even bigger point favorite over Syracuse in South Bend.
If Clemson wins, the race is officially over. As predicted, the Championship Game situation in the Big 12 is much clearer this week. The Cyclones can wrap up the No. This week, however, the Ducks face Cal, while the Huskies are hosting Stanford.
Right now, Colorado and USC are at the top of the standings. Colorado -2 is scheduled to play at Arizona while USC We will see if either game actually happens. That is likely to happen this week as Alabama travels to Arkansas and Florida travels to Tennessee. In notable Group of Five action, Cincinnati is just most likely two wins in consecutive weekends over Tulsa away from locking up the New Years Six Bowl bid. Due to various schedule chaos, however, the Bearcats are off this week. If Cincinnati were to drop one of those games, Coastal Carolina is the next most likely beneficiary.
That is all for this week. Whether MSU winds up playing this weekend or not, I will be here on Monday to check in on the results. Until next time, enjoy, and Go State; Beat the Buckeyes maybe US Coronavirus: More Americans say they're willing to take vaccine, but supply issues remain.
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At my departure from Brussels, I sent to him that was to bring you this Letter, certain Pictures; and I intreated him to leave them with you, and I humbly beseech you to direct them to the Person to whom you conceive I send them, and tell her that they are a Parcel of my Plunder; and that I send her that in part of what I lost to her at Moure. June From the Port Igoin, upon the Loire, which we are now going to cross.
YOu should hear from me oftner, were it in my power; but ordinarily we come into places where any thing is more easily found then Ink and Paper; besides that it being expected I should write with so much reserv'dness, I am at such a loss, that I tremble when I take Pen in hand, for fear of saying too much and endeavour what lies in my power to avoid it. I must confess I should have been very much troubled to be the first unfortunate man that you should have given over for such, and that you should have exercis'd on me the apprentiship of that dis-compassionate Vertue which never yet could claim any acquaintance with your Generosity.
Those I have had the honour to receive from you, have wrought on me the effect you could imagine, in so much that I have not since known any affliction save that of being unable to express the resentment I have of them. There is nothing so certain, Madam, as that when you are pleas'd not to be cross, you are the most accomplish'd person in the world; and Goodness, which is so delightful wherever it is found, is much more adorable in you, where it is better attended then ever it was in any one.
And yet I believe it will not be so unhappy as to miss you, meerly because it is directed to you, and that you must needs receive it through the assistance of that good fortune, which you say you have in things of small consequence: I should here take occasion to acquaint you with divers that are of great, and which I could wish within your knowledg; but I conceive it is your desire I should be discreet as well as your self, and that I should not write any thing, that mightlye open to censure.
IT concernes me much more then you, that the accomodations you had sent me, should not fall into other hands then my own. And yet I must needs tell you, that this generosity was like to cost you dear, and it was not improbable, that these Stones might prove so many rubs in your way.
He was in place, when your Letters came to my hands, and he either knowing or guessing by the superscription, it was your hand, I acknowledg'd it was so. My first curiosity was to look into a paper, which seem'd much heavier then the rest, and having opened it, I disburthen'd it of a Bracelet, the most glittering and gallant that ever was.
So that for this time, L'Ejade hath had for you an effect which you expected not from it, and its Vertue justifyes yours, which was accus'd, and in my opinion, ready to receive a severe Sentence. I stood in much need of such a remedy, in a Country where there is no other to be had, and where relief is rather to be expected from stones then men.
And if you call to mind a certain particularity, which was told us heretofore concerning this place, you would have a greater pity for those that have the Colick. Though you should not find out what I mean, I shall not be much mov'd, for in a man that should think himself felicified, but with a moment of your favour this discourse is not over-gallant. When you were at the height of your melancholy, you never were more solitary, more intractable, nor indeed more inhumane, then I am here.
You can hardly imagine how different my present life is, from what I have formerly led, and you will one day be astonish'd, when I shall tell you, that I have pass'd over eight months without speaking to any woman, without quarrelling, without contestation, without playing, and what is more strange, without putting on a pair of shoes.
This is a very lamentable thing to relate. There's a great deal of Learning requisite to understand this. Frown not at ihis, nor think it strange, that I avoid not in my Letters, those things you may take offence at, since you have not that tendernesse for me in yours. For what necessity was there you should tell me that, those two persons had made such new acquaintances, as might oblige them to forget their old friends?
And to what end must this come at the close of the most obliging Letter in the world? Be pleas'd therefore to endeavour my quiet as to that particular; for, to be free with you, I am thereby so much discompos'd, that e have taken very little rest since. I was already in some inclination to that fear; not that I any ways question the goodnesse of those Ladies, but I often think what great danger there is in a great distance.
In a word, Madam, it is of you that I dare assure my self, for, to struggle with so long on absence, there is not only a constancy requisite, but an obstinacy. Your Mistris, is it not a young Gentlewoman, very much Eagle-sighted, having somewhat a short nose, one that is subtle, fierce, scornful, self-conceited, and obliging, one that is of a good and bad nature, much given to chiding, and yet is ever pleasant, a very vertuous Gentlewoman, who hath a mother that useth her very harshly, and whom I lov'd one time from Bagnolet to Charronne?
If it be the same, her Mistris, without question, deserves to be Mistris of all the world, and I have maintain'd for eight months together in this Court, that there is not beneath Heaven any thing so good and so glorious as she. I have not so great a resentment of all my own afflictions put together, as I have of hers, and I have shed abundance of tears, wherein she hath been the most concern'd.
It is certainly a thing very strange, and pleads much compassion, that there should be so much happinesse in her birth, and so little in her life, and that the same person own at the same time all the graces, and all the disgraces in the world.
I receive the honour she does me, with all the respect and all the joy I ought, and my prayers to God are, that he would comfort her, as she doth others. You make it much your business to assure me of the friendship of your Servant, but if it be not the same I mean, I should not take it well, you bestow'd so much of your thoughts on him: but that person deserves all things, and I know not any thing I should envy him. I am satisfy'd Madam, that it is not your fault; that is, that you have not any thing to acquaint me with concerning him.
There's not any circumstance of all my misfortune troubles me so much as that, nor for which I can have less patience. If the Count de Guiche be at Court, be pleas'd to give me leave, humbly to entreat him to spend some few thoughts on me, and to give an instance of his constancy, by loving a person at so great a distance, and withal so unserviceable. Which yet if after all, she reward with a treachery, I shall one day not stick to make use of Steel or Poison to revenge my self: You can hardly guesse, Madam, who it is I mean; and it is a secret too important to be trusted to any one.
I only desire you to shew this passage to Madamoiselle du Pin. If you think I am furnish'd with Affections of all Rates, know also that those Rates are just and proportion'd to the value of the Persons. While I observe this Rule, you may be satisfi'd I shall never own any passion more violent then that to serve you. It hath been no small joy to me to finde my justification in the same pieces, whereby it was expected I should have been condemn'd.
But, Madam, when any will needs put these affronts on me; I beseech you take them not upon your account. I finde the advice of Madamoiselle de Bourbon excellent good, that I should be preserv'd in Sugar; but it will take up a great deal to sweeten so much bitterness, and then I should taste like Lemmon-Pill candy'd.
I wish with all my soul, that that Aurora for the name you have given her suits her very well may be seconded by as fair a day as she deserves, and that all those of her life may be free from all cloudiness, and express a clearness and serenity consonant to that of her mind and countenance.
ABout a Moneth since I received a Letter you were pleas'd to write to me of the twenty of January; the last Post brought me another of the twenty sixt of the last Moneth, and both came accompanyed with a many Papers you also thought fit to send me. You may well think it unreasonable, say what you will, that I should moderate the praises I am to give you, and that I should begin to speakless well of you when I receive most good from you.
And yet I shall not beleeve she loves me to that height she speaks, nor that I am so much concern'd in her Prayers, if I continue in this decay both of health and fortune. And yet it is a greater then I can ever hope that the Lady, whom you know I ever place above all the rest, will be pleas'd to look after my concernments.
There's no Oracle I should more willingly rely upon then her Providence; and I receive her counsels and her commands, as if they came from Heaven. Though I cannot find a place high enough for her in my own mind, yet I dare assure her, that I have ever thought her present at whatever hath befallen me. She hath often comforted me in my greatest afflictions, and that part of my Soul, wherein she was, hath been free from all troubles and disturbances, into which my miseries had hurryed me.
I must also confesse, the Lady her Daughter owns no lesse goodnesse, if it be true, as you tell me, Madam, that she is pleas'd to think of me. The favour done me by three persons so accomplish'd, frees me from all troubles, yet gives me withall a new one, which is, that I can never deserve it, nor expresse, as I would, the resentment I have of it. And since it requires infinite thanks, I humbly beseech you, Madam, to employ yours together with that Eloquence, which is so natural to you, for to thank them; and let me not want your assistance in this, which you afford me in all things.
When I reflect on the honour you and they do me in your remembrances; I wonder, that, being so happy in that, I am so unhappy in other things, and that so much misfortune can befall a man that hath so many Guargian Angels. I am not yet satisfied, whether be greater the happiness of being belov'd, or the unhappiness of being absent; and I finde that of all men I am the most to be envy'd, and the most to be pittyed.
Nevertheless, I shall entreat you not to think I raise a particular quarrel against her; but not having receiv'd any recommendations, save from two or three persons; the complaint was general against all the rest, from whom I had not receiv'd a word since my coming hither. And if she hath done me the honour you tell me, she hath gone much beyond my hope, and done for me more then I durst have desir'd.
But it being past, it is a loss I know not how to brook. The Sonnet I am much taken with, and the Letter is excellently well Pen'd. You see Madam, how I can correct those faults you reprove in me. For I think you are extreamly taken with this History, and are well pleased to see an action of blood and murther justifi'd by the Scripture; I could not in the reading of it, stave off an imagination, that I saw you holding a Sword in one hand, and the Head of Monsieur de St.
Pauls Epistles; you consider not Madam, that a Person who hath waded through so much sickness and affliction, must needs have forgotten abundance of things, especially since what is left is taken up in things wherein it is so well employed. You put me to a like non-plus in another Letter, telling me, your servant desired to be remembred to me; what likelyhood is there to guesse aright who it should be?
I am not certain when I shall leave this place, whether within a Moneth, two, or three. I have told one man here how much he is oblig'd to you for your remembrances of him: He returns you his most humble thanks, and hath engag'd me to tell you he is infinitely your Servant.
Behold what it is, not to answer the Gallantries which you write, and to send me Letters, wherein you speak only of your Friends, and say in a manner nothing of your self. Nevertheless I have not made it so much my business to be reveng'd, as that I can avoid professing in this place, that I repeat for you alone, all the expressions of esteem and affection, which I have directed to every one of them in particular; and that I am, much after another manner,.
ABout ten or twelve dayes since, I writ to you, and thank'd you for two Letters, which I have at length received from you. If you could apprehend what satisfaction they brought along with them, it would be your grief you had sent me no more; and that you had not afforded me this comfort, in a time that I stood in so much need of it. If it oblige me to be of any Sect, I shall not be of that which maintains that pain is no evil; and that the Wise-man is always happy. SInce the favour I receive by your writing to me cannot be valu'd, and that it was not in my power to deserve it, you ought not to discontinue it, though I come short in the acknowledgment thereof.
The condition I was in two Moneths since forc'd me to suffer the ordinary Messenger to depart without a Letter, and if that be only the reason, as in all likelyhood it must, that he is return'd again without any from you; I assure you it is the greatest discourtesie my Colick ever did me. I humbly desire you to acquaint them, and that often, that the passion I have for them is too great to be express'd, and let me ever have some place in their inclinations, where you your self have so much, that we may there, since we cannot any where else, be together.
For your own part, Madam, I beseech you once more not to forsake me, the honour of receiving Letters from you, is a happinesse, which though I could not have hop'd, yet I cannot be without, now that I am so much accustom'd to it. It is a great shame to me that I have written such large Letters to you, which yet contain'd nothing of that stile, whereof a Female Friend of yours sayes, that it seems to her to be all poetry; and that being so many leagues distant from you, never durst acquaint you with any thing of my thoughts.
I am at this present extreamly troubl'd to keep my hands in, and I find no other inducement to refrain, then to think on that excellent person, of whom I have learnt to prevent in all things what may be to be fear'd, and whose very memory obliges me to respect and prudence. You may also if you please, since you own so great a goodness, engage in the same manner, Madam de Clermont to continue her affection to me, and her prayers to God for me.
I shall for my part, as much as lyes in me endeavour to deserve the favours I shall obtain through her intercession, and it were certainly very hard, that a man, whom you preach to, and she prayes for, should not be converted. Me thinks, she, for whose sake I once made the Dryads laugh, Madam de C — I think there were no danger to put her name at length should not be so much incensed against the Rebels, but that she might do me the honour to think on me sometimes.
If the report be true, that we had a design to carry her away, it should have been after the same manner the Greeks took the image of Pallas out of the power of their enemies, in confidence that Fortune and Victory would alwayes attend the side where she were. But for my part, I had no hand in it; she knows, that my pretences, if ever I had any to her, have been in a fair way, and she may remember that my addresses have ever been full of respect and esteem.
Seriously, I cannot be so passionate for our affairs, but I must be also very much for her. I have been more generous in commending her, then she hath been in her remembrances of me. I am your Servant's most humble Servant, and I dare assure him, he hath not a greater passion for you then I have for him. I wish it him I mean; if so, I desie all misfortunes. You may easily guesse for whom I make this wish. I know not whether it may be any thing dangerous to mention me to him, but I beseech you, Madam, let not that frighten you.
What countenance soever he may put on it, he is not so much to be feared, he is better then he is taken to be, at least I know thus much of him, that it is impossible he should not love those that love him. I quarrell not so much at the hazard and inconveniences of it, as it troubles me that I cannot passe through France.
Though I have long since been engag'd to promise, I shall be much troubled to perform it, and it never cost me so much to effectuate any resolution as this. Had I been left at liberty, I should have taken the Road, with as much freedom, and safety as ever, and should have gone from hence directly to Bourg-la-Reyne. But I was resolv'd to be a little more circumspect. I should have been glad to have bestow'd Serenades on three or four persons, with a little Roaring, and away; but I must obey, and believe that what is imposed on me is the better.
This submission therefore ought to be acknowledg'd, since in my opinion, it speaks both Obedience and Sacrifice. At least I hope never to be reproach'd with obstinacy, since I have been so complyant in this. Pardon me the one for the others sake, and be pleas'd sometimes to remember, that I am mostcordially,.
I humbly crave your pardon, Madam, to return two or three words, as gently as I can, to the person who falls so foul upon me in your Letter. I have a long time consider'd who this little man should be, of whom I hear such great things, and who is esteem'd so much above and below me. It cannot be Monsieur de Vigean, for I am but two fingers breadth taller then he, and he is but ten times more gallant then I. I humbly beg, Madam, a true account of this businesse.
Having read what you sent me, as that you had been much troubl'd to send your complements as Forlornes, I expected to meet with some of them, and this past, I find none save that you take occasion to tell me, I am but a little man, and assure me that I am guilty of very little gallantry. After so much earnestnesse as I had for a Letter from you, that I can assure you I made it my only businesse, you take the pains to write five or six lines, wherein you chide Fortune very much for offering to lay her hands on any thing that came from yours.
And for what concerns me, There is a man there now, not so tall as you by a Cubit, and il'e take my oath a thousand times more gallant. If I am not mistaken, I have often told you, Madam, that you are fitter to write a challenge then a Letter. Is it possible, that being mistresse of so many excellent endowments, and having so great power over me, you should make use of neither, but to hurt me, and be like those Fairies, who are never well but when they do mischief, and disturbe the good which the others do.
You are it seems, so far from being moved by my misfortunes, that you persecute me to the worlds end, and torment me much more then my own ill-fortune. At a time, when my choicest Friends durst not hold any correspondence with me, and when it was dangerous even to write to me, you trample on all considerations, to tell me, you find me not very gallant, and that there is a Dwarf whom you are a thousand times more taken with then me.
My opinion is, Madam, that I have just cause to chide, and raise all these complaints. But that you may not be confirm'd in what you say of me, and to shew you that I am not so small a gallant, as not to entertain mildly what comes from so good, hands, I shall tell you, Madam, that,. I thought my misfortunes had been absolutely irrelieveable, and I had no sooner read over what you did me the honour to write, but they are extreamly moderated.
Herein you make it appear, that Fortune who hath the world under her feet, is her self under yours, and that you can pardon those, whom she condemns to be unhappy. Besides, if I am but under your good influence, I matter not the malevolence of the Stars, and though they all conspir'd my ruine, yet if you protect me, I shall think the better part of Heaven benevolent to me.
Forsake not, Madam, I beseech you, a person that reposes so much confidence in you. You are oblig'd to direct some of them hither to me, for I assure you all mine are for you, and the most passionate I own, are, that you want not any thing your Beauty and your Vertue merit. It is true I am also concern'd in that; and if so, there were no differences of parties, nor no distinction in the world, all men should have but one will, and the whole earth would obey you.
But if you will needs oblige me to believe you, command your Little man to write a Letter a thousand times more gallant then this. But though he had that advantage over me, I should have another which I esteem no lesse, which is, that I dare confidently say, I am, a thousand times more then he, or any whatever,. THough I may not be allow'd any satisfaction when I want your sight, yet it is some excuse, that I have not any but what I receive from you.
This obligation is so excessive, that I doubt much whether any besides my self could satisfie it. But if you please to consider, you will find I have long since paid all by the way of advance, and from the first moment I had the honour of your acquaintance, there hath not pass'd a day, wherein I have not deserv'd what ever good you should ever be able to do me.
I am confident, Madam, you will not attribute this to any vanity, but to an extraordinary apprehension of that passion wherewith I honour you, and to a certain faith I am of, that a perfect affection is to be preferr'd before all things.
And certainly herein you shew your self very just, in that, since you cannot make me full satisfaction, you strive to give me content otherwise, and cover an injustice with abundance of Civility. I wonder much, that when I receive from you a large pacquet, I find but one small Letter, and what comes through your hand makes but the least part of what comes from you. And as I very seldom had the honour to visit you at home, but there have been five or six persons in your chamber, so also you take occasion to engage as many into your Letters, and not to write to me but in publick.
If I mistake not, I discovered in your last certain lines drawn by the best hand in the world, and I have entertain'd them with so much veneration, as is requisite to compose the leaves, whereon a Sybil wrote her Oracles. I know not of what kind the affection is, which I have for that person, but I never hear or see any thing from him, which searches not into my very Soul, and I cannot apprehend how it comes to passe, that esteem and respect work in me the same effects as an over-violent passion.
The Lectures you read to me, and the Books you send me, contribute not a little thereto. I thank you for the Psalm, but why, in the condition I am in, do you send me such heavy things? I have at last gotten St. Paul's Epistles. It must be acknowledg'd she is a person very hard to be comprehended, and that if Madam de Rambouillet be the greatest perfection in the world, the Lady her Daughter is the more admirable. Be pleas'd, Madam, to understand the praises I give with their due restriction, knowing you as I do.
It hath hapen'd moreover very fortunately for me that I have not met with this expression of her understanding, but at a time when I had another of her Civility: for it would have troubled me very much not to love a person, whom I was oblig'd to esteem so highly.
This is one advantage that persons that are mischeivous have over those that are not, that all the good offices they do, are much better taken, and the rarity seems to set a value on the action. As for the reproaches which she hath in store to cast in my dish one day, 'tis a menace takes away nothing of the ambition I have to see her, and I shall so far justifie my self, that she shall acknowledg I have merited even in those things, wherein she thinks I have fail'd.
Amongst a many things which have given me extraordinary satisfaction in your Letter, I am particularly pleas'd at one thing you tell me, that, as you were writing, a deserving person was troubl'd that he was forced to retire at one of the clock in the morning, without seeing me. It is long since I have passionately wisht some assurance of the honour he does me in his remembrances.
I shall not stick to tell you, there is not any man in the world, for whom I have a greater respect; but I dare not acknowledg how much I love him, least the interest of your Husband oblige you to take it ill, and reproach me with an ill disposal of my affections. You, who hold it as a general rule, that all persons of that quality cannot love, ought to admit of some exceptions as to him; and as I have heard you often affirm, that he had more generosity then others, you may also conclude, he hath also more Friendship.
I can no more oppose this inclination then that I have for you, and you should not think it strange I should love an ungrateful man, when you know I have so long lov'd a woman, that is such. Nay, to be free with you, even at that time that I thought he had quite forgotten me, I have not passed a fair evening in the Prade, but I have wished him there. I know not whether your Servant hath done me the honour to write any thing to me, I am ever his most-humbly, with as much passion as ever, and it's not three days since I lock'd my self into a chamber, and in memory of him sung Pere Chambaut, half an hour together: There are at the bottom of your Letter three several hands, which I know not whose they are, and if I mistake not, never knew.
I had once resolv'd to have got them answer'd by three of my Friends, Spaniards; but I have not had the time, being on the eve of my departure. I hope to be gone hence within three or four days, in order to the progresse I writ to you of, as also to see Portugal and Andaluzia.
The danger I am like to meet with in this Voyage frighten me not at all, it may be I should meet with greater near you. All I am troubled at, is, that, if I chance to dy in it, Mademoiselle de Rambouillet will be much pleas'd to say, that three years since she foretold I should dye within four.
But, Madam, a preson concern'd in your prayers ought to hope for better fortune. I know not whether I have yet a long time to live, but me thinks I have a great many years to love you in, and therefore, my affection being so great and so perfect, I conceive it impossible, I should so soon quit the relation of. THere is nothing awanting to your fortunes, save that you have never been guilty of High-Treason, and now see I furnish you with a fair occasion for it.
Hence you may also inferre, that I would set any thing at stake to put you in mind of me, since I bring your self into danger, on whom I set a higher value then on all this world affords. This I tell you, Madam, in a time, when I would not dissemble, no, not in a Complement. For, that you may know how the case stands I have made an extraordinary advantage of the sickness which you have been told I have had. It hath engag'd me to take such good resolutions, that if I had them not, I should gladly purchase them with all the health I have.
I do not doubt but you will laugh at this, as knowing my weakness, and will think it unlikely for me to execute simple resolutions, who have broken so many vowes. And yet it is certain, that I have look'd on all the Spanish women as if they were no other then the Flemish of Brussels, and I hope to prove a vertuous man, instead of a man of this world, where there are so great temptations, and where Satan shelters himself under the handsomest shapes.
Though I have moderated all my affections, I cannot reduce that I bear you, to that point, wherein it is permitted we should love our neighbour, that is to say, as our selves, and I fear me, you have a greater part of my Soul, then should be bestow'd on a Creature. Be you pleas'd to consider, Madam, what remedy there is for it, or rather, what may be said to maintain it; for as to remedy, I cannot believe there is any, and withall that it is impossible, I should not, with all manner of passion, ever be,.
I cannot call by any other name the newes that engaged my return hither; and I assure you there are many sentences of death, that are not so cruell. But amidst all my disasters, I should do ill to complain, when you honour me with a place in your memory: and it were not hard, me thinks, to scorn the favours of fortune, when one is so happy as to enjoy yours.
I have been acquainted with the obligation I ought a Gentleman and a Lady, from whom I had receiv'd a many before and the pains they take to have an account of me. For the rest, they have sacrific'd so much to Silence, that I have not so much as heard them nam'd these six months. I know not whether it be forgetfulness or prudence, and to tell you truth, I know not what construction to make of it. I assure you Sir, it is the only consolation I have receiv'd in this Countrey, where the continual want of health makes me incapable of any diverssion, and where I have not seen any women unlesse it were in the Prade, or upon the Stage.
The artifices they use on this side, and the illusions wherewith they would appear what they are not, cannot represent any thing so beautiful; and the very white it self of this place, is not so white as she. The most accomplish'd beauties that are here can no more compare with hers, then brasse and ebony can Gold and Ivory, and between the handsom faces of this place and hers, there is a difference proportionable to that between a light Night and a fair day.
I therefore humbly beseech you, Sir, to remember that promise, and be pleas'd to have a care that the multitude of your adventures make you not forget any circumstance of it. Being put into this hope, there are no difficulties I should think insupportable, the Sea will afford me an easie passage to come and possess my self of so great advantages, and all the gallant men upon earth were once embarqu'd upon a design lesse considerable then this. But I must first dissolve the enchantments of Madrid, and overcome the destiny of this Court, which hath decreed, that every one be stay'd here ten or twelve months after the last day he proposed to himself to be here.
For, to be free with you, you are somewhat concern'd to be tender of a person who honours you with that sincerity I do, and bearing the character you do, there is nothing you cannot with more ease find, then affections pure and disinteress'd as mine.
Those that are in such places as yours, are commonly treated like Gods; many fear them, all sacrifice to them, but there are few that love them, and they more easily find Flatterers then Friends. For my part, Sir, I have only look'd upon your self abstracted from all things else, I see in you things greater and more shining then your Fortune, and such endowments as will not permit you to be an ordinary person. I then discovered you had such sound apprehensions of whatever men are surpriz'd by, that those things which they look'd on, as most considerable in you, were such as you made least account of; nor could any man judge more impartially of any third person, then you did of your self.
I must confesse, Sir, that at that time, seeing you perpetually engag'd on precipices, with a countenance cheerfully confident, and not thinking Constancy able to hold out at that rate, I found some reason to imagine you were not aware of them.
From that minute, Sir, I entred you into a List of three or four persons I love and honour beyond all the world besides, and made a great additional of respect and esteem to the passion I have ever had for you, which I afterward cast into a far greater affection. I could make no better use of them, then to return them upon your self, and if I use not the same, I confesse I shall be much troubl'd to find any to requite the honour you do me.
I am as much as any man acquainted with the delicacies of Spain, but if I mistake you not, Sir, you think there cannot be any so great for me, as to be near my friends, and if I have quarrell'd with Paris it self, by reason of my Masters absence, you should not think it strange I am grown weary of Madrid, and that I can take no pleasure in a place where I cannot have my health.
But though this passion were as unjust as you would have it, yet should you not reproach me with an injustice I am guilty of for your sake, nor take it ill, I over-passionately desire to see you. It is not by that posterity will judge of you. Fortune, who is alwayes unjust, will find out some other more to your advantage, and for these effigies, she will one day bestow Statues on you. All the changes she hath wrought in your life, seem to me like those pieces of Tale which is us'd on pictures, which alter nothing in the countenance, and only change what is about the person.
Thus does she make sport with great men, she loves to see them in divers shapes, and in a breath she advances those into a Chair of State, whom she had expos'd upon a Scaffold. Sir, I hope, at my arrival, to find that change, and for my own particular, I only desire I may soon have the honour to see you, and that all my fortunes were so engag'd in yours, that I might never be happy or unhappy without you.
He would have valu'd this honour more highly then the Persian Diadem, and he would not have envy'd Achilles the praises of Homer, might he have had yours. In like manner, Madam, the reputation you do me consider'd, if I envy his, it is not so much that he hath acquir'd, as what you have bestow'd on him, and he hath receiv'd no honours which I conceive not below my own, unless it be that you do him, when you call him your Gallant.
Neither his own vanity nor his Flatterers have ever advanc'd any thing so advantageous to him, and the quality of the Son of Jupiter Ammon was not so glorious as that. However it be, we may see in this the greatness of his Fortune, which not able to forsake him so many years after his death, addes to his conquests a person which celebrates them more then the wife and daughters of Darius, and hath reinfus'd into him a Soul greater then that of the world he hath subdu'd.
I should fear, by your example, to write in too high a stile, but can a man aim at one too high, speaking of you, and Alexander? I humbly beseech you, Madam, to assure your self I have for you the same passion, which you for him, and that the admiration of your Vertues shall ever engage me to be,.
However, I have received your commendations with much joy, not that I believe that of my self which you say of mee; but look on it, as a signal expression of your Friendship, and that you must needs have a great affection for mee, since that to favour mee, you have been surpriz'd in a thing, whereof you are otherwise so well able to judge. And that which raises me to a good opinion of your Friendship, I am more proud of, then what would have rais'd me to a good one of my self. But particularly for one of them, I would gather all the Flowers, and all the graces of Rhetorick, and should immediately write her a Love-Letter, so full of gallantry, that shee should bee ready to hearken to mee, at my return.
Since they are three, me thinks neither of then should take any offence at it. They were too too cruel to deprive me of the liberty of my wishes, aud hinder me from building Castles in the aire, since it is the only satisfaction I have. I begin now to entertaine a stronger hope of my return, then I have had hitherto.
The pleasure I shall find in leaving this place, will recompense the disturbance I have met with in it, and I feel, by way of advance, the joy I shall receive when I see you. Thus, Sir, is there a Mixtion of all things; good and ill are dispers'd every where, and when either of them is not at the beginning, it failes not to be at the end. I am as yet uncertaine which way to take, but think I shall take shipping at Lisbon. If it had been left to my choice, I would have pass'd through France, how dangerous soever it might have prov'd.
Not that I would be thought over-confident, or take, as you do, a dangerous way, when I may take another; but the shortest seems to mee ever the surest. Besides, to tell you truth, I could never imagine my self born to bee hang'd. In the mean time, while they charge me not to hazard my self, they cast me on the mercy of the Sea and Pirates.
To avoid here a long Catalogue of Names, which you say is troublesome, I present my services to none. I cannot apprehend, by what misfortune it hath happened, that I have heard nothing from them, having written two Letters to them. However I am confident, they cannot want a goodness for me, since they have so much for all the world.
At least, this hath been my course of life, since I left Madrid. In ten nights, I have made ten days-journey, and am got to Granada, without seeing the sun, unless it be at rising and setting. It is here so dangerous, that the comparison which Bordier made between him and some eyes, holds no longer: for as they did, so hee burns all hee sees, and is no lesse to be fear'd then the Elementary fire.
I have made a shift to escape him by the helpe of the darkness, having alwayes the whole Earth between us. I rest my self at this present in the shade of a mountaine of snow, wherewith this City is covered. By these markes, I think, I have sufficiently describ'd her. But it is a lamentable thing, Madam, that I am forc'd to speak with so much artifice and circumspection, and that I cannot easily bee perswaded to say, it is your self.
For your part, you cannot doubt of the passion wherewith I honour you, and know that I am but too much,. I Write to you in sight of the Coast of Barbary, and there is between me and it, but a channel three leagues broad, and yet is the Ocean and the Mediterranean sea both together. You will be astonish'd to find so far off a man, who takes so little pleasure in running, yet was in such hast to find you out.
Lucars, and Sevil, and so to Lisbonne. Sir, I have not yet had any occasion to repent me of this enterprise, which all the world thinks rashly undertaken in this season. Andalusia hath reconcil'd mee to all the rest of Spaine, and having pass'd through divers parts of it, I should have been troubled I had not seen it in that part where it is most beautiful. But I dare assure you it affords such a Melon, as would invite a man four hundred leagues to eat it, and that Land for which a whole Nation wandred so long in the desert, could not bee, in my opinion much more delicious then this.
I am waited on by Slaves, who might be my Mistresses, and, without danger, I can gather palmes any where. In the meane time, it may be much wondred at, that a man of such a Libertine humour as I am of, should make such hast to quit all this to find out a Master. But it must be acknowledg'd, that besides those glorious Vertues he derives from the greatness of his birth, his affability and goodness, the beauty and vivacity of his understanding, the delight wherewith hee heares good things, and the grace wherewith he entertaines others with them, are qualities hardly to be found any where else at the height they are in him, and were it not for the sight of something rare, that I wander about the world, I need go no further, but shall do better to get neer his person.
I consider every thing here with much more curiosity, then I have of my self, to satisfy one day that of his Highness. If this once granted, I desire any thing of you, it is onely that you bee pleas'd to see, that Time deprive me not of any part of that affection, whereof you have been so liberal towards mee.
But observe where the excesse of my own carries mee, in that it makes me distrustful of the most constant and most generous of mankind. Be not troubled to see mee break forth in gallantries so openly, the ayre of the Country hath inspird into me something of cruelty more then ordinary, whence it comes I am grown more consident, and whenever I shall treat hereafter with you, expect to find me as a Turk does a Moore.
For ought I hear, they are people not very easily accessible, I shall be much troubled to find them, I have been told, they should be at the bottom of Lybia, and that the Lyons of that quarter are lesse, both as to nobility and growth. Here may be had here for three Crowns the prettiest that can bee; it is but play with them, to carry away a mans hand or his arme, and, your self excepted, I never saw any thing more agreeable. Be pleas'd to prepare Mistres Anne to converse with them, and to give them the place of Dorinda.
There it is, Madam, where they will have occasion to be the cruellest creatures in the world, and think themselves the Kings of all others. But the greatest assurance I can give that the aire of Africa hath instill'd some barbarousness into mee, is, that I have now written three pages, and thought to have finish'd my Letter without speaking of M. I asture you, wherever I am, shee is ever in my heart and remembrance, and even at this moment, Ben che di tanta lontananza, li fo humilissima riverenza, and I am her most humble and most dutiful servant, Branbano.
I shall acquaint her with things strange and incredible, and for her Fables I shall give her History. Your Servant hath still in my mind the place his merit, and the affection hee honours mee with, may justly claime. If your inclinations are not chang'd, I am confident, my Lord, you will not censure this curiosity, and that amidst the felicity surrounds you, there are certain Houres when you envy the condition of a wretched exile.
By the pleasure I shall have to see all these things, you may easily judge, my Lord, that it is not alwayes Fortune makes men happy, and that there is not any so bad, wherein there may not bee good emergencies, if a man can but happen on them. If after this I may advance any particular wishes for my self, it is, that after so many wandrings, I might have the honour to entertain you therewith, and assure you, My Lord, that I resent, as I ought, the essential obligations I have to be,—.
But Madam, for a man that should have written a Love-letter to you, methinks I introduce many things which could not have been admitted hee. If you can help them by any invention to disguise themselves under a humane shape, you will do them a transcendent favour; for by that means they might do much more mischief, with more impunity. I assure you, Madam, they are accounted the cruellest and the most savage of all the Countrey, which I conceive you will be extreamly satisfy'd with. There are among the rest some whelps, who, by reason of their infancy, can only kill children, and worry sheep.
But I believe in time, they will prove good ones, and arrive to the vertue of their fore-fathers. At least, I am confident, they shall find nothing about you that shall make them degenerate or abate their courage, and that they shall be as well brought up, as if they were lodg'd in the shady Forrests of Africa. SInce my departure from Madrid, it hath cost me, to get this place, the travel of two hundred and fifty Spanish Leagues, which signifie little lesse then five hundred French; it is not ill gone of a man that had a pair of Leggs so intractable, that it was reproach'd to him he was not able to goe.
I have thought all this pains well employ'd, when at my arrival at this place, I have met with the Letters you were pleas'd to send me of the third of July. And though I was shown at Sevil, all the riches of the Indian Fleet, and saw six millions of Gold in one chamber, yet I may presume to say, I met not with so great Treasures as that you sent me.
And certainly, this joy should have been greater, then a man so disaccustom'd to have any could have born, if it had not been moderated by the newes you send me of your own indisposition. The colick could never hitherto take in all my patience, but taking me that way, it hath made a shift to conquer it, and grief seizes the most apprehensible part of me, when it assaults you. I am extreamly cast down to see my soul divided between two bodies so weak as yours and mine, and that I am forc'd to be alwaies sick of your miseries or my own.
In fine, Madam, I perceive there must be found out for me some more substantial remedies then the Ejacle; we shall be forc'd to submit to the advice of Physitians, and must resolve rather that one Vertue then two vertuous persons should miscarry. Charity, which is the principal, obliges us to have a compassion on our selves, and since grief and sickness are the effects of sin, and one of the curses which attend it, we should do all that lies in our power to avoid it, and consequently be the more careful of our health.
I came out of Madrid contrary to the consent of all, with that little Prudence, which you know the Philosophers of that Sect, whereof your Husband is, admit in any thing relates to their pleasure; and in a season when the Spaniards dare hardly creep out of their houses, I had design'd to run through the greatest part of Spain, and to spend the month of August in the hottest place of Europe. In the mean time, I have, thankes be to God, effected my design, and now that I am gotten into Portugal, I laugh at those who said, I went to end my days in Andaluzia.
The Sun, which here cleaves the earth, and scorches the Rocks, found it a hard task to warm me, and I have not met with any inconvenience in this journey, save only one night that I had not cloathes enough about me. Three men, who came out with me, have been forc'd to stay by the way. I would gladly know, if there be any Astrologer, who having seen me ten years since in St. Denis's street in my round cap, could tell me, whether I run a great hazard of rowing in the Galleys of Algier, or being devour'd by the Fishes of the Atlantique Sea.
But in case it be destin'd I should be taken by the Pirates, I wish I may fal into the hands of a famous Courser, which I have heard Mademoiselle de Rambouillet somtimes name, and whose name hath somthing in it, makes me have an inclination for him. If Mademoiselle de Rambouillet can guesse at him in four times, and afterwards name him without laughing, I will give her a little combe was presented to me yesterday, which had been made for the Queen of China.
However, I am not much troubled about my ransome, or that I shall be forc'd to redeem my Liberty, for the Captain of the Ship hath assur'd me, I need not break my sleep for that, and hath sworn he would fire the ammunition first. Judge now whether I could have met a more favourable opportunity. All consider'd, I cannot but think this voyage will prove fortunate to me.
I hope the Zephyrs, which are listed among the mild spirits, will be merciful to me, and that before this Letter comes into France, I may be in England. I humbly beseech you, Madam, to do me the favour to assure the former of the two persons, whom I just now mentioned, that, though I shift places so much, she hath still that in my memory she was ever wont to have.
That, wherein she was so favourable to me, raises me to a greater satisfaction of my self, then ever I had in my life: and the value she sets upon me, coming from so good a hand, seems to me, to be beyond any.
There could not any thing have hapned more to my advantage, then to receive this honour from a person that can so well judge of it, and of whom it may be truely said, never Lady so well understood gallantry, and the Gallants so ill. I have onely to wish, that when this favour was done me, it had been express'd in other termes, then saying, she gave el precio de mas galan al Re Chiquitto.
I am never so proud as when I receive her Letters, nor ever so humble, as when I am to answer them, and consider how far my wit is below hers. I would gladly, Madam, say some thing here of that person, who may be ever commended, yet never enough, and I could wish there were words as fair, and as good as she, to speak of her accordingly: but there is no language in the world can reach that, and the utmost effort of the imagination, can only conceive somthing worthy of her.
I thank Madam de Clermont, that the extraordinary heats of Andaluzia have not made me sick, and that I have had good weather both times that I pass'd the streights. I begge the continuance of her favours, and her faith, that I shall never forget such essential obligations.
I shall fully discover between this and England, how great the affection is, she is pleas'd to honour me with. I divide a thousand thanks between her and her Sister, for the honour of their remembrances of me. But, Madam, this is the fift Page I have written, without writing to you, and when you have read so many things directed to others, not saying any thing to you, me-thinks it might be ask'd you, Why so mealy-mouth'd are you for no Cake? You know it is your fault rather then mine.
If you have a mind to any, you need but say so, you shall have all I promise you, and consequently the shares of all the rest. I know well enough, it is no place of rest, and think Africa affords not any more hot, nor is there any Gulph in the Sea knows more agitation. Yet all hinders not, but I am infinitely glad to be there, and think my self extream happy, to have so much room in the best heart of France. If besides there are only hands and feet left, I doubt not but the hands are fair, and the feet clean, and there would be some I should kiss with all my heart.
She writes of the oppression that religion had on her when she was young and how it pushed her towards seeking a better life. Starting the work with a notion of pain and suffering during the journey ensures that her words are not heard as attacking but rather as lamenting. Her story brings to mind some interesting questions. At what point is religion being used to defend a cultural way of life? And at what point is religion simply the scapegoat? Hirsi Ali had a horrible experience with religion that eventually led her to become an atheist.
However, at what point is her focus on Islam truly Islam and at what point is it the culture in which Islam found itself? Or, are Islam and the culture separable and Islam is truly to blame for her oppression? These are just some of the questions that the text leaves me with. She grew up in Somalia and from an early age learned the hard lesson of submission to the will of Allah.
As a little girl though she could help but wonder why her opinion was inherently less valid then her brothers. Reading trashy Western romance novels demonstrated for her that an alternative world existed where girls could exercise personal choice.
So, when her dad arranged her marriage to a stranger, she ran away to Holland. It was at University, while reading Enlightenment philosophers, that she first realized she was an unbeliever. The relief was immediate and palpable. No more future hell-fire and, more importantly, her moral compass was located within herself, not an ancient book. As a new Atheist she frequented Museums in order to see really old dead people. Faced with bones thousands of years old, she realized that if it had taken Allah this long to raise the dead, then the chances of retribution for her enjoying her life were slim.
That is to say, I did not experience the lack of individual freedom she did. For some reason I always assumed I would not be taken on the first round and would certainly have to suffer a bit longer than others for my sins. How would I fend for myself in their absence? I had few practical survival skills and no guns.
This was also the era of purity vows and a push for abstinence. Fear of hell and Evangelical sexual ethics proved a powerful concoction that fueled a yearly cycle liturgy if you will of consistently surrendering my life to Jesus each Fall and Summer at Youth Camps. How long should we keep waiting?
Even in the way that it is phrased, it seems that Ali was an atheist long before she was able to fully make the transition out of Islam. As she describes it, her sexual desire and her subordinate status under her husband eventually led her to escape altogether. Once in the Netherlands, she found solace in the ideas of European thinkers. After reading The Atheist Manifesto , Ali describes her relief and clarity at admitting her atheism to herself.
This transition was not without its challenges, as she had to come to grips with what would happen to her after death and with choosing her own morality. I feel that desire too and wonder what kind of choice I will make about how to relate to both my Christianity and to the Christian communities that I have been a part of.
That sense of relief that she felt in rejecting the supernatural is also something that I have felt. However, it is pointing out that there are no easy answers for death and for morality in atheism, either. I certainly agree that life remains ambiguous and that there are certain forms of behavior, such as those in which one partner dominates another, which should be excluded. The task of rationally justifying such an ethic now falls to all of us who would reject superstition outright.
However, we must still contend with the potential insights that religion might offer, even if it takes a great deal of work to untangle them from a too fantastical cosmology. She notes that, from childhood, the tenets of her faith consistently seemed incongruent with her own ideas concerning justice and tolerance.
Describing her personal rebellion against her religious community, Ali outlines fleeing from an unwanted arranged marriage and seeking refuge in a largely secular society. She begins her new life merely questioning her beliefs but describes how she ultimately abandoned Islam, intentionally neglecting to replace her faith with an alternative religious practice.
Perhaps more striking, however, is her emphasis on the value of personal accountability in living an honest and meaningful life while divorcing oneself from theism. Such a life lacks both individuality and a personal ethic. This is precisely the existence she rebels against and why I find her writing to be deeply compelling. Ayaan Hirsi Ali explores her pilgrimage to atheism, her journey to becoming an infidel in the gaze of Allah and the rest of Muslim culture.
Ali notes her early existential fulfillment to love Allah and be a good daughter for her clan. The fear of hell further instilled these Somali-male dominated values. An everlasting fire burns you forever for your flesh chars and your juices boil. Atheism as a reaction to a cultural upbringing is a fascinating phenomenon within the previous years, I am unaware of recorded cultural reactionary atheism prior to the enlightenment. Anderson rejects theistic accounts of morality, then claims that moral knowledge springs not from revelation but from people's experience.
She also criticizes various aspects of theism, such as evidence of existence of God, presence of evil, fundamentalism, cruelty of God in the Old Testament, and other doctrinal issues. And she suggests her perspective on issues of moral embarrassments of Christianity, both good and evil teaching, and ascribing of evil in the Bible. In this text, Elizabeth Anderson shows a fairly plausible criticism on Christianity. Though She denies all kind of theism, it is clear that the target of her criticism is Christianity.
To my surprise, she cites a lot of texts of the Bible. However, I think her approach on the Bible is too literal. Nonetheless she criticizes Christian fundamentalists, she also commits same mistake. For literalism has been the most critical issue of exegesis in Christian history, I think that keeping a balance between literalism and allegorism is very important. The Bible is not just a textbook of morality or a technical manual for good living, because it contains various aspects of human lives as well as theological insights and testimonies.
In addition, I think she misunderstands about revelation, judgment, and satisfaction. Notwithstanding her accounts in text is not convincing at all to me, her criticisms of literalism and historical wrongs of Christianity are worthy of mention. Her writing style is intellectual and direct, if not blunt at times.
In opposition to globally recognized beliefs that it is faith by way of religion that holds society together, Anderson submits it is community, a sense of living together in cooperation, that is the societal adhesive. While Anderson praises moral arguments in Scriptures that align with the aforementioned moral rules, she ultimately denounces religion and distills it to a pernicious farce founded on a scapegoat mentality and perpetuating mostly evil and wickedness in this world.
What did this verse mean? As an evangelical theist, I believed in God's manifest action in the world and acted in accordance the will of God as it was preached to me. This was the beginning of my developing a layered theology-theology organized according to importance. As a changed my major to sociology, my faith also shifted to the macro. Justice and living fully so that my neighbor could live fully was and is paramount.
In light of this, my little acts of perceived sexual immorality weren't that big a deal. Or were they? Are they? Anderson purports that we have individual agency and keen rational abilities, yet we need life together for survival. Now, I'm married. Now, I have a child. Is my individual sensuality and sexuality a weapon of mass destruction? Is it as acetone to the social glue? If not beneficial, it is permissible, right?
At what cost? If not for my religious upbringing, would I even be asking these questions? How does my porneia affect future generations? Is it in step with nature or evolutionary biology? Anderson's logical understanding of the world certainly seems to simplify things. Stick to the real and big things.
Elizabeth Anderson weaves an argument for atheism by tracing and flipping two traditional theist attacks against atheism. The first and arguably more culturally entrenched argument against atheism is the morality argument. Simply put, atheism is the source of humanity's ills, massacres, and general moral ineptitude. In contrast, theism, by which Anderson means the Abrahamic religions, is the source of morality, with its moral authority resting in God.
The secondary argument against atheism concerns proving God's existence, which itself is dovetailed with the morality argument. If God does not exist, does morality matter? God must exist because morality does. Rather than defending atheism against the morality argument, Anderson subjects theism to the same test, querying whether fundamentalist renderings of biblical inerrancy and competing liberal interpretations of the biblical account of God and God's morality can withstand the scrutiny of modern moral standards.
Anderson argues there is much in the Bible that is clearly reprehensible, such as the genocides of the Old Testament, Paul's scapegoating of Jesus under God's judgement, and the apocalyptic destruction promised in the New Testament. She also notes much that is good from the Bible, notably its progressive ordering of land usage and usury to benefit the poor. Fundamentalist theologies fail the morality test for Anderson because they cannot clearly acknowledge and distinguish the good and bad morals from the Bible.
Liberal theologies escape that criticism but fail to convince Anderson due in large measure to the inconsistencies of theism's source material. Anderson argues that the contradictory messages of theism and all religions are the result of humanity's psychological drive to make sense of meaningless suffering.
Not only are the moral arguments all religions make the same pan-culturally, but so too are their claims for the existence of their particular God s. The moral argument alone destabilizes their source material, which in turn destabilizes their already shaky claims for the supreme truth of their particular religious systems. In place of religion-centered moral authority, Anderson wants to create a system of reciprocal human moral claims, for which atheism is well suited.
The moral argument then is not the bulwark of theism, but the province of atheism. Anderson's arguments against fundamentalist moral interpretations are trenchant critiques of western theism. Similarly, her preference for a human-centered, reciprocal-claims-based morality is promising and in line, at least rudimentarily, with most forms of western, democratic social contract theories.
I have two objections to Anderson. First, simply because one rejects inerrancy, must one also discard the whole of religious texts? Religious texts are about so much more than moral authority or proving the existence of God, both of which are primarily modern, western preoccupations. There is much within orthodox Christianity that struggles deeply with the seeming moral ambivalence and absence of God without tripping over fundamentalism.
Robert Neville is a theologian who embraces the ability of broken of religious symbols to convey ultimate meaning. One need not refute all religious symbols when one renounces inerrancy. My second objection is in regard to the adequacy of human-based morality and really all morality, including God-based morality. Take for instance Herman Melville's Moby Dick , in which the predestining God of Calvin is placed alongside perilous nature in the form of the whale, whose inscrutable malice dashes the Pequod as if it were no more than a fly.
For Melville, morality is not the province of God. Rather, morality is left in the hands of the Pequod's captain and crew, who fail to live despite all of their moral claims upon each other. Starbuck's entreaties, Pip's death, or even Ahab's duty to the shareholders of the Pequod are enough to restrain Ahab's quest.
Are humans ever able to live together morally? She identifies the discomfort theists have toward atheists as the fear that without God, there can be no morality. Anderson argues that theism causes more grounds for immorality than atheism, then goes on to define what she means by theism and makes her case with strong arguments supported by scripture.
Anderson concludes by stating that we as individuals have the authority to create moral rules through reciprocal claim making It was delivered well and maintained a cool rational quality despite the fact that she was clearly offended by the charge of immorality given to atheists. While I believe it was necessary for her to turn the tables on her accusers, I didn't buy her entire argument. There is a need for believers to keep their religion from being co-opted for injustice, just as all citizens have the responsibility to keep their secular government from power corruption and immorality.
Theists and atheists both have the responsibility to keep power from corrupting their morals. Believers believe for a reason, many because of their personal religious experience, but Anderson never addresses why believers might want to believe in addition to the morality they perceive their religion brings. Her argument would be strengthened if she gave theists a way to check the morality of their own religion.
Elizabeth Anderson seeks to answer, and deny, the claim that without God we would descend into rampant immorality. Anderson flips the argument on its head by showing that theism leads to the belief that heinous acts are moral.
To build this argument she cites a variety of passages from the bible that describe God as committing and condoning acts that are universally considered immoral. Since Anderson equates theism with following scripture she concludes that belief in God commits one to an ambiguous morality at best.
It is a shame that such an elegant argument hinges on such a shallow understanding of religion. On one hand she seems to say that morality exists independent from theism, yet at the same time she is painting a picture of immorality bound to theism. Sure, you lose the great chance to call religion immoral but you gain the opportunity to explore the actual nature of morality.
Elizabeth Anderson presents a convincing argument concerning atheism and morality. Between the vengeful God of the old testament and the harsh words of Jesus in the new testament, religion has no logical grounds to say that God is completely moral. First this would affirm that morality is something set apart from God; God is not necessarily moral in scripture.
For more moderate religious individuals Anderson makes the clever argument hat a contemplation of morality should actually lead believers away from God rather than toward one. Since the stories in scripture of God acting immorally must be seen as such, one comes to realize that morality must exist apart from a theistic God. And if God is not necessary for morality, what is the point in belief anyway? It is a clever way to justify why morality matters even outside of the context of religion.
I understood her argument for morality through the view of an atheist to be primarily enforced and established by the government and a common sense mentality. Her argument focuses primarily on turning the burden of sin back to the theist. At the point where we lose an authority completely removed from human experience, we can really appreciate the value of morals.
Still, I would question as humanity becomes more autonomous and individual if attacking theist is really the best use of argument. Morality springs from communal interaction. At the point where atheism gives not president or grounding for community, I wonder if theism still has something deep to offer in the community it provides that Anderson overlooks.
For the majority of theists, religion seems to provide a point of holding human experience in common. I get the feeling from Anderson that she thinks the world might be more moral without theism. If the world became completely atheistic, I wonder what might bind humanity to the other? Religion gives a framework to see morality in a global sense and a system that confronts many individuals on a frequent basis.
At the point where an atheistic argument of this sort does not present a more advantages alternative, I wonder why the author really thinks it is important. This is mainly based on the idea that without reward and punishment, there is no moral authority and any system that gives credence to that should not be followed.
She then uses the rest of her essay to systematically break down the flaws in this argument. Anderson spends most of the essay citing multiple evidences from the Bible of how God is morally bankrupt and that if one were to try to say that God is the ultimately line of morality, that morality is unclear and at times very apparently evil. Towards the end of the essay she expands to speaking more broadly of religion in general and how a moral dependence upon God is inadequate.
Critique: I thought Anderson spent a little too much time criticizing evil deeds in the Bible. She begins to do it a bit towards the end of the essay but still does not do it justice in my opinion. The phrasing of the title sounded much more like she was going to display a defense of secular morality but she spent most of her time attacking the morality of theism.
Elizabeth Anderson engages a question that many other authors in compilations such as The Portable Atheist tend to merely flirt with: the existence of morality in the absence of God. Their primary attack on evolutionism, Anderson notes, is not scientific but moral. They accuse unbelief of fostering immorality, which leads her to explore this premise further, namely the Divine Command theorist perspective that the word of God dictates morality.
In light of this, we must turn to something else. Anderson denies the acceptance of other forms of religious moral code via revelation or other extraordinary sources on a lack of credibility. While many authors in this kind of collection jump at the chance to point out biblical evidence for an unloving, immoral creator, Anderson takes the time to also identify and examine the arguments often made by her opponents, and does so with grace and thoughtfulness.
Anderson is clearly on the search for truth that can be validated and proven, which I cannot help but admire, despite my disagreement with her conclusions. It is often helpful, in the piles of scalding and disrespectful literature on these topics, to find a thoughtful writer who wishes to engage in critical thought with her opponents rather than destroy their personhood.
In her essay, Elizabeth Anderson argues that God is not necessary for morality to exist. She contests the notion that atheism inevitably leads to immorality and systematically deconstructs what she considers the fundamental arguments for an ethic predicated on theistic assumptions and beliefs. Her assertion throughout the piece is a very definitive stance is not merely that morality can be cultivated and maintained independent of religion.
Anderson contends that the ethical principles that govern society may in fact do better without the input of religious doctrine. At any rate, she estimates that a belief in God does little to trigger or enhance our ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. She concludes by rejecting all forms of theism and supernatural thought, proposing that in its place humanity adopt a system of moral rules whose authority rests within the individual, of which she concedes is not absolute.
Although at times she ignores the nuances contained in New Testament texts and interprets its components at face value, she does not exclude from the discussion the fact that religious teachings and texts often contain ethical prescriptions that are beneficial to practitioners and perhaps even the larger society. Rather than deny or ignore them, she insists that these moral teachings exist independently of a divine agent and goes so far as to argue that appeals to a divine authority may undermine their legitimacy.
Overall, Anderson offers a fair critique of religion, religious ethics, and the scant evidence for God while admitting her own biases along the way and presenting a viable alternative in the place of faith based moral frameworks. His experience does not incline him ro believe the existence of a supernatural deity. While believing that consciousness does not disappear with death, he refuses the idea of future lives. By presenting views from different atheistic philosophers such as McTaggart and Broad , he emphasizes his thesis again that there is no God.
His near death experience is a result of his brain working even while his heart had ceased to beat. It is fascinating to see that Ayer mentions Greek mythology in his article. In Chinese mythology, there is also a river of Death. Dead people have to come across the river, drink a special soup that takes their memories away, and be ready for the next life.
Ayer mentions Greek mythology because he wants to prove that he is not ignorant of things that theists might want to believe. I am curious in knowing how he explains the overlap between Greek mythology and Chinese mythology. In my interpretation, the significance of the river in Greek or Chinese mythology is that it represents the hope of a future life. When dead people come across the river, the water flows in them. The river water washes away from them the dust of their former life. They are renewed.
If they are able to come across the river, each of them will become a new person. Ayer does not believe Greek mythology because he rejects the idea of a future life. I do not believe it, either. I do not know what is going to happen if dead people cannot pay for the ferryman. What kind of currency does Charon accept?
If they have bodies, will they drown if they fall down from the boat? If they are spirits, why do spirits have to rely on a boat? I do not think the author s of the story can answer my questions. The Greek or Chinese mythology is only a fiction. However, unlike Ayer, I believe there is a future life. I guess every Christian wants to have an enteral life in the Kingdom of Heaven after their death.
Claiming that there is no future life is cruel. If I was an atheist, I would not make a statement like this, even though I might think the idea of having a future life is ridiculous. The expectation of a future life is the hope that encourages miserable people to sustain their lives. If they are unable to get rid of troubles in their current lives, they need to know one day maybe in the next life that difficulties will be gone.
Troubles are not going to stay forever. I do not care whether there is a future life or not. What I care about is how the expectation of a future life functions in a positive way to help people survive from the misery of their lives. Ayer and other atheist have the right to defend their disbelief in having a future life, but they should be careful not to deprive hope from the spiritual world of disadvantaged people.
It is as cruel as telling a small child who has been waiting for her Christmas presents for a year that Santa Claus does not exist. The essay is A. Ayer describes his vision, while apparently unconscious, of an intense light accompanied by several entities that he mysteriously knew were associated with space and time. Supposing these experiences were not firings of an oxygen-deprived brain—which he later argued was a likely explanation—Ayer reflects on problems that arise with the notion of body-less identities such as an immortal soul.
If another world or worlds exist radically unlike this world, what happens to our epistemology of possibilities? If our data from this world do not correspond to the truths of other existing worlds, most propositions about our world would be rendered questionable. This would be doubly true if these worlds were linked by the migration of identities from one to another. The small allowance Ayer makes is an admittedly honest turn given an uncanny experience, however its ambiguity later warranted a weakening of his initial statements Ayer doubts that he saw something from another world, but the possibility haunts his readers.
Unsettled by how the dark chasm of the possible could spit, spew, or send anything conceivable in our direction, we find ourselves in deep doubt. The night where all cows are black may produce aberrations of probability. Other worlds may be—it is as if Ayer gives permission to possibility as it peers at us through the smallest fissures within our world.
In that moment when the possible invades, justification and rationality only do what they can do. In That Undiscovered Country , the influential Atheistic-English philosopher AJ Ayer retells his experience of death and subsequent resuscitation and explains how this experience has influenced some of his philosophical beliefs.
Medically, he was dead. However, Ayer recalls the experience vividly. Ayer recalls experiencing of an intense, bright red-light that seemed to govern the universe. The red-light had two ministers that helped govern space. However, before Ayer was to affect any change he woke from his experience. As a philosopher, Ayer has since reflected on his experience. First, he concludes that the most probable explanation for his NDE was that his brain continued to function in some sense while his heart stopped.
Next, he considers how such a life-at-death could be possible. Ayer concludes that personal identity necessarily requires one or more bodies through time that a person might occupy. Therefore, any personal identity after-death must be bodily. Lastly, even if there is such a future life, it would not prove the existence of god. Since, according to Ayer there are no good reasons to believe god create presides over the present world, there is no good reason to believe that god presides over the next world.
I think too often analytic philosophers act as though personal experiences are not involved in rational discourse because, then, not everyone is working with the same evidence. On the other hand, personal experiences seem to be an important factor in what people find rational and irrational.
This might be true. Of course, I would push back and want Ayer to describe what kind of afterlife he has in mind. Putting back together seems to requires some kind of intelligent agent. Which afterlife? John Betjeman from here John Betjeman, "In Westminster Abbey" Response by Sarah Goodloe: The quick, personal, self-centered prayer of a churchwoman is portrayed tongue-in-cheek in rhyming verse by Betjeman.
First she prays for God to bomb the Germans but to spare their women if possible; if God cannot do this, she says she can forgive Him. Then she shows racial bigotry in asking protection for allied troops, especially white ones. She smoothes over her own sins, and seems to offer her service to God if God will grant her petitions.
Taking personal prayer to an extreme, he truly indicts many a Christian or supposed Christian whose faith or prayer-life is more ego- than theo-centric. Certainly this parody would have been equally fitting for many American churches in the wake of the September 11th attacks, when it was so easy for American theists to presume that the God of America was on their side, reducing or rallying? Christians ought not be blindsided by the inappropriateness of this attempt to use or manipulate God.
The Catholic Church emphasizes the transnational and trans-temporal community of saints such that personal prayer ought to be addressed to Our Father. Betjeman succeeds in showing a form of personal prayer which is inappropriate and ridiculous. In his satirical prayer written in England, Betjeman tells the prayer of a woman requesting of the Lord many trivial actions.
She provides first an opening to the prayer, and quickly asks the Lord to bomb the Germans. Being written in , it is difficult to imagine that this was not a direct attack at prayers that Betjeman might have heard firsthand. She then requests that He spare German women, but assures that if it not done, they will forgive the mistake. Only so long as she is not bombed herself. This woman in prayer goes on to agree that she will attend Evening Service, given that her schedule allows.
But even this must be good enough, for she asks the Lord to reserve her a crown and protected finances. By the end, she rushes out of her prayer to make a lunch date. It is nothing short of ridiculous to assume that Christians cannot laugh just as quickly as atheists at this unsettlingly accurate portrayal of Christian prayer. However, I am not one to subscribe to the thought that any good criticism of an action or organization demands it to be shut down altogether.
Instead, it ought to bring about critical reflection and reform to how Christians understand and practice prayer. While we work to improve our relationship with the Divine, atheists can continue to gather, laugh about how stupid we sound, and write more wonderful satire. Chapman Cohen is trying to establish atheism at the base of Monism.
He emphasizes the importance of the individual in todays society. About the Monistic view of the individual, Cohen describes that it is utterly devoid of the dynamic which can generate any great social reform. And about the relations of the individual to society, he concludes that the society is not a mere aggregate of individual human beings but more powerful one, with examples of an army and a chemical compound.
According to Cohen's opinion, society and the individual can not exist without each other. In this manner, he criticizes the individualism of Christianity, and deal the individual and society in terms of Monism. Cohen's accounts in this text are political and sociological rather than religious. He criticizes theism and Christianity for their excessive undue emphasis on the individual. I feel that he regards that kind of individualism as a primary cause of modern social problems.
I can partially agree with him for the historic example of the medieval church, because people merely believed salvation of individual soul at that time. However, the reason why I cannot totally agree is, Christianity has its social vocation. Human being who experienced salvation in the grace of God, will become a better individual, and will try to make a better society and world in the love of God.
Chapman Cohen was a man of his era, an age awash in scientific and evolutionary thinking. His worldview reflected the new paradigm in that it criticized theism in the face of monism, which disallows both the differentiation of fundamental parts of reality and the necessity for some sort of interfering or guiding divine principle.
Cohen argues that monism, as well as beliefs such as Spinoza's pantheism, ultimately qualifies as atheism due to its denial of personal theism. With these ideas as his foundation, Cohen's piece focuses on the nature of the individual and society through Christian and monistic lenses.
Facing theological criticism of monism as dooming the individual, Cohen writes that the individual is not and cannot be lost because it is an integral part of the greater societal system. It is impossible to discuss the individual outside the context of his or her history, social situation, etc. Instead, he writes that morality is defined by societal forces which work themselves into the individual.
Essentially, the good of the group will equal the good of the individual. As far as Cohen's ideas on the individual and society go, I find little to disagree with. To believe that a society is simply the sum of individual, all-wondrous human beings is silly. Cohen is absolutely correct in removing humanity from its peak upon the universal scale of importance, though I highly doubt his argument would have any traction on those of faith who hold humanity's divinely ordained centrality as their core principle.
On the other hand, I find significant fault with the underlying nature of Cohen's arguments. His place in history contributes to both his fervor and his blindness. Coming up in the age of evolution and scientific discovery has created in him a worldview that accepts everything as a causal process that can be, in time, scientifically studied and analyzed. Thus his presentation of the individual and society has taken evolution and its tangential implications as complete and unalterable facts, quite the danger for a truly inquiring scientific mind.
Even more dangerous, though, are the applications of this worldview to the monistic reality Cohen attempts to promote. However, as more sober reflections on the theory of evolution and modern discoveries about the nature of fundamental reality have emerged, his argument has the stains of scientism. In sum, this essay shows Cohen as both a brilliant sociologist and a short-sighted scientist. Cohen discusses the ubiquity of narratives of gods intervening in births.
Why were all these gods and demi-gods born in this manner? But what about scientific discoveries? He feels these should eradicate our superstitions. Death and birth, for example, were once conceived through superstition. Then came biology and we understood the reality of procreation in a purely physical way.
Regardless, people still want to hold to the virginal conception of Jesus. In this way we may overcome our superstitions. Lots of parallels. He only shows that people from time immemorial have held such beliefs. But why does this fact negate the beliefs? Simply by appeal to lack of Enlightenment-Rationalist-Empiricism? Summary: In this essay Chapman Cohen presents an argument that secularism is in fact more cohesive and more monistic than any religion.
He argues that all religions necessarily are dualistic or pluralistic. He argues that secularism is the only framework in which there are no breaks in the laws of nature or general foundation for the universe.
He argues that everything can be traced back to a cause or an influence. He also spends a fair amount of time defending the idea that secularism does not degrade the importance of the individual but rather highlights their importance through a framework of evolutionary lineage, or a chain-link. He provides numerous examples as to why this is the case.
Critique: I really liked this article a lot. I think it became a bit weaker towards the end when he tried to delve more into real-world examples rather than just theory but overall I thought it was great. I loved the argument where he constantly acknowledges that Christianity focusing on the individual makes it no better than secularism focusing on the society as a whole.
He used a great example with the sunset. He is also right in that secularism is the only thing that really can be shown to be monistic. There is no break in the order from the beginning to the end. Everything is a string of actions and reactions. Everything has a cause to it that can be scientifically traced back. He said one line in particular that stuck with where he mentioned that any seemingly break there would be in the line does not mean that there was an actual break, but rather that their is a gap in knowledge on our part.
Like with other stories, Christianity appears to be dealing with the problems of birth and of death. It is precisely misunderstandings about sex that Cohen sees as contributing to fantastical stories about supernatural birth and the kinds of religious practices that were believed to be needed in order for a woman to conceive. The Christian story is wrapped up in what Cohen sees as primitive beliefs, especially the claim that Jesus was born of a virgin mother.
Whatever interpretations and understandings later develop from sex have to be traced back to these initial supernaturalist understandings of conception. Cohen ends his essay with the point that missionaries fail to see that their own understanding of the virgin birth is wrapped up in the primitive religion of the very people that they try to convert.
One could certainly see how Jesus was perhaps born out of wedlock and how the story of the miracle of the virgin birth was created as a way for Mary to save face. I do wonder, though, if the Jewish people of the time were so unsophisticated as to have the understanding of sex that Cohen presents. Unfortunately, because the virgin birth is presented as a singular act, it is unverifiable in any scientific sense.
I certainly agree with Cohen that the event itself was altogether unlikely. However, his overall interpretation of the historical time period appears to miss the sophistication of the Greco-Roman world at the time. In other words, there are no distinctions such as that purported between God and Earth or natural and supernatural. Offering a fairly naturalistic conception of the world, Cohen argues that atheism is the logical conclusion to rational thought; no natural sequences suspended or broken by supernatural interference.
He contests what he deems as an overly individualistic conception of humanity, asserting that Christianity is wrong to posit the individual as taking any metaphysical priority in the cosmos. Further, he notes the dynamic relationship found between individual and nature that is uniquely propositioned by monistic thought.
Cohen emphatically suggests that. Overall, individuals need not maintain the primacy they are given in Christian thought to be of significant consideration. The world must be understood as a holistic operating system, with each component acting as an influential force on the agents within it.
It is true that Christianity contains a distinctively social dimension predicated on individual interactions and collective efforts. Thus, Christianity is an interactive process between individual and environment. However, religious doctrines promoted by the Christian church tend to see individuals, not as the summation of external and internal factors working together, but as the product of an otherworldly divine process. It plays out as a deterministic account of human life, fixing them atop an undeserved pedestal amongst the order of creation.
Cohen rightly removes humanity from our self designated throne, contesting arguments that posit a universe divided between the spiritual and the material. He refers to our species as a biological phenomenon that is fundamentally not disguised in any supernatural process but is instead grounded in a natural web of causation. In this paradigm, humanity is not given preferential treatment by virtue of their relationship to a perceived divine other. Rather, humanity is inextricably connected to the natural processes that lead to the emergence of life in the universe.
Such a conclusion only expands how we might think of ourselves in relation to the contingent world around us, lending a far more accurate lens with which to view life through. Conrad straightforwardly explains why he has no need of superstitious thinking that is common among the religious. What religion contributes is extraneous. Neither do the characters of The Shadow Line reveal anything necessarily supernatural in their experiences. Conrad raises some examples from the story and shows each can be explained naturally.
Refuting the notion that supernaturalism lies at farthest reaches of his imagination, Conrad insists that he never ceases to find natural matters worthy of all his imaginative powers. Besides being superfluous for a mind so imaginative, religious superstition violates what is most sacred in human life in view of inevitable death.
This is Conrad's anti-supernaturalist claim. Conrad's brief author's note for his sea-novel The Shadow Line attempts to defend the novel from two misreadings. First, Conrad wishes to distance the seemingly autobiographical tone of the novel from the actions of his life. Much of the material Conrad drew from his work as a captain in the Eastern Seas and as such it benefits from his experience.
Second, Conrad articulates a clear distinction between the merely supernatural and the marvels and mysteries of natural life. Conrad explicitly states his avowed naturalism as well as the wholly naturalistic scope of his imagination. The world is enough to confound, terrorize, and enchant us without the need for the supernatural, which would desecrate the profound depths of consciousness and memory. In truth, Conrad wishes the shadow line to reference the demarcation from carefree youth to mature adulthood.
The selection from Conrad is brief and precise, but lacks context. He in no way intends to embrace the supernatural. Rather, his intention is to illuminate the psychological depths of the protagonist's life, in all of its terror, marvels, and mystery. Human life itself is wondrous with no need for the addition of the supernatural.
A brief editor's comment regarding the context for Conrad's note, including a synopsis of the novel and the historical and social context of Conrad's life and work, would greatly benefit the reader. I know some Conrad and the themes with which he worked, but do not know The Shadow Line.
Reading the note was like hearing one side of a conversation three quarters of the way finished. He also places himself within the sea-narrative tradition, of which the most notable instance is Moby Dick , another confessional novel of psychological development for which the thread between the terror of the supernatural and the natural become subsumed into the malevolence of the whale. I wonder what the stakes are for Conrad's characters who face the majesties and mysterious of the world?
Are they the same as those which confronted Melville's Ahab and Ishmael? Joseph Conrad answers critics who find the supernatural in his short novel The Shadow Line by writing a preface. In the preface, Conrad states that, for him, the depths of imagination coupled with human experience and thought are more than enough to encompass what many might speak about as the divine or supernatural. Conrad concludes by saying the story is deep with a tone of dedication. The memory he has from the story is the undying regard of men for a captain who they served.
Not having read the novel The Shadow Line it is difficult to know what sense of the supernatural or divine that critics had attributed to the book. Nonetheless, his defense of his text makes for interesting reading. The question that arises for me is: does a belief in the divine necessarily cause the value of human experience to be less? I'm not sure that Conrad and myself differ much in the way that we think, though it is clear he is an atheist and I am not. The way he talks about the supernatural, as if the only way one can talk about the divine is by forgetting human experience, is quite curious.
I wonder what he fears is lost in a belief in the supernatural, and if it is something more than a loss of human complexity. Readers have accused Joseph Conrad of supernaturalism. He could never sink to such a level, so he explains here that using supernatural characters in his book does not indicate he thinks supernaturally himself.
But how might theistic thinking do such a thing? Many theists would assert exactly the opposite: in their view, a God-animated view of the world enriches relationships with the dead and the living. Conrad does not address this point.
The note is a response to critical analyses declaring the supernatural a central motif of his work. Conrad then reveals the biographical nature of The Shadow Line , fondly remembering his experience on the ship. He is awed by the way that life unfolded itself before him, but attributes his joy to the combination of luck and hard work, rather than to any divine intervention.
In the court of interpretation, Joseph Conrad is judge. Conrad responds to his literary critics as though they have critiqued his very essence, rather than his story. Clearly, interpreting the supernatural into his work of fiction is an incorrect interpretation at one level. Yet the truth is that his critics may not have been far off at another level.
Joseph Conrad defends his novel The Shadow Line from the false assumption of critics that it deals with the supernatural, telling the reader that in fact it deals purely with the natural. In his concise note, Conrad takes the opportunity to expand on the issue of natural and supernatural by arguing against any need for the supernatural at all, instead choosing to appreciate what the natural world has to offer.
From this notion he extrapolates the idea that reliance on the supernatural can only result in sadness upon realization of its ultimate unreality. Tying his ideas back into the novel, Conrad explains that the story is about human identity and how the profundity and magnitude of our lives emerge.
Though never specifically stating so, Conrad dismisses the idea of a theological God by rejecting the supernatural. Instead, he makes the case that natural wonders and mysteries are perfectly suitable on their own. Conrad comes across as a naturalist in this piece, verging on Thoreau territory with his exaltation of the inherent mysteries of the natural world. He offers more than just a materialistic view of reality, though.
His words describe a yogic awareness of the world. I admire his celebration of nature and his commonsense approach to the futility of devoting one's life to that which one cannot experience. In this way Conrad manages to elevate the human person to a level of prominence without boasting or placing the individual on a pedestal of righteousness. His appeals to universal mystery and individual human dignity in nature strengthen his argument since these qualities are a common ground with many religious worldviews.
However, Conrad's explanation is too critical for any efficacious attempt at conversion. His direct cuts at any superstitious belief are still fully visible and rather condescending toward those who have not seen reality for what it is. Thus, even though his underlying reasoning is strong, Conrad has difficulty merging the mystery and awe of reality with the absence of the supernatural, two concepts seen by the larger audience as mutually exclusive.
Individual awareness of natural wonder is indeed a difficult thing to package. These were the depths of the war. Between July and November of that year the British Army had lost between , to , men in combat in the Battle of the Somme, 57, on the first day of the campaign. Trench warfare, poison gas, and the armed tank had been developed recently, and unprecedented human inhumanity was on display. It is somewhat unfair to project a psychological motivation onto an author who explicitly rejects it.
It is in this context that Conrad wrote both the novel and its preface, and it is because of this context that one can view his preface as an expression of integrity, an admirable one, and sympathize with his view that an escape into the supernatural is morally reprehensible. In the face of , one can imagine Conrad asking, of what use is the supernatural? When 57, men and boys lose their lives in one day? When the blood-soaked fields of France greedily swallow up fathers and husbands, sons and brothers?
For Conrad, the supernatural will have to take care of itself. The primary point in this introduction to the novel The Shadow Line is that there is enough mystery and wonder within the domain of the senses. One does not need recourse to the supernatural in order to emphasize the pressure of the ambiguities and complexities intrinsic to the natural world.
To Conrad, the supernatural is a sort of scapegoat which seeks to simplify the confusion and wonder of day-to-day living. He speaks of the depth of nature that reveals the immensity of complex webs of relationships and emotion. Essential to his argument is that the world is complex enough for the cultivation of an appreciation for the marvelous; conversely, supernatural explanations tend to oversimplify and defer the complexities of life.
I think often about the ways in which the past imposes itself on the present, either in the form of memories, reminders, or reverie. What is interesting to me is that in some circumstances, the past is seen to exert a discernable pressure on the present, for example when a curse uttered by a dead parent still limits the actions of the surviving child. What are the conditions for having a memory in the present of something in the past?
How much control do we have over it and how often should we yield to its pressure? I am reminded of various cultures that practice ancestor worship and entreat upon the legacies of their ancestors for guidance into the future. With such worldviews, there is a shifting continuity between past actions, present recollection, and future intention.
Meditation on the connection between the past and the present, as they conflagrate and move like smoke into the uncertain future, can be performed in either a naturalistic or supernatural worldview. Thus I see no need to prefer one or the other so long as the ethics of remembering can be embodied and recognized. Joseph Conrad is widely known for novels such as Heart of Darkness , which chronicle the depths of madness depravity, and terror that manifests within the lives of ordinary humans.
However, in his note to The Shadow Line , Conrad offers a perspective of the world that suggests creation is, in fact, a uniquely marvelous place. He asserts its marvel as existing without the influence of supernatural entities and defends his own work from accusations that its incorporation of such beings is what makes it intriguing and imaginative.