Saturday, November 10, 2007


Ideology warps the mind and suffocates the conscience.

People who have become accustomed to viewing everything through ideological lenses are often genuinely incapable of recognising or telling the truth. Up is down for them and black, white. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery. Collapse is Renewal.

Such people seek affirmation in one another's company as a matter of necessity, and are at the same time overwhelmingly anxious to exclude or suppress whatever has the potential to expose or undermine their immaculate falsifications. If they think of themselves as liberals they remain untroubled by the fundamental illiberalism of this mentality, because it is taken for granted that their outlook is co-extensive with rational discourse itself.

It is this more than anything which accounts for the grotesque, topsy-turvy, parallel-universe quality of TabletWorld (whose Rome correspondent recently sneered that the Pope was not, after all, "a trained liturgist"). What looks like comical, mind-bending hypocrisy and intellectual perversity is merely an indication of people struggling desperately to make reality fit their theories and foundational myths: it's cognitive dissonance on public display. They need our prayers, but they will also benefit enormously in the long run from unrelenting ridicule.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Speravit anima mea in Dominum

On the day of the explosion
Shadows pointed towards the pithead:
In the sun the slagheap slept.

Down the lane came men in pitboots
Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke,
Shouldering off the freshened silence.

One chased after rabbits; lost them;
Came back with a nest of lark's eggs;
Showed them; lodged them in the grasses.

So they passed in beards and moleskins,
Fathers, brothers, nicknames, laughter,
Through the tall gates standing open.

At noon, there came a tremor; cows
Stopped chewing for a second; sun,
Scarfed as in a heat-haze, dimmed.

The dead go on before us, they
Are sitting in God's house in comfort,
We shall see them face to face -

Plain as lettering in the chapels
It was said, and for a second
Wives saw men of the explosion

Larger than in life they managed -
Gold as on a coin, or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them,

One showing the eggs unbroken.

Philip Larkin - The Explosion