Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Posted by Don at 11/29/2007 11:36:00 AM
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Posted by Don at 11/28/2007 12:36:00 PM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Here perhaps is the place to fix, a little more precisely, what these two words, French Revolution, shall mean; for, strictly considered, they may have as many meanings as there are speakers of them. All things are in revolution; in change from moment to moment, which becomes sensible from epoch to epoch: in this Time-World of ours there is properly nothing else but revolution and mutation, and even nothing else conceivable. Revolution, you answer, means speedier change. Whereupon one has still to ask: How speedy? At what degree of speed; in what particular points of this variable course, which varies in velocity, but can never stop till Time itself stops, does revolution begin and end; cease to be ordinary mutation, and again become such? It is a thing that will depend on definition more or less arbitrary.
For ourselves we answer that French Revolution means here the open violent Rebellion, and Victory, of disimprisoned Anarchy against corrupt worn-out Authority: how Anarchy breaks prison; bursts up from the infinite Deep, and rages uncontrollable, immeasurable, enveloping a world; in phasis after phasis of fever-frenzy;—'till the frenzy burning itself out, and what elements of new Order it held ( since all Force holds such) developing themselves, the Uncontrollable be got, if not reimprisoned, yet harnessed, and its mad forces made to work towards their object as sane regulated ones. For as Hierarchies and Dynasties of all kinds, Theocracies, Aristocracies, Autocracies, Strumpetocracies, have ruled over the world; so it was appointed, in the decrees of Providence, that this same Victorious Anarchy, Jacobinism, Sansculottism, French Revolution, Horrors of French Revolution, or what else mortals name it, should have its turn. The 'destructive wrath' of Sansculottism: this is what we speak, having unhappily no voice for singing.
Surely a great Phenomenon: nay it is a transcendental one, overstepping all rules and experience; the crowning Phenomenon of our Modern Time. For here again, most unexpectedly, comes antique Fanaticism in new and newest vesture; miraculous, as all Fanaticism is. Call it the Fanaticism of 'making away with formulas, de humer les formulas.' The world of formulas, the formed regulated world, which all habitable world is,—must needs hate such Fanaticism like death; and be at deadly variance with it. The world of formulas must conquer it; or failing that, must die execrating it, anathematising it;—can nevertheless in nowise prevent its being and its having been. The Anathemas are there, and the miraculous Thing is there.
Whence it cometh? Whither it goeth? These are questions! When the age of Miracles lay faded into the distance as an incredible tradition, and even the age of Conventionalities was now old; and Man's Existence had for long generations rested on mere formulas which were grown hollow by course of time; and it seemed as if no Reality any longer existed but only Phantasms of realities, and God's Universe were the work of the Tailor and Upholsterer mainly, and men were buckram masks that went about becking and grimacing there,—on a sudden, the Earth yawns asunder, and amid Tartarean smoke, and glare of fierce brightness, rises SANSCULOTTISM, many-headed, fire-breathing, and asks: What think ye of me? Well may the buckram masks start together, terror-struck; 'into expressive well-concerted groups!' It is indeed, Friends, a most singular, most fatal thing. Let whosoever is but buckram and a phantasm look to it: ill verily may it fare with him; here methinks he cannot much longer be. Wo also to many a one who is not wholly buckram, but partially real and human! The age of Miracles has come back! 'Behold the World-Phoenix, in fire-consummation and fire-creation; wide are her fanning wings; loud is her death-melody, of battle-thunders and falling towns; skyward lashes the funeral flame, enveloping all things: it is the Death-Birth of a World!'
Whereby, however, as we often say, shall one unspeakable blessing seem attainable. This, namely: that Man and his Life rest no more on hollowness and a Lie, but on solidity and some kind of Truth. Welcome, the beggarliest truth, so it be one, in exchange for the royallest sham! Truth of any kind breeds ever new and better truth; thus hard granite rock will crumble down into soil, under the blessed skyey influences; and cover itself with verdure, with fruitage and umbrage. But as for Falsehood, which in like contrary manner, grows ever falser,—what can it, or what should it do but decease, being ripe; decompose itself, gently or even violently, and return to the Father of it,—too probably in flames of fire?
Sansculottism will burn much; but what is incombustible it will not burn. Fear not Sansculottism; recognise it for what it is, the portentous, inevitable end of much, the miraculous beginning of much. One other thing thou mayest understand of it: that it too came from God; for has it not been? From of old, as it is written, are His goings forth; in the great Deep of things; fearful and wonderful now as in the beginning: in the whirlwind also He speaks! and the wrath of men is made to praise Him.—But to gauge and measure this immeasurable Thing, and what is called account for it, and reduce it to a dead logic-formula, attempt not! Much less shalt thou shriek thyself hoarse, cursing it; for that, to all needful lengths, has been already done. As an actually existing Son of Time, look, with unspeakable manifold interest, oftenest in silence, at what the Time did bring: therewith edify, instruct, nourish thyself, or were it but to amuse and gratify thyself, as it is given thee.
Posted by Don at 11/27/2007 12:04:00 PM
Monday, November 26, 2007
Posted by Don at 11/26/2007 12:26:00 PM
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday night I saw Brujos at Which Brew, also drank some beer and ate some cake for T's 50th birthday party. Late night, but not too late because I had big plans...
Saturday: It's rare that I seize a day as thoroughly as I did this one. Yoga in the early morning, then breakfast at Coffee Exchange (saw some bikers getting ready to ride Sals, basked in a little "thank you Mr. Trailbuilder" adulation), hit the gym for a monster workout, then went and rode Jacobsburg with Larry and Pete. Which Brew again to catch Trouble City All Stars, and finished the night at a friend's backyard bon-voyage bonfire for his girlfriend, who is relocating to Colorado. Walked there, arrived after midnight, got home at 4:00 AM -- didn't think I still had it in me to do that.
Sunday morning I got a call from Joe G: he was doing homework right then, but wanted to ride at Deer Park (aka Allamuchy South) in the afternoon. We got there at around 2:00, rode until almost dark -- we were out for about three hours, but our actual ride time was maybe 1:45, and we rode about 18 miles. A pretty good ride actually, especially for something out of the blue like that. Some new stuff over there too, or at least new to me, fun and technical.
Now I'm just kicking back, doing laundry.
Posted by Don at 11/25/2007 08:45:00 PM
These are on the same spit of land as Atlantic Highlands, and some of Hartshorne used to be part of the New York Harbor defenses in WW2. The guns are long gone, but you can still see the bunkers (think Guns of Navarone), which were themselves protected by pillboxes and defensive works all through the woods -- if it ever did come to an invasion, there probably would have been a massive fight for this piece of land, and we would be reading about "The Battle of Atlantic Highlands" in the history books. So that's one more thing to be thankful for, that it never came to that, and these guns and defenses were never used...
Anyway, at one of the lower bunker complexes I found a way in, crawled through a hole in the fence and took some pictures.
Posted by Don at 11/25/2007 08:23:00 PM
Posted by Don at 11/25/2007 07:43:00 PM