Friday, May 8, 2015

Ignorant Armies Clash By Monitor Light

I was informed at Salon that looking for a citation for the libel of Sam Harris, that Christian missionaries in the New World would baptize Native Americans then kill them so they could go to heaven was an example of "obsessive compulsive disorder".    Just so you can see how much darker this dark age is going to be than the last one, so denominated, even the most basic aspect of research is now considered pathological when what is found isn't liked or what was wanted to be true isn't supported.

This is the result of the always business based concentration on the STEM subjects, apparently, that the most basic methodology of research seems like diseased thinking among the young and sciency.   I ran into another example of something similar but am waiting to see how it works out.

It all reminds me of Dover Beach

Dover Beach  by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

I don't think it's necessary to give up like Arnold did due to the arrogant refusal to admit that, in the end, finding a way out of his dismal vision required the choice to move out of the darkness. And it required faith, just as it required faith of a different and more facile kind to go into the dark.   Arrogance, pride, vainglory and even nationalism were what I think led Arnold there, though he clearly knew better.    Which reminds me of nothing so much as West London as set by Charles Ives.

Colleen Philp - soprano
Ann Muir - piano

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