Archive for the ‘original sin explains man’s condition’ Category

the line separating good and evil passes…through all human hearts

January 15, 2011

It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: they struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn,  The Gulag Archipelago

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Worry is an overextension of our proper sphere of concern

November 17, 2009

Worry is an overextension of our proper sphere of concern. By worrying about tomorrow we take upon ourselves God’s role as provider for His creation. The root cause is making ourselves god – but the weight of that responsibility is too much for our small shoulders to bear.

I see the better course and approve of it; I follow, alas! the worse!

October 19, 2009

I see the better course and approve of it; I follow, alas! the worse!

OVID,

Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BC – AD 17 or 18), known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who wrote about love, seduction, and mythological transformation. As a slave to sensuality he ruined his career.

we can neither cure nor endure our vices.

Livy

men love their vices, and hate them at one and the same time.

Seneca

There are two objects in our life, whatever we have – to get more; and wherever we are – to go somewhere else

October 7, 2009

There are two objects in our life, whatever we have – to get more; and wherever we are – to go somewhere else.

John Ruskin

The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room

October 7, 2009

The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

…in busyness we have a narcotic to keep us from brooding and to take our mine off these things. That is why we prefer the hunt to the kill. That is why men are so fond of noise and bustle…That is why the pleasures of solitude are considered incomprehensible. We seek repose by battling against difficulties, and once they are overcome, repose becomes unbearable because of the boredom it engenders. We have to get away from it all, and so we then go around begging for new excitement.

Pascal, Pensées

Even babies stop crying when they start to move in a car. I’s as if they can’t stand to be still.

We never live only in the present. We remember the past and look forward to the future. If we find it too slow in coming we try to speed it up; or we recall the past to slow it down if it runs too fast

October 7, 2009

We never live only in the present. We remember the past and look forward to the future. If we find it too slow in coming we try to speed it up; or we recall the past to slow it down if it runs too fast. We are so unwise that we wander through ages which are not our own and never give a thought to the one thing that belongs to us. We are so frivolous that we think of those that are nothing and thoughtlessly overlook the one thing that exists. It is because the present moment is usually a painful one. We repress it because it hurts us. And if we find it pleasurable, we are sorry to see it pass away…With this way of thinking we can never actually live, but instead live in hope.

Pascal

In case you didn’t know it, Pascal was a genius.

Liberal ‘optimistic figments’

September 12, 2009

The doctrines of predestination; of original sin; of the innate depravity of man and the evil fate of the greater part of the race; of the primacy of Satan in this world; of the essential vileness of matter; of a malevolent Demiurgus subordinate to a benevolent Almighty, who has only lately revealed himself, faulty as they are, appear to me to be vastly nearer the truth than the “liberal” popular illusions that babies are all born good and that the example of a corrupt society is responsible for their failure to remain so; that it is given to everybody to reach the ethical ideal if he will only try; that all partial evil is universal good; and other optimistic figments, such as that which represents “Providence” under the guise of a paternal philanthropist, and bids us believe that everything will come right (according to our notions) at last.

Thomas Huxley, Life and Letters, vol.3, p.220, ed. L.Huxley, Macmillan, 1903

online source

There is a reason why these ‘faulty’ doctrines ‘appear’ to comport so well with our experience of the real world, Mr Huxley. They (except the mistaken idea of the vileness of matter – had he read Genesis 1?) are not faulty.